May 8, 1999

Hello Everyone,

Another hard day. I postponed beginning this because I was not sure how to begin.

Leif had further surgery today - taking a significant remainder of the skin from his right arm. I saw the wound yesterday and above and below the part removed in the first surgery was a discolored area - purpilish. Apparently that region quickly became questionable and needed to removed. The muscle and nerve is still intact. Skin grafts can restore the arm.

I went to the early morning meditation class at the community where I used to live and there received many wellwishings and thoughtful conversations and hugs from friends for Leif's welfare.

I arrived at the hospital around 1:30 to Amy's news that Leif would be having surgery in about an hour. Elin and Joe were coming down around 3:30 and we did our best to inform them prior to their arrival.

The surgery took over 2 hours and we 4 sat together in the waiting room. A good time for sharing.

The surgeon's news was first that Leif did well during surgery in that his blood pressure and oxygen levels were quite stable throughout. The news of the extensive skin removal was a surprise. We asked several questions and then tried to absorb what it meant. One positive view of it is that now there may be less of a toxic load for Leif to deal with.

Amy went on to meet Amanda. Elin and Joe left for dinner with some old friends. I waited until Leif was out of the recovery area and then sat with him for a while. It helps me to sit and see the truth of where he is and I hope my presence is some kind of balm for him.

So, as usual, time will tell. The time for prayer is still very much with us. Prayer for his well-being.

I had dinner and then went to sit with Dad. We watched hockey together and laughed at the clever beer commercials and shook our heads at the player's incredibly violent banging each other into the boards - it is called 'checking' - not sure why. I am glad that the Stanley Cup playoffs are on now. It gives me something to do with Dad. A welcome distraction for him.

Speaking of beer ... last Tuesday at Dad's medical appointment, his doctor had some surprising advice. He learned that Dad had been bedridden for almost two months, saw that his thirst for alcohol is still present, and saw the wound on Dad's forehead from a fall that was a result of his one desperate time going out to slake that thirst. He said, "why should we keep him miserable?" and 'prescribed' a limited amount of alcohol to be served him in the evenings. I consented, and admired his pragmatism and humaneness. He also advised Dad to get out and take several short walks during the day. I arranged it with the owner of the board and care home and now in the evening Dad has a choice of a beer or a measured single shot of vodka on the rocks in a nice glass that I bought for him. He must think he is in heaven. The totally wonderful housekeeper named Fe remarked that if she got depressed she would have some of the vodka. I said, "NOOOOOOOO... Have some chocolate ice cream instead. I will bring some for you!" And the next night I did.

Life. Another day.

Thank you for listening.
Pray for peace.