Mary Morell feels new energy with first Providence pacemaker

March 24, 2012

The mountain scene paintings by Mary Morell can be found in homes and offices all over Hood River County.

Now the retired orchardist has a new claim to fame, and lease on life: She has the first cardiac pacemaker installed at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital.

"I feel great. People tell me I look so much better, too. It's like having a new life," said Morell, 86.

She was taken to Providence emergency room on Saturday at 1 a.m., after the latest in what had been a string of fainting episodes.

"They haven't been able to figure out what the

dickens was wrong with me," she said. "My heart was just not beating normally and not beating regularly."

This time, she fell and broke two bones in her foot. She said the previous time she fainted, she was alone in her apartment, and out for about an hour.

"This time, I went down and I don't think I was out too long," she said. "I don't know which to grab first, the pain in my foot or the pain my ribs," joked Morell, who said she has to be careful for the next month in avoiding use of her right arm. She said her friend Dude Cain has been a major help to her.

Morell underwent surgery on Tuesday and was home on Thursday. Cardiologist Dr. Robert Florek did the procedure, and Morell also thanked her primary physician, Dr. Maria Czarnecki, of Hood River.

"The care at the hospital was superb in every way, shape and form," Morell said. "The girls who took care of me would come in before they went away for a two-day break to tell me hello and goodbye in case I left before they came back to work."

Morell and her late husband, George, came to the valley in 1947 and had a large orchard near Odell that they farmed. George died in 1974. The valley inspired the artist in her and for years she displayed her paintings at the Hood River County Fair.

But she slowed down considerably in recent years, and her pacemaker has her thinking about art again.

"Your life is 'over at 86'; haven't you heard? Oh, I feel happy and alive, much more than I had in a long time," Morell said.

The mountain scene paintings by Mary Morell can be found in homes and offices all over Hood River County.

Now the retired orchardist has a new claim to fame, and lease on life: She has the first cardiac pacemaker installed at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital.

"I feel great. People tell me I look so much better, too. It's like having a new life," said Morell, 86.

She was taken to Providence emergency room on Saturday at 1 a.m., after the latest in what had been a string of fainting episodes.

"They haven't been able to figure out what the

dickens was wrong with me," she said. "My heart was just not beating normally and not beating regularly."

This time, she fell and broke two bones in her foot. She said the previous time she fainted, she was alone in her apartment, and out for about an hour.

"This time, I went down and I don't think I was out too long," she said. "I don't know which to grab first, the pain in my foot or the pain my ribs," joked Morell, who said she has to be careful for the next month in avoiding use of her right arm. She said her friend Dude Cain has been a major help to her.

Morell underwent surgery on Tuesday and was home on Thursday. Cardiologist Dr. Robert Florek did the procedure, and Morell also thanked her primary physician, Dr. Maria Czarnecki, of Hood River.

"The care at the hospital was superb in every way, shape and form," Morell said. "The girls who took care of me would come in before they went away for a two-day break to tell me hello and goodbye in case I left before they came back to work."

Morell and her late husband, George, came to the valley in 1947 and had a large orchard near Odell that they farmed. George died in 1974. The valley inspired the artist in her and for years she displayed her paintings at the Hood River County Fair.

But she slowed down considerably in recent years, and her pacemaker has her thinking about art again.

"Your life is 'over at 86'; haven't you heard? Oh, I feel happy and alive, much more than I had in a long time," Morell said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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