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  Thursday January 29th, 2015    

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Too much (04/30/2014)
By Frances Edstrom
Where’s the line between just enough and too much? I think my grandchildren have had too much rain. The seven-year-old was heard wondering if she would have a “rain day” from school. No such luck.

I am at home on the couch after a surgery to repair once and for all my pelvis, which never healed correctly after a break in 2008. On the couch, with a leg brace on, and walking with crutches, there is a lot of too much, and a lot of not enough.

There isn’t enough intellectual stimulation. Because of pain medication, I haven’t been able to read a novel. Instead, I read headlines on the Internet. I would say there is too much junk on the Internet. Online news is a strange mix of Wall Street Journal and People magazine. The same page on which I can read about the failure of the recent peace talks with Israel features a story about a woman who fell from the top of a cathedral in England and had to be rescued “by helicopter as a crowd gathered below.”

Since I stare out the windows at the yard and the woods beyond all day long, I notice things I usually wouldn’t. I spied a tree straight out from my front door on which a branch looked as though it had been hacked, leaving a pile of fresh sawdust or chips below. When my friend Ann came out to bring me beef barley soup, I asked her to go take a look at the tree. She came back to report that it seems to have been attacked by woodpeckers, and showed me the photos she took on her phone.

Too much pecking by the woodpecker is my diagnosis. Ann says that it could be a sign of an emerald ash borer infestation. My mind jumps immediately to “too much money.”

My sister got a summer job when she was in high school working at a famous soft-serve ice cream store. Since my summer job was in a dry cleaner shop with no air conditioning, I thought she had it made and was a little jealous. She could even eat as much of the ice cream as she wanted. No limit! It turned out that what she ate was too much soft-serve ice cream. Almost 40 years later, she refuses to stop at a soft-serve ice cream shop. I, on the other hand, do not mind stopping at a dry cleaner shop. And to think I was jealous of her.

When you have been a patient in a hospital as many times as I have, you tend to set down rules. Mine are that I want no visitors except people I gave birth to or married. In my case, that cuts it down to two, and they both came to be with me. Another rule is no flowers. I know that is odd of me. Most people love flowers. They are so bright and cheerful. I can’t stand the thought of them either dying, or if they come home with me, the strong possibility I will kill them. So this time I asked for chocolate instead. Save the flowers for when I’m healthy. 

I got chocolate. I got lots of chocolate. I got so much chocolate that it turned out to be too much chocolate. Even my grandchildren can now walk past the basket of chocolate and not ask for any. Too much.

Now I’ve had just enough time on the couch. I think it is getting perilously close to being too much couch time. I have to plan my escape! First I have to get off too much pain medication so I can actually formulate a plan. 


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