Sister-in-law, Teresa, wife of Brother Dave, worked in hospitals in different capacities. She and brother Dave visited Joan in the hospital just yesterday, I think. Teresa writes via email:
She [Joan] has been getting some caddilac antibiotics that can only be given intravenously. She is having pleural fluid removed this afternoon; they insert a large needle in the back and remove the fluid. I think she will feel much better after this procedure. I just received a call from DR Chaun as I write, Joan’s procedure went well. The fluid was actually taken from inside the lungs because the CT of the chest showed the fluid to be "walled off." The DR was not seeing a consistent WBC (white blood count) it was up and down, so the decision was made to remove the fluid and culture it. DR believes Joan’s ability to swallow was impaired with the strokes causing her to aspirate when she eats. She literally inhales food. Joan has a drainage tube from the lung and the doctor said that may be removed tomorrow. No time given for discharge, I’m sure they’ll have to wait to see low consistent WBC numbers. The culture on the fluid will be able to identify the organism causing the infection and what specific antibiotic will work the best.
I find this form of getting old utterly appalling, though I suppose if and when I get to this point, I will welcome whatever the doctors have to offer. In any case, I am feeling death obsessed again, and when I am just sitting or driving around, have these images of little pieces of crap breaking off in my veins and going to my head and stroking me out.
Teresa worked for a a good while with a biotech firm. They were making human skin there. I would tell my students this story. That they had made a piece of human skin as big as a footfall field. Also were they to have a male child and have it circumcised (though I did not recommend doing that since doing so reduces the sensitivity of the head of the penis and thus one’s capacity for sexual pleasure) but if they should do it, they should be sure to ask for the foreskin, since the biotech firm my sister-in-law worked for used foreskins as the source skin for the skin they were making, so consequently they might be able to make some money off the foreskin. Although the market was probably not all that good since the biotech firm had a huge number of frozen foreskins in a vault somewhere in Iowa.
I have no idea how much of this I made up. But I think the foreskin part is accurate.
When we bought our little condo back in ’92, I think it was, we paid a bit more because it is an end unit, meaning we share a wall with only one neighbor, and in the back we look out unto a little golf course. Back in ’92 that didn’t seem like such a big deal; there were open fields a couple of blocks away on all but the east side. Now condo developments have filled in all the open area. The little golf course is now a "green belt." More importantly it’s part of a flood plain that drains off into a lagoon nearby that drains into the Pacific. So it looks as if our little golf course (it’s just nine holes) will remain a green belt into the foreseeable future.