Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Meryl does Florence.
In this wildly funny and profoundly sad film based on true events, Meryl Streep once again illustrates there is no role beyond her boundless talent. Florence Foster Jenkins is a fictionalized account of the real life of a prominent and wealthy socialite who became a Manhattan cult figure in the 1940s.

Florence rose to fame first for her philanthropy pertaining to her love of music and next for her outlandish and amateurish attempts at operatic singing. In the title role, Streep dons silly wigs, ornate costumes, tons of makeup and a fat suit to portray the aging would-be singer. But the real star of the movie is her voice: Horrendously off-key, reminiscent of a feral cat wailing in the night, everyone can hear how bad it is except the singer herself who, having battled a chronic disease for most of her life, may be slightly off her rocker. Hugh Grant is endearing as Florence's loving, kept companion, a failed actor who tries his best to shield her from understanding that people are laughing at her behind her back. He succeeds by pressing fifty and hundred dollar bills into the open palms of music critics and others with influence inside her small circle.

Aided by a talented young pianist hired to accompany her at small, private concerts and ultimately a giant public one at Carnegie Hall, Florence lurches simultaneously towards her outlandish stardom and eventual death. Her journey is by turns howlingly funny and abruptly sad. All the while we get to see the colorful New York of the 1930s and 40s, with its flapper dresses and spats, lovely vintage cars and fancy hotel living. The film, deftly directed by veteran Stephen Frears (The Queen, Philomena, The Grifters, Dangerous Liaisons) is fun and funny, and gives a glimpse into an unforgettable life worth knowing about.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Fat Old People

A while back I attended a stand-up comedy evening at a local club. Some of the entertainers were newbies, others old pros. One comic stood out from all the rest: A pretty, thirty-something woman with long dark hair, she had a great sense of timing and always landed terrific punch lines. The other memorable thing about her was that she was fat. Not just overweight but all the way to Mama Cass fat, she wore tight jeans that were almost bursting at the seams. Still, she was quite endearing and the crowd obviously loved her.

Naturally she joked a bit about her weight, which was one way to keep us all from thinking she was fat. One thing she said that I still recall was about her grandmother, who apparently chided her about her girth whenever she saw her. Mocking Granny for caring about such a frivolous thing, the comedienne got a big laugh by saying, "At the age of 90 she still has a goal weight! Can you imagine?"

The correct answer is, "Yes, I can imagine." At what age is it appropriate to stop caring about how you look and feel? I hope I never get there.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Money Talks

My husband and his brother are in the next room having dinner and talking about money. It might be a discussion about the stock market but I can't be sure. I had to leave because I just don't understand it. It's sort of like a foreign language. They are saying things like "there might have been eight, but out of the five you got three." Key words being bandied about are "fees," "the Feds," "buying revenue," "ordinary income," "margins" and "three-point-two."  The rates apparently keep moving around, which makes it all that much harder.

I relate to money as wampum, whereby I give you some of this green paper and you give me some of that stuff I want. Beyond that simple exchange I am lost. I excused myself from the conversation, and as you can see I am now here and having much more fun.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

What Is Racism?

From 1970 until 2009 I lived in Washington, D.C., with time off for good behavior: four years in Salt Lake City, a year in Baltimore and a year in Berkeley, California. During my D.C. days I was mugged in the parking lot of a Safeway supermarket, had my car stolen from a repair shop in Takoma Park, Maryland (three blocks over the city line), had my home on Capitol Hill broken into, lost two white friends to murder during their home invasion in D.C.'s Logan Circle neighborhood, and had another one raped by two men while she was pregnant with twins, her husband forced to watch in their Georgetown apartment. More recently, the young white son of a longtime friend had his throat slit as he was about to enter his home in a trendy and affluent area of the city one summer night.

On a trip to New York City during that same time period my handbag containing my wallet, some Traveler's Checks and a personal checkbook was stolen, its leather strap cut by a seemingly nice old lady who bumped into me while I was shopping in the coat department of Macy's flagship department store. All of these crimes were committed by people of African American descent.

Since moving to Maine seven years ago I have not been the victim of a crime, nor have any of my friends or family. Here's my question: Does simply recounting the facts of my personal experience make me a racist?

Friday, August 26, 2016

News of the Day

Hillary Clinton sfouw!
Donald Trump ahjkhdg fhjasl ja fhdj kaj asdj kwl immigration. Mejkajm amansa, Hillary Clinton ahsgd fhffhka hehehr akk emails. Trump anmn adjffjhd aaak fj all Clinton. D djdaja dkjhksjHD RTT. Trump skfjffjeeo msndkas dhls Ivanka and d Melania Trump.

Chelsea Clinton ahsdhd msjskadh lsl Clinton Foundation, wrrhaaks Bill Clinton. Hillary anflsefj sla Trump. Trump adjh add djffl jfounonrt  aalsnd ma ancdpunnt al sdp aaai CNN andkw w FOX News. Meanw ws, Hillary Clinton whaha j ther she ttrtups s aasd hehr wqaiaj!

Donald Trump si d nne pfout!
Accsprpdggin thep New York Times recasbt apapa apaps, the le cled aoi qwwr hela toyta the genner woul di Trump 65% and fkf Clinton 54%, witrisn aa m 2% skdjdj  oa erppoi. Trump der  aabedjhh ffertsong Clinton ahdh erlkqrej gkgpwpeo dj presa confnf-wergj. The crwos catrex "TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP!" Sanhee Trump dld theww os tar hn hkj rink he kas reaifedd 75% sapa dm anam rwgpntion: Donald Trump awj Hillary Clinton 2017.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Turning Green Watching "Grey's Anatomy"

When I learned several months ago that I needed surgery and would be spending at least three weeks at home recuperating, I had big plans. I would read all those books I had never been able to read before, like Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse." Described by a leading literary critic as "one of the greatest elegies in the English language, a book which transcends time," and a favorite of my dear friend Greg Jarold, I was determined to conquer it although I had tried and failed before, many times in fact. I would meditate for half an hour each morning, paint a great masterpiece and possibly learn a new language.

Now halfway into week four I have not gotten past the second sentence in "To the Lighthouse," a sentence so inscrutable as to make my reading the entire novel out of the question. Meditation has eluded me as I keep getting distracted by images of the artificial hip installed inside me. As for painting, I am unable to sit for more than fifteen minutes at a time without turning to stone, so that has also not happened. Instead I have spent the last three weeks, roughly between two and five in the afternoon, lying on a couch with an ice pack on my hip watching Grey's Anatomy on Lifetime TV, with time off for short walks, appropriate nourishment and bathroom breaks.

Just another day in the OR at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital.
I had never seen the show in its heyday, beginning in March of 2005, mostly because A, I don't watch weekly TV dramas and B, I hate blood and gore. So it was surprising that I chose to go this route, but now that I have I'm an expert on the subject and can tell you exactly what happens in each and every episode, since each and every episode is exactly the same:

Someone young and vibrant who comes in with a minor complaint is diagnosed with a terminal disease. An old person dies. A lunatic threatens the entire hospital.

An ambulance arrives with an accident victim impaled by a sharp object sticking out of their head/heart/stomach. 

At least two hot interns have sex with at least three equally hot residents, all in the hospital during work hours and often in supply closets or empty patient rooms. 

An amazing amount of ooey-gooey, squishy body parts have incredible close-ups: hearts, lungs, brains and intestines spurt blood everywhere. 

There's a crisis during each operation where machines start beeping and the patient almost dies, but after the application of pressure to the chest cavity, they survive. High speed drills and scalpels are used with abandon by the sexy doctors hidden behind blue face masks, all while they exchange casual banter and jokes. 

Every so often the Seattle Bomb Squad  is summoned.

The hospital's Chief yells at everyone at least once, telling them to shape up.

Dr. Meredith Grey, of the show's title, figures prominently in all story lines. She usually has at least one dream sequence wearing only a towel and involving either her dead mother or her living on-again, off-again boyfriend, Derek, a.k.a. Dr. McDreamy.

Because the show is set in Seattle where it rains a lot, many scenes occur with one or more of the leading characters standing outside, dejected and dripping wet. 

Accompanying all surgeries and sexual encounters is a musical score comprised of the edgiest tunes of the day, chosen to underscore and pinpoint the intended feelings of the script just in case you didn't get it or couldn't follow Dr. Gray's final voice over narration pulling all the loose ends together.

It's lucky I never saw one episode of this show before my surgery or I never would have set foot in a hospital.

What a Way to Go

Don't do this.
Just last night, waking up in the darkness and reaching out to my bedside table, I almost drank calamine lotion instead of water. Fortunately I noticed the shape of the bottle felt slightly different and I groped around for the water, finally finding it. I learned today I would not have died but merely would have been quite sick and unhappy for several hours.

That got me thinking of dumb ways people die. The news today reports a 59-year-old woman who fell 40 feet to her death from a zip line into a body of water. How embarrassing. When I go I hope to maintain at least a shred of dignity during my passage into the next life. After all, you don't want to be the butt of jokes from the get-go next time around.

Or this.
Some downright slapstick ways to go, besides falling from a zip line, include burning up in a hot air balloon entangled in electric wires, skiing into a tree, experiencing a medical error during cosmetic surgery, getting eaten by a shark, falling off a cliff while taking a selfie jumping in the air and contracting sepsis from a pedicure. I remember my shock in high school when a beautician friend of my older sister actually died just a few days after some hair dye got into her open hangnail.

Dancer Isadora Duncan famously died from a broken neck after the long scarf she was wearing got caught on the wheel of the car in which she was riding. Several other not-so-famous people have literally died laughing. One man died after the fish he caught flip-flopped itself into his mouth, squeezed down his throat and suffocated him. Many people around the world have been killed by falling coconuts hitting them on the head.

All I'm saying is be careful out there.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Would You Rather Be Itchy or Nauseous?

Quick, what's your biggest problem? Is it a new one or has it been hanging around for awhile? And don't say you don't have any since that's impossible. Let's face it, no matter who you are or how things are going for you, life is an exercise in solving problems. This truism has been written about by thousands before me and surely will continue to be a hot topic long after I've turned to dust.

Problems are the meat and potatoes of life. Regardless of how many loose ends you may tie up and how neatly you get all your ducks in a row, new problems emerge, usually the very moment after you finally solved the one that was plaguing you for days, weeks or even months.

I once read that for life to be rewarding, one's problems should be fresh and of high caliber; those old, stale ones have simply got to go. To that end, sometimes we make up our own just to keep things interesting. For example, until yesterday my biggest problem was being housebound due to my recent hip surgery which kept me a hobbled invalid dependent on the kindness of others for almost any little thing. Then yesterday, sick of my infirmity, I grabbed my keys, shuffled out to my car and got behind the wheel, then drove to the post office to mail some letters and buy stamps. I was liberated! I felt overwhelming joy! I was back in the world!

Twenty minutes later I was back on the couch, resting on my laurels, when I noticed some itchy red spots on my "good" leg. These soon morphed into gigantic welts, or wheals, obviously caused by hives. Whether they came from eating too many strawberries or were the result of anxiety, by all accounts they were of my own making. By nightfall I was a miserable wreck of a person, the itching unbearable, unstoppable and preventing sleep. My "bad" leg had become my "good" leg!

Hip replacement surgery a dim memory, these hives are simply awful and painkillers don't help. I can't wait for them to be gone, although I shudder to think what's next.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Call Me a Fat Liar But Please Don't Kill Me

Hey, don't blame me; I didn't draw this!
The Internet is full of false things. I usually stay on the side of truth, but this latest story is too juicy not to spread far and wide. Seems actor Leonardo DiCaprio and his 24-year-old model girlfriend were driving in a car that was rear-ended last weekend in the Hamptons. Neither one was hurt but an ambulance was called "just in case" and the car was badly damaged. The trash talk on the street is that 41-year-old Leonardo, who has never had a car accident before, had just pulled out of appearing at a campaign event for Hillary Clinton due to some personal financial problems, and next thing you know, BAM! 

Those Clintons just don't take no for an answer. Fortunately Leonardo did not end up on the Clinton Death List, a.k.a. the Clinton Body Count, which now numbers between 47 and 90 mysterious deaths connected to the culpable couple. Trump may be off-the-wall crazy and call people names, but at least he doesn't have you killed when you disagree with him.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Too Much of a Good Thing

Like many people, I sleep with my cell phone on a table right next to me. Last night I woke and checked the time and it was 3:33. Considering that a good omen, a rare and special thing I always enjoy when it happens, similar to my glee upon looking up just when the minute hand of the big wall clock at the front of the classroom moved when I was in elementary school, I fell back asleep smiling.

I awoke again sometime later and again checked the time and saw the numbers 4:44. That was odd -- what are the chances? Still finding it a positive but unable to fall back asleep I got up, made my way downstairs, got some orange juice and lay down on the living room sofa hoping to catch a few more winks. Eventually I did, but then the ruckus of the pouring rain on the roof combined with my cat jumping on my stomach woke me, this time for good. I checked the time: 5:55!!!!

Okay, what the heck was going on? That was downright freaky. Not at all comforting, in fact quite the opposite, I did not like that one bit. I finally called it a night, thankful there could be no 6:66.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

Don't Bring Me Down

The painting "French Trappers on the Red Cedar" by Cal Peters. (Try not to freak out.)
The night before my recent surgery and the morning of, I was instructed to carefully and thoroughly wash my entire body with something called Hibiclens, a skin antiseptic. This made me nervous, appalled that the doctors were tacitly admitting they didn't have enough antiseptic stuff in the OR to use on me that would be sufficient. It creeped me out, and I took a really long shower that morning, feeling as though my very life depended on it.

Don't make me look.
I lived, and returned home to find the bottle of Hibiclens we usually have in the shower on the shelf with the shampoos and soaps. My husband, a CrossFit nut, often uses the cleanser after a workout in which he may have gotten a cut or torn some skin. The little blue bottle never bothered me before, but suddenly it caused flashbacks to my surgery day, flooding me with dread. I remembered the very aisle in the CVS where they display the Hibiclens, panicking at the realization that every time I go in there I will be reminded of that morning of my surgery, washing myself at five in the morning, trembling with fear at what lay ahead. But what could I do?

Then I read in today's paper of the decision made by the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stout to remove two paintings from the public view that depict Indians (Native Americans if you prefer) sitting in canoes with fur trappers, since that's too upsetting for some people to see. The direct quote about the location of the paintings is that "their current uncontrolled access poses a risk of having a harmful effect on our students and other viewers." So they will instead hang them in private offices within the school's administrative buildings, hopefully where only insensitive clods will see them on a regular basis.

Phew, that's a relief, since we certainly wouldn't want anyone freaking out seeing Indians depicted as engaging in a pleasant activity with fur trappers when we know damn well they were all slaughtered mercilessly by the evil White Man!

So I'm thinking that when I am well enough to go back in there I will request that the CVS remove all the Hibiclens bottles from the public aisle and keep them safely behind the counter, not just for my own peace of mind but for all those who have had surgery before me and for all those who surely will after.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Voting, Shmoting

Perhaps I've swallowed one too many painkillers since my recent surgery, but I simply can't understand why I'm constantly being hounded, via snail mail and email, to send money to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton so they can spend it on advertising saying how much the other one sucks. Or pay for lawn signs with their names on them, like that's going to convince someone of anything. Or do whatever the heck they do with all the cash that pours in -- order pizza for the volunteers?

Seeing as how both candidates are millionaires if not billionaires, why can't they use their own money? As my husband loves to say, "If you wanna give a party you gotta pay the band." Thus I have decided to not vote in the upcoming presidential election. This has been very liberating as I am now free to laugh at all of their silly shenanigans instead of making an ulcer grow inside my body. And never fear, it matters not one bit to anyone since my teeny little vote which would have been a write-in for a decent human being would count for nothing anyway.

Imagine if they held an election and nobody came.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

Many people, usually her supporters, wonder why other people don't like Hillary Clinton. I am one of the latter group and I am constantly being asked, "Why don't you like Hillary Clinton?" The closest I can come, beside her lying, her cheating and her scandalous background, is what I call "The Ick Factor." Although difficult to articulate, you know it when you see it.

The photo above which I snapped from this morning's Wall Street Journal captures it perfectly. Hillary looks like she has A, never even seen a baby before -- forget holding one -- and B, may throw up on it, as usual uncomfortable in any role requiring nurturing, kindness or even just plain tolerance. As for the baby, he seems to be thinking, "You smell funny, where's my mommy?" Possibly a Trumpkin, he is clearly not impressed and in fact looks downright disgusted.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

On Wasting Time

Brilliant engineers at top companies are working on perfecting driverless cars, freeing us up to play Candy Crush Saga instead of watching the boring traffic. I think an even better gadget would be an internal monitor installed under our skin somehow -- not sure how, but then I'm no engineer -- that would alert us when we are engaged in an activity that is a total waste of time. It could be called the Time-Waster Monitor.

For example, a while back, in a last-ditch effort to find friends in this heartless, rocky, cold state of Maine, I joined a group online called MeetUps. After scrolling through the many different choices offering a wide variety of activities I found one for the following Saturday that seemed appealing and signed up. There were just two other people there, but one was a woman roughly my age (let's call her Nancy since that's her name) and we seemed to click. After that morning's MeetUp activity we made a date to have lunch sometime soon.

A week later I went to Nancy's house and spent more than three hours with her. I ate the mediocre food she had generously prepared, looked at photos of her grandchildren, and toured her house filled with knick-knacks and souvenirs of her travels. Although tempted I never checked my watch once because I actually liked Nancy! Finally I took my leave, the two of us promising to get together again, possibly to go kayaking or hiking.

Later that day I wrote Nancy an email thanking her for lunch and saying, "Let's make a plan!" I attached the manuscript of my latest novel that she had insisted she would love to read, promising to give me honest feedback. Nancy replied, saying she was going out of town for a few days and would call as soon as she got back, but would start reading the book right away and let me know her thoughts.

She did neither of those two things. That was months ago, and I'm still annoyed about those more than three hours I wasted with her, and especially about the horrid little dessert I ate comprised of Jell-O instant butterscotch pudding in a graham cracker crust out of a box topped with a mound of mostly-plastic Cool Whip and a raspberry. Had I been wearing it, my Time-Waster Monitor would have beeped halfway through the afternoon, maybe sooner, and I could have left and done something of actual value, like go home and wash my car or pet my cat for a couple of hours.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Coming Attractions

My recent surgery, which took place exactly two weeks ago to the minute as I write this, not only repaired my disintegrating hip but opened my eyes to what being old feels like. Although I just turned 70, which sounds pretty darn old already, I'm not an "old lady" in any way, or at least I wasn't until the first of August. Thanks to the miracle of Clairol hair color and an enduring sense of style, I look younger than my age. I feel young, think young, race around town in my sporty red Audi, work out with a personal trainer three times a week, smoke pot if it's any good and still have every last marble. My husband, a mere toddler at 59, keeps me feeling sexually attractive, at least to him. It's all good.

Then WHAM !!!! -- suddenly I'm old. I have two walkers, one for upstairs and one for downstairs, but I can get by with a cane when I'm feeling spry. A visiting nurse comes to see me twice a week to prick my finger and test my blood, check my vitals and inspect my incision. I have little appetite because of all the medications I take. I've been virtually housebound for the last two weeks, except for a visit to the doctor to have my surgical staples removed. I take the blood thinner Coumadin so I have to be extra careful about bumping into things or cutting myself in the kitchen, not that I'm in the kitchen much since cooking seems exhausting and besides, who cares -- a poached egg, a few prunes and a handful of walnuts are all I need, really. And of course my daily Miralax.

I play a lot of word games. I have no idea where my mascara is. Ditto my car keys. I wear the same shoes every day, and my clothes closet seems as relevant to my life as the wardrobe room backstage at a Broadway theater. I enjoy being waited on. In fact, it's downright luxurious to have someone else make the coffee, pick up the newspaper and feed the cat each morning, and bring me a fresh ice pack and a nice cup of tea in the afternoon. Suddenly the idea of an assisted-living facility doesn't seem all that bad.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Dummy Vote

I just read about a 6-month-old boy who died of heat stroke, having been left alone inside a hot car in a parking lot of a Walmart in Texas. He was the sixth such fatality in Texas this year, but there have been more deaths just like it in other states. The boy's father works at the Walmart and said that he "forgot to take the child to daycare."

Here's the scariest part: That man and all the other negligent, unthinking, careless zombies just like him have the right to vote in our presidential election. Good luck to the rest of us come November, we'll surely need it.

Friday, August 12, 2016

It's the Little Things That Count

My heart goes out to all those who are permanently disabled and cannot look forward to getting better. That surely must suck. For the rest of us who choose to undergo procedures aimed at improving the quality of our lives, we get a taste of their daily hell. This could be a good thing since it will surely increase our compassion and possibly lead us into helping others less fortunate.

Another good thing about undergoing surgery, besides having that brand new functioning hip or knee or heart or whatever in place of the wrecked one that no longer served, is that during the interminable weeks of recovery that follow, you will come to appreciate all those things you once did without thinking or maybe even disliked doing sometimes, including but not limited to:

Going to the supermarket
Going out to the movies
Going out to dinner
Going out anywhere
Sweeping the floors
Picking something up that dropped
Carrying more than one thing
Having sex
Sleeping on your side
Sleeping all night
Taking long showers standing up
Taking out the trash
Soaking in a hot tub
Walking on the sand
Seeing the ocean
Picking up the mail from the post office
Seeing what's growing outside
Making the beds
Taking photographs
Carrying heavy objects
Doing errands for a friend
Working out at the gym
Rearranging the furniture 
Wearing jeans
Washing your car
Putting on socks
Having no pain
Being spontaneous

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sins of the Mother

I am so sorry I had a fucked-up childhood and thus grew into an anxious adult. If I could undo it I would, really. I would undo being kidnapped by a stranger at the age of four, and erase the experience of seeing my dead six-year-old playmate hanging from a shower rod by his neck, his blue terry bathrobe belt the instrument of death. (They said it was an accident.)

And dammit, I wish my older sister hadn't been so violent all those years, trashing my bedroom and coming after me with broken shards of glass. Honestly, if I could change it I would not have had my friends murdered inside their home in DC. I definitely would not have my father die of colon cancer in the first trimester of my pregnancy, followed by my father-in-law's death from a heart attack in the second trimester. And of course two dead mothers already didn't help, leaving my only child (how selfish of me that I never conceived again) with no grandparents and little extended family. What a bitch I've been!

I guess all the cookie baking and birthday parties and Halloween costumes and art lessons and trips to museums and other fun outings couldn't compensate for what a nervous wreck I was by the time I became a mother. Please forgive me, I am trying to do better. This is why I meditate and lock my doors at night. Just looking for a little peace of mind at this late stage.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Everyday Olympic Feats

These days you hardly ever hear the truth about anything. This explains why nobody cares that Hillary Clinton tells lies and Donald Trump tells even bigger ones. After all, who doesn't? For example, right here and now I will not write what it's really like to recover from hip replacement surgery because it's depressing, a downer, and nobody wants to hear it, least of all those aging baby boomers who are all clamoring for new body parts to stave off the inevitable. The bravest among them, or the ones with the best health insurance, will keep lining up for the popular procedure that's fast becoming an everyday Olympic sport. To do so they will focus on the cheery, chirpy reports out there that the whole thing is "so damn easy, you'll be back on the slopes (or the links or out jogging or biking, etc.) in no time!"

I'm betting that by 2024 this popular hip surgery may be an Olympic event.

Fine, go for it! You should live and be well as my grandmother always said, but bear in mind that having your thigh sliced open followed by having the top of your hip sawed off is no walk in the park. And FYI, you won't be having any walks in the park for some time, trust me. We can thank the overwhelming reach of social media for painting a prettier picture than truly exists, since we are all supposed to be feeling great and "smiley-facey" despite the grim facts suggesting otherwise, such as the number of suicides and people on antidepressants, the growing rates of mental illness and drug addiction, and an alarming rise in violent crime.

Still, be my guest. And if you live in Maine, or even if you don't, you'll want the job done by Dr. George Babikian of Maine Medical Partners (see photo), truly a superstar of the hip world and a pretty hip guy in his own right. His staff is superb as well, and if you're going to suffer through something as gruesome as this surely is, you might as well go for the Gold.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Have a Nice Day While You Still Can

Poster from "The Sound of Music" showing Julie Andrews out having a nice day.
I underwent hip surgery exactly six days ago after promising God that if I just lived through it I would never pester Him for anything again, thus freeing Him up to address the dire problems of everyone else. This required Him to make sure my surgeon got a good night's sleep the night before, prevent a power outage in the hospital or at the very least in my particular OR, and assign me only tip-top nurses who would not administer the wrong dosage of the wrong medicines, so it was no small ask, to be sure.

God delivered and for that I am truly grateful, I guess. It's just that now I have nowhere to turn for help with all my new and endless problems resulting from that successful surgery. Except myself, of course, and I am finding that I am sorely lacking in the self-help department, despite having read "How to Be Your Own Best Friend" at least six times and "The Road Less Traveled" twice, not to mention scores of magazine articles on the subject.

For example, I have no idea how to be content with not being able to walk, or not sleep on my right side, or not go out and pick up the paper at the end of our driveway, or brush all the brambles from my cat's fur that have collected in the last week, or water the flowers out in my garden, or even drive to the damn grocery store to get whatever the heck I want on the spur of the moment, forget giving myself shots in the stomach and not being able to shower on a whim, or even at all. The shameful truth is that I'm an ingrate and as far as I'm concerned, life, at least right now, sucks.

But then I remember that this was elective surgery that I will likely get over, God willing (although I certainly can't ask), unlike the horrors that so many people face daily and forever, and so I'm trying hard to buck up. I'm hoping that once I can walk again and get this damn bandage off my leg that seems to stretch from here to Nebraska, I'll devote myself to helping the Poor and Disadvantaged and Terminally Miserable, or at the very least stop complaining about my lot in life and have a nice day when I can. I just hope I remember.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sound the Alarm

Mitch posted this sign in my hospital room so I'd know right away.
There's nothing like a little surgery to put things in perspective. Fortunately I got in and out of the hospital quickly and without need of a bedpan, although lots of other unpleasantness took place within my thirty-four hour stay, not the least of which was a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast that I am certain was watered-down cat food. (Good thing the doctors and nurses at Maine Medical Center are way better than the cooks.)

Now at home, three days post-op, I finally stuck a toe back into the ocean of society and found that I don't care a whit about whether or not President Obama made a secret ransom payment to the Iranians for the release of four hostages, and care even less about nude photos of Orlando Bloom on vacation with Katy Perry. What does concern me is my brand new body part that will set off an alarm at airport security. And that later today, around noon, I will have to give myself another shot in the stomach of a blood thinner so I won't develop a blood clot that could kill me. (Yuk.)

Screw Trump and Hillary! Their continuing antics pale in comparison to the exhausting leg exercises that lay ahead and the visiting nurse who is coming to draw blood and do God knows what else to me. I've got a boatload of medications to swallow that are slowing down my normal bodily functions and glasses of prune juice to drink. (I'm hoping to finally go to the bathroom today.)

Regardless of who wins in November, I am no longer my original self. There is now something inside my body that was made in a factory. That fact, and the very thing itself, will take some getting used to. Oh well, at least I lived, and that is truly the bottom line as my husband so wisely pointed out. (See photo.)