Our Totem is The Raven 1974 Native Film

This is  "Our Totem is the Raven". It's a great short film about life. It's not that short so make some popcorn, kick back and take a journey with Chief Dan.
I can't find this movie anywhere, (except this small version on an archive site), if anyone knows where I can find it, let me know. The scene opens with a young man playing the harmonica, the song he is playing was adapted by Kieth Secola from a traditional native song, Kieth is a Minnesota "Cousin",(name for a fellow Indian). Strangely enough, the first instrument I learned to play home on the Rez was the harmonica.
I know this is a short film, but I remember seeing it somewhere, it has remained in the back of my mind ever since then.

On the Road Male Public Bathroom Etiquette

This is one of my favorite instructional videos showing proper public bathroom etiquette for men.
I'm sharing this in the hope of preventing accidental world annihilation.

Kindle a Great Idea for Full Time RV Folk!

Amazon's Kindle 3
After looking at my "mobile" library, I began to despair at the weighty knowledge that some of my good friends would not be traveling with me. The idea of leaving behind my leather bound classics such as Homer's "Odyssey" and Shakespeare's Plays left me limp and sweaty.

Yes, I am a Bibliophile. I have read thousands of books and most of them the great classics over and over, as well has any historical books I can lay my hands to. More than just reading them I hoard them. I stalk the book auctions like a hawk, looking for leather bindings and old linen pages. At one time I had thousands of books but found good homes for them with other Bibliophiles who share my love of the printed page and musty bound book covers when we embarked on our on the road lifestyle.

I had a hundred or so titles left, mostly reference books on my particular area of study, (Native American History, American History), and a few of my beloved classics I could not part with. As we were in the final phase of letting go of any vestiges of a "normal life" I had to come to terms with the weight of my love and I could not entertain the idea of carrying so many tiles around any longer.

I began to investigate electronic readers and found a satisfactory result in the Amazon Kindle Reader (link is to cnn review site, good info here). It fits nicely in the hand and has a solid feel to it. It does remind one of the printed page and my reservations about it being less than a tactile experience were soon quelled by it's readability, compact size and sleek feel. It is not a book but, like a book, one is hard pressed to put it down. (The battery replacement concerns listed in the above cnn article have been handled nicely by third party vendors who sell batteries and explain how to change them, Amazon has advised the batteries will long outlast the usefulness of the device, boondockers will also be pleased with the Kindle's battery life, up to three weeks of intense reading pleasure can pass between recharges).

Another selling point for me was the 65,000 some free titles being offered by Amazon as well as several other sites such as Project Gutenberg.  All of the classics are here, copy write free since they have passed the age of concern, namely the death of the Author plus 75 years. In one evening I downloaded over 200 titles in my area of interest alone. Many others are available for 99 cents or less and the occasional title can be attained for less than ten bucks, (thankfully my interest is in obscure, less read titles).

One additional feature is the kindle will read to you using an electronic voice, it's very entertaining to read Moby Dick, or, the whale with an electronic voice! "Moby Dick" is one of the thousands of free books on Amazon.

Also, using your 3g network you can actually browse the internet, it's black and white, you have to scroll around and zoom on most pages, but heck! It's Free Internet!

The deal cincher for me was that Amazon offers a program for your computer that allows you to not only keep your titles directly downloaded to your Kindle, it also downloads them to a handy reader on your computer. You can read on your computer, your phone, (although the small screen would annoy me to no end), or any other portable device you may have laying around. Amazon also archives them on their site for you in case you need to download them again.

There have been some concerns that Kindle does not offer the ability to use other bookseller formats, namely Barnes and Noble, as well as library ebooks, but if one looks around the net one can find file converters that work well.

In conclusion, we Road Warriors cannot justify several hundred pounds of books, they are hard to store safely on board and become worse for wear in our travels. Don't get me wrong, my beloved leather bound volumes will follow me everywhere and my obscure history books that have not been made available in electronic form will still be with me, but I have reduced the pile to a manageable dozen or so.

I heartily recommend the Kindle reader, I have the Kindle 3 with 3G as well as wifi as I want my books and I want them now, I refuse to wait for wifi to be available when I need to read something new. I also found a great bargain on a reasonable cover and accessory set, don't let those $60.00 covers keep you from protecting your investment, there are alternatives that keep your purchase reasonable and do the job quite nicely.

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A Stay at the Hospital (How it all went down)

Surgical Waiting Room After Hours
 The normally bustling hospital becomes a calm, unreal setting at night. Things take on a different aspect with no one around, spaces normally full are empty, but footsteps and echos of the day still reverberate through the halls. TV's talk to no one, phones ring and no one answers. Occasionally one comes across a sleeping figure, but you don't intrude and tip toe on by. The other night I was whistling tunelessly as I crossed this waiting room only to find there was still someone waiting patently for the result of their loved ones surgery, I apologized for disrupting their musings, but she said she welcomed the distraction.

Just two days before I had been in her place, sitting alone in the dimmed light, waiting while all others had moved on, fretting about the time the surgery was taking, trying to not let my worst fears creep in. Even the very supportive and harried receptionist had left for the day so I was really alone. The TV was across the room and around the corner, casting it's epileptic glow on the walls and murmuring the news to no one. The cleaning staff had worked around me, chatting amiably to each other in Spanish and completely ignoring me. They try to be unobtrusive, but it comes off as being exclusive instead. And the phone keeps ringing...ringing and no one answers.
There is community art here, but this cow has to grow on you.

Finally I get up and walk around to stretch my legs and notice a sign placed on the reception desk. "Answer Phone When It Rings After Hours". Oh. Maybe all that irritating ringing was for me. The next time I answer. It is for me. The news is good, Doyle was being closed up and the Doctor will come and see me soon.

I walk past the cow statue in the main Surgical waiting room lobby, and rub it's head. This becomes a pattern with me over the next few days, comforting the cow somehow comforts me in a strange way.

The Doctor tells me the operation took twelve hours, but he is confident it went well. He looks dog tired, yet quite pleased with himself. I am profoundly impressed with his manner and abilities, he just saved my husbands life and he is concerned about my welfare as well.

During the operation, Doyle's Aortic Artery was replaced with a dacron artery, to accomplish this, two complete surgical teams were assembled and worked on him at the same time. His left lung was deflated to make room for many hands and his kidney removed and iced to facilitate it's arterial repairs. After the graft was in place his lung was re inflated and the kidney reattached. This over simplification of a very complicated surgery, but I think you get the picture.

I am called to the ICU unit and there I find Doyle still under, tubes sticking out from every visible opening and IV's everywhere. He has 15 IV bags hanging. He looks pretty good considering his ordeal, but he's too quiet, and it occurs to me I have never seen him this way before, even asleep he snores and moves about. This disturbs me but I am assured he is better off being unconscious than being awake with his breathing Tube(s) in place.

I am introduced to Justin and Cyndi, Doyle's personal nurses and am suddenly aware that angels sometimes wear scrubs. They deftly move about the bed checking this and moving that, all the while telling me Doyle's status and his stages of recovery. I feel confident in leaving Doyle in their capable hands and getting some sleep in the TLC visitors room.

The next day is out of a horror movie, Doyle is conscious and fighting the breathing tube, until it is finally removed and he can speak and breath on his own. The nurses tell me how remarkably resilient he is, that most people don't breath on their own for two days.

The next two days are not easy, I sleep very little, if at all, and Doyle's having a rough time of it, but steadily improving. So much so he is moved out of ICU, or TLC as they call it and placed in regular room two days ahead of schedule.

Once in his room he demands, and gets, food. He sits up and walks his first day. The next day he is pacing the halls. The Doctors are pleased. The nurses stop fussing over him and let him wander into their private lounge to get at the good coffee, every hour another tube or drain is removed.

Doyle at home
His surgery was Friday, and on Wednesday he is released. This is some sort of record for this kind of surgery and we feel very strongly that his recovery was due to the outpouring of thousands of prayers from friends and family. We comment constantly about the positive waves of love that wash over us during our ordeal.

So here is Doyle at home on the couch, not feeling very photogenic, but he allows me to snap a pic to let people see he is OK. We took a walk in the fields today and he's a bit tired and sore, but is improving every minute.

Our plans are still to leave for Florida as soon as the Doctor says we can, which should be in Mid November. Until then, we are staying at the farm, family and friend have offered to help with what little packing we have left to do. Doyle should be recovered enough to be back cooking in January, just in time for Alafia, or maybe even Boomer's Powwow on New Years Eve.

nd comfort.

Doyle Sits Up!...

October 8: Here is Doyle in Pre-OP, just a few minutes before he went under. He was a bit tired since neither of us sleep well anywhere other than our own bed, but he insisted I take a picture of him all wired up for brain function monitoring.

The tag of the bundle of wires states: "DO NOT THROW AWAY". We concur.

I asked if one of the things they could do is once they have his brainwaves recorded out if they could come and explain what the heck is really going on inside this guys head to me. they said they would try.....

Doyle said while he was under he was going to assault and take over the Hospital computer system through those wires attached to his head. All the techs around him in hearing distance put in their request for more pay, more vacation time, etc.

He then went on to say he'd be wandering the entire national electrical grid and all computer networks, fixing our national debt problems and such. I do believe he will.....

So.. if suddenly everyone we know gets a check from Uncle Sam (no questions asked) and suddenly your lottery numbers hit, you know who to thank.

He is a picture of Doyle this morning, October 12, he has been walking and sitting and is now allowed real coffee and food.

We had a tough couple of days when the pain was at it's worse, but the Angels of Mercy here did what they could to maintain that delicate balance between pain relief and sedation so he could rebound faster. This is an incredible place and the staff is like none we have ever experienced before!

He has the usual incision pain, and feels a bit weak, but he's getting better by the minute and looks forward to getting the heck out of here and going home to recover!

The prognosis is great for Doyle to resume his normal activities in three months, (do they have any idea what is normal for Doyle?) and we have been OK'd to head for Florida in November, where the Doctor has referred him to a Doctor there for continued monitoring.

Doyle would like to thank everyone who has prayed or sent good wishes our way, he feels it was the reason he made it and is healing so quickly. We both thank you all and hopes you all are blessed as we have been!

Life at a Hospital

"So, how do you like living out of a car?" Maria asks me as we walk down the hall to the front entrance with a bundle of clothes under her arm. "I, myself have been doing this for three months now, my daughter had a kidney transplant here and she's been up and down ever since, her best chance for life is here at UW and they keep moving here from one department to another. I just find it easier to keep everything in the car and run out to get what I need and I noticed you doing the same thing."

I had been busted.

Doyle was being moved from one end of the Hospital to another and I had given up moving everything from one waiting room to another hospital room and then back again. UW is a busy place and they don't have Valets.

Hotels are out of the question, being over $79.00 a night with discounts and quite a far drive away, you also risk losing your parking "Sweet Spot" by moving your vehicle.

Lest you think we are a bunch of fun loving penny pinching moochers out for a cheap vacation, consider our situation in the light of the facts that 5% or more of us will be going home without our loved one. Forever. But we will still be responsible for the bills. Forever.

There are crying people in every corner of the building, every damn corner. 

Maria's comment got me thinking, so I started a sort of "car watch" to see how many of us were living out of trunks and back seats. There are many, and it's fun to catch up with these folks when they are running in and out to fetch this and that.

  • Are from more than 200 miles away and have a loved one who is getting some sort of long term care.
  • Do not have insurance of any kind.
  • Have a loved one so ill that they can't leave the building to stay somewhere else and risk not being there to avert a crisis, you can't phone in loving support or life and death medical decisions from a hotel.
  • Are older and don't have real young kids or pets at home.
  • Know where the free coffee is in the morning.
  • Can brush their teeth with the last of their first cup of coffee in the morning.
  • Know the visitor showers are up on the third floor.
  • Know where the comfy full couches in waiting rooms are, and have a stash of pillows and sheets they've scavenged somewhere.
  • Know the code of conduct: "If the couch is made up as a bed, it's taken, look elsewhere".
  • If you don't have your bed claimed by two in the afternoon, you will sleep on a love seat (bad) or a recliner (very bad).
  • Are very nice to house staff, who have small shampoos and other sundry items in their pockets.
  • Get a Long Term Visitor Pass, your Golden Ticket to preferential treatment by everyone, including security, who roust non-ticket holders every night from their shadowy roosts and send them packing to the office to get their proper pass or leave into the night.
  • Can, and often do, give Paternalistic advice to the "Newbies" to keep them from ruining a good thing.
  • Buy one meal a day just at the end of lunch,(cheap and generous portions), and then split it into Dinner, next days Breakfast and Lunch.
  • Have stuffed such dinner makings into every available visitors fridge in every waiting room, unlabeled and never taken by others, there is honor among squatters.
  • Hate the automatic flushing toilets, they scare the bejeebus out of you at two in the morning when the kidneys call and you are half asleep.
  • My New Home
  • Are unflinchingly grateful and in awe of a Professional Medical Group that heals our people regardless of ability to pay and puts up with strange Zombies wandering its halls at night looking for a place to lay down and rest so they can face the challenges of the next day.
Most of us the first week here are blindly and numbly stumbling along, trying not to cry and scream about the unfairness of illness. I think I walked into two or three walls before I learned that know matter how grave the situation is, one must look up and see obsticles.

By the second week you settle into the morbid frame of mind required for truly serious surgery and horrifying recovery of your loved one. You get to see them tortured in every possible physical way, and are constantly choking tears back as you tell them that 'honestly, honey, it'll be good for you'.

You begin to form support groups who can discuss various medical problems with the precision of a 6th year medical student. You cry together, laugh together and then one day they check out and are gone, you only knew them by first name and will never see each other again, because after all, who wants to look back on these days with fond reflections of good times spent? 
Mobile office

Most of us in the support group never even meet each others family patient, we meet in visitors rooms as we wait for news of our loved ones latest treatment. We start conversations to fill the endless hours of waiting that goes into getting a person well. They then get transferred to some other department or sent home at odd hours and with little fanfare.

When your family member is released, you don't turn and search for your new made friends for a tearful goodbye, you run for the exit, engine running, to get out before the Doctor changes his mind about releasing them.

My husband may be on the mend now, but when he sees the condition of the inside of our truck cab, he's going to have a coronary. It looks like a cheap rummage sale blew up in there.
Living La Vita Locomotion

Many Blessings, Few Words....

Sunrise Alafia Rendezvous
It has occurred to me as I stare at this blank page before me that there are many words that stream from my mind when I have been offended, but when I want to express gratitude and my feelings of being extraordinarily blessed, words fail me. I imagine, perhaps, I have just had more memorable experience with the former than the latter.

But now I know what true love and faith is, Doyle and I are overwhelmed by the response we have received from the community, friends and family. We could actually feel the power of your prayers and good wishes washing over us in our dark hour. We feel your prayers have kept Doyle from getting worse, and may even have saved his life. 

Strange thing, this power of prayer, we have friends and family that are every denomination and faith, and yet all good wishes and prayer have a combined spiritual effect. Whether Buddist, Jewish, Native American, Christian and yes, even pagan, we feel no difference in their influence on us.

The important thing is that every one of these diverse peoples took a moment to think on us and send us their good wishes in a selfless, loving form. We are so blessed by all we know, to have them care for us at all is a miracle in itself. Then to have them turn and send us whatever it is they have within them to us is incredibly awe inspiring, we can actually feel the healing and restorative effect.

Even with the many challenges ahead of us, we have had a shining moment of discovery that will linger with us for the rest of our days. People care about us. And people have the ability to translate those feelings into a palpable action and send them our way, regardless of their religion or belief. Heady stuff.

If we could ask one more thing from everyone, as long as we have your attention, there are many people suffering out there, I would ask that everyone say a prayer or send good wishes for all of mankind, our planet and for ourselves to gain the wisdom it takes to heal a challenged world.

Thank you again for building our Faith to new heights and giving us the strength to go boldly forward, whoever you are, wherever you are, and we pray your good feelings returned to you ten-fold.

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