Welcome to Tessa's blog

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


I have taken it rather slow lately. I have been to several doctor's appointments. After 20 days I am still on antibiotics. The situation is getting better every day but it will be a very long process. I have done some excursions, just to get out of the house. I have noticed that the two months I was unwell and didn't do anything have meant that I don't have much energy now. I get tired pretty fast and walking up stairs is exhausting.

The summer weather is here after a long and rather cold spring. It's about 20 degrees and usually sunny. My mother has moved to the summerhouse now.

There will be a Nelson family reunion in Milaca, Minnesota this year. The date is July 23. I am unable to attend because of my health but if any one wants to go I will share the details if you contact me.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Hospital stay

After the second injection of chemo I suffered basically the same side-effects as last time but I got a lot more fever now. The problem is that I didn't understand I was that sick. I didn't check the temperature since I thought it would pass without any medication, like the first time. I experienced two nights with chills and then I noticed the fever. It got worse by the minute and my heart rate was getting high and I breathed heavily. After calling the clinic they arranged for an ambulance to pick me up. It was an interesting experience. The ambulance staff asked me questions and I clearly noticed how difficult it was to give replies; my brain was deteriorating. They saw this and lead me to the ambulance pretty quickly. During the "priority one" transport the doctor slapped me every time I closed my eyes for more than a few seconds. He thought I was losing consciousness. At the emergency room eight people were waiting, two of them with antibiotics in syringes. They did of course already know about me. The doctor had sent the info from the ambulance. All is very high-tech these days.

After about an hour they had managed to slow the raging infection down with a massive dose of antibiotics. They took large amounts of tests on me and hooked me up to all sorts of machines. I had needles and cords everywhere. I didn't care about any of this. I was just glad to be alive.

Later in the evening I was moved to the oncology ward. They kept me there for eight days. Rather surprising, since there is a shortage of hospital beds. I was told my infection was very serious and that I should be happy there was still antibiotics to be found that had any effect on it.

I must say that all the staff members at the hospital were great, they deserve gold stars for all their hard work. I was a challenging patient because my veins do not cooperate at all. It's very difficult to draw blood from me. Even worse now when the chemo has destroyed the veins.

It's going to take a long time to recover completely from the infection, so the chemotherapy is on hold for now. My focus at the moment is just to get better, and it seems to be going in the right direction.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Social club meeting

Last week I was feeling a little bit better and I managed to host the annual social club meeting on the Tuesday. It was a 15-minute meeting to get through the agenda. Afterwards a senior scholar gave a speech about his experiences in the Middle East, particularly Jerusalem. It was an entertaining speech. We also had a meal in our lunchroom and we continued talking there, of course.

I have done some short excursions this past week. One day I took the train to Helsingborg, just to have lunch. I have also been to the nearest mall to go shopping. I have been told to keep active but it's not easy. The weather has been pretty bad with high winds and rain recently.

Last week my hair fell off, so now I really look sick. I made an inventory of my scarves and decided to use some of them for headwear. It works ok. Tomorrow it's time for the next injection. Not something I look forward to.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Hell started

My last working day for a long time was April 5 - my birthday. This fact was not celebrated much. I bought a cake for dessert, that was it.

The next day hell started. It is necessary for me to get chemotherapy. No one who hasn't endured this can understand what it's like. The first week after an injection it's a matter of surviving from one minute to the next. The side-effects are horrible. They stuff you full of extra medicine and that has side-effects too. The first five nights I didn't sleep. Chemo messes with your entire body. It affects the digestive system, blood, nails, hair, skin, immune defense, etc. I had to go to the hospital because I had a blood value that was hardly measureable. I was isolated at two different hospitals for a couple of days (and one night). Incredibly boring. There is not a part of my body that hasn't ached. After 12 days I have started to recover but there will be more problems ahead.

My mother came to help me for a few days. She is surprisingly energetic. She planted flowers on the balcony, cleaned floors and windows and cooked for me. It was very nice of her. She didn't get to see much of me though, since I had to go to hospital several times.

Monday, April 3, 2017


I have been busy at work with lots of meetings. Last week there were four. I have also spent the weekends at work but for personal reasons. Mostly to do research but also to host a visit from my sister and her friends this Saturday. There were six of them who had made the trip, organized by my sister. She had not told any one in advance what they were going to do or even where they were going, so it was all a surprise. I showed them the library and told some of the history of the university, which celebrates its 350th year right now. I had gathered a sample of our vast collection to show. There were pamphlets, catalogues, children's books, postcards, ads, an 18th century newspaper, some of Carl von Linne's dissertations, a journal for ladies dating back to 1862 and a few other items. Some rather weird. This was well received and one of the most fun presentations I have done. They all seemed to be interested in books, which was great. After this, I joined them for lunch at a restaurant. It was a very nice brunch with a generous selection.

Today I have also given a presentation but it was slightly different. I showed my colleagues from the ephemera department some of the un-catalogued material we have in the stacks. Normally this would be placed in the ephemera collection but for some reason it was never moved there. We have a fair amount of this "grey" material and I thought it would be a good idea to tell the staff at the ephemera department about it. They agreed. I had made a list of this material and brought a few items to show. It turned out to be a varied selection with material on math, medicine, political science, law and fiction.

I still have to go to several doctor's appointments a week. The after-care will last for months.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Back to work

It was very boring to stay at home those two weeks after the surgery. My colleagues missed me. At least I think so, because they sent me two large bouquets of flowers and two boxes of chocolate. Very nice of them. The wound is healing the way it should and the doctor is happy about the result. My biggest problem is the fact that I'm allergic to plaster of all kinds. I have tried about five different kinds but it doesn't help. The kind of sticky tape for sensitive skin I was recommended was itching so badly I removed it after only a few hours. You are really supposed to have some plaster on the scars for three months afterwards but the doctor told me to ignore that instruction. The itching would have made me crazy.

I did get some things done during my sick-leave. I went to a mall once and visited the archive center twice. There are always projects to do there, this time I looked at sailor's records. My great great grandfather sailed the seven seas but I have never looked him up in the sailor's lists. It wasn't as difficult as I thought, but the information given was meagre. The only thing I didn't already know was his listing as a cook onboard. I also asked for some old tax records and managed to write incorrect information on the call slip. It meant that they couldn't find the material. Slightly embarrassing. I hope the staff didn't understand that processing call slips is a large part of my job...

Today I returned to work. It wasn't overwhelming. I have just done some minor tasks like talking to people, making plans and answering e-mails. I was given three requests my colleagues hadn't been able to process and solved two of those cases. Heavy lifting is out of the question, so book retrieval is not possible right now.

Monday, March 13, 2017


Last week I worked Monday and Tuesday, basically tidying up my desk. I managed to hand in a report also, which my boss had asked for. Tuesday evening my father arrived. This was not the plan from the beginning but my mother got health problems and couldn't come. Early Wednesday morning my father dropped me off at the hospital. After a long series of examinations, tests and medicine I was wheeled in to the operation room around noon. It was quite an experience. They sedated me and I was completely out until a few hours later. I was of course in pain when I woke up but that was all. I thought that I would be wiped out for days afterwards. This was not the case at all. The surgeon came and told me everything had gone according to plan. My father came to get me at 6 PM and we went to the pizza place in my town. Not something I thought we could do either, just a few hours after surgery. But I was not so affected by this experience as I had anticipated. Thursday afternoon my father left again, after watching a (according to him) very interesting reality show about American loggers in Maine on TV. My father hasn't had a TV in about a year, so he doesn't know what there is to watch these days.

Since then, I have tried to take it easy. This Friday I went to the hospital for a check-up in the morning and stopped by work to join my colleagues for the morning coffee and sandwiches. Everybody was surprised to see me. I can understand that, since I had given warning I would be away for some time. Apart from this, I have mostly spent my time watching TV, solving crossword puzzles and reading that book about the DNA background of Europeans. It's quite interesting, I have to say.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Train trouble

I didn't get that much done this past week. I had three doctor's appointments. It takes a lot of time. Most of the week I tried to clear my desk and get at least some of the many projects done. Success was limited. The high point of the week was Thursday evening, when we had After Work at a nearby restaurant. It's nice to talk to the colleagues outside of the workplace.

Friday was a bad day. When I got to the train station at 7 AM I learned that all the trains were cancelled. Not only the next five departures or so, but all of them the entire day. Part of the track had a large crack and it was in a very inconvenient place because they needed to make all the train tracks in southern Sweden powerless before they could fix it. They didn't have any parts for it either. They had to do the repairs overnight. I was able to get onboard one of the regular buses instead. It was extremely crowded but we made it. I arrived about an hour later than normal. The janitor gave me permission to borrow the storage round car that evening. I made good use of it and transported some of my research home (those files with paper tend to get heavy). I also made a stop at the grocery store. Saturday morning I had to drive the car back again. So I spent the day at work to do more research (and yes, it produced even more paper documents).

In just a few days it's time for my operation. It may take a while before I get any writing done here.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

New stove

My father returned this past Sunday. We had to visit two different malls before I could get the stove I had decided on. It was a long drive to Malmö but it was a fairly smooth project. It's not difficult at all to spend a lot of money, apparently. The biggest problem was to get the stove up three flights of stairs (there is no elevator). We also brought the old stove along with some other junk to the big recycling place in my town. Already the same evening I tried the new stove when I cooked for lunchboxes. It works very well.

The week at work was no big deal. This week it was school sports break and the amount of visitors was rather low. The new temporary worker is learning the job fast and is asking for more tasks. She and I did some book moving. I had discovered that about 20 meters of books were misplaced so we corrected it. I also took the time to show her the section with books from the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. It's much more challenging to retrieve books in that section because of a complicated call number system.

Speaking of books, I have actually bought a book at the annual sale at the bookstores. It was an interesting subject; the DNA background of Europeans. I haven't started on it yet.

I did write to the person who had posted one of our old family photos on his website and received a very short answer back, thanking me for the correction. I don't think this photo had anything to do with his family (but perhaps he thought so because he had attached incorrect names to it). He has his ancestors posted there also and they are not connected to mine.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

New shade

The week at work was not that bad. It started very nicely this Monday when I received a chocolate box from a patron. We had given her a book (a dissertation) which had been written by one of her ancestors in the 19th century. We have an extra supply of old dissertations and we sometimes get asked to distribute them. Usually to other libraries, but we decided it was ok to give this woman the book her ancestor had written. I do wonder if she will understand it though, because it was a science topic and written in German.

Last weekend I went to Ikea. I have long been thinking about remodelling my kitchen. Everything needs to be done; wallpaper, flooring, cupboards, new fridge and stove. I got some brochures and looked through the displays in the store. It's slightly overwhelming. And rather expensive. Today my father came to visit and we went to the nearest mall. I looked at a new stove but was not impressed so didn't get one. Instead I got a freestanding clothes rack (drum major) to have in my bedroom (usually you have this in the hall). We assembled it and it looks very good. My father also put up the long shade for my bedroom window. This shade is thicker and will not let through light like the previous one did.

I'm sorry to say that my health isn't as good as it used to be. I have in fact been to the doctor (several different ones) six times in three weeks. For someone who never has to do that normally it's remarkable. It's interesting to be a patient in the health care system these days. I have heard a lot of bad things but so far I have been lucky. They are of course constantly lagging behind schedule but it's not strange at all. I have now received medicine for one health problem but will unfortunately have to be operated on for another.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Visit to Göteborg/Borås

Thursday last week I went by train to Göteborg around noon. In the afternoon I met my father and his girlfriend near the city library. We went out to a nice dinner at an English style restaurant/pub. After this we all went to the theater a few blocks away to see a show by a Swedish performance group. They made a very popular comedy series on TV in the 1990s called "Macken" (The Garage) and they had now done a remake for the stage. It was a very funny show where the audience knew most of the lines and could (and did) sing along. Truly marvelous, but there is no way I can explain the show or why it's funny to someone who isn't Swedish. Let's just say it's rather local comedy.

After the show we drove (my father had a car) an hour east to get to my sister's place in Borås. We spent the weekend there. My father got the job of felling a tree in the back yard. Saturday I joined my mother and worked as a volunteer at the charity shop, selling fabric, lace and ribbon of all kinds. It's quite fun. In the evening we went to my mother's boyfriend's place. I had done some research for him and now he had invited his sisters to meet me. I was asked to go through the documents and explain the details. The dinner afterwards was great, seafood and various cheeses.

My niece had a cold and since I don't meet kids that much I have no resistence. I got sick, of course. Sunday we went to the ice-skating rink. It got too cold rather quickly but at least one of the kids enjoyed skating there. We had lunch at a café and then my father drove me all the way home. It took three hours. This was not the plan from the beginning but I'm glad he did. I was a little too sick to take the train and then I had also bought a long shade for my bedroom window that would have been difficult to bring on a train.

Monday I was at home but worked short days the rest of the week. There are not that large piles with unshelved books anymore. The new person is doing a good job keeping the volumes down.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Staff changes

There have been several changes at work. We have lost two staff members for various reasons. One went on to another job at a college library and one had to leave since we couldn't afford to keep her. The latter one was working in the stacks and we are of course not happy about this. She knew a large part of the job. She will be missed. To avoid total disaster, we have rearranged the storage round, so now I have to drive Mondays and Fridays. Not what I wanted, really. We have also a replacement a few hours a week. It's a guy that worked in the stacks about 7-8 years ago but was moved to another department. He needed very little introduction, so that was positive, at least. Today we also got a temporary worker placed at the library to train job skills. She will work part-time with shelving and we are in desperate need of that. I spent the afternoon introducing her. Basically, I start out by teaching new staff members how to find their way in the building. It's an old and complicated house with lots of different levels (and you need to know what elevators go to those different levels because not all go to the same). We think this new worker will be useful, because she understood the task right away.

The project with listing all the emigrants from Hjärsås parish is progressing. The document is already over 80 pages. There were many emigrants but the parish wasn't particularly large. Many of them ended up in Rhode Island, Galesburg in Illinois and various places in Minnesota. When I searched for information about these emigrants I ended up on a Swedish website where someone had posted old photos with unknown people. I was very surprised to see one of our family photos there. It was from 1898, when August Nelson visited his sister's family in Sweden (she had died a few years earlier). If any one has the book about August and Lovisa, it's the photo on page 52. I still don't know why this photo is posted on that website but I plan on contacting the owner next week.

Apart from this, I managed to get a hair cut this week, do the laundry and remove all the Christmas decorations. I discovered that there was a box of ornaments I hadn't even opened. I weeded the collection a little before getting it all back up in the attic storage. Afterwards it required extensive vacuuming to get rid of all the glitter on the floor and in the rug.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Tragic play

Last week at work was busy. Already Monday morning at 8 I went over to an old building nearby to look at shelving systems. We had been offered it since the place will be completely remodeled and everything will be thrown out. We said yes, provided we could get a moving company to dismantle it and find space at one of our storages. The rest of the week was about retrieving books for the students. It was a tough job since it's at the beginning of the semester. Today was the real peak so far, we had a huge amount of requests. I went to the storage with a colleague and we spent longer time than usual there.

This Friday evening I made use of the theater ticket I had been given for Christmas. It was a rather odd version of Shakespeare's tragedy Richard III. There was only one actor, a stand-up comedian. He did all the speaking parts himself. I was impressed by the fact that he could remember all of it. He was rather true to the original. It was both funny and tragic at the same time. There was the underlying theme of how men of power aqcuire their positions and what means are acceptable to reach those positions. It's a play that says a lot about also the time we live in now.

This weekend was all about research. I didn't even watch TV.

Monday, January 16, 2017

20 years

Last week I had been working at the library for 20 years. I really can't believe it. It sounds like an eternity. I have seen incredible developments in the field of work, mainly because of the internet and the technological advancements. The job is, in essence, the same as when I started - retrieval and shelving of books. But nowadays we get the request slips printed in picking order. 20 years ago it took a long time every morning to get each request printed and manually sorted into the right pile. There have been many changes over the years, most of them for the better.

For the Friday morning coffee I baked some cookies, which were well received. It was to "celebrate" those 20 years. Apart from that, it is business as usual. The semester hasn't started officially but we get many new students asking all sorts of questions at this time. There was a sharp increase of the  number of requests all of a sudden, so they have their reading lists already.

This weekend was a research weekend. I spent it at work. The computer there is larger and better, and there is access to a printer. The new project concerns emigrants from a parish near my home parish. It is very challenging, since the church records were destroyed by fire. There is almost nothing before 1860. But I can see that there were emigrants also before that year, since there is a database of passport applications 1783-1860.

The weather is typical of a winter in Skåne province. Just below freezing and occasional snow that melts quickly.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy New Year

All the best for the new year! Time really flies. I spent the new year's weekend mostly cleaning and tidying up. I threw out old calendars, receipts and catalogues. I tried to organize my documents by filing them. The desk does look a lot better now.

The actual celebration New Year's Eve was modest here. I watched TV and solved crosswords. The meal was salmon baked in the oven, with cream and cheese. Very, very tasty. Chocolate mousse with raspberries and blueberries for dessert. Nothing wrong with that either. I had a good view of the fireworks from my balcony.

This holiday season the work-free days were very few. I have been working all the days this week, except today. For some reason Swedes celebrate Twelfth Day. We were rather busy at the library this week, it seems like some of the new students have already arrived and are asking for textbooks. One colleague was off sick and that meant some problems as we couldn't do all of her duties.

The weather was mild, wet and dark up until yesterday, when it changed to a little drier, cold and dark. It's about ten degrees below zero. No snow at all. So boring. I spent most of today cleaning the stove and the fan above it. Not fun, but necessary.

Thank you for the letters and e-mail greetings I have received for the holidays. The Fleet Farm calendar is hanging on the living room wall!