Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The spirit of giving

For Christmas, my Uncle George's doctor gave him two brand new pig valves in his heart. So, now he is recovering from open-heart surgery. As a 79 year-old bachelor farmer, he had nowhere else to go, so he is staying here at my mother's house. I'm glad that I'm here to help, because my 74 year-old mother might have a hard time of it.

We just picked him up from the hospital today, so for his first night here, I am a bit nervous that he will be disoriented and do something silly. He isn't allowed to bear weight on his arms, so he can't push himself out of bed. As a reminder, he has to hold a pillow with a heart on it against his chest all the time.

After years of living alone with nobody telling him what to do, it isn't going to be easy to get him to follow the rules, but it scares me to think what might happen if he doesn't. The nurse told us that all that is holding his sternum together where they sawed him open is wires like the ones in twist-ties. If he does stuff he isn't supposed to, his whole chest could fall apart. I don't want to clean up that mess, so I am checking on him regularly.

Some good has already come from all of this though. He gave me a great Christmas present the other day, when I visited him in the hospital. He gave me a good way to burn my older brother, Mark.

Uncle George was still pretty drugged up after his surgery when I went to see him. Part way through our visit, he looked at me and said "Mark! You look better than ever!"

I couldn't wait to tell Mark this over Christmas dinner, in front of the whole family, or at least the 22 of us assembled at the table. Everyone tought it was pretty funny, except Mark. But he felt better when my mother made me tell the whole story. Uncle George actually said "Mark! You look better than ever! You got fat!"

I figure if I look better than Mark even when I'm fat, maybe I should rethink my weight-loss plan.

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