Wrote this way back in LA but didn’t post; life intervened:
Walked to the local coffee place, The Coffee Grinder and Tea Leaf, for an Easter morning latte, noticing the number of Jewish-looking kids about, oh yes, the gentiles are at church. I remember when I first—long ago—saw in a store-window creche a baby Jesus with dark hair and a Jewish nose and thought Of course! As I sat at an outside table a woman who looked familiar said, "Are you Nancy?" I said I was, turned out she is Laurie who used to work at the Children's Book and Music Store in Santa Monica, where they had everything, including my tapes. Which is why getting a latte at the local whatever beats making one at home. Even when I'm not at home.
My cousins watch TV so I do a little of that too, and read the LA Times instead of the Chron, and The New Yorker instead of...hmmm...Sing Out is the only magazine I subscribe to, I think. Anyway, Mo offered me the March 16 New Yorker with John Updike's poem sequence written in the hospital. Some incredible lines. Unfortunately not available on the web, but it's gotta be at your local library. (When I got home I found the poems had been published as a small book.)
Now (a week and two days ago) I’m in the waiting room of the surgery unit at Kaiser Oakland waiting with Claudia for her total knee replacement surgery. There’s a door labeled “lithotripsy” down the hall that probably isn’t as much fun as it sounds. Might be one for My Favorite Word, though. The rule here is one visitor per patient, but Claudia has two because her pastor is here and she doesn’t count. Lynice has a pass to visit outside visiting hours too. We left the Advanced Medical Directive at home but Lynice said that’s ok, if Claudia’s dying she plans to resurrect her.
Later: Claudia came through fine, is in the recovery room. I couldn’t go in, but caught a glimpse of her when I delivered her CPAP machine. Claudia has sleep apnea and rests better with the machine and mask on.
As I suspected, lithotripsy, according to Wikipedia, is the breaking of kidney stones by sound waves, without surgery. Evidently not fun, feels like someone is twanging a rubber band against your skin, but better than recovering from an incision. Full name: extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, which sounds like a new age rave. The main lobby here has free wi-fi for a couple of hours per day, then pay. So I’ll check mail and stuff till Claudia gets a room of her own, then hang out with her.
Well, I’d never stayed overnight at a hospital without being a patient, but our friend Lynnie from WoMaMu, who is a nurse, said it would be a good idea for Claudia to have someone there with her all the time because all hospital staffing is so thin these days. I stayed Tuesday and Thursday night, and our friend Webb stayed Wednesday. The “cot” Kaiser hospital provides (it unfolds from a chair) was the hardest sleeping device I’ve ever used. I was amazed that I kept going right back to sleep that first night after each time somebody came in to give Claudia a pill or check her temp and stuff. After all, I wasn’t drugged like she was. I guess I was just incredibly tired after getting up at 5:30 a.m to get to the hospital by seven, and napping in a too-hot lobby. I slept well Thursday night too, till we were both rudely awakened at 5:30 a.m. by loud sawing and hammering right outside Claudia’s room. Something-or-other was being repaired. The nurse rolled her eyes and apologized. I said “I’m putting this in my blog!” So there, I have.
Today, already. So now Claudia has had her new knee for a week and two days. It’s healing up nicely, thought still painful, and I’m running around more than I thought I’d be able to. Got to the Berkeley Earth Day celebration and got to see my friends at the Reach and Teach booth which has great stuff (check them out) and I don’t just say that because they carry Sun, Sun Shine. Also bought a beautiful baby water dragon from the guy who makes them, Stanton Clark at O Yeah Toys. He asked if he could take my picture with the dragon, which was a new improved design. This morning I tried out the dragon song Judy and I wrote on one of the kindergarten classes at Washington. The trouble with writing songs with Judy is that she uses chords I’ve never learned and don’t want to start now. But on the ukulele, I have used those weird chords (F# dim.!) and luckily “I Think of a Dragon” has a ukulele-song tune.
Since Claudia can’t go out (except, according to the visiting nurse, to doctor appointments, church, and to get her hair done!) we’ve been watching a lot of DVDs. Some, like Harold and Maude and Analyze This! hold up just fine, some, like Tootsie and Nine to Five, are still fun but show their age. Harold and Maude is going on my all-time favorites list.
A recent TomGram brought an article by Chip Ward, political activist, writer, environmentalist, and a former library administrator. It’s one of the few articles on the economy that I can read and understand. He challenges the “too big to fail” idea on ecological grounds. I highly recommend it.
©2009 by Nancy Schimmel
Doug Elliot, naturalist and storyteller, coming to the Bay Area Storytelling Festival May 16-17, Kennedy Grove Regional Park near El Sobrante. See you there.http://www.bayareastorytelling.org/
Thursday, April 30, 2009