The operation was a success but the patient lived


I went from pre-op to op to post-op rather nicely.

The artery doctor came in and initialed my leg so we all knew he would be working on my left leg which was the right one. I transitioned from pre-op to op where I was issued an official white party hat to cover my head hair. A gas passer came in and told me what would happen. He would give me gas to sleep and gas to wake me up. I was wheeled into the op room, lights were hanging from the ceiling pointed at me since I was going to be the star in this three-hour show. I saw green clad nurses hovering around as the black mask descended on my face.

I woke up 3 hours and 13 minutes later in the post-op room surrounded by family. They said only stents were needed to open up my leg artery and I could leave the hospital in the morning. I told the family members they could go home now because I knew they had put in a long day.

I was instructed that I would have to lie flat on the bed to help with the healing of the incision in my right leg artery, it was a four-hour sentence. I felt something and asked if I had a catheter in me. The nurse said yes but they would remove it in a few hours. I was given ice water to drink. My mouth was really dry. The nurse said it was from the dye that was used to mark the location and size of the blockage and also the gas that put me to sleep and woke me up.

The nurse came back with a good news-bad news story. They said I could get up and walk around after they removed the catheter. I said, “okay, remove away.” She reached down and quickly pulled the catheter. This caused intense pain which lasted only a few seconds before it went away. I said “okay” and sat up. She said I could walk around after she unhooked the IV in my left arm.

I felt a little strange after the morphine shot. I felt no pain. The artery has three stainless steel stents in it to keep the passageway open. For me, the worst part of the operation was the removal of the catheter, that and an alleric reaction to the drug Plavix. I got hives and suddenly didn’t feel good. All I wanted to do was lay around and mope. The doctors decided on a different drug that would keep my blood flowing without clotting. My wife took me home where I am recuperating. My leg circulation will improve.

**** The Fond du Lac Reservation Immersion camp was a roaring success. We had at least ten fluent speakers and more than 400 campers. My wife Patricia did most of the planning, say 95% of the work. My part was easy: She would suggest something and I would say that it sounds good to me.

We provided three meals a day and the method we used worked quite well. We asked various families and community centers to provide one meal each. There was more than enough food for the multitudes.

Once again the canoe race was one of the highlights of the camp. I saw one team tip over into the water four times before they got past the dock. It was good the Rez sent Game Wardens to act as the safety boat because canoes were tipping over on the way to the turnaround point and back. The Rez Museum sent two of the locally made birch bark canoes to the race. Only one of them turned over. We laughed muchly at the racers, especially at Keith Secola who came to Fond du Lac to tip over.

Indian Country TV sent a crew to film and record the happenings. I am not sure of the technical end of things but they were able to Livestream a lot of the happenings. Some of the campers were able to learn how to work with the materials in making birch bark baskets, seven people finished making a small basket. My hooch was next to the flute maker Frank Montano, so I was serenaded all day. Charlie Nahgahnub brought materials for people to make knockers and poles for manoomin. Randy Gresczyk taught about 15 people how to make hand drums. Carrie Estey showed people how Indigenous people made pottery, while Nancy Jones taught them how to make bannock on a stick.

We all learned to speak more Ojibwe. Bebangii, little by little.

We have began planning for next year’s camp already.

**** Mii iw Mii sa iw.

The views expressed in this column belong to the writer alone. Comments and bingo packs can be sent to FdL Follies, PO Box 16, Sawyer, MN 55780-0016 Email:…. Facebook too.