Friday, May 23, 2008


I intended to spend much of the past two weeks hiking, before the trees leafed out and ruined the views and shaded the wildflowers out of bloom. So one day I headed out to Minnesota Point, one of my most frequent hikes in town. The entire land area is a sand bar stretching seven miles before broken by a shipping channel. The sandy beach, dunes, and pines remind me of Cape Cod. Usually I see a bald eagle on this hike, but on this migration season day I settled for a wide variety of other beautiful birds on land during my outbound hike through the pines, and in Lake Superior during my beach walk back. It didn’t take long for the waves to catch me and I was soon happily walking along in wet shoes.

The following morning, I woke up and knew it was kidney stone time again. I walked very slowly to the closest hospital in search of a couple prescriptions for good drugs. Not long after I got there, I was supine with an IV and a plan to keep me overnight and perform surgery in the morning. If I’d been more lucid, I would have objected to this from the start, but between the pain, the dope, and the vomit, (hey, I think that might be the name of a soap opera) I remember replying to a long description of the plan with something like, “You want me to stay here?”

My objection would have been based on my past history with this problem—namely, that once the first blast of pain passes (admittedly, a blast which can last quite a few hours), my body settles down and eventually solves the problem on its own. But being incoherent at the time, I wound up not being allowed food in a room with good views of the Lake and nearby pigeons, a morphine button I never got to use, and a nice nurse who joined me in a conversation about Lost. And I got to watch some cable shows about chimps which I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. By morning, the doctor had to agree that I didn’t need surgery and was going home. Shortly afterward, a breakfast tray appeared and after no food the previous day, I quickly had some eggs and coffee, each for the first time in years.

A week later, a couple days after I was fairly sure (and I’ll skip the details of why I wasn’t 100% sure) I’d passed the stone, I wasted an afternoon having an x-ray and follow-up doctor’s appointment. The doctor’s appointment was scheduled for an hour after the x-ray; it wound up being 2 ½ hours after and lasted approximately two minutes in which he asked if I’d passed the stone. Well, doc, I was gonna ask it on the x-ray?

I’ve added some new sites to the list at the right. My full list of links is guaranteed to have something to irritate everyone, including me. With one foot in the radical pro-animal camp and the other in the radical green simple living camp, it can get uncomfortable for me straddling the fence or even just standing on a side, but I believe both sides have valuable things to say. That fence could also be seen as the dividing line between the present and the future. Here’s a preview of the new sites.

  • Cage Free Family—a young family gives away most of their possessions and goes in search of a better way of life.
  • Casaubon’s Book—an author/farmer looks at our civilization’s dwindling “resources” and how to live with what the future will bring.
  • Elaine Vigneault—an outspoken feminist and vegan. This link leads to her animal blog.
  • The Third Wave—a college student explores issues of environmentalism, the natural world, politics, and religion.

I’ve also picked a date for the possible/probable temporary/permanent end of this blog but it’s still a couple months away so more about that in the future. In the meantime, I’ve been jotting notes for a few weeks for an entry on militarism and nationalism and someday soon will likely get around to writing it.


Lisa J. said...

Wait, you're going to quit your blog?! Is that the kidney stones talking?

Which, by the way, I've heard is more painful than childbirth. The only thing I can compare, thanks to experience with both, to giving birth is endometriosis pain, and that was worse than childbirth, too.

Glad to hear you're home, healing, hiking, enjoying the birds...

greentangle said...

I've heard the stone/birth comparison, which of course I'll never be able to make. But if I have to go through one, I'll stick with the stones...they're a lot smaller and you don't have to take care of them for twenty years. :)

Stephanie said...

No blog abandonment, please. I haven't been commenting much lately because of craziness here, but I'm still reading.

I intended to spend at least a couple days in the last two weeks hiking too. But weather interfered a couple times, and Mabel has twice thwarted my plans too. It's not a matter of wanting to get out there anymore--it's needing to.

So sorry about the kidney stones. I feel lucky to have never had one (yet). When Brandi had hers last year, it was just awful.