Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Love Letter to Tom


Today, we said goodbye to Tom.

This is a hard line to write. I keep rereading it as I write this post about a guy who has touched so many lives and has had such an incredible impact on how we live ours. Ironically, Tom was such a humble guy and would probably hate all this focus on him. He also hated too much sentimentality and embraced irreverence. He would never forgive me if I didn't say something about farting at this point.

Tom Masterson was my brother in law, married to Debbie's twin sister Dennie, and the closest thing to a blood brother I had since my own brother passed away 20 years ago. He and Dennie have three great kids who married three great kids and who now have a total of eight great kids of their own. We have a big family ... very big family ... a real blessing when you're fighting a horrible disease like pancreatic cancer.

Tom was a medical malpractice attorney. No, he was not the billboard grinning, shiny suit ambulance chaser. Tom was an ethical, professional, compassionate attorney who stood heads above the rest. He was given just about every award of excellence that the Bar Association awards every year.

He was loved by everyone. That's not an exaggeration. He really was. And as I said earlier ... he was irreverent with friends and family, telling jokes and playing jokes on just about all of them. And I really think that we all loved him for it because we knew that he truly loved everyone he joked with and about. Tom was an encyclopedia of jokes. He remembered every one he'd ever heard. I was so jealous of that because I forgot every joke as soon as I told one.

Did I mention farting?

Tom was an athlete all his life. His real love was judo. He competed on the big stage, trained athletes and went to the olympics as a coach. They all remained very close over the years. Apparently, that was where Tom got his finely tuned sense of irreverence. Spending an evening with the judo buddies is not for the faint of heart. I had that pleasure often and marvelled at the stories ... the brutal punishments they dished out on the mats ... and in the locker rooms (even I can't tell you some of those stories).

Tom died of complications from pancreatic cancer. He fought against the odds for three years and finally lost one of the few matches in which he'd ever competed. He never complained. You would have never even known he was feeling any pain or discomfort. He travelled with the family, went swimming with the grandkids and had regular lunches with the guys until the very end.

He was my hero, He was a real man ... in yiddish we call that a "mensch".

So I would like to ask you to do me a favor after you read this. In Tom's memory I'd like you to muster up all your strength and let out one last beautiful FART.

I know he's smiling.    

Saturday, July 13, 2019

I Used To Draw Good

Once upon a time, when I was a young college student (231 years ago), I dreamed of being a famous illustrator/cartoonist. My college years were in the heyday of Doonesbury and Peanuts. I majored in Graphic Design and set up my drawing board, cleaned off my rapidiograph pens and went to work. These were the days before computer animation and design so everything was done by hand. 

NOTE: Please bear with me as I dig up these obscure past documents that I have come across because I'm getting a little bored with sitting around talking to my hip.

Okay where was I? 


Oh Yeah ... so I start working at All Children's Hospital in the 80s and become the Marketing/Communications Director and find a dearth of great material from the docs and the nurses and volunteers and the kids. I didn't remember half of these until I recently looked through my stuff.

Some of them don't even suck. I thought I'd share them with you in case you need more material at bedtime to put you to sleep. Remember, there is a reason I moved into Development work.

The radiologist at All Children's was a great model. These were pretty accurate. He had his kindergarten diploma framed and prominently displayed in his office. \

Okay ... one more and I promise I'll leave you alone.


Until next time when I uncover some other useless gem!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Hip Ways to Sleep

Three weeks out and my hip is finally acting like it’s a real part of my body. Although, there are still days that I have apparently made my new hip very unhappy. Those are the days that I need a little help to calm him down.

Tramadol is the answer.

I take it before bed to help with pain and to help me sleep. It works. Actually, it works so well that sometimes I fall asleep before my head hits the pillow. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between sleeping, dreaming and having a long conversation.

Deb told me the other night I had a whole conversation with myself, laughed a lot and then had a whole conversation with her. Deb doesn’t know whether to answer, wake me up or just listen. She's heard all the old wives tales about waking up a sleepwalker so she figured that applied sleep talkers too. So ... she usually just listens.

Last night I asked a Debbie what she meant about breaking her spine and wanted to know how she flew around like that. This time I was awake when I asked her but asleep during the first part of the conversations. I swore that the conversation actually happened ... then I went back to sleep.

Tramadol is not for the faint of heart or faint of stomach. That's right ... stomach. Use it long enough and you experience some pretty unpleasant symptoms. I'll leave it there.

Fortunately, I don't need it as much these days. Feeling much better! The doctor took out the sutures yesterday and said I'm making progress. Hope to see you soon.

Right after I get out of the bathroom.



Monday, July 1, 2019

Cocktail Napkins are Just Plain Useless

Cocktail napkins are truly one of the most useless creations of out time.

I held one the other day and wondered who ever thought that this was a good idea? I guess napkin manufacturers saw a market for them or at least a pretty good profit margin.  They cost almost as much as full sized napkins and are less than half the size.

So here’s what they are used for.

1. Protecting the bar top from your cocktail glass dreaded rings.

Let’s look at that for a second. Have you ever put your drink on a cocktail napkin for more than a minute? What happens? It falls apart, shreds, and creates more liquid on the bar than your original glass. What’s wrong with coasters? And have you checked out bar tops lately? They really need protection?

2. To hold at a cocktail party when apps are passed around.

How does that work for you? It is the companion to a small paper plate that holds one egg roll which you eat in one bite and search for somewhere to throw your cocktail napkin away.

3. If you feel a sneeze coming on it might be a handy thing to keep in your pocket.

Oh yeah. That works well. One of my sneezes is enough to create a mud slide. Obviously the cocktail napkin wouldn’t come close to containing my sneezes. It doesn’t even contain my nose.

Who would sit around and worry about these kind of things? Me. I’ll put it aside for now. There are more important things to worry about. Like ... what do you do with the toothpick that was in the watermelon squares. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Try Schitt's Creek ... My New FAVORITE Series

Oh yeah.

As if the title isn't funny enough ... the plotline, the characters and the writing will keep you in stitches. Many thanks to Carol Long who turned me on to this series after my last blog post.

This is one you'll want to binge watch on Netflix.

The plot centers on a wealthy couple (video magnate Johnny Rose and his soap opera star wife Moira) who suddenly find themselves completely broke. With their one remaining asset, a town they bought as a joke called Schitt's Creek, this couple must give up life as they know it. They move with their two spoiled children to the town's one motel.     

Eugene Levy (Johnny) is the producer and co creator with his son, Daniel Levy (David Rose). Levy is a familiar face to all who are fans of the Christopher Guest films ... Spinal Tap, Mighty Wind, Best of Show, and more. as is his co-star Catherine O'Hara (Moira).   

Watch it this week. YOU WILL THANK ME.
  

Friday, June 21, 2019

Top 5 Movies And Their Sequels to Binge Watch When You Are Recovering from Surgery and Stuck Inside For More Than a Week

Here's my list of my go-to films that I never get tired of watching. I thought I'd share just a few ...

1. VACATION (2015) This sequel to the National Lampoon Vacation series is truly hilarious. Ed Helms plays Rusty Griswold (son of Clark "Sparky") all grown up with his own family. Christina Applegate plays his wife Debbie.

By the way ... if you are one of the three people left in the world that hasn't seen the original Chevy Chase Vacation series rent these first (especially Christmas Vacation and Vegas Vacation). You don't have to see these to understand the sequel but it makes it funnier. Actually ... rent them again even if you've seen them in the past. They are timeless.

Rusty's sister Audrey (Lesie Mann) is married to Stone Crandall (Chris Hemsworth). Some of the funniest moments are at Stone's house when they stop there on the way to ... of course ... WALLY WORLD driving in their Tartan Prancer an over complicated Albanian SUV.

2. DADDY'S HOME Another sequel movie with Mark Wahlberg (Dusty Mayron) and Will Ferrell (Brad Whitaker). It follows the original movie that ended with the two of them create a system of co-dads where the two kids spend an equal amount of time at each fathers' house. 

Enter their two dads: Mel Gibson, the tough fighter pilot and John Lithgow, the soft hearted kiss-on- the-lips dad.

Will Ferrell again makes it all work. The guy cracks me up just looking at him.

3.ROCKY ... All of them! Of course this is
on my list every year because I NEVER get tired of any of them. There is so much debate about which one is the best. I frankly don't care because I watch them in order and love every second.

When you finish Rocky ... try Creed 1 and 2. They are just as good.

ADRIAN!

5. DIE HARD. Doesn't have to be Christmas to watch these. Bruce Willis is another timeless hero whether he's got hair, a toupee or bald ... he is one tough character.

Yippee ki-yay .....

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Part Four: A Week and A Day (Pain, Pain, Go Away)



My dad, Sammy used to have these wonderful Yogi Berra expressions when he'd give his views on the world. For those of you who might not remember Yogi (or weren't born before the Middle Ages), he was the colorful catcher of the NY Yankees back in the day who coined expressions like "deja vu all over again" and "it ain't over 'til its over" and "when you get to a fork in the road ... take it". 

When Sammy was proud of something he did, he would say, "You know what? I'm proud of me!" Like Yogi, Sammy didn't say it to be funny.

A week ago I was PROUD of ME. I got through surgery, sailed through my hospital stay, did my treatments with the ice, compression, stockings, walker, PT and was ready to move on. I bragged to Debbie that I was a great patient, low maintenance, no whining ... after all .. I've been through this before. How many surgeries? 12? Heck ... I got this!

That lasted about two days.

It's been a week and a day and it feels like a LIFETIME. Pain is still there in my hip, I whine every morning and every evening when I get up and down. I hate PT even though it consists of bending your toes up and raising your knee and really hard stuff like that. 

I just want to go to Disney World. (That picture says it all).

Okay okay .... I'm better now. Whew! Just had to get it out. Just watched the movie Best of Enemies and I was crying like a baby. I was pathetic. If you haven't seen it ... you really should.

I'm sure you won't bawl your eyes out like me ... but at this stage I cry when I watch the evening news. (Of course ... there's a lot to cry about on the evening news).

Time for my meds.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Part Three: Hip, Hip, Hooray

Home sweet home!

It was SO nice actually sleeping in my own bed (even though my house is unrecognizable with the tons of medical equipment everywhere). Lots to learn when you go through this procedure.

I listened to an interview with Alec Baldwin after he had his hip replaced. He basically said, "You have pain before surgery, then you have pain after surgery and then you have pain in rehab ... basically its a smorgasbord of pain."

I'm in the smorg' part of the smorgasbord.

So here's what they give you at home to help ...

1. A Suck-In Thing (scientific term). This you use 10 times an hour until your lungs clear or you pass out.

The purpose is to prevent pneumonia or respiratory infections (I guess) after surgery. The object is to take slow breaths and fill your lungs while you keep the little blue ball floating in the middle of the handle.

Gives new meaning to "This blue ball thing really SUCKS."

2. Cooling Machine.  This is used to continually ice the surgical site to prevent swelling and reduce pain.

It looks like a holster attached to a loud machine that circulates ice cold water.

Debbie wanted to save money on this one so I think ours came from 7-Eleven and twice a day a blue Slurpee drips out into my lap.



3. Support Hose. A real fashion statement..

To prevent blood clots and swelling, these support stockings are worn for 16 hours a day. One size and one color. No way in hell I could get these on or I'd bust open my sutures, so Debbie has to do this every day.

Yes, to get her to do it, I have to promise I'll do whatever she wants for the rest of my life. Typically, Debbie doesn't curse ... but lately she is speaking in tongues and can now move her head 360 degrees.

4. Compression cuffs. Also used to prevent clots and reduce swelling, these strap-ons squeeze your calves every few seconds and cut off the circulation to your feet. I'm sure that's a good thing but I don't think that Debbie understands how to use them.

I caught her last night trying to strap them around my throat.

5. The Grabber. My favorite!

This is a tool that picks up stuff that you can't reach and keeps you from bending over. I love to pinch Debbie when she walks by.

Funny thing ... the night I took this picture was the same night she got confused about the compression cuff around my throat.

6. The Walker. Luckily we had two of these that we used as props for my SAMMY book signing.

How depressing that I have finally BECOME my Dad.

.... oh well ... beats the alternative (becoming my MOTHER!)

All is good ... MANY THANKS TO ALL MY WELL WISHERS. LOVE YOU GUYS.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Part Two: Hip at Home

On the night of my hip replacement surgery, I should have slept for hours. After all, I had been awake for about ten hours and asleep for only two, Debbie was falling asleep in her chair next to me. 

I told her to go home and get some rest.

The pain killers I was getting could have killed an elephant  but couldn't put me to sleep. The night nurse told me her life story, which should have also worked. I even put on the most boring Hallmark movie I could find ... nothing.

Wide awake.

Anesthesia must have played havoc with my body. In the morning I was finally ready to go to sleep. But ironically, it was to be the the busiest morning yet.

I had visitors all morning who I dubbed the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, Future, Back to the Future (Part 1, 2 and 3) ... first came the Lab tech to draw blood, then came the Ortho Resident  who gave me instructions  about the care and handling of my hip, then came the Home Health person who told me about the care and handling of my hip then came the physical therapist who WANTED to handle my hip then came the nurse practitioner who told me about the care and handling of my hip then came the lab tech (a different one) to draw blood ... who didn't believe me when I said that blood had just been drawn.

FINALLY ... the transport lady picked me up and brought me downstairs. Debbie drove me home.

NEXT UP: Part 3: Hip, Hip, Hooray

The Old Man, Hobble Around, Drug Assisted Hip Replacement BLUES

When you're old you're automatically un-hip. Right? You know this because your kids tell you, your wife tells you and ... at some point ... your HIP tells you. My hip was the last to know. But when it got the word, it was PAINFUL.

So ... a new adventure in hip replacement was coming sooner than I expected. Some of you may have already had this special experience. For those who haven't ... here is your guide to "The Old Man, Hobble Around, Drug Assisted Hip Replacement BLUES (sung in the key of F)

The happy guy in the space hat with his thumbs up is me ... looking forward to getting a NEW PAIN FREE HIP and totally unaware of the pain that followed. How could I know? Everyone I talked to said "Oh wait until you have a hip replacement. No more pain ... you will love it".   

I'm still waiting.

Surgery was Tuesday. I had a great doctor. He must have been really excited about seeing me that morning at TGH because he requested that I arrive at 5:00 AM. Those who know me know I hate to get up early (especially Ray Smith who wants me to go fishing with him at that hour ... you can't tell me that fish HAVE to eat then) and will be shocked to know that I arrived there with Debbie right on time.

By the way ... surgery was scheduled for 10:30 (of course).

I was handed the usual 300 printed labels with my name and birthday. I carried them to each place I landed ... nursing stations, lab, surgery. I've been through this at least a dozen times on hospital visits but never quite understood what they were used for and why each person I met STILL asked me for my name and birthday.

Fast forward to surgery. I won't bore you with the gory details because ... well ... I was asleep. The important part was I WOKE UP! Had a great funny nurse who woke me up in Recovery and remembered me from another surgery and had become a reader of my blog. I love meeting my readers ... all six of them!

They took me up to my room, gave me a cool, yellow blanket with matching socks and strapped on these interesting compression leg things that pump and keep you from having blood clots.

STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO: Hip at Home

(for now ... gotta get my sleep)


Sunday, March 10, 2019

Colonel Condo


This weekend, we are staying at our sweet little condo in Pass a Grille. Gorgeous day, clear water, not a care in the world ... we start on a walk to the Sea Horse for breakfast when all of a sudden ...

"Hellllooooo ..." The voice that instantly creates a dark cloud cover over the beach. There she was standing there with a baseball cap covering (let's see what color hair is it this week) blonde, I think. Last month was bright red, then black and even blue once.

I wanted to say, "Helloooo NEWMAN." But instead we exchanged pleasantries with Colonel Condo herself. Debbie was much nicer than me (not a big surprise). "Hi (name deleted to protect ... us) I didn't recognize you ... sorry ... your hair color is different."

"Blonde this month. Hahaha keeps my husband interested, you know?"

"Pretty day huh?" Debbie said.

"Oh yes it is." She paused and looked at me. "Glad I ran into you. You know that problem we've had in 205 with the water leak ... coming from your stack ... we have to fix that."

I jumped in. "You mean the air conditioning unit that you said was our fault because our pipes were dripping downstairs?" She glared over her sunglasses. "Remember our air conditioning guy came out a month ago and looked at the whole unit and said there is no way it was ours."

"I know I know,"She said. "I'm not pointing fingers."

"Really? You just said it was coming from our stack."

"Oh no. I am just saying its gotta be fixed. 205 is driving me crazy."

"Well maybe you should hire a contractor to check out the whole stack."

She just rolled her eyes and continued to talk to Debbie. "It's just one thing after another. You guys are fine. It's the old lady in 205 that will be gone soon thank God. Nursing home."

I couldn't stand it anymore. I had to cut this short. "Well we gotta run ... breakfast is calling"

"Okay! See you soon." To Debbie, "By the way we had to move your chairs back that you moved around the pool area."

I had so many comebacks ... but I was quiet (because Debbie was squeezing the blood out of my arm.)

By the way, as we were talking, this neighbor walks by. No one questions him about anything. Go and figure.
   

A Love Letter to Tom

Today, we said goodbye to Tom. This is a hard line to write. I keep rereading it as I write this post about a guy who has touche...