Tag Archives: paraplegic

Help me fix my teeth

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAK_-7mw_o8[/youtube]

My mother would add the word please to this request for financial assistance–assistance to save me from false teeth. Both Mother and Father died in Jewish old age homes with their artificial teeth in a glass, unable to express just where their dentures did not fit or what was required to avoid pain. Nor did either of my very talented parents know how to ask for help at critical moments in their lives when help would have resulted in using their talents to assist others or as economists might put it to increase the country’s productivity and wealth.

Please click on the donation button to contribute toward saving my teeth.




How will I use the money?

1. To pay Dr. J (whose full name I will disclose after obtaining her permission) for the work she is scheduled to do on my lower left premolar. Currently, I am in considerable pain. I see her on Monday January 13, 2014 at 1 P.M.

2. To bring my insurance premiums with Delta Dental up to date and pay advance premiums for the next six months while I develop enough income that I am no longer living on my limited monthly Social Security check.

3. To obtain a crown on my upper left tooth where root canal was performed earlier this year before I went to New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for kidney cancer surgery which saved my life.

4. To follow Dr. J’s plan, developed after extensive x-rays, in accordance with priorities she has already established.

5. To perform necessary dental work over the next two months promptly to avoid having teeth pulled out. Over the past three years, I have had three teeth pulled out–teeth which could have been saved had I acted in a timely way.

6. To act on the recognition that now that I have recovered from major surgery and my life is no longer in danger from cancer, living with my teeth and without dental pain is high on my priority list.

Observation: When I became a paraplegic 20 years ago, I slowly and reluctantly learned that pride literally comes before a fall–that judicious requests for assistance meant that I secured the independence required to support my children and indeed my parents. One of my goals as a parent of two adult daughters is to serve as a role model so Joanna and Amelia understand that asking for help, although often difficult for stubborn individuals as the three of us are, can be praiseworthy.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAQfwpEDdOw[/youtube]

Words to live by: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?” These are the words of the great Rabbi Hillel and are contained in the liturgical book I frequently read as a child as part of my spiritual education.

How these words apply to the imperatives of my life’s work. First, I must work to preserve my teeth. Then, I must work to help preserve the teeth of others. Attached are two links provided by the American Dental Association (ADA) describing the crisis in dental care for children as well as adults.

Here is the link to the ADA’s “barriers” papers. These discuss the obstacles people face in accessing dental care and how they can be overcome: http://www.ada.org/breakingdownbarriers.aspx

Here is a link to information on the ADA’s Action for Dental Health campaign: http://www.ada.org/8585.aspx

This is the American Dental Association’s email address to get involved in our national crisis where the poor and middle class are deprived of necessary dental care: [email protected] or visit the ADA site at www.ada.org

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Meanwhile, as my dental pain subsides and my teeth are restored to health, www.joelsolkoff.com will become the place to go to at a time when large numbers of our population, untreated, are swarming to hospital emergency rooms because they do not have dentists. The dental community is invited to use this site to discuss the challenges and solutions as welll as my observations. I have established the category Dental care is a right to make it easy to find information on this critical subject. Until next time, brush, floss, and smile.

 

 

Getting to my kidney operation on August 8th—Part 1

Getting out of bed (and eventually into an automobile)

To travel the 257 miles from State College, PA to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (known to New Yorkers as Memorial) less than two blocks from the East River in New York City, I have to get out of bed.

What follows is a photographic recreation of my getting out of bed on June first, for my most recent expedition to Memorial where I went for tests and more tests and the surprising news that Dr. Paul Russo had decided an operation would be a good idea.

The decision was a surprise because it was in effect a reversal of his position in April. The reversal can be explained, I suppose, because in June Dr. Russo had the opportunity to review extremely detailed sonic imaging of my kidney and heart:

  • The kidneys to see whether he could remove the tumor and save two-thirds of the kidney and not incidentally remove the threat that I will die of kidney cancer
  • The heart to determine whether I would survive the operation and recover
  • Keep in mind: Cure the cancer; kill the patient is not a good idea

Here I am in bed.

Photograph by Benjamin Carlson
Photograph by Benjamin Carlsen

Because I am a paraplegic, getting out of bed requires some effort. Paraplegic, the dictionary explains, is an individual who has “paralysis of the lower half of the body with involvement of both legs.”

I cannot stand without holding on to something. That does not mean I cannot dance, if I am careful and have a partner who understands, I CAN dance.

I cannot walk, but there are a wide variety of devices that can help me get from here to there.

Plus, my feet work well enough that I can drive a car.

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To get out of bed, I need to transfer to a mobility device.

The following photograph shows me transferring from the bed to a scooter. First invented in 1968 by my friend Al Thieme, CEO of Amigo Mobility, the device is formally called a Power Operated Vehicle (POV) scooter.

Photograph by Benjamin Carlsen

 

Photograph by Benjamin Carlsen

In the following photograph, the transfer is complete and I am now ready to:

  • drive to the bathroom
  • the kitchen to make breakfast
  • to various parts of my apartment to get dressed and pack for the trip to New York

It is essential to keep the battery charger in mind at all times and to make sure it is positioned in the right place. Before going to sleep, have a plugged in battery charger with a fan inside sitting on the bed table preparing for the period after sleep. Hearing the hum of the fan reassures that the charger plugged in next to my bed will provide me in the morning 25 miles worth of power–25 miles (to repeat) for one full charge.

Photograph by Benjamin Carlsen
Photograph by Benjamin Carlsen

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Finally, after considerable effort and stops for this and that (including, of course, getting lost), here is a photograph I took of myself driving a mini-van through the streets of New York City in June—the scooter having been taken apart and put in the rear. As one born and college educated in New York, I like the thrill of driving in insane cross-town traffic where there are no rules of the road except aggression. This is what it is like to be en route to appointments to test my kidney and heart and to learn of the operation I had not anticipated.

Joel Solkof was at a complete stop in the MIDDLE of a crosswalk (where sang froid pedestrians pushing baby strollers had to climb over cars) when he took this photograph.
Joel Solkof was at a complete stop in the MIDDLE of a crosswalk (where sang froid pedestrians pushing baby strollers had to climb over cars) when he took this photograph.

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Today is Monday, July 8th. I am in State College planning the logistics of getting to New York for the operation in August at a hospital in New York City where the word MEMORIAL is chiseled ghoulishly in large stone letters above the entrance.

Now I am planning and planning– wondering which of my disability devices to take with me. I am planning on how to position my mobility devices in New York so they are there when I need them:

  • before the surgeon cuts
  • in the hospital immediately after the operation
  • wherever I will be staying in New York for the two-week recovery period

–Joel Solkoff

Fashion note: The beautiful 100% cotton yellow pajamas I am wearing in bed are part of a generous sartorial gift from the family of the late David Forer, a man of impeccable taste.

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Copyright © 2013 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.

This posting is a portion of the fifth part of the ongoing story of my third cancer–kidney cancer, a story that follows this expanding outline:

1. http://www.joelsolkoff.com/who-i-used-to-be/

2. http://www.joelsolkoff.com/my-personal-experience-with-cancer-cancer-iii-ii-i/

3. http://www.joelsolkoff.com/my-fear-of-the-future/

4. http://www.joelsolkoff.com/my-man-mozart/

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Disability Cancer Surgery Donation

In 30 days (the actual date is Thursday, August 8th), I am scheduled for major surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). The surgery will be performed by an expert in the field of kidney surgery which my physician here in State College (250 miles from New York City) advises me cannot be reliably perfumed in the greater region where I live. My State College urologist referred me to Sloan Kettering in New York where Dr. Paul Russo will perform the surgery. The surgery, if successful. and it is highly likely to be, will remove the large tumor that surrounds my right kidney. The surgery will also remove one-third of my right kidney–in effect saving the kidney. Since imaging indicates the cancer has not spread, the operation is likely to eliminate the threat of my dying of kidney disease. Period. That is a big load off my mind. I hope you are able to donate money to help defray the travel expenses to surgery and during the two-week estimated recovery period.and of course the journey back home. My estimate is that $3,000 would be amount required and when I achieve that amount I will tell you and take down the donation button. Begging for money is difficult enough. Begging for money after I have raised the requested amount is tasteless.