Lose 7 Pounds in 30 Hours–Without Boring Exercise!

As soon as I’d clambered into the house, I waddled into the bathroom and weighed myself. Two pounds heavier than when I’d entered the hospital. I put a tape measure around the belly That in itself took effort. Almost forty-eight inches. Wow! Given the five or six cups of hospital food ingested in the past week, these statistics made no sense. What was going on? Was it the types of food? The lack of deep sleep? The constipating meds? I took the meds anyway. What if the pain got worse? I slept seven or eight hours straight for the first… Continue reading

Borborygmi Theater

A left-behind stethoscope was our ticket into the Borborygmi Theater. A nurse or doctor had momentarily forgotten the thing. With a conspiratorial glance, Kay and I began listening through it, the way kids play with a doctor kit. Fun’s hard to come by in a hospital room, after all, and I hadn’t had any fun for quite a while. First I passed the stethoscope over the four quadrants of my burgeoninig belly, just as the nurse had, and then Kay had a listen. Have you ever done this? Omigawd, as Mother would say. Rumbles like a truck. Squeaks, gurgles, skitters,… Continue reading

The Overnight Pariah

Take your journal to the hospital, and a couple of pens. You never know when its seems wisest to stay awake by scribbling your way through the dark. I was becoming desperate for the four-hours-straight stretch of sleep that is essential to steering clear of fibromyalgia pain. I could sense it hovering out there, ready to pounce on some or all of my anatomy. So, I had soldiered on until 12:30 a.m., the time appointed for the nightly meds, in hopes of getting those precious hours for the first time since entering hospital three days earlier. What an effort! Pain… Continue reading

Fools of the Gods

The first breakfast that arrived at my hospital bedside astonished me. In one corner of the large tray sat a big cup of a dark brown liquid probably meant to be coffee, topped with a plastic cap to prevent spillage. Next to it sat a "milker", which is not a miniature Swiss miss leaning her forehead against a contented cow while pulling the teats, but another piece of plastic containing high-fat milk. Then a white-sugar baggie. Next to that, another plastic, mass-produced milk container with white stuff I haven’t drunk for years, since I learned about all the messing around… Continue reading

“Talking Stones,” a winner

Happy homecoming in more than one way–my poem “Talking Stones”, which I wrote with poet friends on retreat in Maui two years ago, has placed in Little Red Tree Press’ competition and will be published in its anthology late this summer. Not only that, I get a cheque. Don’t quit your day job for poetry, though–it’s fifty US$. That’s the way of it in poetry. One of the most important human activities, and there’s no money in it. “Blind Bison Jump” was also selected for inclusion in the anthology. Here is the poem. Be sure to check out Little Red… Continue reading


My daughter said I look like a cyborg. A many-pronged thingy fits into my back, dead center, keeping my mind clear and my bod foggy. An IV feed perces my left hand, flowing in electrolytes and mysterious clear liquids. My torso is adored with about eight sticky, soft-plastic circles armed with metal nipples, and numerous thin colored cords wrap themselves around the body. A clear tube protrudes from my sanctum sanctorum, loops itself around my legs and wanders over to a plastic bag that seems to be filling nicely with a beautifully colored chardonnay, or, if I swill cranberry juice,… Continue reading

The Knife

Naturally, far from everything was finished as planned before surgery morning dawned. I had contemplated going over useful information with my daughter, such as where my will is kept, or how to ward off various slings and arrows of outrageous fortune which might reasonably be expected to fling themselves our way in the near future. In the interests of not freaking her out any more than she already appeared to be, however, I kept my mouth shut, gave her a hundred-dollar bill in walking-around money, and threw some books and night things into a bag. I drove. She didn’t even… Continue reading

The Last Supper

My daughter is distraught at the thought of her mother being cut into—or perhaps it’s simply fear of losing the one rock in her life. She insists on cooking dinner for me. Tomorrow, no food is allowed, and at four p.m. the purgation starts. That means tonight is my last bit of gustatory fun—for a bit, in my mind; possibly forever, in her mind. She’s terrified I won’t get through the surgery, although that part is not nearly so scary for me. I’ve had surgeries before. Admittedly, this is my biggest: a hemicolectomy, an appendectomy, and a hernia fix. Then… Continue reading

Breakfast of Champions

I out-pilled my mother. About two years ago, when my nonagenarian mother was in a health crisis so severe doctors and family all thought she would die within hours, I got the bright idea of running her meds through a conflict-checker online. For a lawyer, that verges on smart thinking. Lawyers check for conflicts in the office all the time, usually by thinking about the past or by having a secretary check ratty files and time cards, or maybe, if the law office has been dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century, a computerised client list. Applying that template… Continue reading

The Ghostmaker

The booking clerk at the OR called: the anaesthetist wanted to meet with me. It dawned on me then that this promises to be a serious surgery. I’ve never met with an anaesthetist before. Most of us can hardly spell the word, although, by my age, most humans have had occasion to fall under his spell. Dr. M has no office–just a well-organised desk in a corner of the surgery area.There’s a binder on the desk which turns out to be totally focused on the body I walk around in. He lets me read it. This is good, since I… Continue reading