Friday, September 28, 2018

What the orthopedic doctor said

He said that my arm should be in better shape and that I should be able to reach up.

He said going side to side was moreDifficult it would take longer but that the whole reason for the reverse shoulder replacement was for me to more easily be able to reach up.

When I tried to reach up he asked me if it was because I could not do it or whether it was because it hurt too much. I said that it didn't hurt but that I physically simply could not bring it up into the air.

So he said before we do anything like surgery, we will test to see if it's possible that the nerves were damaged in some way or are not responding.

So now I am going to get some new tests to see how the nerves are functioning.

Post-Shoulder Surgery Update

I have been faithfully doing my physical therapy exercises for about nine months now. I have incremental strength in my arm. For instance, I can now carry a bag of groceries. I can open the very hard door to dump our trash. It's spring loaded. And when I first got out, I couldn't do that particular job for many months.

I'm also approaching 65 years old. When I began my online diary back in 1996, I was dealing with AIDS and almost dying. Now that I am facing the old age, the medications that keep me alive are also giving me many complications that make life difficult. I'm not complaining. I'm much more happy alive and I am dead, not that I have spoken to any dead people lately.

So this one is about getting my right arm back to where I can use it.

I still cannot thrust it forward nor can I reach up. So essentially it is still more or less worthless for any kind of normal activity that requires range of motion.

Also, it hurts a lot.

Still, as I lift me weights, I am slowly increasing their size. The arm is definitely getting stronger.

It's just taking so very long.

Today I will see a new surgeon because when I work out a large lump starts to develop on my shoulder. It is fluid leaking but the fact that it doesn't drain very easily is a bit concerning.

But for the past year I have not been able to play the guitar. Playing the piano is very difficult. But if you have been following, I have still manage to write and produce a few songs for myself. I see for myself, laughing late, because no one ever clicks on the music links of new songs but that's okay. I really don't mind. I write music's physical therapy for myself and if no one else wants to listen, thenI would still write the songs anyway.

This past week, Jim has been in Boston. So I've been alone in the apartment and I have manage to do very well. I was able to carry my laundry and wash it. I am finally able to use the vacuum cleaner. Don't laugh. I couldn't do any of that even just a few months ago.

And it was only this week that I was able to finally pick up my guitar, stretch my arm over the front of it and actually play a little bit. Without being in terrible pain, I mean. I have been trying to play it but then I stopped. It was just too agonizing.

And that's my update. I have some news coming up and the project that I'm working on but I don't want to talk about them yet. Much love to all.

Monday, August 06, 2018

A story about Charlotte Rae and Mrs. Garrett

Jim Brochu and I were at her apartment. She was sitting in the kitchen, worrying over a job offer from a late night comedian. A small skit that would end with Mrs. Garrett saying a terrible curse word.

I suggested it was a funny idea. She was always looking for work. It would have put her in the headlines for a few days and give her a new image. Like Betty White’s bitchy Sue Ann Niven on Mary Tyler Moore revived her career, no longer seen as a goody two-shoed panelist and housewife from 50s TV.

Charlotte gave me a horrified look and said, “NO! I could never do this.”

“Why not?”

She said, “To this very day, I get letters from girls all over the country who tell me their personal stories and ask my advice. Many tell me that they didn’t have a mother, and that Mrs. Garrett had been the one person they could look up to. Never!”

Jim and I once wrote a show about the connection between religion and show business. Sometimes you’re in show business. Sometimes, in church. But it can be hard to know which is which when they confusingly swap venues.

The Facts of Life was just a cheesy sitcom to me. I didn’t need a mom and I wasn’t a girl, so if I ever accidentally did tune in, five minutes was enough.

I had not thought of The Facts of Life as a ministry.

I felt ashamed in that moment in the kitchen, at the table where she answered the letters from those girls. Charlotte was not an easy person. She was irascible and as self-centered as any actor I’ve met, myself included. And dinner with her could turn into nightmare. One time, Jim said they changed tables three times before Charlotte was happy, and getting her to order! She had to make a change on every item.

But heres’s the thing, especially in New York. The people adored her. At 54 Below one night, every theater queen in town came by and rattled off how they had seen her in Yiddish theater, early TV, etc. Charlotte Rae had a distinguished theatrical career. One time, she came to visit from L.A. and there had just been an episode of Car 54, Where Are You?, with Charlotte dressed up as a countess holding a fan.

We talked her into posing and took the picture. She was always game for goofing around.

I’m gonna miss the box of See’s Candy for Christmas we would get from Charlotte every year (too embarrassed to tell her we didn’t eat candy). She always reminded us that she loved us.

But, unsentimentally, the real gift was a herself. A professional actress from the old school. Charlotte as Mrs. Garrett to the end, teaching us that when we go out and dance a jig, there are real people watching.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I'm Still Here

I fell on the ice December 9, 2017
Emergency reverse shoulder

This will be a long rehab
But I am doing well