Saturday, January 31, 2004


Question: What do Amy and this man have in common?

If you answered, they're both moving kinda're right.

You're also old, or you watch too much Nick at Nite.

Amy may be home from the hospital, but it's quickly become apparent that she's got a lot of healing to do. We had a scare this morning which we thought was going to send us back to the hospital (in an ambulance) but I think we're going to be okay.

I spent much of the day cleaning the garage - I figure if I keep Amy medicated she won't notice all the stuff I'm throwing away.

This is a job that's needed doing for some time.

In truth, there are lots of things that need doing around here, but I'm usually pretty adept at ignoring all of them.

Today, I was determined to attack the garage...

When my friend Teketha's daughter was having surgery a week or so back, a lot of friends and family gathered to be with her before she went under the knife. In fact, Teketha was concerned about having so many people crammed into the surgical waiting area. She feared it would make her daughter feel even more uncomfortable.
There sure were a bunch of folks, and soon we had forgotten the hushed protocol that everyone assumes is appropriate in such places. We were all talking. There was laughter. There was story telling.

Teketha said to me, "If I ever have surgery I don't want a crowd."

Teketha's daughter was in a great deal of pain, but it wasn't long before she was taking part in the conversations...and the laughter.

Next week, Amy's brother and sister-in-law have graciously offered to visit. Soon after that, I hope to convince Amy's sister to do the same.

There won't be much to do here. We've got cable and crossword puzzles.

Still the visits will do wonders for Amy..and for me.

The truth is that it's sometimes easier to see the world clearly if we're distracted from looking at it so intensely.

Plus, the garage won't stay clean for long...I need witnesses.

"I think nighttime is dark so you can imagine your fears with less distraction." - Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes

Friday, January 30, 2004


Seeing Amy get wheeled out of the hospital today was among the more glorious images to least to me. Amy, however, was none too pleased to see me standing by the car door fiddling with my camera. Hence a few artistic modifications to the one photo I took.

She may be weak and depleted....but I still don't want to rile her up.

We're home. We're whole.

Thursday, January 29, 2004


Still waiting for the elusive washer repair man. I set aside the afternoon for this task only to have him call saying, "gee, I'm running late...could we reschedule for tomorrow?'

I told him no. He'll have to come out tonight. No matter the time.

I have other plans for tomorrow.

I'm planning, if the stars align properly, on bringing Amy home from the hospital.

Mr. Maytag may not be happy about that...but I am.
Addendum: Mr. Maytag kept me waiting for 8 hours...and then called saying he couldn't make it.

He doesn't know what he's getting into....odds are he's going to have to deal with Amy now.

Thank God.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


Laundromats are under rated.

I'm still waiting for our washing machine to be repaired - a part is on order which apparently must be hand crafted by a Hindi sect atop a mountain somewhere, because I've been waiting for 5 days. It's no big deal...I've got this patience thing down to an art now.

In any case, I decided today that it was time to forego my now common practice of hurdling the massive pile of my dirty clothes in our bedroom - although that is truly my only consistent daily exercise regime - and haul all the laundry to a laundromat. I might have been able to hold out another day but the pile had grown so large I was fearful of a laundry related injury which might have made for good blog fodder, but would have been embarrassing to explain in the emergency room.

"Well Doc, I cleared the whites with grace, but the heap of colors was my downfall"

I must admit it's been years since I've been in a laundromat. A lot has changed. Now there are giant washers, super washers, and even mega washers which I believe you can either use for washing clothes, or rent out as a weekend retreat.

They actually encourage you to shove everything you can inside these gargantuan machines as long as you restrict yourself to inanimate objects.

The real bonus is these genetically altered Maytags wash the clothes in 18 minutes. Being a middle of the road kind of guy, I opted to use two super washers whose exact capacity is roughly equivalent to what you can fit into a fleet of Yugos.

The dryers are huge too. They easily hold 3 loads of clothes and unlike the dryers of old which I recall being more akin to coin operated car washes where they were timed to stop about a minute too soon requiring you to feed them more coinage, these actually worked. 75 cents for 30 minutes and all the clothes were dry.

There was even entertainment. There were several small children, including one young boy taking great delight in opening all of the floor level dryer doors.

There was a young Jehovah's Witness who offered me reading material, but objected to me trying to snap his picture. There was a woman washing what appeared to be the carpet from a hotel ballroom...those mega machines really do hold a lot.

I had prepared myself for an arduous afternoon combatting boredom and competing for dryers...instead I was in and out with seven loads of clean clothes in less than an hour at a cost of about 6 bucks.

Heck...that's cheaper than a movie, and actually it was probably more fun.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004


I have been thinking about the nature of surrender.

In many respects I've been forced to surrender the decisions about Amy's health care to the medical professionals. I've fought for information wherever possible, but in the end I have to have faith in their judgement. It's never easy.

Tonight I wrote out some thoughts on surrender but decided they were more appropriate for some whining teenager's diary, so I deleted them.

I sloughed it off thinking surrender is for's for the French.

Then the phone rang.

"Michael, it's Teketha" the voice on the phone said.

Teketha is a woman in my church. The woman whose daughter recently underwent surgery at the same hospital as Amy. She has had a hard time lately too. We've spent some of that time together.

"I'm making chicken and you're coming to dinner." It wasn't an offer, it was more like marching orders. Teketha is a strong willed woman.

I hemmed and hawed and made excuses.

"I just got home after making two trips to the hospital today. I've been up since 2 a.m. I'd be lousy dinner company."

"You can just come over and grab a plate and leave!"

Teketha is a persistent woman.

I thanked her for her offer again, and whined some more.

"I really just preheated the oven to put in a frozen pizza. I'm in my sweat pants...I'm all grubby."

"I'm a good cook. Who wants frozen pizza? You'll want my chicken!"

Teketha is a very caring woman.

"I really am okay, you don't have to take care of me", I assured her.

"I don't have to do anything, but you have to eat my chicken. You stay in your grubby clothes and when it's cooked we'll bring it to you!"

Teketha is not French.

Sometimes you have to let the church be the church.

This is a lesson I have preached, but in truth I have not practiced real well.

Thank you God, for giving me that lesson chew on.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

I work for the largest radio company in the world. I'm proud of that.

When I started working for them they owned 8 radio stations, today they own some 1200...less than ten percent of the stations in the country.

This week in San Antonio there's an FCC pseudo-hearing about "media consolidation". It serves no real purpose other than to let a handful of politicians make the same points they've made in Washington to the ridicule of their colleagues. However a plethora of wackos with axes to grind and facts to distort are gathering here because our Washington politicians are giving them a stage.

Some of these folks are anti war.
Some are anti fur.
Some are anti-Republican
Some are anti-trade.
Some are anti-globalization
Some are anti-business
Some are unemployed musicians.
Many are full time protesters.
None are pro anything.

One "organizer" sent out an email today saying folks like me are "robber barons".

Don't I need epaulets or something to qualify for that title?

The protesters outside our company headquarters today dressed up as pirates.

The people I have worked side by side with for nearly 20 years dress like normal people. They're guilty of being capitalists.

No apologies.

We're also guilty of organizing blood drives, toy drives, breast cancer runs, United Way fundraisers. We're guilty of building houses for the needy on our own time, and giving millions of dollars to charity.

That's only the beginning.

One thing you can't accuse us of is organizing protests and dressing up as pirates.

We don't have the time for that.

Monday, January 26, 2004


DAY 20 - I'm tempted to start writing these little updates about Amy like a plot line from the TV show Survivor.

Amy is not getting out of the hospital today.

That's the bad news. The good news is we had a good discussion with Amy's doctor. He provided us with information and more importantly Amy with some badly needed reassurance.

There's light at the end of this tunnel and we'll get there before they snuff out my Tiki torch.

Back in December, Amy and I included a bag of Starbucks coffee in a care package our church was sending to our friend Erin in China. Erin's not a coffee drinker, but I figured she might be able to find someone to gift it to or trade it for something. Today she sent us an email with a picture of a fellow coffee addict working at an orphanage in Northeastern China with that bag of coffee.

Too cool!

Sunday, January 25, 2004


"I do not intend to drag her around because I think I need her as a prop on the campaign trail" - Howard Dean prior to his loss in Iowa

"Dean said in an interview on Saturday that he believes his wife's presence is helping him, and his aides evidently believe so, too. The campaign has said it is distributing 50,000 videocassette copies of an interview the couple granted to ABC News on Thursday." -Associated Press report from Saturday 1/24

I'm holding the pieces together..barely.

I spent the morning with Amy, as I have the previous two Sundays, but today I left the hospital early enough to attend church, something I admittedly have purposely avoided.

It's not that I didn't want to be with the very people I adore and with whom I've chosen to worship God. It's that I knew their outpouring of genuine love, prayer, concern and consolation would tip my focus from the emotional tightrope I've been perched upon.

I was right.

It's difficult to remain stoic and steady in a roiling sea of tenderness...but there are also far worse ways to drown.

Saturday, January 24, 2004


There was a little funk coloring my mood today.

Spent the morning with Amy, and she is doing better. She's determined to get out of the hospital on Monday.

But I'm keeping my optimism in check until I see a doctor signing the release papers.

An empty house breeds too much introspection.

I tried to combat it this afternoon by doing some dusting and cleaning, that in itself is a pretty good indicator of how boring life has become when the only other occupants of the house all have four legs, fur and questionable breath.

The plague of the mundane was broken by the ring of the phone.

It was my eldest stepdaughter, Tiffany. In town unannounced. She was around the corner shopping and wanted to stop by.

We had a good visit before I sent her on her way to go see her Mom at the hospital.

The house isn't immaculate by any means, but I've been disinfunked...just in time.

God provides.

Friday, January 23, 2004


My middle brother, Derek, called me last night. This might seem like a common occurrence to most folks, but it's not for me.

When I told Amy she asked with incredulity, "Your brother Derek?"

Derek is a good man, but no one would ever confuse him with Phil Donahue or Alan Alda. He's not exactly touchy-feely. We've never really been very close although we have been in contact a little more in recent years because his dear wife, Mary Kay, has had her own health struggles. Nonetheless usually I end up talking with Mary Kay when I call. If Derek gets on the line at all, the conversation is fairly terse. Derek is a man of few words and we don't call each other just to shoot the breeze. In fact, the majority of my communications with Derek over the years have been in the form of email. I write trying to catch him up on our lives and asking if everything is okay with his family. His email responses invariably resemble telegrams of old, "ALL WELL - DEREK".

When my cell phone rang last night and I realized it was Derek calling I feared bad news; however he only wanted to know how Amy and I were doing . I waited expecting him to pass off the phone and say, "Well, here's Mary Kay" but then he told me she wasn't home. He initiated the call on his own.

When I told Amy that she again said, "Derek, your brother?"

The last few months have been challenging for Amy and me...the last few weeks certainly have as well. However I suspect a few months from now I'm going to look back on this time and think how much better life is...because of what we've been through.

God, I pray that is so.

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

Two things I'm thankful for today.
1. Our homeowners warranty - The washer went out....35 bucks for the service call and it should be fixed in a day or two.
2. Peanut butter and crackers. I've forgotten this simple pleasure, of course this also means I've eaten everything else possible in the house since Amy went into the hospital, but for now at least I can still avoid WalMart

I heard on the radio on the way home from the hospital this morning that Bob Keeshan has died. He was a fixture of the very early years of my life.

I graduated from Howdy Doody to Captain Kangaroo and became a solid member of the first television fixated generation.

I remember Mister Moose, knock knock jokes, Mr. Greenjeans, Lariat Sam and Tom Terrific.

The memories flood back of times and people long gone. Good memories.

Captain Kangaroo's Treasure House is still alive in me.

That's nice to know.

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won

Thursday, January 22, 2004


So let me get this straight. NASA's explorer "Spirit" got to Mars and then suddenly stopped communicating.

Shouldn't we have anticipated this?

It seems like a lack of communication is a charactistic of Mars.

If only we had sent it to Venus...I'm sure it would be a virtual Chatty Kathy.

Well, the sign was still there this morning, posted in front of the Bluebird ladies at the hospital.

Amy was having a rough morning and I don't think she really believed me when I told her about it.

We decided to walk downstairs together to see it. I couldn't resist taking the picture.

It did seem to lift Amy's spirits.

I guess I'm obsessing on Howard Dean's little outburst the other day, but quite honestly this is what I first thought of when I heard it.

My apologies to James Brown.

Click here to listen

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


As I walked into the hospital today I noticed the information station manned by the volunteer "bluebirds". They are little old women, most all certainly in their 70's or 80's, who although called bluebirds, for some reason actually dress in pink. They do things like deliver flowers and emails to patients; they also answer questions of people entering the hospital. Apparently there are limits to the questions they will answer though.

Today, as usual, there were two little bluebirds sitting at the information desk in the hospital entryway. Taped to the front of their desk was a sign that read simply: "Impotents Anonymous" with an arrow pointing down the hall.

I must admit I wanted so very much to take a picture.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004


I'm not a doctor, but I play one on elevators...apparently.

The other day while I was riding up to see Amy, a man sharing the hospital elevator with me stretched out his hand suddenly and said, "Hey, Doctor Somethinorother!".

I shook his hand; told him I was glad to meet him, but I had to admit I wasn't a doctor. He looked at me strangely as I exited.

It dawned on me later that perhaps he still thought I was Dr. Somethinorother, but that I had decided at that moment to make an admission of fakery presumably mistaking the elevator in a Methodist hospital for a confessional.

I hope Dr. Somethinorother isn't the guy's proctologist.

This afternoon, I got on the same elevator with another man and asked him to push button 5. He said, "You work on the fifth floor?"

I was dressed in my post nap attire: scruffy jeans, WalMart sandals, socks which Amy later mentioned were dirty, a tee shirt, a ball cap and a slightly oversized sweater. Not exactly surgical scrubs. I would hope any doctor outside of the third world dresses better. I'm fairly certain there are standards of cleanliness for even the lowest level hospital employee which I did not meet at the time. I wondered what job he conceivably thought I might do if I did work there.

I suppressed the urge to say, "Yeah, brain surgeon" and instead assured him I was not a hospital employee.

He said, "You visiting someone?"

By now I was double checking to make sure he actually pushed the elevator button while alternately wondering how long it would take to reach the fifth floor and whether this gent's personal elevator ever reached the top, but I answered, "Yes, my wife."

"She a transplant recipient?"

I was mentally kicking myself for not simply pushing the elevator button for myself instead of asking him to since that evidently primed the pump for this exchange, but I answered something along the lines of, "No, she's been in the hospital for a"

"Something serious?"

I briefly toyed with the idea of saying, "Not really, but we've watched so many episodes of E.R. and it looked like so much fun...we had to try it ourselves." Instead, as the elevator finally reached my stop, I muttered something about being thankful that it wasn't more serious.

Then I heard the long awaited "Ding" signalling my escape, and I shuffled off saying a prayer of gratitude ....that the hospital is not a high rise.

It's Tuesday and I'm feeling tired.
In politics and medicine mired.
The energy gap
Might be breached with a nap
At least that's what's desired.

Did you hear Howard Dean's concession speech in Iowa last night?

Click here to listen to a small sample.

If he burns out in New Hampshire, I get to write the headline:

Howard's End!

Monday, January 19, 2004


Our lab mix, Klondike, parks himself on our stairwell.

That, I suppose, is not unusual. What is somewhat strange is that Klondike won't move. If you decide you might like to climb those stairs, Klondike won't object, but he won't get out of your way either. He will position his carcass in your path and stare at you with a certain blissful ignorance as you are forced to shimmy by him.

He was that way when he was 10 weeks old and weighed 18 pounds, and he's that way 10 years later at 85 pounds.

It's not a behavior exclusive to the stairs. Klondike will lay next to the couch while I'm reclining, but when I step down he holds his ground. He never makes any effort to avoid being stepped upon.

He will sleep next to my bedside and when I roll off the mattress he might occasionally crack open one eye, or even wag his tail, but he doesn't budge to make room for my fairly significant feet.

I've always thought he was at best stubborn, and more likely simply a little dim. No other dog I've ever owned has acted so silly.

Today, at the hospital, our young friend had her surgery. It went fine and she's going to recover although there are some hard days still ahead.

Many of her friends and family members were present as she was going into the O.R..

We prayed together.

We waited together.

Despite the trepidation of the day's events, I noticed there was a certain sense of tranquility about the morning. We had faith that everything would be okay.

Amy and I also spent some time today with her surgeon. He listened to our concerns, and carefully explained what his thoughts were on Amy's recovery and future treatment. Our pastor and a caring friend were in the room at the time providing us with comfort and reassurance.

Although there are still some hard days before us too, I came away feeling better about how things will work out in future weeks.

I left the hospital this afternoon. When I arrived home Klondike parked himself on the stairs again.

I realized it then.

Klondike knows I will go out of my way not to harm him.

He trusts me implicitly.

Today, I feel that same sense of peace

Perhaps it's not the dog who's been silly all these years.

PSALM 56:3

When I am afraid, I will trust in You.

Sunday, January 18, 2004


I'm sitting down to write with no particular purpose, which is not really that unusual.

Most days I have no idea what I'm going to write when I place my hands on the keyboard.

I suspect that often shows.

Tonight, I'm setting a time limit.

I want to watch a little football, and fall asleep so my thoughts will have to gel in about about two minutes, or I'll simply hit delete and walk away. Two minutes seems like plenty.

Time is moving at a different pace for me lately. Hours in the hospital drag on and then seem unfilled. Days blend into each other. Moments on the phone with Amy seem alternately full of sustenance and then too short. Weekends disappear in a blink.

Tomorrow I will rearrange my schedule to be at the hospital again. I'll be there for Amy, but also to spend time in the surgical waiting room with dear friends whose daughter is now going to have to undergo a major operation. They will be scared and fearful.

I remember those times vividly. I should. I spent time in that same place only last week.

And I know that that time is easier when it's shared.

Hard time always is I suppose.

Saturday, January 17, 2004


Why does anyone run for President?

And what's with those bottom teeth?

Picture courtesy of The Drudge Report

There is little doubt in my mind that God has decided I am sorely lacking when it comes to patience. There is also little disputing that He is determined to change that.

By force if necessary.

I made my morning visit to the hospital today, hauling in coffee and newspapers. Amy still is in pain and it was evident as soon as I saw her that she's staying put for a while.

I did get the chance to actually speak with her surgeon. He was reassuring. He was realistic.

I suspect it may now be the middle of next week before Amy gets out, and that's only if her pain eases substantially and some new issues regarding a low blood count are adequately addressed. I think in addition to trying to learn patience, I'm also going to swear off making predictions about the duration of hospital stays.

As the doctors try to mend Amy's body, my focus now is on trying to chase away the mental funk that is attempting to claw its way into a position of prominence.

This isn't easy. Amy's pain increases when she laughs, so I'm having to rethink my repertoire.

I've ruled out a dancing act, becoming a mime, and singing since those would likely produce laughter and or nausea.

Distraction seems my best approach...maybe it's time to learn a few card tricks.

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. -Romans 5:2-4

Apparently I'm more optimistic than Amy's doctor. He's not convinced she'll be able to be released from the hospital this weekend. I'm still going to hold out hope.

Today my stepson, Joey. goes back to college in Ohio.

Life goes on....sometimes not at the pace I'd prefer.

Friday, January 16, 2004


I had a brief encounter with a squirrel this the middle of a pounding rainstorm.

I was leaving the hospital and rushing to my car when this squirrel came dashing directly toward me in the opposite direction.

We both stopped.

The squirrel evidently was sizing me up and considering the threat I might pose compared to the prospects of staying in the middle of the parking lot and drowning.

I was simply standing in the rain staring at a squirrel.

I'd prefer it if no one make any judgement about the most intelligent being involved in this little interlude.

Suddenly, as if by mutual agreement, I dodged right and and the squirrel dodged left.

Our paths differed but we shared the desire for drier ground.

I don't want to dwell on it, but I suspect the squirrel achieved that goal before me.

I left the hospital without talking with Amy's surgeon who had still not made his morning rounds. Normally he zips through around 7 a.m. while I'm at work, so I don't get a chance to speak with him and must instead get a recap from Amy, who has been on morphine all week. This hasn't always resulted in the most satisfying synopsis of her situation.

The surgeon hadn't made his rounds this morning by the time I broke away from the office so I was hoping to catch him and get perhaps a more cogent prognosis.

I got to Amy's room in plenty of time, and then promptly fell asleep in the ever so comfortable hospital room lounge chair that I've now become attached to in more ways than I care to imagine.

It didn't matter. The doctor didn't show.

Eventually I woke up, and realized I had to leave.

Of course, the surgeon called Amy at almost the exact same time that I was having my moment with that squirrel. The Doc apologized and said he was delayed, because the plumber he was waiting for at his house didn't show up.

For some reason I see a certain irony in that.

The good news is that Amy has voluntarily started weaning herself off the morphine. That's a critical step. They don't let you leave the hospital if you're jonsin' for what the poets called sweet morpheus and the junkies call Mister Blue.

I'm optimistic that we will be able to wave Mister Blue good bye and that will give me the green light to spring Amy from the hospital over the weekend.

That's assuming nothing squirrelly the surgeon's toilet getting clogged.

Thursday, January 15, 2004


Fashion shows are always weird, but this one must have been a real show stopper.

You have to wonder what these models were thinking at the time.

"Please, no one take a picture", would seem like a pretty good guess.

The fog is thick in San Antonio today, I could barely see the cars in front of me on the drive home from the hospital.

Amy is doing better. I think we've turned a corner.

She still has a long way to go, but today she is not completely consumed in her pain, and I am therefore much relieved.

Still no timetable on bringing her home...but the fog is rising.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


Amy is in a great deal of pain, more than with any previous surgery. This has added to her general emotional roller coaster. Tonight I asked her nurse, Sarah, to come in and speak with her. She closed the door, ignored her beeper, sat on the bed and calmly spoke to Amy reassuring her. She explained how Amy needed to stay on top of her pain management (she has a morphine pump), that more drugs were forthcoming, and that she shouldn't try to be brave.

Sarah told her that it was perfectly understandable that she was in pain and promised things will get better. She told Amy she was doing great considering all she's been through, and not to stress out over it. She even filled a rubber glove with water, tied it off and said, "squeeze this, pull this, throw this, do whatever you want with this whenever you feel stress."

Sarah is perhaps the best medicine Amy has received in some time.

Amy is the one on the morphine (and a variety of other pain meds thanks to a few well placed screams), but I'm the one whose been seeing some strange sights over the past few days in the hospital.

Around 11 last night I stumbled out of Amy's room to stretch my legs and noticed a guy on a Segway.

I've seen people riding these much hyped scooters on TV, but I've never actually seen someone using one in real life. I was groggy and fumbling to grab my tiny little camera that I've put through the wash twice, but he was too quick for me. He obviously worked at the hospital since he was using the service elevators. He gave me a look as if to say, "What are you staring at?" and then zipped onto the elevator and into my memory.

I did notice one thing, this hospital worker on the Segway wasn't wearing a helmet.


Without fail the saddest thing I see at the hospital every day are the folks I pass in the hallway invariable suffering from "bed head" and wearing rumpled PJ's who are always shuffling toward the front entrance tugging their IV racks behind them.

They are the smokers going to sit on the "smoking bench" outside the hospital.

I figure the hospital considers having woefully ill looking smokers at the front door a form of advertising.


Perhaps the strangest thing I've seen at the hospital is this:

It's on the floor of the gift shop. I shuddered when I almost stepped on it.

It's not alive.

It's not a cat.

It's a creepy little fake cat made of rabbit fur and something akin to cement.

They sell for 29 dollars.

I don't know how many they sell or who would purchase them, but I've played out the scene in my mind.

"I was just down in the gift shop. I was going to bring you a card and flowers, but I found this faux roadkill and thought of you. Get well soon!"

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


Amy's surgery was completed without complication. It was very extensive and her recovery will likely be a bit more involved than we had hoped. The surgeon is "cautiously optimistic" that he remedied the source of her pain, but in truth that will be something that will be determined over time. In any case, a number of procedures were done, including the removal of her appendix - call that a peremptory strike. The surgeon was in there poking around anyway and we figured with Amy's luck that appendix would burst on us next year if we didn't snatch it now.

I wish we could have a definitive declaration that Amy's issues have been resolved, but we knew that was unlikely going in considering the best medical tests known to man had failed to pinpoint a specific problem. My wife made it through the surgery. I made it through. And we have reason for optimism.

I couldn't ask for much more.

I am so grateful to God for putting me at ease this day. I am also reeling in the blessing of the prayers we have received from friends and folks out in the blogworld.

May I be so bold as to ask that you continue praying for Amy's recovery?

Thank you again.

Monday, January 12, 2004


I'm avoiding sleep. Actually I'm avoiding trying to sleep. The "what if" scenarios playing out in my head manifest themselves in tossing and turning.

I still worry too much.

I'm sorting through this chaos of thought.

Determination is setting in.

I will not live my days quivering at a world of my own imagination.

Fear forestalls footsteps.

We will chase life not run from it.

Tonight I will sleep.

Tomorrow I will be stronger.

With your help, Father.


I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

I knew Amy was a complicated woman when I married her...I didn't realize it applied to her anatomy.

We're going in.

Amy's having surgery Tuesday afternoon. It's somewhat exploratory in nature although her surgeon thinks he sees one area that might be causing her some problems.

I'm increasingly reminded that despite all the medical technology available, we are still in the dark about many things.

It doesn't take many links to move someone up the charts on Google. I have mentioned before that this website comes up third when you search Google for Michael Main, but first if you search for McGriddle Recipe.

I am now proud to announce that I have gained the top spot if you search for Michael Main, but I've fallen to number two in the McGriddle recipe hierarchy.

You have to give a little to get a little I suppose.

This strategy of placement on Google has a name, it's called "Google Bombing".

Recently it was used by liberal folks who linked to the President's bio using an unflattering term. Now the tide is turning and some people are using the same term to link to outspoken Socialist Michael "Miserable Failure" Moore.

Everyone should be number one at something.

I think Michael Moore deserves to be the number one "Miserable Failure" don't you?

Saturday, January 10, 2004


We had a plan and everything...

The plot to sneak Amy out of the hospital this afternoon went down in flames. Her very kind nurse informed us that if Amy was off the floor for more than about 30 minutes, that would likely trigger some concern. We had been planning more along the lines of 3 hours and had intended not only to leave the floor, but to leave that entire part of the city.

Like most ill conceived schemes, ours fractured upon more intensive examination.

Yeah, we chickened out.

Amy didn't want to risk getting the nurses in trouble, and I started imagining some string of bad luck (I don't know why) like a flat tire or a fender bender, and Amy not making "bed check". That in turn would have resulted in more confusion in the medical community, which is something I'm not willing to risk at this point.

We opted to send me back home and bring Lisa up to the hospital so she can see her Mom before she goes back to Baylor tomorrow.

I never was very good at conspiracies.

It's quiet in the house...too quiet, but my mind is restless and noisy.

Amy is spending the weekend in the hospital and we're now assuming she's going to undergo surgery next week. We'll know more when the doctors deem it fitting to tell us.

I hope to sneak Amy out of the hospital this afternoon, with a wink and a nod to the nurses, so she can spend some time at home.

Meanwhile, I am still wrestling inside with the dichotomy of control and surrender.

I've come to the conclusion that I can only fall back on my most trusted allies of patience, time and God.

Friday, January 09, 2004


The check arrived in the mail today. It was inside a business class envelope with two cellophane windows. It came from the Walt Disney company. I had forgotten I was a stockholder.

It's pretty easy to forget.

I own one share of Disney stock. It was given to me by an outfit called that sells single shares of stock as gifts. They wanted me to see their product since I did a feature on their company. I didn't think much about it until now. Now that I've received my first dividend check.

I'm not sure how I'll spend it.

21 cents is not the type of money I want to throw around carelessly.

I'm sure it'll be just enough to bump me into another tax bracket.

Sing along if you like:

"It's a small check after all...It's a small check after all..."

Sometimes those pictures people send you in email are actually funny.

Thursday, January 08, 2004


I should be sleeping, but I'm not so, I'll prattle on here for a moment.

It looks like Amy will be in the hospital for another day or two at least. She's been diagnosed with a staph infection which will, I'm assuming, prevent any surgeries. However her surgeon still wants to run more tests so we can't bust her out and let her be treated for the infection at home.

I found myself in this odd place this morning. I had written last night about our young friends and their frustration, and then today Amy endured some poor communication with the medical staff at the hospital. I got off work and went to join her and soon found myself being a bit more forceful than usual with the people caring for her.

In reality, I know it was justified. I don't think I was simply venting anger and frustration. I was being Amy's advocate, pointing out that she was not getting the information, much less the care she deserves. Nonetheless I did wonder if I would come home and read my post from last night and think some of those words might have been easier to write than to swallow.

In any case, I got her doctor's well as that of a radiologist, a few nurses, the nurse manager, and I think someone in the finance office.

We also got some answers. That's all we really wanted.

Okay...I need a nap. Don't want to be grumpy when I go back to the reputation is already on thin ice.

"Until the moment of birth, the government has no right to influence a mother's decision on whether to have an abortion. Life begins with the mother's decision" - Democratic Presidential hopeful Wesley Clark in an interview with the Manchester Union Leader newspaper.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004


Amy is feeling better today than at any time in the past three weeks. I'm trying to avoid the obvious conclusion that all she really needs to be healthy is to get away from me for the night.

It was the usual story at the hospital today. Tests scheduled. Tests delayed. Tests postponed until tomorrow. An infectious disease doc wants more info, but we're now getting preliminary indications that Amy could come home for a couple of weeks of IV antibiotic treatment before any surgery is decided upon.

I've become so well acquainted with these conflicting medicinal scenarios now that it's almost frightening.

At the doctor's office yesterday, Amy and I ran into a young couple we know. The young woman had a similar surgery to Amy's original operation and has now developed a bizarre liver ailment which is most likely not related. However the doctors want to make sure of that, so she and her husband were playing the waiting game for the surgeon as were we.

Her husband was not tolerating it well.

He was fuming. His anger and tension festered to the point where his feelings permeated the room like a dense and frightening fog.

I wanted so much to try to console him, but I couldn't get past his wall of rage with my initial attempts at conversation.

Tonight at church, the mother of that young woman asked me to try to counsel her daughter's husband. She said he was so angry that he was hindering rather than helping her daughter's recovery. I could certainly see how that was likely, but I'm going to have sleep and pray on her request.

It's not that I don't know what to say to this young man. I don't know if he's ready to hear it.

I would assure him that his anger at this twist of fate is justified. I would let him know his frustration with the poor diagnostic and communication skills of the medical community is understandable. I would tell him I fathom his fear.

I'd let him know I've gone through much the same thing.

Then I would give him three words of advice:

Get over it.

You see, it's a trap.

Amid all that confusion and angst, in truth this young man is really upset about only one thing.

He's infuriated that he's not in control.

What he hasn't learned is that he never will be.

There is a beauty and a portion of peace in that truth, but perhaps each of us must discover that on our own.

Job 37:14

"Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God's wonders."

(Hudson, Florida) - Associated Press - Bill Martin figures the scriptures are enough to cover folks at a Christian nudist camp. He wants to transform about 240 acres in the Tampa Bay, Florida area into a modern-day Garden of Eden. Plans for the Natura Nudist Resort include an open church, a giant water park for the kids -- and -- of course, nude volleyball. Much of the property was once home to a nudist colony but is now in disrepair. Martin hopes to have the place cleaned up enough for a nude Baptism ceremony in April. He promises there will be no drinking or fooling around among the Christian nudists.

Suddenly those old polyester leisure suits are looking better.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004


Well, after a long afternoon and extensive consultations, Amy is back in the hospital. We're expecting a surgical recommendation will be forthcoming, and quite frankly at this point that might be a relief.

Blogging will be sporadic for a bit I suspect.

We're doing the doctor dance today.

We have fallen back off the radar of Amy's surgeon so, after a series of phone calls yesterday to bust through the apparent genetic malaise of his office staff, today we're going for a visit. He's indicated he may put her in the hospital again, but we'll see.

Amy has been a trooper, but she's had a recurring fever for weeks now. She still is unable to eat without pain which was what started this saga. She still is hooked up nightly to a bag of liquified food delivered intravenously.

While Amy has endured all this for months...with dignity, I have perhaps at best become slightly more adaptable only due to the chronic nature of it all. I remain unconvinced we've ever gotten an accurate diagnosis of her problem. I am certain that the "cure" has caused her additional and, in my mind, unnecessary discomfort.

In truth, I keep my rage in check only because I don't know who to direct it toward.

The nebulous nature of all this is what's frustrating. If we had a definitive diagnosis I think we could suffer through it all more easily.

There is a lesson in all this which I'm sure in time I will see.

Today though, I will admit it does not seem like a lesson worth learning.

"We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world." - Helen Keller

Monday, January 05, 2004


The Britney Spears annulment should be finalized today. Looking at a copy of her marriage license, I think Britney and her soon-to-be ex should consider medical school. Their handwriting certainly qualifies...

Of course, I might be judging her too harshly. Her penmanship is much better in this autographed picture I found on line (cropping done by me, this is a family site).

Maybe she was just tired when she signed up for the marriage license.


The town council in Zilwaukee, Michigan is expected to vote today to require most men to grow beards.

Men are supposed to refrain from shaving until June when Zilwaukee will hold a "Beard Fest" to mark the town's 150th birthday. The city leaders hope this will attract tourists.

I hope it works.

The beards that made Zilwaukee famous.

Sunday, January 04, 2004


We received the notice last week: "YOUR TURN IS COMING!"

It sounds more ominous than it is, it's actually the bright yellow door knob notice we get from the city every four months or so inviting us to pile brush clippings, old appliances, and almost anything else outside our house to be picked up by city trash crews. This is stuff the regular trash crews won't pick up, apparently because it's beneath them.

The notice invariably sparks a debate in our house.

I rummage around the garage and say, "Let's throw this useless item away" and Amy says, "Someone will buy that for 2 bucks at a garage sale."

I say, "But then we have to hold a garage sale" and Amy says, "We will one day". That debate goes on for a while until I gradually convince her that it would be worth 10 dollars or more to me to be able to walk into the garage without having to suck in my ever increasing gut.

Usually she'll capitulate enough to at least permit me to cast off a few things.

We have to have all the stuff we want hauled off out in front of our house by tomorrow morning. Then the city will let it sit there for a week or two. I believe this is some karma thing. In order to clean up our property we must also be willing to lower our property values by making the entire neighborhood look like a trash dump. I can live with that.

This time I got rid of an old TV. It was about 3 feet long with a 13 inch screen. If you got a picture on it, it was green. It didn't have a remote control. It didn't really have a channel changer, you had to use pliers. I don't even know where that TV came from, probably because it existed before I was born.

I also dragged out the unsalvageable remnants of my bicycle. That was painful, reliving that memory, but I took off the unbent tire, the lights, and walked away knowing the frame was bent, the handlebars were broken, one wheel was trashed, and it would have cost a fortune to fix.

I gladly unburdened us of the microwave with the crack in the door that was cooking our kidneys, and bits and pieces of an air conditioning unit I disassembled, as well as wood from an old water bed.

The pile hadn't been out front of the house for more than 2 hours before the doorbell rang.

"You throwing away that TV?"

Someone gladly took it.

Yesterday morning I noticed the microwave was gone - maybe somebody needed a kidney warmer.

Later in the morning, our new oven arrived. The delivery man was walking out and he said, "You throwing away that wood from a waterbed? I could use some of those boards"

This morning as we left for church I noticed some of the larger chunks of the air conditioner debris had been taken.

When we came home from church the mangled remains of my bicycle were gone.

There's virtually nothing left of the stuff I put out.

It's like the refuse rapture.

I know what you're saying and it's true, one man's trash is another man's treasure. But, this stuff was really trash.

Still it had value to someone obviously.

I guess this is a lot like grace.

"Hey, you throwing him away?"

"I think I'll take him...I still see something good there."

PSALM 49:15

But God will redeem my life from the grave; He will surely take me to Himself.


Saturday, January 03, 2004


I've mentioned before I am not the only person touting the Wayne Axiom- that people named Wayne are predisposed to crime and mayhem.
The author of the syndicated series "News of the Weird" is also a believer. This was included in his recent column of News of the Weird 2003 highlights:

Arrested for murder in 2003: Randy Wayne Richards (Courtenay, British Columbia), Curtis Wayne Pope (Fort Worth, Texas), Joseph Wayne Cook (Wilmington, N.C.), Michael Wayne Sears (Charlottesville, Va.), Dale Wayne Eaton (Denver), Ricky Wayne Brown (Manassas, Va.), Dennis Wayne Bryant (Richmond, Va.). Awaiting trial for murder (pending competency exam): Elvis Wayne Botley (Palm Springs, Calif.). Committed suicide while a murder
suspect: Rodger Wayne Chastain (San Francisco). Sentenced for murder:
Michael Wayne Fisher (Chester County, Pennsylvania). Appeal rejected:
convicted murderer Barry Wayne Riley (Vancouver, British Columbia).
Executed for murder: Allen Wayne Jenecka (Huntsville, Texas), Bobby Wayne Swisher (Jarrett, Va.). And (Ouch!) acquitted of murder: David Wayne McQuater (Metter, Georgia).

I'm going to assume by this that the author is what I call a Wayne Theory purist, in that he believes there are special connotations to people with the middle name of Wayne. I know a lawyer here in San Antonio who also adheres to this theory. He actually has his secretary go through court dockets and copy off the case details of criminals and accused criminals who have Wayne as their middle name.

I, on the other hand, am on the more liberal spectrum of Waynists. I tend to distrust people whose first, middle or even last names are Wayne. Actually, Dwaynes, DeWaynes, and DuWaynes are suspect in my mind too.

This past year a woman named Waynetta also made my list.

In fact, I've manage to avoid Wayne, Michigan and Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

I once drove through Wayne, Ohio...but we didn't linger.

Gee, three of the bloggers I read regularly have recently pulled the plugs on their musings permanently. Several others have announced they're taking breaks for a month or more, and a couple or three haven't posted anything in several weeks.

Don't you realize this is all about me? I need this voyeuristic release of other people's writings. I really must insist this trend stop. Meanwhile I'm searching for well written blogs with substance and or humor.

I'm open to suggestions.

Friday, January 02, 2004


I didn't watch the TV show American Idol...and I didn't follow the recent World Idol competition either.

But I saw the story about the World Idol winner today...and I remembered how much I loved Mad magazine as a kid.

I'm sure the new World Idol is a fabulous singer...seems like he would have to be.

Thursday, January 01, 2004


The house is quiet, everyone is still asleep. It's a grey drizzly day, perfect for staying at home, watching movies and football.

We rang in the New Year safely despite the clamoring of "code orange".

I will admit to one moment of terror, around three this morning when I woke up to pitch darkness. At first I thought Amy had turned out the night light, then I realized I saw no light at all. I couldn't see any clocks, the cable box, not even the hand in front of my face. For a brief moment in my sleep induced haze I wondered if that glass of cheap champagne at midnight was some how spiked with something that had left me blinded. I stared around the room looking for any glimmer of light and found none.

I was too sleepy for hysteria, but some bizarre thoughts did cross my mind.

Then, I heard the kids were still awake in the living room...laughing.

I knew the world was okay.

There must have been a power failure.

I crawled back into bed vowing to worry about it later.

I know there will probably be other days in this new year when I find myself in momentary darkness.

I hope at those times too I stop and listen....and realize there is no need to panic.

Psalm 18:28
You, O Lord , keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.