The Amend Corner

Emerging from a holiday hibernation

Posted 1/28/20

Back in November, I decided to take two or three weeks off before once again returning my photo to the Tribune’s opinion page.

I wasn’t exactly taking this time off because I was tired …

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The Amend Corner

Emerging from a holiday hibernation


Back in November, I decided to take two or three weeks off before once again returning my photo to the Tribune’s opinion page.

I wasn’t exactly taking this time off because I was tired of writing or anything like that, but I had run into a dry spell, and ideas for columns weren’t sprouting in my mind. A three-week recess would have put me into the middle of Christmas and the new year, a holiday period full of material suitable for a column.

Somehow, that material never materialized, and now the planned two- or three-week recess has turned into a two-month winter break. I’ve devoted so little mental energy into creating a column about Christmas — or anything else, for that matter — that I might as well have gone into hibernation.

Well, I wasn’t asleep all that time, but I was anesthetized twice, which one might think has all the benefits of sleep, but, at least in my case, it doesn’t. Instead it just means two or three days with a grouchy disposition and a feeling of uselessness.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. These past two months have been rather busy, especially if you count the recovery time that some of my experiences made necessary.

This extended break began pleasantly enough. We enjoyed the community Thanksgiving dinner as well as the official opening of the Christmas season here in Powell.  My wife and I have grown used to celebrating most of our holidays without the presence of family members. Still, we are thankful for the technology that enables us, not only to talk with our grandchildren and their parents, but to see them as well. We talked to both of their families during December. We also had packages from both to open. I received my usual book from our daughter’s family and we enjoyed a selection of cheeses from various countries that our son and his family sent to us.

We observed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as we usually do, pondering the miracle of the holiday with the help of Christmas music from many cultures

There was something unusual this Christmas, though. Years ago, Karen and I decided not to give each other gifts. Each of us has violated that agreement on occasion, but for the most part, we have kept our promise. This year, however, I ran across something I always wanted to have: a grandfather clock. On this occasion, I asked Karen if I could buy it. She said I could if I could identify a place for it in our house.  I knew just the right place, and the clock now stands in our living room, ticking away and chiming at appropriate times. We have concluded that it’s a gift to both of us. It’s the first time that’s happened since 1984, when we gave ourselves and our kids a computer.

December was a time for some not-so-pleasant adventures on the medical front. A port was installed in my chest a few years ago to facilitate chemo-therapy. It isn’t in use now because I take pills, but the port still requires regular flushing, and recent flushing revealed that something was amiss. A trip to radiology for a quick look by the radiologist revealed that the port had come apart — and the part that delivers the chemo into a vein was now lying in one of the upper chambers of my heart.

So, the next day, we were off to Billings for the first of my adventures in anesthesia. They knocked me out, cut a hole in my neck and threaded a catheter into my heart. That enabled the doctor to send down a lasso, rope the displaced piece of medical equipment and pull it from my heart. The whole procedure left me a bit dopey for the next two days, and the episode left a hole in my week.

The broken port had to be removed and replaced, so a week later, I reported to Powell Valley Hospital, where I was put to sleep for the second time, which, as it had the week before, left me with my senses a bit out of sync for two or three days. Once again, I had a hole in my week.

Well, all that is now behind me. I have all my senses back and a brand new port. My medical adventures are not over, though. Last week I visited the dentist’s office for some deep cleaning to address some gingivitis, and I’m likely to need more work on my teeth this month. Even so, I’m happy to still be alive and have the energy to write this column — especially since I just completed more than two months of rest and relaxation.

It’s a little late, but I hope all of you have a great year in 2020.

The Amend Corner


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