Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Freedom Milestone

I've been slave to the calendar. Those squares with lots of room to write down reminders have been filled with the tyranny of medical appointments. Mostly PT.

Those 8 AM ones cause sleep deprivation. (OK, it's the pain continually waking me, the dog thinking it's play time all night long and determined that bouncing on me will convince me too, that are the primary cause, but I otherwise make it up with a nice post-breakfast nap. Maybe two.) Can't sleep during PT. The 2:30 PM ones cause overheating while the world and the car bake in the sun, especially while I'm banned from getting really wet. The 11 AM ones promote poor eating because it's too easy to hit a fast food joint on the way home because, hey, it's lunchtime.

Yesterday was my last formal PT appointment. Like the first, it's mostly an evaluation of where I am, measured against my "should" status. I went in to that one determined that if they wanted to add more appointments onto my schedule, they damn sure better be persuasive.

I've met my goals, at least the ones that I believe can be met. I've given up on any kind of PT being able to relieve that nerve pinch every time I bend, straighten, or sit. For that matter, they don't do surgery for that either, with the reasoning that any further intrusions will only create more problems. Time, that's what they say. Maybe in the next year or so, when the swelling should finally be gone, whatever is pushing on that nerve will have shrunk out of its way. At any rate, no reason to continue PT.

Despite that nerve, I can straighten that knee to fully straight, or zero degrees in their jargon. I don't do wonderfully in pulling the leg back into a tight bend on my own. Those muscles have done a bang up job of keeping that knee locked straight so I could walk for ten years or so, so I have to work on them. But with a little warm up and the assistance of either my elastic strap or my therapist's hand, it can be bent to 120 degrees. Satisfactory, in other words. For now.

Personally, I find the way they measure the angles to be weird: diametrically opposite the way it works in math. Their zero is a straight line, better known as 180 degrees. And 120  degrees is an acute angle, thirty degrees sharper than a right angle, or better known as 60 degrees. Ultimately it doesn't matter what they call it, as long as they agree with me that my reachable goals have been met.

And they did.

So the calendar is empty now, right?

Wrong. The surgeon has one final evaluation, and the cardiologist needs his 6-month visit. But those aren't until next week.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Epitaph

Following yesterday's post, there were 4 heat/hiking deaths in the state, including a personal trainer hiking with a pair of doctors. Even CPR couldn't save her.

Now maybe I've lived in this state too long, but I have developed a fondness for the Boot Hill epitaphs. My favorite:

Here lies Lester Moore
4 shots from a 44
No Les
No more.

I don't pretend to such elegance, but I have a suggestion for this weekend's idiots... er, victims:

They said it was too hot to hike.
I thought I knew better.
Now I know better.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Gasp

Reality check: it's 8:30 PM and cooling down. That means tonight that it's all the way down to 110. Doesn't quite hit you in the face when heading out with the dogs for their two minute do-it-or-forget-it potty break like it does late afternoon when it hit 123. Yes, that's in the shade. And yes, we've checked the thermometer with the broken down temperature readings for our area through the year where we consistently within 2 degrees, either higher or lower, of what somebody else's backyard records. So I trust it.

Cabin fever is setting in. I know I can drive legally now before I need an afternoon percoset and get out when I want to. I just don't want to. Not in this. Mornings are better. Tomorrow the forecast low is 89. That's at 6:00. By 8:00 it's supposed to be 99 already. Small window for activities for the reasonably sane.

Not everybody is, of course. Folks die. They go hiking too far too late with too little water and no sense. No surprises there. It's the same folks who wear the wrong shoes on the mountain, hike alone, again don't take enough water, and manage to make the news in all the wrong ways. It will be tempting tomorrow when we hear of the latest casualties to talk back to the TV set, "Well, duh!"

It's not meant to be self-righteous. Not completely. Four days without AC was plenty miserable to have gained some empathy. But partly, I'll admit.  I do a lot of stupid things. Just not that.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Trumping Trump

The Donald will be visiting The Valley. Tickets are free online, just go to his website and print out your allotment of 2.

Or how about this? Everybody who's anti-Trump, go hit the website, print out your tickets... and stay home! Do not show up, make them hold those empty seats for you. Greet him with an empty stadium.

If you must show up to protest, risking wacko fans seeking televised confrontations, standing out in the heat which will be reaching deadly highs this weekend, go ahead. But do this too. Let the cameras, and The Donald, get your message from all the empty seats as well.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Come Out of Those Caves!

Yesterday I talked about increasing numbers of us crawling back into our caves out of fear of all those scary OTHERS. I assume, of course, that that is a bad idea for all of us. I get that not everybody sees why that is a bad idea.

Let me offer up a word for that practice that, all by itself, should explain better than any long essay why it's a bad idea. Let me also offer up a term for its opposite that should make clear how beneficial our emerging from those caves and mingling with those OTHERS would be for all of us.

The first is "incest."

The second is "hybrid vigor."

'Nuff said?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

No Silver Bullet

I never wanted to write a post like this. I never wanted the ever-repeating reason. There was a time when a mass shooting was a shock, something unheard of, unimaginable. And there was a time when I believed that our country was composed of people - of enough people - who would demand something be done about it and it all would be stopped.

I was very naive.

After all the mass shootings, where increasing numbers and increasing vulnerability of the victims like six-year-olds keep mounting up, still nothing happens. I begin to fear for us. For our country.

It's not fear for myself personally. My fairly quiet lifestyle makes it difficult to imagine myself on the wrong end of an AR15. But I can imagine it in some distant part of my brain.

That's not the part that scares me. What scares me is the immobility in this country, nobody acting to stop it, everybody pointing fingers in different directions of blame. Scared, greedy and narcissistic people refusing to end gun violence with stupid catch phrases like it not being guns but people killing people, everybody's right to arm themselves to the teeth being somehow sacred, and hey, everybody fear fear fear those Others because they are the ones at fault.

Not us. No, never us.

I can't help wondering if the targets of the hate suddenly became the gun manufacturers and pushers, and all the scared coocoos began taking them out in large numbers, if then anything would change. That's not advocacy, just idle speculation when it seems the only action left to us is idle speculation while we watch the latest incidents unfold on the TV.

Sure, it's not an untouched gun that kills people. But how long does that gun stay untouched? Who gets to pick it up, load it, and start pulling the trigger, and why? The answer seems to be everybody. Blame mental illness, and retroactively define any shooter as mentally ill. Blame bad childhoods, bad economics, relationship problems. Blame the angry, the ignorant, the bully, paste the label "terrorist" retroactively on all of them and add it to the growing pile of so-called reasons to further arm ourselves.

Why don't we blame the greedy, who make money by selling the means to wholesale destruction? Why don't we blame the hate mongers and fear mongers who just can't wait to point fingers at everybody else and define them as the enemy so they can increase their ratings? Why don't we blame the politicians who leave their principles, if any, back on the altar of reelection? How about the press who sensationalize the blood and gore without ever digging into root causes, satisfied to watch us all throw up our hands and report on just how high those hands were raised. And hey, if the camera catches a tear... BONUS!

Why don't we blame ourselves for not doing anything to stop it all?

We want the silver bullet answer, the one simple thing that would put an end to all of it. There isn't one, at least not one we as a nation are willing to accept. The only way to end the mass gun violence is to end the guns. Period.

Period.

Period!

I fear it will never happen.  We are all too busy crawling back into our little caves protecting those like ourselves, fearing and hating anybody different, that reason has fled. It's not them we have to fear.

We have met the enemy, Pogo, and it is us.

Friday, June 10, 2016

NOT Interested

I'm not sure exactly why he rubbed me the wrong way right from the start. Perhaps it was simply because I didn't feel like having to get up out of my chair for a complete stranger. (The walking is fine. The standing up/sitting down still hurts, pinching nerves.)

I caught him out of the corner of my eye, strolling along the front sidewalk, then turning into the driveway. He was reasonably presentable, young, neatly groomed, wearing a generic navy non-uniform uniform. No company logo. No name patch. No company truck visible anywhere either.

The dogs of course went nuts with his first step onto the property. They pretty much ignore passers by when the house is shut up and they don't have dogs with them, as long as they stay on the sidewalk. But he didn't. Plus he was looking hard into the carport on his way up the drive.

I might have been tempted to ignore him except I thought the dog cacophony would wake Steve. Like me, he's still catching up on his lost sleep from days of our too-hot house. In a way, the guy was lucky it wasn't back then, since I wouldn't have answered the door for anybody in what I was (mostly not) wearing just to cope with the heat. But I was decent enough this time.

He started by asking if that was our vehicle in the carport. (Who else's?) Then he pointed up the street and tried to tell me Betty Lou thought we might be interested in what he was selling even though he stressed he wasn't selling anything.

Boy, if that last bit doesn't set you off...! Besides, Betty Lou who? We don't know any and we're pretty sure if one even exists up the street she doesn't know us or what we might be interested in.

I still hadn't unlocked the screen door, but he held his hand out to the door expecting me to shake it.

I left the door locked.

He continued that he noticed from the street the stars in our windshield, offering to fix them for us.

Them? How about one?

"I'm not interested."

I did know they spread, didn't I?

Of course I do. With 2 million miles under my belt and numerous stars and traveling racks, I have some familiarity with the problem. And we do in fact have a crack running part way across the passenger side. It started in January, with a rock impact on the freeway. I know it was January because we had out-of-state company and we were driving out past Tucson to Kartchner. I also know it ran across the windshield immediately because it was the (only) day it was snowing and the defrosters set up a hot/cold temperature variant that provided perfect conditions. Of course, as soon as the snow ended - about 10 road miles worth - the crack stopped spreading. How do I know? I like to run my slightly greasy finger across the ends to mark them in order to measure progress.

I was not, however, feeling like engaging with this guy at the door.

"I'm not interested."

He asked my if I knew it was free to get it fixed? Of course I do, provided one has the insurance rider. I happen to carry it, and some day I will call the insurance company. We'll arrange some reputable company to deal with the crack, not some squirt that some possible Betty Lou may or may not have sent my way, looking completely unequipped to do anything about it.

"I'M NOT INTERESTED."

I quietly shut the door in his face. I still didn't want to wake Steve.