Friday, March 4, 2016

Great Grandma's Leg

~Great Grandma’s Leg~

Great Grandma Cooper was my mother’s mother’s mother!  That makes her your Great, Great, Great Grandma!  Her name was Mable Irene Parmelee, and when she married Jay Cooper, she became Mable Irene Parmelee Cooper.  I was very fortunate to be able to know Grandma Cooper very well. 

Grandma Cooper only had 1 leg.  She lost her other leg when she was around 10 or 11.  What happened???  Mable was born in 1881, so it was around 1892 when she was seriously hurt and had surgery. 

 Grandma Cooper loved to run and ride her bike, just like you . . . . 
One day, Mable was outside and was riding her bike.  She ran into the pump in the yard and cut her leg below her knee.  (In the year 1892, most people did not have plumbing in their homes.  Their source of water was from a pump that was in their yard.  The pump was about 3-4 feet tall with a spigot on one side and a long handle on the other side.  They would have to hold the handle and pump it up and down to bring water up to the spigot, and it would flow out). The cut was pretty bad.  Her Mom and Dad cleaned up her leg and bandaged her up.  The cut was very deep, and soon, Mable had a serious infection that became gangrene.  Gangrene can be life-threatening if it is not taken care of immediately.

Mable’s parents took her to the doctor in town.  It was decided that her leg would need to be amputated just below the knee.  That was Mable’s first surgery.  She went home with her Mom and Dad.  Her leg was trying to heal, but . . . .  as it turned out, the gangrene had spread much further than the doctor had realized.  And so, Mable found herself back on the surgical table.  The doctor had to remove more of her leg, up above the knee.
Back home she went with her parents.  I am sure that her younger sisters and brothers were so excited to see her!  This time, her leg healed properly and well. 

Grandma Cooper had a “prosthesis,” a false leg section that was made for her.  She had this made as an adult.  She seldom used it, she said that it gave her pain.  She much preferred the crutches that she used for most of her life.  She could move as quick as most of us, and with her crutch, her reach was way beyond ours!  In the last few years of her life, Grandma Cooper began using a wheelchair, but she was in her 90’s! 

Mable Irene Parmelee Cooper, photo taken about 1918.

Can you imagine how it must have been for Mable, learning how to get around with only 1 leg?  She would go up and down stairs, carry babies, clean house.  Grandma Cooper used to remind me that I could do anything that the Lord had in mind for me to do, and she would tell each of you that…… 

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