June 18th, 2013
It has been a while since I have recovered from a surgery. The tonsil surgery went well yesterday, but naturally there is pain. In adults, recovery apparently takes longer. Even so, I felt so bad for the two babies in recovery who had their tonsils out as well. How horrible not to know what is happening to you. I am not supposed to lift heavy things or drive machinery or eat solids or anything. I am pretty drugged up, so my thoughts are kind of random. I have no compuction using pain killers. Bring 'em on. Last night was a little rough as the stitches tickled, forcing me to cough. New adventures in pain. With each hour today, things got better.
Jello is the real joy. It soothes and moistens. Lance made me a bowl of Jello last night and Dot brought over some Jello bars this morning which I immediately devoured.
I also ate four cherry popsicles in the middle of the night, then panicked when I spit out some deep red. Thought I would have to call emergency, as the biggest risk with tonsil removal in adults is bleeding. Took me a little while to figure out that it was red dye #34, not blood.
The hardest part of the surgery was the part I dread the most...the putting in of the IV. The nurses have never had difficulty finding my veins in the past, but even when it goes well, the procedure makes me nauseated.
So, this time they couldn't find a vein. "Whoa!" The nurse said, "you're going to have a bruise there!" I got green. "That vein just exploded!" I got greener. Four pokes on the left hand, two on the right. Then finally, one didn't collapse. By then I was green, boy was I green. So they stuck some anti-nausea stuff right in me. The nurse that finally found a vein was a customer and we talked plants. "All you need is some distraction," she said, as if the onus of finding a vein was on me! I guess the mental state of the pokee actually does make a difference for the poker, but I wasn't too keen on accepting blame for all the holes in my arms.
I had planned to have my last words before going under be "Jimmy Hoffa is buried...." However, they put me under with a mask, so my profoundity was limited to muffled gasping. Imagine my surprise when I read the news this morning that they are digging up another field in search of Jimmy Hoffa. It wasn't me!
No privacy in the recovery room. As Lance and I waited for final instructions, the woman in the next bay, who had obviously had a very intimate (although minor) procedure, was given detailed instructions on which intimate activities she might engage in and exactly how. I am no prude, but the loudness of it in a full room was a bit much. Lance buried his head in his hands until it was over. I admit to some very painful supressed laughter at the absurdity of it all. Poor lady. The doctor (a female, thank goodness) was tactful, beginning her sentence..."It would be best if you could make yourself happy by..."
Oh, I can't wait until I am old enough for the colonoscopies to begin.
Finally had them out today. What a relief. They have been bothering for two years. The doctor said I should feel a whole lot better without them. But oh my, am I thankful for narcotics! Although pain which you know is for your own good is easier to bear, it still is...a bear.
Here is the famous toccata from Vidor's 5th organ symphony played on one of the monstrous organs of Europe, a Cavaille-Coll in St. Ouen, France. Turn up the sound! Experience the bass! Imagine unleashing such violence by simply tapping on a pedal with your foot. The bass is overwhelming in this recording. I wonder what it is like in person. Perhaps it is more balanced. But can you imagine hearing this sound before there were loudspeakers and electronic sound systems to dull our senses?
The Iranian people elected a moderate president today, one who promises to cooperate with the West to get sanctions removed. Iran just got a lot less dangerous, and on its own. What a disaster it would have been Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives had gotten their wish for a war with Iran. Such a war would have strengthened radical elements. We would likely still be there. And it wouldn't be pretty.
President Obama's decision to arm Syrian rebels isn't pleasing anybody. I am ambivalent. Now that we are becoming more energy self-sufficient, can't we back away from our excessive involvement in the Mideast?
Went in to the Hilton yesterday to find Aunt Olla up and walking around her room. The staff is amazed. They didn't expect her to recover so fully. True to form, Aunt Olla has forgotten she was ever bedridden with a bad back and dizzy on pain medication. She is down to two Tylenol per day. In fact, the staff had just finished the paper work to put her in a higher care classification and now they are going to have to have a care conference and lower it back again.
Never underestimate the determination of somebody who has already made it to 101-years-of-age!
Last Saturday, I met one of my other favorite very old people: Lucille, from Cavalier, ND. I spent years one through four in Cavalier where my father was pastor of the Cavalier Baptist Church. Lucille was one of the elder members then!
I was in Cavalier to perform at the Icelandic State Park for a nice crowd. Lucille showed up dressed to the nines, at age 95, a little tired from having driven to two funerals earlier in the day. After we left Cavalier in 1968, our family returned a few times to visit. Once we stayed at the home of Lucille and her late husband Dan. I think her pancakes were the best ever.
After the program, Karen of Karen's Kuchens presented me with one aronia kuchen (aronia is commonly known as "chokeberry," a bush related to chokecherry but bigger and of a different flavor) and one honeyberry kuchen. I brought them to the nursery where they were summarily gobbled. I got one piece of each. Excellent. Kuchen is nostalgia food for me since my grandmother made it, and my mother eventually perfected her own recipe, which is at present better than ever.
The running joke between my Grandma Geiszler and I when I was a four-year-old was that you could make kuchen out of anything. I would look around the kitchen and say, "can you make apple kuchen?" Yes, grandma would reply, I can make apple kuchen. "Can you make....bean kuchen?" Yes, she said, she could make bean kuchen. "Can you make....hot dog kuchen?" Yes, of course, I can make hot dog kuchen, she would say, although she mercifully didn't follow through.
Well, Karen is sort of like Grandma Geiszler. She offers 65 varieties of kuchen, including one I never even thought of as a four-year-old: Root beer kuchen!
Went in to see Aunt Olla briefly at the Hilton today. It was good to see that she is completely free from pain after her back-pain episode of the past few weeks. She was in her chair napping. I brought her some smoothie made by sister Tracie. Aunt Olla has always been a health nut, so she loves the kale/banana/apple/maple syrup/almond/blueberry mix (that is an approximation of the contents) Tracie blends together and hands out liberally.
Aunt Olla had just had a nice visit with "the lady from the post office." It took me awhile to figure out that the woman was Angie, the person at the front desk who hands out the mail at the Hilton each day.
Aunt Olla was completely upbeat, said she had no complaints--except for the nightly strokes, which continue uninterrupted. She remembers that we are in the busy season at the nursery, so she is always pleasantly surprised by visits.
The most common conversational comment at the nursery: "It has been a weird spring!"
So weird that I can't think of any to compare it to. It has been since the year 2000 that the apples and lilacs have bloomed this late. Our inventory at the nursery is still good, which, to me at least, isn't good! However, I have faith that it will start to disappear in the coming days. Business has been very good for the past three weeks; it is just that we missed April entirely and we have to make that deficit up in June.
Brother Joe has done an ace job of managing the nursery this spring. I can't think of a single area in which the nursery hasn't improved since he took over as boss. It just highlights that it was time for me to get out. My contribution was marketing. I am not a horticulturist, so we were riding on our laurels in some areas as I promoted what we had but paid no attention to research and development. Joe came in and introduced a lot of new things.
We have a very experienced and talented crew this year. Last year we were a little short in the early season, but this year several people came on board who have really added. With a seasonal business, it is always tough to find talented people willing to work only a small part of the year. This year, however, Joe has assembled a bunch I would happily use to start a year-round company. They are good.
Joe's wife Kae contributes a lot with her humor and good cheer. She is relentlessly positive, something we glum Bergeson's need. Sister Tracie has been here for the entire season for the first time since she left high school, and her presence has a calming effect. Her massage business has been booming with repeat business as well, which is a good sign.
I hear rain again on the roof. After last season, I don't think I will complain! We need moisture. I think the farmers are okay. Better wet than dry. And the swamp is full!
Attended the new movie version of "The Great Gatsby" last week.
The movie was visually luscious. Much of it was computer-generated, or at least gave that feel. However, once I gave in to the unreality, which I did about 45 minutes in, the movie was a treat.
Unlike "Hyde Park on the Hudson," and "Lincoln," "Gatsby" made no serious attempt to be an authentic period piece. For instance, the movie was set in 1923, yet in one scene a camera appeared which Lance immediately recognized wasn't introduced until 1929. (You have to be a real camera nerd to recognize that.)
Rapper Jay-Z provided part of the sound track. That was authentic only in that an equivalent party scene today would probably have Jay-Z's music pounding away. So, with the 1920s garb and costumes, the music of Jay-Z might have made the party scene seem more hip for today's young viewer.
The mansions, the servants and the parties were so over-the-top as to be mythical. I suspect that was the intention.
The visuals and the lighting were luscious to the point of surreal. In fact, they reminded me of the work of 1920s artist Maxfield Parrish. Lots of Grecian urns in the movie, lots of Grecian urns in Parrish's paintings. And loads of idealized scenes with golden lighting, like the soft but gold sunlight which bounces of a thunderhead to the east at sunset in July.
The narrator of the movie, a Minnesotan named Nick Caraway, could be me. An industrious, naive sort, he could watch the antics of the super rich and super hip from the periphery with some envy, but could never be a part of them due to his practical sense and solid (read: boring) character.
The classic scene was when an exhausted Caraway couldn't keep his mind on his stock selling job after spending a night as an auxiliary to one of Gatsby's adventures. You could hear him think: How could he have been so stupid as to waste his night merely observing the debauchery of others, only to flop at his job the next day?
And yet, the allure of Gatsby was so strong. It was the allure of a charming, narcissistic, probably addictive personality (Gatsby) working on the insecurities of a sheltered but solid and sensible Midwesterner. Gatsby, too, was a Midwesterner, but he was of the Skitch Henderson type--a shameless and aggressive climber who covered up his small-town Midwestern past through lying, swindling and deceit. Nick Caraway, however, was just too decent to abandon his honorable roots.