Purgatory Ain’t That Bad

My time in Purgatory has much mystery and probably some distance to it, but I am striving to make the best out of the situation. It’s actually working, to a degree. First is the notion of avoiding excessive self-pity. Shit happens, lol, and here I am. Secondly, what limits does my situation pose, physically and spiritually? While I find myself slow in the recovery process – especially inasmuch as I am getting myself in shape to endure another surgery – my nurses have been heroes in forcing me to work. I asked for them again for just this reason since I had the option of doing so. Smartest thing I have done recently. Needless to say they also give me some society when the rest of the world is at work and all 3 are interesting and personally devoted to excellent care-giving. Yeah, lol – that “nurse thing” – heroines once again.


Secondly, there is the dawning of health for a second time following the drills and exercise, especially good when I begin simply enjoying my body working again. It was so easy to slip into “fa-gettinboudit – why bother?” Which is strange because no matter how I abused my bod in the past with smoking or partying, I had always enjoyed being myself as a strong and active person. This entire process has really rocked my world, I know that. It gives me some unusual takes regarding my future which, Lord knows, I would never have encountered without all this hassle. At 66, it is hardly worth the crazed hopes that I will be reborn into the distant future, because the future might only last another couple decades. This is just reality. So where does that leave me?

It has saddled me with a strange redeeming optimism about others, for one thing – how nice it will be to socialize full-bore again. Inasmuch as I appear to have all these great friends, the best part of that is, is that it is true. And the beauty part of that is that I regard them all with the same lens – they may mean more to me than vice versa. I am such a people slut, lol – but I am and it’s been a great way to live a life. Belly laughs, sharing Nature, ball games, museums, music, their families – these remain my most heartfelt values and I earned a real big swimming pool to play with them all in. And now even new people, from Facebook, medicine and the always-intriguing relationships with artists. I study all this and it brings me right back up – inevitably and assuredly.


So I have learned more about being the “people person” I have always taken so for granted. It’s like this low-hanging superfood fruit – or manna – I do know where it is and I will walk there, given a few breaks. Or maybe run, lol. This is sort of huge, really. It’s the sort of thing we read about from wise people – it reminds me that Love is the driving principle of the best in human life. “Love conquers all.”


I am also about to break out into work again. The Jack Hicks book needs attention so bad I can taste it. I feel like I have been his roomie now for 3 years, ha ha. Longer than either of us planned. I just bet his dog still worships me. ;-) I am always thinking about it – 24/7 – and, for a while, I was so mentally goofy, I did not trust myself to deal with the subtle aspects of editing and gaining more data. The treasure is out there – the data in the Owensboro Library – and, once I am reasonably healthy, I can make those trips again and close things out.


I began sorting through pictures and framing an outline of another book on Landscaping – this one doing what I do best – recounting the processes of the work itself…..detailed landscaping with much DIY information for the bold. People always enjoyed my detailed descriptions of our work, with many finding huge surprise over its actual complexity – differentiating the amateurs from the pro’s.


These projects motivate me hugely, but, frankly, so does cleaning my room. Things slid into a sort of messy disrepair since October 9 and it is wholly cleansing being able to take care of myself and even improving things.

I feel like a combination of new and injured. Dealing with these complex interactions over the next 6 months will tell us all about how much quality I can squeeze out of the time I have left. It’ scary and inspiring, all at the same time.


Thank you all for everything – just hugely!!

The New Dreary

This will seem almost recycled from an earlier time when I was rescued by action and food and optimistic about life in general again. Some of my current condition is extremely temporary and some not so much. I am pretty sure I could have lived in the same valued sense of hope without knowing that the purpose of getting stronger is to be fit enough to endure another major surgery.

My original doctor messed up. He begged some forgiveness and reminded me why he traversed so far and wide in my innards – the answer to which is he searched for hiding places for cancer cells. These were all the likely repositories, the 22 removed lymph nodes. It is also why I still wear a drain sank deep into my right hip which remains indescribably a pain in the ass, if I may. This drain, in fact, was the ostensible reason for the recent stay in the hospital. It was mega-infected. They wanted me on a treatment series of anti-biotics. At the same time that was when the current tribe of urology experts hopped in the picture, invited by my doctor to try and locate the source of all the drainage coming from my wound.

Well, after numerous CT Scans they found the culprit. The mucking around inside – or else the wholesale removal of so many lymph nodes, had produced a separated ureter – a tiny tube connecting a couple of organs (I’m not sure which) – which became unfixable even after trying to access it through my kidney in a memorably dreadful procedure.

My last days in the hospital saw a few rounds of visiting urologists, all of whom were straightforward and even a little brutal. The kidney drain they had put in cured the wound drainage which was a massive relief. Now instead of the ritual of multi-changes per day of the dressings for the wound, my wound is completely healed and does not require anything further.

But the parting words were related to the “next thing” – a major surgery aimed at putting it all back together. I liked that they reassured me that they’d “fix everything and then you’ll get your life back.” But I didn’t like that it very well might require a catheter for a couple weeks following the surgery. The datelines stretch into the future like things I cannot have.

Currently, all this has caused extremes of moodiness. Inasmuch as I also brought home a bedsore, my misery has picked up steam until I am in a similar space that I was over the last Christmas when I sat here at 143 pounds and losing, contemplating extremes of illness and death. It’s as if we have traveled back in time to my very least favorite period of my life.

I didn’t lose so much muscle tone as to be a disaster. I can get around the house OK, although I was pretty wobbly my first 2 days back. So I can walk. I look forward to my physical therapy nurses coming around again – so much. An active Steve is a far happier Steve. I am doing a few exercises on my own but my moods overwhelm my desire to get better. I believe I am reeling, trying to find that balance which can accommodate to this new temporary situation while still dealing with such a future.

I hope the girls can bring me back again,  yet another time because I’m just not sure I am up to it.

Patio Paving – Swimming Pool Part 2


(All pictures enlarge, some to huge sizes, by left clicking)

We had always been around during the construction of the pool,  The pool-makers would call and ask for back filling, once things became settled in the ground itself.  We paid a lot of attention to the future and the last foot or so of back-filling was devoted to putting in gravel and base material.  With the budget we had, this place will outlast the house by a century or so.  It could well be one of the most compacted surfaces I ever installed. I am positive it is in the 99 percentile of compaction.

So we began installing pavers around the pool.  We attended to drainage issues and found it necessary to install the drain shown protruding in the picture above.  The pavers we used were Belgarde’s “Bergerac” Pavers, an expensive but gorgeously-antiqued model, set in a random pattern.  They were also an additional inch thick!  These big beauties came in at 3 1/4″ thick, providing a huge challenge for not only our cutting apparatii (gas-powered table saw with a diamond blade) but also requiring substantial grinding for the wild number of curves.  Talk about labor intensive!

Obviously, we had other issues, such as a fire pit shown in the bottom picture.  The necessity to hand-shape curving pavers was especially intense when around boulders, as can be seen above.  The irregularities don’t seem so drastic when the boulders first get placed.  But, wow, they get intense when the finishing starts.

I am thinking the project lasted almost 2 months.  There was a lot going on in general – a water feature which was designed to appear to be supply the pool water from the front yard and a 130 foot creek, originating at a waterfall out front.  We tried to make the area behind the falls by the spa appear to be a bridge just to enhance this idea. 

At any rate, it was intense but as we neared completion and began planting, we started to see things coming together nicely.

Nurses And Angels

There is a direct correlation, except nurses are still alive, thank God, and doing what they obviously love to do. I read, about a week ago, how Job Satisfaction ratings have always been led by the nursing profession. It is not close, in fact. My Mom wanted to be a nurse when she was a kid in the 20′s. It is not a new development.

An let me take this moment to praise the male nurses who also were so instrumental in helping me. But all of the nurses’ smiles, repartee, and a constant concern for my health constitutes the making of a gratitude which I am nearly incapable of expressing. Typically, of course, I will try. You guys know me now, lol.


In the ICU, all the blinking lights, the seeming darkness alternated by the light baths when the nurses or doctors went to work, I was in a dazed state and am finding memories harder to locate after the passing of time. It really is one of the reasons I post now. Tisha will read, lol, and a few others I spread word about my blog to. Typical of me, I spent inordinate time, even in distress, trying to get a few laughs, even in my condition. Well, that worked. I even got a Christmas Card from a nurse from ICU and another from a nurse at the next stage.But you know why?

I was such an absolute rookie at all this, it has always shown, sometimes to their amusement. But I have done “this” at every station so far – I expressed immense gratitude. For most nurses, while nice, something like that is unexpected, totally welcome, yet unnecessary. It is not what they work for at all. They help with a underlying passion which determines their demeanor – which is smiles and support at every single juncture, bar none.

My very fondest memory is of this large African American lady who asked if I wanted a shave. Oh Jeez – did I ever. So she went to get some hot water and towels and went to work. Initially, the super hot water was applied to my face and it felt spectacular. Then she got more hot water and mixed it with shaving cream. When she went to work, she leaned in and our faces were inches apart. She smelled divine. She began humming. Hearing her beautiful tones while working on giving me the best shave of my life has no parallel in my experience. It was a hugely spiritual moment the truth is. She smiled when I smiled – she wanted to treat me like a King and it worked. I never got her name, but wish I had. I would give a shout out to the people who read here – and that can’t be bad.


Which leaves about 50 nurses – maybe 100 – who have played instrumental roles in my surgery and the following rehab. Their patience and adoring care stunned me with it’s magnanimity. It was a revelation. I ran into No – Zero – bad nurses.

I retain two wonderful “nurses” now and have been “dropped from the rolls” by another favorite, Katy, who thinks I have reached the limits of what she is supposed to do. She believes I got 12 weeks of physical improvement done in 6 weeks. The inspiring talks, the “goading” of me to overcome my fear of walking, make both Katy and Ashley – my remaining Physical Devil – have earned a debt I can never repay. Ashleykeeps me for another couple weeks, it seems, to which I say – Booyah!!!

Which leaves Tisha, my wound nurse. She is with me until the wound is completely well. She orders supplies, always checks my wound and can be relied on – since the wound is healing well – to say something incredibly funny on the face of it. My favorite was this: “Wow, look at that beautiful wound!!!”  ;-) Tisha, thank you – and all the rest of you.

I could go on, but I hope I put out my real and deep sense of gratitude and even surprise at such warm people existing in huge numbers during this nasty period of our history. There is no limit from here, for my gratitude and abiding love. It’s way outside the envelope.

Nurses are the best people in the Universe. This is for you……………