Monday, January 27, 2014

Mom's Song #8

We made the trip up to my sister-in-law's memorial a couple weeks ago. This was my older brother's wife and over the years she had become like a second mom. I will miss her. I know that my bother misses her desperately. She had cancer and it won.

My mother and I used to write letters. She was a great letter writer and to her it was an art (she was an artist - in her spare time). We rarely talked on the phone and she taught me by example (and through practice) how to write a letter. I missed this when she died.

My sister-in-law loved to write as well and she sort of took up where my mother left off. We wrote often and I will miss this.

When my mother died I wrote this for her - and now I read it for my sister:

Mom's Song #8
By Stuart Baker

So - how do I do this?
So why do I try?
The basket is filling;
the pen running dry.
The words keep on coming,
but their meaning is wrong.
So who do I write to
now that you're gone?

So what happened to wit
and humor so dry?
The words either to die
on the page where they lie;
or they drone on, and on, and on, and on ....
Who do I write to
now that your gone?

The eyes of the beholder,
when they're gazing back,
can inspire beauty
where talent is slack.
(at least that was the road
you were leading me down)
But when those eyes close
does the beauty go on?
So who do I write to
now that you're gone?

[Sing the following ]
But  who's gonna finish the story;
with ending yet so far from view?
'My Life and The Times',
though none of it rhymes,
would still have been music to you.
( musical break)

[back to spoken ]
So - I guess I'll continue;
just in case you were right.
Just in case there is value;
not just in your sight.
But just so you to know it -
so you don't get me wrong -
it's you who I write to
even now that you're gone.

It's you who I write to
Even now....

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy New Year

These days the mornings are cold and dark here in Wisconsin, and there's snow covering the bike paths and the bike lanes are narrowed by snow banks at the side of the streets. This, along with my work schedule, makes it hard for me to get to my coffee shop in the morning to write these posts. This morning I woke up early ( and didn't hit 'shooze') so I caught the early bus and layered against the -10 degree temp (not counting wind chill) and made it to Peet's for coffee. 

Continued good reports from the various medical proddings and pokings, combined with some personal success in managing my new bladder has helped to make this an extra special season.

Since that neprhostomy was removed from my left kidney, my urologist wanted me to have a blood test every month and an ultrasound every three. I believe this was to insure that we didn't miss any problems with my remaining good kidney. Last month my ultrasound showed that the swelling of the 'bad' left kidney had gone down significantly and the 'good' right kidney still looked just fine.  My Creatinine level had continued it's recent drop - to 2.1- which is lower than it's been for some time. All this good news prompted my urologist to change my schedule back to 6-month scans (they'll call me).

And on the management front, I have been struggling with night-time continence problems since the surgery. This has improved steadily over time and now it seems that I may have vaulted the last hurdle. I have spoken many times about the feeling before I go to bed that I needed to pee but not being unable to do so - no matter how much I strain, press, bear down, bend, and grunt.  My doctor has mentioned that some folks do some sort of self-catheter. I have taken a different tact. I have found that it's more a matter of finding the right relaxation technique than applying more force (I have also wondered if all this pressure creates reflux problems in the kidneys). And these techniques need to be different in the evening than in the daytime. I wonder if it's because I usually sit and watch TV for a couple hours before bedtime and this re-organizes things down there so that other things press against those tubes (things do move around down there more than they did before the surgery - I can feel it). Regardless, I have had good success with some of these techniques and it has made all the difference in making it through the night - dry.  Yes, these are little triumphs but they make the start of each new day just a little bit brighter.

Happy New Year.