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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

It Hurts When I Do That

"Can you get the pre-op tests done in time for surgery this Friday?"
That was the sound of the other shoe dropping.

The doctor showed my wife and me the images on the screen (yes, she was in there with me as she is far more able than I in virtually all areas where there is brain activity involved). "This should be here, but it's there. This shouldn't be there, but here." Too many things out of place. Too many words leading to one inevitable conclusion. I'm screwed.

Many of my friends have been in recent contact informing me as to the wonderful doctor who helped them, or their friend, or a third cousin a few times removed, become good as new. I could easily play pin the tale on the surgeon in making my choice of who gets the honor of reattaching A to B and C to D. Or was it A to D and B to C?

The good thing is the injury is to the rotator cuff on my non-throwing shoulder. So if the Yankees should have a mid season meltdown of their pitching staff (as is an inevitability) I should still be fully capable of throwing a 50 mile an hour fastball at least 45 feet or so.

I am scheduled to meet with another surgeon this Friday just so I can get the bad news in stereo. As of now, unless I learn of a form of meditation that can cure what ails me, I am set to go under the knife a week from Friday.

I have been very fortunate through the years. My unintended tumbles leading to numerous trips to the DL, but none landing me on the operating table. That stroke of good luck has quite apparently come to an inglorious end. Let's hope this new streak is one and done.

My closest friend for over half a century, who served as my primary care physician for many years, used to ask "Does it hurt when you do that? Then don't do that."

It hurts when I do that.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

And Now We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Life

 And now we interrupt your regularly scheduled life.

I find I am an hourly alarm clock at night, up and down more often than a volatile stock market. Moving my left arm gingerly with my right, hoping to find a neutral, quiet position, kind of like trying to live in Switzerland but instead finding oneself in Florida (metaphorically).

I met with a doctor two days past, who interpreted the findings in the MRI of "full thickness" in the rotator cuff as what I can best describe as a full partial tear (you see my knowledge of the human body is no greater than my advanced math skills).

And now on to a pair of appointments with surgeons next week to determine how Humpty Dumpty can best be put back together. There is evidently much in this particular shoulder that is not as God originally constructed it.

The waiting is almost as much a pain as the barking that keeps me up. In my mind I am speeding up the process from injury, to whatever the doctor does, rehab and recovery in the time it takes to watch an episode of Wheel of Fortune from stem to stern without once getting up to pee (very stressful but soon just a bad memory).

The reality is, for the moment, I am the tortoise stuck at the starting line while the hare is about to order a  delicious lunch after crossing the finish.

Yet in truth, I am very lucky. For most of the day I feel almost no discomfort. Meanwhile, the world outside is spinning out of control. Far too many have lives that are not merely inconvenienced but turned upside down and inside out. I have the great luxury of complaint with an asterisk. I am safe, almost sound and able to focus my pity on myself because I have the time to do so without having to manage missed meetings, or sick children, or schools opening and closing more often than Broadway shows these days. My existence not filled with illness and worry, complications or pot holes that sometimes can seem ready to swallow others whole. The beleaguered require fortitude. I merely need a few good punch lines.

Step by step and inch by inch, I will eventually get where I am going. Until then, you and I will just have to meander down the road together.

That is, as long as you can manage to humor me by reading these posts.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

FILO

 It is like calculus, trigonometry, or some other form of advanced math that I was never able to decipher. All angles and hypotenuses. So far, I would give myself a failing mark..

You know that accident waiting to happen that happened to me last week. The one I reported to you in my somewhat cavalier assessment of the damage I had managed to inflict upon myself. It now appears I may have underestimated my ability for self destruction.

I have just returned from having been MRIed. The sound of a machine making distinctively loud and abrasive noises clanging around me as I tried not to breathe, lest I ruin the image and be compelled to repeat the process. My shoulder remaining inert, as still as leaves on a day without a hint of a breeze.

You do not want to watch a video of me attempting to enter and exit my shirts and jackets. Or maybe you do. I can only imagine a turtle trying to extricate itself from its shell, or Houdini being unable to pick the last lock while he is submerged 40 feet underwater in a straitjacket. Flailing, my mind providing one set of instructions to my limbs, while they evidently follow the directions of some nemesis of mine. If I wasn't badly enough injured before I began to perform jiu jitsu on myself, the prognosis for my future well being has plummeted since I undertook my masochistic ritual.

Were it not for FILO I  am not certain how I could handle this chore.  First in, last off, so the bad arm takes the lead putting on and is the trailer on the other end of this routine. Notwithstanding this aid, getting the order of operation confused remains a distinct possibility,  A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

And my nightly attempt at sleeping, which was an exercise in futility even before the events of last Friday, now is an effort without effect. Sleeping in bed has proven a task beyond my capabilities, and thus the couch and I have become roommates. The slightest move of the shoulder in a direction it does not wish to travel, sending a direct message to my brain, in capital letters.

In every life there is a bit of rain. Even the luckiest ones get sprinkled upon from time to time. And, to a great extent, my days have long been filled with sunshine. So I cannot complain too loudly (although I undoubtedly will) should the results of the MRI confirm the suspicions of the orthopedist..

As for my family, my wife, can you imagine what happens when someone with an Olympic sized case of ineptness couples this with an incapacity, rendering the permanently hopeless now helpless as well?

For now, I wait and wonder. Soon enough I will have my answer. And see if the other slipper, I mean shoe, drops.





Monday, January 10, 2022

Follow the Bouncing Ball

Welcome to the land way way down under where Novak Djokovic is attempting to gain entrance into the state of confusion.

As of yesterday, the score was ad out, Mr. Djokovic serving, trying to back his opponent into a corner of the Court by contending the nation changed the rules of the game on him after his shot, or actually the absence of one. That he qualified to play precisely because he was not following the science. That getting sick made him, well, well. 

He raised a challenge to the call that his over(our) head was out and that he must literally pack his bags and go home. 

This was the tournament before the tournament, where the 20 time major champion could be called a major loser without ever lifting a racket.

Today the Court has ruled Mr. Djokovic may leave Court and enter the court. Except the government says they may have another weapon in their bag of tricks, a drop shot, or actually a not drop shot mandate. Referee decision subject to overrule. The contest apparently still not decided. The score still anybody's guess.

And we thought we had seen it all when Nole was disqualified from the U.S. Open for his shot to the throat of the linesperson. Talk about a shot he really regrets taking.

There is definitely no love in this game..

Saturday, January 8, 2022

A Fall From Grace (a/k/a Walk A Mile In My Slippers)

 Oxycodone. Oh boy.


In what has irritatingly become an annual winter ritual, I found myself yet again answering questions as to my date of birth, address and other particulars. The emergency room now becoming my home away from home.

I don't know why they call slippers slippers. They are manufactured for the very opposite effect when one descends the stairs. Socks on the other hand (or actually both feet) were not built to avoid this particular calamity. So why, you may well ask, were my slippers resting comfortably at the bottom of the steps. I  would swear I heard a small snicker from them as they stared up at me resting, very unhappily, on my laurels in the middle of the staircase.

The other noise I now recall was the distinct popping sound my shoulder made during the latter part of my acrobatics.

Home alone. Hunched over. Half stumbled to the couch. Instantly shivering. Dialed the phone. Think I dislocated my shoulder. Door opened. In here I said. Car pulled up. Car dumped me out at the hospital entrance. Another snicker as it watched me move away, this one maybe a little louder than that heard from the slippers.

In this Covid 19 life, the last thing I wanted to contend with was sitting in a hospital wondering what brought the others to that room. Contemplating the possibilities. But today good fortune, at least this version of it, gave me a wide berth, as no other patient was anywhere in sight.

Examination. X- Ray. Cat scan. No evidence of a dislocation, fracture or anything else that would warrant me getting the sympathy I so desperately request.

My arm was put in a sling and I was given directions for my care, including the aforementioned oxycodone if the pain was persistent and unrelenting. Which it wasn't, but even if it were, I would be looking for a different narcotic, thanks anyway.

And a list of orthopedists I could follow up with. The sad reality that I had seen all of them in the past. It seeming clear to me that after awhile it becomes less a matter of coincidence and more a declaration of who and what I am.

And what I quite apparently am not. 

Friday, January 7, 2022

What If A Tree Falls In Washington?

 What if a tree falls in Washington?

In a sign of grave disrespect not merely for Democrats but for democracy, on January 6, 2022 the Republican members of Congress stayed home. Or attended a funeral. Or had a press conference. Or did anything except give the President and his party their attention or the anniversary of one of the worst days in the history of this country its due.

It was a visual demonstration of the chasm that separates us. The absence of their presence a physical manifestation of the fact that we are not two parties addressing a single reality but entities residing in completely distinct universes.

The Democratic leadership spoke yesterday to empty chairs. How can it be possible for us to move forward, to heal, if the Republican party refuses to acknowledge that January 6th 2021 was something more than a frat party turned a bit too rowdy?

What if a tree falls in Washington and no Republicans hear it? 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

You Say You Want An Insurrection

 You say you want an insurrection

Well, you know, I am ready for the task

You say we need a course correction

Well, you know, you only have to ask 


And we will follow you where you lead

Trash the Capitol yes indeed 


Cause you know we need to fight 

With all our might

For all our rights

Alright


You say we have a great connection

Well, you know, we're two peas in a pod

You say they stole the damn election

Well, you know, you are our only god


And we will follow you where you lead

Trash the Capitol yes indeed 


Cause you know we need to fight 

With all our might

For all our rights

Alright


You say its for our own protection

Well, you know, we reject their lies

You say there can be no defections

Well, you know, for you we'd die


And we will follow you where you lead

Trash the Capitol yes indeed 


Cause you know we need to fight 

With all our might

For all our rights

Alright


You say this is a new direction

Well, you know, democracy is dead

You say you're ending all elections

Well, you know, you've gotten in our heads


And we will follow you where you lead

Trash the Capitol yes indeed 


Cause you know we need to fight 

With all our might

For all our rights

Alright


Alright. 

All rights.

Alt right.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Yin and Yang. And 800,000 Dead

 ("The Viral Lies That Keep Killing Us")

Like most everything else in the Republican universe, their relationship with the truth on the issue of Covid emanates from the head of the snake, Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump made the immediate calculation in the beginning of 2020 that it was politically expedient to minimize the effect of the virus. It will be gone one day, like a miracle. Keeping public concern at bay was good for his political health, if not the health of the nation. There was no turning back, no matter the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

And once the election was lost, Operation Warp Speed and the development of the vaccine could not be handed as a present to Mr. Biden. Thus the cure became not the savior but the enemy. In the Republican universe, good for the Dems is bad for business. The business of their staying in office.

And so we are faced with two parties pulling our country in opposite directions. Hard truths versus easy fictions. Protecting life versus protecting power. Exposing Trump versus exalting him. 

Yin and yang. And 800,000 dead. 

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Unmasked

What don't you get about "masks required"? I walk around the grocery store dotted with those whose faces are fully exposed to my consternation or others who had somehow not realized that there is breath both inhaled and exhaled through nasal cavities.

The question received no response because it was never asked. It has never been asked, even as we are forced to endure the longest running drama since "As the World Turns".

It is amazing how much I can read into this simple act of defiance. How people I have never seen before, will likely never see again, who have never spoken to me, who do not even know of my existence except in the periphery of a single moment, how these people become caricatures of everything that I find distasteful. I don't merely jump to conclusions. I leap off the tallest building in the world to bathe myself in them.

Every day is spent trying to make the most intelligent decisions I can to protect my welfare, the welfare of my loved ones, my community, as well as yours. And yet I cannot possibly communicate my frustrations at the lack of care, comprehension or consideration exhibited in clear terms by those who do not share my concerns or beliefs. 

We have gone to our respective corners but we do not come out fighting for there is no purpose to it. There will be no winner or loser in our discourse. We throw punches that will miss wildly and do no damage. We speak past, not to, one another. 

So I keep my mouth shut and pull my mask up tightly. And walk out into the fresh air where my animosity falls harmlessly to the ground.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

A New Year but, unfortunately, the same old Kevin O'Dowd

 (Trigger Warning: It's My Brother's Turn Again")

Kevin O'Dowd is not the way I wish to begin 2022. Why is today when you choose to unleash him upon us? After all we went through last year, couldn't we have gotten at least one day under our belt without this agita? 

Do I have to be told of Donald Trump's accomplishments? This man who is personally without morals, who disrespected his office, disregarded the Constitution, discarded science which directly led to countless unnecessary deaths from Covid, who was impeached twice and left office in disgrace, who fomented hatreds and divisions, this man does not deserve even a scintilla of praise.

And Joe Biden need not be denigrated for trying to accomplish big things in the face of an opposing party who knows only to oppose, and those in his own ranks who choose not country over party but personal notoriety over the greater good.

I would rather not be lectured to by Mr. O'Dowd any day but certainly not today.

Next year let's hope Kevin finds a different outlet for his rhetoric and the New York Times let's his sister do the talking.