Archive for December, 2011

From Sunset Into Sunrise: Year’s End Thoughts About What Really Matters

We Minnesotans, like any other geographical segment, have our expectations.  One of the more generalizable of these is that, if we have to put up with over six months’ worth of winter, we can at least count on having a greeting card-worthy layer of snow blanketing the otherwise dead and dreary landscape by Christmas eve.  Not so this year.

We did see a smattering of tiny, hard crystals on two separate days leading up to the season’s climax, almost as if Nature were responding to our grumblings by tossing us a few crumbs – or flakes, as it were.  Just a teaser, it came nowhere close to covering the brown.  But in the end this minor letdown proved to be irrelevant.  As one friend wrote, “We had a wonderful Christmas at my oldest son’s house, opening presents, eating a dinner that I didn’t have to cook, and being adored by our grandchildren.  Can’t get much better than that!”  

In my own household, we started the day by joining our church family for a celebration of Christ’s humble entrance into the world, which set the tone for a relaxed approach to cooking Christmas dinner for the eight dear relatives who later gathered around our table to honor the classic tradition of a yuletide feast shared with loved ones.  We didn’t miss that silly white stuff at all, and everyone enjoyed a safer drive home that evening as a bonus. 

Such reminders to align things in proper perspective arise from time to time, whether the nudges consist of minor disappointments or major reprieves.  Case in point:  While toweling off after a shower on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I noticed a small, tender protrusion in an area that suggested I might be developing a hernia.  I was a bit surprised, but not too alarmed.  While I am leaner and fitter today than in years past, I thought, my father did develop a hernia at about my age; this might be part of his legacy to me.  

Like any self-respecting info addict, I hopped onto the internet for a quick search of reputable medical sites to confirm my self-diagnosis.  And like any self-respecting exercise addict, I made a mental note to substitute extra power-walks for Tae-Bo and weight-lifting until I determined what temporary limitations this condition might impose on me. 

So much for healing thyself.  A Monday visit to the Clinic yielded the disconcerting pronouncement that this was not a hernia, but a swollen lymph node; no less disturbing, blood tests revealed a white blood count of 2.8, when the normal range is 4.5-11.0.  The doctor ordered a follow-up CBC and differential for further analysis by a specialist. 

“So what,” I asked the cool, white-cloaked professional in front of me, “might be the possible implications of those numbers?”  He qualified his response with references to my tendency to register low white blood counts and the fact that I had no history of infections, but the terms that planted themselves in my consciousness were “pathologist” and “bone marrow involvement.” 


December 31, 2011 at 4:44 pm 2 comments

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