Just Passing Through

Spring                                                                       Rushing Waters Moon

A bit of snow. Twice. Over the last couple of days. Any moisture is good moisture in a drought and we’re climbing out of one here in Colorado.

Cooked that tenderloin roast yesterday. Oh, boy, is that good meat. And, it provides several meals over the week. Bread, potatoes (instant pot for 6 minutes), and asparagus in a sauce Kate found at Tony’s. We ate at 4 p.m. Kate said it was like a holiday meal.

sabbath2Yes, a sabbath meal, I replied. I’m still fascinated with the idea of the sabbath, especially as I’ve learned more about it at CBE. In Jewish thought the sabbath is far from a day of rest, though it is that, too. It is a foretaste of life when tikkun olam, healing of the fractured world (or, more interestingly, of a fractured God), has succeeded and every day is a sabbath. The sabbath pulls the observer away from the technological world which has come to so dominate us, setting aside a time for family, for study, for nourishment of the self.

There are, it’s true, a lot of rules. I don’t even know most of them, but one of the rules is that you have the best food on the sabbath. Also, sex. You can’t light a fire (or, turn on electricity since it causes a spark), so the cooking has to be done before hand.

It could be one model for retirement, for the third phase. That is, the third phase as a time of personal enrichment, caring for others, enjoying the best life has to offer. Why not? And, you could golf, too, if that turns your crank.

prostate cancerGot an appointment with Dr. Eigner’s physician’s assistant, Anna Willis. If my PSA rise needs further attention, I know she’ll get me in to see Eigner. I’ve calmed down about it, the tincture of time as Kate says. Who knows, perhaps it’s nothing at all. Though I don’t think so. Glad it’s this Monday. Although. That could mean the confluence of death and taxes. Would be ironic.

Next Saturday night is the communal seder at Mt. Vernon Country Club. We’ve gone a couple of times, had reservations last year, but Kate’s shoulder surgery knocked us out of that one. Although the pesach meal is commonly referred to as the seder, seder means order. The haggadah, which means telling in Hebrew, reflects the order of the passover ritual. Used to be many, if not most, of the haggadah were a small blue booklet from Maxwell House Coffee. Over the last decades though the number of haggadahs has multiplied, driven by changes among the various branches of Judaism, yes, but more by cultural/political concerns like feminism, environmentalism, reconstruction.

pesach chagallThe central point of the passover is the reenactment of the Exodus and the creation of a Jewish people. I learned last year that the telling (the haggadah) of the story focuses on children. You might be familiar with the four questions, proceeded by the often satirized question, Why is this night different from all other nights?

Easter is coming, too. I plan to take Gabe plus Jon and Ruth to a Rockies game to celebrate. No, not Easter. Gabe’s birthday.

 

TGIF

Spring                                                                             Rushing Waters Moon

Health south denver cardiology

South Denver Cardiology

Took Kate yesterday to her electro phys (pronounced, fizz) appointment. This one monitors her pacemaker. Unremarkable in terms of her health, really, since it hardly ever fires, but if necessary it’s there. What was interesting to me is the building. It looks like Valhalla for cardiologists. After that final operation, after that final payment on the Maui condo, after that last beat of their own hearts, cardiologists might gather in this Viking long house and feast on Sæhrímnir, the ever dying, ever resurrecting beast that feeds the fallen doctors of the heart. If such a final destination is anywhere, here near the Rockies seems appropriate. May they upcode in peace.

Max Bruckner (1836-1918), The Walhalla, backdrop for the scenic design of The Ring of the Nibelungs by Richard Wagner (1813-1883). Bayreuth, Richard-...

Max Bruckner (1836-1918), The Walhalla, backdrop for the scenic design of The Ring of the Nibelungs by Richard Wagner (1813-1883). Bayreuth, Richard-…

Afterward we went to Tony’s Market. I like Tony’s because you can spend a hundred dollars and still only have one bag to carry to the car. We’ve kicked our frequent eating out down two notches and do it at home now. We buy things at Tony’s like a tenderloin roast. Expensive? Yes. Compared to tenderloins at a steak house? Not at all. Tonight with asparagus, home cooked bread, boiled potatoes.

Kate’s much better. Her stamina has improved enough that we went to CBE last night for the Grateful Dead shabbat. Rabbi Jamie loves to perform and the CBE house band is better than good. Steve Posner on lead guitar rips it out. The harmonica player is wonderful. Drummer and bass ditto. Cheri Rubin, my friend Alan Rubin’s wife, an accomplished musician, plays the piano. She made a living in New Orleans before turning to reinsurance. Four singers, two men and two women, provided voice backup.

music dead bearsThis particular Grateful Dead shabbat, they occur occasionally, honored Leah, who recently left her position as synagogue administrator. She’s a Dead-head who sells tie dyed shirts and other craft items at Grateful Dead tribute concerts. She had a small shrine to the Dead over her desk. What was remarkable about this evening was that Leah’s leaving the job was not completely voluntary.

In a small community this could have been cause for bitterness or dissension. Instead folks got up and told Leah how much they appreciated her. Rabbi Jamie altered the words to a Dead song, changing the name of the woman in the song to Leah. She came up and sang with the two women in the backup group. It was delightful, charming, and altogether unlikely (in my experience of leave takings in churches that weren’t voluntary.). And, Leah responded by saying that she looked forward to getting back into the congregation, volunteering. Pretty damn amazing.

A Beloved Community

Spring                                                                              Rushing Waters Moon

Maxwell Creek is full and running. Another bomb cyclone is on its way to the plains and the Front Range, blizzard warnings are up for lower elevations. We’re in a 6-10 inch forecast area. Right now the clouds are below 8,000 feet, meaning Black Mountain is behind a thick fog as I write this. Temperatures will drop fast. Yes, a mountain spring.

Buddy Tom Crane is on his way home to Minnesota after a week plus on Maui. The same storm will welcome him and Roxann with weather similar to what we’ve got coming. Uff dah.

Tara and Marilyn, CBE

Tara and Marilyn, CBE

An interesting evening at Beth Evergreen. Dan, next president of the board, invited Kate and me to come to a session with each of the two candidates for synagogue executive director. We couldn’t go last Thursday since that was Ruth’s 13th, but I made it for this one. Kate stayed home. She’s saving herself. For Friday night’s Grateful Dead sabbath that honors the outgoing exec, Leah, whom we both really liked.

There were about 20 of us. Some had been members since 1979 when CBE was just a twinkle in a havurah’s eyes. Havurah is Hebrew for fellowship and CBE started as a small group of Jews, mountain Jews living in and around Evergreen. Some of us were more recent members. Kate, myself, and Sheri joined in 2016 or so. The rest, including my buddy Alan, had been members for varying lengths of time, though most joined in the 1990’s.

The idea was for us to meet the candidate, this woman is from Bethesda, Maryland, hear her talk about herself a bit, then introduce ourselves and say what CBE means to us. Here’s what was interesting. With no irony or sarcasm at all folks around the table referred to CBE as family, as place where people felt comfortable, where we loved each other. All adults, all older with a couple of exceptions. It was a powerful evening for that reason. I’m not used to adults sitting around describing their love for folks that are not blood relatives, but that’s what happened.

Chicken Soup cookoff, my entry #7

Chicken Soup cookoff, my entry #7

When it came my turn, I referred to CBE as the beloved community that all Christian churches aspire to. A brief article on caregivers in the Denver Post had pointed to some of the problems they experience. I’ve not experienced any of them except stress. The reason, I said last night, is that we were called and offered help constantly. Kate and I have backup and we know it. We’re relatively new members, yet we’re treated like we’ve been around a long time. That’s a characteristic, a cultural norm, of CBE, and it’s rare.

All this is an important reason for us to stay where we are in spite of oxygen related issues. We can get more oxygen up here, but finding another beloved community elsewhere? Unlikely. Today, for example, I have lunch with Alan. Easy from here.

Kate and Seoahs mother, April 10, 2016

Kate and Seoah’s mother, April 10, 2016

Tomorrow Kate has a pulmonology appointment. Unless they close again for the snow. This appointment is with a nurse practitioner since Dr. Gupta is away. Probably on Maui eating next to Tom and Roxann at Mama’s Fish House. Kate wants to get the radiologists reading of the high resolution c.t. she had last week. We’re also looking for an assessment of her fitness for surgery. The J-tube. Don’t know whether a nurse practitioner can give one or not.

Today is Joe and SeoAh’s 3rd anniversary. This picture is one of my favorites of the wedding. A Norwegian in Korea.

Their marriage has been a blessing for Kate and me. SeoAh has helped out in the last 6 months, coming twice, once for a bit more than month in December/January. As a dad, I’m glad Joe has a partner. As a father-in-law, I’m glad he chose SeoAh. She’s a sweetheart.

 

This. That.

Spring                                                                         Recovery Moon

We hit 58 yesterday, predicted 60 today. Snow piles melting, but plenty of snow remains in our north facing backyard. I took a chance on the ice dams, hoping they’d disappear before any damage was done. Not my brightest move ever, but while I was sick  dealing with the company who would have had to clean them off  and while we were contemplating moving overwhelmed me, and I went into stasis on them. So far, it’s ok. Sometimes you get lucky.

Brief political note: we have a President who’s proud he wasn’t found smoking gun guilty of collusion with a foreign power. Any other president, ever, would have been sunk by the very implication of a treasonous act. How he can be so puffed up about this escapes me. Life in Trumpworld is life down the rabbit hole. The Red King says off with his head!

After my third cancellation due to illness I’m going in Thursday for my new workout. My o2 sats have been low, but not dangerous, then middling, but ok. I think working out over the last four years has kept them in safe territory and I’d like to put that concern to rest. I’ll check them over the next month or so as I return to a more active life. BTW: Kate says my reasoning about a 93% sat in a 75% reduced o2 environment is not sound. “It’s not a linear process,” she says. Makes sense. Still, life in thin air has an effect and not a positive one on 02 saturation.

Just back from my monthly THC run to Bailey’s Happy Camper. Great views of the continental divide, many peaks covered in snow. Their inventory is always in flux and though we prefer Love’s Oven, I had to settle for a couple of brands I don’t know, Green Hornet and Wanna. It still feels a little strange to get in the car to go buy marijuana. No baggies on street corners. No phone calls to your buddy’s dealer. Just walk in, say I’d like this and this and some of that. Pay. Walk out.

Lunch with Alan today at the Lakeshore Cafe in Evergreen. Looking forward to it.

 

 

Ruach. Breath. Wind. Spirit.

Spring                                                                  Recovery Moon

breath ruachHead. Mostly clear. Lungs. Mostly clear. I’m beginning to feel the illness bidding me goodbye. So long, it was good to know ya. Nah, it wasn’t. And don’t come back, please.

Kate continues to show steady, if incremental, gains. She smiles more, laughs more. Until, that is, she opened the letter from Swedish Hospital advising us that our balance with them was $25,000. Oooff. Our insurance provider has not, for some reason, paid them. I get to chase that down today. Being sick in America. If the illness doesn’t get you, the debt collector will.

If we didn’t have resources, didn’t have enough education and chutzpah to front the insurance company about this, we might end up stuck with the bill. Kate’s experience since September has been long, invasive, and expensive. Without insurance we’d be eating away at our IRA. I don’t think this should be too hard to clear up; but the ominous nature of a letter like that creates an unpleasant frisson. To say the least.

I’m debating going to see my doc about o2 sats. They’re below normal, though not in a dangerous range. The high 80’s a good deal of the time. Normal is above 95, though above 90 nobody worries. Since we’ve gotten here, my sats have been around 90 most of the time. As Tom pointed out, we’ve lost 75% of our available oxygen just by being at 8,800 feet. That would make a normal reading 93 if I’m doing my math and physiology right.

breath in outI really don’t want to confuse Kate’s journey right now, especially since we see the same doc, so I may wait a bit, be sure the flight of respiratory illness I sampled over the last two months has actually ended. In time I would like to know if anything in my lungs compromises my breathing. It’s certainly possible. I smoked for 13 years. Not proud of it, but I did. I also worked in a couple of high particulate matter jobs in my younger days, cutting rags at a paper mill and moving completed asbestos ceiling tiles to pallets. And, Dad had severe asthma, using an inhaler virtually his whole life.

Ruach. The Hebrew word for breath, wind, and for spirit. The Greek word is pneuma. God breathed ruach into the lungs of Adam and he lived. Since the traditional test for death was holding a mirror or a hand up to the nostrils, no moisture on the mirror, no felt breath, it’s not a stretch to equate breath and breathing with life. No breath, no life. Many traditions, especially Hindu and Buddhist, have breathing related practices. So do the Sufi as my friend Debra Cope has taught me.

breath dive reflexWhat impedes breathing, impedes life itself. Impedes the spirit of all life that dwells within us. Like health breathing is unremarkable to most of us until its ease experiences an interruption. Water boarding, or extreme interrogation (not torture as our CIA likes to say), is horrific because it emulates drowning. Our body has reflexes built in, the diving reflex, for example, that protect us in the case of sudden immersion in water. This means that our DNA carries a history of dangers to our breathing.

The pulmonologist treats matters related to breathing. But the pulmonologist, no matter how skilled and learned, deals with the physical challenges to breathing, not the spiritual implications. No, that is up to us and our own way of understanding the body/mind/spirit links.

Breath jacob-wrestling-with-the-angelA breathing issue is not, then, solely the province of pulmonology. It is also the province of theology broadly understood. Theology, for me, is the way you identify, organize, and deal with matters of ultimate importance. Life itself is, of course, a matter of ultimate importance to an individual; therefore, life and how it is for us at any particular point is a directly theological matter. Breath, the spirit of life that fills our lungs, provides our cells with oxygen so that they can carry out the physiological functions that are life in the body, is also of ultimate importance.

Here’s a website devoted to breath meditation.* Note in the second sentence that prana, a Sanskrit word, means both breath and life. No breath. No life.

My journey right now forces me to investigate my breathing at both a physiological and a theological level. It’s all o.k., too. None of us get leave this ancientrail alive. Something takes our breath away. That something shows the fragile nature of even the most master of the universe sort of person. Right now I’m going to attend to my breathing, my o2 sats, the spirit and life they make possible within me. An ancientrail of the third phase, no doubt.

 

*Breath is the universal factor of life. We are born the first time we inspire, and we die the last time we expire. Breath is life itself. In Sanskrit the same word–prana–means both breath and life.

All that lives, breathes–even plants and the bacteria that make bread rise. The process of breath is identical in all, consisting of inhalation and exhalation. It is the most immaterial factor of our existence, being a link-manifestation of the mind/spirit that dwells in all. For this reason, the breath is the natural and logical basis for meditation, the attempt to “enter into life.” The breath is the key to the cultivation of pure consciousness.

The Velveteen Rabbit aspect of human identity

Spring                                                                            Recovery Moon

Bat and Moon, 1930s Takahashi Bihō. MIA

Bat and Moon, 1930s
Takahashi Bihō. MIA

The Recovery moon illuminates Black Mountain this morning. The ski runs carved out on the mountain are white strips reflecting back moon shine. A light breeze moves the lodgepoles and a thin dusting of snow covers the solar panels. Early spring in the Rockies.

Kate made a salad last night. We bumped into each other in our galley kitchen for the first time in months. She also tossed her friendship quilt from the Bailey Patchworkers into the washing machine. She’s beginning to emerge from a long time in the chrysalis of illness. Wow.

Since the recovery moon seems to find us both on the uptick, my doctor’s nurse called with lab results, actually a second call due to confusion there occasioned by a weeks long problem with their computer systems. The first call came when I was still pretty sick and I didn’t pay close attention. This time I did. My PSA has moved up from .o1 to .012. Doesn’t seem like much, but when your prostate’s gone, it’s supposed to stay at .1, which is effectively .0. A recurrence is defined, for those of us who had our prostate’s removed, when the PSA hits .2. Concerning, but not yet a problem. Further testing required.

Rabbi Jamie called last night, wondering how we were. We were both steady and frequent attenders of things at CBE up until Kate’s bleed on September 28th. I continued until my own illness which began in early February. Since then, I’ve only been back for the chicken soup cook-off. Our sudden disappearance from the synagogue’s life caused him to say last time he talked with Kate that the schul isn’t the same without us. Kate was on the board and I was teaching religious school. We both attended mussar on Thursdays. We went to services less frequently, but showed up at education and special events, too. We’ve woven ourselves into the fabric that is CBE.

Chapter House from Notre-Dame-de-Pontaut,12th century French MMA

Chapter House from Notre-Dame-de-Pontaut,12th century French MMA

Community, like friendships, is reciprocal. You put your left foot in, then your right foot, then you shake it all about. With others doing the same thing. Over time we get to know each other, see each other, acknowledge each other. The line between thee and me is both more and less than we usually think. It’s more in that we don’t know our own selves well, our own depths eluding even the most introspective and life examining of us. How could others see into that, then? It’s less in that our perception of ourselves is constantly poked and prodded by interactions with others. In fact, much of our personhood gains definition as we sit down to coffee with someone, engage in critical thought, listen to music, sing with them. In community, in friendships, in family we become who we are.

At CBE, as with the Woolly’s, the docents, the political folks I’ve worked with, and our family, who I am has been in dialectical tension with both individuals and the collective. I’ve had to consider how Frank Broderick’s anti-Catholicism fits into my mostly positive assessment of religious life. I’ve offered ideas at CBE and had them put into action, changing myself and others in the process. As I got to know my fellow docents, I observed how they related to the art, to the art history we learned, to the museum visitors we guided on tours. And, how I was as a docent shaped itself in response.

Woolly Mammoths instructed in glass blowing

Woolly Mammoths instructed in glass blowing

In the instance of the Presbyterian ministry the two millennia plus history of Christianity was a body of thought and actions within which I had to find my particular place just like the thousands of year old history of art demanded I find a personal patch of ground on which to stand in relation to it. Both interactions shaped me and I, in turn, in small, individual ways reshaped both Christianity and the history of art. Not making a big, hubristic claim here, just observing that the dialectical tension affects both parties though not in equal ways.

This is, I suppose, the Velveteen Rabbit part of human identity formation. We rub ourselves up against people, animals, things and in the process we become real. And, we serve that same role for others. It’s an awesome responsibility. How do I, in my interactions, encourage the best in others? Or, do I? But that’s a question for another day.

Seen

Imbolc                                                                   Recovery Moon

20190317_180039

The Winnah!

Two people liked my chicken soup, well, two I know for sure. No, wait, four. Kate and I like it, too. I didn’t win the CBE chicken-soup cook-off but it was a hell of a lot of fun. A couple I talked to early on asked me about my soup and I told them I got the recipe off the back of a Gold’n Plump chicken. Somehow, from my description of my recipe, they figured out which one was mine. And voted for it. Bless their hearts. The woman who won was a bubbe, an anglicized version of the Yiddish bobe, for grandmother.

I hadn’t been to CBE for six weeks so I saw lots of people I hadn’t seen in a while Tara, Joan Tarsarar, Elizabeth, Dan Herman, Ron Solomon, Iris Solomon, Michele and her husband (they liked my soup), lots of kids from my religious school class, Sheri, Rabbi Jamie. How’s Kate doing? Improving, I’d say, but slowly. And you had pneumonia? Yes. You sound like you have a cold. Yes, I’ve had that, too. And, it still has me. What a time it’s been for you two. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this. It’s been difficult, but you deal with what’s there, right?

20190317_161551

My entry, #7

CBE is like a small town. Maybe not everybody knows your name, but they know your face. Those who do know you approach, or you approach them. It’s like going to the Bakery in Alexandria (my hometown) after a similar situation at home. People would come up and say, “Charlie, how are you? How’s your mom?”

These seem like casual questions, usual, but they’re not. These folks will listen, and closely, if you tell them how things are. They’ll commiserate. They’ll look for something they can do. One woman, when I told her how weak Kate is and how burdened she is by oxygen tubing and carrying around the tpn bag, and followed that with an example of her calling me when the dogs escaped through the blown open front door, said, “She has my number!” Her point was that she was actually closer to Kate than I was then since I was at CBE. She lives close by and has offered to give us assistance many times.

This is what community looks like, feels like. In the end, I imagine, it doesn’t matter how you come by it. Veterans of Foreign Wars. Living in a small town. Religious community of any sort. Quilting and sewing groups. Volunteering. But we need it. Humans are pack animals. We need to be known and to know others. That happens in community. You’ve read the research I’m sure about the affect loneliness has on health. That it’s an epidemic among the senior population. Well, the cure is community.

Another winner

Another winner

I think of it as being seen. That is, when I walk into CBE, I’m no longer a stranger, but someone who is known. Deeper. Some of those who see me, see more deeply into my person, my life. The mussar groups. The kabbalah classes. Friendships.

If we are not seen, then we are invisible. Invisible people wither. Look at the homeless. Or, the incidence of high blood pressure among African-Americans. The invalid. It’s important to enter the chicken-soup cook-offs and their equivalents. Not to win, though of course that would be fun, but to be visible. To offer yourself to public scrutiny. Not in a weird, self-abasing way, but in a way that affirms your presence. When you show up, as my friend Bill Schimdt likes to say, others show up, too.

See and be seen. The recipe for flourishing. Eudaimonia. Better than happiness, in my opinion.

 

29 years ago

Imbolc                                                                         Recovery Moon

kate and me in time29 years ago tomorrow Kate and I stepped on a glass* in Federal Court Chambers, the Landmark Building, Rice Park, St. Paul. The next day, just to show how long ago 29 years is, we flew Pan Am to Rome. We wrote thank you notes on the plane and mailed them from the Vatican Post Office. Probably wouldn’t make that decision today, but then it seemed sorta cool. Cousin Diane Keaton was my best person.

The honeymoon followed spring north in Europe proceeding from Rome to Venice, Vienna, Paris, London, Inverness, Edinburgh, and London again. We also made it to Florence, Salzburg, and Bath. Along the way we discovered what it meant to be together.

Pompeii was a revelation about humanity in the face of catastrophe. The Uffizi a revelation about the human creative spirit. Venice showed the adaptive capacity of our species. Vienna. We arrived at 10 pm, hungry after a foodless train ride that passed through the Dolomites from Venice. Wiener schnitzel in a small restaurant with red table cloths. Paulaner non-alcoholic beer. Later Andean musicians played the pan pipes under our balcony at the Hotel Astoria on the ringstrasse. Paris. Of course the Louvre. The Rodin museum. Life as a graceful and elegant soiree. Crossing the English Channel by ferry. Before the Chunnel. London. The Basil Street Hotel had a women’s club like the better known men’s clubs for which England is famous. From there to Inverness where we walked hand in hand along the Ness river at night, fog rolling off it, spilling over the sidewalk. We ate breakfast at the Station Hotel in a large ballroom with a carpeted corner they used for dining. Then, Edinburgh where we ordered room service and stayed in bed watching movies on tv. Back to London. At the Reject China shop where we bought our Portemerion dinner ware the clerk suggested I might like to go to a pub while Kate shopped. I visited antique stores instead. Then, home.

Astoria SignThe last 29 years have seen other adventures. Cruising the Mediterranean. Twice the Panama Canal. Once almost all the way around Latin America. Hawai’i several times. Korea for the wedding. Singapore. New York, of course. New Orleans. Chicago. Other places, too.

Those are frosting on the life we created 29 years ago. The life itself, that’s the cake. We’ve moved three times. Once into the house on Edgcumbe Boulevard in St. Paul. The one with the pool. Where we lived with our first Irish Wolfhounds, Celt and Sorsha. Where Joseph played baseball with the Hasidic kids next door. After that, Andover. 20 years of exurban life. Flower gardens. Vegetable gardens. Bees. An orchard. A firepit. The lives and deaths of many dogs. Joe finishing high school. Jon off to Colorado to teach. Then Joe off to Breckenridge to work and ski for three years before he joined the Air Force. And now, Shadow Mountain. Seeing the grandkids often, the many insults life has thrown us, even so, just life. Joe married. SeoAh in our lives. Congregation Beth Evergreen. A Colorado finish to a life begun at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, an easy stroll to the Landmark Center. Will we stay here on Shadow Mountain? Don’t know. TBD.

20190127_163835I love the arc of our life together, the suffering and the joy. No life has only one or the other. The key factor of our love has been this: support each other in living our best life. We’ve mostly succeeded. Kids, grandkids, dogs, gardening together, harvesting honey together, traveling together. Kate sewing, me writing. The MIA. Music, jazz and classical. Seeing the world. Living in the mountains. Life now in its third phase.

I love her still, always. I know her better, she knows me better, and yet we’re together. That’s proof of the broken glass moment. Till death do us part. And beyond even that.

 

 

*”The fragility of glass suggests the frailty of human relationships. Since even the strongest love is subject to disintegration, the glass is broken as a kind of incantation: “As this glass shatters, so may our marriage never break.” For more interpretations: myjewishlearning.

This, That

Imbolc                                                                    Recovery Moon

Dave and Deb

Dave and Deb

My recovery is going well. Scheduled two sessions with my personal trainers for next week. Gotta get back to working out. Important for both Kate and me. Still need to improve my stamina and these workouts will do that.

Kate’s pleased. She’s gained a bit of weight, up to 81.6 and these new nutrition bags have about a third more calories in them. Hopefully they’ll bump her up some more. So far medicare has relented and agreed to pay. We’ve got seven more days of the tpn for sure. Hope they agree to keep it up until she can have her j-tube placement.

When we see Gupta next Thursday, he will review the pulmonary function test she had yesterday and the ct scan from her pneumothorax incident a couple of weeks ago. He’ll make a determination then about her surgery risks.

Minnesota has had and is having a brutal winter from both a cold and snow perspective. I feel ya, guys.

grocery deliveryThird grocery delivery today. Won’t keep this up forever, but for right now, with my recovery still young and home chores, medical visits, it’s an errand I don’t need. Glad the option exists.

Asked Gupta about moving. He said it’s not urgent and not necessary if using oxygen is ok with Kate, and me. I suspected that was the case. He did say, too, that we’d feel better if we moved down the hill and even better if we moved to sea level. So, a judgment call. Kate’s to make. I’m all right here though by definition I would benefit, too.

Alan and Tara

Alan and Tara

We’ve been absent for a little over a month from CBE. Feels weird. Lots of social support there, e-mails, phone calls. But seeing folks in person, being part of the regular ebb and flow is important. Missing it. Next week is the chicken soup cookoff. I’ve entered. Kate loves my chicken soup. The recipe is straight off a Golden Plump chicken. Golden Plump was formerly owned by the Helgeson’s, including my friend Stefan. Lost the recipe a long time ago, but I’ve got it down now. I like the frisson of entering my Minnesota chicken soup in a contest with the folks who talk about CNS as the Jewish penicillin. Gonna have Kate make the matzo balls.

Today is a travel day here. R&R. Get the groceries put away. Cook something. Read. Relax.

What To Do?

Imbolc                                                                                             Valentine Moon

relaxMy birthday month passed in a blur of illness and caregiving. February, my seventy-scond February, got underway two days after a difficult day, a full day. I felt exhausted around noon and had several more places to go. Like moving through jello, thick jello on the way home.

The next two weeks was a symptom buffet. Somebody was spinning a large wheel and where it stopped? That was the new insult. Hit me like a freight train. My memory of those days is absent, therapeutically so, I think. Pneumonia came after that. And after pneumonia, recovery from three weeks of misery. Mostly back to normal now, just a bit of stamina to regain.

However. A month, a whole month, even if it’s a short one, mostly erased. No painting. No writing. No visits to CBE. No exercise. Having to rethink life. Again. Home now, no more regular CBE obligations. Being available for Kate’s needs is top of my list. Doesn’t consume all of my time, not even close, so I’m beginning to itch, to want some fruitful self-directed activity.

A new novel? That one I’ve been mentioning? More painting? Reading about art, astrology. Judaism. I need a focus, an outlet for my own work. Nothing sticks right now. Guess I’ll just mosey along like I have been, see what comes. Maybe I’ll try some free writing a la Natalie Goldberg. Painting equivalent.

No big deal here, trying to get myself reoriented, start the engine. Sputtering. Too much choke.