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I guess they liked it alright.

September 24th, 2009 by Joyce

Green smoothie mustaches: Prompted by our little gall bladder adventure, I bought a blender for green smoothies. Our first smoothie was something like kale+ banana+something else. Almond milk? Anyway, it was supposed to be for me, for breakfast, but the two shorter people in the house managed to leave me little more than a taste.




I guess they liked it alright.

I guess they liked it alright.

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My insurance company is going to hate me

September 19th, 2009 by Joyce · 4 Comments

Oh, Joyce and Matt and babes,

They had a ‘Ru packed full.

They’d filled it up with camping stuff

Then unpacked it all again.

‘Cause when you’re well, you’re well,

And when you’re gone, you’re gone.

But ’till I see the surgeon Wednesday

I’m neither well nor gone.


I warned several of you that we would be out of town this week. That had been the plan, anyway, even though I hadn’t been feeling especially well. The dehydrator was on overdrive all week, the garage looked like REI after its twice-yearly sale (that is to say messy, if you haven’t been), and the neighbors had been asked to watch the house. But if you drive by right now, you’ll see Carmen and David at the windows, wearing their dance class leotards and moving like a couple of capoeira-dancing sprites. The roof rack is off the car, the clothes all piled back into laundry baskets. We decided that instead of taking a trip we should get ready to have my gall bladder taken out.

Gall bladder surgery. It’s almost embarrassing. There’s nothing cool about it, and the word gall bladder alone evokes chronic indigestion, bland diets, a middle age full of repentance for previous indulgences, and too many trips to the bathroom. But when Matt took a backpacking trip in late July,* I started to feel a little . . . off. My food didn’t always sit well with me. I didn’t feel sick, but I didn’t feel well, either. After several days I visited the doctor. I seemed fine, and my test results were good as usual.  Later a gastroenterologist palpated my belly and ran more tests. 

By mid-September I had an answer. The gall bladder is a little sac nestled under your liver, ready and handy when your body needs a shot of bile to help break down your meal.  Mine isn’t working. In fact, if you try to stimulate my gall bladder with a shot of CCK, a digestive hormone that should make that little squeeze-ball of an organ contract, it just sits there. My gall bladder is a dud.

This is causing issues for my body, because my body is trying to git ‘er done despite a totally slacker organ. And you know how it is when someone on the team isn’t pulling his or her weight–everybody has to try harder, and sometimes you all get downright ornery. (There are various reasons why the gall bladder may conk out; we’ll learn a little more about its histological story once we take the thing out.)

So the plan is this: this week, instead of sleeping out under the stars, we’re going to get ready for a different kind of adventure. Matt’s going to go back to work as much as possible so he can take time off next week, post-surgery. Monday and Tuesday Carmen and David are going to the lessons that we said last week we were going to miss. Wednesday morning we’ll talk to the surgeon, and if all goes well early Friday morning I’ll be at St. Luke’s getting the offending organ cut out.**

Meanwhile I’m juicing veggies and concentrating on eating foods that don’t ask much of my body to digest. I want my body to be in fine form so I can improve my chances of a strong and easy recovery. I’m resting, because my gall bladder bothers and makes it hard to sleep at night. I’m checking out DVDs at the library so I have something to do when I can’t sleep and need a good laugh. I’m freezing some of my juices and still running the dehydrator–I want to have good, nourishing foods to eat when I’m back from the hospital and on the mend.

And at night I look up at the ceiling and remember the night sky, and the sound of a cool breeze softly kissing the Earth. West Texas has always been there, and it can wait for us a little longer.

* There’s something about Matt leaving town. Once he left to visit his brother and I got rear-ended on Kirby. In 2007 he went to a project kickoff meeting and my brain broke (well, you know what I mean). Now, two years later, during another trip, my gall bladder kicks the bucket.

** I’ve spent time at St. Luke’s in 2005 (c-section), 2007 (brain surgery), and now 2009. My insurance company is going to hate me.

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While you’re busy

September 13th, 2009 by Joyce

Are you busy?  I’m busy, too.  I just made crackers for the dehydrator, and then fruit smoothies for Carmen and David.  Now I have a big mess to clean.

While I watched the juicer smoosh mango, blueberries, and everything else I dropped down into its plastic chute, I strained my ears to hear the radio over the sound of the motor’s steady groan.  I was listening to a story about facing cancer and being young and feeling vulnerable and worrying over insurance, or lack of it, and, and . . .

Well, if you’re busy, too, you can listen to the story from your computer on the NPR website.

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September 6th, 2009 by Joyce

From Carmen, in bed early this morning: “Let’s wake up Grandma and Grandpa before they wake up theyselves.”

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