Category Archives: Mottoes

April_May 2016 Motto: plus pleased to be back at physical and occupational therapy

Before January, I published mottoes regularly. Now, I return with explanations. Expect abrupt transitions.

Walking (even with a harness) on the parallel bars after 21 years as a paraplegic. Invigorating.
Walking (even with a harness) on the parallel bars after 21 years as a paraplegic.
Invigorating.

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From “Out on the Rim” by Ross Thomas

The pretender to the Emperor’s throne [1] stood in the innermost sanctum of the deposed ruler’s palace [2] and listened, beaming with pride, as the younger of his ten-year-old twin daughters finished  reading the framed poem aloud. The poem had been left behind on the wall when the deposed ruler fled into the night.

“‘Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it,”‘ she read, “‘And–which is more–you’ll be a man, my son.'”

 The ten-year-old girl had read Kipling’s “If” with what  at one time was called expression. The Filipinos in the line behind her applauded enthusiastically. She turned, curtsied prettily–despite the jeans she wore….

“Very, very nice,” said [her father] Artie Wu who stood six foot two and three-quarter inches and weighed 249 pounds….

His younger daughter made a face at the poem on the wall. “God that’s dumb.”

“Mr. Kipling had an unhappy childhood,” Agnes Wu explained. “To make up for it he sometimes became a trifle optimistic and overly sentimental.”

Her daughter nodded wisely. “Mush, huh?”

“Mush,” agreed Agnes Wu….”

The older of the twin daughters (older by 21 minutes) turned on her sister. “It wasn’t as dumb as ‘Invictus’ that you got out of and Mrs. Crane made me memorize last year. You want mush? ‘Out-of-the-night-that-covers-me-black-as-the-pit-from-pole-to-pole-I-thank-whatever-gods-may-be-for-my-unconquerable-soul.’ That’s mush.”

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Did Rudyard Kipling (the first English-language author to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudyard_Kipling) really have a rotten childhood?
Did Rudyard Kipling (the first English-language author to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudyard_Kipling) really have a rotten childhood?

Footnotes

  1. Ross Thomas created Artie Wu to be the kind of hero who runs away from a Methodist orphanage with his self-respect so firmly in tact that he humorously refers to himself as next in line to be Emperor of China (even though China does not have an empire).
  2. This scene takes place in the Presidential palace of Ferdinand Marcos, a garish dictator of the Philippines who was removed from office in 1986. After Marcos fled, tourists (as in this vignette) flocked to his palace to see how he lived.
  3. I know. Footnote three does not refer to anything.

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Getting from there to here is an abrupt transition. The transition is easier with planning and intention. Yet there is where I was grateful to Ross Thomas for making the packing to HealthSouth easier. Now here I am, my goal posted on a chart in my bedroom. Have to scoot quickly. This photograph posting is a lunch pit stop between physical therapy in the morning and occupational therapy in the afternoon.
Getting from there to here is an abrupt transition. The transition is easier with planning and intention. Yet there is where I was grateful to Ross Thomas for making the packing to HealthSouth easier. Now here I am, my goal posted on a chart in my bedroom. Have to scoot quickly. This photograph posting is a launch pit stop between physical therapy in the morning and occupational therapy in the afternoon.

Regarding:  Pleased to be back at physical and occupational therapy

This is the abrupt transition I warned you about. I was reading Ross Thomas as I packed and prepared to arrive at Health South, a for-profit hospital in Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania nine miles northeast from my apartment. I began writing this post after checking in to my mountain view room on Sunday night April 24th.

I took this photograph from my hospital room at dawn on Monday.
I took this photograph from my hospital room at dawn on Monday.

I have been in a state of physical decline following my return home to State College, Pennsylvania after spinal surgery in New York City. This state of decline (despite periodic ups and downs) has persisted from December to the present. My admittance to HealthSouth, I hope, marks a new beginning.

Background: My Previous Hospitalizations at HealthSouth

This is my third hospitalization at HealthSouth in the last 12 months. Below is a video I made in October. I spent three weeks in hospitals that month. My first stay was a consequence of breaking my left ankle. Mount Nittany Medical Center transferred me to HealthSouth where I learned to transfer from the bed to my scooter without putting weight on my foot. Essentially, I was hopping as I saw the rabbits do on Monday night while scooting around this building.

My second stay at HealthSouth followed my hospitalization for a dangerous MERSA infection.  At Mount Nittany Medical Center [where the food–surprise surprise–is superb] the doctors saved my life. They did so my draining the puss from oozing wounds on my body and providing massive doses of antibiotics (first through an IV; then pills).

The drive from State College to HealthSouth.
The drive from State College to HealthSouth.

Susan Hartman is the C.E.O. of HealthSouth at Pleasant Gap. “As chief executive officer… for the past nine years, Susan Hartman oversees the day-to-day operations of the 70,000-square-foot, 73-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital,” writes Town & Gown Magazine. “Located at 550 West College Avenue in Pleasant Gap, HealthSouth Nittany Valley serves patients across the region, offering comprehensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services designed to return patients to leading active and independent lives.”

I met Susan on the last day of my first stay at her hospital. I suggested that HealthSouth consider working with companies constructing housing for the elderly and disabled. I was impressed by the skill of occupational therapists (OT) on her staff especially in their use of activities of daily living (ADL).

Following my hospitalization at Mount Nittany for MERSA, I was released from the hospital, but was unable to bandage my wounds adequately. At a loss for how to take care of myself, I wrote my children expressing pessimism. I copied Susan in my email. The following day, a HealthSouth administrator called to tell me that my admittance had been approved. What a relief!

Digression: How Healthcare Expertise Is Useful in Designing Housing

Here I will digress on the significance of activities of daily living. In the kitchen, for example, ADLs are useful for breaking down into definable units how to make breakfast. With my work with Dr Sonali Kumar using virtual reality for elderly and disabled  residences. ADLs are essential for building design.

“Experienced-based design” is the term of art for an approach to architecture where the residents requirements determine how a building is constructed. I am hopeful that a consequence of my meeting with Susan that HealthSouth will form an alliance with the Penn State Department of Architectural Engineering where I work.

Today (April 28, 2016) Occupational Therapist Diann Dougherty helps me understand how ADLs can be useful in my writing a chapter on designing a kitchen accessible to residents with a mobility disability.
Today (April 28, 2016) Occupational Therapist Diann Dougherty helps me understand how ADLs can be useful in my writing a chapter on designing a kitchen accessible to residents with a mobility disability.

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Yes it helps me to know that in HealthSouth’s occupational therapy kitchen, the distance from floor to sink is 36 inches. My experiences during my three times as an in-patient have ranged from the useful to the dramatic. It was dramatic for me to have a near-death/out-of-body experience when my second stay at HealthSouth came to an abrupt end.

I had awakened on a  Thursday morning with chest pains. HealthSouth’s compassionate Medical Director Richard Allatt ordered an ambulance. Doreen, my nurse held my hand until the attendants came with a gurney.  As I watched (mistakingly believing I was going to die from a heart attack), I felt myself to be a third-party observer as I was being loaded onto the ambulance en route to the emergency room. I marveled at the beautiful early morning mountain scene saying to myself, “This would make great video.”

At the time I had been making videos. At first I produced elaborate architecture videos as enhancements to my column for e-architect UK.  At HealthSouth, I made cinema verite videos (yes, I know this sounds pretentious) to provide short unedited perspectives on the mobility disability experience.

Leaving HealthSouth, I was thinking about Megan Brown, the “star” of the above video. I was filled with a sense of profound gratitude to Dr. Allatt, Doreen, Megan, and the other physical and occupational therapist and staff at HealthSouth. Consequently, months later after I found my health to be in distress. I was pleased to be back here.

My April 24th to May Second stay at HealthSouth

The single most significant aspect of my stay is the time I have been spending on the parallel bars.

On the second day of my stay, I published the following on Facebook: "These are the parallel bars in the East Wing Therapy Gym. I photographed the bars early this Tuesday morning hoping the picture would provide the sense of excitement these bars evoke. Yesterday, attached to a harness, I "walked" upright. The pain I feel this morning evokes hope. I am here at HealthSouth to manage the crippling pain in my spine. The pain in my muscles is a different kind of pain. A good pain when transformed into strength will help me defeat the bad pain. It is too early to discuss good and evil--not before breakfast. Suffice it to say, I look forward to this day because I will be walking upright again."
On the second day of my stay, I published the following on Facebook: “These are the parallel bars in the East Wing Therapy Gym. I photographed the bars early this Tuesday morning hoping the picture would provide the sense of excitement these bars evoke. Yesterday, attached to a harness, I “walked” upright. The pain I feel this morning evokes hope. I am here at HealthSouth to manage the crippling pain in my spine. The pain in my muscles is a different kind of pain. A good pain when transformed into strength will help me defeat the bad pain. It is too early to discuss good and evil–not before breakfast. Suffice it to say, I look forward to this day because I will be walking upright again.”

Standing is special for me. So is “walking” upright, even if walking simply consists of moving between two parallel bars–using the strength in my arms to keep me upright and get from here. I wrote that I hoped my stay at HealthSouth would reverse the decline in my physical health. Central to achieving my goal is a broader range of mobility and the necessary strength.

In the report I have been writing on designing housing for the mobility disabled, I emphasize the notion of transparency. Access in the home should be so readily available that the resident is reminded as little as possible that she or he has a disability. For example, for a two-story house an elevator or a wheel chair lift is far preferable to a stairlift.  For a stairlift one has to transfer, and the less transferring the better.

This plastic brace (a.k.a. orthotic device) is evidence of my laziness. Twenty years ago it was prescribed for me to use in conjunction with fore-armed crutches. However, through neglect I have lost the arm-strength and balance necessary to use crutches safely. This is something with training and persistence I can do again. The photograph shows how my muscles have decreased in size through lack of use.
This plastic brace (a.k.a. orthotic device) is evidence of my laziness. Twenty years ago it was prescribed for me to use in conjunction with fore-armed crutches. However, through neglect I have lost the arm-strength and balance necessary to use crutches safely. This is something with training and persistence I can do again. The photograph shows how my muscles have decreased in size through lack of use.

Transparency relates to my physical therapy goals. For the past 21 years as a paraplegic, I have managed to compensate for my disability by relying extensively on mobility devices such as scooters and power chairs. These are extremely helpful tools. When I first used a scooter I was in my forties. Working was essential for paying the mortgage and supporting my family. The speed and appearance of the scooter made my disability seem less disturbing. My employers, co-workers and children regarded the device as a neat technological solution.

A few years ago, I teamed up with a local supplier of mobility equipment to show disabled members of my synagogue the freedom  these devices provide. One elderly woman expressed concern. Her inability to walk trapped her in her home. She worried that dependence on the scooter would result in her losing what mobility she had. I pointed out that while exercise is important fatigue is counterproductive.

Four years ago Alicia J. Spence at Phoenix Rehab helped me walk using fore-armed crutches to walk. With the proper movement performed religiously each day (and the use of a device that directs electiricity to my ankles (see footnote 12) I might be able to walk someday. First, however, I have to master the pain. Alicia suggested a wonderful exercise that slowly reduces spinal pain when I lie on m stomach.
Four years ago Alicia J. Spence at Phoenix Rehab helped me walk using fore-armed crutches.

I was correct (of course). Mobility devices do provide freedom. Any physical therapist will tell you that fatigue is debilitating. Yet my argument was fallacious because I had failed to be moderate. I was lazy. I did not exercise. Twenty years ago, a year after I lost the ability to walk, a physical therapist prescribed fore-armed crutches (above) and braces (photo above crutches).

Through lack of use, I have lost the strength and balance to use the crutches. The braces prevented my toes from dropping–I had dislocated my right shoulder when I tripped over my toes. The braces also kept my legs steady. As the photograph shows, through lack of use my leg muscles have shrunk.

image

My major accomplishment at HealthSouth was my ability to use this tool. I am not strong enough to use a walker. This platform above a standard walker made it possible for me to cross the floor from one end of the room to the other.

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Senior Physical Therapist Steven Uberti
Senior Physical Therapist Steven Uberti

HealthSouth’s Pleasant Gap facility has a number of excellent physical (PT) and occupational (OT) therapists.

Steve took this photograph of me holding myself upright on the parallel bars.The absence of a harness means that Steve observed that it is safe for me to move along the bars without concern that I might fall.
Steve took this photograph of me holding myself upright on the parallel bars.The absence of a harness means that Steve observed that it is safe for me to move along the bars without concern that I might fall.

Hic Haec Hoc

Orientation for new patients

This sign was prominent when I checked into my hospital room on Sunday night.
This sign was prominent when I checked into my hospital room on Sunday night.

To be discussed is the especially significant “happy wheels” designation.

image

Meanwhile, in an unrelated event, nurse Sydney pushed me in a wheelchair and weighed me. Minus the weight of the wheelchair, I weigh 143 pounds. I have lost over 30 pounds in the past year. Dinner will arrive shortly. Then a friend. Tomorrow is another day.]

This is tomorrow

Tomorrow is today--Wednesday; 6:30 AM. I am sitting on my scooter waiting for it to begin charging. The doctor came and went promising to discuss the muscles in my thigh with the therapist--muscles than require strengthening
Tomorrow is today–Wednesday; 6:30 AM. I am sitting on my scooter waiting for it to finish charging. The doctor came and went promising to discuss the muscles in my thigh with the therapist–muscles than require strengthening.

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The nurse came by dispensing medicine. The breakfast tray is next.  It is early morning still; yet it feels late. Too late to finish this post which is becoming more ambitious in planning as its execution… You know what I mean.

I do not want to wait too long before posting what is in effect a cash register. I am requesting donations so I can recover–have the time required to earn my own way.



ASSISTANCE REQUESTED

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How I plan to recover and earn my own way is a subject for later–after I obtain strength on the parallel bars and on the exercise mats for three hours today.

[Editorial note: Transition language is required to orient the reader. The writer would likewise benefit, but….]

The “Road to Recovery” board (above) contains my goal

My goal is  “Develop My Hip Muscles So My Legs Do Not Wrap Around Each Other.”

Unaware I am doing so, my legs wrap around each other. It is as though my left leg thinks it is my right leg and vice versa.
Unaware I am doing so, my legs wrap around each other. It is as though my left leg thinks it is my right leg and vice versa.

When I sleep, my legs frequently cross each other causing considerable discomfort. This is most noticeable when I awake to find my legs pretzel-like requiring that I pull them apart. Over the course of the day, I find that I have unconsciously crossed my legs. In the long term, there is danger that hip damage will result. There is cause for optimism because the problem can be solved by strengthening my abductor muscles–the muscles that move my legs away from my body.

This exercise requires me to move my legs apart. While doing so, I stretch the band. The band is there to make the movement more difficult therby strengthening my muscles. Currently, my ability to move my legs apart is severely limited. Slow and diligent work and patience are required.
This exercise requires me to move my legs apart. While doing so, I stretch the band. The band is there to make the movement more difficult thereby strengthening my muscles. Currently, my ability to move my legs apart is severely limited. Slow and diligent work and patience are required.

Before moving on, now  is a perfect time to show you hip abductor muscles.

Courtesy: www.athleticquickness.com
Courtesy: www.athleticquickness.com

Moving on

Moving on means looking back to provide an overview of my situation. In other words, I am a paraplegic. How I lost the ability to walk is key to understanding how to fix my current physical problems.

 

“Two cultures” motto Friday, November 6, 2015

Scientific American cover
Scientific American cover

“There have been plenty of days when I have spent the working hours with scientists and then gone off at night with some literary colleagues. I mean that literally. I have had, of course, intimate friends among both scientists and writers. It was through moving regularly from one to the other and back again that I got occupied with the problem of what, long before I put it on paper, I christened to myself as the ‘two cultures.'”

“For constantly I  felt I was moving among two groups–comparable in intelligence, identical in race, not grossly different in social origin, earning about the same incomes, who had almost ceased to communicate at all, who in intellectual, moral and psychological climate had so little in common that instead of going from Burlington House or South Kensington to Chelsea, one might have crossed an ocean.

–C.P. Snow’s The Two Cultures Rede Lecture, 1959

[“Charles Percy Snow, Baron Snow,CBE (15 October 1905 – 1 July 1980) was an English physical chemist and novelist who also served in several important positions in the British Civil Service and briefly in the UK government. 

He is best known for his series of novels known collectively as Strangers and Brothers, and for The Two Cultures, a 1959 lecture in which he laments the gulf between scientists and ‘literary intellectuals'”.]

 

Motto October 24–November 6, 2015

Mirror image of Edith Wharton's autobiography. For explanation of end date of motto's prime application see: http://www.joelsolkoff.com/using-zotero-to-manage-dissertation-citations/
Mirror image of Edith Wharton’s autobiography. For explanation of end date of motto’s prime application see: http://www.joelsolkoff.com/using-zotero-to-manage-dissertation-citations/

Years ago I said to myself: “There’s no such thing as old age, there is only sorrow.”

I have learned with the passing of time that this, though true, is not the whole truth. The other producer of old age is habit: the deathly process of doing the same thing in the same way at the same hour day after day, first from carelessness, then from inclination, at last from cowardice or inertia. Luckily the inconsequent life is not the only alternative; for caprice is as ruinous as routine. Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits; of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive.

In spite of illness, in spite of the arch-enemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways. In the course of sorting and setting down of my memories I have learned that these advantages are usually independent of one’s efforts, and that I probably owe my happy old age to the ancestor who accidentally endowed me with these qualities.

A Backward Glance by Edith Wharton

Motto August 21, 2015

GuardianAngel

 

The figure made a  movement.

“Keep away!” cried Gilberte. Keep away!”

She offered the burglar all the money and jewels she had on the table if he would consent not to stir. Amid her surprise and terror the idea assailed her that her husband, dissembling his suspicions, had posted witnesses, and had had recourse to the Commissaire de Police. In a flash she distinctly saw before her the long painful future, the glaring scandal, the pretended disdain, the cowardly dissertion of her friends, the just mockery of society, for it is indeed ridiculous to be found out. She saw the divorce, the loss of her position and of her rank.  She saw the dreary and narrow existence with her mother, when no one would make love to her, for men avoid women who fail to give them the security of the married state. And all this why? Why this ruin, this disaster. For a piece of folly, for a mere nothing. Thus in a lightning flash spoke the conscience of Gilberte des Aubels.

“Have no fear, Madame,” said a very sweet voice.

Slightly reassured, she found the strength to ask:

“Who are you?”

“I am an angel,” replied the voice.

“What did you say?”

“I am an angel. I am Maurice’s guardian angel.”

“Say it again. I am going mad. I do not understand….”

Maurice, without understanding either, was indignant. He sprang forward and showed himself; with his right hand armed with a slipper he made a threatening gesture, and said in a rough voice:

“You are a low ruffian; oblige me by going the way you came.”

“Maurice d’Esparvieu'” continued the sweet voice, He whom you adore as your Creator has stationed by the side of each of the faithful a good angel whose mission it is to counsel and protect him; it is the invariable opinion of the Fathers, it is founded on many passages in the Bible, the Church admits It unanimously, without, however, pronouncing anathema upon those who hold a  cont rare opinion. You see  before you one of these  Angels, yours, Maurice. I was commanded to watch over your innocence and guard over your chastity.”

–REVOLT OF THE ANGELS by Anatole France,  translated by Wilfred Jackson

Anatole_France_young_years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motto August 19, 2015

Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised. It is the only form of adventure in which you put on your clothes at Michaelmas (1) and keep them on until Christmas, and, save for a layer of the natural grease of the body, find them as clean as though they were new. It is more lonely than London, more secluded than  any monastery, and the post comes but once a year. As men will compare the hardships of France, Palestine, or Mesopotamia, so it would be interesting to contrast the rival claims of the Antarctic as a medium of discomfort. A member of Campbell’s party tells me that the trenches as Ypres (2) were a comparative picnic. But until somebody can evolve a standard of endurance I am unable to see how it can be done. Take it in all, I do not believe anybody on earth has a worse time than an Emperor penguin.

The Worst Journey in the World by Aspley Cherry-Garrard (3)

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Emperor_Penguins_-Snow_Hill_Island,_Antarctica_-adults_and_juvenile-8

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Footnotes

1. Michaelmas is the Christian feast of St. Michael the Archangel, celebrated in the Western churches on September 29th.

2, “The Battle of Ypres was during World War I, in the general area of the Belgian city of Ypres, where the German and the Allied armies (Belgian, French, British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.), and Canadian) clashed. There were hundreds of thousands of casualties.”

3. Aspley Cherry-Garrard was a member of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition to locate the South Pole. Scott died in Antarctica before  reaching his objective.

Aspley Cherry-Garrard
Aspley Cherry-Garrard

 

Comprehensive August 2015 motto

 

Saturday, August 8. Eleven days after my return from Newark/New York, Healthcare South Rehabilitation Aide Lynn B. Slemons displays my shower chair. In two weeks, my fractured ankle should be repaired. In the interim, I will have to postpone several appointments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and delay insertion of a spinal stimulator to relieve pain.
Saturday, August 8. Eleven days after my return from Newark/New York, Healthcare South Rehabilitation Aide Lynn B. Slemons displays my shower chair. In two weeks, my fractured ankle should be repaired. In the interim, I will have to postpone several appointments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and delay insertion of a spinal stimulator to relieve pain.

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“When a man is a wanderer and stranger, he should not be gruff nor overbearing.  He has no large circle of acquaintances, therefore he should not give himself airs. He must be cautious and reserved; in this way he protects himself from evil. If he is obliging toward others, he wins success.

“A wanderer has no fixed abode; his home is the road. Therefore he must take care to remain upright and steadfast, so that he sojourns only in the proper places, associating only with good people. Then he has good fortune and can go his way unmolested.”

–Book of Changes, Wilhelm / Baynes edition, Princeton University Press

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July 29th. After the expeditionary trip to Newark to begin the search for new housing and a meeting with Dr. Winfree regarding the spinal stimulator, I return the rental car with hand controls only. My feet, shown here, are irrelevant. The rudimentary mechanical controls require shifting the mechanism that controls acceleration and breaking. Now that I have learned, I am planning to produce 3-D documentation on hand-controlled driving--a growing business.
July 29th. After the expeditionary trip to Newark to begin the search for new housing and a meeting with Dr. Winfree regarding the spinal stimulator, I return the rental car with hand controls only. My feet, shown here, are irrelevant. The rudimentary mechanical controls require shifting the mechanism for acceleration and breaking. Now that I have learned, I am planning to produce 3-D documentation on hand-controlled driving–a growing business.

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Notes

1. My sense of comfort and security–defined succinctly by the word “home”–has been replaced by the necessity to get well and be productive. Hence:”A wanderer has no fixed abode; his home is the road.”

2. The sense of urgency that I leave State College and become a wanderer in search of relief can be dated to early October–shortly before my 67th birthday.

3.  The urgency comes from intense pain in the L-4 and L-5 region of my spine–where I sit.

4. The pain is one of a number of negative consequences (such as paraplegia) of radiation treatment for Hodgkin’s disease, treatment which saved me from dying before I reached my 30th birthday.

5. Thirty-nine years ago, the machine that saved my life was relatively primitive by today’s standards. Damage to the spine and elsewhere has led to the creation of a new branch of medicine for people like me who have survived cancer for decades and whose side effects can be alleviated from state-of-the-art treatment such as spinal stimulators.

6. Two weeks ago, I met in New York with Dr. Christopher J. Winfree, the surgeon who will insert a spinal stimulator which holds the promise of substantially reducing the pain.

7. As I write, I am waiting to return to New York for relief from pain, monitoring to reduce or prevent toxic results of cancer treatment, and the possibility that I may walk again.

8. These hoped for developments not available locally mean that locally is no longer home.

9. As I wait here in State College eager for relief elsewhere, I feel a stranger in my home town. a home town that has treated me well for the past 12 years.

10. My trips to New York [and Newark (the special relevance of Newark to be discussed elsewhere)], my birthplace and former home emphasize the necessity of understanding that I am a wanderer requiring appropriate behavior.

11. Ever since I was a teenager perplexed by events I often did not understand, the teachings of Confucius comforted me. This has especially been the case when I understood that I could not trust my instincts. “When a man is a wanderer and stranger, …[he] must be cautious and reserved; in this way he protects himself from evil.”

Confucius 551-479 BC
Confucius 551-479 BC

12. Right now, it is only realistic to assume I will continue to be a wanderer for a while and my plans for relief will not come quickly. The relief I seek may not come at all. Certainly, as the expression goes, nothing succeeds like success. Preparing for success is a lot easier than preparing for delay and even failure. What are the spiritual requirements of preparing for failure?

13. Today’s motto on correct behavior when one is a stranger (most helpful to me is the sense I am a stranger in my own land) comes from the Book of Changes. Authorship of The Book of Changes, commonly known as the I Ching, is attributed to the unlikely combination of Confucius, Lao Tzu, and King Wu.

14. In 1984, shortly before my first daughter Joanna was born, my Chinese hosts took me to visit the castle attributed to the mythical King Wu (a figure much like King Arthur who if he existed at all never sang in a Broadway musical). The plum trees surrounding the castle were in bloom. I remember my delight at the odor and the scorn my Chinese hosts had for the I Ching, a book of wisdom they classified as the foolishness of the elderly who had nothing better to do with their time than consult the Book of Changes for divination.

15. August requires more than one motto. [Psalm 23 is likely to appear at any time.] The above spans this month comprehensively because my sense of myself as a wanderer requires rules of behavior on proper conduct.

–30–

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 17, 2015 Motto

Everyone probably knows about depressive moods from personal experience since they may be expressed as well as hidden by…suffering.

It is easy to notice , if we pay attention, that they hit almost with regularity–whenever we suppress an impulse  or an unwanted emotion.

Then, suddenly, a depressive mood will stifle all spontaneity. If an adult, for example, cannot experience grief when he loses someone dear to him but tries to distract himself from his sadness , or if he suppresses* and hides from himself his indignant recognition over an idealized friend’s behavior out of fear of losing his friendship, he must reckon with the probability of depression (unless his grandiose defense is constantly at his disposal).

When he begins to pay attention to these connections, he can benefit from his depression and use it to learn the truth about himself.

Once we have experienced a few times that the breakthrough of intense early-childhood feelings (characterized by the specific quantity of non comprehension) can relieve a long period of depression, this experience will bring about a gradual change in our way of approaching “undesired” feelings–painful feelings, above all.

We discover that we are no longer compelled to follow the former pattern of disappointment, suppression of pain, and depression, since we now have another possibility of dealing with disappointment, namely experiencing the pain.

In this way we at last gain access to our earlier experiences–to the parts of ourselves and our fate that were previously hidden from us.

Alice Miller

*Suppression is a conscious act, as opposed to repression.

Drama

July 2015 Motto

Paintngofdeclaration

“You are standing, Mr. Trist, beneath the worst executed painting in the nation, Not to mention the least accurate.”

Henry Adams voice cut easily through the clamor of the lobby. He pointed his furled umbrella up toward the gilt-framed painting that hung just above their heads. “The Signing of the Declaration of Independence,” he read. “History at its most fictitious. That’s supposed to be my grandfather John Adams over but no Adams males has ever reached the middle age with so much hair. Jefferson over here” –the umbrella swung right–“was in reality quite coarsely redheaded, and entirely feline. Franklin was taller than everyone thinks. The whole thing is a fraud, of course, because the Continental Congress never did assemble for the purpose of signing the Declaration of Independence–they went to the clerk’s office, one by one, over the space of two months–and they adopted the resolution on July second, not July fourth. Otherwise–“,,,,

“The artist John Trumbull, was also blind in one eye.”

–from Grant by Max Byrd