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In a couple of days, I will be in Guatemala so this will be the last post with my firsthand account of how Wolf is doing until I return in two weeks. Fortunately I am leaving with a sigh of relief as our friend seems to be doing quite well.
I spent the last week on the Caribbean, lounging in the jungle with Roberto. It was mostly sunny and wonderfully warm, with a few early morning sprinkles of rain, just enough to make you stay in bed. As always, Roberto would be the first up, starting the fire and bringing me hot blessed coffee. I love being with a man who loves to cook. I’m happy to take my turn, but Roberto is always stirring the embers and happily preparing food. As often as not, whatever the main ingredient, there is the rich flavor of coconut, a bite of thyme, and a Panamanian pepper thrown in just to make you sweat.
While we were enjoying the slow days and ways of the Caribbean, Wolf was steadily making progress in his hospital bed. He has continued to eat well and now we can bring him fresh fruit and juices without problems from the nurses. It is amazing how he craves fruit. I’m sure the cool, fresh flavors with enough sweetness to soothe a diabetic and enough liquid to moisten his lips, mouth and throat are what makes him request melons, papaya, apples, pineapple…the list of available fruit is endless.
About the same time that we were visiting with our neighbor and local shaman, Fausto, the doctors at the hospital started Wolf on a bit of a medicinal cocktail, hoping to find the right combination to keep him balanced, functioning and happy. I noticed on my return that, after a week away, his talking has leveled off, even if his ideas are still somewhat sky bound. So it would seem that something is working properly. I expect that he will remain in the hospital for at least a couple of weeks to make sure that he remains stable before taking him back up the green mountain to home. They are also doing therapy on his hand that has been left quite weak either from being tied too much or possibly from a small stroke.
I was enjoying my own cocktails in Cahuita as well as lots of wandering around the countryside. Roberto and I went for a walk into the hills near us to a place called Carbon (obviously an old coal mining area). We visited an eco-lodge, Casa Calateas, a cluster of beautiful wooden buildings on a private biological preserve that are available for groups to rent.
It was a complete coincidence that I had spent Semana Santa on this same land about fifteen years ago when it was a subsistence farm belonging to a friend, Gerardo, and his family – I specifically remember a very large hog being in the picture, but then most of my stories of the campo in Costa Rica involve large pigs. It turns out that maybe twelve years ago, Gerardo’s mother Maria decided to move closer to town and sold the land to a group of local residents interested in creating a protected area. Years ago we camped on cleared hillsides but they are now covered in forest with spectacular views over the Talamanca highlands.
I was very happy to be able to bring news to Wolf that I’ve been contacted by the person who is editing the Spanish translation of Walking with Wolf. The process has been a lesson in patience, but there is definitely movement. On Wednesday, the day before I head to Guatemala, I have a meeting with the editor to answer questions about the text. When Wolf said that he planned on staying alive until the Spanish edition came out, I figured he wasn’t kidding. Hopefully we will be celebrating its publication soon!
On the other hand, I continue to wait for the land survey to be returned to me for my piece of paradise near Cahuita. It has been several months and some people say it’s suspicious, while others say it happens this way, these legal processes are very slow. Since I’ve been so distracted elsewhere, I haven’t been paying it much mind, but I may have to light a fire under somebody’s belly soon. In the meantime, Roberto is cleaning the land, planting trees, and crotons and hibiscus along the fence line. It is hard not to imagine a little wooden casita popped up like a magic mushroom between the bananas one day.
Roberto’s cat and jungle sidekick, Miel, was happy to see me since I pamper him in ways that Roberto would never do. I did notice, however, that there wasn’t a single lizard, gecko or salamander in the area around the rancho. The only thing I can say that is positive is that at least if the cat is going to hunt everything that moves, he doesn’t waste it – every little bit is eaten.
We spent a morning on the beach with the hopes of snorkeling and fishing, but the sea was rough and too churned up for seeing anything under water. Instead, Roberto came across a fishing net washed up on shore, and as I swam and soaked up the sun, he patiently cut the lengths of rope and colorful floats out of the net. Just like Miel, not a drop was wasted.
The weather was idyllic for being out at night so we wandered the beach as well as the town, visiting with friends on the street and doing a little dancing to the local calypso band. It was a great break from the city where I’ve basically been since the beginning of January.
As I mentioned in the beginning, this will be the last blog written in Costa Rica for awhile. I am headed to Guatemala to renew my visa – first to Antigua where my friends EDITUS are playing a concert, then up to San Pedro la Laguna, on stunning Lake Atitlan to visit my buddies Treeza and Rick and to catch up with that dynamic community that I visited a couple of years ago. It promises to be a swell time in the land of the Mayans. I am thrilled that I’m leaving Wolf in such a strong and upbeat condition, eating well, talking pretty normal, and getting ready to howl at the moon. I’ll come back soon and give him something to howl at! Any news I hear while away, I’ll be sure to pass on to y’all!
So it goes on….
Up and down like a roller coaster. Each day of the week, as Wolf’s caregivers exchange our impressions in the visiting area as we change shifts, we realize that we have witnessed a wide array of emotions coming from Wolf. We also get a variety of stories from the nurses and doctors, so confusion reigns.
I’ve spent a lot of time watching Wolf sleep this week. With luck, he is snug in his bed, curled up, comfortable. These days they’ve been putting him in the wheelchair for as many hours – and more – than he can handle. We know it is a good thing to not just be lying in bed (after a month of it) but it is painful to watch him support himself for hours in that uncomfortable chair. I know that I can’t sit happily in a chair for two hours, that alone seven as happens with Wolf. He is already weak and tired, and the energy it takes to stay upright with no head support is more than he can muster. He has no choice, and so his head flops forward, his back hurts and even his stomach is sore from the effort. We must wait for a nurse to come and rescue him and get him back in his bed. At least we can wheel him outside for fresh air, a bit of sunshine, and to hear the birds singing.
He is now without feeding tube – a nasty little situation he took care of himself one night. After a week of being told, “Eat, Wolf, eat, and they will take out the tube” – and eating even though he had no great desire for it – they came and changed the feeding tube because it was clogged. That night, I imagine in protest over the continuation of the intrusive contraption despite our assurances, he pulled it out. Fortunately they won’t replace it as long as he keeps eating, nor did they tie his hands up again to punish him (protect him?)
So now he is eating. Yesterday he moved on from purees and soups to “real food”. Due to the problem of being in the chair for hours zapping his energy (and apparently a bad night’s sleep) he could barely stay awake to eat the food. The other people in the room – a funny confused little man and a woman with Alzheimer’s whose son spends the day with her – had a lesson in English as I repeated, loudly, “Wake up, Wolf. Chew. Swallow. Can you take some more?” trying to get as much of the food into him as possible so that they will not replace the feeding tube or switch back to the purees that he is now thoroughly tired of. The woman’s son kept repeating “Wake! Chew! Swallow!” The man and the woman just seemed more confused…
Wolf’s daughter Melody took some cantaloupe in yesterday since this has been his biggest request these days. I got in a lot of trouble a couple weeks ago when I brought some fruit and gave it to him without asking. But Melody did it right and asked the nurses and was able to give him some. Once again, he was sleeping so soundly it was hard to get the food into him, but they managed.
So some days he is very cheerful, positive, loving and talkative – actually perhaps a little too talkative. Others, like yesterday, he is cranky and angry and restless to get out of there. We don’t know day for day, hour for hour, how we will find Wolf. There are many emotions that come out of him. We recognize that he is entitled to be frustrated and angry and it is often hard to understand what has set him off.
Melody told me that when the nurse came in and took his blood sugar last night, that it was dangerously low. They hooked up the IV and gave him glucose. That may explain the heavy sleeping and the wide swing of emotions. They did start him this week on a new anti-depressant, and we are already concerned that it is showing signs of leading him back to a manic state.
Ai yi yi. As you can read, the path we are on is as convoluted as the trail between Monteverde and Poco Sol (I think I just stole a line out of our book). He is in good hands at the hospital, but we are hoping that we can take him back to Monteverde real soon. To borrow another line out of the book, all trails lead to home.
A few days ago, Wolf was released from Intensive Care and put back in a ward at the Hospital Blanco Cervantes in San José. This is hopefully the first step toward his release to go back to his home on the green mountain.
There are some conditions that have to be met before he can go: the most important being that he must be eating on his own. He has had the feeding tube stuck up his nose for over a week. It is uncomfortable and restrictive. Wolf is very aware that he’s gotta eat if they are to remove this miserable snake, even though he doesn’t have an appetite nor any desire for food.
So a couple of days ago, resigned to the reality, he opened his mouth and let the nurse shovel in “puree” – whipped potatoes. We remind him to swallow or he ends up with a mouth full of potatoey goop. Even though he took it well yesterday at lunch (with cheerleader Kay doing “yes you can’s” at his side), by night time, when his son Benito was there, he had run out of patience with the mash diet and was gagging and choking again. So today we will ask for soup and hopefully he’ll continue eating. Even though we all appreciate the necessity of eating, we also realize how miserable it is to be forced to eat when you don’t want anything.
Once we break him loose from the hospital, if he wants to stop eating, that is his prerogative. And it will be respected.
Wolf’s mental health is also a concern. He has now been without any anti-depressants for about twelve days and is quite calm and coherent (well, we actually don’t understand much of what he says, but that has to do with the difficulty of us understanding his speech, not him understanding us). His extreme talkative mania in December was the result of being given the wrong drugs. It is possible that once his system is cleared out of all these anti-psychotic medications, perhaps it won’t be necessary to give him anything. It is said that for older people, their manias and depressions aren’t as severe as when they were younger. It is also possible that Wolf’s confusion has been caused by strokes, infections, and age, so it is now important to move slowly while accessing his mental condition.
Another very important result of his return to the ward is that we can be there for ten hours of the day with him, and so we are back on a rotation, the Guindons, his nurse Stefany and I, along with the occasional surprise visitor. Each of us spend a few hours with Wolf, helping him be comfortable, talking to him and trying to understand his toothless-mumbles.
Wolf has perfected the art of rolling-the-eyes. Since he knows that we can’t decipher what he is trying to say most of the time, he uses his eyes and his forehead to great effect. He lets us know through the eye-rolling technique that something is either bothersome or of no importance. He also lets us know through lovely little squints and winks, that he is appreciative. The other day, this sloth gave me a nice little double-eyed blink, and I couldn’t help but think of Wolf.
The most celebratory aspect of the change is that because we are with him, they have untied his arms. Imagine being in a bed with your wrists tied to the bedrails for three weeks! He spent that purgatory mostly on his back, forced to sleep in a position that isn’t natural for him. Finally the nurses have let his arms loose and unwrapped the bandages from his hands.
That restriction was the cruelest and most frustrating reality of his life in the ICU. He couldn’t even scratch himself. When I arrived back from a few days away and found him back in the ward, he was curled up on his side, his arms tucked up close to him like he was holding something precious close to his heart. He was – his freedom.
That first day, he hardly woke up, and resisted any attempt to pull his arms away even from a dream state. He must have been so happy to be free to make himself comfortable in whatever way he wanted. Although they were still tying him at night when we left, I think the nurses finally decided yesterday that he isn’t going to commit hari-kari and sabotage the feeding tube. Wolf is aware of the consequences and resigned to following the rules if he wants to get out of there.
When I couldn’t take anymore of Wolf’s ICU imprisonment, I escaped for a few days up near Arenal Volcano with my good friends Zulay and Keith. Over my twenty years in Costa Rica, Zulay has nursed me back to health on numerous occasions and provided a respite in the days when I was working day and night with groups or on the Monteverde Music Festival. Once again, she fed my body and nurtured my mind with her wisdom and friendship. We spent two hours fertilizing orchids throughout their large garden and the pictures blooming throughout this blog are from that morning of floral splendor.
Now I’m back in the city, staying with Lorena and Edin, who is the hugely talented and extremely sweet guitarist of Editus, a grammy-winning band here in Costa Rica. Last night, the Ministry of Culture and Youth held a large outdoor concert at the Museum of Costa Rican Art to inaugurate a new logo and renewed spirit for the ministry. There were thousands of people out on a gorgeous evening in front of the stunning dame of a building, with an array of the best of Costa Rican music, dance, art and poetry, old and new. For the first time I heard Percance, a super high energy ska band, who I loved and will definitely go and find again.
The starry night sky was a perfect backdrop to an enthusiastic crowd and an exotic light show reflecting patterns on this lovely old building that provided at least four different stages. From one of the balconies, Edin, pianist Luis Monge, and Tapado – Editus’ phenomenal percussionist – accompanied vocalist Arnoldo Castillo as the crowd sang along to Costa Rica’s campesino anthem, Caña Dulce . I saw a number of old friends, including the Minister of Culture, Manuel Obregon, who I’ve known for years from his many performances in Monteverde (and a couple concerts in Toronto as well). I also met up with other musicians who I don’t run into often but who I spent great times with back in the days of the Monteverde Music Festival.
The flowers, the friends, the music and the joy have all renewed me to continue accompanying Wolf and his family on what has so often been such a difficult path. Who knows where we will end up next, but at least our friend has tasted a bit of freedom, and for that, we are all truly thankful.
We are still here in San José. Wolf remains in the ICU, uncomfortable, frustrated, miserable. The Guindons take turns coming down the mountain to spend time with him as they also tend to their families and responsibilities. I’ve remained here cared for by my loving friends Edin and Lorena, and nurse Stefany is here throughout the week. All of our combined love and vigilance hasn’t been able to move Wolf towards a more peaceful place.
The doctors say that he is responding to the antibiotics, coming out of the pneumonia. The sad truth, even they admit, is that Wolf may very likely survive this crisis, but another one will be right around the corner and he will continue to suffer until he finally gets to rest. It is truly miraculous the strength of this man.
It has been very hard to only be able to spend two hours each day with him while he is in the intermediate care ward. Sometimes we don’t even get that, if the nurses are busy with another patient and we are asked to leave, or if Wolf is asleep during that window of opportunity. We do what we can.
So what morsels of good news can I share? The other night, the nurses gave us some ice cubes inside a wad of cotton. We could hold that for Wolf to suck on and get a little moisture into his parched mouth. I also wrung cool drops from it onto his forehead…he held his head back, mouth open, as if he were standing under a cool waterfall in the forest, feeling the fresh cold water on his face. For but an instant, we were both in Peñas Blancas.
We can sing to him. When Lucky visits, she has special songs, such as “their” song Side by Side, that she sings with him, but as she told me after her last visit, it is hard for her to get through the songs without breaking down. Melody and Ricky also sing for him songs that have meaning between them. I sing “You are my sunshine” each time I am with Wolf, and he joins in. We don’t see many smiles from him these days, but he crinkles his eyes in a response that you know means that he appreciates that we are there.
When his bed is cranked up so that he is in a higher sitting position, he can look out the window and there are two trees close by…one looks like a gavilan, the other is a young mango. I asked him if birds come to them, and he said yes, tho, in all honesty, I don’t know if he can see that far that well. He has one good eye, from the cataract laser surgery he had in October, so hopefully he really can see those trees, the closest thing to a forest within his reach. Any sign of nature – a rogue fly, an adventurous ant, a simple breeze rustling the curtains – ignites a spark in his eyes.
Unfortunately, he isn’t drugged or sleeping constantly, which only serves to give him too many hours alone, restless, and frustrated being in bed. And we know that he doesn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. He has asked us to stop the machines, and said that he wants to die many times. Wolf knows that this is no way to live, and we all know it is a cruel way to finish a life spent not only protecting the surrounding forests, but wandering joyfully in his beloved woods, appreciating, more than most, the glorious creation with his independent and exuberant spirit.
As long as the doctors say that he is improving, but not enough to take him home, we are at a loss ourselves as to what to do. We wait for him to be moved back to a room where we can spend more time with him. We bring him love, encourage him to eat so that they will release him, and attend him when possible. We ask you all to join us and hopefully our united love and prayers will help him find peace.
I can tell by the statistics that WordPress gives its bloggers that people are coming on my blog pretty steadily and I’m sure that is, more than anything, for updates on Wolf. So I will try to post as regularly as possible to keep you informed. Of course, I no doubt will wander to other subjects, but they are just a backdrop to our mutual concern about our good friend Wolf.
Bueno, two days ago, they moved Wolf to the Intensive Care Unit at Blanco Cervantes Hospital. They finally gave him a feeding tube last Saturday morning. However, each time they gave him food through the tube, he vomited. After a couple of days of this, and recognizing that he was now dehydrated, they took a number of steps to help him.
The feeding tube is hooked to a machine that can dispense small regular amounts of food, rather than manually giving him large doses that his stomach obviously can’t take. They said that he had some bleeding in his stomach and did a test (endoscopy-ish?) to see what is happening there. We haven’t heard the results yet.
They also did a test of his lung fluids and found that he has a serious lung infection or pneumonia. They put in an IV and are feeding him antibiotics.
In the middle of all this, I went to Cahuita for a couple of days. I’m still waiting on the land survey to be registered and available for the land I have bought there. Roberto took good care of me for the short time I was there.
It poured almost the whole time. The pictures show the stream in its more natural state and how it had risen the day I was there. It poured when we were in town, which was like a huge pond. It was a soggy break that I took, but a nice one.
It was when I returned that they had moved Wolf to the ICU. He is now a human octopus, with wire and tube tentacles linking him to monitors and machines.
Wolf’s daughter Melody, his son Ricky, and I met with the doctor who gave us an update. Basically, they are treating the lung infection and should have results, one way or another, within a couple more days. They had been worried about his kidneys, which were very dry, but by giving him regular small doses of nutrition and liquid, they have shown signs of improvement. So we are in a wait and see mode.
A very sad part of Wolf being in the ICU is that the visiting is very restricted. We can only go in one at a time, and only between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m. The first afternoon, Wolf was sound asleep through the whole visiting period which was sad for us, but I’m sure he would be more upset knowing that he had missed his visitors. However, yesterday, Lucky and I entered and got great shorts visits with a very alert Wolf. We can’t understand his speech at all – he is now sporting an oxygen mask at times that is delivering medicine to keep the phlegm build-up under control – but we all understand each other through our mutual love. He was very happy to see Lucky, and rolled his eyes at me (which is a personalized greeting that he has been giving me for years followed by a big smile). Stefany also managed to see him before he started to drift off to sleep. I’m not sure in Melody got to him before he was soundly snoozing.
In the meantime, we are all hunkered down in San Jose. The Guindons are staying at the Casa Ridgeway (the Peace Center) and I’m staying with my good friends Edin Solis and Lorena Rodriguez and their pride of five cats – a lovely household to return to each evening. Edin is producing a CD for Martin Adebesi, a singer from England, so there is singing and music being made nightly. Lorena, an interior design consultant, and I discuss life and its many colors and patterns. I’ve been inspired to cook – I think it is stress relief. For a few hours, the world is gentle.
We are going day by day, hoping for the best, knowing that Wolf can only take so much – although he continues to show us just how strong he is! He doesn’t seem to be in any pain, at least not of the physical type. He isn’t taking any anti-depressants, something they can’t deal with until he is stronger. I think that just not taking the wrong medicine is allowing him to be much calmer and clearer. Hopefully he will be out of the ICU and we will be able to spend more time with him very soon. It will be wonderful to hear him CO-CO-RI-CO again!
At this point, love is what is keeping everyone safe.
My good friend Al Bair tells this joke: “Kay has a speech impediment. She has to stop and take a breath once in awhile.” We laugh, but there may be some truth to it.
Anyone who knows Wolf Guindon knows that he too is a talker. Of course, just because he talks doesn’t mean that listeners can follow, anymore than when he walks, those behind can keep up to him. Any of you who have read Walking with Wolf, (and if you haven’t, what have you been doing???) knows that it could also be called Talking with Wolf. I wrote the book after years of taping Wolf’s monologues and our conversations. Over the twelve years of making tapes, I listened to literally thousands of hours of Wolfspeak and ended up with hundreds of pages of written Wolfbabble. I know how this man can talk.
Well, let me tell you. The previous 80 years have just been a warm up for the marathon of chatter that is coming out of Wolf now. I believe it was December 14, the day that nurse Stefany and I took Wolf up to the Monteverde Reserve to visit his compañeros, that he started talking. And I swear, and I think the family would probably concur, that he really hasn’t stopped talking since.
Wolf is now in the Blanco Cervantes Hospital in San José. It has been just over a week since they admitted him to this social security geriatric hospital. As his body was getting stronger, it was also releasing more manic energy. When he arrived, he was still able to walk and was eating pretty well, but his mind was in another world and he was beginning to act strangely. And he was talking – a lot.
I am truly amazed that someone could talk this much and not lose their voice. His voice undulates – from whispers to shouted commands – but maintains a very steady monologue. I feel sorry for the five other men in the room with him. They are in varying stages of their own distress and a couple of them let out loud shouts and moans from time to time. So though he isn’t necessarily the loudest one, Wolf certainly is the most constant noise maker. It might not have been so bad if he just talked in a low monotone that blended with the background city noises and you could become immune to it. Wolf’s voice rambles up and down as does his mind, just about lulling you to sleep only to then make you jump out of your skin as he shouts to someone ahead of him on his mental path. I’m sure the men wanted to strangle him at times.
And what has he been talking about, you ask? That is hard to say since much of it is mumbled, but there are certainly some common recognizable themes. The most frequent, and my favorite, is when he is in Peñas Blancas valley with his good friends Eladio Cruz and Frank Joyce. “Eladio,” he shouts. “Frank. Vamanos!” I can’t follow much of his speech, but can just about follow him up and down the muddy trails. He throws in names of cabins – El Valle, the German’s – and talks about the rain or drinking coffee. One day there were a number of “Hallelujahs” interspersed as well. He often has a smile on his face during these long verbal hikes.
True to his lifelong commitment to the protection of the Monteverde forests, he also talks about issues of conservation and about the need to attend meetings and have his opinion heard. Just as he was starting to enter this rather psychotic period in December, he attended the Bosqueeterno S.A. annual meeting, where he had a hard time concentrating. He was starting to prepare statements to be read at the Monteverde Conservation League and Tropical Science Center meetings that are coming up soon. Even in his rambling state, we still see these issues that are at the core of his being.
Other days he’s driving a machine. For most of this week, Wolf’s hands have been tied to the bed to prevent him from getting out and hurting himself or others. But as he talks, his right hand works a gear shift, and every little while he exclaims in a high voice, “Ping!” We have all wondered what this is, guessing that he is driving either his tractor or his truck, perhaps from the years he was hauling pigs to the lowlands or milk to the lecheria. Whatever the “ping” is, we haven’t figured that one out yet.
He has less pleasant conversations with God. It’s heartbreaking to listen to him asking God why he can’t die, why he must suffer. That is something often asked in these difficult moments of life. When he turns his head and glares into my eyes, I feel terrible for not having the answer for him.
Wolf is receiving great care in this hospital. We have been reassured by many of the family members visiting other patients that the doctors and staff are very attentive and concerned. Unfortunately Wolf was admitted just before New Year’s Eve, so of course the staff was minimal and the doctors were on holiday. But now everyone is back to work, tests have been taken, and now we are in the process of trying to find a new medication to bring Wolf some mental stability. The first one they tried just seemed to make matters worse, so he was taken off that and they are letting his system cleanse for a couple of days before trying something new.
A couple of days ago, they removed his catheter to try to stop the continuing urinary infections. There is a good chance that this will also help his mental state with less infections and less discomfort.
Each member of the Guindon family in Monteverde, along with his nurse Stefany and myself, have come to San José to take turns watching over Wolf. We don’t have as much to do this time as we did at the Puntarenas hospital. The staff here takes better care of things and we are only allowed there between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. He has not been uncomfortable, except for the restraints on his arms, but we can’t do anything about that until he is of a sound enough mind to be responsible. He hasn’t been asking to go back to Monteverde, since he doesn’t seem to know where he is. He has pretty much refused to eat, so we don’t need to feed him though we try to convince him to take a few spoonfuls of soup so they won’t insist on putting a feeding tube in him. He has barely slept, his manic energy not allowing him such peace.
All we can really do is sit with him, touch his arm, and listen, since, it would seem, all he can really do is talk.
PS: On the day I’ve written this, on Wolf’s ninth day in the hospital, there’s been a change. When I went in to be with him today, he was sleeping soundly. When he awoke, the silence continued. He had stopped talking. I sang some songs with him and he joined in. I asked him some questions, and he answered them fairly sanely. He asked me where he was and I told him. I had a mandarin with me, and he sucked on some sections and then asked for some other fruit – cantaloupe or watermelon. I ran across the street and got some and he took small bits and sucked the juice from them. It was the first time he had desired any food in over a week and he enjoyed it. It was the first time I had seen him sleeping soundly in as long. When I looked in his eyes, I saw a small flicker of light that hasn’t been there for awhile.
But it is the silence, that blessed non-verbal silence, that is truly golden. Wolf finally ran out of things to talk about, although I’m sure he still has plenty to say.