Saturday, March 29, 2008

Broken Ankle Update

This is the last, I hope, update. Organ recitals get tiresome I know.

Here goes: The bad news is my insurance company fired my physical therapists for purely economic reasons. Evidently my share of my insurance payments (I pay almost $15k to Cigna annually) isn’t enough to allow me to get medical attention when I need it. Strike that, I get medical attention, but then I have to fight for months to get payment to my medical providers.

The good news is that my physical therapists have been terrific, not only the first Doug, but the second provider (the first one got fired by Cigna after two weeks, and although Cigna disputes that, they gave me a list of five PT's in a 30 mile radius I was permitted touse. Don't you love that the insurance company's bottom line determines health care rather than medical necessity?), Dr. Douglas Conroy in Flossmoor, whom I saw for the following two weeks, is also terrific. In addition, I have been working hard at home to regain mobility in my ankle and strengthen it so I can walk properly. Both Dougs recommended that. Thanks to them both.

I am hardly using my cane – only at the end of the day when I’m tired, or for long stretches across vacant spaces where there is nothing else to support me. And I hope to stick the cane back in the basement where with any luck I’ll never need it again.

I went to the opera, the last performance of my season ticket, a couple of weeks ago. I can drive – although I’d rather have someone else drive most of the time, and always did. Ann and I are going to a wedding reception tonight, where I might attempt a slow dance, and going to Beloit College tomorrow to see Grandson David.

Many people have been exceptionally kind. Priscilla, our grandsons' mom, walked the dogs yesterday for a good hour, and they really needed it. Many, many thanks!

Lynn R., from our church, walked the dogs while I was still stove up, and she also took me to lunch a couple of times. Many, many thanks to her also.

And Connie from the Dog Park has promised to watch the dogs if I take them over since I fear walking on the very uneven paths in the park. I don’t mind falling, but I don’t want to be maimed again. Thanks to Connie in advance.

My first goal is to take the dogs to the dunes at least once before the crowds descend, and my second to go steppin’ at Flavor Restaurant in Flossmoor one Thursday or Friday live Jazz night.

Thanks to everyone who has been concerned about me, who has extended myriad kindnesses, who has thought about me (Cynthia T, for example), who has helped out in a variety of ways.

Charles Wade, Rest in Peace

My wife’s Uncle Charles Wade died last week at the age of 83 in Jerseyville, IL. He had been ill for a long time, but we prefer to remember that he was kind man, a man who loved his family, a veteran, and a person deserves our recognition.

Let light perpetual shine upon him. Amen.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


In my life I've known several people named Douglas. My best friend in junior high school, Doug Darling (isn't that a great name? I'll have to Google him and find out what he's doing), was part of the Neilson television ratings system. I didn't realize the power his family had at the time.

Another Doug was my good friend who died in 1992 of a massive heart attack. He was a gentle man, and I still miss him. A third major Doug is my godson, who now lives on the East coast and whom, sadly, we never see.

The current Doug who is having an influence on my life is my physical therapist.

Before I went into PT, while I was still in a cast, I heard nothing but horrifying tales about physical therapists. They were sadists, they were Nazis, they lived to torture their patients.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Doug - and all the PT's at the group I go to - are kind, concerned, and especially competent. "We don't believe in 'no pain, no gain,'" Doug told me when I started. He did a careful, thorough evaluation before we did any kind of exercise or stretching. He pushes me to do more than I thought I could, but he doesn't want me to hurt. He stretches muscles so they won't react as if they were going to be re-injured, but he doesn't hyper-stretch them. That would be counterproductive at best and could cause irreparable damage at worst.

Because of Doug, his expertise, his pushing, his encouragement, I can walk easily with one crutch, and without one at all for short distances around the house. That's today.

By the end of next week, I expect to be without my crutches all the time. I will probably need more therapy to strengthen the muscles that atrophied during six weeks immobilized in a cast. But I hope to be dancing again soon.

Thanks, Doug!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Another Update

As I feared I left someone important out of my acknowledgments the other day and I want to apologize to Dianne and rectify my error.

Dianne brought us dinner one night, stayed for conversation, and helped Ann immensely. She helped me too by alleviating my housewife syndrome - you know, no one to talk to but the dogs. Thanks Dianne.

And grandson David, who was home on early spring break, took me to physical therapy last week. He arrived on time, waited patiently, and then graciously and gratefully ate lunch with me at a local spot. Thanks David.

It's been almost eight weeks since I broke my ankle and I am finally pretty mobile. I can drive, which lets Ann off the hook a lot, I read in church on Sunday, I got a much needed pedicure (flaps of dead skin from six weeks of cast were getting really ugly), and I can get myself to physical therapy three times a week.

Tonight I am venturing out to the opera to see Eugene Onegin. I am not taking the train or driving myself - I tire too easily and it's too late. Rather I hired a car and driver to take me and bring me home. I am foregoing the usual dinner with friends who sit in my section (and live in a distant suburb) because the walk from the restaurant, while not far, is still too much.

My goal is to take the dogs to the Dunes soon. They really need a good run since I haven't been able to take them to the dog park or walk them for the last two months.

In other news, we are planning an engagement party next month with the theme of pears/pairs. We're thinking to keep it light and highlight famous pairs like Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Spic and Span, Bosc and Bartlett. We welcome any suggestions. We haven't decided what to do with the pairs yet, but we'll think of something. Thanks.

Please comment below.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Term Limits

On Saturday a local Democratic physicist, Bill Foster, beat a well-known businessman, Republican Jim Oberweis, in a race to replace Denny Hastert, former Speaker of the House, who resigned his office in November.

Oberweis has run in four races in Illinois and lost them all. In every one of them he used scare tactics, and I think the people in his district have had enough. When he ran for Senator, he focused on how terrible immigrants have made the United States. His dairy employs illegal immigrants, according to recent news reports, and Oberweis isn’t a run of the mill American name like Smith or Jones or Graboski or Gutierrez or Moser.

In the recent campaign Oberweis’ hate message created mythical families and then showed how some of the policies that Foster espoused would damage them. The fact that Foster wanted to raise taxes on the one percent of wealthiest Americans, and that Oberweis applied the new tax rates to lower middle class mythical families, didn’t seem to bother his campaign, but it certainly riled voters. In Oberweis’ television commercials, he had families making less that $50,000 annually paying up to $8,000 more in taxes each year. Where would they get the money, they asked? From their retirement or kids' college funds? It was beyond belief that Oberweis thought voters were so stupid.

Bill Foster’s victory was an upset for Republicans who traditionally had easy campaigns in Hastert’s district. Pundits in the Tribune suggest that the Republican party in Illinois is in disarray, and that may well be true.

However, with Rod Blagojevch (blag – O – ye- vich) as the current disastrous Democratic governor, the Democrats seem to be in disarray in Illinois, too.

As I have said before, it is time to end party politics and start doing what is best for the country. That may well mean giving every single politician in power an unofficial term limit.

America for Americans is a nice slogan until you look at the connotations, the anti-everyone else bias in it.

I’d like, however, to suggest a new way of looking at the slogan. Let’s broaden our definition a bit. All citizens are Americans, and if people are from north or south of us, citizen or not, they are American, too. If we truly want our country to be for its residents and citizens, it has to stop being for politicians. I don’t mind the occasional statesman, but they are too few and far between. Let’s make America truly for Americans and vote against all the incumbents – and their parties. Unofficial term limits in action.

This is radical, I realize, but if our representatives realize that voters put them in office not lobbyists and heavy contributors with axes to grind, we might start getting some representation.

As always feel free to comment below.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Update to my Update

I went to therapy this morning and met with Doug, who was not only kind and personable, but competent.

I'm down to one crutch and doing much better. Ann and I even plan to do some light shopping this afternoon. Woohoo!

Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Brief Update

I got my cast off on Friday. My leg twitched like a science experiment on chickens when the tech guy used the vibrating saw on it. He cut the cotton stockinette off and exposed the leg, covered with - dry skin.

I went home, ran a bath in the soaking tub and climbed in. I lay there about an hour and a half, periodically adding hot water, and reading. It was glorious, especially after having help to get into the shower twice a week for the past month and a half. When I got out my skin was just as scaly and flaky. I have been slathering various kinds of skin cream on the foot and leg regularly. It hasn’t helped. Three days later the bottom of my foot still looks as if I dipped it in wax and haven't gotten around to peeling it off.

Today I can walk – with crutches. Tuesday [tomorrow] I start physical therapy and hope to discard the crutches soon. By next Friday I hope to be able to drive, and by next month to bound up steps two at a time. As it is I still hobble up them one by one.

In the meantime, I’m still pretty much stuck at home because Ann is out and about and I don’t have the energy to be upright long enough to join her.

Be all that as it may, I have discovered I have the most wonderful friends in the world. Ann waited on me hand and foot and put up with my impatience. Tim and Jonathan stopped by to keep me company and helped me in the shower -without even snickering, although Jonathan spent more time flying around the house on my crutches and declaring they weren't so bad. Grandson David drove me around when I needed it. David across the street also carted me around whenever I needed help.

Lynn walked our dogs and took me to lunch a couple of times. Shannon, of course, and Ray, who helped bath me - again without snickering - and Shannon just dropped by unannounced to walk the dogs. Ray and Sherri who walked dogs. Bill who came over with Carter and did a couple odd jobs, kept me company and Carter helped Ann with dinner.

Theresa who stopped by with a wheel chair and conversation. Rochelle and Peggy who made sure I was comfortable and stopped by just to chat and check on me. They also brought great meals from Flavor Restaurant. The Rev. Orr, who stopped by several times with the Eucharist and great conversation. Sue, Audrey, Kristy and Jack who stopped by with cards, gossip, and more conversation.

All the people in the watercolor class, especially Carol the instructor, and Jerry who sits next to me, who worked to make me comfortable and do whatever they could for me. Sandi and Sandie who brought pizza one night. Cindy and Peter who brought a whole dinner - including great vegetables - another night.

Derek who pushed me around in the wheel chair at a birthday party. Mary Agnes who stopped by for conversation and also took me to the doctor to get my cast off. Connie from the dog park who called on a regular basis, and Beth, Gary and Maryanne, Val, and Jim C-D who kept up through email. Karen stopped by and kept up through email. I'm sure I forgot someone, and I don't mean to. Again, what wonderful friends I have. I thank you and wish blessings on you all!

As always I welcome your comments. Click below.