Thursday, June 26, 2008


So, not only has my HordeBrother Starhelm been chosen by a Pale Horse, but I got the word this morning that my Aunt Barbara has joined the ancestors as of yesterday morning. One unexpected loss, one expected.
To borrow a phrase..."DO NOT WANT!!!!" Two losses in one day is too much.

Barbara is my mom's sister, the one next older than her. She had a massive stroke in February, and was not going to be able to recover, honestly. My one cousin was realistic about the end, but the other was not ready to let go until about a week ago. She finally realized that extreme measures (daily dialysis, large doses of meds, etc.) were not going to help, and that Barb was never going to be able to leave a nursing home. I can only imagine how hard it has been on both the girls.
I'm very glad now that I made it back home for Christmas this past year. Barb had moved back to Jonesville last year, Mom and Uncle Bob share Mom's house there, Uncle Lynn lives across town and Aunt Lois is only about an hour away. That's 5 of the 8 siblings. In order from eldest to youngest, they are: Lois, Frankie (deceased), Bob, Lynn, Irene (deceased), Barbara (now deceased), Beverly (MOM), and John. John's in Colorado, but his son Jeff & family live less than a block from Mom now. My brother Frank and his wife live 5 miles away in the next town. Other cousins are all over the country and world. My family has been in that area of Michigan for 4 generations, at least.
You might have noticed that family is very important to me. Not only the family with which I share DNA, but my families of the heart. My Horde Brothers in the SCA. My brothers and sisters of the pagan communities I belong to. My adopted family on the mountain. My friends who are dear to me and sometimes closer than my blood kin. Even those who have left this world and joined the ancestors are still my kin and kith, and they live on in my memory and the stories we tell each time the family gathers.
But, dammit, I'm tired of these constant reminders of my own increasing age and mortality. My mind knows that these passages will happen, but my heart is never quite ready. Whose heart ever is? I miss each and every one that has left us lately, and am worried lest I forget a name on the growing list. In a few weeks, it will be yet another yahrzeit for a friend gone before. All I can do is remember and be glad for having known all these wonderful people.

I finally found the quote I wanted to share. It's John Donne's "Meditation XVII"...
"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness....No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Not the blog I'd planned to write!

So, here I was, thinking of posting a nice blog Sunday night with a re-telling of the first stage of building the adobe 'horno' oven. Nope. That post will have to wait a bit. Not because it didn't happen; it did and it was a lot of fun.
No, I ended up going to the UNM Hospital ER Sunday night with the gallbladder attack from Hell. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, honestly, but OMFGs! I even scared my neighbor Roslee (she's an RN) with how bad I was. So she takes me in to the ER, and waits with me. And we waited. And waited. We'd gotten there at about 11 p.m., and they did do some triage and blood draws eventually, but we waited. At about 3 or 4 a.m. the pain had actually passed off, and I was feeling better. Not vomiting anymore, able to form coherent sentences again. Around 8 a.m. (Monday morning) they finally called me back to get checked out. Great, will they believe me now? I'm not hurting anymore, they've done a shift change, so anyone who saw me in pain may have gone home, but okay, I'm here, I want to know what to do.
I got checked over, then got sent up for an ultrasound so they can try to see what's going on in there. At least I was able to get my cell phone shortly after that, and call in to work. At least gonna be late, not sure. Also was able to call some friends and get the support network activated. Mongol juju, Pagan energy of several flavors, and oh, better call my mom... And then I wait some more. Results finally come back, and yeah, we think we'd better get that gallbladder out of there. I really had hoped to avoid surgery, not just for financial reasons, but also because I still had all my original parts and I kinda like that idea! But the more we discussed the options, the more that surgery now seemed to be the intelligent choice. So we'll do it. As soon as we can. Stay here and wait. And wait. Someone sent back a book for me to read, and I did sleep a bit.
One of our local pagan clergy had gotten word of where I was, and came to visit for a bit. That was darned nice. Other folks were calling to check on me, too. Shoot, my cell phone ran out of juice, partially because of the crappy signal. Finally, everything's set and it's time to go upstairs to the OR. This is about 9 p.m, I think? I didn't have my glasses, so couldn't see a clock. All I had with me was my nightie and shoes that I'd worn in, and my phone. I did have someone to bring me clothes for when I got out, thank goodness!
So I had my little chat with the anesthesiologist (no, not the one I know from elsewhere), and she gives me some uber-valium in my I.V. line. That's all I remember till I woke up in recovery at about 4 a.m. with a cotton mouth and a bursting bladder. I was in and out of sleep for a while, but by about 8:30 or 9 this morning, I was up and making trips to the bathroom. By 10 a.m. I was discharged (think I surprised/impressed the nurses) and my ride took me home. I got my stuff together, hit the bank, picked up my drugs at the store, and went to work.
I managed to work from 12:30 to 5:45 today, but by then my brain was getting fuzzy and I decided that "they stuck a fork in me, I'm done" and came home.
Now, remember Roslee taking me in on Sunday night? Well, today was her scheduled surgery! She had a total knee replacement, and was under the knife while I was getting up and out this morning. I guess we're 'surgery sisters' now. Honest, I'd rather not have, and we were joking that I just had to do her one better ;-) Anyway, our friend Kathy came by to check on me, and I rode up to UNMH with her to visit Roslee. She's doing fine, and very glad to have the 'happy drug button' to push.

So here I am, home again, somewhat perforated, rather sore, and hoping that my little drugs will help me sleep tonight. My cats are glad to have me back, too. I will be going to work tomorrow, and should be able to make it through the whole day.
Many thanks to all who have sent well-wishes, and my apologies to those I didn't have a chance to notify beforehand.
Nap tiem nao, yes? Kthxbai!