“Today, Martha?” “Yes, Bear.”

*Good news alert! The people in Breckenridge, Texas are going to refund my entry fees for the art show!*


I live at 7600 feet or 2300 meters. I feel good at this altitude, but I know it isn’t easy to adjust from sea level. I had to do it when I moved back to Colorado 7 years ago. It took a few days. Even in California I sought a higher altitude. My little town of Descanso was 3500 feet and I spent much of my free time above 5000 hiking in the Laguna Mountains. When my doctor uses the oximeter to evaluate the oxygen in my blood, she says, “Up here I’m happy when people hit 90%.”

We joke out here saying that “oxygen is over-rated,” but of course it isn’t. I learned this for reals when I had my hip surgery 3 years ago and my body tried to shut down. I ended up on oxygen for several days afterward and I hated it. That alone was enough to keep me a mask-wearing recluse until I was able to be vaccinated against Covid.

I’m grateful to be living in these times, something that hit home again yesterday when Facebook (bless its heart) showed me photos of May 2018 when I had come home from my surgery and was in the care of my incredibly patient friend, Lois. At the time, I was dragging around a big oxygen tank and one of the biggest challenges we faced was finding oxygen down here and negotiating the gauntlet of doctors to get it to my house before the tank I was given at the hospital was empty. I was pretty fucked up with a giant incision stapled shut on one leg, tet hose, the whole post surgery nightmare. I’d had major hip surgery on the other side ten years earlier and I was experiencing the difference between 54 and 66. Not pretty. At one point Lois and I decided to blow this pop stand and go get pizza — I think that was my 3rd day home — and as I sat at our table, Lois watched me turning all shades of blue. “We have to get you home, Martha.”

So what? Yesterday I mowed the lawn (which might be dead, don’t know) and hauled in 5 bags of bark mulch and put two of them down on the “For the love of god, don’t dig here!” walk way between my small gardens. As I did all this physical labor, I thought of my hip 3 years ago and was deeply, deeply grateful.

“I already dug in it, Martha.”
“I know, Teddy.”

Meanwhile, it’s a cool and cloudy day. It rained last night. My dog has been patient with all the cleaning and yard work, and today it’s her turn.

16 thoughts on ““Today, Martha?” “Yes, Bear.”

    • The San Luis Valley is in a major rain shadow because we’re surrounded by mountains. It’s often cold enough to snow, but the mountains often take the precipitation. A storm has to be moving fast or coming up from the south for us to get anything.

  1. And this is why I’m a little trepidatious about my mother’s looming surgery… The doctors says, “No big deal” but she is 89! I like the look of your mulched garden walk and I hope Teddy and Bear will leave it undisturbed (and won’t knock over the beans).

    • I understand completely. That’s the scary part of surgery not the surgery but the OTHER stuff. I was supposed to have been given less anesthesia than I was, but they didn’t have an epidural in the hospital so they had to knock me out completely. I don’t handle anesthesia well and have probably had it too many times, I don’t know. I hope your mom’s procedure goes quickly and there isn’t the need for her to be under very long. ❤

  2. I cannot comprehend how one might go about buying an oxygen tank … I imagine that in some parts of the world one can buy them off the back of s truck these days. I guess though that there is no guarantee what’s in them.

    Teddy is so helpful in speeding up the soil improvement.

  3. Congrats on the good news alert! Glad you are getting your money back. Phew! But most of all, glad you survived that 2018 hip surgery and can reap the benefits now. Even though that involves yard work – which hopefully stays done. 🙂

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