Disability and Elderly Issues

Joel goes painless: Inaugural edition May 10, 2015, 2:54 PM EST

Cautionary note to readers who have landed here without an invitation: You are welcome. This Joel Goes Painless Inaugural Edition (to be followed by dated and time stamped updates) is intended primarily for loved ones who are worried with good reason about my health and are here by special invitation.  This is personal and intimate [two words which mean the same thing] stuff. 


To receive an invitation you must be:

1. One of the three people I love unconditionally; viz. my daughters Joanna Marie, Amelia Altalena, and my sister Sarah (who does not like to be identified by her last name because she is an art critic).

2. Jade Phillips who is married to my daughter Joanna and is a former Marine. Javier Blanco who is marrying my daughter Amelia and is a sergeant in the Spanish Army.

2. My two best friends who have loved me conditionally for a long time.

3. The rest of the progeny of Nina and Samuel Phillips.

4. People whom I have loved and who loved me.

5.  David Ostrich, my rabbi.

6.  Congregation Brit Shalom a reform/conservative/and often identity-challenged community who generously provide me with Alleyahs 8 sabbaths out of 10.

7. The faculty, post docs, graduate students and generally everyone involved at Penn State’s Department of Architectural Engineering.

8. The editors of

9. Joann Dornich my health care advocate and friend.

10. Pinki Heyn who is formally empowered to pull the plug if my plug ever requires unplugging.

11. My friend and neighbor John Harris, who pseudonymously purchased adult diapers on my behalf because steroid injections for pain have made me periodically incontinent.

12. Mayor Elizabeth Goreham; Borough Planning Commissioner Jon Eich; Borough Town Planner Ed LeClair; and Borough counsel Terry J. Williams.

13. Professor Ali Memari, Director of the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center, for whom I am completing a report on renovating existing housing to make it wheel chair accessible.

14. Former President of the Wyoming’s AIA Colleen Nelson, co-author of our report.

15. Geisinger Medical Center. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

16. Brian Regan, Deputy Director of the Morgan Museum and Library.

17. Phillip Moery, economist, former rice farmer, power groupie.

18. Special.


My situation in one paragraph

Several CT scans on Geisinger Gray Wood’s $25 million machine found the reason I have mind boggling pain is because pieces of my spine are sticking into my nerves. The report describes the L4 and L5 region “especially severe.” Dr. Todd B. Cousins, State College’s most respected pain physician, recommends I go to New York City’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) which is world-famous for its state of the art pain management expertise. On Tuesday, June 2 at 1 PM, I have an appointment with Dr. Vinay Puttanniah. “I am a board-certified anesthesiologist with additional expertise and training in pain medicine. …I  treat…pain [Joel’s note: using a variety of relief options] including radiofrequency techniques.” Radiofrequency techniques, specifically inserting a device which beams radio waves to my spine (preferably Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major K 622) is the reason I will be in New York City for the first two weeks in June. This procedure, pioneered by MSKCC, has been proven effective and relieves crippling pain without the productivity numbing Oxycodone, steroid injections to my spine, Oxcodone, steroid injections cycle currently available to me.

How you can help

1. Lift up my spirits and keep me focused.

2. Between now and June 2nd I have a staggering amount of required paperwork, appointments, and logistical problems involved in packing and being a paraplegic traveling to New York.

3. I am a man with a plan. However, I am also in a lot of pain. Please help me continue to work to prepare for a successful procedure while I do not feel like working.

4. Keep me focused.




ברוך אתה ה’ א‑לוהינו, מלך העולם, המבדיל בין קודש לחול


One reply on “Joel goes painless: Inaugural edition May 10, 2015, 2:54 PM EST”

Wishing you all the best in your search for relief from your pain.



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