Mozart Piano Sonata Number 1, K. 279

I second the emotion.








Daniel Barenboim



Campaign to make Mozart a part of outpatient therapy at Health South, Pleasant Gap, PA. Suggested donation $18. 

This is the outpatient staff at HealthSouth, PA. Will it improve therapist morale and patient outcome were Mozart sonatas to be played during therapy? Please write HealthSouth CEO Susan Hartman and ask her to conduct this experiment.
[email protected]
Please write Executive Director Molly Kunkel to request the Centre Foundation fund the campaign to put music and art into HealthSouth. [email protected]




Ivo Sillamaa, fortepiano


Surprise: Medical resources have found music is good for your health. It is especially good for the health of those who are residents in the hospital. Also, outpatients at HealthSouth.

“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”

The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature

Heather L. Stuckey, DEdcorresponding author and Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH


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.


kie wouk Lim

Masterclass on W.A.Mozart Sonatas KV 279 /280, Forward to 4 minutes, 10 seconds.


Glenn Gould



Using the parallel bars (not available at home) builds strength and reduces pain

Sisyphus and me
I am overdue for a shower.
Tomorrow is my last day of occupational therapy at HealthSouth. Last week, I completed the 28 weeks of physical therapy Medicare allows. I asked HealthSouth C.E.O. at Pleasant Gap PA yesterday as she prepared for a meeting and I for a 10th cup of coffee, how Medicare came up with the number 28. Susan Hartman said she thought it an arbitrary number. I speculated Medicare consulted with a palm reader.
Sisyphys (1548–49) by Titian, Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain
“You have already grasped that Sisyphus is the absurd hero. He is, as much through his passions as through his torture. His scorn of the gods, his hatred of death, and his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing. This is the price that must be paid for the passions of this earth. “
–Albert Camus
The issue matters because I experience considerable pain over the course of the day. Last weekend, I figured the level (on a scale of one to ten) was over 7.
Two years ago, I would have dialed 911 and waited until the ER physician injected me with morphine. Not that I would get enough morphine. Not that it would be injected quickly enough. The principal relief was not the medication. Rather, the sense at least I was doing something rather than nothing.
A little over a year ago, I had a spinal stimulator surgically implanted. The device is manufactured by Medtronic of Minneapolis. Medtronic also manufactured the pacemaker which studies have shown my heart relies upon to keep me alive.
There have been times over the past three years pursuing specialized surgery in New York when, I thought I would rather be dead than experience the pain which on several occasions had me rolling on the floor in agony.
April 8th will be cause for celebration when my granddaughter reaches her second birthday. Ever since Juliet appeared in my world and hers, the idea of premature death (however relieving) has been replaced by a commitment to persistence whatever the cost.
I need to be alive for Juliet—at least until she graduates from college and architecture school and begins designing airports and wheel chair accessible jets.
In October 2016, I celebrated my 69th birthday at HealthSouth recovering from the surgery which has since kept me out of the ER. The sophistication of Mount Nittany Medical Center has reached the point where surgery once available only in New York and at sophisticated centers such as Johns Hopkins, MD Anderson, and of course the Silicon Valley’s facility in Stanford (where the Corporate Angel Network flew me a seeming lifetime ago for the expertise that resulted in my being on this planet and not in the world to come).
Three years ago, Medicare’s penny wise and pound foolish policies discharged me from HealthSouth.  This was one of several occasions when Medicare decided that the improvement I was making was not worth it despite the fact that I was wearing the Superman t-shirt daughter Amelia Altalena had given me. Where are the preventive rehabs of last year? How much taxpayer money was spent unnecessarily in emergency rooms and hospital stays that could have been avoided if only? Consequently, the beard I have grown since hides the tracts of my tears.
Now, sophistication has reached river city. Last year I received at State College the surgery that makes regulating pain achievable. However, the value of a vibrator in my spine reducing dependence upon opiates is most effective when coupled with physical and occupational therapy.
It helps reduce pain when I move my body—especially at those moments when I delude myself into believing lying in bed in a fetal position is preferable to transferring to my scooter, navigating to the kitchen sink, and standing safely. Standing is better than sitting. Using the parallel bars (not available at home) helps build strength and reduce pain.
Now that I have achieved the Biblical-described age of three score and ten, Medicare will pay for something.Given Medicare, the insurance feels happiest when it pays too much for relief best achieved at lower cost preventatively.
I paid into the trust fund with extremely well-paid consultancy fees from Silicon Valley companies for my expertise as a senior technical writer. I can resume well-paid employment to compensate HealthSouth for the $300 or so cost of an hour of physical therapy. I would rather do that than complain about Medicare. However, putting myself back on the money-making track requires patience and persistence—convincing potential employers reluctant to pay a 70 year old paraplegic.
The consequence of my not having access to 36 hours of physical and occupational therapy between now and January—when the arbitrary 28 weeks of rehabilitation resume—might very well mean that because of a penny wise and pound foolish Medicare, your tax dollars will pay for expensive hospital care that could easily be avoided.
Liz Beaulieu, my editor at HME (Home Medical Equipment) News, has commissioned me to resume my published work for HME News with a 750 word article on the subject of Medicare’s reimbursement policy on rehabilitation. Although Liz is a fan of long New Yorker articles (appreciation she sneaks into her editorial notes), I will need to be brief.
First, however, I need to be comprehensive. I have requested a formal interview with the able Susan Hartman, C.E.O. at HealthSouth’s Pleasant Gap facility. Naturally, I will be descending upon the press office of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Baltimore. I will start at the top seeking an interview with Seema Verma, President Trump’s choice to run the agency (who is pals with Vice President Pence).
I also will be seeking interviews with Mark J. Tarr, who runs the HealthSouth empire from its headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. On its Securities and Exchange Commission 10-K form, HealthSouth (eventually to be renamed EncompassSouth) notes: ““We are the nation’s largest owner and operator of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals in terms of patients treated and discharged, revenues, and number of hospitals. We provide specialized rehabilitative treatment on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. We operate hospitals in 30 states and Puerto Rico, with concentrations in the eastern half of the United States and Texas.”
I will be arranging interviews with Senators Casey and Toomey. Next step is to follow the advice of Rep. Thompson’s excellent press officer Renee Gamela who wrote yesterday, “Hi, Joel! Yes, you should contact Barbara Ives in GT’s Titusville office.” Then, I will interview Rep. Thompson, who was a physical therapist before his election to Congress.
My current (ever changing) plan is to report all (in my customary dribs and drabs work in progress publication) in a posting on my website where my webmaster is the excellent Kathy Forer. Sarah, my one and only sister who knows me all too well, says writing long is my default. Hence, I will write long then boil it down to 750 words and submit to HME News.
Continually hat in hand, it would help if you were to send me $18 given the paltry state of my checking account which tomorrow (after checks are cleared) will contain $16.34. Yesterday, I had to pay Harvey Israel, my wonderful dentist, for emergency work. Yes, I have set up a crowd funding proposal. Need to set up more. The $18 figure is based on Jewish tradition. In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter has a number value. The alphabetical equivalent of eighteen is the Hebrew word for life—Chai. When my late mother Miriam (a Hebrew school teacher) wanted to donate to a cause, but did not have enough money to do so as she liked, she donated $18.

Please send $18 by PayPal to [email protected]

I have to run. Unfortunately, I became so distracted that the eggs, hard boiling on the stove, blew up. Exploded hard boiled eggs are messy.
I have to run. Unfortunately, I became so distracted that the eggs, hard boiling on the stove, blew up. Meanwhile, as time goes by, I will be posting this and that here and there.

This is my last week of occupational therapy

If I were not a [Jewish] Buddhist, this would be my Mad As Hell and I Can’t Take it Anymore moment.


It is 3:04 AM. I am making coffee. Washing the dishes. A shower is overdue. At 8:10 a Cataride para-transit bus will pick me up here in Downtown State College where parking (believe it or not) is a problem.

This is the parking lot at Addison Court–a residence for low-income elderly and disabled: A ghetto by any other name is a ghetto.


After riding through the astonishingly beautiful countryside of Centre County, PA, I will be arriving at HealthSouth, Pleasant Gap–one of an empire of 123 U.S. physical and rehabilitation hospitals based in Birmingham, Alabama. Coming soon, as a result of a recent merger, HealthSouth will have a new name: Encompass South. [East, West, and North still in the planning stage.]

Whenever possible, always go to the Securities and Exchange Commission 10-K form.

For some reason, the goyisha holiday known as Christmas has evoked my employment with the SEC. In the Christmas of 1979, at the recommendation of the heroine of the NYT Eileen Shanahan, my paperwork began writing speeches for the Democratic Chairman of the SEC. The following week before Christmas, I approached the new Republican chair of the SEC at Brooks Brothers and instead of writing for him in my apartment, he installed me in his suite at the old SEC building where frightened of giving a speech, he pulled the speech out of my typewriter before I could finish writing it.










This is what the parking lot at HealthSouth is like when I arrive before 9 this morning.


At 9, I will begin the routine Pittsburgh-trained Occupational Therapist Christine Vuchenich has established. The routine consists of:

  • Stretching exercises at her wooden table.
  • Weight lifting
  • Use of the Baltimore Technology shoulder stretching wheel
  • Push ups and other exercises.
Ask Chris about my progress reports. When I began, it took me 20 minutes to put on my pants. Now it takes five. This weekend, I published a poem about our conversations.









On Friday, progress stops. Then, I have to resort to in-home exercises. No sophisticated equipment. No informed instruction. Just hours a week of exercise exercise exercise.

Last week, I completed the 28 weeks of physical therapy with Shannon Duranko who received her doctorate from Slippery Rock University. For the first time (last week) I walked the length of the parallel bars and back.


Dr. Shannon Duranko prepares me for a physical therapy routine that helps me control pain. No more. The operative Biblical verse is the Third Commandment. Honor your father and mother. I am a father and a grandfather. HealthSouth’s other patients are mothers and grandmothers too. Medicare has institutionalized the breaking of the Third Commandment.










I do not have parallel bars at home.

What I have at home is persistence. Think of Medicare as city hall. I have already begun my plan to fight city hall. Medicare’s short-sighted cutback of physical and occupational therapy means that using movement to relieve pain likely will be replaced with using Oxycontin to relieve pain. Instead of continuing progress so I might use Lofstrand crutches and a walker for mobility–with the eye on the prize of being able to walk again–Medicare may once again spend unnecessarily for frequent trips to the emergency room or for hospitalization.

Penny wise pound foolish.

Time to get ready. When I return…





Billy Joel helps me recover from surgery

Screen shot of annotated Billy Joel We didn’t start the fire lyrics.

My lungs are clogged. After surgery at Mount Nittany Medical Center, the hospital commissioned a van to take me and my mobility device (a.k.a. scooter–an Amigo [accept no substitutes]) from State College to Pleasant Gap. There on my 69th birthday the HealthSouth Physical Rehabilitation nurse tried again to get me to breathe deeply–handing me the contraption from the night table. But [why is there a “but”?] but I felt too sick. Hence I am paying for it now.











Hint. Hint. Try singing this stanza. See what it does to your breathing.

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe
Rosenbergs, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye
Eisenhower, Vaccine, England's got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye


It is 2:41 A.M. I am awake after four hours of sleep because my lungs are clogged with phlegm and so I sing (cough, spit, breathe) to Billy Joel’s Vevo video–a stylized recreation of my youth (and Billy’s [I am two years older than he; we share joint memories of the Edsel and Diem Bien Phu). [See Footnote 1.]


See what singing this stanza does to your lungs.

All clear?


Joel (finally more sleep and more on the subject of sleep; don’t touch that dial)



  1. Wikipedia explains each of the proper noun stanzas.
  2. ]Two follows one.]