Friday, January 07, 2011

Heart thread - 01/07/2011

My friend Ryan's grandfather has died and tonight was the wake. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. May those who love him find comfort. May Ryan be sustained and return safely to school.

In very good news, my dear friend Kathy has a new job and begins work on Monday. This was, blessedly, a very short time unemployed. May she shine in the new position and find satisfaction in it.

The other Cathy is still battling that nasty flu and needs to be working. May her health return swiftly, her vigor increase, and her employment suffice.

Let us also remember to uphold MP in prayer and, where possible, in financial support of his ministry.

Another overlong update on me, me, me:

I did not sleep well (or enough) last night so today had a very rough start. I think my nose is at the healing stage where it is just tender. Sort of that easily irritable phase, like a wound when it itches and you know that's a good sign but it's driving you nuts and you cannot scratch it. For my nose's sake it would be lovely if my facial muscles would go all botox for a few days and not move. Smiling, laughing, yawning, whatever makes nose muscles move and that is unpleasant. Washing my face is a challenge. (Just try it without moving a nose muscle.) I began the day in a foul, miserable mood. [I never promised to be a patient, happy convalescent.]

Still, each day I breathe a bit more easily. Dennis came by to visit which was very nice. Tomorrow I am going to venture forth and take a walk to the pharmacy and back. It is a mile each way, so should not be difficult. This will be nice exercise and that walk has nice views across the Rio Grande Valley since I am on the high part of the west side and there are fields not yet turned into housing tracts. Bill will bring nice leftovers from the meal he is cooking tonight, so I will have something lovely and different to eat.

The long rest period is making more sense on an experiential level now. Serious stuff was done to straighten out my septum and it needs to heal properly. It is incredibly easy to do something to one's nose that will undermine that. My face is vulnerable and sore. One thoughtless moment could undo a lot. And my body needs more rest than usual (and has actually gotten much less in the first few days). So: patience, Mr. Bear. Chill and let it happen. Be gentle to yourself. Your breathing-improved nose needs time to stabilize.

There. Pep talk given and received. So now to bed.

Sweet dreams, poppets!
--the BB

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Heart thread - Epiphany 2011

A call to prayer from David:
beloved Giants
I've just had news that Paul has brought Mark home from the hospital after early morning surgery on the damaged eye. (retina torn twice since Christmas Eve and immobility of the head since then). Mark as you might remember is one of America's finest poets with what's got to be close to a dozen books published. Paul, his spouse is a excellent writer with two volumes (one novel, the other essays) published, and the two of them are both gifted, generous teachers and beautifully thoughtful men. I'd ask your prayers for both men please. Mark is in quite a bit of pain this evening, and it will be sometime before the outcome of the surgery is known.

Prayers for Frank and Carol as they continue their daily treck to and from the hospital to beat what for Frank is a life-threatening fungus in his lungs.

Prayers or healing, strength and energetic restoration for dear Paul the BB, who underwent serious sinus surgery at the beginning of the week. Thankfully Paul is at home recovering; but here too the outcome of the surgery is still to be determined.

Prayers for the people of Haiti, as they continue to suffer while waiting for their government to 'get real' ( please see today's Oxfam report on the Hatian government inactivity )

thank-you Beloved Giants

love always-always Love

Thank you, David, for keeping us updated and inviting us into deeper connectedness.

I think my sinus surgery is actually deemed routine rather than serious, though when one signs consents the risk list is always scary. I believe #14 or 15 was "death." Well, yes. One of my aunts never emerged from an operating table conscious. But we assumed this would be reasonably simple and except for some heavy, but not too threatening, bleeding it was straightforward.

This morning I shaved for the first time since Saturday. That felt good. I have managed to remove the "nose bag" as blood has mostly stopped draining. I am taking pain pills but I am not hurting. I breathe more easily each day. Kathy and Bill both came by to see me. I watered my back yard (some of the bulbs are sticking up their little noses already). Bill helped me do some January organizing, since I am not allowed to lift or bend over. I got about seven hours of decent sleep last night (interrupted by three hours of wakefulness in the wee hours). This is huge progress and gives me hope for catching up on rest. Michal Anne and Gail sent me a cookie basket (can't eat flowers, ya know) and the palliative and restorative effects of therapeutic cookies is well known. Tonight I will finish up the lovely chicken soup Bruce made.

And every day I get so many lovely notes here and on Facebook and in private e-mails. I could not feel more supported. My love and gratitude to y'all.

--the BB

I have not really scanned news yet today; is this getting coverage in the U.S.?

From the Scotsman:

World News: BP spill disaster 'down to bad management decisions'

Published Date: 06 January 2011
Decisions intended to save time and money created an unreasonable risk that triggered the largest offshore oil spill in US history, which could happen again without significant reforms, reported the top-level panel probing the BP blowout.

The commission findings - the result of a probe requested by President Obama after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion - described systemic problems within the offshore energy industry and government regulators who oversaw it.


BP, Halliburton and Transocean, the three key companies involved with the well and the rig that exploded, each made decisions that increased risks of a blowout, but saved significant time or money.

Like, we haven't known this all along?

--the BB

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Personal update - updated

A huge thank you to all whose prayers support me. I am truly grateful.

Today's surgery appears to have gone well. There was a lot done and I bled more than expected. That has calmed down, though. The doctor was able to access and treat all sinuses. My deviated septum has been fixed.

Friend Bruce made a delicious chicken soup and we dined on that this evening, along with a slice of Bill's fruitcake and some therapeutic port.

Bill drove and has stayed with me throughout the day and tonight. Tomorrow he will drive me to the doctor's office to remove packing in the right nostril. The regular followup visit to remove plastic stents supporting my realigned septum will be removed then. This surgery needs to heal before we can tell whether any second operation will be required to get it all. I am hoping they got it all this time around.

I am quite unattractive now. My nose is swollen, though there is no bruising of nose or eyes (it was not a "nose job"). Because of the normal bleeding that can last for a few days, I have a "nose bag" but it is not full of oats. It holds gauze changed frequently. Additionally, in order not to have any nicks that might be points of entry for infections, I have not shaved since Saturday.

I will have friends check in on me daily for a while. I hope that by the weekend I can drive to the gym and ride the bike (reduced resistance) just to keep the legs active. Walking would also work but it has been a tad nippy for that of late.

Had an analgesic and am now going to crawl in bed, propped up on four pillows. Lying down is a sure way to get a killer headache, I am told. No intention of risking that.

And that's the news.

Thanks again for loving support from so many folks all around the world. You're the best.

UPDATE (1/5 - 4:20 PM):

Saw the doctor in his office this afternoon to remove the packing on both sides of my nose. Not usual to pack but I was bleeding heavily during surgery (not anywhere near needing a transfusion but way above average). He was concerned enough to call and check in on me last evening, which I greatly appreciated. Bleeding had eased and I had no fever.

Anyway, today he removed the packing (ouch) and after a brief stuck pig moment, things should be calming down even more. Better yet, I can, at least minimally, now breathe through my nose. Hooray. This may mean I can sleep tonight.

The doctor thinks things went well and are looking good.

We shopped on the way back and I now have food and drink, medical supplies and medications all at hand. I also have plenty of books and movies. Now if I can get caught up on sleep. I may even shave in a day or two. (My mother had a rather unpleasant expression for men who look the way I do today and I am not sharing it here.) Visiting friends are lined up.

Again, thanks to you all.
--the BB

Unilaterally bipartisan

Click on graphic for article.

To paraphrase a song from my youth: "Oh, when will Dems ever learn? When will they ever learn?"

--the BB

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Christmas 2010 (with intercessions)

My photos are tardy because I left my camera at Bill's on Christmas Day and only retrieved it amid last night's festivities.

Here is my tree with all my wonderful children gathered around it.

Blogs are almost as notorious as Facebook for having way too much information on them but if anyone is so vulgar as to wonder with whom I've been sleeping for the past several years it's the larger furry fellow in the lower right corner: His Orthodox Majesty Maximiliano Cuauhtémoc Juárez Primo, Emperor of El Cerrito, Archduke of Hercules, and Margrave of the Great River. You have to hand it to him for claiming territories wherever he goes. He is known as Cocoa to his friends.

Christmas Morning from Bill's living room

Cranes viewed from Bob and Janet's dining room

The portal at Bill's house with the luminarias lit*

* Yes, in Santa Fe these are farolitos and luminarias are the small bonfires; in Albuquerque these are called luminarias (and the candles for them are so labeled in the store). I report and natives debate.

Men in and around the kitchen just before Christmas dinner
(the slender young ones are our nephews and godsons)

I have not posted much for numerous unrelated reasons. I cannot blame the business of the holidays. While I get fired up over politics I have not had the emotional energy to compose my usual rants. I have alternately been battling tooth problems and a persistent sinus infection for three months now. I have thus often been in pain or drugged or anxious. It is to be hoped this will soon be resolved. I have also been pursuing a private life for a change.

I have had three root canals in as many months. This Tuesday I will have sinus surgery to drain all the infection and repair a deviated septum at the same time. They will be working in three sinuses on my right side. It is day surgery and Bill will be with me that day and night. The doctor will remove plastic stents when I see him ten days later. So I will be out of commission for the next two weeks. Your prayers are requested and appreciated.

Between this and holidays and too many doctor appointments paychecks have been slim and medical expenses high. I give thanks that I am insured and still employed and think of those who lack work and seek it, those without insurance, those who are homeless. Let us hold them in our hearts also and seek to make our social systems better.

David@Montreal has called for our prayers once again:
I've just had a call from Carol, the heroic wife of my very dear cousin Frank who, as you'll remember has been putting up a heroic fight against lukemia and the compications it brings.
unfortunately Frank and Carol have had a pretty horrendous holiday season. the original plan to admit him before Christmas was abandoned when the hospital found themselves with some pretty serious viral outbreaks and Frank was sent home for his own protection. since then, they've been treating him daily as an outpatient with Carol having to drive to and from Whitrock BC to Vancouver each day and eight hours in the hospital, seven on seven.
in addition to the rapidly depleting white blood cell/platlets, the primary foe of the moment is an aspergillis fungal infection in his lungs.
with no spleen and a non-existent immuse system as his body still recovers from his second genetic transplant on Sept 22, the hospital is throwing everything they have at the fungus without success so far.
David follows that with a second request for some others very dear to him:
I've just had news that the situation with the poet Mark Doty's eye has deteriorated. on Christmas night, the torn retina detached for a second time within a number of weeks, and he and Paul are going to have to wait at least a week or more before the NYC medical system can accomidate the rather long operation.
i don't know if you know Mark's poetry, but he is one of the most light-filled poets alive today in your country, and his memoir 'Heaven's Coast' was one of the most powerful books to come out of the first decade of AIDS. I cherish both Mark and Paul and would ask your prayers for them, they're a wonderful couple, both of them generous teachers and wonderful writers.
There are prayer requests at OCICBW: here and here (poor Mrs. Mad Priest, putting up with Mad Priest and us lot plus having migraines).

We ate well, drank plenty, and made noise last night (not on the Eve) but you are spared photos; I took none.

A blessed 2011 to you all. May it, and perhaps we, be kinder than 2010.

--the BB