Thursday, July 19, 2012

On the 'Context' Couch - Again

      Boy, oh boy,  I just NEVER learn.  I had a plan.  A few things I wanted to share today.  In fact, I may still try slipping in a visual - as they say in the biz - that we can consider 'Coming Soon!'s. 
      I always have SOME form of background noise going when I write and, usually, it's a low-volume news-all-the-time station because our beagle, Bridie, likes to keep up and, if I happen to pick up word that Assad, Vlad - any ONE of the 'rumblers' seems to be REALLY 'starting something', I can cruise into an impromptu closure since  there wouldn't be any point, as it were. 
In truth, that is precisely what occurred.  Having had a coif change yesterday that brought my scalp closer to/in near immediate contact with the ambient airwaves, brain was picking up signals that would surely have been blocked pre-mowing of the already scanty tresses.  Caught in a cattle rush akin to a Bloomie's Basement Sale, words started to push and shove, rudely gaining access to the 'hot ticket' items.  Soon, defenseless conscious mind was accosted by 'street fight', Delta Airlines, an image of a sad, elderly gentleman bemoaning the bombing of a busload of innocents in an Israeli border area, dubbed by the somber speaker as a "Tough Neighborhood".
Coming Soon:
"Murphy Cheers The "Bears"

      (The dam burst and the usual crowd of interruptive regulars used the opportunity to provide no relief from indignities, rolling out THEIR cacophonic carpet of medical marauders posing as therapeutic Titans.  Thence entered those maladies - garden variety flavor-of-the-week afflictions - suffered upon us all, dragging with them the panacea posers of which we are to be aware so that we can beware.  Of course, had we been remiss, recourse was a phone call away.)
      On the political scene - peppered liberally with the basic 'stealers' - the incumbent leader stateside was out-cavorting his opponent in the "street fight".  Having borne witness to "The Rumble" so many years ago in NYC, I defer to Stephen Sondheim with advice to the underdog:  "When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way from your first cigarette to your last dyin' day."  Take a cue from your worthy Shark, "Boy, boy, crazy boy! Stay loose, boy!  Breeze it, buzz it, easy does it. . . Go man, go, but not like a yo-yo schoolboy!"
      (CELEBREX:  "A body in motion tends to stay in motion; a body at rest, tends to stay at rest."  But you can count on that ole arthritis to jam your best gavotte.  That's when you 'turn on the juice, boy'.  Celebrex can take the edge off the pain and give it back to YOU.  Of course it has been associated with depression so tell your doctor immediately if you're having frightening nightmares or suicidal thoughts. . .) You-are-kidding!
Coming Soon:
'Pre-season mania!'
      With nary a break in the action, our glum-chum ambassador shared the bleak news of a bus- bombing which, in this "Tough Neighborhood" - a subtitle may be the Mideast - will be taken seriously by Israel.  As luck would have it, the area's biggest bully, Iran, gets a pass on this one because the international rumble scene is fiercely focused on that little hoodlum, Syria.  The Arab community, of course, sides with Syria, ". . . Society's played him a terrible trick and sociologically he's sick. . . Juvenile delinquency is a social disease." 
      As to Iran, our incumbent leader put his gloves back on, handed our Secretary of State a mike and let her loose.  No stranger to 'bad boys', Secretary Clinton cut right to the chase.  In response, the Syrian leader boldly pouted, "Dear kindly Judge, your Honor, my parents treat me rough, with all their marijuana, they won't give me a puff.  They didn't wanna have me, but somehow I was had.  Leapin' lizards, that's why I'm so bad." 
Coming Soon:  Beagles join the Squad!
      So, disgusted with them, she attacked the "Silent Supportive Source", Russia ,with a scathing, "Boy (z) like that would kill your brother.  Forget (that) boy(z) and find another.  One of your own kind.  Stick to your own kind."  And she MEANS it, Vladimir.! "Someone gets in our way, someone don't feel so good."            While we're on the other side of the pond, it was frightening to hear that FIRST CLASS passengers on a Delta Airlines flight were served turkey sandwiches laced with sewing needles yesterday. Talk about not feeling so good.  The flights originated in Amsterdam and were bound for several different US cities.  "Gate Cuisine", the catering service for the airline, is investigating the matter. MMmm. . . Tasty!
      (PRILOSEC:  A flight cabin door opens to begin THIS passive propaganda video.  It delivers a chipper, uniform-clad stewardess, grinning far too broadly while toting a portable display of pill boxes and delivering, "O.K.! WHO gets occasional constipation, bloating and diarrhea?"  As she deftly glides down the aisle, meek and silently-afflicted passengers begin to raise their hands - her cue to jauntily toss her wares side to side.  The passengers don't miss a trick.  Did I tell you I'm getting bored just in the retelling?) 
"Coming Soon:  "Can We Play?"
by "The Immigtants"
          Indeed, I was about to turn out the lights and cash it in when the GOA saved the day.  I had occasion to visit the quarters of our government's accounting office during a private tour - smallest office in the building.  But you know what they say about small packages.  It seems in the course of one of their 'general accounting' exercises, it was discovered today that a considerable amount of taxpayer money has been spent operating a U.S. Flight School. 
      To be sure the courses must/need to be thorough as at the completion of their flying lessons, the new alums receive a license to operate a plane.  It was noted by a particularly sedulous accounting employee, that these stellar students included an impressive number of ILLEGAL ALIENS.  Gone was my ennui.  This tidbit was as fetchingly amusing as the timing of discovery was NOT.  Even more arresting, when one ponders the ramifications - even beyond the financial - was the fact that one of the school's instructors was an illegal alien.
      (The programming cut to William Devane, once again telling us how much more secure he feels knowing he owns GOLD.  The world is in a financial chaos and the government is 'printing our way out of it'.  Well, he assures us, "You can't print gold."  WHAT A SHOCK!  William buys his gold from Rosland (just an 'e' short of all those 'razzle-dazzle' Black Bottom frolicking dance-a-thons) a company that gives you "the right gold, right away" and will throw in a safe if you buy now.  "What's in your safe?" is his clever tag.)
      I just couldn't get the immigrants out of my head.  Reverie's a powerful thing and back in the day, in NYC, I can still hear them:
      "Puerto Rico, you ugly island,
      Island of tropic diseases.
      Always the hurricanes blowing,
      Always the population growing . . .
      And the money owing,
      And the babies crying,
      And the bullets flying.
      I like the Isle of Manhattan,
      Smoke on your pipe and put that in!"

      The President's Press Secretary was asked about yet another government 'operation' today - the President's Jobs Committee.  That would be the one that has not met for six months with unemployment still above 8%.  Well, Mr. Carney allowed as how the President has a "lot on his plate."  And yet he found time this week, rushing between those God-awful rubber chicken-dinners, to remind the citizenry of 'whence they come.'  If you own your own business, the formula goes, you did it because you got help from the government.  We - the popular, not the papal - are in this together.                          
"Coming Soon": 
"I Did It My Way"
Now for an "All Skate"  finale:
      "I like to be in America!
      O.K. by me in America!
      Ev'rything free in America
      For a small fee in America!"

"Good night, Chet.
Good night, David."

Later, Lorane. . . .

 . .

Saturday, July 14, 2012


      Twas the night before takeoff, and all through the day I'd been dashing about looking for 'to do' lists the completion of which would be critical to our being able to 'play'.  The stakes - of the highest - will we find out during the dreaded/anticipatory nail-biting, three month follow-up visit with 'The Man'  whether his intense and complicated, surgical intervention had succeeded in transforming the twisted, serpentine, intermittently  disconnected spinal column I had presented - with oh such high hopes -

 to him into a reasonable semblance of 'the spine' which your average post-menopausal, female homo sapiens should possess.
      Just as with 'the Toni' (for you more mature readers), only 'time will tell' and it was 'time'.  The appointed hour was Thursday, July 12, 2012 at eleven AM.  I mention this because the only evidence I'd been able to find of THAT potential factoid was a clearly-printed notation on my over sized personal calender. 
      Based on this possible miss-information, my husband had made flight arrangements that had us leaving Virginia at noon Wednesday and arriving in Pittsburgh at roughly three PM.  A rental car - pre-arranged as well - would then whisk us through the afternoon traffic from the airport to downtown and the UPMC Family House well before the day's heavy, stifling end-of-workday hordes' "running" to home.
      At the last minute - compulsive wench that I am - I'd ventured a call to the Neurological Surgery Department 'angel-of-mercy-and-efficiency', Kathleen Brunetti, who confirmed the appointment and became immediately distressed about the failure of the computer system to automatically call patients - especially if from out of town (or touch) - to remind them of their arrival times and dates. 
      Thus it was that I instituted the frantic packing regimen sans 'to do' list fretting all the while about the news of the morrow.  I'd been quite diligent regarding ALL post-operative instructions and was even 'graduated' from "Home bound" physical therapy ten days ahead of schedule - such was my progress.
Pre-operative "back"
      Therefore, I had quasi-reasonable expectations of SOME improvement with the potential for ongoing progress.  After all, when 'going IN' to this risky procedure, one's back looks like it belongs to Mrs. T-Rex,  one is comfortable in at least thinking twelve hours of tedious manipulation and re-alignment would yield a spine the casual reviewer would tend to classify as 'human'/circa 21st century.
      I may APPEAR to be smiling but the rear molar, antiquated pound or so of silver fillings are dominating the maxillary imagery.  There was hardly anything to grin about - I was VERY into 'bearing' - when the only thing that seems straight on this x-ray is the outline of my metal spectacle rims.  That somewhat vertical undulation trying to  traverse the torso terminating just below the hip bones is the "before" of my dominant supporting structure.
      Somehow, we were out the door ON TIME and fate wiped THOSE silly grins off our faces once, ensconced with one bag and the walking stick I was going to present to my savior, we noticed water on the passenger side of the floor of our Lexus followed by confirmation of a doomed departure when the awful sound of NOTHING rang out upon turning the ignition key.
      "We're taking my car," from my husband fixed a permanent grimace on my visage.  He drives a Mazda Miata "Special Edition" two-seat, royal blue convertible - "The Electric Blueberry" - which ensures that one's derriere is at least eight inches above the road and, with knees covered with lip gloss, one's attempt to sustain any elevation from the machine's soft suede seat is totally dashed for lack of space.  So put the above-right picture in your mind, roll it forward - fetally - and begin the bounce-a-thon from driveway to airport.
      Suffice it to say, when nerves are permitted - due to lack of anchorage - to smack against their exit portals with abandon upon any movement, the pain receptor sites remain in high gear throughout the journey.  Boarding the plane was a relief - once again erect - but, alas, our Captain smoothly noted that due to the heavy pattern on this WEDNESDAY MID-DAY flight, we were ninth in line for take-off.  He therefore smoothly put her down at New York's LaGuardia at one PM.  Our connecting flight would begin boarding at 1:19PM.
      In that the aircraft in question was several 'zones', a bus ride and two harrowing speed rides down serpentine, downgraded hallways in a wheelchair powered by the sturdy legs and determined mind of an airport 'transporter', I sat crazed, holding a six-foot high walking stick all the while we hot-wheeled it to the 'now-alerted-to-hold-the-plane' check-in person.  We were given new boarding passes and catapulted down and aboard, acutely aware of the explosive slamming of the boarding gate door left in our wake.
      Once at our destination, we made the transition to ground transport in record time and motored along, with a 'Motown' escort to drown out the pounding in my head, to the waiting haven of Family House.  Early dinner, early beddy-bye and a night of toss-turn-turbulence (mental now) brought us to a sunrise greeted by heartfelt gratitude admixed with the anxiety associated with where we were - and why.
      First stop: Radiology.  Full back series.  Getting out of undergarments, body brace, overgarments and jewelry took 30 minutes but blessed Josh waited patiently, helping when possible.  Then four 'candids' of the 'handiwork' and back to the dressing room for a repeat 30-minute re-dress.  Ah, but there was time for a yummy omelet before our appointment.  Yummy omelet-man, meticulously cleaning his instruments, made it clear that once again, we could check the ole 'just missed' box.
      But really, who could eat?  We masticated on some-such, straining to listen to "Ellen" in the cafeteria.  There's a gal who can take your mind off of your troubles.  Finally it was time to turn in the trays and trundle toward what could be Trouble.  We checked in, took our seats and robotically solved crossword puzzles for forty-five minutes and then "Ms. Leavy?" (Again that question format.  Always sounds like, "Did Ms. X avert disaster and actually live to keep this appointment?")
      The Physician's Assistant was the very soul of brevity but I had typed up a log of my entire hospital stay as well as a summary of my post-operative course, so she thankfully needed only to collect these documents and present them to my surgeon.  (We actually had bumped into him and his clinical nurse on the way to the examining room and I'd thrown the walking stick to him.  He'd never heard of a Shillelagh.  I had used one pre-op but it 'walked' from the pre-op changing room.)
The Man,with New Stick & New Woman
      When he entered the room, holding his new stick, he was one big smile. The x-rays were apparently 'A-to-Z' victory signage.  He was both pleased and a bit surprised.  Experienced/specialized though he is, his work with 'vintage' material has apparently been somewhat limited.  (I guess there have been those who selected choice #2, "within eighteen months, you'll be wheelchair-bound, on a Morphine pump.")  We stood grinning like dolts for so long, my husband was able to capture the 'kodak moment'.  And soon after,

"AFTER" Back

we were all mesmerized by the morning's photo-op.  Adding to the DDS' silver, the gold earrings are brought to you by Saint Jude, whose likeness they bear and whose benevolence provided the talented hands and brilliant mind that was capable of effecting the remainder of the architecture in the picture.  The vertical meander is now an 'un-broken, solidly-aligned vertical', capable of weight-bearing and other activities of daily living which the next three months will either demonstrate or bring the bearer to her knees trying. (Most trying, at times, to be sure because THE BRACE HAS BEEN - FOR THE MOST PART - DISCHARGED!) 
       It's muscle-building time.  The mile plus walks will be solo; the cycling carried out without 'carrying on' about mean, old, nasty, super hot/suffocating BRACE.  This, unless/until body screams, "Halt!" by buckling its knees, delivering quivering poundage to the floor.  In such cases, BRACE-BE-BACK is the order of the day.
      Apparently, months one through three, is for healing from the surgery.  Months three through six is for building/adjusting/altering the size and shape of the muscles that have been accustomed to the architecture of the last seven years.  Without a doubt, they are 'testy'.  (In truth, they give 'pain' new and interesting voices - if Wikipedia is interested.)
      It's been a busy two days.  This one, dear readers, must bid you bon soire.  This because "sore" is the operative adjective of the moment and I shall acquiesce as the grand peeps will be a-callin' tomorrow.  It's been quite a ride.  (NOT highly recommended but worth every second.)  I'd say I'm glad it's over but can't because it's not.  Just MAY have an acid-tongued comment to throw out now and again.  I'm just sayin'.  Later,
Lorane. . . .

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Re: Possible 'swan song'. . .

      What ho!  Just when I was thinking of calling a vacation planner, aural reality slapped me right up side the head.  Must be quick - A) have to call Estate Planner and B)
      My unusually acute hearing aptitude-curse has delivered the 'final vinyl' message via - you guessed - our helpful/watchful/ever-informative well being observers who herald all manner of hellish outcomes should one NOT heed their on-air heralding. 
      It seems, whilst we were all basking in the mundane superficiality of Summer Buffoonery - at the beach, under a tree, softly swaying in a hammock, reading, dreaming, or just contemplating the usual when/wheres of humankind's universal demise subsequent to some errant, maniacal button-pusher - "They" (let's not go there) have discovered that unsuspecting, formerly suffering-but-recently-treated folks who had 'infused, man-made, discs' inserted surgically between their spinal vertebrae, are at a decided risk of ominous consequences.
      Surely, it is now sadly clear as to why I may not tarry in delivering/performing this - what may/will/could be my final scene.  (please see "While You Were Away from My Desk", I think, things are already blurring)  Numbered among the recipients of these fiendish albeit mobility/quality-of-life-preserving medical instrumentalities, I am at best distressed to learn that they have been seen to cause extreme difficulty breathing and THE INABILITY TO SPEAK.  (drop page) 
      "If you have recently undergone a procedure involving these infused discs, you may be entitled to compensation." (drop page)  "Call 1.877. BAD.DISC now where experienced legal professionals are waiting to help in your quest for justice, money, the American Way. . ." (drop page)  I THINK memory loss may have been another side effect but I can't recall.  Confusion was definitely in that march-to-oblivion army and, as you can read, our on-air benefactors know their shtuff.
      Suffice it to type, then (the 'eliding' issue is becoming distracting - even for the elide-r), I want you, my friends, my readers, to know that should I make it to Thursday and Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Hospital for my three month post-op follow up visit, I shall:
1.  Be certain that Dr. David, who returned my life to me, has heard the news;
2.  Remember to bring fliers with the appropriate advisory data to pass out  (or if I already have), casually leave among the 'for-your-health' reading materials in the waiting area and
3.  After kissing the scalpel hand of The Man, vow to utilize any/all vehicles at my disposal to put an end to THESE FEAR- MONGERING SUPPOSEDLY BONA FIDE MEDICAL "WARNING" BALDERDASH DISTRIBUTERS' DAEMONIC TACTICS! 
      Have a nice, healthy day; take good care of yourself and don't take accept any wooden nickels or well-meaning advisories seriously. Ever.  Later, Lorane. . . .