Monday, April 19, 2010

Last Surgery DONE! Recovery Now to Normalcy

Get Well Cards(Written by Ed's husband, E. Picture of Get Well cards on our bedroom closet doors.):
Bottom-line is that Ed's surgery went extremely well and very fast (just over an hour). Our surgeon was delighted how easily everything occurred. Gone is the bag. Small intestine is back where it belongs (i.e., OUT of SIGHT). Large intestine and colon are about to get a rude wake-up call after a Rip-Van-Winkle-like, 6-month nap.

Not to say the final part of the journey was exactly easy. We arrived Friday at the appointed hour (11 a.m.), were together in the pre-op room at 11:15, and were anticipating a 1 p.m. surgery. That was not to be. Because of other emergencies and an ever-decreasing number of operating venues that were still in use and staffed as the hours ticked on, Ed actually was finally wheeled into the operating room about 10:45 p.m. I did not know whom to feel more sorry for: him or the doctor, whose first surgery had begun early morning Friday. I finally welcomed Ed to his hospital room (one in which we have been before, but then there are seemingly few on the 4th floor he has not slept in) about 2 a.m.

So, I spent the night in the room. He was mostly in la-la land but also having a lot of initial discomfort and pain, which is expected. Saturday, he got periodic shots of pain relief; but he will also be enticed to take as many walks around the hallways as he can. There was no liquid intake today except for the IV. Sunday, he gradually sipped clear liquids, with soft foods (i.e., mush) being introduced today (on Monday). As more food shows up, the doctor says so will good, solid gulps of mineral oil (yum-yum).

If everything goes as planned, Ed should be coming home about on Wednesday. Then, the focus will be gaining strength, bringing his diet back to normal, and teaching his intestinal system to work again. The last task will not be complete for some weeks or months, according to the doctor, as his mind, impulses, and colon re-learn to get their messages all coordinated.

But, all the things we wanted to be with no more (i.e., cancer, ileostomy bag, worry about returning to normal) are now history.

Thanks to everyone throughout this entire, now-six-month process for your messages, prayers, calls, visits, cards, chantings, drummings, incense burnings, etc.

G-d willing, this should be my last message as Ed's Medical Communication Director. I hope that it is not a position I resume any time soon.

Love to each and all of you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Baseball: Go Giants!

Friday was the Giants' Opening Day at AT&T Park in San Francisco. It was a beautiful day in the City. Giants won the game agains the Braves.
View from the back of the park. Nice place to park your yacht.

Yes, E was in the lineup!

On Saturday the local sport memorabilia store had several former Giants players signing autographs. Here is our youngest son B, my husband E and I getting Kurt "Woody" Reuter's autograph on a picture. "Woody" was a pitcher for the Giants. Wikipedia says Woody "retired as the winningest left-handed pitcher in San Francisco Giants history, with 105 of his 130 career wins in a Giants uniform. Rueter is the 20th winningest pitcher in Giants franchise history. He is the 3rd winningest pitcher in San Francisco Giants history. He made the third most career starts in San Francisco Giants history. Only Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry had more career starts and wins."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Our 2010 Passover Seder Menu

Tonight we are back to eating bread and grains. Below is the dinner E served on the first night of Passover last Monday for 17 people. He cooked and prepared all five courses himself. He is an amazing man.

Canyon Ranch Charoset
Irma Cardoza's Charoset (from NY Times)
Charoset Bites Set on Apricots

Chilled Escalope of Salmon with Horseradish Sauce

Carrot Consommé with 3 Matzah Balls: Spinach, Tomato, and Turmeric

Marinated Duck Breast with Blueberry Madeira Sauce
Braised Red Cabbage with Apple Slivers
Twice-Baked Potatoes Stuffed with Roasted Pears and Watercress and Topped with Toasted Walnuts
Leek Coquettes

Chocolate-Drenched, Stuffed Fruit
Chocolate Matzah with Ginger and Rosemary
Frosted, Chocolate Nut Squares
Pistachio-Lemon Bars
Fudgy-Coconut Macaroon Bars

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Our Gay Passover Seder Plate of Affirmation and Freedom

Just as the traditional Seder plate reminds us of our journey to freedom as Jews, our Gay Seder plate is full of lessons for all.

Our Gay Passover Seder Plate of Affirmation and Freedom

First, we see an orange. Why is there an orange?

An orange carries within itself the seeds of its own rebirth. So have gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders– All given birth to their own inclusion. Also, an orange provides both food and drink and alone can sustain life for quite some time. So have we queer Jews on the outskirts of the tradition have, at times, had to sustain ourselves until others have understood and chosen to welcome and include us.

What does a Coconut symbolizes?

The coconut represents those who are still locked inside their shell, hiding from the world their hidden beauty as an out and proud Gay Jew. We notice the shell is nearly impossible to crack with our bare hands and equally difficult for the beauty inside to escape on its own. We all know from experience that once a coconut is opened up, the richness of its inner essence pours out almost with excitement of its long awaited liberation.

The meaning of Cucumbers soaked in vinegar?

Undesirable in our world is the sour flavor of hatred, bigotry, and homophobia. We take our sliced cucumber soaked in cider vinegar and lemon and taste its sourness.

Why a bowl of Fruit Salad?

Each piece of fruit is different from the other and regardless of which fruit it is, together the diversity of textures and flavors work together to make a collective entity better than any one piece. The world we desire is one in which all people are included in society as equal players, able to contribute, to have all rights, and to love and marry whomever they wish.

What is the importance of a bouquet of Flowers?

The path that brought us to who we are today as Gay men has been full of friends and family who have supported our path, represented here by the flowers on our plate.

The significance of Sticks and Stones?

But, we also remember those who have and still do not support our freedoms and selves, represented by the sticks and stones. We reflect on the members of our community who have suffered the pain and anguish of physical assault for being different and for those who have suffered verbal abuse and harassment. Meditate on how different our lives might have been had we been in their shoes. These sticks and stones have affected us and shaped our identities. We remember the many crossroads, vistas, cracks, and divots along the way that gays in our world still must face.

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha’Olam, she-ha-ko; ne-h’yeh bid-va-ra. Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, Ruler of the Universe, by whose word everything comes to be.

Passover Seder Plate
The six traditional items on the Seder Plate are:

  • Karpas (parsley or celery dipped in salt water) recalls the bitter tears shed during slavery
  • Maror (bitter herbs/horseradish) to symbolize the bitterness of slavery.
  • Chazeret (bitter vegetables) also to symbolize the bitterness of slavery.
  • Choroset (made with apples, nuts, spices and red wine) represents the mortar used by Hebrew slaves.
  • Z'roa (lamb shankbone) to recall the Passover sacrifice in the ancient temple.
  • Beitzah (a roasted egg) symbolizes mourning, sacrifice, spring, and renewal.

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