Tuesday, November 29, 2016


X-rays showed good healing and bone growth BUT one tiny not-quite-ready-for-prime-time crevice. I will begin partial weight-bearing next Monday and, after 10-14 days of that, graduate to full weight-bearing, still in the boot. 

Somewhere in this time frame I should be able to go home -- as soon as I can navigate a bit with a walker. Home by Christmas, the doctor said, and I tried not to shriek But I want to be home yesterday.

The good news is that I'll have a further opportunity for weight loss.  I've lost about 16 pounds since I've been here in rehab . . . it's amazing how easy it is to turn down food that isn't appetizing. Fruit and food from home or near by places keep me going. Otherwise, I eat the protein and the more bearable veg that are served. 

This is a first world problem -- I could be in Aleppo or in a refugee camp or homeless. Or in any number of similarly dire situations. Time to do some exercises and get those neurotransmitters cranking.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Bookseller

Even with exercise four times a day, there's still time for reading. THE BOOKSELLER was, for me, a quick and compulsive read. 

Set in Denver in 1962, it's the story of thirty-eight year old Kitty, a single woman who runs a struggling bookstore with her best friend. She's come to terms with the fact of being single and loves her life and her little apartment with the sunshine yellow bedroom.

Then the dreams begin. She wakes up in a sage-green bedroom, in bed with an attractive man who calls her Katharyn and seems to think they're married. With children.

As time goes by, Kitty begins to look forward to the dreams and the seemingly perfect suburban existence that is hers every night. Then things happen. . .

I can't say much more without major spoilers. It's a fun read with some thought-provoking points. What would have happened in my life if some pivotal moment had gone differently. . .?

The book also had me remembering the story of the Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi who dreamt that he was a butterfly, fluttering about and enjoying all the pleasures of a butterfly life -- only to awaken and wonder if perhaps he was a butterfly, dreaming he was a man.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Get Up, Stand Up . . .. . .

I am now on my own for therapy -- there being no more goals that the PT or OT folks can help me accomplish  until my ankle is weight bearing. 

Which doesn't mean I'm free to read all day long -- no, I have
been tasked with pages of exercises designed to strengthen my legs in preparation for walking again and to improve the range of motion in my shoulder as it recovers from being dislocated.

So four times a day (before breakfast, before lunch, midafternoon, and after supper)  I'm lying or sitting in bed, doing isometric strengthening things or gripping either end of a reacher (not the Lee Child type) to assist the weak arm to move higher and higher or kicking out with my legs or marching  in place. Sometimes I have reggae music on my laptop to help me. Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up" is my theme song.

I've never been good at routine exercise, more's the pity, but with the goal of walking (and going Home) in sight, I am dedicated. 

And the bonus is that exercise is a mood lifter, possibly
because of endorphins released. Or serotonin or norepinephrin or fairy dust (See HERE for article.)

 While there are mornings (particularly since the election) when I think I might just pull the covers over my head and refuse to deal with reality,  once I start exercising and feel the blood circulating, suddenly things seem less hopeless.

Let's hear it for those neurotransmitters!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Which Side Are You On?

"There are two great powers . . . and they've been fighting since time began. Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn by one side from the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit."

(from HIS DARK MATERIALS by Phillip Pulliam)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Glimpses . . .

Taken while on my outing to the Wound Care Center (the wound continues to heal well) through the dirty windows of the van where I was strapped into my wheelchair (an apology for lack of quality.)

This pebble-dash house is characteristic of  an earlier era in Asheville.

This construction site is characteristic of the present . . .


And below, the iconic mountains - Pisgah and The Rat.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My Very Portable Library

Thanks to my trusty Kindle, I've been roaming our world and beyond during the past seven weeks.

 A few years ago I began paying attention to sites like Book Bub, Book Perks, and Early Bird Books, all of which offer daily low priced specials on e books. And I began buying both books that sounded interesting to me as well as books that I loved and already had hard copies of, thinking ahead to some future day when, due to travel or incarceration or some other disaster, it would be good to have a virtual library at my fingertips.

And it is. With the dislocated shoulder (getting better now but still tender,) holding a 'real' book for any length of time is tiring. But the Kindle works one handed and I seem to have a book for every mood.

Currently re-reading HIS DARK MATERIALS (Pulliam) which is opening up to me so that I'm seeing much more than on my first read. Lovely, dense, imaginative world that takes me right out of my current surroundings.

I was pleasantly surprised by KITTY BENNETT'S DIARY (Elliot) -- it's not Austen by any means but it's a creditable and enjoyable modern look at one of the silly sisters from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Before that, I turned to comfort reads at a time I was feeling especially low (election, incarceration, screaming woman down the hall) and re-read for the umpteenth time THE UNCOMMON READER (Bennett) and THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS (Graham.)

Three James Bond books (THUNDERBALL, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, and YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE)were also rereads -- I loved Bond back in the early Sixties and now I read them trying to figure out why. It's complicated.

New to me was Theodore Sturgeon's GODBODY. Whether one of you recommended it or it was mentioned in Neil Gaiman's VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS or I just got it because I was a Sturgeon fan fifty years ago, I don't know, but it was an enjoyable and thought provoking read -- like Heinlein, a little juvenile but still enjoyable. (Heinlein wrote the intro and I wondered if it was the inspiration for STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND or vice versa. Then Mr. Google told me STRANGER came out in '61 while GODSBODY was published posthumously in'82.)

I reread ROOM (Donaghue) after talking about how my situation here in rehab was similar to that of ROOM (without the rapist, thank goodness.)

And I re-read three P.D. James novels -- THE PRIVATE PATIENT, THE LIGHTHOUSE, and THE MURDER ROOM-- all beautifully written but with a bit of sameness in the plots. Enjoyable, nonetheless.

Hillerman's THE BLESSING WAY was another comfort re-read. Hanging around Joe Leaphorn and the beautiful descriptions of the Four Corners area always lifts my heart.

Also a couple of Dorothy L. Sayers - CLOUDS OF WITNESS and WHOSE BODY. I've read everything of hers many times but Lord Peter always cheers me up-- just like Joe Leaphorn though the two could hardly be more different -- except in kindness and wisdom.

Anthony Bourdain's MEDIUM RAW -- fun but not as much fun as KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL. He's older now and kind of apologizing for the bad boy he used to be.

TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST -- which I read almost sixty years ago when I was first learning to sail. I'd forgotten most of it and found it pretty fascinating -- Harvard guy signs on as a seaman on a sailing ship for a trip around Cape Horn to California to pick up a load of cowhides. It's 1834 and California is a province of Mexico and only sparsely inhabited. There's lots about the every day working of the ship but the look at an undeveloped California was fascinating. In an after note, Dana tells of visiting California in 1859 -- after the Gold Rush. after the Panama Canal has made travel easier -- and the amazing transformation that has occurred. Even if you're totally uninterested in sailing ships, the California section is worth a read.

But wait, there're more!

Austen's MANSEFIELD PARK -- Jane is always enjoyable, if predictable.

ONLY BEGOTTEN DAUGHTER (James Morrow) What if an unexplained egg appeared in  a sperm donor's contribution? And what if, through a series of unlikely event, this egg matured and knew herself to be the daughter of God. . . . a female God, of course. This is a wild tale, full of interesting suppositions and a frightening look at religion gone awry. I could hardly put it down. A very odd book.

Another re-read (do you see a pattern here?) was Mary Renault's MASK OF APOLLO. I'm a long time fan and have many of her books in hard cover including this. For a quick look at Greek theatre -- and Syracusean politics -- one could hardly do better.

THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER I bought pretty much because of the title -- and because it was about time travel. I really enjoyed this.

And there was PUDDIN' HEAD WILSON -- but I already did a blog post on that . . .

There are lots more in waiting -- I wonder if I'm ready to tackle IVANHOE? I read it over fifty years ago and don't remember much except Rowena and Rebecca and Ivanhoe along with someone named Wamba. . . and iron collars on the Saxon (?) serfs.

So many books -- and, for once, so much time.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

From My Window

Beyond my window
A corps de ballet of trees
Sways in the cold wind.

And thank goodness for the window! My roommate in the other bed seems to enjoy looking out the door into the hallway to see who's passing. Not me -- I keep the dividing curtain mostly drawn to afford myself some semblance of privacy and to block the constant flicker of her television.

Watching the light move on the trees, giving my eyes some distance to focus on -- these things make me feel close to normal.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


John brings me lunch most days, and a can of hard cider (shhh!) It's a welcome treat and a chance for us to eat a meal together. Sub sandwiches, an occasional burger, a Greek salad from a nearby bistro . . . anything to escape institutional food.

On Tuesday the wind had blown the smoke from the ongoing forest fires away from us  and the temperature was mild so we went outside and he pushed me in my wheelchair all around the building.

There's a bit of autumn color remaining but the ongoing drought has been hard on everything.

Still, it was glorious to be out and breathing fresh air.

And taking pictures . . .

I also got out yesterday to the wound care center where they say the wound continues to make excellent progress in healing.

Maybe we could send the whole country there.