Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Three joyful weeks

Tomorrow it will be three weeks since the transplant. Three joyful weeks.

I was at the hospital in Amsterdam yesterday for the usual twice-a-week tests, plus a new echo scan, as Dr. van Donselaar wanted to make sure all was well with the kidney. She noticed a small cloud of lymphatic fluid that was left from the operation and so plans to take another look, possibly as soon as this Friday, to be sure this is putting no pressure on the kidney.

She also changed one of the prescriptions. All through November I am injecting myself with a blood thinner twice a day as a safe guard against blood clots. The medicine I was originally taking occasionally has the side effect of causing swelling and bruising in the area of the injections, originally my right and left legs. It happened to have this consequence for me, so I’ve now been switched to a different blood thinner which I’m injecting just above my abdomen. Meanwhile I must be patient as I wait for the swelling in the legs to recede. Given the muscles involved, it makes standing up, sitting down and climbing stairs mildly painful. Fortunately walking involves other muscles.

When one contemplates the long list of possible side-effects of all the medication I’m taking, this one problem hardly deserves mentioning.

Most aspects of domestic life at Kanisstraat 5 are now what they were before the transplant. We do our own shopping and are no longer eating microwave meals: spaghetti and meatballs last night, steak, potatoes and peas tonight.

This past Sunday, when ordinarily we would have been taking part in the liturgy in Amsterdam, we instead went for walk to the Alkmaarderhout -- the Alkmaar Woods -- part of which is a small zoo (farm animals, chickens, peacocks and some other exotic birds, plus a herd of deer and two llamas). It’s a walk as least at long as the one we ordinarily take in Amsterdam when going to our church and made us realize that we should be able to return to church next Sunday -- though I must ask at the AMC on Friday whether they’re ready to give the green light.

Almost a month ago, October 22nd, I wrote a brief refection for this journal about the original oneness of Adam and Eve. These past two days I’ve spent some hours working to develop this into a longer essay for possible use in the winter issue of In Communion. As part of the process, I’ve been reading commentaries on the Adam ands Eve narrative by those theologians of the first millennium who are known as the Church Fathers, due to the importance of their contributions to clarifying basic truths. I was especially impressed by a sentence from Gregory of Nyssa, a saint of the fourth century: “One who is made in the image of God has the task of becoming what he is.”

This links in my mind to something Merton said in a talk he gave in Calcutta not many weeks before he died: "What we have to be is what we are."

(Photo: A view of the Singel, the canal that encircles the center of Alkmaar, taken during our walk to the Alkmaar Woods on Sunday. The one windmill left in the town center, the Molen van Piet, is in the background.)


Michelle said...

Dear Jim and Nancy


Thank you both for so much inspiration.

We keep you in our prayers and thoughts - "on the wavelength".

With every good wish,


Steve Hayes said...

It's nearly 40 years since I was last in alkmaar, but I can still picture the place, and imagine what you see was you walk around, and am glad to hear that you are able to do that.