Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Birth and Rebirth

Quiet this morning. Marken is still off in Morgantown, and last night, Clint, Vraja, and granddaughter Gracie left for Columbus Ohio to be with Manjari, so the house feels empty. Tulasi is still here, but he is puttering around outside somewhere and my wife is gone off on her walk.

This is the theoretical big day for Manjari, the day the doctors had given as the approximate due date for her baby. I called this morning and nothing has happened yet. Vraja will be staying with her through the birth and help her transition into her home with the newborn. This was the actual reason for her originally planning an extended visit here this summer – the Kulimela and to help Manjari. My whole medical drama was an unscheduled sideshow. Certainly worked out as well as could be expected, maybe some divine guidance made it all mesh together the way it did. Vraja said she is going to work on massaging Manjari today, and concentrate on some points on her hands and feet (?) that may help the event move smoothly.

I feel in some ways like I have had a new birth. After the operation, I awoke helpless, completely dependent on others for all bodily functions. I had a catheter for passing urine. Initially, bowel movements weren’t even an issue, as they had given us some stuff to drink before the operation that was a very effective purgative, emptying the digestive tract. That was why we wanted to go to Pittsburgh the afternoon before admittance, because the need to be near a toilet was paramount. :-) Plus, they give you a drug that shuts down the digestive system. As my operation lasted 12-14 hours, they couldn’t have any activity going on.

Flat on my back, any movement was very unpleasant. There were two IVs hooked up in one arm, something going on in the other. I was connected to a heart monitor and I think I had one of those blood oxygen sensors on my finger. There were 2 tubes coming out the right side of my abdomen that each ended in collection bags where fluid was draining out. Not connected, but still there in case something happened and they had to take me back into surgery, were tubes into the main veins on each side of my throat into which they recycle your blood during the surgery. There was something like these boots on my calves that cycled on like blood pressure checkers every few minutes. They squeezed the lower extremities so no clots would form.

I don’t remember anything about the first day in the ICU, when they had a ventilator stuck down my throat. My wife tells me stories about that day. After the ventilator was out, I was talking to her, to Kuladri who came and visited, and the doctors and nurses, but it is a blank. She said just before they pulled the ventilator, she came into the room and I had a clipboard in my hand and was attempting to write on it. After they pulled the ventilator out, my first words was to say, “It’s just a bunch of lines, isn’t it?” or something to that effect. It was.

Anyway, the next week was pretty much a constant meditation on urine and stool, and each benchmark was some event that moved me closer to normal digestive function. I could spend a week’s posts detailing this. Or as Marken so succinctly reduced the whole experience, “Pass stool, go home.” I wish I could desire Krishna as much as I desired that.


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