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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas 2016

     This is why we moved here. The picture shows me sitting on the screen porch, barefoot, in the sun, and tending the Christmas ham on the Traeger.

     The temperature was a comfortable 75 degrees. Cindy joined us for our traditional lasagna supper on Christmas Eve. However, she was a couple of hours late. She walked in totally spent. First of all, her computer crashed and burned, but the IT Help Desk had not gotten the word about the early deadline. Neither had the local funeral homes with all their obits.She was working on someone else's computer which was set up with a totally different set of preferences. Hassled and harried did not begin to describe her state. Eventually she wound down. This morning, after ten hours of sleep, she was her old self.
     We opened presents before breakfast. Below is a shot of Mocha admiring Durelle's new golden retriever calendar. 

     And speaking of calendars, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge Jackie Fare's masterpiece. She made a calendar composed of twelve selected photographs taken during their roamings around the great American west. It is truly a breathtaking work of art.
     I'm hanging in there with PT exercises for forty minutes three times a day. The knee is progressing fine, but the neuropathy isn't. At least I can bend the knee enough to get into a car without using the entire back seat. My mobility is not improving...I still depend on a walker.

Saturday, December 17, 2016


     There's a well-used joke that asks what the difference is between a therapist and a terrorist. The answer, of course, is that you can negotiate with a terrorist. In my history of shoulder reconstruction, spinal fusion, hip replacement and now knee replacement I have had more than a few physical therapists. Without exception, they are kind, caring people. Why they chose a profession which has an object of hurting people I don't know.
     I returned from the hospital on 9 Dec. Here's what the knee looked like at that time.

     The honey-combed device under the transparent dressing serves to keep the staples untouched and the incision dry to heal. On the 14th the staples were removed and only steri-strips remained.

     Now it is going to be a long, tough slog to recover the range of motion and then the strength that the knee had before the bearing surfaces were replaced. It was thoughtful of Cindy to arrange a flyover to coincide with my return home.

     My recovery was helped by the Army victory over Navy in their football clash. It is very difficult to explain to a rational person the significance of that win. I am going to use many of the thoughts of John Feinstein, a favorite sportswriter, to try to capture the depth of feeling. Army had lost a well-respected defensive back in a car accident after the Rice game. So, in addition to the usual motives, they wanted to close out the season with a win over Navy to honor Brandon Jackson. As the final seconds expired, the corps stormed the field with 4,000 long gray overcoats making a churning mosh pit out of the playing field. Morna Jackson, Brandon's mother, was waiting outside the locker room. Eventually the entire team had found its way through the chaos to the locker room. What follows is Feinstein's account:

           At that moment, Jeff Monken, the Army coach, turned and saw Davis. He rushed    to her, wrapped his arms around her and they both had a good cry.

     Then, Davis accompanied Monken into the locker room. When everyone was          finally inside and the doors closed, Monken didn't ask Superintendent LTG        Robert Caslen to speak first. He didn't ask Army Chief-of-Staff Gen. Mark        Milley to speak or Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning. He helped Davis onto a    chair and suddenly, the room was very quiet.
     In a soft, tearful voice, Brandon Jackson's mom, a New York City police        detective, thanked everyone in the room for remembering and honoring her son;    for winning the game in his memory; for everything they had done for him and      for her since that awful day three months ago.
     They cheered her and then they listened to Monken, to Caslen, to Fanning, to    Milley and to athletic director Boo Corrigan, who couldn't seem to get the        tears out of his eyes in the aftermath of the victory.
     And then, James Gibson, a classmate of Jackson's stood on the chair and        presented Davis with a game-uniform honoring her son.

        It hurts when you lose to Navy, and a fourteen game losing streak is particularly painful. I am not an avid football fan, but I watched every minute of that game as well as some emotional post-game coverage.
       I am most reluctant to turn what is supposed to be a travel blog into a medical diary. I beg your indulgence.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Little Excitement On The Sixth Floor

     This will be brief as I am doing it on the tablet. The surgery went well and I will be going home today (I think). I have to tell you about a bit of turmoil at 0200, but first I'll start at 1845 yesterday. I was beginning to notice that my pain meds were starting to wear off. Then I realized that I hadn't had any since morning. I called the nurse and got the meds, but they would take a while to kick in. For the next two hours the call button failed and the pain became more and more of a problem. I became increasingly uncomfortable and frustrated. I eventually fell asleep, but I was wrapped up in a tangle blankets and pillows. Around two AM I had to use the urinal. To avoid any spillage, I decided to sit up on the edge of the bed. Lately, at home, I have been doing that so as to avoid a night time trip to the John with the walker. At any rate, I dragged my legs over to the edge of the bed, sat up and proceeded to use the urinal. 
     Then all Hell broke loose as nurses and techs came rushing through the four foot door like a SWAT team in mufti! I had forgotten that the beds in such wards are alarmed so that patients MUST NOT get out of bed unassisted. Even sitting up on the edge of the bed triggered the alarm. At that hour everything is quiet, and the staff is lounging around the nurse's station visiting and drinking coffee. The response was impressive and even startling. As they came through the door, one of them was yelling, "What are you doing???" I said, "What does it look like?,"