Sunday, November 25, 2007

New template, new everything except for the old posts. Here I sit with finger exposed for the world to bang into. The screw tip is just barely exposed, I think. Oh, you don't know what's going on? Well, let me tell you something me boy-o. In the course of having my body attack itself, call it "old age" I managed to have one finger joint go over to the enemy. A staph infection set up base in the knuckle, eating away at the cartilage until there was only about a half of one side left and the bone was hollowed out. There was a mass of odd tissue created and lots of pain and pressure but in the struggle to survive I managed to meet Dr. Byrt, a great hand surgeon who, even though he said he had never seen a finger go so badly nevertheless was able to painlessly scrape down the bone spurs, remove the inflamed tissue and carefully fit a stainless steel screw into the bone all the way through the joint (such as it was) and into the next bone, securing the finger in a never ending assertion that we are "number one!" Whoppee ducks.

Yeah, the finger has a scab at the tip which may or may not be the tip of the screw, it's kinda hard to see. In theory they can remove it once the bones have grown together. Of course this makes wedging clay even harder and working on the throwing wheel very hard and, it seems, walking around cleaning house very difficult, unless you find driving your wounded hand into a shelf or book edge a fun experience. I can find lots of things to bang into it seems. Who knew? But Dr. Byrt was wonderful and anybody needing surgery in the Saratoga/Albany area should look him up. He's a serious guy but works like a machine made in Sweden and is very careful about hurting you. Speaking of hurting it seems that people who get migraines may be predisposed to suffer more in painful situations, like an inflamed finger joint. We appear to be more sensitive to pain. Great. Couldn't be psychic or a great lover, no we had to be more sensitive to pain. Which is why when Daddy smacked me in the back of the head it felt like a baseball bat. Pappy, you listening up there? I really was hurting even though you swore it was a tap. I am, in fact, not a wimp, I am a neurologically complex individual. IN point of fact Dad was probably also in more pain than your average person but since he self medicated with booze it didn't show up as much.

A TBI caregiver sent me the name of a doctor who specializes in PVS people or minimally conscious individuals. I contacted the doc who said he was more into slightly other topics but turned me onto another doctor who works actively on people like Jon. In the same batch of emails was a note from a doctor Sandlin Lowe, who wanted me to call him. I did so and lo and behold, this guy does brain mapping and the like and agrees that we have not really tested Jon fairly to determine where his consciousness is. He suggested a couple of simple tests which would help determine where the blockages are. In other words we test one circuit at a time with reactions to cold and pain and see if there is enough there to create a mind or something. If Jon cannot move willfully he will nevertheless have reflexes if the connections are there. Well that was exciting so I contacted Dr. Zelek, the neuropsychologist working on Jon. He's the guy who says Jon is vegetative because he does not respond to the doctors, his brain has shrunk, his EEG is abnormal and it's been 7 years. Well Doc Lowe says the EEGs are abnormal because that's normal for TBI patients. He says the atrophy of the brain doesn't mean much per se except that Jon has parts that are going away and they may or may not have much impact on his ability to think. I had told Lowe about an incident where I was talking to Jon about making jelly and he licked his lips. On the next visit I suggested to Jon that he do it again so we could have a code: licking lips means yes, biting lower lip means no. No reaction from Jon. So, I suggested instead I drop some lemon seltzer on his tongue for something to taste. I moved toward him with a straw containing a couple of drops of seltzer and the boy shut his mouth tight and quickly turned his head away from me. Now in order to do this Jon would need to know about seltzer, it's flavor potential and choose to not accept the drops! Zelek thought it was reflex and Lowe agreed with me that it indicated something else, like consciousness, especially since I did not even touch Jon to get the reaction. So now Dr. Lowe is planning on communicating with Zelek and the rest of Jon's crew and see if we can really test Jon for consciousness. We think he is drifting in and out of minimally conscious states and vegetative states. Which is still more promising than simply vegetative. So we may yet get some more stimulation and therapy for Jon!! Yay!

Pretty good Thanksgiving all in all. My old pal Larry's brother is sending more of the LPs Larry left me in his will. I need to call him to go over more titles and artist names, seems Jerry doesn't know much about the blues. I'm also trying to see if we can get Larry's photos and see if I can put together a collection worthy of publication. Might be nice as Larry spent his life making pictures and now they are just sitting in a box somewhere, or maybe several boxes and computer hard drives. I'd love to do something nice for Larry, get his name known more and show the world what all he was able to see and record. He had such a good eye.

It's difficult writing that Larry "had" a good eye rather than Larry "has" a good eye.

Well the back is still busted so I'm cutting this shorter but the rest of the news is that Jess has a new apartment with doors on the bedrooms and once she finds a room mate she will be set. We sent down some furniture with her and things are looking good. I don't think it's possible to be more proud of her than we are, she's doing so well. I do wish Larry were around to see all this but I suspect he is watching over the girl like he did when he was walking around. I bet if he had had time to write an up to date will he would have left her one of his sports cars or something. His will was dated 1976! Not long after Teddy was killed in fact, must have shook up the man enough to write one up. I didn't get around to it until Larry died and then I put one in the safe giving Margaret everything I owned, although Jess wants the sword, maces and helmet. She already co-owns all my tools.

After getting a staph infection and losing a finger joint I begin to worry about my osteoarthritis in my neck. What's the chance one of those joints is going to go south on me? Yikes. I think it would be good if Margaret knew reikei and we worked on each other before going to bed, but knowing us a mutual session might be too distracting and we'd be making out after a couple of minutes! 8-) Yeah she has nice hands and I'm a sucker for a pretty face. What she sees in me I don't know but she says I make her laugh. Lots of people say I make them laugh but she's the only one who goes from laughter to kisses, thank goodness. What a strange life. Yes, thank goodness for Margaret. Nobody was ever as lucky as me, finding her so far away from my old home and giving me a new wonderful home up here in the trees and streams of upstate New York. Now if I can just knit all the parts back up and stop falling apart.

Sorry if some of these posts repeat old news but I find it hard to recall if I wrote something in an email to somebody, thought of it while in the studio or put it down in this blog a few weeks ago.

Now I gonna sing my "Do-dee-doo" song!!


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