The Travels of Dr. Rebecca Harper: Past and Present

Dr. Lauren Harper joins her mother, Dr. Rebecca Harper Buchanan, after more than twenty years of separation. It can only be a short visit. Lauren has her modern family and fiancé to consider.
Well, that didn’t happen —the portal which brought Lauren to Rebecca and the 1800s is damaged by the storm and torrential rain that nearly killed Lauren when she arrived. Both women must depend on Sam Buchanan to hopefully reconstruct the portal pool. While the passage is hopefully reopened, Lauren experiences life in the 1800s.
As a modern trained equine veterinarian, Lauren becomes aware of the limitations of practicing veterinary medicine in the 1800s.
Lauren realizes she may not be able to return to her time before winter makes the trip unsurvivable. She also knows she faces the possible murder of Frank Lash and the threat of retribution by the former deputy sheriffs. Their convictions are assured with Lauren’s testimony. …

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The Travels of Dr. Rebecca Harper: Past and Present

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Book Series: The Travels of Dr. Rebecca Harper
Series – 4 Books
ISBN – 978-0994297297
ASIN: 0994297297
Genre: fiction

The Travels of Dr. Rebecca Harper: Past and Present

Dr. Lauren Harper joins her mother, Dr. Rebecca Harper Buchanan, after more than twenty years of separation. It can only be a short visit. Lauren has her modern family and fiancé to consider.

Well, that didn’t happen —the portal which brought Lauren to Rebecca and the 1800s is damaged by the storm and torrential rain that nearly killed Lauren when she arrived. Both women must depend on Sam Buchanan to hopefully reconstruct the portal pool.

While the passage is hopefully reopened, Lauren experiences life in the 1800s.
As a modern trained equine veterinarian, Lauren becomes aware of the limitations of practicing veterinary medicine in the 1800s.

Lauren realizes she may not be able to return to her time before winter makes the trip unsurvivable. She also knows she faces the possible murder of Frank Lash and the threat of retribution by the former deputy sheriffs. Their convictions are assured with Lauren’s testimony.

Rebecca knows how important it is to facilitate her daughter’s safe passage back to the future. She wants what is best for Lauren and yet grieves at the loss of her daughter after a brief visit.

If Lauren can return to the twenty-first century, Rebecca knows she will never see Lauren again, but her love for her husband and his love for her sustains her through this painful parting.

The Travels of Dr. Rebecca Harper: Past and Present

“Maggie, any letup in the rain yet?”

“I think I see some blue sky.” Maggie Clayton, our clinic receptionist and head nurse, pointed as she peered out of the hospital window. She and I had just finished a marathon week. Alf Webber, my associate, would relieve me of my duties. He and John Harmon, my other associate, did the lion’s share of the work at our clinic and town hospital in Virginia City. I typically worked a few days a week, and one whole week per month, during which I stayed in town and covered the after-hours. I still conducted most of the obstetrical work.

This last week had been difficult. Three delivering mothers experienced more complications than usual. I performed two caesareans and attended the delivery of a stillborn. We knew the baby had died in utero and had not reached full-term. I was supposed to be off now. With the unusual autumn rain, though, I couldn’t return home to my husband, Sam Buchanan, and daughter, Hanna.

The good news is that I have two adorable grandchildren from Sam’s son, Dan. Lizzy is almost three years old, and Little Hank is nearly a year old. Hanna, our adopted daughter, was turning fifteen by our estimates. Indians had abducted and raised her and returned her to the cavalry when death and starvation followed a series of skirmishes and the relocation of many indigenous tribes.

She was given to the Virginia City sheriff, who passed her on to me for care. Sam and I adopted Hanna nearly four years ago. She was growing tall and, in my eyes, beautiful.

The rain and ensuing flood had trapped me in Virginia City. I had to cross a creek to return to the Cattle Creek Ranch. Sam and Dan built a bridge over the stream several years before. However, this bridge was no match for the floods during the last few days, which stranded me in town. Our sturdy hospital had been constructed a few years earlier. The unusual storm caused a great deal of damage all over town. Flooding and leaky roofs brought destruction to many businesses and residences. All the available rooms at the hotel were filled due to the rain and flooding.

The boardinghouse where I stayed when I was in town had sustained significant water damage, and I’d been forced to sleep at the hospital. That meant I was getting up at all hours. We had employed other nurses now, as we were the leading hospital for a large area.

One nurse was exasperating because she would call me at a moment’s notice. I could have throttled her. I probably hadn’t slept more than two consecutive hours for the entire week, and now I was working overtime since there was no chance of going home to the Cattle Creek Ranch.

I met with my good friend, Ray Thompson, for lunch or dinner at least once daily. We met at the hotel or café to talk and even play checkers. He was also Sam’s closest friend. He had arthritis and other typical infirmities of older men. Like Sam, he was in his late sixties. Sam was lucky that, despite his age, he did not show any signs of slowing down. I was fifteen years younger than Sam. He was not my first husband. Alas, I seem to have a penchant for older men. Sam was actually a few years younger than my first husband, Jeff.

That’s a long story. In a nutshell, I’m a time traveler who came from the 1980s to the 1850s. I couldn’t find a way back to Jeff or my daughter Lauren until almost twenty years after I initially time traveled. When I returned once, I discovered they had both moved on. By then, I’d fallen in love with Sam Buchanan of Comstock, my favorite television show. Who knew it really existed? Anyway, I now was living the dream, literally, in the 1870s as a mother, wife, town doctor, and veterinarian.

My present goal is simply returning to my Comstock family and getting some sleep. The obstacles were the flooding and another mother in active labor who wasn’t quite full term, yet she was experiencing robust contractions. It’s not as if we have all the drugs that have probably been discovered following the 1800s to calm her uterus or even the oxygen for a premature baby. It’s “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” medicine at best. I was lucky to have surgical skills I learned on animals before I time traveled.

I received further medical training when I first arrived in the 1800s from Dr. Thomas Walker, a prominent surgeon in San Francisco. He introduced me to anesthetics that could be used at this time. In addition, I worked as a surgeon both during the Civil War and at a progressive hospital in Baltimore before returning to Virginia City.

I realized my limitations, and I often sent my associates, Alf and John, to meetings to upgrade our conjoined efforts to practice quality medicine.

When I was at home, I cared for the men, women, and children who lived and worked on my family’s ranch. I additionally went up to our cabin in the beautiful little valley we call Hank Heaven. Sam built the cabin for me several years ago when I time traveled back to my modern-day family. I elected to return to be with Sam and his family and ride out my days on the Cattle Creek Ranch.

“Darn it, Maggie. I wish this woman would give birth or get off the bed. I want to go home.” “You and me both, Becky. I don’t suppose we could make her ride a horse today?” “Why not? There’s no malpractice yet.” Now that was a rare slip. I hardly ever do that anymore. “What’s malpractice? Becky, you have the darnedest ideas. What’s that Oreo thing you used to mention?” “Just things that were happening when I was in Baltimore. Never mind.” Please, do never mind.

The sun was out, and I needed some fresh air. I walked to the stable to visit my beautiful mare, which I named Penny II for my beloved first mare that I rode when I arrived in the 1850s. Hanna found her running wild on the ranch and broke her in for me. She presented her to me on my birthday three years ago. I loved the original Penny, but this mare was something special.

My daughter was a master at starting young horses under saddle. Sam was so proud of her and termed her the best breaker on the ranch. He would never let her ride a bronc, though, which was men’s business. After the buck was out of the young stock, however, her father gave her several to finish. He was even riding a younger version of his old buckskin, Cash, that Hanna had started.

The new one was called Cash as well. Even Dan had a younger paint named for his old horse. These men had no imaginations. What am I saying—Penny II? When I returned to the hospital, Alf commented that the woman had begun to dilate. “Becky, I hate to ask, but can you hang around until this baby is born?” “Do I have a choice? The creek is a raging river. I’m certainly not going home today.”

In fact, I spent two more nights. We ended up performing a cesarean the next day and delivered a little girl. Sam eventually crossed the stream and arrived in Virginia City as I was going into surgery. He had errands in town. Sam had seen Ray and would have a meal with him while he waited for me. He was confident we could safely cross the creek later that day. He seemed excited,

and I was so glad to see him. Our frequent separations kept our love young and exciting despite the years. He whispered that he wanted to try to be back by dinnertime. I knew my birthday was coming, and I guessed he and Gee Ling had planned a dinner with Dan, Jenny, and the kids. I was exhausted but attempted to finish early.

Well, that didn’t happen. The surgery went well, and the baby was strong and healthy, but the mother had a bleed. As a result, I was required to go in a second time to remove her uterus to halt the bleeding. I didn’t conduct transfusions then, and it was do-or-die in those days. For this reason, it was nine o’clock before I was done. Sam waited in the staff room and still wanted to go back to the Cattle Creek Ranch.

About Elizabeth Woolsey

Elizabeth Woolsey moved to Australia and practiced equine veterinary medicine for over 35 years. She authored both nonfiction books and professional papers on such topics as the treatment of burns in horses and surgical procedures. Elizabeth published a book about her experiences as a practicing equine vet in Australia. She recently retired and has returned to the US, where she is now publishing fictional stories about veterinarians under Horse Doctor Press.

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