It was Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007. The sun had not yet risen and I was still in a hospital bed. I was now able to attempt to eat a semi-liquid diet, which primarily meant thin broth soup, applesauce and my personal favorite, vanilla pudding with a Percocet mixed in. It's not easy to swallow when you can't breathe through your nose, though, so there was a lot of gagging going on every time I tried to swallow anything.
I had had strange dreams the night before, filled with rural imagery and discussions of harvesting. The only farming I knew was from the occasional visit to my aunt and uncle's dairy farm. I don't know what I expected to see -- it was Easter, after all -- but what I didn't expect to see was part of a very strange old episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, featuring the ever-popular "Up the Palace" and "Limestone, Dear Limestone" promos, among other things. Not typical Easter fare, but this wasn't a typical Easter.
I had heard that, perhaps, if all went well, the packing would come out of my nose. We had asked about it on Saturday, but the medical team decided to leave it in for another day. It would be one of the better Easter presents I'd ever had if I could actually get rid of the packing. I suspect that the nurses were tired of me asking about it, but a fella needs a little hope.
I knew that Mrs. D and the kids would be coming for a visit, which was nice. I hadn't seen the kids for a while and while I knew that they wouldn't be crazy about seeing their father strapped up to a bunch of tubes and monitors, it was good. Mrs. D arrived with the kids and my brother Mike, who had been very generous with his time throughout the whole ordeal.
Kids can process a lot but it's a difficult thing to see a parent in a hospital. When I was about 7 or 8, my own father had been in a somewhat serious traffic accident and had needed medical attention. He got out of the hospital after a day but he had needed to spend a few days at home to rest. When he came home, he had a number of bandages on and it was very scary indeed. So while I was happy to see the kids, I was worried that they would be sad, scared, or both.
We call my daughter Fearless Maria a reason -- she had already had a few surgeries herself, so she understood what she would see in the hospital. She brought me a little Easter basket with some treats that I could not eat, but it was a real day brightener. My son, although older, struggled with this visit a little. Just a few weeks earlier, he had experienced on of the proudest moments of his life as he received the Cub Scout Arrow of Light and began his career as a Boy Scout. Boy Scouts are called to be prepared, but very few boys are prepared to see their father laid low.
During the visit, a nurse and doctor arrived. The good news had arrived -- the gauze and packing were coming out. The medical staff ushered my family out of the room and then the doctor slowly removed everything. I had my nose back.
The family was due for Easter dinner at my in-laws, so I had to bid them good-bye. The afternoon would be confined to watching the Masters. The temperature at August was still in the 40s and the golfers were struggling mightily. There were no red numbers at all and I don't think I saw anyone make a putt all day. The announcers were trying to put a brave face on things, but it was clear that this would go down as one of the worst Masters in history. In the end, an obscure Iowa native named Zach Johnson ended up winning the tournament when Tiger Woods couldn't mount a charge down the stretch, settling for pars on the last three holes.
It was an unsatisfying tournament and, although I could now breathe, an less-than-satisfying way to spend Easter. But there was hope now. I had been promised that I could leave my hospital bed and go for a walk the next day. And if all went well, I might get to go home, to a future that was uncertain, but one that had to be better than the recent past.
And I tried to remember this:
And on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared.  And they found the stone rolled back from the sepulchre.  And going in, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus.  And it came to pass, as they were astonished in their mind at this, behold, two men stood by them, in shining apparel.  And as they were afraid, and bowed down their countenance towards the ground, they said unto them: Why seek you the living with the dead?
 He is not here, but is risen. Remember how he spoke unto you, when he was in Galilee,  Saying: The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.  And they remembered his words.  And going back from the sepulchre, they told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest.  And it was Mary Magdalen, and Joanna, and Mary of James, and the other women that were with them, who told these things to the apostles.
 And these words seemed to them as idle tales; and they did not believe them.  But Peter rising up, ran to the sepulchre, and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths laid by themselves; and went away wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.
In what was once St. Luke's Hospital, it's always worth paying attention to Luke 24.
Next: watching the Twins with Mike