Tuesday, July 21, 2009


These last couple of weeks my energy level has gotten better and I'm starting to feel more like myself. Still I get worn out quickly and I've found that the best thing to do is stick close to home. So I've been watching a lot of TV (food network and baaaad reality Housewives TV) and I've also been watching movies - on cable and from the video store. Lots of movies. Many I'm watching again for the umpteenth time.

A few days ago I watched the movie Bobby again. I didn't really think much of it the first time, but this is like the 4th time I've seen it and for some reason this time it affected me differently. This could be because it's the first time I've watched it since the election in November so I'm looking at it through that filter. Could be that I watched it shortly after watching Frost/Nixon so that adds to the experience. Could be that I'm having an emotional reaction post surgery - everyone keeps saying that I should be expecting a big emotional reaction, but so far nada.

In any case after watching Bobby this time I have been thinking a lot about how lucky I was to grow up in that era. How blessed I am to be able to remember the hope that was represented in these two men: Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. They wer progressive at time when they could really create change. Martin Luther King was radical in the most intelligent way possible - and because he was grounded in the absolute truth of his convictions he was incredibly powerful. Bobby Kennedy was pragmatic in a way that was necessary for someone who was looking at leading this nation at that time. The Vietnam war was escalating. There were race riots in New York, DC and Chicago, and a real sense of divisiveness throughout the entire country.

Basically it was a lot like it is today.

Had Martin Luther King not been killed he could have galvanized people to create a peaceful and prosperous future for themselves and their children. Had Bobby Kennedy not been killed he probably would've won the presidency and I cannot stop thinking about where this country would be today if that had happened.

I can't stop thinking about where we would be today had those men lived to lead us.

Would we be in a better place? I'd like to think so, but I really have no idea. I can't stop thinking about how Barak Obama finds himself in much the same position that Bobby Kennedy would have been in had he lived and won in 1968 (although the mess seems much MUCH bigger today). Truly I don't see anyone in our current landscape who can fill MLK's shoes. Peace through non-violence seems to be an idealized utopitan fantasy whose time came and went - whose messenger was shot and killed by hate and racism (or, for the paranoid, by a US government that wasn't havin' it).

Still my faith in this country, in the people who live here and in this man who inspires so many to have hope, much like Bobby did, like Martin did, remains strong. I've been alive long enough to know that even though you're sitting in a long line that wraps around the block on the day when your even number license plate gets to buy gas, it will get better. Even when you have no job and you don't know where you're going to sleep next week - you will be okay. We've been thruough a lot of rough times in this country and we have always risen above, survived and thrived and we will continue to do so.

As long as we keep the faith and do not succumb to cynicism - which is tough to do when you watch too much realityTV, or the nightly news.

But that's what the "off" button is for.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

UPS & DOWNS (as in down for nap)

Today it has been 4 weeks since Dr. Friese removed my left kidney in a tidy nephrectomy and Dr. Asher installed it in Ron, the recipient. I can now laugh, cough and sneeze without simultaneously screaming with pain, although I do have to wrap my arms around my abdomen cause things still feel really weird around my incisions.

I will share more about the whole experience when the outcome is more of a known. I am fine, but as I write this Ron is back in the hospital and heading into more surgery.

You know how anytime you have something done they always tell you about that very small percentage that shit happens to? Well Ron is in that percentage.

For me this has been an early preview of what I imagine my octagenarian years will be like. The following is a list of the newest fun behaviors in my repertoire...

When I get up in the morning it takes me a while to stand up straight, because they sliced into my abdomen and sewed me back up and that stuff is still reeling from the abuse. When I'm 80 I imagine it will be because my spine is slipping over into a question mark due to osteoporosis, but as I shuffle to the bathroom 80 feels like now.

The next thing I do is head out to the garden to water my plants because tomatoes out of the garden taste and smell a million times better than anything you buy in a market. I sit down to do this because of the heart palpitations.

After watering I lie down and take a little nap.

Next I call my neighbor and tell her I'm going to take a shower where for some reason I always get dizzy, possibly from raising my arms over my head with my eyes closed. If I don't call her when I get out she's supposed to come and make sure I'm not passed out on my bathroom floor.

After the shower I take another nap and often forget to call my neighbor to let her know I've successfully made it out of the shower. It's not a long nap because she always comes to find me.

I head out to the living room for a little TV or some reading. Sitting or laying down for any period of time causes more napping.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are light meals because since the surgery my stomach is sensitive and everything I eat, or perhaps just the act of digestion, causes my stomach to be upset so that inevitably I have to carry some Tums with me.

Speaking of dinner this is a meal that I am now eating at about 5pm - also known as the early bird special hour. I do this because if I eat later than that I am nauseated when I go to bed. When I think about how I used to give my 95 year old Nana shit about eating so early I feel like a real asshole.

I've quit drinking because it also upsets my stomach.

I won't even go into the subject of gas passing and I promise I will not tease my mom the next time she toots her way down the sidewalk when we're out in public.

Now when I drive - to the market and to the bank (Nana's last two destinations in her final years), my hands are firmly at 10 and 2 and I drive the speed limit and keep a nice safe distance between myself and others. If there is traffic I get light headed and a sweaty upper lip and on one occasion had to pull over. The volume on the talk radio is turned up high so I can hear it better (but that's been going on for a while).

When I'm out walking my daily mile I often have to slow down, bend over and hold onto something while I catch my breath.

Sometimes I say "whooo doggy."