Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Memorable Weekend

Except for not being able to access Google, we have had the best weekend you could imagine. For example, the United states government, in its infinite wisdom, has put economic sanctions in place against the Sudan in an attempt to stop the gun running and the violence against the people in Darfur. Not a perfect solution, but at least someone is watching. Wouldn't it make you feel warm and fuzzy all over to think that a life was saved by an American Foreign Policy? Couldn't you just chant USA USA USA?

Then, there was the First Annual Jacob N. Perkins Annual Memorial Golf Tournament at the Bretton Woods Golf Course. The Tournament will be put on every year by the Poolsville High Boosters with the proceeds going to a scholarship fund in Jake's name. This year, the Fund gave two scholarships of $1000 each to students going to college. The family and friends have been donating, and the money will be invested. Each year, the scholarship will be larger.

And the piece d'resistance was Sunday, when I got to play with a whole bunch of kids. I got to do a little cooking on a grill with a young man who turns out to be a spectacular chef, he really didn't need me at all, and spent the day laughing so much I wore myself out. I left feeling rejuvenated, yet exhausted. I really owe my friend for a fabulous day. Everything was possible now. Even a vaccine for common sense, which isn't so common, just ask Dave Barry.

So the lesson I have learned from the weekend is this, I need to look to see how to make the World a better place, and do my little thing to make it a better place. And then hope that I set a good example. By the way, if you live anywhere close to Utah, could you stop in and see how MJ is doing? Thanks.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Memorial Day Really Means Something

I sat and listened to the President of the United States speaking today from the Rose Garden at the White House. Mr. Bush spoke of the importance of Iraq, why the Immigration Bill was so important, why individuals could find small details in the bill to reject, but that taken as a package, the bill was something that could pass and revolutionize Immigration in America.

We would make sure that the bill had something for everyone. There would be no amnesty. And so on and so forth and on and on. We would be politically correct and see this through to the bitter end.

As far as I am concerned, "political correctness" is the result of the two political partys getting away from compromising and instead fighting every issue to the death. What is typical of today is that you can ask people of either party and they will agree with this thesis. If you ask a Democratic, they will say that they Republicans started it and that it has become a tradition now. And, to no ones surprise, if you ask a Republican, you get exactly the reverse, that the Democrats started the problem, and that now the Republicans are doing the same thing in return. I can hear my father screaming at me that if someone jumped off a bridge, would I do the same thing, and wasn't I EVER going to learn to think for myself. I'm hoping for a better Immigration Bill, myself.

Which brings me to the purpose of my post. This weekend is Memorial Day. I find it a solemn occasion. I am really privileged. I got to grow up in this country, I got to work, get an education, succeeded reasonably well, have great friends, eat more than a human being should legally eat and generally have it pretty well. I don't live in a place like Darfur, a place I send money and wish I could stop the genocide. I generally feel pretty impotent not doing more.

There's other places where we have troops fighting, and hopefully in some of these places, people will end up freer than they were before. Maybe one day the United Nations will be able to do something. Maybe one day freedom will be universal. In the history of this country, every generation has fought a war. I wish I could guarantee you that each and every generation had fought a war to keep us free. I prefer to think that because the people that wear the uniform and answer the call to service do it with well-meaning hearts. I pray their lives were well spent regardless of my political feelings which may be to the contrary. Regardless, the openness and freedom of the society that I have the good fortune to live in is paid for by the lives of the people in uniform who keep me and you free. We are indebted to them, and Monday is the day we should turn our thoughts to them and the sacrifices they have made for us.

I am writing today to say that i am grateful and most appreciative for the gift they have given me. I hope you'll join me. I have a fabulous weekend planned. The cornerstone is when I get to play with a 9 year old and a 12 year old and I get to act my real age, a kid again. I'm getting really tired of being an adult. Have a great weekend y'all.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

An Open Post To Mr. Joe King

Dear Mr. King,

Congratulations on coming through your spinal surgery so well. I can tell you, your daughter Tiffany was somewhat nervous although absolutely confident. I look forward to hearing that you're healing well, and that you went home to have some pie. I hope one day to get down there and join you.

I'm sure everyone here joins me in wishing you a speedy recovery and hope that you get to go home soon.

I put this together for you so you'd have something to hum as you do some roadwork in the hospital to speed your healing along. This is a different version I haven't played here before of "The ride of the Valkyries" from Die Walkure by Richard Wagner performed by the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland conducted by Edo De Waart. I hope you enjoy it!

Monty and Judy et al

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

After The Darkness Comes The Dawn

To my wife, Judy

"Memories" from "Cats"

"Somewhere Over The Rainbow/It's A Beautiful World"

"Spirit In The Sky"

Rufus Wainright sings Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"

Normally I'd save this for the weekend, but at the moment, two of us are sort of out of phase from the rest of the world. Please bear with me.

Self Of Itself Is Insufficient

I'd like to thank all of you for all of the good thoughts and wishes, the cards, e mail, e cards, and calls that you have made on our behalf. I cannot tell you how good and important it is to heard from friends, and to realize that you really aren't alone when your personal World is upside down and senseless.

Relationships ends by either choice or death. We cannot, and should not live alone. We derive too much quality from others, particularly animals, who are so loving and giving. Life would be barren without these relationships, yet we know that there will be horrible pain when they end.

If you scratch a pessimist, you will find an optimist. who else would care enough to do all of the existential work looking for an answer to questions that end so badly? It has been a terrible year. If you believe in God, you have to figure that God knows I can handle it better than others. Otherwise, I wouldn't have burdened this way. It's out of the story of Job, who had it much, much worse than me. I am not complaining. If you don't believe, than you can take my nephew Jake's point of view which was, "it am what it am" a sort of poetic jab at simply accepting things for what they are.

I have found that my best defense is a positive mental attitude. I learned this from reading CMHL when she published a lot, something I hope resumes one day. So I am remembering that she did wait for me to get home from the hospital, and I am remembering her as a kitten jumping seven (7) feet straight up into the air and snatching a moth from the air, and then not knowing what to do with it, and getting that "oh dear" look on her face. I am remembering her giving me head butts, and racing through the house chasing a squirrel from one end of the house to the other, and beating him there. I am remembering her 'disappearing' one day and searching for her, and not being able to find her, and having her suddenly stand up at the top of a book case near the ceiling,....so I think I am the luckiest man alive. I lived with her for 18 years, I still live with Judy, and I have all of you for friends.

A good reason for a Gathering over Memorial Day 2008.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

In Loving Memory Of Holmes

April 24, 1989 to May 19, 2007

Last Wednesday night, Holmes stopped eating and drinking for some unknown reason. It was almost as if she had forgotten how to do it. She'd put her face in the bowl and nothing would happen. She would smell the food, and then walk away. She stood in water and did nothing. I tried dripping water into her mouth and she fought me as if I were trying to put a pill down her throat.

We went to the vet at 9:30 AM this morning. Holmes weighed 2 pounds 11 ounces. The vet gave Holmes a complete exam and told us it was time to let her go. We had previously received the four points vets used from CMHL and knew this to be true, but I needed the professional support to make the decision. I held Holmes in my arms right to the very last second of her life. I could be there for her to make sure she wasn't scared. That was my responsibility, it was also my choice.

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.

Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.

We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan..."

"The Once Again Prince" from "Separate Life Times" Irving Townsend

I am always interested by the statistical argument that half of all marriages end in divorce. Most people never realize that the other half end when one partner dies. Either way, endings are tragic in nature, existential shall we say. Going to Houses of Mourning, and sitting and reminiscing have given me an insight and a way of turning the tragedy of death into something positive. In a single sentence, it's "remember I lived, forget that I died."

On Monday, I will make a donation to the local chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Holmes' name. I can't think of a better way to honor her.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Update Plus Tidbits

I have been home for a week now, and I have been asleep or walking the entire time. Lots of really interesting things have happened. For instance, I almost never use insulin now during the day, under the doctor's order from the hospital, I'm eating less, and as of today I'm down 22 pounds since this episode started.

The pills on the table in the first picture were the medications that have been prescribed for me over the years by various doctors that became lifetime drugs. It used to take me 30 miutes to medicate and take my insulin in the morning. Fifteen pills. Now, three. That's because of the lady below, Dr. Alicia Mistry, Head of Hospitalists at Shady Grove Hospital, and a medical wizard.

I'm feeling better, and trying to build some endurance. On the other hand, this post has taken me almost three days off and on to write. I'm way behind on my e mail, and I get tired fast. No tai chi for two months, the pain is inside now, not outside. I feel like I was hit on the right side by a professional boxer with a wicked left hand.

And this rock star is the surgeon who operated on me. We adopted him. Dr. Joshua Felsher, wunderkinder. His wife just gave birth four weeks ago. He estimated that the anesthesiologist would have me for an hour to an hour and a half to do the epidural before the surgery, and that he would take about three hours to laborascopically fix a hernia I didn't know I had, remove my appendix (which is attached to the colon on the right side, so now I can't get appendicitis, awwww) and remove my ascending colon.

I was wheeled into the operating room at noon, and as I was explaining to the nurses in the OR about the party in the parking lot when this was over, and how to make the Jello shooters, adding the last cup of vodka was the last thing I got out before it was lights out. The next thing I knew I was being wheeled back into my room in the ICU at about 3:00 PM, and Judy was telling me the operation was a smashing success. The surgeon had been out at 2:00 PM telling her that things had gone so much better than had been expected. Apparently the tai chi has done a lot more good for me than I thought.

Well, I'm a bit tired now, so I think I'll head off to bed. See you all soon! I'll write again as soon as i can! And thanks for hanging in there with me!

Friday, May 11, 2007

I Have Returned

It's noon Friday, and I have to admit I have been lazing around the house, playing with Holmes. I got home sometime late Wednesday, and went out like a light. Last night, I awoke to find Holmes sitting on my head, making sure I couldn't get up and leave again. She has consistently blocked my path when I walk as if to say, "sit down, you ain't leaving again!" Stepping over her does not upset her in the least, she just races ahead to impede the next step. She's so creative. I can't wait to be able to bend over and pick her up. Maybe next week. On the good side, my weight is still down, I'm below 250 at 248.5 this morning. I'm going to keep this train going.

I'm still a bit weak, and getting used to not having IVs in both arms. It feels strange. I'm just starting to think of things to blog about. I'll write as soon as they become ideas. You all have great weekends, and do everything I want to do! See you soon!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Nurses Are Awesome

My world still revolves around this small room, and the very few people who regularly come into and out of it. Without fail, the one person who has the biggest effect on my life is The Nurse. There is no bigger unsung hero, no more important front-line worker.

With one exception who shall go unmentioned, I have had world class nursing care. I will have pictures when I get home. When I say world class, I mean consistently world class. Not just really good care, and by the way, there was a couple of excellent nurses; I mean consistent best of breed and a couple of curve busters you can't believe. Throw in the rock star doctors, and I have had it as good as it gets. It's not just that I know this to be true, I absolutely believe it.

The Nurse is the hospital's Marine. They take and secure the beach from patients who are often out of their minds. They bring order from chaos, peace and calmness from tragedy. These people are unique, and do a very dirty job. The nurses I had in ICU and the Intermediate Step Down Unit should have been cannonized. Today, I reside with mere mortals. If you happen to know a nurse, buy them a drink for me. If they're an ICU nurse,buy them a steak dinner along with it, please.

There's a good chance I may be coming home today. I have one more MRI to get through, and then they'll pull the last IV. After that, FREEDOM!!!! And HOLMES!!!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


By the powers vested in me as the patient, I have declared victory. I am walking around the hospital. Yesterday. I went back and visted the Intensive Care Unit where I lived for a week when I was a very sick person. I visited a guy who was on the same monitor as me, I was 23 and he was 25. We both had names, faces, but to the staff, we were 23 and 25. We both had the same nurse in ICU. As far as I was concerned, we were living together. He had a node of his lung removed because of cancer. Yesterday, he was moved down to a step down unit. I went to celibrate with Ted Israel and his wife. It's one of those little human hospital things.

I have blown trhough the respiratory goals (suck on this machine so that this thing floats above this 1500 level ten times). I used the CMHL approach(patent pendind). I just kept doing it until I had done it, then I had exceeded it. The surgeon says I can leave now as far as he's concerned. The medical people in the hospital want to keep me through some pain management and into eating solid foods. This experierience has turned into an exceptionally positive experiece with Shady Grove Hospital. The quality in this hospital has improved remarkably since my arm was operated on in 2004, and I had a remarkably good surgical experince and a remarkably bad hospital experience. I even took the Vicadan, but I still try REALLY HARD not to take the percocette. I hate that drugged feeling.

I'm not exactly sur how she does it, but I'm convinced Wicked H is partly responsible for my recovery. She does something medical, and something with hospitals, so, just to be safe Thank you Wicked! And just as important,I thank all of you for standing by Judy and I through this current crisis. It is more than comforting to know that you're not alone, that you have friends who care if you live or die, and who might stop and say a prayer for you.

Now, to get MJ well.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Update, Update, Update!

It's Judy again. Dave is doing amazingly well! He's still in the ICU, but only because there are no beds available in the step-down unit. And, as of last night when I left, there were three people ahead of him for going to that unit. So, he may be in ICU for another day or two.

He's "wired for sound," with hookups to more machines than an old-fashioned computer room! And every reading is right on "normal," which is also amazing.

His great accomplishment today will be to stand up and walk around the room. That's all he'll be allowed to do. The main thing is to let the re-section inside heal completely before doing a lot of moving around. He's impatient to be up and about because he's basically been tied to the bed and its confines since the wee hours of Tuesday morning. He doesn't have computer access, it's too uncomfortable to read, daytime TV sucks, and he's B O R E D ! ! ! ! !

He's also joking around with ALL the nurses and doctors and anyone else he can snag. Classic David! I LOVE it. hehehehehehe

Okay, I'm heading to the hospital. Keep those good vibes coming. They're working!


Saturday, May 05, 2007

The wife - reporting in

The first hurdle is cleared. Monty got through the surgery with no complications so far. He's pretty much out of it and will be through today. By tomorrow he'll be more awake and aware. There is a lot of pain, but he's got a pain med pump that he controls, so he's able to stay ahead of it and keep himself as comfortable as is possible. He's still in ICU, of course, and I don't know how long they'll keep him there. They won't even begin talking about food for him until Monday, because they've got to let the surgical sites (internal and external) heal a bit before adding the stress of processing real food.

I know he'll be rooting for steak and chocolate cake, not necessarily in that order. I suspect what he'll get is Jell-O ... heh heh ... not EVEN close. hehehehehehe

Okay, I'm heading to the hospital ... again. Poor little Holmesie is feeling a bit left out, but I'm playing with her as much as I can when I get home. She seems to be feeling a bit better, and she's eating nicely, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that she'll succeed in her battle with the effects of the tainted food.

Thank you ... all of you ... every one of you ... for your wonderful wishes, and your prayers. I've been reading the responses to Dave and it's done him a world of good ... and me, too.

I think the idea of a gathering next year is an amazing idea. GO FOR IT!

Again, thank you all ...


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Writ by CEO - typed by Mrs. Monty

"All things being equal, I'm really glad we have doctors and nurses and hospitals. I just wish I never needed them. I'm having Judy put this post in for me because I remember getting nervous the last time MJ was in the hospital and I didn't know what was wrong, if she was OK and frankly, I didn't like that.

Blogging seems to have some sort of effect on you. I actually care what happens to CMHL. Really. She's the first blogger I ever read, and Cindy is the second. Alison has become my bloggy sister. You already know Glamourpuss talked me back into the hospital via email from England.

I had decided pretty much not to blog about it, but through a strange set of events, I have actually met both Lee and Crankster. That went so much better than I could ever have hoped for, and I haven't even mentioned all the people I am close with.

I'm grateful to all of you for all of your good wishes. Maybe we aught to think of a way to get together a year from now, something like Memorial Day weekend of 2008. We ought to get to know each other better. I know I want to meet Reflecting Pool and Deb and ODAT, the eriudite Glamourpuss, and a lot of others, plus you know who ....."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

extra! extra! read all about it ...!

Hi, folks.

This is Mrs. Monty/Judy/Ace/Holmes' mom. Dave is in the hospital and has been since Sunday late afternoon. Unfortunately, this time he does not have computer access, so he can't get online with y'all directly to tell you what's happening. So, you got me.

I won't go into all the ucky details. They've done a number of scans and tests, all aimed at pinpointing where he's bleeding inside. They THINK it's from one or more diverticulosus sites along the right side of his large intestine. SO, either tomorrow or Friday, they're going to remove the right half of his large intestine. Yes, you read that right.

He's gotten five pints of blood since Sunday evening. Thank heavens, he's not in any pain. He's uncomfortable because the bed is uncomfortable, he gets woken up every hour by the blood pressure cuff on his left arm, and they're constantly coming into his room to check on him/take blood/give him blood or fluids/ etc. And he hasn't eaten anything since Monday night. (they fed him to see what would happen ... they found out: he bled like a wild man late Monday night.)

After the surgery, if all goes well, he'll be in the hospital another four or five days. I don't know what his overall recuperation period will be, but at least he should be home.

I am so ready for that ... I don't sleep very well when he's not on the other side of the bed.