Sunday, December 31, 2006
My goose is cooked! Saddam Hussein is dead. Judge Parker huzzahed. Jesus wept.
Speaking of cooked gooses, um, geese:
We in the ER household, being news junkies, got sucked into the Saddam Death Watch "news" "coverage" of the past couple of days.
I made the to-be-expected cracks about how Hangin' Judge Isaac C. Parker was saying "Yeah!" from the Other Side.
I griped about CNN's faux civility, demonstrated by showing Saddam being led to the gallows and the noose being put in place, but then ending the video before the actual hanging.
I reminded myself and the the family that I am against capital punishment (although I anguish), but that *if* he was to be executed, the whole world should see it.
Inside, I scoffed at the human rights groups' complaints that the process was unfair -- scoffed because if they've let their complaints devolve to issues of fairness and equity concerning capital punishment, then human rights groups aren't what they used to be.
I joked that what they should have done was, after he was convicted, turn Saddam loose in a Shia or Kurdish neighborhood, naked.
And today, I remember that while He wept at the murders of all of Saddam Hussein's opponents, Jesus also wept at the judicial murder of Saddam Hussein.
And I hope we are willing to weep over the fact that, as the preacher put it this morning, some 3,000 American soldiers have died, and untold Iraqis and others, to create another country that executes people.
Aren't we proud.
We should be ashamed.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
-- Colossians 3:12-17
Christian, rejoicing over Saddam's hanging? Repent.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
My goose is cooking!
Pairing: Angeline pinot noir, Mendocino County, ought-5.
Mama ER was doin' purdy good, considering, this morning.
Her dang feeding tube was stopped up when I got there. They tried two or three different things to unstop it, since removing it and replacing it would be invasive and would suck. A tech popped up and said, "Let me try something."
Coke is it? Just "It"? It's the nector -- and feeding tube cleanser -- of the gods!
Mama ER ate some cake brought by Big Big Sister, who is visiting today with her husband, my brother-in-law, Mr. Big Big Sister. :-)
Off to add briquets to the fire!
Friday, December 29, 2006
My goose is raw!
Cooking a goose on my trusty Weber kettle grill tomorrow. No one in the ER household has ever cooked, or eaten goose. Call it a wild hare -- ar ar.
The 8.5-pound fowl cost 40 bucks at a hoity-toity grocery store in OKC. Free-range goose, it is.
Yesterday, per instructions in the "New York Times Cookbook," I scalded the puppy for 1 minute in fast-boiling water, then put in the fridge, nekkid, in a big pan, for 24 to 48 hours. This, the book said, is to let the skin dry, so it'll get crispy as it cooks.
So, onto the grill it'll go over indirect heat, for about three hours. I can find no mention of basting goose; maybe it has so much oil -- a quart or more per 10 pounds -- it doesn't need basting, especially if you want the skin to be crispy.
We're gonna have salt potatoes, baked sweet taters and YankeeBeau's famous lemon steamed brocolli. Oh, and a bread stuffing with green apples and sausage (a NYT Cookbook recipe).
I told Mama ER I'd bring her some goose to eat tomorrow night and she made a "yuck" face. :-)
Suddenly, I want to read "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle."
Mama ER apparently has a leak. They drew a bunch of fluid out from around a lung for the third time today. If it doesn't stop, they're going to treat it somehow, but the doc said it won't require another surgery.
About the odd pic: It's the closest I could find to a raw goose on the 'Net! :-)
Thursday, December 28, 2006
YankeeBeau car conks! Bird afoot! Dr. ER Daddy to the rescue! Holiday delayed!
Sigh. Christmas at the ER household may be delayed again.
Hey, anticipation is the thing anyway, isn't it? :-)
And there's a TV bowl game involved! Oklahoma State versus 'Bama!
I am giving Mama ER a vacation from me today. She got moved into a suite yesterday evening, when her main doc came in and declared her room too dark and small.
Dude. It's like a Homewood Suites suite (best chain hotels out there) with medical equipment.
Mama ER has, indeed, moved on up to a dee-luxe apartment in the sky! And, she continues to get better, a wee bit at a time.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
When doo doo is an improvement
(You know, I'm so worn out right now -- Mama ER would say felt like somethin' the cat drug up -- I'm not sure whether he asked her, or I did.)
Anyway, she said:
"I feel like doo doo."
ER: "Mama, you probably don't remember, but trust me, doo doo is an improvement over how you've felt the past few days."
Mama ER: "I feel like s(h)it." (She does, actuallly, mask the "h" sound.)
ER: Well, things are *still* lookin' up!"
Right now, she is very uncomfortable, sitting up in a chair on her sore bobo. I feel particularly helpless when she begs me to help her, and I can't. I know it hurts, Mama.
Darvocet on the way!
As for Brudder: His is a recently ongoing thing. Serious, but not critical.
I swear if one more person in my immediate family winds up in a dadgum hospital bed, I'm runnin' off to Cabo.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Merry Christmas from ER and Mama ER!
Let us make merry! Mama ER is doing better all around. Platelet count: 101,000. Still a ways to go, but way ahead of where she was.
And when I told her that she soon would be eating again, she said she was ready because she was hungry. I cried a little.
But, we still accept Visa, Mastercard -- oh, wait, I mean: Prayers, good vibes, karma, happy-happy thoughts and whatever else ya got.
Little Big Sister and Brudder are comin' this way. I'm gonna go give Mama ER a Christmassy present, then run down to Texas and back, with a few hours in between to spend with Dr. ER and her family and Bird and YankeeBeau. Merry Christmas, y'all!
(Photos by Dr. ER)
Sunday, December 24, 2006
'The world's most radical song'
The Prayer of Confession this morning at this wonderful church:
Lord of Life, we come to the moment when we celebrate the birth of the savior of the world. We do not know the day or the hour, but we know that into darkness and obscurity came a little boy named Yeshua. We know that he came from a place where nobody could have expected anything miraculous to happen. We know that he was born among the poor, and against great odds. We know that after Rome put him to death for posing a threat to peace and stability, his followers believed that he had been raised from the dead and was still with them. One of them, named Luke, wrote a song and placed it in the mouth of Mary, and it's the world's most radical song. Let's sing it today, and see if anyone comes to arrest us. In Christ's name we dare to pray, Amen.
The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
Mama ER update: She is snoozing after a colonoscopy this morning that, the nurse said, found nothing to be majorly concerned about. I'm going back this evening, after she's had time to shake off the dope, to hug her neck and give her a Christmassy present or two.
I told her that I had a Christmassy present or two for her awhile ago, and even through the stupor of the morning and the ordeal of the month, she was fretting that she hadn't been able to buy anybody any presents. To which I can only say: Hush now. You've done enough, and you did it a long time ago.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Full inclusion of GLTB in church?
Now, some red meat.
By Michael Westmoreland-White
at his blog, Levellers
Homosexuality is a modern term first coined (in German) in the 1860s and given an English equivalent a few years later. This is the first time in the Western world that the idea of people intrinsically attracted to their own sex develops. Thus, modern translations of the Bible which use the term "homosexual," are anachronistic. There was no ancient or biblical concept for what we call "homosexuality." ...
Read all about it.
From the Covenant of Openness and Affirmation of my church:
We know, with Jesus, that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that those neigbors include all human beings - encompassing our families, our Church, all other churches and faiths, and the world at large.
We also know that both society and the larger community of faith have often scorned, excluded, attempted "cures", and condemned lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people in the name of Jesus, in the name of the Bible, and in the name of religious doctrine.
Read all about it.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Kitty critter curiosities
Ice-T let me open one of his presents for me last night! A book: "Why Do Cats Do That? Real Answers to the Curious Things Cats Do" (Irvine, Calif.: Bowtie Press, 1997).
(OK. *That's* funny. Two years since I finished my history degree, and I'm still citing even silly kitty-cat books using "Turabian" [Chicago Manual of Style] without even hardly thinking. Hoot.)
It's got why the critters love catnip, "make biscuits," purr, suck wool, land on their feet -- all kinds of stuff's in there.
Hmmm. I wonder if Ice-T feels misunderstood?!? Like his daddy doesn't really *know* him! Oh, Lordy, I wonder if he needs a cat shrink!
Uh, two words, cat: "Cowboy up." :-)
It'a fun book, although Ice-T was a bit miffed that all the feline pronouns used in it are female! "Eh! Ehh!" he says.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
'Too pooped to pop'
Had a little normalcy last night by going to supper with Dr. ER and another couple. Apparently, in my distracted, busy, not-sleeping-enough state, and dieting besides, four measley drinks over the course of three hours with supper will kick my butt.
YAWN. Plus, I had to go to the workplace and back today, despite this 'puter, because there still is a thing or two that I have to do AT WORK.
One involves paper, as in page proofs that I mark up by hand with a red pen. The other has to do with my comfort level when I do a certain story I do monthly if not more often, which involves so many timeses and gasentas -- and liberal use of the Percent Change Calculator -- that I just need to be in a real comfortable place.
Mama ER updates:
Platelet count peaked at 80,000 last night and was back to 76,000 this morning. Onward and upward!
They increased her intake of Pulmocare from 40 ml to 45 ml per hour, which, her nurse said, will give her enough calories to keep her healthy.
Of course, she STILL NEEDS TO EAT! Dr. ER just brought her some buttermilk, at my request. (Dr. ER abhors buttermilk and would not have thought of it; I like buttermilk, especially with cornbread, Fritos or popcorn -- just like Mama ER does, as a matter of fact). Mama passed on it, but asked that it be put in the icebox for this little part of the hospital.
I brought Mama ER a pretty Thomas Kinkade calendar so I could show her what day it is every day and we can countdown the days to Christmas. On Christmas Eve, I'm going to a 9 p.m. communion service, but before that, I plan to track Santa Claus for her using the official NORAD Santa-tracking Web site.
Oh, yesterday they brought Mama ER a goody basket -- fruit, snack crackers, bottle of water and stuff -- because they felt so bad for poking her so many times trying to draw blood. I told the tech that he oughta avoid the oil bidness, he drilled so many dry holes! The truth is Mama ER's veins are dang hard to stick, something I inherited.
A nurse just told me they might actually get results of the California blood test back tomorrow. If not, it'll be after Christmas. I know it's called an "SRA Hit test" but I don't really know what the test is looking for.
Es todo for now.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
OK, so anyone who knows me in the Real World knows I go kicking and screaming into the future and new technology.
At the paper I worked at in Texas in the 1990s, I was the very last holdout when they went from a mainframe computer system to PCs. Ask Nick Toper. He was my boss at the time -- as much as it pains me to say it, :-) -- he was so pleased when I said to him one day: "I think I'm a mouse person," meaning I'd learned to use a mouse rather than function keys.
When I bought a microwave oven for my first apartment, in Stillwater, while a student at Oklahoma State back in the 1980s, I bought very last one Wal-Mart had that had a knob rather than those electronic touch pad things.
I like old movies and old music. My favorite beer is one I've had before -- same with food, movies and just about anything else.
If it's new it's bad -- that's my motto.
So, imagine my surprise: I LOVE this here laptop computer, which work provided, in a pinch, against bureaucratic odds, so I could keep working and still be close to Mama ER. It's not just that I want to be here, or that I think she needs me, although I do believe the experts who say that people heal faster with kin around. The fact is, I have to make medical decisions for Mama ER sometimes right now because he is unable to, and it's easier if I'm here.
I'm sitting here next to Mama ER in her hospital room right now. A minute ago, I was out in the hall because she needed a little privacy. An hour ago, I was somewhere else on the floor when there got to be too many -- dadGUM, I just THIS INSTANT had to go back into the hallway for a doc to do a procedure. The hospital has lent me onje of those beside tray-tables for just such purposes.
ER discovers laptops and wireless Internet! And more kind, helpful people than you can sling a cat at. Dude.
Mama ER update: Platelet count up to 56,000, another record. BUT, the level is nowhere near as high as the docs had hoped it would be by now (125,000 to 400,000).
So, the top hematologist ordered two outside-the-norm blood tests, one of which can only be done in California -- which means at least another five to seven days here, which everyone expected anyway, maybe longer since Christmastime's a comin'.
This is really cutting-edge stuff. Mama ER might very well be written up in a medical research journal or something.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Live from Mama ER's hospital room!
Y'all, for years I've limited my overt prayers to the Lord's Prayer and general petitions for wellness, blessings and God's will to be done -- never a bad way to pray -- because of disgust at the get-rich "Gospel" of so many TV preachers and the general misuse and capitalistic misunderstanding of Jesus's promise to give us "life more abundantly," which has nothing to do with wealth and material things.
Last Sunday at my crazy lefty church, the preacher preached from Philippians 4:4-7, and I was reminded that it is not always bad to pray for specifics, especially for others.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So, those of you who would, would you join me in praying a few specifics for Mama ER?
Pray that she either will regain her desire to eat, or start eating anyway. Pray that she regain her desire to exert herself more, walk when she can, do even little exercises to regain her strength.
Pray that she will, if not lose her confusion totally, then stop forgetting that people close to her in the past are now gone, or, pray that the "peace of God, which transcends all understanding," will envelope her and comfort her in those moments when she remembers, all over again, that Daddy ER, her own mama, her sisters and others have gone on, and grieves all over again, for grief is the great killer of desire, and Mama ER needs to want to do the things it will take to get better, not just want to go home.
If you will agree with me in this prayer, leave a note. Send a link to this post all over. Christians pray in Jesus's name. But, as usual, good vibes, karma, happy-happy thoughts and all other forms of hope are solicited and gladly accepted.
To doubters and detractors, this isn't magic. God's general will is that we all live, and Jesus promised life "more abundantly." I am not presumptious enough to pretend to know God's specific will. No one does. We pray -- the Lord's Prayer, for general health, and for specifics, I'm reminded, especially for others -- in the example of the first Christians. It's what we do.
Woo hoo! Finally, I'm able to not only get online, but to work from Mama ER's bedside -- or chairside at the moment.
Thanks to friend and coworker Three Desks Down And One Over for loaning me his laptop. TDDAOO was willing to loan me his work laptop for the week, if needed, and restrict himself to his personal laptop and my desktop computer at work.
Work, though, came through with a laptop for me, despite contractual and internal obstacles. It is great to work for a place where most people do try to help one another. So, this afternoon, I'll go back to the office to give TDDAOO this computer back and pick up my own and get a little training on it.
Mama ER's platelet count was 52,000 this morning, a new record. They are talking about taking her off the argatroban and putting her back on her regular blood thinner, Coumadin, a brand of Warfarin. (UPDATED: Not yet; still on argatroban).
Monday, December 18, 2006
My Little Nephew
He is the oldest son of Big Big Sister, about four years older than me.
I've always said that I figured that when he got news of my arrival, in 1964, he ran to kindergarten and announced, "I have a new baby uncle!"
When I was 11 or so, at a big family reunion -- back when the ER family's reunions made for a story in the home county paper -- I jumped up on a dining room chair and put my arm around his tall shoulders and announced to all within earshot:
"This is my little nephew."
He got so embarrassed and pissed, as any 15-year-old would. But it's been a running joke just about ever since.
He spent some time with Mama ER tonight. Major blessing for all concerned, especially since I was unable to be there much for her today, partly working to arrange for the ability to spend more time with her every day for the next week.
Oh, I got permission from one of Mama ER's docs to "sneak" her in an ice cream of some kind tomorrow, and a hamburger from a local drive-in. Woo hoo! She is eating so little than *anything* she eats is good for her.
My Little Nephew and I also are close brothers in Christ. So we've spent the evening catching up on the work of God in our lives. And, well, sharing a drink. :-) He is in the other room plucking on a banjo and will spend the night, then go with me to see Mama ER in the morning before he goes back to Texas.
A real good time.
Mama ER platelet count: 49,000.
Merry Christmas to all!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Mama ER: Day 16 after surgery
They put a small feeding tube in this afternoon, and the nourishment made a difference within hours. She hasn't been eating much at all. With the energy comes restlessness and more confusion, impatience, anger, a little lashing out.
ALL to be expected.
Keep those prayers and good vibes coming. Long row ahead, still.
Hitting the hay now. I'm going in to work in the morning to do some things that *have* to be done.
They're supposed to be getting me a laptop. With one, I can do virtually everything I need to do for work from her room. She does better with someone she knows close by.
Without a laptop, I will be taking the week off, which will suck for my coworkers over the already-stressful and busy holidays. If they don't come up with one at work very soon, I'll find a way to buy one of the damn things myself.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Major NASCAR faux pas
Framed, matted portrait of my favorite driver, Kevin Harvick? Nope.
Framed, matted portrait of my close-second-favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Nah.
Picture of one of the greats, like the King himself. Uh-uh.
Dale Sr.? Not a chance.
Sitting at my desk this morning when I came in to the office to get caught up on some work was a framed, matted portrait of Jimmy "Jeffy's Boy" Johnson! I was stunned. The only thing more startling would've been same of Jeff "E.Poo" Gordon.
After I got over the shock, and called Bird, on her way to Houston from the ER house with her YankeeBeau to spend a week with his parents, to hoot and holler about it, then called Dr. ER at home to hoot and holler over it some more, I realized the fun I could have with it:
Pink Sharpie, lacey blouse, curls in his hair.
Mama ER's platelet count was 39,000 this morning.
Off to see her and Little Big Sister, who is supposed to come out today.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Mama ER's platelet count tonight: 40,000. She also got some new blood. I saw her surgeon in the cafe and he told me the new drug is working but it will take some time.
I said something about how you get average lengths of stay in a hospital: some stays are shorter than average and some, like Mama ER's in her 15th day today, are longer.
He said: "No one is doing double-valve replacement surgery on 84-year-olds. There are no averages. We're not in any hurry to get her out of here and into rehab. Some places would be."
I thanked him. He is a co-owner of the hospital with other heart surgeons and caridologists. I believe him.
This evening, Mama was up in her chair and more alert than shes been all week when Dr. ER and I were there. She ate a little tuna fish and some cotton cheese with a splash of vinegar (at my request, since I knew they wouldn't give her any salt and I knew that's how she got me to eat it when I was a little bitty ER).
She asked me, again, about her mama, and two of her sisters who are gone. She'll get her bearings back when she gets back in her regular surroundings. It seems like she understood, today anyway, that not eating and not walking are not going to get her back home. So she ate a little, and while she didn't walk much today, she did move around some.
On a cooler note: I was in a Christian book-music store this afternoon, looking for a specific Christmas present, for the first time in maybe 20 years. I had to leave the music area before I spent my whole paycheck for stuff I hadn't heard in 20 years.
The Hinsons. The Rambos. Keith Green. Aweson tunage from my Gospel radio deejaying days.
Awesome tunes. Reminds of the days before the right w- ... oh, never mind. :-) Shoot, even EL and I agreed on something today!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Mama ER takes a HIT
Mama's platelet level this morning was down to 30,000 per, but tonight was back up to 37,000. Two steps forward yesterday, two-and-a-half steps back today, it looks like.
Mama ER has heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT).
In a nutshell:
Heparin is a blood thinner used with patients undergoing heart surgery. A tiny fraction of people have negative reactions to it. Mama ER is among them.
What heparin does is cause platelets, little blood cells needed for normal clotting, to clot abnormally. The result is the patient's platelet count gets dangerously low.
This is all pretty new information to doctors and nurses. At first they treated the HIT by stopping the heparin and pouring platelets into Mama ER. They realized that was exacerbating the problem, not helping it.
I think at first they thought the reaction to the heparin was that platelets were being destroyed, and only over time realized that it actually was causing the platelets to clot, rendering them uncountable. In other words, they're in there but aren't doing any good. I may have this wrong.
Anyway, they are treating her now with another blood thinner, argatroban. Last night, her platelet level, after a full day on the new thinner, was up to 47,000 per cubic millimeter. The day before, the level was 35,000. Normal is between 150,000 and 400,000.
Yesterday was a stone. I fed Mama ER some breakfast, she walked to the shower and back, had a wee bit of physical therapy and allegedly ate quite a bit of lunch (a nurse's aid was going on and on about how much she ate). By the afternoon, she was pooped and feeling miserable, maybe because of all the activity and a full tummy.
I ordered French toast for her supper but left before it came -- Mama ER loves anything sweet, so I figured there was a better chance of her eating some of it. She has not acepted the fact that for her to eat is to live. She really needs to get that.
Maybe today will be a diamond. Brudder ER is coming today. Bird and YankeeBeau are coming this evening. Little Big Sister is supposed to come on Saturday.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Guest Blog from Dr. ER - The lessons we learned in kindergarten don't apply to cookies!
My gift load was cut in half. I had to SHARE with my new husband. Hmm, I hadn't counted on that. Because not only does the gift load change, the nature of the gifts change as well. You get gifts for the house or games or things that you HAVE to share.
Mostly, I grew accustomed to all that. Then, I divorced and got my own gifts yet again. Then I married ER and found myself having to share all over again. And that's fine, I'm older and more mature now. I can handle that.
Except for one thing: Big Big ER's sister makes the most AMAZING peanut butter cookies on the planet. Brother ER gets his own bucket of cookies last week and he has the whole bucket to himself. ER and I are expected to SHARE! Share the most amazing peanut butter cookies on the planet? We're like pack wolves, trying to out-eat each other before the other gets all the cookies. We have only six cookies left as I write, and since it's ER's sister, I told him that he can have the rest.
But we are thinking that Big Big sister should share the recipe. It's pure torture to wait a whole year for those melt-in-your-mouth-and-eat-two-dozen-before-you-know-it cookies. It's sooooooooo hard to not only share, it's hard to wait, and we've almost killed this year's supply!
So please, Big Big sister, share your recipe with Dr. ER!!!! Or send us a bucket of our own each year....we will pay cold, hard cash for access to this amazing secret recipe! We're like heroin addicts when the cookies are gone. Please, please, please, send more cookies or share the recipe!
Or else we're going to have to check into a peanut butter cookie methadone clinic.
Much love to Big Big sister, of course, Dr. ER.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Two dogs. One says to the other (inexact quote):
"I had a blog. But then I decided to go back to just mindless barking."
Monday, December 11, 2006
Jesus Gawdlemighty, crap like this will turn this supporter of public schools against 'em so fast it'll make a righty-right's head spin
WACO, Texas - School administrators gave a 4-year-old student an in-school suspension for inappropriately touching a teacher's aide after the pre-kindergartner hugged the woman.
Read all about it.
Here, let me me put on my feminist hat. ... You know what this is about? This is about a bunch of jackasses in Texas who see a breast and think "sex organ."
And now they're working to protect another body part mistaken for a secondary sexual characteristic: Their own ass.
And yes, I'm in a bad mood.
Mama ER is doing OK physically. I am struggling to get used to the idea of hospital psychosis.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Where don't you go?
Lots of people don't go to church, but:
"Even those Southerners who don't go to church at least know the one they're not going to." -- sociologist John Shelton Reed, in Charles Reagan Wilson and Mark Silk, eds. Religion & Public Life in the South: In the Evangelical Mode (Religion by Region Series), AltaMira Press, 2005, p. 39.
I go to Mayflower Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) in Oklahoma City. (History and Covenent here). It's a mainline church in the liberal tradition.
Where don't I go?
I don't go to the Southern Baptist church I grew up in, only partly because I moved away. The Southern Baptist Convention started leaving me in 1979. By 2000, it was gone. Gone fundy. Gone righty. Gone creedal, which is so unBaptist.
I don't go to the United Methodist church I attended semi-regularly for 10 years in Texas. I moved. Fine church. I learned that architecture could be an expression of praise and worship, something you do *not* get in a Baptist church.
I don't go to the Bible church I attended for a short while in the town where I live now. All the preacher talked about -- and writes about -- is End Times. Fiddlesticks and fie on that. Present Times are more important.
Someone accused me here of being a church hopper. Ah, no. Three churches in 20-something years. And I've actually been a member of exactly TWO. :-)
Where do you go to church? More interesting, though: Where don't you go to church? How come?
P.S. Nothing much to report on Mama ER. She's still recovering. We'll go see her after awhile.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Much to ER's Surprise, Mama ER can still SURPRISE him
I forgot to mention in my earlier guest post a hilarious interchange between Mama ER and ER himself, right before he left us girls to hang out for the evening:
Mama ER: "So, do I get to go home tomorrow?"
ER: "No, mama, you don't."
A beat [I learned this bit o' jargon from reading screenplays].
Mama ER (with an impish twinkle in her eyes): "Sh*t!!!"
ER: "My mama's cussin'! My mama said the "S" word! My mama said the "S" word!"
Dr. ER loved the entire interchange and loves it when Mama ER cusses and her sons pretend to be shocked, just shocked by it!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Guest Blog from Dr. ER on Mama ER
I've spent a lot of hours with Mama ER this week and ER asked that I post an update for y'all.
Two days ago, it took two people to lift her into her bed from a chair. Today, she stood on her feet with the help of her walker while the nurses held her loosely under her arms. They made Mama do the work, though, and she managed to turn herself about 90 degrees and sit on the bed. She whooshed and whewed and carried on about how tiring the small journey was -- but then the nurses and I caught her "forgetting herself" for a minute, as she began to hoist herself backwards onto the bed -- making herself more comfortable without even thinking about it. We three smiled at each other, watching Mama do this stuff without thinking :-)
I've found myself having to "con" Mama into doing a few things, sort of slipping ideas into her head...she ordered a turkey sandwich last night and kept wanting me to eat her other half. After a thorough discussion about the hospital's delivery of Miracle Whip instead of our preferred Hellman's, ["you know, Miracle Whip's a lot sweeter than Hellmans" ... "Yep, it sure is." and "Did you know that Hellman's has changed its name? I spent about an hour in the Wal Mart trying to find Hellman's only to find it is now called "Best Foods." and "I like mayonnaise a lot better than mustard"..."Yeah, me too."].
I agreed to eat half of the sandwich if she'd eat half. She ate all but the crusts. She had earlier polished off some strawberry yougurt and probably 10 ounces of cranberry juice. She's eating well today, chicken, some tomato soup...each day, she eats more.
Three nights ago, I picked up the heart patient manual that all of them are supposed to read while recuperating. Instead of waiting for her to read it, I pulled it out and started reading it to myself -- I showed her the picture in the book of the atrium in the heart and told her that hers was too big, that the heart's the only muscle in the body you really don't want getting big. I told her why it was too big and why the doc replaced two valves instead of only one.
I showed her the picture of the mechanical valve and explained why she had to have a mechanical one instead of one made of tissue (because she was already on coumadin). I told her that ER was real sad when he found out that a part of a cow wan't going to go into his Mama (tissue valves normally come from pigs or cows; Mama was supposed to have a cow, man...my own mom got a pig valve). Y'all know how ER loves cows; I was also secretly hoping that she'd get a cow's valve, because I'd planned to whisper to her that, one day when ER walked into her room, she should start mooing instead of talking to him. Ah, that woulda been fun...
I then went into the back of the book and read aloud to her the do's and don'ts for when she goes home. I busted laughing and told her that one of the things she WILL be able to do, according to the heart manual, is shoot pool! Oh, we laughed. I may have to get her one of those desk-sized pool tables so she can play pool shark when she gets home. So, we managed to get through the entire book before she ever left CCU. Now, we'll probably have to go through it again at some point, but it made for some fun.
[It was after the pool-shooting hoo-ha that Mama allowed as to how some man she knew when she was young kept calling her earlier this year, wanting to know if she'd go out with him. Oh, this was great, I thought, Mama's a hot number! Mama ER said she told him no so many times, he finally quit calling. How cool is that? Then, Mama ER opined, "you know, after about 60, you don't need no man." LOL!]
Tonight was makeup night. I'd brought some for her earlier in the week, and I'd done her face up once, but soon realized I needed to go buy some makeup that was easier to handle, something she could use herself when no one was around to freshen herself up. So, after I left the hospital last night, I tested every compact of powder from every cosmetic manufacturer and finally settled on the green compact Cover Girl has out. I got her three more powder puffs in case she dropped one. Tonight, we did eyebrows, powder, lipstick, and did her hair. She she looked quite pretty when she was dozing.
Last night, she wondered about the weather and what was coming up, weatherwise. I said, "Well, we'd better find The Weather Channel and find out, because I haven't been paying any attention to the weather." Mama had previously declared that she didn't want the TV on, but The Weather Channel was sufficient enough motivation to do so. [Mama and I have spent many hours in her living room, watching TWC, only speaking to comment on some low pressure system or something; companionable silence in the presence of The Weather Channel is something of a regular event for us].
We couldn't find The Weather Channel, so I talked her into stopping the channel on TBS where I knew it was "Everybody Loves Raymond" night (one of her favorite shows). She contended that the TV was on for my benefit, but she watched three episodes of Raymond, commented on them, laughed at them...shoot, she watched them all! Tonight, we watched "Law & Order, Criminal Intent," which, okay, probably WAS for my benefit, but since it wasn't something she was trying to watch closely, she felt free to doze.
When my own mom was recovering after heart surgery, I remember her saying that she couldn't get any sleep because someone was always coming in to do something to her. That's kind of where Mama is -- she just dozes off and someone comes in to poke her, prod her, stick her to take blood sugar, give her a breathing treatment, take vitals, you name it. So she catnaps a bit in between and sometimes wakes up and it takes her a minute to remember what all the heck is going on around her. But when she gets fully awake, she remembers.
The nurses all love her and make over her. It's not many patients in their mid eighties who decide that they still have places to go, things to see, and stuff to do, and pony up and get major heart surgery. Mama's the exception. She has plans. She thinks about and talks about things in the future -- with my background in working with patients, I know that someone who's planning for the future plans to do well and get well. That, my friends, is half the battle when it comes to recovery.
I brought her a bright green Christmassy, soft throw blanket and today brought her a jolly Santa pillow to have in her room. She has a nice photo of Bird and YankeeBeau in front of her at all times. She has a snow globe -- the great, kitchy, plastic kind -- and a tiny Christmas tree with gold ornaments and flowers on it. Her room is festive.
I will say this -- she's one heck of a trooper when it comes to the heinous nature of respiratory therapy. She also takes the "drilling for oil" the nurses have to do when searching for a vein for an IV and declares that their poking and searching doesn't hurt.
I feel good because one of the doctors who works with her is someone I know and respect a great deal. He is awfully sweet to Mama ER, and will continue, I know, to keep us all informed and to make sure Mama ER gets just the right levels of care as time goes by. He's the sort of Doctor who I so believe in, I'd never question anything, and I do mean anything, that he said. I get a lot of comfort just from his being involved in her care.
But Mama still needs prayers because they will, indeed, begin pushing her to do more every day and it can get frustrating for patients. It's easy to get cranky when someone wants you to practice walking when all you want to do is sleep. I am sure the process will take a lot of patience on her part, and strong lady that she is, I have no doubt that if anyone can conquer this process, she can. Because she's one of the few -- one of the few who step up and brave this kind of surgery in their 80's.
Mama has stepped up. Because Mama has things yet to do in life.
'What ... were we thinking?'
"After months of combat, the United Deliverance Front has this morning taken command of one of Africa's most beleaguered nations, installing itself as the supreme ruler over 11 million desperate, ailing, and angry citizens," UDF leader and new head of state Uwimana Kowrt said.
"Dear Jesus, what the hell were we thinking?"
Read all about it.
Here's hoping the Dems don't feel the same way come January.
P.S. Bird could feel a disturbance in the force today. Her step-ER will be in Stillwater on bidness for a while, but with no time to see her or YankeeBeau. :-(
P.P.S. The link is to The Onion. :-)
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Poe paree, po Paris, peaux pari, potpourri
Mama ER got moved to a less-intensive-care room this morning. Brudder ER, who had to be in Norman for his own checkup today, came by to see her -- not easy, since where Mama ER is is almost 50 miles north of where Brudder ER needed to be. But they both were tickled to see one another.
Last night, Dr. ER, a girl, took Mama ER some girly things that us hairy-legged boys would've never thought of: a lipstick, compact, a little makeup, things like that. ... I got her a pair of reading glasses at the Walgreens this morning, since she left hers at home in the rush.
Which reminds me: Most of the people in the hospital Mama ER is in are there by deliberate decision; she is there for emergency surgery, basically. That's just an observation. I think the cardio-rehab people are saying things to her that aren't true for her, but usually are for other patients -- talking about her going home soon, when she probably will not go home for several days.
Oh! Woo hoo! The scrip I was at Walgreens to pick up was a lil diet pill. Went to my own doc's for a checkup yesterday and weighed in -- and I've lost 15 pounds since Oct. 25.
That puts me at 279, down from 294. I'm aiming for 250.
Here's what I'm doing:
Monday through Thursday, either I eat no breakfast or I eat a small bowl of cereal or a fruit; I take a diet pill between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.; skip lunch; eat an apple or other fruit in mid-afternoon if I want one; then I eat a 6-inch Subway low-fat sandwich, or somethign similar, and some baked chips or something, with water or no-cal tea.
Friday, I eat a normal lunch and splurge for supper: Plate of ribs, a pizza, fried chicken or something else I love.
Saturday and Sunday I just eat normally -- but take care not to eat stuff like on Friday, which is how I got to 294 pounds in the first place.
More substantive -- and probably controversial -- blogs to come. Hits are down! :-)
Monday, December 04, 2006
Merry Christmas, baby!
5:37 p.m. ... Mama ER was sitting up and talking when I saw her between about 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. She ate a little Jello. She talked on the phone a little to Brudder ER and Big Big Sister ER. I started up and we watched one of a bunch of post-surgery videos she's supposed to watch. I'm back at work and will go back after awhile and bug her some more and watch another video with her.
So, I picked up a CD: "Christmas with the Rat Pack" or something like that and have been listening to it as I come and go and to and fro.
Now all I want to do is dress impeccably, drink hard liquor on the rocks (or a classic cocktail), smoke cigarettes and stalk women under a mistletoe! :-)
Mama ER loves Dean Martin, too, so there's that.
Breathing tube removed. She ought to have her teeth in by the time I get over there today.
Oh, ha ha ha, silly me, thinking two trips to Lowe's would be enough to fix the kitchen sink, ha ha ha, since it's the *housing* that holds the filters, not the filters themselves, that needs replacing, ha ha ha, but they discontinued this brand and model of water system years ago, ha ha ha, so I'm gonna have to replace the whole kit and kaboodle, ha ha ha, and yes, I am laughing, ha ha ha, to keep from cussing and-or crying, ha ha ha.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Thursday night at about 10:30, Dr. ER and I noticed water in the kitchen floor in front of the sink. I opened the doors to the cabinet below to find everything wet.
Dr. ER promptly slipped and FELL ON HER HIP, the other one, thank God, and apparently caused no damage, thank God, because, thank God, she is proceeding nicely in healing her other hip from falling almost a year ago while looking at Christmas lights in Texas.
But, Lordy, I saw her falling in slow motion with one side of my brain, with the other side fast-forwarding through almost a year of recovery, doctor visits, physical therapy, being off from work, pain, emotions and everything else that comes with longterm healing.
When she landed, she lay there like a slug -- "it was her only defense" (name the movie and the circumstances for a rare Holiday ER Point!)
Actually, she laughed, not because she knew for sure she was all right, but because you have to laugh when life's troubles become farcical -- which, the night before Mama ER's surgery, a kitchen problem and another fall on the other hip seemed to be:
Too much! A farce, I tell ya! Gotta laugh to keep from crying.
So, this afternoon, between trips to see Mama ER, after two trips to Lowe's, I've repaired the water problem, which -- and I should be embarrassed, but what the hey -- was this:
Apparently, our kitchen sink has a water purification system. Huh. Turns out that's what the two plastic things that look like Thermoses, attached to the left wall of the cabinet under the sink -- turns out those are housings for filters. Huh. Turns out that the filters are supposed to be replaced every six months.
Turns out we never noticed that when we moved in this house in November 1999. So what happened was the filters finally got so full of minerals and gunk and stuff they finally just had enough and one of 'em, like, caused the housing to start leaking.
It's fixed now. Less than $20, not counting the gas to Lowe's and back twice.
I'll bet the coffee maker quits stopping up so fast. Shoot, the water might even taste better.
"Didn't we have a problem like that in the refrigerator?" Bird asked on the phone.
"Maybe," ER said. "Well, yeah, I guess so. The filter on the icemaker. We're really not good at some things."
"Y'all suck at filters," Bird said.
Out of the mouths of Birds. :-)
Mama ER update: Still on the ventilator when I was there after church today. She recognized me. I'm going back in a little bit.
Prayer of Confession at this church:
"Lord of Life, there are times when we think things cannot get worse, and the apocalyptic text of the Bible seems disturbingly relevant. But it is at precisely such times that the prophets ask us to envision a different future -- one that has God in mind. Not because of what the evidence points to, but so that we can begin to change the evidence. Advent is about waiting and hoping -- for what has been and what will be. We won't just curse the darkness. We'll light the candles. In Christ's name we pray, Amen."
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Note the date, Sooner fans
"I would never ever say this to any other person, under any other circumstances, ever, but 'Go Sooners.' "
--ER, to Mama ER's heart surgeon, who was a Sooner football player under Barry Switzer back in the day, and who had just hugged Dr. ER, him wearing a faded OU sweatshirt, her wearing a new Oklahoma State hoodie -- a sight to see.
Mama ER is on minimal machinage and such, but remains on a ventilater and probably will until tomorrow, her nurse says. Her doc came by to see her before going to jump in a plane to go to Kansas City to see the Oklahoma-Nebraska Big 12 championship game.
A happy doctor being a not-distracted doctor, I say again: Go Sooners!
But don't get used to that.
And, Go Hogs! Sooooooooiiiiiieeeeeeeee! Arkansas! Razorbacks! Tonight it's also Arkansas and Florida in the Southeastern Conference champeenship.
Friday, December 01, 2006
ER, live from the waiting room II
A well-wisher and friend left hugs on the first version of this post, and inadvertantly used my, and Mama ER's, last name. I had to delete the whole post and repost it 'cause I couldn't figure out, fast, how to get to where I could just delete the comment. Careful, y'all. The current ordeal is very personal to several of us; but my anonymity is the single most important element of this blog.
8:10 p.m.: Correction: Mechanical valves, not bovine, because she's already on blood thinners and mechanical ones work better with them. She's out and in her room in the CCU. We'll check in on her for a minute, then go home to rescue Riker, the pupsicle. ... Y'all are the best bloggy buddies ever. (Dr. ER says the doc, who lied when he said he wasn't tired [two long surgeries today], "still smells good." Sheesh.)--ER
7 p.m.: Both valves in; both bypasses complete; surgeon closing her up; we're to see him at 8 p.m. or thereafter; an hour later, Mama ER will be in a room in the Continuing Care Unit where she will have her own nurse 24/7 the next two days.
6 p.m.: Second valve installed. Next: two bypasses.
Through the wonders of Dr. ER's laptop and Wifi, here I sit, in a waiting room of this really great hospital, blogging. What a wonder.
Mama ER's surgery started at 2 p.m. It could last six hours, they say now.
I went to work to take care of something, and between there and the house, to feed the domestic livestock, I let myself boo a little hoo, letting it hit just how serious this is.
Mama ER was happy as a lark this morning, despite the obvious discomforts. She was ready to get 'r done. She had been loved up and prayed up and told that she, and all of us who love her, is being lifted up in prayer by real-world friends as well as bloggy buddies all over the country.
Her surgeon even gave her a smooch! He looks sort of like one of her grandsons -- the youngest of the two brothers; one of my nephews -- with a goatee and a mustache. ("And he was hot, and he smelled real good," Dr. ER says). Mama ER had sparkles in her eyes. Everyone here has been so sweet, but not condescending, and very respectful of Mama ER.
A lady chaplain came in and held her hand and prayed with her a beautiful hopeful, honest prayer. No pretending, by anyone, that this will be a snap. No daring to assume "special knowledge" from above as to the outcome. Just real gratitude to be in such good hands and to be prayed for, thought of, good-vibed, good-karma'd and hoped for by so many.
If all goes according to plan, Mama ER will be heavily sedated and will not remember the next two days or so. Then, she will be in this hospital at least five days before being sent back to the hospital in Fort Smith. Beyond that, I don't know.
Mama's surgeon was a University of Oklahoma football player! I guess, in light of circumstances, that that's OK. :-) But, ha ha, Dr. ER is wearing a beautiful hideously orange-and-black Oklahoma STATE University hoodie.
Poor Riker, the regal Pembroke Welsh corgi, got stuck outside in the snow and cold for the evening because I forgot to let him back in the sunroom with Bailey, the "special" weinie dog who needs a short yellow doghouse, because I just forgot to let him back in after separating them to feed them awhile ago. He will be a pupsicle by the time we get home!
Ice-T, the cat for whom Dr. ER and I work, seems close to normal, behaviorwise. And hey, let me tell ya: Guess who is a natural at giving a cat a pill? Yours truly. The critter didn't know what happened, it happened so fast. Afterword, he sort of collapsed against me as if to say, "I give. If even my daddy is going to feed me pills, I will quit fighting, 'cause I must really be sick."
The weather outside was somewhat less frightful today. Sun shining, ice and deep snow melting. But it'll refreeze come dark and be treacherous again. The Fire of the Ice Storm, by the way -- there is always a big fire after an ice storm, I've learned -- is in Anadarko. The little town in south-central Oklahoma has a big peanut processing plant on fire, about a mile from downtown, and they are evacuating people, lots of them elderly and sick and shut-in, I'm sure, because they're worried about pesticides and other chemicals getting into the air.
FLASH: Just now, at 5 p.m., update: The surgeon has put in one new valve -- one of two now. (It's a cow valve! Some of you know that I have to consider that a good sign. :-) I love cows in all forms. Dr. ER's mama got a pig valve a few years ago.) Next: another valve; then a now-indeterminate number of bypasses.