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Garrison Keillor: Nice 67 Y.O. male has brush with mortality

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:57 AM
Original message
Garrison Keillor: Nice 67 Y.O. male has brush with mortality
http://www.salon.com/opinion/keillor/2009/09/16/mortali... /


Nice 67 Y.O. male has brush with mortality

It was pretty clear how lucky I was to be walking out of that hospital relatively unscathed

By Garrison Keillor


Sept. 16, 2009 | The doctor who saw me in the E.R. wrote in her report: "nice 67 y.o. male, flat affect, awake, alert and appropriate." I had appeared with slurred speech and a balloon in my head, had driven myself to United Hospital in St. Paul, parked in No Parking, walked in and was triaged right in to a neurologist who trundled me into the MRI Space-Time Cyclotron for 50 minutes of banging and whanging that produced a picture of the stroke in the front of my brain, so off to the Mayo Clinic I went and the St. Mary's Hospital Neurology ICU and was wired up to monitors. A large day in a nice 67 y.o. man's life.

I stayed at St. Mary's for four days of tests and when I left, a neurologist shook my hand and said: "I hope you know how lucky you are." That was pretty clear as I walked down the hall, towing my IV tower, and saw the casualties of serious strokes. Here I was sashaying along, like a survivor of Pickett's Last Charge who had suffered a sprained wrist. My mouth felt fuzzy but I was essentially unscathed, though touched by mortality. Which I have been on the run from for a long time. I never wanted to be a nice 67 y.o. man. I still have some edgy 27 y.o. man inside me.

snip//

Nurses are smart and brisk and utterly capable. They bring some humor to the situation. ("Care for some jewelry?" she says as she puts the wristband on me.) And women have the caring gene that most men don't. Men push you down the hall in a gurney as if you're a cadaver, but whenever I was in contact with a woman, I felt that she knew me as a brother. The women who draw blood samples at Mayo do it gently with a whole litany of small talk to ease the little blip of puncture, and "here it comes" and the needle goes in, and "Sorry about that," and I feel some human tenderness there, as if she thought, "I could be the last woman to hold that dude's hand." A brief sweet moment of common humanity.

And that is a gift to the man who has been struck by a stroke: our common humanity. It's powerful in a hospital. Instead of a nice linen jacket and cool jeans and black T, you are shuffling around in a shabby cotton gown like Granma in "Grapes of Wrath," and you pee into a plastic container under the supervision of a young woman who makes sure you don't get dizzy and bang your noggin.

Two weeks ago, you were waltzing around feeling young and attractive, and now you are the object of Get Well cards and recipient of bouquets of carnations. Rich or poor, young or old, we all face the injustice of life -- it ends too soon, and statistical probability is no comfort. We are all in the same boat, you and me and ex-Gov. Palin and Rep. Joe Wilson, and wealth and social status do not prevail against disease and injury. And now we must reform our health insurance system so that it reflects our common humanity. It is not decent that people avoid seeking help for want of insurance. It is not decent that people go broke trying to get well. You know it and I know it. Time to fix it.
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redwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
1. I love that man!
Hang in there Garrison, get better and take care of yourself!
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Amen!
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Tommy_Carcetti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:10 AM
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3. Garrison Keeler is the epitome of an American treasure.
He's truly one of the best wordsmiths that has ever come out of this country.
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FunkyLeprechaun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:18 AM
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4. The nurses at Saint Marys are wonderful
I've had surgery pre-op there (recovered at Methodist) and they make sure that patients are treated well and are comfortable. I haven't yet had surgery here in the UK but the doctors here are the same way.

The Mayo Clinic is a great place. I had a friend who wanted a cochlear implant operation which would improve his lifestyle, just couldn't afford to have it because he had no insurance. The Clinic offered to do it for free because it would have helped him so much. They sometimes do charitable cases but not very often and in those cases it's often people who really need the care (cancer etc) but have no insurance.

And Mayo supports Health Care reform. Rah rah Rochester! First Tim Walz, now the Mayo Clinic!
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DrZeeLit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:18 AM
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5. Oh, he made me cry. How do I make that last bit in bold into a bumper sticker? We need one!!!
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
6. K & R for GK ;o)
Catch Keillor on PBS' American Masters:

Garrison Keillor - The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes | American Masters | PBS


BTW the Prairie Home Companion Movie was much better than I thought it would be too.

YouTube - A Prairie Home Companion - My Minnesota Home

YouTube - Prairie Home Companion - 'The Day Is Short'

:dem: & R
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FailureToCommunicate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:33 AM
Response to Original message
7. Garrison's voice is warm like stepping onto a sun porch after a long winter. My mom
is going thru the hospital ER, tests, nurses, more tests shuffle. The end is soon, we brothers know...
But someone like Keillor puts it so well, it all almost makes sense.
Bless him.
Bless all of us.
Fix health care now!

Thanks for posting babylonsister.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
8. Garrison Keillor rocks! nt
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
9. Garrison Keillor: what a talent! nt
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