Monday, June 15, 2015

Happy 50th B'day Barry Bush, Horticulturist Extraordinaire!

Barry Bush was profiled in the 2015 issue of The Compass, another person who took lithium and lost his kidney function. Unlike me, he hasn't gotten a new kidney, though he's on the waiting list. Einstein Medical Center, same as me.

He read up on the various t'plant hospitals in Philly and was impressed by patients who wrote they were treated with great compassion, and not like 'a number.' I would agree with that.

Every single day on dialysis is a true hell.

The last time I saw Barry was at the Willow Grove mall. He looked great at the time and told me Cynthia was gonna have a baby. This was before his "illness," as he calls. His very real illness of being a dialysis patient.

First he went to a DaVita Dialysis Center, which he did for 3.5 years - hemodialysis - but then decided to do it at home - peritoneal dialysis.

 The machine is small, he told me, as we entered his bedroom, shutting the door behind us so the cats -
Tommy and Pickles - can't get in. Since cats go wherever they please, they might tred on the machine or on his zillions of supplies.

The moment I saw the machine - and I had no idea what to expect - I thot it looked like a fax machine.

 This bag drips into his abdomen, on which he has an opening, covered up with a bandage and tape. Half of his day is taken up with dialysis prep and then lying still in bed.

He uses about five bags per session. 

He gets into bed around 9 and stays there 12 hours. Last nite he was in bed for 14 hours since his dialysis machine had broken down so he didn't treat himself for two days. All the toxins build up in his body, esp. his belly, and need to be pumped out.

A long hose dumps the toxins into the toilet.

Can you imagine!

And of course his wife Cynthia sleeps in the same bed. What a comfort. He showed me a photo on his smart phone of a 22-yo woman on dialysis - b'ful woman - due to a congenital kidney problem. She's engaged to be married.

Did he stick with her? I asked.

He wasn't going to, said, Barry, but we talked to him. (He and some friends and family)

Scott routed me to Barry's lovely house in Northeast Philadelphia. I surprised myself by finding it easily and making no mistakes, as I listened to my suspenseful audio book by one Catherine Coulter.

I got so excited when I saw all his plants. Pulled out my camera right away. Am never gonna use my iPhone camera again unless I have to. Too hard to get the photos onto my blog. Well, at least, I haven't figured it out correctly. 

Not shown which I want to mention is that Barry grows corn out of a pot. He said there's only one variety available to do that. 

He has a lot of succulents. He gave me a baggie with some cuttings. I'm so g'damn hot now I don't wanna go outside.
Oh, you have a fig tree, I said, recognizing one that looked like my newly planted one in my side yard.

Barry Bush SPECIALIZES in fig trees. You should see his back yard. A regular Garden of Eden on fig trees. They all bear fruit! Different varieties and at different times. I think he covers em up in winter.
See these tiny little berries? I have no idea what they are but they sure are purty.

 Pomegranate tree.
 Many varieties of blueberries. Once you eat these, he said, you'll never wanna eat ones you buy in the store.
These translucent berries were delicious. Instead of spitting out the pits, Barry suggested I plant them. I brought a couple home.

 This wee baby mantis hurried up the garden wall. Where dyou think it was going? What an elegant creature. Barry said he had several mantis seed pods growing and obviously they recently hatched. Mine grew on my holly bush.
Following Nature's plan, these will develop into red raspberries. Look carefully. The one on the extreme right looks like the head of a miniature man.
Hey Persephone! See the small pomegranates awaiting you in Hades?

 Hello Tortoises! Five of em he bought at a Tortoise Show.
 This four-inch-long citrus fruit, will be a lemon. He has several citrus fruit trees.
I'm sipping on Lemonade without sugar. Tart and refreshing. Remind me to buy anudder bag of lemons at the Giant. I just bought anudder bag of luscious clementines, my darling.

 Many hastas.
This may be a coffee tree. Last year it produced enuf beans to make one thick cupppa coffee he called Mud Coffee.

 Wherever you go in his large yard, pots n pots of plants.
He grows something called a PAW PAW Tree, this variety is native to the US. Ever heard of it? Delicious fruits that taste like a combo of mango, papaya, and pineapple.

In this corner of the garden are his greens - collard greens, kale - he'll plant lettuces elsewhere. 

 The tortoises love the collars greens, with their deep purple vein. See the little one coming over? What do you say... crawling over?

Koochie koochie koo, baby tortoise. Don't even think of a tortoise shell comb or barrette.
 He's won dozens and dozens of awards for his plants.
 His son, Luke, has a couple of baby turtles in his bedroom.

Flash flash! Ruthie is there with her camera.

Even tho Barry is physically exhausted much of the time, he can rouse himself to take Luke out to find interesting water creatures.
 Barry and I sat in the kitchen and chatted. Pickles was a tiny lost cat that wandered into Barry's yard years ago, who wouldn't let anyone touch him. Barry figured out how to change all that and adopted him. First, tho, he contacted the SPCA to make sure he didn't belong to anyone.

He was tyring to figger out a name, something unusual, and had just made his own Pickles. The configuration of fur makes Pickles a "cow cat," the familiar Holstein cow pattern I know like the back of my hand.

Actually, I saw a terrific movie on YouTube with Zachary Taylor, Betty Field  and Beulah Bondi called The Southerner.

Cows played an important role as their milk was needed so a little boy wouldn't die from what they called Spring Sickness.

Pickles would come up to me and I looked at his lovely face, which I couldn't catch for the camera.

Barry and I sat for a long time in the kitchen, chatting. Altho we had an interesting conversation and I could have sat there all day, I was waiting for him to complete our tour of the dialysis center - his bedroom.

He said he has "absolutely no energy." This is the chief complaint of people on dialysis. With all his might, tho, Barry will attend meetings of his Cactus Society or other horti events and will take Luke and his stepson, Nick, on trips. His wife Cynthia was at work so I never met her.

 He watches daytime TV. Never knew there was a Mummer's Channel, did you? If, Dear Reader, you're viewing my blog - which you likely are - from Berlin or Paris or Monaco, you may not know what the Mummers are. Just as well.
Wanted to bring Barry a lil gift since I'd never been to his house before.

On my back porch is a bird house waiting to be hung up. All you need, I told him, is a hook atop the house and it can go in a shepherd's crook, which is a new word I learned last year.

We were out in the front of his house and a nice breeze was floating in under the tree.

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