Wasting away in Healthcareville

I spent the whole day watching our president and many congress people discussing health care. A normal person would probably suffer irreparable brain damage from this event, but I am still somewhat numb from the drugs given to me for my foot surgery. So there I sat, hour after hour watching our leaders posturing and carefully creating an image of concern for their constituents. It is hard to pick a winner when each side spouts facts that can not be examined quickly. So, after almost six hours of watching and listening I came away with little more than these two facts;
The Republicans want health care to remain private and we as a country can not afford to provide healthcare to all our citizens. They also believe we have the best health care system in the world.
The Democrats told stories about how individuals suffer from the ineptness of our health system. They also stated that people with money and the very poor have decent health care. Finally, with certain financial maneuvering we could pay for health care for everyone..

The night before I listened to Rachel Maddow and she summed it up this way. Insurance companies are doing what they should be doing, making money. They are private companies with stock holders and profit margins just like any company. Now, the question is, do you want someone whose primary concern is to make money in charge of your health? This is why every other developed nation either controls their insurance companies or has nationalized them. What we have is a conflict of interest. As long as this situation exist there can be little real change in our healthcare and we are destined to paying more and more of our hard-earned money staying healthy.

Love of Chair

Does any one remember the show ELECTRIC COMPANY? I use to watch this show when I had a few moments to spare and needed entertainment. It was a kid’s education program, an off shoot of Sesame Street but stranger. In the segment, there was a man sitting in the chair who just sat there emotionless, never saying a word, just starring towards the wall. In the background was soap opera music along with a voice making statements like “The man set in the chair” or “The man will sit in the chair” or “The man sat in the chair.” Day after day the show continued with the man sitting in the chair with no reaction to the outer world. After several months into this show, the announcer said “Will the man stand?” A long time after that the man finally stood.
Would you like to meet my new friend? “Chair, these are the folks with enough time on their hands to read my silly blog.  Folks, this is my new friend, Chair.”  Below is a picture of my new chair for you to admire.  He is a stunning chair…isn’t he?

With my foot immobilized, I have been forced to find new activities and yes, new friends. My best new friend is Chair. Chair and I spend many hours together reading, watching TV or working on my laptop. Occasionally Chair will lure me in to a nice nap as I recline back to a horizontal position. I have become a big fan of Facebook and I check my email many times during the day. I often wonder if a man is somewhere narrating my existence in the chair. He might say things like “Is Charlie awake?” or ” Will Charlie ever get up?” or maybe “Has Charlie moved?”
I have wasted enough of your time. I am getting ready to watch repeats of Star Trek followed by Mash and then maybe take another nap. One can never rush into these decisions…

A good doctor

Recently I had my ankle repaired. I put it off for as long could because I do not fully trust the medical community. Finally I faced the fact that I had to get it fixed. With this as my goal I started down the road of finding a doctor to fix me.
With a lot of luck and a few wrong turns I showed up at Dr. Yevgeny Kats’ office in Winchester, Va.  I checked in with the receptionist and took a seat in the lobby; I was the only person there. Within a few moments I was called back to speak with Dr. Kats. He entered the room, introduced himself and asked me what  my problem was . We talked for more than 20 minutes about my history, how I had injured my ankle and a little politics.  I immediately felt very comfortable with him. He studied the MRI that had been done of my ankle and explained to me what he was looking at as well as what we could do to repair my ankle. Over the next couple of weeks he contacted other doctors  I had previously seen to become fully acquainted with my history. With all the information in hand, he made a final recommendation for my ankle and we set a date for the surgery. During all this period I spoke to Dr. Kats several times over the phone about the details. He is Russian born but moved to America about 20 years ago and is a practicing podiatrist who specializes in foot reconstruction.
What Dr. Kats does regularly is what all doctors are supposed to do:  take the time to listen to patients, treat them and improve their quality of life!  If there is anybody out there who needs to see a podiatrist or a foot reconstruction specialist, I highly recommend Dr. Yevgeny Kats. He will treat you like a human being, not a statistic, and help you get back to a better life.  Make sure you tell him I sent you.

Dr Yevgeny Kats

As any podiatrist will tell you, everything begins at the feet.

Feeling Good

If you are one of the countless Americans who suffer from depression, moodiness, lack of energy, obesity, I have a possible solution for you: exercise. Research is showing that we need physical exertion to stay healthy. Almost every study on this topic done has shown that exercise has major positive benefits to human health. This is not restricted to just physical health but also includes mental health.

What is really amazing about the human body is its ability to undo the damage done by a sedentary life style. With proper help and professional monitoring almost anyone can regain some of their youth. Of course, there are limits based on your age, but the benefits are immense.
One of the neatest benefits of physical exercise is the body’s production of a chemical called endorphin. It just so happens that the body has the capability to produce its own mood lifting drugs. If you have heard a person talk about a natural high, he is talking about endorphin.
So, now you know some of the benefits of exercise; it is time to make a lifestyle change. Before you run off and clean the house with the idea that you are getting exercise, let me explain what exercise really is. Exercise is making the heart beat faster, sweating and using as many muscles in the body as you can. A nice, brisk walk outside is great exercise. In November, I introduced my Uncle Bill, who is in his late 70s to biking. He bought his own bike and now rides a nice slow nine miles a day. He has lost over 20 pounds in the last three months and is starting to talk about finding a woman. It is not long til spring. The snow will be gone soon. Get off your butts and start exercising. You will never regret it!


As you may know, I went to the Winchester Surgery Center to get my peroneal tendon put back where it belongs. If you need an in-out surgery, that is the place to go. They are so friendly and accommodating. I am a one-legged man for a while and it is hard to get upstairs to the computer. Last night I wiped out on my crutches in the living room but managed to not hurt my ankle. I am working on an article but I may not get it done for a day or two.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so her is a good one. Sue took this picture and headed to Costco.

Hospital visit

In a few moments I am leaving for the Winchester  Center to have my ankle repaired. Looking forward to being able to run again but not looking forward to surgery. It is going to be a long 3 weeks…
I will let you know how it goes.

A time to reflect and cabin fever

Every once in a while nature lets loose and wallops us with some kind of unexpected event. This snow storm is one of those events. Even though I have been imprisoned in my home for much more time than I can usually bear, the storm has given me the opportunity to sit back and reflect on a number of issues.

I really worry about the less fortunate who may suffer from a storm of this magnitude. Without power or heat, it is possible for a person to not survive this kind of storm. It is hard to offer help when it is impossible to leave your own driveway. One may offer support over the phone (if it is working) but if travel is required, it may be impossible to get there. The only thing we can do is call the local fire department and hope they have the ability and time to check out a problem. Of course many of the local volunteer firemen are also snowed in. In times like these it is important to stay in touch with our neighbors so as to offer whatever support we can muster.

On a more personal level this is a time to read, clean up the shop, watch TV (if the dish is not covered with snow), do those little jobs that one has been putting off for a long time and after all that, relax a little. Through all this it is essential to be able to recognize the 10 signs of cabin fever which are:

tendency to overreact to simple problems

a desire to consume all the food in the house

a constant pacing around the house

picking fights with family and pets

watching shows on TV not normally watched

losing one’s sense of humor

predicting the end of the world

making puppets with your hand and talking with your wife

having long conversations with tele-marketers

calling people you would rather not talk to

hoarding, buying more groceries than you can put in your car

losing the ability to count

One last thing, in a week I am “going under the knife.” Yes, the good doctor Kats, an ankle reconstruction specialist in Winchester, Va., is going to restore my right ankle to its original condition. I have a peroneal tendon dislocation, which means that a certain ligament in my ankle is moving around where it should not be moving. I will be on one leg for three weeks. This will give me more time to dribble on about all kinds of useless things on my blog. So, my cabin fever will be extended for three weeks. This may be the two by four that breaks the camel’s back. I may get my certification papers from the funny farm.

A special person

Special person

It is easy in this hustle-bustle society to overlook the many special people. Sometimes events occur that open one’s eyes to the incredible journey many of our fellow Earthlings are on. Oftentimes, I see things repeatedly, and then suddenly, for no apparent reason, I realize how incredible a particular person is.
As you may remember, every Tuesday and Thursday I go to the Wellness Center to be tortured by Jerry Dean. On these days there is a small group of eight to ten who show up pretty regularly. One of these people is Donna Brown. She is just “one of the guys” and occasionally I will sneak over to mess with Donna’s weights, just to let her know she is one of the guys. She usually figures it out before class begins and issues a reprimand to Tim and me, who she suspects are the pranksters. In case you do not know Donna, she is blind. You may have seen her navigating the streets of Romney with her cane in hand. Donna is not one to talk about her accomplishments but apparently she was an Olympic swimmer when she was younger, and I am sure she has many other accomplishments hidden in her closet. On Saturdays she swims with us Tri-guys and usually kicks our butts. Her specialty is the breast stroke which she does beautifully.
Being blind is not a handicap for Donna; it is simply a way of life. She lives life much as we all do. She reminds us that we must make the most of what we have and not to complain about our many shortcomings (of which I have many) but to grab life by the reins and cherish it. Donna, I just wanted you to know that you are one of my heroes and that I enjoy our time together in class and the pool, but you better keep track of your weights!

Fun time in the snow

I knew that this was going to be an interesting trip… The weatherman was calling for large accumulations of snow and very cold weather. When you are driving a 26 thousand lb coach, these are not ideal conditions. I was taking the Shenandoah University indoor track team to Christopher Newport University for a meet. We left Winchester at 10:45 am and headed down Interstate 81 towards the belly of the beast. As usual the weather stations continued to change the forecast, sometimes to the good and sometimes to the bad, but we continued to head south. Generally when traveling south the temperature increases and becomes increasingly moderate…not this time. After arriving the team participated in several events until about 7:00pm and then we went looking for a place to eat. Having completed dinner we drove a short distance to the motel and settled in for a nights sleep. The phone rang about 6:00am and Coach Andy informed me that the meet had been cancelled and we were leaving for home as soon as possible. Making my way to the window I observed about three inches of snow lying on the ground. I quickly packed my clothes and headed for the coach, warmed it up, did my pre-trip and waited for the team to show up.
As we entered the main roadway there was little traffic and the road was passable but very slippery. The interstate was a short distance away and we were on our way home. Because of the cold temperatures the snow would hit the windshield and freeze. Soon the wiper blades were frozen and covered with ice. The window sprayer quickly froze and the wipers were smearing the windows with slush, snow and ice. After a short time I pulled off to the side of the interstate and slapped the wipers against the windows to remove the ice. This became a regular event, in fact about every 15 minutes I had to stop the bus and perform the iceendectomy. Words can not express how much fun that was. With a top speed of about 35 miles per hour and the regular stops, the normal three and one half hour trip became a journey of epic proportions. We finally stopped at a Chick fil-A  to eat but to our dismay, it was closed due to weather. Eight hours after we left Newport News we arrived in Winchester, Virginia. Needless to say, I was tired and extremely tense from the long stressful drive. I took the bus to the garage, parked it in a bay and left it there to thaw. An hour later I was home on the couch in a vegetative state for the rest of the evening. I took a few pictures of the bus so you can get an idea of how much fun I had. With all the stress and worries I felt as if I was back in the classroom again…

The End.