Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Radiant Curves

Grace and greetings.

After writing the last couple of entries about the wind, I thought I would write of my experience this morning. I came out to warm up the car, and it felt warm. Though the temperature was at minus nine degrees, it was a comfortable cold. Then I realized that there was not wind, ahh, nice and warm.

After I dropped my son off at school, I took a drive out to the end of the road. Without the wind blowing the snow around, the sky and area was very clear. Upon arriving at the end of the road, I could make out the clouds in the still dark morning sky; looking around I was even able to see some of the stars coming through.

On the way out, the sparkles of the weekend drive returned, thought not as spectacular as the other night, it was still a wonderful sight. I caught a couple of Arctic foxes in my headlights; their eyes reflected a brilliant blue. It made the drive just that much more enjoyable.

I was listening to Native American Call-in while I drove, and today was their "Book of the Month" show. The book was from a Navajo woman, Lucy (I can not remember her last name), but she is a teacher at Arizona State University. The book, Radiant Curves, were stories of her past and other poems of life. The title comes from the Navajo word for Rainbow. As I was driving and watching the still dark Arctic early morning (9 AM), I thought of all the wonders of the world, and the wonders in my life at the moment, the interconnectedness of all of life, and it is indeed radiant curves all around.

May you have a fantastic Thanksgiving Weekend.

Peace and blessings.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A cold end

Grace and greetings.

As I wrote yesterday, it is not just about the cold air temperature, but the wind that continues to blow here are well. This afternoon we gathered at the "new grave site" for yet another committal. Though the air temperature was only 8 below, the 17 mile an hour wind brought the wind chill down to minus 30. Of course, here in Barrow, it is the family and volunteers to dig the grave and then fill the grave afterwards. Even before the casket was in the grave, frost was forming on beards of those who had facial hair. To say the least, it was very cold.

It is amazing to see the youth, particularly the teens who will run around in this weather without coats, hats and gloves. They just run to the car/bus/truck and then into the building. During the freezing winter, it is amazing that the school district has to send out a statement that students without appropriate winter gear will not be allowed to ride the bus. It seems that is the only way that some of the older "kids" will dress appropriately. Each morning, my son and I have this same discussion concerning how to dress for the cold. He seems to not listen. Yet, there are times when I am not able to pick him up, and he has to walk home. It is not quite a half mile, but by the time he gets home he is cold. He will wear the winter parka for a couple of days, then will go back to his hoody and leather jacket. As he continues to tell me, fashion before bulkiness.

Oh well, just as life, and trying to tell the young how to live their lives. Some children will just not listen. Isn't that what my parents told me last week?

Peace and blessings.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Snow and wind

Grace and greetings.

As I drove out to Spenard Builder Supply earlier today, I noticed that the wind was blowing the snow across the road. One of the things I miss about other places it the wind blowing through the trees, throwing the branches back and forth. One could see the strength of the wind by how the trees bend over. Here, we have the flags and the snow to show us how the wind is strong or just blowing. Also, I noticed that all the sparkles from yesterday were no longer there.

Many people assume that because we are inside the Arctic Circle, that it is cold, very cold all the time. Well, yes it is cold here, but it is usually colder in other places in the State or even the Upper Midwest States. The real kicker is the wind, what can be a pleasant 20 above can turn dangerous with a 25 mile an hour wind to below zero degree weather. During the winter months, what is usually a 20 below can drop quickly with the wind sometimes reaching 40 miles an hour.

For those of you who are following Kim's struggles, she is being released from the hospital this afternoon, and will fly home on tomorrow afternoon's flight. They are giving her four weeks to try and get the blood clots, and pneumonia in her lungs to clear up. So they are looking at surgery either sometime near Christmas or soon after, depending on how things are looking at the time. Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Peace and blessings.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sparkling Snow

Grace and greetings.

Samuel and I went for a car ride this evening, and it was wonderful to watch the snow sparkle as we drove. It was like little lights the flashed off and on as we went by. It was really amazing, and Sam even liked it too. Of course by the time we got out to the end of the road, we realized that the cloud cover was too much to see if there were any other heavenly bodies that would twinkle for us.

Of course the big news for us in Alaska is that Senator Ted Stevens conceded to Mark Begich who is now our new Senator-Elect. Whether one agreed with his policies or politics, we must admit that Senator Stevens was good at bringing money into the state, making it one of the largest, if not the largest state to receive federal funds. Yes, it will be hard to replace Stevens in that respect, but I believe in the long run, the State is better off with Begich. (Not to mention that Stevens turn 84 this past week).

As far as Kim is concerned, we are still waiting on the doctors to see if they will operate. I believe the issue now is that the main cause of her infections in her lungs, Histoplasmosis, is a Midwest fungus, so the doctors are thinking that maybe it would be wise to have her go to a place with they deal with it more often. She is meeting with the surgeon in an hour or so, and will hear what the doctor and patient have to say to each other.

Other than that, life continues here on the North Slope, parent arguing with teenage to do homework, laundry to do, housecleaning to be about, dinner is in the oven, etc., etc., etc. Everybody else has the same daily issues as well.

Peace and blessings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Going into the Dark

Grace and greetings.

Here it is Tuesday, 18 November, and as far as I understand, the sun has risen and set for the last time in 2008 in the Arctic Circle. Yet this afternoon, the sun seemed to be up long enough that it should come again tomorrow, but we will wait and see. Last year, I was surprised that even on the days of December, it seemed like the noon time was twilight; I had been expecting a complete darkness.

Alaskan Politics may have come to a place where we can turn the page; our Governor is back in the State; and it looks like that even though we may have a new Senator; though we still have the same Congressman. It is frightening that we almost re-elected a Senator who was convicted of seven counts of corruption. But even after the verdict was handed down, our Senator Ted Stevens, proclaimed his innocence, and then campaigned during the last several weeks stating that he had not been convicted of anything. He was going by his legal understanding that conviction is only AFTER the sentencing, so therefore he had not been convicted yet...The scary part is that it took two weeks of counting ballots before a winner was announced. Now, comes the time to wait and see if Senator Stevens will ask for a recount.

In the meantime, our Congressman, Don Young, is under investigation, but Alaskans seemed to turn a blind eye and re-elected him, after all, he has not been officially charged of anything...yet.

Then there is our Governor, Sarah Palin, who just several short months ago was unknown to the rest of the nation, but is now on the center stage, setting herself up for a run for the White House come 2012. I was very surprised to find out how far right her beliefs were, and very scared that she is a serious candidate for the next election. She has even thought of running for the Senate if there was to be a special election if Ted Stevens won and expelled by the Senate. She may even run again fellow Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski when her term is up.

Through all this fun and excitement, Kim is still at Providence Hospital. It has been confirmed that the pneumonia is now in both lungs. Now they, the doctors, are debating when she will have surgery to remove cysts in her lungs. The calcium buildups are from old infections and the scaring of her lungs are permanent. The cysts are large enough, that they are rubbing on the lining of her lungs, and eventually, if left alone will puncture her lungs. When they go in, they will have to go through the chest or back, and she has a good chance of losing up to half of her right lung. Right now we are just waiting to hear from the surgeon as to a date, then Sam and I will join her in Anchorage.

Until then, we are a little more than a week away from Thanksgiving, to remember why we are thankful for the wonderful gifts from God, our Creator. Concerning Kim, the fact that she is still around is something of a miracle. Your thoughts and prayers are asked for and welcomed.

Peace and blessings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Same old, Same old

Grace and greetings.

Sunday, the temperature in Barrow finally dropped below zero, but the winds have continued to be strong, up to 25 mile an hour winds. Today is more of the same: cold and windy.

Kim is back in the hospital in Anchorage with more lung issues. Saturday afternoon, ten minutes before I was heading out to officiate a wedding, Kim thought she should go the hospital because she was hearing noises during her breathing. I asked if she could hold on until after the wedding, so between the wedding service and the reception that followed, I dropped Kim off at the hospital and returned to have the wedding license signed, then returned to the hospital to wait for the doctors to finish up with their test.

After seeing the doctor, we were on our way out the door, when the doctor asked us to stay a few minutes longer. After consulting with another doctor on staff, they decided to admit Kim for observation overnight. With her heart rate up and oxygen levels slowly dropping, she was medevaced to Anchorage yesterday. It does not look like she will be there long, maybe a day or two more. Of course the doctor in Anchorage looked at her and told her that if she lived in Anchorage, she would not be in the hospital. But that was one of the points, we DO NOT live in Anchorage, we live in rural Alaska. As the saying goes, "If the rest of the United States gets a cold, Alaskans get the flu." To continue the statement, (and I guess this could be true in the majority of rural areas), "If Anchorage gets the flu, the Bush (rural Alaska) gets pneumonia." We are still waiting to see what will happen, as of this afternoon, they, the doctors, are still looking at her lungs. Though they are filling up again, it is not reacting like "normal pneumonia" rather filling in other areas of the lung. They still may go in with a needle to drain the lungs this time, rather than with a larger tube like last time; but that was also to help re-inflate the lung as well.

It is getting near the time when the sun will set for the last time here in Barrow for 2008. Though we officially have about six more days of "daylight", with the overcast skies, you would not know it.

Thank you for reading my blog, and your patience during my times of absence.

Peace and blessings.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Finally a vote for a winning President in a while

Grace and greetings.

Yes, I voted for Obama, which brings my voting record for President, 3 wins and 9 loses. I guess with hindsight, I would have voted for Carter instead of Ford if I had been paying attention at the time. Of course, the next time Carter ran, he had already conceded to Reagan in 1980 before I got off work and could vote. (I think I ended up voting for the Green Party in that election.) Of course at that time, what were to be close races, for US Senate and Congress in the State of Alaska, very quickly went to the Republican party. I wonder if McCain's concession before the closing of the polls in Alaska, (alright, not that 30 minutes would make that much difference) but that gave Hawaii an hour and half to affect the votes.

With prayers that we may now come back together; As Obama said in his acceptance speech, "that we are not red states and blue states, but we are the United States of America." Hopefully, healing will happen.

I read a editorial a couple of weeks ago from the Rev. Dr. John Buchanan, Pastor at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. In his observation, or comment about the conservatives verses liberal/progressives: "The conservatives wake up thinking of ways to destroy the liberals. Whereas the liberals would wake up in the morning and thinking of ways for inclusion." (the quote is a paraphrase, but the meaning is there). Following that observation, here are more prayers for inclusion.

Peace and blessings.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Kim is home

Grace and greetings.

I am sorry that I have not kept up with the communications lately, but here is what is going on:

Kim came home a little more than a week ago, she still has a long way to go, but is not on the IV's, so the hospital released her. Anyway, here is a list of what the list of what the hospital wrote up:

1. Acute respiratory failure (the survival rate for two years out of the hospital is at 45 %)
2. Streptococcal Midas empyema causing number one. (Lungs are permanently scared)
3. Acute renal failure secondary to streptococcal Midas empyema. (expected to heal with time).
4. Severe sepsis with systemic inflammatory response syndrome.
5. Hyperkalemia
6. Altered mental status secondary to sepsis
7. History of underlying bipolar disorder.
8. Hypothyroidism.
9. Coagulopathy secondary to sepsis.
10. Anemia
11. Right lower quadrant abdominal pain secondary to constipation
12 Constipation
13 Hematuria with possible underlying urinary tract infection. CT kidney stone did not show any abnormalities.

And here we thought it was just pneumonia with a collapsed lung...anyway, the doctors here that are working with her are saying that it will take one to two years for her to completely recover.

So, the long and the short of it, is that it will be day to day. She has been up and about, and the doctor has suggested that she start singing again to exercise her lungs and getting her breath back. Again, one day at a time.

Tomorrow is the election, I hope you have been able to vote or at least will be able to tomorrow. We took Sam to the polls Friday, (Halloween), his favorite holiday, for his first official voting experience.

Peace and blessings.