Sunday, November 4, 2007

Four days since the transplant

Yesterday’s landmark event was being able to take a shower. A tricky undertaking as I am still connected to several draining tubes and at times feel like a prop for a science fiction film. I was delighted to discover that I was able to stand straight. The abdominal incision is apparently healing well.

The nurse tells me that the IV connection attached to the back of my right hand will be removed today after an injection planned for later in the morning -- that will make things a little easier.

I start taking charge of my anti-rejection medicine today following a schedule that was given to me last night. For the first two days a nurse will be double checking to make sure I get it right. There were five different sorts of pills to be taken at 8 this morning. I’ll be on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of my life.

With the assistance of a nurse who pushed a wheel chair, Nancy came down for a long visit yesterday. She too had managed a morning shower but found herself exhausted afterward and had to take a nap. Her operation was more radical than mine -- about three hours compared to about 90 minutes for me -- and the recovery time will also be longer. She had the good news that she can return to Alkmaar on Monday.

We looked through the many e-mail messages friends have sent, as well as comments that have been posted on the blog. So much encouragement!

The e-mail included plans for our annual family Thanksgiving meal, which this year will be with Nancy in the background rather than on the front line in the kitchen. It’s the one American holiday we observe, though on the last Friday of November rather than Thursday (as Thursday is a normal work day in Holland).

One of the members of our parish, Maria Faber, dropped by for a visit, bringing with her a small bronze relief icon of the Virgin of Kazan (one of the many titles of Mary), whose feast day it is today, plus a CD of the liturgy recorded at the monastery of Kazan in Russia.

Wendy came by for a nice long visit just after Maria. We talked about which ten books we would take with us had we to move to a small desert island. (It proved far from easy making the choices; the lists are still a work in progress.)

We also considered which one museum painting we would like to borrow if only the museum was willing. Wendy decided on one of Van Gogh’s final paintings, crows over a wheat field against a dark blue sky.

Perhaps because I was reading a book about Bruegel yesterday, I chose his painting of the fall of Icarus. It inspired one of my favorite Auden poems:

In Bruegel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shown
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to go and sailed calmly on.

(Double click on the image to see it in more detail.)


Olympiada said...

Thanks for the painting Jim! We studied that in one of my college English classes. You and Nancy and your parish and family are a blessing.

Snarfff said...

Anti-rejection drugs for life? Wow, I had no idea. For some reason I just figured you would use the anti-reject drugs for some set amount of time and then slowly you would be taken off them. I know in the long run it's a much better option then dialysis! Sending much love, Beth