See Large Footnote for Edna's (Margaret Edna) mental health and breakdown(s). Some excerpts from her medical records at Homewood.W5426 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Oct 10 1905 Tuesday, 8:20 a.m.
To: Calvin McQuesten, Knox College
Just a line. We telephoned Dr. Clark yesterday morning. E.[Edna] had not slept all night. He came in the afternoon E. took to him at once and believed in him, he said she was at a very critical point wished he had seen her a month ago. Ordered a nurse and that she should be put in warm pack at night and on no account any sleeping medicine. We hurried all over for nurse, in "Gods" great goodness He directed us through Miss Turnbull of Central Church, to a relative here on holiday from Montreal, a graduate from Edinboro, a specialist in nervous cases. Miss Hutton a middle-aged warm hearted motherly soul, who just suited E. exactly, knew just how to take to her, very cheerful and amusing. Think she got to sleep shortly after two. Before that the trains excelled themselves1. Dr. C. also prescribed fresh air and good nourishment so must get her out of the City at once. Will make inquires about place at Waterdown where the Douglas Buchanans stayed2,3.
Your loving mother
[P.S.] Last night we could not thank God enough for the help given us. Tom took the Horace4
1 The noise of the T.H.& B. railroad trains on the track near "Whitehern." These noises were very disturbing for the family. Tom attempted to prevent the RR building nearby but was unable to prevent it.
2 (Margaret) Edna's mental health had been deteriorating since the summer, see W5382, W5426. She was taken to Montreal by the nurse, Miss Hutton, and on October 19 Hilda wrote to Calvin about the need for secrecy: "In Tom's letter I warned him that if people become too inquisitive about Edna to say that the nurse came from Montreal and that Edna went back with her as the doctor advised change of scenery and invigorating air, we do not mention her name unless people ask about her particularly" (W5430). An enclosure in the above letter, dated October 20, from Mary states:
We had word from the Doctor to-day, 'Miss McQuesten has been quieter to-day (Wednesday) and has taken her nourishment fairly well.' To me, this is very encouraging, as she had taken nothing for days and we were powerless to make her. Have been writing Ida Welker, whom I have taken into my confidence, to send her, Edna, some flowers on her birthday next Monday. Have not yet heard if we may write her. . . . [P.S.] Pray earnestly. (W5434)
Ida Welker lived in Montreal (Calvin had visited the Welkers there, see W4521). We have found no letters between October 19, 1905 and March 6, 1906, so it is not known how long Edna stayed in Montreal. Edna was with Ruby in Ottawa in April 1906 but it is not known for how long (W5445). She started home on June 4 (W5495, W5448, W5477). Mary was away in the West on a Missionary Society tour for five weeks and returned June 14 or 16, 1906.
Edna recovered for a time but remained fragile and suffered several more episodes until she was finally institutionalized at Homewood in Guelph in October 1920 and died there in November 1935.
Edna's medical records were obtained from Homewood in 2011. They are at Whitehern and a few random excerpts follow here:
Edna to Verdun. Date of letter Oct. 23, 1920. Cost at Homewood: $40.00 per week, 4 weeks in advance, $160.00 per month.
Surgery ovaries and appendix 1919. No lobotomy noted.
Exam Oct. 14 1930 Barium, no evidence of ulcer but had dark stools for rest of life.
December 1933 home for Xmas, first time home in 13 years.
Visits Xmas 1933.
Miss James friend visits often. (possibly Janie James).
Tom visits Dec 8.
Excited delusional bitter against family. She stated: 'You know, I like and dislike my mother. She is a good woman but has a lot of mean tricks.'
Highest weight 165.
She was attacked and attacks others.
Edna broke out with another patient who was also a manic patient and took a taxi in December went to a hotel.
November 10, 1935 haemorrhaging. Bleeding ulcer 104lbs, was given Codeine and Morphine. No Lobotomy noted.
Edna died at 114 lbs with bleeding ulcer.
November 10, 1935 Edna died.
Edna's healthy periods and deterioration are described in the family letters: (W5426, W5406, W5367, W5371, W5377, W5382, W5398, W5406, W5418, W-MCP2-4.051, W5422, W5430, W5434, W5445, W5448, W5477, W5487, W5495, W5502, W5512, W5691, W5709, W5876, W9180, W8734, W7040, W7044, W7136, see also footnote at W2469 which describes the medications used by the McQuestens for the infant Mary (Tiny) for sleeplessness. (Margaret) Edna demonstrated sleeplessness even as a small child, see W2511; however, it is not known specifically at this time what medications were given to Edna as a child.
NOTE: Edna`s father, Isaac McQuesten was a patient at the Homewood Retreat. He was Pt. No. 68 August 6, 1887, Out September 16, 1887. See also Isaac`s letter W2511 and Footnote about his mental health and death. Isaac`s son, Calvin McQuesten, also had mental breakdowns when under stress. Also See note about various medications that the family used, including, Chlorodyne and Paregoric (opium derivatives) and Calomel (Mercury) (see W2469).
3 Mary was greatly concerned about the cost of medical care for Edna. At this time Tom was still at university and Ruby was still teaching in Ottawa and sending money home for Tom and the family. In a letter to Tom of October 1906, Mary notes that Dr. Clark charged $25 for consultation in the home, the doctor at a Mimico asylum was charging $100, and that Mrs. B[?] was paying $50 a week for her daughter's care at Guelph (W-MCP2-3b.047).
4 There are three Works of Horace in the Whitehern library, dated 1859 and 1860.