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Archive for the ‘Memorial Medical Center’ Category

 

The progress I’ve made since my January fall from my front porch, the legs surgery and rapid initial recuperation has been slowed to a crawl since, say, May. I worked myself pretty hard until I could locomote without the four-legged folding walker. Another major milestone in mid-May was finding myself improved enough to pull myself up to the flat top of a floodlight stand overlooking the airport tarmac where the airplanes (Cessnas, Bonanzas, Learjets, etc.) park to refuel or overnight while flight crew and passengers do business and pleasure in the city. The big advantage of climbing up on that raised base is that I can take pictures of arriving and departing airplanes without the fence getting in the way.

Bo737-23

This was the single most important accomplishment  since losing the walker. There should have been more significant accomplishments, but they’ve not happened. Until July 8,  my first day back at my employer after a four-day temporary “parole” away, spent mostly at the airport museum, I had been okay with using the railings on stairways to pull myself up the steps and brace myself to keep from falling forward and tumbling, coming down the steps.  Two events happened over the four-day hiatus from the plantation . . .  okay, from my employer if you insist.

Number 1 was my discovery that I’ve not had a working telephone land line since APRIL. Part of my life as been a daze of depression and simply denying the rest of my responsibilities because  I’ve been so bleeping SAD. I don’t receive many phone calls at home, and I just assumed life was going on as normal.  I’ve not tried to call anyone from my home in several months. When I need to call someone I use my employer’s phone or my cell phone. I rely a lot on e-mail. Even so, I wanted to keep my land line phone number. To do that I had to re-establish my phone line. I did that this afternoon. Paid the past due bill over the phone, and an e-mail from the phone company informed me that I’m re-connected.

Item B was a better understanding of how precarious my balance is. It was always an issue (Lousy sense of balance) in physical therapy (PT) at the hospital, and they urged me to practice; showed me the exercises, which — after they released me from further required visits for an hour PT — I of course did not do.   Starting July 8, a realized I am almost ASKING for another accident to happen if I don’t get serious again. Solution? I am making myself ascend and descend steps without touching the railings. I’m doing it s-l-o-w-l-y  now, but I’m doing it every time without hands on railings. As I get my balance back, the speed will come.

Part of my daze, really since the discharge from the hospital, has been my avoidance of the hospital bills. I am not earning enough to pay much, but I did qualify for Medicare with help from someone at the hospital, and I am s-l-o-w-l-y turning my attention to those bills. This is really going to be hard. But I have made a few steps in the right direction. I spent part of the 4th of July sorting the bills by companies indicated in the upper left corners of unopened envelopes. I’m summoning the strength of mind to open everything, pitch all by the most recent bill from each provider and go from there next week.

There are some more concerns awaiting the attention of a civil, intelligent citizen which I am trying to become. Maybe I’m running out of days and don’t know it. Things need to be set right whether I leave this world next week or 20 years from now. I need to do  this not because I’m running out of time but because it’s the right thing to do.

As the BeeGees used to sing, “The road is long with many a winding turn that leads us to who knows where.” As I once wrote in one of my songs, “I haven’t found the flavor, but I’m getting there.”

Live long . . . . . . . and proper.

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I could not let April end without posting one update, and it’s an update I would not have predicted when I posted the third of three in March. During that month, at my second post-operation visit with my surgeon, I had been given permission to remove the full-extension leg braces. I could keep them, make a sculpture out of them, burn them. They belong to me. This was a burst of sunshine to my outlook.

True, I had to continue with the bulky aluminum walker which was not much of a bother. In two weeks I was spending nearly all of my time carrying it — mostly to impress my physical therapists who wanted me to follow “doctor’s orders,” and a little bit to give an impression that I was experiencing significant discomfort when I was on my feet at my employer. Both efforts were charades, of course. I was still riding the disabled minibus service, Access Springfield, and starting in late March I begam entering and exiting on the steps after the entry door opened. I no longer needed the hydraulic lift that allowed me to stand, stabilized by my walker going up and coming down. On April 13, I took my last Access Springfield ride — home from the airport museum on a Saturday afternoon — and the next day I drove out to the airport in my pickup truck for the first time since January 12. THAT was another milestone in the recovery action! I’ve been driving ever since.

Since I began driving again, I’ve not bothered with the pretense of needing the walker. It’s all been going fine . . . until about April 2 when I began visiting the hospital for hour-long physical therapy workouts twice a week instead of the previous onceas, and things became real serious real fast. Just as I began to see “light at the end of the tunnel” — naiively imagining all the workouts would be over reasonably soon — as I religiously followed the physical therapists’ instructions for a series of excercises at home that took about 30 minutes every morning . . . they made the tunnel longer, adding some standing excercises involving some that involved simple but perilous (to me) squats to strengthen my upper quad area, stretching exercises for the hamstrings and balancing excercises because good balance is mandatory for maximum safety. As a result — and this is what I would not have predicted a month ago — I have begun to lose the sense of pride I had during the early recovery days when I was seeing progress almost every day, gaining confidence.

I’m still a 65-year-old fellow with no love life, fair social life, an employer I allow to drive me absolutely nuts and no real prospects for imporoving either. Also, I cannot BUY help at the airport museum. It’s hard to be creative when my head and heart are mired in disappointment. I’ve not written a new poem since leaving the hospital; haven’t blogged since May 23. The physical therapy and daily regimen at home are creating more physical distress by the hour than in the early days. Why the hell bother with all this theraphy?

At the end of today’s physical therapy session, my sour outlook was obvious. Therapist Alex (a woman) offered to reduce the twice-weekly sessions to one a week again, and I declined. At least I will do the exrcises at the hospital. At home, I’ve become less inclined to do ALL the recommended workouts.

I’m told that on my next visit to my surgeon, he will likely discontinue my sessions at the hospital and advise me to keep excercising and walking a lot. I will miss the visits with Alex and Heather there. I’m missing more than engaging. Missing what is not mine and engaging the surprisingly social life that is . . . all the while wishing I didn’t have so many things on my calendar. They’re on my calendar for a reason: I LIKE to be with people who like me.

So I will continue with this for awhile, try to be more conscientious, and will share a new poem come May.

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

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Take Two
by Job Conger

(introduction)
For months President Bush fed us lies
Served by pious, righteous cronies sleek and wise.
Some of us didn’t care to dine on their siren soup du fear
.Now digestion time is over, and the truth is odiferously clear . . . .

He’ll sing and dance like few Yale frat brats can
When W’s feces of lies hit the fan.
Though he sold us a war, second guessing is a drag.
It’s amazing what some folks take home when you wrap it in a flag.

He has stained our proud Stars and Stripes true
With new colors of brown, black and blue.
Those who saw through his blow,
We ain’t real Americans no mo
As W’s feces of lies hit the fan.

Front yard PATRIOT signs are the rage
Like armband fashions of an earlier age.
The feared weapons are as real as “the emperor’s new clothes.”
The facts should be clear to all who breathe through their nose.

The Congress feasted on pork barrel pie.
The “sounds of silence” was their battle cry.
They stayed cool and well-fed
While soldiers brave died and bled
And W’s feces of lies hit the fan.

Now he tells us “Saddam had to go!”
“Nobody ever really liked that guy, you know.”
Though the U.N. tried hard, they could not find a trace,
So the “compassionate conservative” threw war in their face.

So, as we hold noses tightly and pray,
It’s time to send CHIEF INSPECTOR O.J.
For gasless, germless blue skies
Can’t match a PRO’s alibis
As W’s feces of lies hit the fan. 

—– written June 26, 2003
================

The song was my “mantra” during W’s ‘rain of you know what,” but even songs, like wars, don’t seem to move folks the way they used to. I will play/sing Page Two in public for the first time in years at Springfield Poets and Writers Group’s Open Mike Night, March 20 at Robbie’s Restaurant on Adams Street — Springfield’s South Side of the Square along with my songs “Watching the Tide Go Out” and the song I wrote about my early days of treatment for my separated kneecap repair at Memorial Medical Center. I’ll also recite a favorite Vachel Lindsay poem as always. There will be talent and awesomeness a plenty, so please attend if you can. The fun begins at 6 pm. I hope to see you there.

live long . . . . . and proper.

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Following the January 17 surgery required to re-attach my upper quad tendons to my kneecaps,   I enjoyed more activity with more friendly, educated and lucid people than I’d experienced in my life. Along with visits from several friends and acquaintances, some of whom I’ve not seen since being discharged January 27, the medical and  housekeeping personnel at Memorial Medical Center  (MMC) were absolutely GOLD in their interfacing with me. I was blessed with several friends who rearranged my living room to that it would be my primary living space — close to the kitchen and front door with my bed relocated so I could watch TV from bed or chair, work at a nearby table, etc. Not knowing how long  it would be before  I could return to work at my employer, these friends and a few more had  packed my refrigerator and cupboards with an amazing array of food. By the evening of the 27th, there was more food in the house than there had been in any previous MONTH. (I am a man of modest means,) Another friend arranged to have a hot meal brought to the house by volunteer cooks/deliverers who visited every three or four days and almost always called before delivering to be sure their timing was good. Some friends volunteered/delivered food more than once: home-made chili, spaghetti sauce and more. For most of a month, it was a minor Eden (minus the Eve, dang it, but I never went naked for an entire day). Every other day for about a month I was visited by Visiting physical and occupational therapists from MMC who changed my dressings, took blood pressure, respiration and pulse. In late February, the staples, which had held me “together” along the incisions (59 on the right leg, 64 on the left) were removed by a nurse who came to my home at my surgeon’s direction. I was amazed by how clean everything looked.

The first “milestone” during what has evolved into a rather LOOOOOOOOOOONG recovery came with my first ride to my new “physician of record” at the county health clinic where we “charity” patients go. It was my first ride on Springfield’s minibus transportation service for disabled  people. I can go anywhere in town for $2.50 per ride to destination. That amounts to $5 per “there and back” round trip, but it is a wonderful arrangement; much more affordable than cabs.  Since that visit, I have returned to work part-time, typically five or six hours a day and 5 days a week. I’ve also returned to my AeroKnow Museum at the airport where I volunteer two or three morning every week (7:30 to 11 am) before riding another Access minibus to work and then home. Since Access does not operate on Sundays, it has been a real challenge to recruit friends who will drive me out at say 8:30 or 9 and come back to take me home about 5 or so. One friend has come through for me every week since I started Sundays at  the museum in late February, and I HOPE I can find another friend or two to share the burden. In the meantime, I am gradually spending more time working on museum tasks at home.  My next door neighbor has been a Godsend, taking me to the barber, grocer, office supply store and more. Again I WISH I knew more than one person, because sometimes my needs and the person’s schedule do not coincide. In the meantime, I’m happy to be blessed by the help at hand.

The one unexpected lesson of this process has been my outlook on life as influenced (with my permission) by my employer. I KNOW I’m lucky to be working at all and that’s why I’m still working there, but the deletable expletive BEFORE my fall is the same deletable expletive AFTER my fall only now I experience it with full-extension leg braces. Every day I work, the joy of life, drains from me like air from a tire going flat. Some evenings I wait an hour for the arrival of the Access minibus after we close, so since I’m the one who “locks up the store” I sit in a dark showroom and listen to the nearby grandfather clock chime every 15 minutes watching the sun go down and drag myself through my front door at 6:40 or so, This routine has nearly drained the creative incentive from me. I’ve not written a poem longer than four lines since I was sleeping at the hospital. This is the first Honey & Quinine I’ve posted in too darn long! I must rise above all this, and in these words we see the first step. I’ve decided my story is a story that should be shared with friends and innocent strangers. I am alive . . . . still.

I write, therefore I am!

Live long . . . . and proper.

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