We’ll be going up to our favorite local food town, Portland (Oregon, of course), next week - if a four hour road-trip can be called local. We usually try to go up a few times each summer, just to have some fun, and to try a few new restaurants. But this trip is not entirely a fun trip – I’m going up there to have some eye surgery – a macular hole, they call it. But damn it, I’ll be getting in some good food too – I refuse to waste a perfectly good visit solely on a hospital procedure.
It sounds serious, but it’s really not – all they do is to remove the vitreous filling of the eye (because, with age, it begins to shrink back away from the center of the eye, causing a black spot in your vision). According to the doc doing this procedure, the surgery is relatively routine and painless, especially given the type of anesthetic they use, Demerol/Versed, or maybe Propofol – This last one is the stuff that killed Michael Jackson, and is occasionally used recreationally, so it has a down side.
But I was happy to hear that this is what they use, as that’s the stuff I was given when I had a colonoscopy, and I later told my regular doc that my experience was perhaps even a bit pleasurable. Actually, I loved that feeling, and although they told me I wouldn’t be unconscious -this is known as “conscious sedation”- I think I went to sleep as soon as they placed me on my side – and had no pain, or no recollection of pain anyway.
This inability to recall anything about a painful experience is supposedly a selling point for this drug family, and much is made of that. Although I’ve had this stuff, I have no idea whether I actually experienced pain, and then later can’t remember the experience, or that I had no pain because it was covered by the drugs. I do recall seeing a very astute comment regarding this very issue that essentially went like this – If you (like I) are a believer in the absence of an afterlife, would it make 3 months of torture an OK experience because you knew at the end you’d die and remember nothing? Very good question.
But apparently, for this surgery, it’s the recuperation that’s a bitch – for up to two weeks, you have to lay on your stomach all day! Once they remove the vitreous in your eye, they put a bubble of gas inside your eyeball – this promotes a natural healing and creation of a new covering for the eye. But in order for this process to occur, you must spend 50 minutes of every walking hour on your stomach. They tell me I can use the laptop and I can read – and with the aid of a strategically placed mirror, even watch TV to my heart’s content. Oh the joys of laying out!
I think the thing that bothers me the most is that the reading material they gave me said I’d be unable to do any gardening for a month or two after the procedure. What? I don’t think so. In these parts, garden season has just about started this week, and I’m rushing feverishly to get all my starts in the ground before I have to have this done next week. The major problem with even that is that Mother Nature has seen fit to postpone the start of gardening hereabouts by depositing boo-coodles of rain over the last month – so much rain that roto-tilling is out of the question – even just digging a hole to plant a start into is questionable, since it’s more like mud that soil.
And they think that in this problematic gardening environment, a gardener is just going to stand there and watch his garden go to hell when it finally stops raining, and the weeds begin to take over, and the sun begins to bake everything to adobe? I don’t think so.
That same little booklet tells me there’s no restriction for cooking and working in the kitchen – or bathing, or even regular exercise. Apparently, the authors of this little booklet aren’t gardeners or cooks either. I suspect that they envision all gardeners engaged in back-braking activities such as lugging huge bags of fertilizer and mulch, tilling over and over for weeks at a time, and/or double-digging beds for the potatoes and carrots that are at least 2 feet deep. What the hell could be wrong with holding a hose while watering, or using a hoe occasionally to weed? And then there’s the picking – are they suggesting that the prime time for gathering garden produce be put off until all is rotted and dried up? I don’t think so.
And I suspect that the booklet’s authors have absolutely no idea of what really happens in the kitchen. They don’t know about the 50 lb bags of flour that I lug in, or the storage containers into which that flour gets deposited. And I’m quite sure they have no idea just how hard a cook or baker works in a kitchen – they just assume it’s all “soft” work. I don’t think so.
I intend to go up to Portland, have a little good food, and some good fun, and to have this procedure done. I’ll listen to their counsel as they prepare me for my recuperation, and I’ll even introduce a few of my “concerns” as noted here – and then I’ll put all that information into a proper perspective, and go about the next phase of my life.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
And in the meantime, here’s the latest 1,2,3 Sourdough Bread.
Interesting thing about this one is that I made up the dough prior to going down to L.A. for Melissa’s graduation – so it spent 6 days fermenting in the refrigerator. I half expected it to have completely used up all its sugars during that time, and for it to have a strong alcohol smell as a result. And it did have a little alcohol smell, but I formed it into a loaf that first night home, put it back in the fridge to proof overnight, and baked it off right out of the fridge the next morning – Absolutely no taste of alcohol – in fact, it had a delightful taste.
I may just subject more of my future loaves to this extended fermentation process, and see what other sourdough secrets I can unlock.