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So it’s happening again


I always thought I’d write volumes when retired and had time to devote to putting fingers to keyboard, but the reality is, well, I don’t know. It keeps getting harder and more challenging for me to come up with a topic that seems new and fresh for this space. And when I do come up with an idea, the old gray cells just don’t have the same capacity to turn an idea into a story that has a common thread.
So to hell with the thread, here’s some things going on in my life of late.
Last week was my annual trip to the Bender’s Fishing Camp in Northern Minnesota. I’ve been going, off and on, for the past 15 years and am currently on a four-year run. As usual, brother Bob and his friend Gonzo were also in attendance. Bob bought a new fishing boat a couple of years ago and, on this most recent trip, he accidentally leaned against a button he’d never thought to push before. Miracle of miracles, he discovered the boat has a loud horn. For the remainder of the week, he honked it heavily whenever he was bored or not bored.
Sabra joined the expedition one time but soon discovered there’s nothing she likes about fishing. Not only doesn’t she like to hurt the fish, she also doesn’t like to hurt the bait. So she stayed home.
Before leaving, I made an appointment to have surgery on my right ear when I got back. Deafness runs in the family and I was sure it was a condition I’d just have to live with. I also resisted getting a hearing aid, but finally gave in and went for some tests to get fitted.
Turns out I have a condition that is operable.
Before going under the knife, however, I explored all my options, so I tried out a hearing aid for a couple of weeks.
This year, Bob brought a couple friends from work to Benders. Both nice guys, I especially appreciated having Joe around because he did the heavy lifting at the dinner table. It’s just how I am: if there’s food left over – especially delicious food, like at Benders– I feel obligated to pitch in and eat it. It’s a burden I bear, but Joe took on the yoke this year, letting me eat more responsibly. In one sitting, he ate nine pieces of French Toast that otherwise would have wound up in my gullet.
It didn’t take long to decide I am not hearing aid compatible. I misplaced it twice on the first day and fumbled with it constantly. So I decided to go for the operation but had just one question: what will it cost? I might as well have been speaking a foreign language. No one had a clue. I suggested $5,000, which is our deductable, but the doctor only shrugged and said he thought the rent on the operating room was about that much.
On Monday, two days into the fishing trip, Sabra asked for help from my friend Curt to go on our twice-monthly Meals on Wheels run. When she got to the first stop, the gentle, elderly lady opened the door as usual. Not as usual, the lady’s cat decided to make a break for the door. Sabra put her hand down to block the critter and it returned the favor by biting her hard and deep. The wound soon started showing signs of infection and she spent two days in the hospital with a painful IV drip in her hand.
It made the cost of my operation moot. The cost of Sabra’s injury will easily meet the deductible. We’re in the bonus!
Under the heading of it’s a small world, Sabra and the cat met before when she worked at the pet clinic. She held it when it got its shots.
As I write this, it’s been five days since the operation and things are going well. Now, instead of having the volume on the television set to 60 or more, I can listen and hear with it in the 30s.
There is one downside, however. I can’t pretend I don’t hear the conversation when the topic is something I’m not interested in.