Archive - Jun 2013


June 29th

Quick trip

I was getting so restless sitting around waiting for my throat to improve that I decided to jump in the car and go to the Cities for a couple of days. My main goal was to take in a Twins game. I ended up attending two. The first, on Thursday evening, was a good Twins win. The second, Friday evening, was a long, drawn out affair with rain delays which the Twins lost.  

My attempt to run from the post-surgical discomfort and pain by driving five hours and attending a game could have back-fired. In the end, it worked very well. The drive and the game distracted me. It also tired me out so I slept better than I had for two weeks. During the day, I walked and walked and walked around downtown Minneapolis. 

The best part: I didn't talk. Talking hurts. So, I thought by traveling alone I would shut myself up. It worked. I came home today almost feeling normal. On the trip, I ate solid foods like normal. So, pretty soon I may be normal! 

June 26th

Sunset, June 26


June 25th


And thank goodness. Today was the first day since I got my tonsils removed on June 17 that I actually felt better than the day before, and by a whole bunch. I slept through the night for the first time. I got up really sore, but drinking water and eating jello got me rolling. I decided I was tired of starving, so I made pork roast, new potatoes and peas for noon lunch and forced down a full plate. Every swallow was arduous, but having food in my stomach felt so good. 

I quit the hydrocodone, which I guess is considered a narcotic. My dreams got so very dark and strange. I remember the same thing with the pain killer I took after a previous surgery. The mental impact was not worth the pain reduction benefit. 

Today, I can feel the stitches start to loosen. So, one week really under the weather isn't so bad. I really gain an appreciation for people who are fighting cancer, in particular, where the treatment itself causes pain and goes on for months and months. I am not sure how I would handle that mentally. 

It was only in the past three days that the pain went down enough for me to read. I read a good book, Dry, by Augusten Burroughs yesterday, finishing it this morning. It is a memoir of a rich, successful 24-year-old Manhattan alcoholic who enters rehab in Minnesota. The reviews cite the book's humor. I didn't find the book funny in the least, but then I am not interested in ironic hipster humor. Ever. Yet, it is a strong memoir, even as the author comes across as utterly lost in his shallowness. He is not somebody I would want to know or even meet, yet, hearing his thought processes gives me insight into the addicts I have come across in my own life.

Above all, the book reminded me of how enmeshed I am in roots. For better or worse, I am rooted.

June 23rd

Tonsil adventure, cont.

After a pretty painful night, I decided to go onto the internet and see what other people who have had adult tonsillectiomies have experienced. I found I am well within the range of normal. Two weeks is the minimum amount of time to return to any form of normality. I had thought a person should be all healed up by then. Nope. 

Peak pain hits about five-seven days in, which is where I am at now. The main problem comes when the painkiller wears off. It is a production just to get the new dose down. 

On the internet boards, several females have said they'd rather go through childbirth again than an adult tonsillectomy. At least this gives me comfort that I am not some sort of wimp when I curl up and grab at my head after swallowing. 

I have had no complications whatsoever, just pain. 

Yesterday, I talked quite a bit as I am wont to do. Today, I am going to stay utterly quiet. 

Lance continues to make Jello, which is the most wonderful thing on earth. Even tap water is abrasive by comparison. Popsicles are a dream.

No danger of getting hooked on the narcotics. Their effects, other than cutting the pain, are deleterious. Scatteredness of thought. Bad dreams. Weird sleep patterns. Disorientation. I can't imagine waiting on a street corner to pay for the privilege. 


June 18th


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. 


June 17th


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.  

June 15th


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? 

June 13th

Photography exhibit in EGF

Lance is preparing an exhibit of 30 of his photography pieces which will open next Wednesday, June 19, at the Riverwalk Centre in East Grand Forks. This is the first time Lance has exhibited color photos. Here is a link to a radio interview Lance gave about the exhibit. 

June 11th

Aunt Olla update, kuchen in Cavalier

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 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!