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Saturday, September 18, 2004

Dagmar's Operation

(This was originally an e-mail I sent out to a few people.)

Just a quick Dagmar update...

Dagmar had her little operation yesterday. We (Dagmar's mother Kriemhild and I) took her in to the doctor at noon, watched Dagmar sign a lot of papers with big scary words on them, and got ushered into a little room.

After a few minutes of sitting in the little room, fidgeting, a nurse-type lady bustled in. "How is everyone today I just need to take a little blood are you Dagmar hold your arm out please," she said in one quick blurt.

"I don't do so vell with blood," said Dagmar. "Can I please lay down?"

So the nurse-type lady pulled a little hide-a-bed out of the wall, Dagmar plopped down and had her blood drawn. "I'm really nervous," said Dagmar. "I don't mind the operation, but I'm allergic to painkillers und I don't like anesthesia and I'm really nervous."

The nurse-type lady smiled nicely at Dagmar. "I can give you a nice little 'cocktail' of stuff that'll calm you down. You'll like it. You won't be nervous at all." With that she bustled off, leaving Dagmar a little robe to put on. A few minutes she was back. "Here you go, dear. This tastes nasty, but in a minute or two you won't care." She handed Dagmar two evil-looking cups of goop. "One is the happy juice, the other is grape juice to wash it down with," she said. In two happy gulps Dagmar had the evil-looking cups of goop down her gullet. "In just a few minutes the anesthesiologist will be here to go over the details with you," the nurse-type lady said, bustling out the door.

We sat there for a few minutes, Kriemhild, Dagmar and myself, fidgeting, saying things like "I'm sure everything will be okay," and "they're sure nice here," and "I'm sure everything will be okay." Dagmar would intersperse every now and then with "I really like these drugs they gave me," and "Vow! These drugs nice are sure good I like," and the occasional mumble-mumble-giggle-mumble.

The door burst open, revealing a very buff-looking six-foot-two blonde man with an easy smile. "How is everyone today I just need to talk to Dagmar are you Dagmar how are you today Dagmar I'm your anesthesiologist I need you to take a few deep breaths," he said in one big blurt, waving his stethescope in Dagmar's general direction. Dagmar looked at the very buff-looking six-foot-two blonde man, sighed and smiled. "Vy yes, I'm Dagmar," she said, breathing deeply, heaving her busom in his direction.

He listened to her boobs for a few seconds. "Okay," he said "I need you to stick out your..." Dagmar pulled her robe down a bit and waggled her cleavage at him, giggling. "Tongue," he continued.

After a bit, the very buff-looking six-foot-two blonde man asked if Dagmar had any allergies. "Yup," she giggled. She then listed off almost every drug ever invented. "Okay," said the guy. "I guess all I can really do is send you home with some nice Ibuprofin..." with that he bustled out the door.

"Vow," said Dagmar. "Dese drugs I like happy happy wheee!"

Seconds later the doctor showed up. "Hi Dagmar," he said. "How are you doing?"

"Blik aargoooie mang dipt," Said Dagmar. She picked up the stethoscope that was dangling from the doctor's neck and verys seriously intoned "Flooo bink?" into it.

"Okay," said the doctor. "Let's go!" He turned and headed on down the hall. Dagmar followed, making airplane "zoom zoom" noises. Kriemhild and

I headed after them.

"No," said a nurse. "You two don't get to go watch. You have to go sit in the lobby, over that way."

"Can I have a lollipop?" I asked. "I'm really nervous. Maybe you could give me some of the stuff you gave Dagmar?" The nurse didn't bother to answer, she just pointed to the door. "Okay," I said. "Fine."

An hour and a half later, a nurse-type lady came out and asked Kriemhild and I to follow her. "You guys wait in here, and the doctor will be right in to talk to you. Dagmar's in the recovery room, doing fine." With that, she bustled out a different door.

"I'm nerfous," said Kriemhild. "I hope everyting vent okay. It took too long."

"I think she's fine," I said. "They said Dagmar's in the recovery room, not 'the body will be held for autopsy.' That's a good sign."

After a few minutes of fidgeting, the doctor appeared. I could swear he came out of the closet. Why a room the size of a bathroom needs three doors is beyond me. Anyway... "Well, she gave me quite a workout," he said. "But it all turned out okay."

"Vy did it take so long?" asked Kriemhild.

"Here's the story," said the doc. "I made an incision and inserted the scope. As I kind of expected, there was a lot of scar tissue there from her previous operations. Her bowel was stuck to the wall of her abdomen, so I had to fix that. Then I found some more scar tissue, so I fixed that." He pointed to what I had assumed was a piece abstract art on his clipboard. "Then, as you can plainly see," he pointed at a goopy bit on the picture, "I noticed that she doesn't have a gall bladder. I assume that's on purpose?" We nodded. "Good," he said. "They don't often fall out on their own. Anyway, there was a lot of scarring there. Then I got to the right ovary, where the cyst should have been." He pointed at another goopy bit on the picture.

"Should have been?" I asked. "Huh?"

"Well, he said, "We looked at her right ovary, and it was fine. No cyst, nothing. Then we noticed something BEHIND her right ovary. We were a little surprised - it was her left ovary."

"Hmmm..." I said intelligently. "Oh. Hmmm.... You DID go to school for this, right? Like, for a long time?"

"Anyway," he contined, ignoring me, "it turns out that her left ovary was the one with the cyst the whole time. It just happened to be on her right side for some reason. Her uterus was twisted up pretty good, too, so we fixed that, then we took the left ovary out, poked the right ovary back into position, fixed some more scar tissue and here we are. Any questions?"

"Yes," said Kriemhild. "How far apart are ovaries, normally? How did her left vun get over by her right vun?" The doctor held up his fingers about this far apart. "The ovaries are only this far apart," he said. "Just a few inches."

"You're kidding!" I said. "The pictures they showed us in third grade made them look really huge. Anyway, how is Dagmar? Will she need hormones or anything?"

"She's fine," the doctor said. "Her right ovary should be able to make all the hormones she needs. Um... I wouldn't plan on having children though." He then went over some other goopy details that I'll spare you.

Kriemhild and I went outside to call some people and wait for Dagmar to wake up. After a considerable amount of time, a nurse-type lady found us. "Dagmar's awake," she said. "She's drinking some nice 7-Up." So, we all trooped into yet another little room where Dagmar was laying back in an easy chair, one green eye open. "Gurf?" she said. "Iggle vump." With that, the eye closed and the snoring started.

Around five o'clock, Dagmar's friend Marilyn showed up to see how things were going. "She's sleeping nicely," Kriemhild said. "It's good dat dey let her sleep." Marilyn agreed, I nodded somberly and Dagmar snored. "So many places, they don't let a person sleep," Kriemhild continued. "They just come in and vake them up right avay. A person needs to sleep after an operation." She was interrupted at that point by a nurse-type lady. "I've just come to wake Dagmar up," she said. "We can't let her sleep the whole day away..."

"Dagmar," the nurse-type lady said. "DAGMAR. It's time to start waking up." One green eye opened and slowly focused on the nurse-type lady. "You need to wake up now," the nurse continued. "I need to see both eyes open."

"Bitch," said Dagmar, one green eye focused on the nurse-type lady. Marilyn stifled a laugh. Kriemhild turned toward the corner, giggling. I hung my head and concentrated on unfunny things. That's when I noticed that after two hours of lying perfectly still, Dagmar had finally managed to wiggle a little. She had made a fist, leaving one finger sticking up. Dagmar must have been proud of it, because she made sure to show it to the nurse-type lady. I guess the nurse-type lady wasn't too impressed. In fact, seemed to get much grouchier at that point. Within minutes Dagmar was up, padding up and down the hallway in her little robe. The nurse-type lady read off a list of things Dagmar could and couldn't do. "Don't let her take a shower today, she can take off her bandages tomorrow morning, she can have some toast and soup tonight for supper, no sexual relations for two weeks..." "Bitch," I said, both eyes focused on the nurse-type lady. "No one told us that BEFORE the operation. That's not fair!"

Anyway, to make a really, really long story merely tedious, Dagmar's home now, and is feeling surprisingly good! Usually after any kind of surgery she's in pretty bad shape, but this time she's already had a few meals, passed gas (the doctor seemed to be concerned about that - "Don't let her eat until she's passed gas," he said - so when she tooted this morning we held a toot celebration), and is happily pestering the cat. She's rather stiff and sore, but not too bad. Hopefully she'll be able to go back to work next week sometime if she wants (or if she wants to take a few days off, she should be able to enjoy them rather than laying on the couch moaning in pain). So we're all happy!

Have a happy day!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Authority versus Logic

Before I even start typing, I apologize. I'm grumpy and cynical first thing in the morning...

I was reading the "principles of persuasion" a relative of mine (Marilyn) e-mailed me yesterday. It listed a number of ways that one person can influence or persuade another. I noticed that "authority" was on the list. It seems to me that "authority" must have quite a bit more weight than "logic," which was farther down the list.

A postulation:
1. We get attacked, viciously.
2. Al-queda and Osama bin Laden are the attackers.
3. Al-queda and Osama bin Laden live in Afghanistan.

Question: Given the postulation above, where should we send our troops? Who shall we look for?

Answer: Authority tells us we should attack Saddam Hussein (an evil man) in Iraq.

Logically, that makes no sense. None whatsoever. But our Authority repeated his mantra against Iraq so often that at one point prior to the war a reputable poll came out indicating that something like 75-80% of Americans thought Hussein was responsible for 9/11! If you mentioned Osama bin Laden, there was an "oh yeah, he's messed up in this with Hussein, too," attitude.

So we live in a place where Authority trumps Logic. Hmmmm... I wonder if that has anything to do with a few items I read recently. One said that according to a worldwide poll, the most feared nations in the world were, in order, North Korea, Israel, the United States. Another recent poll had the U.S. listed second. While it's nice to bargain from a position of strength, I'm not sure it's a good thing to have Europe (or Nuclear North Korea) fear us quite so badly.

I just read an article on BBC.com that made me pause... A company polled citizens in 30 different nations on who they'd vote for, Kerry or Bush. "Only Filipino, Polish and Nigerian respondents clearly backed Mr Bush." The actual poll results are:

Norway: 74%-7%
Germany: 74%-10%
France: 64%-5%
Italy: 58%-14%
Spain: 45%-7%
UK: 47%-16%
Canada: 61%-16%
Mexico: 38%-18%
Brazil: 57%-14%
China: 52%-12%
Japan: 43%-32%
Indonesia: 57%-34%
India: 34%-33%
Philippines: 32%-57%
Nigeria: 33%-27%
Poland: 26%-31%
Thailand: 30%-33%
Source: GlobeScan Inc/University of Maryland PIPA

Normally I'm not a big follower of public opinion. I prefer to believe I make up my own mind rather than following the crowd. But, this poll makes me think of the old adage, "If one person tells you that you've grown a tail, laugh. If three people tell you you've grown a tail, it might behoove you to take a look..." Maybe if the rest of the world is telling us we should take our election seriously, we should take our election seriously.

Unfortunately, almost everyone I talk to about these issues responds from emotion rather than logic. We need to stop doing that. Look at the numbers. How many jobs are there today in the US compared to four years ago? How is our federal budget doing today compared to four years ago? How are we viewed in the national community today as compared to four years ago? How many strong allies do we have today? Think of questions like that... Then get personal. How much does a gallon of milk cost today compared to four years ago? Gas? Is YOUR job really secure? (I work at a printing company - we've lost half my department in the last four years.) Do you honestly feel safer (airports excepted)? Have you seen any more policemen in your neighborhood? Do your kids feel safer going to school? How are their schools doing? Talk to teachers, talk to firemen, talk to soldiers who are getting their benefits cut - these are people we rely on. How are they doing?

I fear they're faring poorly. According to another article I read, "...between 1999 and 2001, Congress invested $4.1 billion to help states and local school districts reduce class sizes. More than 37,000 teachers were hired nationwide as a result. But with thousands of teachers now being laid off, class sizes are ballooning to levels never seen before in many schools Years of educational reform are being undone."

Okay, I'm done now. Thanks for listening!

Monday, September 06, 2004

What’s New? A fine question...

Lots of stuff has happened since I last updated this site. I joined two bands, The Wombats! and the Smokin’ Clams. A few weeks ago I quit the fine Wombats! due to scheduling conflicts, so now I’m down to playing in one band at a time again (though there have been rumors and rumblings about a Hippie Go Lucky reunion gig or three when the Clams take a break - time will tell).

It’s been a goofy summer this year - when it was warm and nice, both Dagmar and I have been busy. When it was cold and nasty and rainy, we had nothing to do. Hence, the bike has languished in the garage, staring forlornly at the wall, dreaming of twisty roads. I’ve promised it that I’ll do better next year. “Keep a stiff front fender,” I said. “We’ve got lots of miles left...” I hope it’s not an empty promise.

Not much is new with Dagmar at the moment. She’s been happily working, and going to see the occasional Clam show on weekends.

Anywhoo, I’m off to update the rest of this site. With any luck, I’ll be able to update it regularly from now on, just in case anyone’s bored enough to read it...

Have a happy day!
Chris & Dagmar


Okay, okay... I know. This site hasn’t been updated in months and months. There IS a reason... My computer broke. Like my cat, it’s fixed now.

Unfortunately, when my computer blew up, it took this website with it. All I could find was a really old backup copy. So, if you happen to find any goofy mistakes, or out-of-date links, PLEASE let me know! I’m rebuilding this from memory, more or less. (And, the older I get, the less memory I seem to have.)

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