Yesterday (Friday, October 8th) I gave myself an early birthday present

“My life is not mine.”

–Rumi

Wednesday is my 69th birthday

I will celebrate yesterday’s (Friday October seventh’s) significant lifetime accomplishment next week because I find it difficult to celebrate my successes at all–significant or otherwise. Delay serves as an effective alternative on the rare occasion where significance cannot be ignored. Characteristically, I then am likely to hedge my bets with a phony apology or equivocation rather than pat myself on the back.

The achievement

Early yesterday morning Dr. Michael Pfeffer (an anesthesiologist) provided a magic general potion. On Monday, Gray’s Woods cardiology tested and retested me for seven hours to ensure my heart would survive yesterday morning.

Medtronic's recent paddle-shaped lead distributes electronic relief from chronic pain;.
Medtronic’s recent paddle-shaped lead distributes electronic relief from chronic pain;.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Gregory Bailey [below left] after impressive thought connected an electric lead to a battery casing thus replacing a Medtronic test stimulator with a permanent one.

The evening before the permanent insertion, Dr. Bailey observed that my right arm has experiences difficulty reaching behind my back. Yes, I explained some 20 years ago (shortly after becoming unable to walk) I fell and dislocated my right shoulder several times. He received permission to position the spinal stimulator reaching grasping distance to my left arm.
The evening before the permanent insertion, Dr. Bailey observed that my right arm experienced difficulty reaching behind my back. Yes, I explained some 20 years ago (shortly after becoming unable to walk) I fell and dislocated my right shoulder several times. I gave Dr. Bailey permission to position the spinal stimulator to reach it with my left arm/hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chronic pain

One consequence of radiation treatment is chronic pain. In 1976 and again in 1989, I received more radiation doses than a Hiroshima victim received when the atom bomb was dropped in 1945.

Following my successful treatment for kidney cancer, I returned to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Sloan Kettering’s expertise includes a specialty in pain caused by cancer treatment. After a series of intense exams, meetings with social workers (primarily regarding housing in NYC and travel from State College and back and receiving directly and indirectly grants from Pennsylvania philanthropic organizations including Bob Perks and  Jewish Family Services of Pittsburgh), Dr. Vinay Puttaniah presented recommendations.

Dr. Vinay Puttaniah
Dr. Vinay Puttaniah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Vinay Puttaniah, a member of the Pain Service Department at Sloan Kettering, suggested that I have a spinal stimulator inserted in the base of my spine. There are a number of locations in my body where I experience pain. The most severe is the base of my spine. If you enter “pain” at the search engine for this site, you can read my descriptions of “crippling on-going pain.” Physicians, physicians assistants, nurses, and nurses aids begin by asking, “On a scale of one to ten, how severe is your pain? Zero being not severe at all? Ten being so bad you are screaming in the emergency room in a hospital in pain.” I have been in the ER screaming. This image is so accurate it haunts me:

This is the way I feel when the pain is so intense that I roll off the bed and rock my body into a screaming ball.
This is the way I feel when the pain is so intense that I roll off the bed and rock my body into a screaming ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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