Three weeks ago today was my surgery.  I’ve been home for over two weeks.  Yesterday I did my first walk, and found to my pleasant surprise that I could do the previous 2 1/2 miles in its entirety, only slightly slower than pre-surgery.  Questions welcome.

This morning, another post-op appointment, this time with Rehab doctor, who said no rehab was needed – I’m basically strong, she said.  Before the doctor, a nurse took my vitals, and had with her a young woman who said this was her first day in a training setting.  The young woman is aiming for EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and no doubt she’ll be a good one.  Every one of us had to begin at the beginning….

In the afternoon, a surprise in-person visit with my sister and her friend Malcolm.  Mary is a retired Nurse Practitioner in New York State, still engaged in the profession largely due to needs generated by Covid-19; much of work in nursing home settings.  She acknowledged some problems with job-related PTSD.  The job of medical caregiver particularly in Covid-19 times has been stressful.  Her work goes back 60 years, in a great variety of settings….

I have said since the outset about this current issue that by quirk of fate, my surgery and recovery were in the same hospital and likely the same Ward where my first wife died 57 years ago – The University of Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis.

One of the first things I did when I left the hospital was to write a heart-felt thank you letter to my physician, surgeon and the nurse manager of the station in which I began recovery.  I included the memories I had written about those long ago very difficult years:  memories I had written in 1981-82 for our sons 18th birthday; memories of how it was to be very sick from kidney disease then.

I have decided to include you as recipients of these memories, if you wish.  They are in two parts: Barbara and Barbara (2).  We can all identify formative events in our own lives.   A major one for me was the years described, 1963-65.

Dick, Tom and Barbara Bernard, August 1964. This is the last family picture. Barbara died less than a year later.

Lives indeed go on.  Barbara didn’t have the opportunity.  Tom is now 58.  Someone who read the documents I wrote long ago wondered how I could possibly have remembered all the detail.

There’s much to that story but I think I am possibly in soul-space with those folks in the Ukraine who coincident with my hospitalization have become refugees, out of control of their present and uncertain about their future.  Like these refugees, there have been millions similarly situated to our small family in 1964, and doubtless there are similarly indelible memories.


Tomorrow is the memorial for Dr. Paul Farmer, who recently died suddenly and unexpectedly at 62.  I plan to tune in, and invite you too as well.  Details are accessible here (#3).



6 replies
  1. Corky Marinkovich
    Corky Marinkovich says:

    Happy to hear you are out and about Dick.!The walk of 21/2 miles is excellent. Listen to the caregivers. These times also bring back some history in your family.

  2. Lydia Howell
    Lydia Howell says:

    Ao glad to hear of your successful walk! In the midst of so much “bad news”, it’s a relief to get some good news. May your recovery continue!
    PS re: the late DR.PAUL FARMER, may I encourage people to donate in his memory to his important organization PARTNERS IN HEALTH. (I did the day after his death was reported). Also: DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS is gong to UKRAINE with medical supplies & health care workers–another worthy organization to support

  3. Larry Gauper
    Larry Gauper says:

    Good to hear you’re coming along well with your recovery. Glad to say the same about my January 11th triple bypass. Oh, how I remember Barbara from our Valley City (ND) High School class of 1961. What a sad and tragic story. Your memories of that time in your short marriage were documented in an article on our Hiliners61 blog. Within the blog post is a link to a piece you wrote, “Remembering Barbara.” It’s available here through this link; – again, good to hear you’re back “in the saddle again.” Always good to read your interesting posts.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.