About Me

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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I like British expressions;
They enliven the English language.
Some achieve common American use
In such abbreviations as "fridge" and "telly."

One of my favorites is "gobsmacked."
There is no way you can translate it;
Yet as soon as you hear it,
You know exactly what it means.

Great German expressions are also untranslateable,
Therefore you have to fit the original to the situation,
Such as "weltschmerz", "schadenfreude",
Or that happy little "gemutlichkeit"!

The British take first prize with "bloody-minded,"
Because it describes so accurately the condition of the world.
So many examples of bloody-mindedness abound
That it is difficult to enumerate them all.

I'll make a simplistic stab at definition:
Bloody-minded is, "I'm going to have my way,
Even if it brings the house down on me!"
Sound familiar? Let's look at:

The failure of the recall election in Wisconsin,
Wherein the voters ratified the achievements of the governor
In pulling the fangs of the public employees' unions;
Thus making their futile gesture a harbinger of decline.

You alread have read my accounts of
The headstrong drive to organizational suicide
By the leaders of the Christian denomination
That I used to belong to.

Now turn our attention to the U.S. Congress.
High on the list of egregious failures
Is the decision of the Senate to
Forgo passing a national budget for the past three years.

Europe offers vivid pictures
Of citizens rioting in the streets
Because their governments are broke and
Can't afford the handouts people demand.

I could go on, but it's too depressing.
Perhaps we should just tend our gardens,
Fix the broken windows, fill the potholes,
And try to restore confidence in who we are.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Knees 'R Us

Shortly after our 1600 mile drive
From Venice, FL to Yarmouth Port, MA,
My elderly love blew out her left knee
Which had been troubling her for some time.

Thereupon began our tortuous adventure
In the replacement of bone with steel.
Our local trained mechanics in such endeavors
Were booked until September.

So off we went to a rendezvous with
A cocky young orthopedist at a Boston hospital,
Which specializes in joint installation,
To be scheduled for an operation in three weeks.

On the way, though, we suffered
A fender bender on the streets of Boston
And had to be towed the 75 miles
All the way back to Cape Cod.

Our next visit, via the proletarian bus
Was for "pre-screening," wherein six persons
Grilled us for four hours, to ascertain
Any reason why the surgery should be verboten.

Having run the gauntlet successfully,
We reported a day before surgery for a "stress test."
She has a heart as strong as a mule, so the
Test was clearly aimed at revenue and liability.

Pre-op preparation began at six a.m. the next day,
And involved the same amount of form entries.
The anesthesiologist was particularly suspicious
About coping with an 82 year old lady.

The operation was a grand technical success
According to the surgeon, and so it may be.
Then the recovery process, being so short,
Was what used to be called "intensive care."

A two day recovery before discharge was
Clearly insufficient, so another day was added.
Record-keeping rivaled personal care
For the attention of the nursing staff.

The surgeon has a policy of
Sending his patients home rather than to rehab,
On the theory that they will be motivated
By circumstances to get up and be active.

In theory going home directly makes sense;
In practice it makes difficult demands
On caregivers, in our situation,
A capable daughter and an elderly husband.

But we coped, and managed to comply
With the mass of discharge instructions,
And subsequent advice and directions from
The doctor, nurses, therapists, and hospital staff.

Yes, the patient is progressing nicely.
She shows true grit in
Performing the required exercises
To restore mobility and flexibility.

(One curious footnote concerns transportation.
Medicare will only pay for an ambulance to rehab.
I insisted on hiring an ambulance to take us home.
Then we learned it may be covered as a "necessity.)