Archive for March, 2006

Opportunity is where you find it

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

I was scheduled for eye surgery at 8 am on Thursday, March 16, 2006, at the Bellingham Surgery Center. I was to be there at 0700 and Nancy delivered me at 0655. I signed in and was prepped almost immediately, which consisted of questions about jewelry, perfume, last meal, last liquid, medication, caffeine, cigarettes. Blood pressure taken. Then I was given 3 types of eye drops three different times, taken into a cubicle, laid on a gurney, covered with a warm blanket. A blood pressure band was placed on my right arm above the elbow over my sweater for automatic reading at preset intervals during and after the operation. I removed my left arm from my sweater and a needle was installed in the back of my hand as a connection for the anesthesiologist to administer whatever I would need to keep me relaxed for the surgery. Another needle inserted and connected to an IV of electrolites was continuously injected into my system during my rest, during and after the operation. If the contents of the IV bag was not used, the remainder was held for a pickup monthly by a woman who rehabilitates raptors. Three patches were put on my body to be connected to an EKG for monitoring during the procedure. That occurred in the operating room.

I was to steadily focus my right eye on the light above me during the procedure, which I did admirably, under a blindfold I had nowhere else to look. I could see the shadow of hands or instruments working on my eye, feel the pokes of whatever into the eyeball the entire time. Doctor Kim previously explained that two small incisions would be made on the perimeter of the gel sac in which the lense resides. With a laser (the cataract lense, my tissue) would be broken up and vacuumed out. Then a clear acrylic tissue would be installed, partially folded, that would unfold after installation, similar to the unfolding of an insect wing when emerging from a chrysalis. Pretty neat, huh? Wax was called for. Was that to be used to seal the incisions. (Later I was told the incisions would heal by themselves.) No tape, punch pins, paper clips or needlework there, thank you!

Nancy, Jerry and I had earlier discussed the length of the time needed for the procedure because Ryanne must be picked up from school before noon. We surmised that with surgery scheduled for 0800 hours, I could be brought home before her pickup. However in the event that I would be detained at the surgery center, plan B had Jerry bring me back leaving Nancy free to get to the school on time. She was required for the task because her car has the booster seats for Ryanne and friend who lives next door.

The 0800 surgery did not occur. The operating room had been used to repair some results of an accident to a teen ager earlier, expecting the room to be cleared in ample time for my residence. Repairs took longer than expected, some unforeseen complication that could not be interrupted for removal of a simple cataract. The point being that I was to lay on my gurney under warm blankets for at least another half hour.

Now I come to the fun part. I was comfortable and relaxed and curious. What does the doctor do with that loose half hour? Too little time to run back home give the kids breakfast, or send them off to the school bus. Did he frantically make the phone calls to complete the errands he neglected yesterday? Did he lay back on a cot and get a few minutes rest to make up for what he lost last night? Did he ???

What good character development for a scene for a future novel. And that was not all. The nurses during my procedure talked of critters in their walls, mice or what, one nurse knew not. Critters under the houses were more well known and skunks were the worst offenders that provoked the best stories from the nurses. Skunks make good pets, said one. But the stink gland must be removed, reminded another. The doctor was too intent on implanting my acrylic lens, which would earn his fee and salaries for the helpers, to offer any insight into critters in or out of walls.

In the waiting room where I lay cozy and relaxed, I could hear the nurses giggling (one’s giggle was enough to make me giggle also) and carrying on conversations that included personal habits and working jargon when two people crossed paths, not only nurses, but aids and even the administrator who came by to climb a ladder and correct some minor defect on the curtain surround across the aisle. By voice tones I could hear normal courtesy and once an undertow of professional animosity — as if in criticism of a method or action. Great atmosphere for character studies in fiction.

Even in the waiting room before my involvement, I found characters of note. Two women came in together for an appointment. The difference in height was notable carrying with it the assumption of a friend accompanied the other (college students came to mind) for some consultation on their health. I was disabused of that very soon when the older shorter one was taken to the cubicle next to me obviously for medical attention. I made a casual note wondering if she too was to have cataract surgery. Whatever – the surgery center handled an entire gamut of out-patient surgeries. But close behind the older woman came the younger taller one with a profile so duplicated from the older that she must be the daughter. Such a difference in height made me think of genes and heredity. More food for character study.

All brainwork was better put to use for future novels than twiddling my thumbs which were tucked securely inside the welcome warmth of a heated blanket.

Honor the birth

Friday, March 10th, 2006

The anniversary of a child’s birth brings on reflections of those recalled of the actual event. It was an abnormally cold day(think below zero Minnesota) in March when I roused the lucky husband to announce that the fetus I had carried for nine months was making an urgent effort to make its way into the world. It would be undesirable to have that wondrous event occur miles out in the country and we prepared to flee to more qualified birth place. Now there were already three earthlings asleep to be considered. No way would the black robed sweethearts at the hospital take those into the waiting zone, although ten,twelve and thirteen year olds have been seen within such hallowed walls.

Those teens understood the seriousness of the situation and preferred to stay inside their warm nest rather than going out in freezing weather (never mind how warmly bundled) into a cold car. Sure they could have gone to Grandma’s but Mom never made the old fashioned prolonged stay in the hostile religious environment of the birthing room anyway,therefore,in short hurried moments (do not tarry my dear,the uterus insists on action)there was no time to dilly-dally. The administrative decision for those three aforementioned siblings was to stay at home and fend for themselves.(No school. wow!) The oldest was to take care of the chores which was to feed a couple of beautiful Irish setter adults – dogs, that it. He could handle that – been doing that all winter, more or less. Water had to be presented in liquid form, dump out the perfect ice form from the bowls. Good as done. And Mom and Dad were off to take care of pressing business.

Later that day when the mission was successfully accomplished, Mom and Dad and the child whose birth we honor today returned home. I thought it was rather brazen of the female setter to over shadow me and deliver her offspring on the self same day. The copper red dog did not stop with one, however. Nor was she allowed to bring forth her eleven four legged critters in the manger. We had to step over her to get into the back door.

“Well, Mom, I couldn’t let those pups freeze, could I?”

Handsome and sincere

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

Apparently the liars have planted seeds of rumors against Senator Maria Cantwell that have taken root among my county Democrats. Two other DEMOCRATS are running against her – the reason being that she has ruffled too many feathers (so my associates insist) and is not serving us well enough. Two men (lifelong democrats they claim) are running to give the voters a better voice in Congress. They have put out some good propaganda because my associates believe the rumors. And Reagan’s success showed how important it is to spout motherhood and apple pie – never mind that Maria Cantwell has a record of achievement in the past six years. Of course she wasn’t all things to all people. No one can be. The primary will eliminate the misled contenders, I hope, but in the meantime rumors will solidify and cleverly insinuate themselves into voters thinking.

I believe those men have been misled to think they should have the job. It’s pretty darned prestigious, come to think of it. Many folks could easily be seduced into being bankrolled into the job. I believe Maria Cantwell has proven she does a good job considering her adversaries in congress. Debates between candidates of the same party distract from scrutinizing the real differences between parties and that is what we seem to forget. By this type of diversion the nasties in power hope voters will forget the lies and deceptions of the past 6 years and vote once more against their own best interests as too many did in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

Just to accentuate the positive is not enough but how can people be expected to look at the real source of rumors when the men are so handsome and sound so sincere?

Leading a dogs life

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

The need for rituals was impressed on me many times by a fellow board member of the American Humanist Association and an avowed vegan who developed rituals for those who wished to be in touch with their spiritualism during weekly meetings of like minded folks. It occurs to me as I look at rituals with a objectivity I haven’t attempted before, every day acts become rituals whether we like it or not.

Working folks are forced to get up at certain times each day, decide what tasks take on such importance that they must be performed immediately, and which can be put off because of time constraints when a paycheck beckons. Personal ablutions cannot be denied, although one can bypass shower with a splash of water to open eyes, bypass breakfast with a cup of coffee to jump-start adrenalin, bypass personal gratification with a kiss to the spouse, bypass parental responsibilities with a pat on children’s heads to send them off for the teacher’s discipline.

I have no such demands upon rising. I use the toilet, shower, make a heart healthy breakfast which I can enjoy at my leisure. So what rituals are, are personal habits allowed or demanded by the time and circumstances of each of us. In the case of Paula and her rituals centering on spiritual enhancement, her participants required outside guidance that saved them precious time beyond their personal commitments. That is a point well taken. Choose your confidants well.

I am always on my own and sometimes not too attentive. I allow my mechanical horse to run on preset radar. Once I trusted my vehicle to take me in the correct direction without careful consultation with the reliable machine. I should have been headed to Oregon, instead I came out of my simple enjoyment of passing scenery and realized I was on the freeway toward Seattle. Luckily the revelation came in time to rearrange my route without returning home. I took a scenic byway to Goldendale which revived my memory of long past agate hunting and bluebird viewing. A nice diversion.

But that is not always the case. People stressed with personal demands want and really need outside help. Sometimes however we too willingly grasp the nearest help that may or may not be in our best interest. Little time or thought is used to make the choices of the help offered. Try not to follow someone else’s routine that makes a Pavlov dog of you. Be independent. Be thoughtful. Be creative. No doubt you cannot control many outside circumstances but when control of the time within your grasp is possible, think on it hard and long enough to make choices that keep you comfortable within yourself.

That is my wisdom for the day, Thank you very much.

Out of the starting gate

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

What do you know? I am back on the Internet again. Well not comfortably nor completely, but I am on. I will have to learn my way around this new operating system and that will probably be more complicated than going through the frustrating (aren’t they all?) automated phone to ATT customer service then lying about what computer support I need and holding for 20 minutes for a live person – with a British accent – to correct my user ID and password. But that was one big step for this old person who is determined to stay on the www for as long as I live and write.

I had to lie that I had a mac computer because ATT does not support Linux, at least not on their new menu. My machine was on and ready to go when I talked to a man – and wouldn’t you know I forgot his name – who was pleased to help me with Linux. Said he hadn’t done that before. Well he didn’t have to know anything about Linux, all he had to do was get me to verify who I was and give me the correct stuff to log in with on the dial up menu.

Linspire – the operating system for this very inexpensive computer I bought 2 weeks ago – is supported by Linux so I shall see if I can cut the Microsoft cord right off. I am able to get the stuff from my former hard disk, in fact it is at my fingertips. I pulled up some photos and they are rendered beautifully through this new machine.

This revolutionary action occurred because something went wrong with the innards of my former computer after I deleted what I thought was a problem. Looking back it seems to have been the case of Microsoft’s virus protector clashing with Norton. Tom suspected the video card was faulty because of the way the monitor reacted but knew that wasn’t all. The main board or the processor was the culprit. They come attached at the hip so to speak and would cost nearly as much as the computer on sale at Fry’s that weekend. And I tossed about the pros and cons of the new one or having Tom install the new parts on my old machine. Who knows what else could go wrong with the old leftovers. So I took the bit in my teeth and there you are.

Jerry got me an additional USB port that sits up by the flowing keyboard that Jerry also gave me and installed a new three and a half floppy disc drive. Tom added my CD RW to the write only that came with the computer so I can do more stuff than I have time for. Isn’t that always the way it is? And it is so quiet I hardly know it’s there!

But as I said, I got out of the starting gate. Cheer me on to the fast track and hope I can jump all the hurdles if that’s possible without breaking a leg. Only time will tell.