Surgery

Fall                                                                                Harvest Moon

Quick note. Bleeding continues. Failed attempt last night to stop the bleeding with an embolization procedure. So. Surgery this morning, a bowel resection. I’m heading in right now. 6:30 a.m. Went in last night, got back about 11:00.

This is what Kate wants. She does not want a repeat of Thursday night/Friday morning with the blood loss. She’s had 5 units of blood as of last night, so they do have to stop the bleeding.

Progress!

Fall                                                                          Harvest Moon

So. A source of the bleed, diverticulitis. Probably multiple episodes over the years. Good news.

To come home she still has to get her hemoglobin up and may have a surgical procedure related to the diverticuli and maybe the gall bladder. Not home tonight or tomorrow night, if surgery, then longer yet. We both feel cautiously optimistic about resolving the nausea and very happy about locating the source of the bleed. We also know, thanks to the multiple scopings of her GI tract, that she has no cancer anywhere from mouth to, well, the other end.

I’m home, taking care of the dogs now. Unless she calls, I’ll go back in tomorrow. She’ll see the GI doc that did the colonoscopy and a GI surgeon. Finally, a bit of progress.

A beautiful, red flag day in the neighborhood. High temps, wind and low humidity. A perfect combination if you’re a forest fire.

 

Kate News

Fall                                                                                 Harvest Moon

1000Kate and Charlie in EdenYesterday was tough. Kate’s still losing blood. She spent most of the day yesterday, from about 6:30 am to 2:30, in the E.R. They’re short of beds and wanted to see which department was the best for her. No word yet on the cause of the bleeding. G.I. doc ordered a colonoscopy for this morning at 10 am. She’s not able to eat though she did have a clear liquid meal while I was there in the afternoon. Delicious, she said. And, apparently meant it.

She’s remained in reasonably good spirits since she’s in an environment that she understands with people and procedures she also understands. That relieves a lot of hospitalization’s stress. Which is not to say that she’s happy or comfortable. She’s not. She’s been in and out of procedures for the last six months, the most recent one only this last Monday. No results from it yet. Too much poking, scoping. Except. No definitive explanation for her weight loss, nausea, and now the blood loss.

We both hope that this hospitalization will put enough focus on her to finally discover what’s been making her life miserable.

Her sister B.J. and her significant other Shecky are, by happenstance, coming into town today. Schecky has family in Aurora. B.J. will probably come to the hospital today.

Since I woke up at 3 am yesterday worried about Kate, then took her into the e.r. at 6, drove home, took care of the dogs, rested but didn’t sleep, and went back in at 2:30, returning here around 7 pm, I’m exhausted. Did get a very good 9 hours of sleep last night.

This is a marathon and requires pacing and attention to self care. I’m following, for now, the internal policy of not worrying about what I can’t control and about things I don’t know. So far that’s working well. I’m able to stay focused on what needs to happen. May that continue.

Fall seems to have settled in, at least for the moment, but we’re still without precipitation. The fire danger remains high to very high. Stage 1 fire ban went back into effect yesterday.

E.R.

Fall                                                                                 Harvest Moon

20180928_070937

ER Sign

Took Kate into the E.R. this morning. Unexplained blood loss, enough to make her woozy. May have exceeded the speed limit occasionally. When she got there, a good team took care of her and her color brightened. Nobody seems especially worried. Something to deal with. She’ll be in the hospital at least one night. Getting a blood transfusion right now.

This is getting old, she said. Yeah. More than that even. My hope is that this will result in enough investigation to finally nail down what’s been causing her nausea. She’s very thin and has little stamina.

ER Signs

ER Signs

On the upside we did our mussar session on rachamim. It was a glorious blue Colorado day so we were in the sukkah. Lots of examples of compassion, a lot of tears. It was a heartfelt time together. Some us really needed it.

Kate and I had our usual Vienna beef sandwiches from the Chicago joint in downtown Evergreen. This is a Thursday after mussar dinner for us. Something she can eat; something I really like.

Back home now. Fed the dogs, will wait until I get word from Kate as to where she’ll be. When I find out more, I’ll post it here. Right now, we know very little.

 

I want to be: an Olympic gymnast, a music producer, winner of LeMans

Fall                                                                   Harvest Moon

The waning gibbous harvest moon hangs over Black Mountain this morning. A blue, blue sky contrasted by green and gold at the mountain’s peak. Night time temperatures have fallen below 40 so there’s a distinct chill in the air. Still little precipitation, signs pointing to high fire danger, very high on one nearby.

Stack of pallets in the back beckons before the snow begins to fly. Mike, who delivered them for us, threw in one he had lying around home. As I said before, Mike built our fence, a good one. He also carried my TV up to the loft. It was heavy and bulky. Strong guy. And a good one.

Third religious school class last night. Exhausting so far. Tara made table tents with the kid’s Hebrew names on them. Each child born into a Jewish home gets a Hebrew name at birth. Kate got one when she converted, Rachel. The kids sign in with their Hebrew name, too. All this to reinforce learning Hebrew, but it also gives a distinctive Jewish feel to the class right away. Religious school provides a place where these kids, usually in schools where there are few other Jews, can feel a bond with Jewish culture and each other.

Yesterday’s class was sweet. We asked them to bring in three objects that represented who they were and three that represented who they wanted to become. There was an atlas that represented a family’s adventuresome spirit, a Ferrari model removed from its box with a surgical glove covering a potentially sweaty hand, a picture of a Nike swoosh on an expensive athletic shoe, a ballet shoe, a homemade game constructed from cardboard boxes, a video game, Battlefront. Many more. That was who they are now.

A picture of an airplane wing told of a girl’s ambition to be an adventurer, to not lead a boring life filled with taxes and bills. A first place medal in a state gymnastics competition revealed an ambition to be an Olympic gymnast. A small scale model of the Eiffel Tower suggested a desire to learn all the human languages. And, with the same girl, a collage of Hollywood signaled her career ambition, “I’m going to be a music producer.” Very emphatic.

One boy took objects from a bag and said they were in 1,2,3 order. A logo for Le Mans, the 24 endurance race said, “I want to win Le Mans.” A second object was a small model fighter plane. “I want to fly fighters in the Israeli Air Force.” The third, a book on WW II, meant, “I want to be a historian of World War II.”

I guess, on reflection, that this was a pretty successful class. Even though it felt chaotic to me. I think I expect them to act like adults. My problem. Next up. Holiday calendars.

 

 

 

 

Mostly Musical

Fall                                                                         Harvest Moon

Wow. Had a lot on my mind yesterday. Sorry about the length. More yet, too.

Alan, Jamie, Tara

Alan, Jamie, Tara

Anyhow. Met with Tara yesterday. Director of Education at Beth Evergreen. I said, Help. She gave me lots of ideas on classroom management, help. She’s delightful. Bright. Straightforward. Open. An example. How you arrange the classroom is very important. Oh yeah? Where the kids sit, what’s on the table when they come in. Having a separate table for attendance. A close by table for snacks. OK. Would never have occurred to me.

Later in the day Kate and I went to see Funny Girl. It was interesting, very, comparing the tech rehearsal we saw a week ago Wednesday with the full production. The show yesterday had none of the rough edges we saw then. Props ended up in their places. And there were a lot of prop changes. Lines were crisp and the dancing, singing were good, too. It went on about an hour too long for me, but I’m not a fan of musicals. The first act had energy, pop. The second act had some, but to my tired butt, not as much.

Stage ready for act II

Stage ready for act II

Musicals are the cotton candy of the theater world, at least most of them. Lots of sugar, easy to consume, then all that’s left is sticky fingers. I came out humming People Who Need People, so there’s that. I guess I’m more of a drama guy. Beckett. Friel. O’Neill. Wilson. Kushner. Still, it was a nice change up.

Also, it was community theater. Not the high production values of the Guthrie, for example, but pretty good. And the casting depends on a limited pool of volunteers though in spite of that the voices and acting abilities were even better than pretty good.

Fanny Brice

Fanny Brice

The director had some great ideas about staging, including opening and closing scenes that showed the cast playing to backstage on which was painted a theater. We were back stage ourselves, watching them perform. That meant the entire story took place between opening and closing of one of Fanny’s shows. A show between shows about show business. A bit of a fun house mirror effect.

One especially nice piece of staging was a solo by Fanny, leaning on the piano. Behind Fanny and the piano, in half light, a couple danced. It was a view (at least I saw it this way.) inside her mind as she sang. The effect was wonderful.

FannyBrice1c.jpg2We knew people in the cast, saw folks we knew in the lobby, and were greeted by the costumer as we left. He remembered us from our visit to the tech rehearsal. In other words this was also a moment of immersion in community, our community. That’s not the same as a visit to the Guthrie or to Broadway, but has lots of other, ancillary benefits.

Back home at 6:30 (it started at 3:00!) I made Kate a fatty meal for her gall bladder ultrasound today. Oh, boy, another procedure.

Finished the Netflix limited series Maniac last night. You have to have a quirky aesthetic to like it, but I did. It may bear watching a second time. Lots in it and a great cast: Jonah Hill, Emma Stone, Gabriel Byrne, Sally Field, for example.

Back of the Vehicle Semiotics: A Continuing Search

Fall                                                                            Harvest Moon

20180922_161341A Subaru yesterday with three bumper stickers: Be Kind. Hiker. And, “Not a Native, but I got here as fast as I could.” printed on the familiar green with white mountains bumper sticker that often announces so-called Native Coloradans.

 

Oh

Lughnasa                                                             Harvest Moon

Black Mountain, yesterday. From Shadow Mtn. Drive

Black Mountain, yesterday. From Shadow Mtn. Drive

Tomorrow we peek over the transom toward the fallow season. Six more weeks of harvest,  the heart of the harvest season is now, then Samain, summer’s end. Up here the temperature cooled off overnight and we’re at 35 degrees right now, getting close to a first frost. There’s even a small hint of snow for next Wednesday. As I wrote earlier, Pike’s Peak and the much closer Mt. Rosalie had snow last week. Happy with the change.

Deb Brown, my personal trainer at On the Move Fitness, really made me feel good yesterday. “You move better than most of the 30 & 40 year olds I see. And, you’re strong.” She was sincere and I was touched. I told her about the odd finding I got from the 23&me folks; I have the same genetic muscle profile as elite power athletes. “Well, you’re capitalizing on it.” “My wife said, ‘What happened?” “Tell to her to ask you that again when you’re 108!” We laughed. Left me smiling.

book of lifeThe book of life closed on Wednesday. It was a fast day, unusual in Judaism which finds asceticism puzzling, but on this day, once a year, there is a fast for the whole of Yom Kippur*. That’s from evening to evening. The point is to make us tune into our bodies, to remember that the body carries our soul, and to make the final push for teshuvah, return to the holy soul our body carries.

OK. I’ll admit I surprised myself, right here, with this keyboard. It happens, but not often like this. I wrote “make us tune in to our bodies.” Oh. It may be, as Bill Schmidt suggested obliquely earlier this month, that this Jewish experience runs deeper than I’m admitting.

*“The purpose of fasting is to bring one to repent, and true repentance brings about a change in actions. However, repenting without fasting is not enough,” Jewish educator Aliza Bulow explains on Aish.com.

Although there are medical exceptions to fasting, the Yom Kippur tradition dates back to biblical times, according to Chabad.org. When the Jewish people were wandering in the desert for 40 years after enslavement in Egypt, they worshiped a golden calf — which is contradictory to the religion’s monotheistic tenets — and Moses went to Mt. Sinai to ask for God’s forgiveness. Moses came down from the mountain after God forgave (them) him, and that day became known as Yom Kippur. The tradition of Yom Kippur continued when the Jews reached the land of Israel — Jews gathered in the first two temples until they were destroyed — and persisted again when they were ultimately exiled and dispersed across the globe.Time

 

Expats

Lughnasa                                                                     Harvest Moon

arabia

arabia

Being an expatriate is unfamiliar territory to most citizens of all nations on earth. Though we were a nomadic species in our early development, political changes have tended to wed people to a place and its boundaries. Globally. Even here in the often depicted as unusually mobile U.S. it turns out folks don’t leave home all that much*. [The big exception here, of course, being forced migration whether for economic or security reasons.]

Yet, some do. Both my brother Mark and my sister Mary have lived the bulk of their adult lives abroad. Mary lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for several years, then moved a good while back to Singapore, where she has remained. Mark lived a long time in Bangkok, spent time in Phnom Penh, and several years, including this upcoming one, in Saudi Arabia. He has circled the globe many times, as has Mary. Both have traveled extensively from their homes abroad. Mark once took the Trans-Siberian Railway from Vladivostok to Moscow.

452158While Mark’s visa application (always a hitch in the get along)  for his upcoming work in Saudi Arabia  undergoes review by the Saudi embassy, he and I communicate by e-mail. He’s currently living in Amarillo, Texas. I sent him a note that said the expat life has many oddities. He replied with the below which I found fascinating:

“Indeed, it does. I find it rather well exemplified in Martin Sheen’s opening performance in “Apocalypse Now.”  He is rather drunk, in then Saigon. He starts thinking of his ex-wife. He gets really wired, and starts smashing the mirror in the hotel. Martin, “When I was there, I wanted to be here. When I was here, I wanted to be there.” He then really smashes the mirror, and passes out. All the time, a fan is whirling above him. Coppola captured, I feel, the expat dilemma superbly.”

*”Internal migration has fallen noticeably since the 1980s, reversing increases from earlier in the century. The decline in migration has been widespread across demographic and socioeconomic groups, as well as for moves of all distances…Despite its downward trend, migration within the US remains higher than that within most other developed countries.” NBER