Sunday, September 25, 2011


Recently, I have had a string of nightmares every night I have gone to bed. I know it is because of the pending surgery on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. My stomach was so upset this morning when I woke up that I was afraid to have my morning coffee, so I waited until noon. It felt great to be able to drink it.

One of the things I cannot do is change what is happening to me. If I want to survive a bit longer on this planet I must go through the surgery. I have done it before several times. It doesn't get easier when I have to face it again.

It is amazing(at least to me) how many times I have to tell my VA doctors what surgeries I have had over the years, but I do because they were all done at the VA and they are all in my medical record. It is in the computer. I have long suspected that no one reads anything. They give you these questionnaires to fill out and the last one I filled out I said to the nurse: "Why do we fill these things out since no one reads them?" She just nodded. It is all busy work meant to give the patient confidence that the doctors know what they are doing and not give the medical providers any trouble. I am going to make sure that the doctors know which lung to operate on by marking it with a magic marker. I learned to do that in California. I would hate to wake up and find out they took a lobe out of the left lung. It 's not that they can put it back.

The nurse in the pre-opt session asked if I wanted to see a priest before I went into the surgery. I said yes and was astonished that she asked.

"Is it possible?" I asked her.

"Oh yes, we will have a priest for you before surgery."

"I guess in Portland you can find a Buddhist priest," I said. "I don't care what denomination he or she is from. She can be a nun for that matter."

The nurse looked at me in puzzlement. "Buddhist?"

"Yes, it is written all over my records. I have been a Buddhist for almost 40 years."

As I wrote earlier, no one reads the medical records. I probably won't get a priest before my surgery although my hopes were raised somewhat.

The wind has died down outside which is a shame. I was enjoying it as it blew the leaves, big gold ones past my patio windows. I watched the squirrels running along the branches preparing for winter which as I understand does happen here in Portland. The crows were up this morning cawing and complaining about something that was happening in their world. I wonder if it helps to complain sitting on a branch and knowing only another crow understands and everyone else would throw something if they could at you. Maybe, another crow would not listen anyhow which is part of the complaint.

The only thing that makes me feel good is being home at the end of the year and both surgeries are over and I am getting well and there are no other procedures to do except recover. That would be nice. I have plenty of books, two computers, and a freezer full of food and some soup in the cardboard. The social workers at the VA seem ready to work with me which was more than they were at the other VA were I was at but to be fair I was at a rural one. Portland seems to have their "ducks in a row" better than Redding did on that score. The Palo Alto VA Hospital was the worst VA Hospital that I have ever been. I hope it remains that way. I want all of my nightmares to be ones I dream about at night and not ones I experience.

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