August 2023

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Good Monday, dear reader! I type to you in the cool of August, a rare morning when the temperature upon waking was two degrees below seventy. The glory and wonder!

The cool short lived, as I worked out in the basement, intervally “running” my heart out on the rebounder. Four minutes of fury, followed by a more lackadaisical pace for the same length, three times through . It’s supposed to make me stronger. The jury is still out on that, but it does make me sweaty and tired.

Now to the flowers! The back garden is ripe with hollyhocks and sunflowers. Hundreds of blooms in total. Winged creatures galore: hummingbird, bee, butterfly, wasp, moth, fly, and tiny critters I cannot identify. I delight in being a source of food and congregation. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

After suffering pretty much my whole life from a painful and tender, vomit-prone digestive system, and having it only minorly given proper attention by doctors, I took the reins and made an appointment with a tummy pro. The wait was three months, and perhaps out of sheer relief at the thought, my symptoms dissipated. I went to the appointment anyway and had a delightful interaction with the specialist, felt 100% heard and believed and started a battery of tests. Our mutual guess at my condition: gallstones. Little nuggets of bile keeping me from proper digestion.

While waiting for the results, I awoke one middle of the night in a great, fevered pain. Nausea. Diarrhea. All the fun things. We called the nurse line and she said get ye to an E.R. pronto! We did. A full battery of pain and anti-nausea meds, tests by a kindly host of many nurses and one doctor, and not a single gallstone found. But what? The first I ever heard of biliary dyskenisia, what I am not-so-affectionately calling a lazy gallbladder. Like my Grandpa would say, “It’s just sitting there, like a bump on a log.”

Another big test one week later that included a radioactive tracer, and we have bump on a log confirmation. My gallbladder does not work! Because it causes much pain without offering anything useful means I will need yet another surgery. Wah. I really hoped I was done with them. Better than the alternative, however, so fingers crossed it is relatively soon and incident free. Please think good thoughts!

Also, if something continues to be wrong with your body, please advocate for yourself. My specialist said, “Everyone is always so happy to get this news, even though it means surgery.” It’s because we’re so relieved not be crazy!

No Twin

A page, turning, is a wing lifted with no twin, and therefore no flight. And yet we are moved.

Ocean Vuong


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