Categories
Disability and Elderly Issues

Fatal heart attack: Shooting the piano player by another name

“I couldn’t imagine a life in which I would not be surrounded by music which shelters you from the world–which protects you and gives you a considerable distance from the world.”

–Glenn Gould quoted in the PBS program “Genius within–The Inner Life of Glenn Gould”

“This review explores the relationship between engagement with the creative arts and health outcomes, specifically the health effects of music engagement, visual arts therapy, movement-based creative expression, and expressive writing. Although there is evidence that art-based interventions are effective in reducing adverse physiological and psychological outcomes, the extent to which these interventions enhance health status is largely unknown. Our hope is to establish a foundation for continued investigation into this subject and to generate further interest in researching the complexities of engagement with the arts and health.”

The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature, Heather Stuckey, D.Ed. and Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, American Journal of Public Health

This photograph of Terry Stuart is by Greg Brown, who owns the copyright. Published with his permission."
This photograph of Terry Stuart is by Greg Brown, who owns the copyright. Published with his permission.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Piano Player Died in his Bed Here at the 95 Resident State College PA Independent Living Apartments for Low-Income Elderly and Disabled. Why Terry Will Be Missed

 

[Editorial note: This is a work in progress. It  describes the memorial service I conducted for Terry in the social hall (commonly referred to as the Bingo Parlor) directly across the hallway from my apartment.

[Terry played the piano beautifully. I first heard him play with Deborah a fellow resident who has a magnificent voice. Deborah sang beautifully a song made famous by Alison Kraus of Union Station. This song:

[Listening to Deborah sing and Terry play was a comfort to my soul. My music passions in this order are Mozart, Chopin, and country music. {Go figure.}

[In the past three years, I have been suffering from chronic pain and have been frequently hospitalized. My neighbors at Addison Court have recognized my need to be alone–respecting my privacy.]

[Shortly after my third hospitalization at HealthSouth Pleasant Gap, PA, I emerged from my apartment iPad in hand, scooting across the hallway to the bingo parlor where Terry was sitting with friends. Deferentially, we talked and I asked Terry whether he wanted to hear a Chopin Nocturne. This Nocturne:

[Arthur Rubinstein playing, of course.

[Terry’s eyes lit up.

[I cannot tell you the sadness I felt upon learning our piano player died in his bed on the eighth floor–the floor that has the best washer and dryer in the building.

[On the Saturday before I entered the hospital for spinal surgery, I combined a memorial service for Terry with a Jewish service bringing to a close the sabbath. Three other neighbors attended and spoke meaningfully.

[The memorial service is a prelude to my experiences in the hospital–experiences greatly enhanced by other piano players like Terry who soothed my soul while Dr. Gregory Bailey masterfly performed two spinal operations in one week.

[This bog posting is a work in progress. When complete I will tell you more about Terry, the memorial service, and the significance of music and art at healing those of us who require healing.

[I am hobbled in my efforts to complete this blog due to severe financial pressures. The pressures include suspension of my ability to access the Internet–thus requiring time-wasting work-arounds (such as this morning). I am asking you, my readers, to donate so I can resume my Internet service and complete this work in a timely manner. Please send donations from PayPal to me at [email protected] edu

[Thank you.]

 

 

 

 

Categories
Disability and Elderly Issues

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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Categories
Disability and Elderly Issues

Hospital hodgepodge; yesterday, October 5, 2016; Part I

Dressed for surgery. Here is an attempt at a winning smile.
Dressed for surgery. Here is an attempt at a winning smile.

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Hodgepodge: A mixture of different things.  [First use: 15th Century]

-- Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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Borough of State College, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Hospital Room with a glorious view of two mountains, 2:14 A. M. patiently waiting for morphine (due to arrive in an hour), ebulliently fondling a Medtronics spinal stimulator.

What follows is a snippet from Medtronics documentation: Reducing chronic pain as a consequence of thorough data collection… When I worked in the Silicon Valley,  I knew how to write this kind of documentation. Reading and understanding is more difficult. Frequently, one asks oneself is the effort to read and comprehend worthwhile.

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new_polish_mobility

 

 

 

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Bottom line:  “Ebullience” is the word of the hour, the day, the month, the season.

Finally, after over three years of continual search I am on the brink of completion. Late Wednesday morning [October 5th], surgeon Dr. Gregory Bailey and Dr. Michael Feffer (my anesthesiologist by way of Brooklyn–we each checked in our own way) ” figured you were from Brooklyn” he said interrupting a description of the cocktails that would (and did) knock me out. Blotto.

twodocs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plotting surgery that would make me well before noon. Dr. Bailey is on our left.