By way of continuity….
This is a report on my health and my plans to improve it. While you are certainly welcome here, note this is the kind of personal communication associated with emails to my daughters, family, and loved ones. See: https://joelsolkoff.com/joel-goes-painless-inaugural-edition-may-10-2015-254-pm-est/
Today’s update in one [long] paragraph
The primary purpose of this ongoing trip to NYC was to reduce pain in my spine. Having heard about spinal stimulators, I promptly announced my candidacy for insertion of such a device in my back to beam radio waves to my unhappy nerves. This state-of-the-art procedure has a good track record. Sadly, Dr. Vinay Puttanniah [who is In Charge of My Pain] at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center pointed to the CT-scanned images of my back and showed me why the procedure will not work. Two disks in the L-4 and L-5 sections of my spine (where I sit) are rubbing against each other; surgery is the most logical solution. [This long paragraph is not long enough to include an expression of fear.] The solution to my pain problems will be slow in coming. I was cured of cancer three times. The first radiation treatment in 1976 took place at a time when my radiation machine was so primitive it killed the radiologist who treated me. We multi-decade-long survivors of cancer are now being monitored for concerns about negative consequences of cancer TREATMENT. It would behoove me to be followed at Sloan Kettering. My next plan is to move to Newark, N.J. where rents are cheep enough for me to live and where the PATH subway system can deliver me regularly to Sloan Kettering so my future will be as comfortable and productive as medical science can make it.
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“We all need a coping mechanism,” Dr. Todd B. Cousins, the most respected pain specialist in State College, PA (where I live), told me. Dr. Cousins was referring to the column I handed him (before he stuck a needle up my spine); viz., http://www.e-architect.co.uk/columns/detroit-will-be-a-trendy-city
My coping mechanism is the column I have been publishing for the past three years for a U.K.-based website which receives nearly a million hits a day from the global building community; i.e.: www.e-architect.co.uk
This column link http://www.e-architect.co.uk/columns/detroit-will-be-a-trendy-city (given my tendency to surprise readers by saying I will focus on one thing while focusing on something else) says more about the May first opening of Renzo Pinao’s Whitney in the Meatpacking District of New York City than it does about my on-going Detroit obsession. [Nonetheless, the last paragraph notes unlike the drought that has caused water rationing in California, Detroit has plenty of water.]
Joel’s column details my health problems within an architectural essay where I point out to global architects why their chances of obtaining architectural commissions in the U.S. improve considerably if they design health care facilities for aging Baby Boomers like me. Consequently, readers of my e-architect U.K. column know a lot about my aches and pains. Plus, my readers are well informed about The Plan which has guided all my waking and sleeping thoughts. The Plan appeared as Draft 1 shortly before my 67th birthday in October Today, June 8, 2015 at 5:15 A.M. I am guided by Draft 63 .
As contrarian efforts from a Higher Power not to celebrate my October nativity succeeded….
Pain swept through my sleeping body, waking me with its intensity and causing me to crawl off the bed onto the floor, roll up in a ball, and rock back and forth in agony making clear the necessity to formulate a Plan, stick to the Plan, revise it, and stick to it. .
- I am a paraplegic
- New York City is 260 miles from where I live
- I do not have a disability van with hand-operated controls…
Planning that involves:
- Leaving Downtown State College
- Let alone Centre County
- Not to mention (as I am doing) the Fifth Congressional District of Pennsylvania….
Going anywhere involves arrangements I equate (grandiosely perhaps) to General Dwight David Eisenhower’s preparations for D-Day.
General Eisenhower is missing from this photograph, courtesy Wikimedia, of Allied Troops invading Normandy in preparation for Hitler’ defeat. In my personal genre film on how planning is everything, I play General Eisenhower. While I play the part well, thus far I have been hindered by too little sleep and not enough time.
Yes, I am mindful as I follow the Alice in Wonderland injunction to tell this (or any story) by starting at the beginning, moving through the middle to the end.
A relevant detail is my difficulty handling intensity
On Thursday, I had a sonogram of my kidneys in one of the many buildings Memorial Sloan Kettering owns on the Upper East Side of New York. For the uninitiated, the sonogram consisted of rolling a cold plastic ball coated with Vaseline over the skin above my kidneys. The monitor the technician watched as she rolled the ball provided 3-D images of my kidney.
I put a lot of energy into being pleasant and appreciative when technicians conduct tests, doctors discuss options, nurses wrap a blood pressure cup around my arm. Sometimes, as with the kidney scan, the procedure is painless and even interesting (I get to see inside my body).
- Later this week, I see a Memorial Sloan Ketttering physician regarding back surgery.
- Before the week of June 14th begins, I will begin formulating Draft One of Strategic Plan B.
- Plan B requires a tight strategic visit to Newark, New Jersey for the purpose of renting an apartment and living a new life.
- Strategic Plan B requires I complete my next column for e-architect on the importance of designing a built environment that incorporates physical therapy, dance, and other congenial forms of movement into a community that fosters creativity and learning so the elderly are encouraged to be productive.
- Assistance is requested from readers who are familiar with apartment rentals and employment opportunities in Newark.
- Readers who in July (next month) can drive me and my electric wheelchairs (i.e., scooters) to Newark.
- Readers who understand that too much intensity about health and medicine requires good cheer, plenty of distraction and opportunities for laughter and pleasure.
- Completion of the report I am co-authoring with Coleen Nelson, past president of the Wyoming AIA, for the Pennsylvania Housing and Research Center (PHRC). The report is on how to make a residence wheel chair accessible.
- Please send high resolution photographs of disability friendly bathroom sinks along with permission to publish.
- Video production for Penn State ‘s Department of Architectural Engineering’s 3D and 4-D modeling, immersion, BIM compliance, and sustainability.
- Introduction to Newark’s New Jersey Institute of Technology so I can provide tutoring services to engineers for whom English is a second language. Tutoring would include compliance with requirements for dissertations, academic publication, and grant proposals.
- Donations. My computer, this computer, requires repair. I must find a place to stay and pay expenses while I seek to make Newark a new home.
- Please pray for me.
A note on the first and third Renzo Piano-related photographs published above
I took the first photograph on Tuesday of the wooden model on display at Piano’s Morgan Library and Museum.The Morgan was Piano’s first New York City commission. Piano, whose new Whitney Museum of American Art has become the talk of New York City in May of this year, commissioned the Morgan model (currently on display at the Morgan) from a Parisian craftsman Piano employed for all his projects (while the projects were still in the planning stage). The search is on. Did Piano cause a wooden model to be made of the Whitney?
The third photograph shows the old home of the Whitney Museum of American Art 945 Madison Avenue. I took the photograph while traveling on the sidewalks of Manhattan on an electric wheelchair (scooter).
As my health gets better, worse, or stays the same, I will be describing my efforts at working with Amigo Mobility, my favorite scooter company and GEM Wheelchair and Scooter (in Flushing, N.Y.) to make my world accessible, swift, and productive.
Google Maps screen shot showing the new Piano Whitney in relation to the Statue of Liberty.