235) Enter the '84 Coleman Columbia

April 12, 2008

Morning: Gladys the Tech called me at home while I was raking the front yard with Liz & Shayna… a family project with Chelsea running around like a wild dog. We negotiated for me to come in at 1:30… in an hour and one half. I had trimmed the Mountain Laurel and tended the two new purple sages and the transplanted hibiscus and we completely raked the front and the side yard… only have the back 40 to go.

Also, this morning Shayna and I went over to Texas Truck & Trailer to buy a drop-down ball mount, since our NEW pop-up is lower than the one we used to haul. Yes, we did finally find a ’84 Coleman Columbia for a very reasonable price and now all we have to do is find a place to put it, since Westcreek Assn. has rules about trailers in driveways.

El Milagro: I arrive on time and Herman the Nurse points out my chair, right beside John the Reader. As I settle in by putting out my blanket, pillow, book, New Yorker, radio, and earphones, Herman takes my BP and I’m talking away to John and I look over at my BP and it is 235 over 180! My eyes widen with disbelief and I look at Herman and say, “What? Can blood pressure even go that high?” and Herman calmly says, "lets try it again…" and he does and it is just about the same. I am freaking out! So, Herman takes the cuff off me and puts it on himself and does his and it is 140 over something… “That’s a little high for me” he concludes. Jason the Tech is now standing there too, looking suspicious about the whole thing. Herman tells me about a woman patient he used to have whose normal BP was 250 over something and she continually told him not to worry about it. I say, “Well, mine has NEVER been this high and I don’t like it one bit?” Herman puts the cuff back on me and pops the button again. While I am feeling the clamping on my arm and worrying I tell myself “Calm down” while another part of my brain says, “Easy for you to say… you’re friggin BP is off the planet!”. Another part of my brain is yelling, “SHUT UP! Your’re not helping anything! Just chill out…” Soon the cuff says, "pffffff" and I swing around to see the machine: 115 over 76. Herman listens to my chest and concludes that my pulse is 76 and I am okay. We decide to keep track of the BP for awhile and it seems like I am back to normal. Even though I question the machine and this anomaly neither Herman or Jason the Kid have any idea or seeming concern about it. They are happy to just go on with life without questioning the universe, the machine, or my own constitution. I am so happy to be back to a normal BP that I let out a big sigh and I too choose to just move on along time's highway.

Jason carefully sticks me with his usual conscientious and patient-centered approach. He puts in a needle, attaches a syringe pumps the blood in and out, asks how it feels, reports how it feels to him, and then goes on to poke number two. Once I am set up, I am ready to finish reading a story in the New Yorker while telling myself "I SHOULD be reading my Saleebey" book. Before I even get my earphones on, John the Reader and I start a conversation and I end up putting away my magazine, book, and earphones.

We start off our conversation by commenting on the teen girls in Florida who videotaped beating up a girl and put it on U-tube. John posits that even though we (and he is probably a generation younger than me) did crazy stuff as teenagers, this kind of thing is way out of line with appropriate behavior. I share that my thought is that it has to do with a changing value system and that these new generations are the first to develop their values based on popular culture and their peers rather than their parents and the “adult” culture, and that this is due to the proliferation of technology that permits teens to insulate (“build a wall” according to Ron Taffel) their peer culture (Taffel’s “second family”) outside of their parent’s span of control. With teens’ use of instant messaging, cell phones, and email, many times parents don’t even know who their teen’s friends are, much less “approve” of them. Even though there are good peer culture influences, there are also many more opportunities for experimenting with, and documenting, behavior that dances on the edge of societally appropriate. Historically, teens’ experimentally aberrant behavior was relegated to behind the barn and whispered about. Today it is out front and on the web for everyone to see. [I wonder if Hans, with his new book, Youth & Subculture as Creative Force might offer something to this conversation?] Even after my discourse, John shakes his head and cannot understand the violence and stupidity of these girls. Any youth out there? We'd be happy for your take too.

We move on to talking about some of our own upbringing, our take on the political situation, and our kidney situations. John hasn’t yet gotten on the kidney transplant list because he wants to stabilize his health more first. This strikes me as an admirable and ethical stance. As I understand it, he doesn’t think it is ethical to get on the list before HE thinks he is an appropriate candidate for a new kidney. He evaluates his own situation with some suspect, since he has been hospitalized five times since starting dialysis. He says something to the effect of, “I would hate to take a kidney from someone and then up and die… that would be a waste.”

The flow of the conversation rolls on: hospital drugs to the similarities between vodka gimlets and kamikazes. The impact of liquids on our kidney situations. I share that they always told me not to drink more that 32 ounces a day. John is limited to a liter and a half a day and he says he can’t go one glass over that without having serious complications leading to another hospitalization. So, how much is a liter and a half? Herman comes to solve that one: “32 ounces is a liter” and then he adds, “approximately… that’s how we remember a liter” so, John can supposedly drink a little more than I am supposed to; although I admit to him that I seldom pay attention to the number of ounces I drink per day. He laments that he has to watch it very carefully, which is a reason to drink vodka gimlets rather than gin and tonic. The tonic is a waste of precious liquid.

Finally, John is about to leave and having to wait a bit for his BP to come up and the common dizziness to go down so he can drive. He leaves and I settle back to watch TV for my last hour. I watch the Masters and although Tiger has finished already it is fun watching the young guys, Immelman and Snedeker and hearing about how Tiger is in 5th place but that really means to the commentator that he is winning. Before I know it it is time to unhook and head home. Jason unhooks me and all is well. It is still a bright sunny afternoon-like day out and I look forward to checking out the lawn when I get home. So it goes.

Notes: In at 76.2 and out at 74.3 Kgs.
*Skott-Myhre, H. (2007) Youth and subculture as creative force: Creating new spaces for radical youth work. Toronto, ON: U. of Toronto Press.
New Readers: For an INDEX, click January 2008 on the Sidebar and page down to post # 207.

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