dr_phil_physics: (myth-b)
So, tonight was the last episode of Mythbusters. And a bonus reunion show. And a bonus jerk move -- an unaired Duct Tape episode which is to be shown on Science channel, which neither we or the hospital get. A bush league move, in my opinion.

This 14th season has been bittersweet, especially with the firing of the B-team last year. Plus, that whole ending thing. They seem to have been given a big budget this season to go out with, er, a bang. And they had some glitzier and slicker graphics. But it's been an odd season. Too much me-too versions of things. Not nearly as new or as original as earlier seasons.

In tonight's finale they blew up a big RV, with 850 lbs. of AMFO, just to demonstrate a 50,000 frame per second high speed video camera. They ended the show with blowing up another cement truck with 5001 lbs. of AMFO. They built a better wedge plow so they could plow through years of stuff from the show -- after vaporizing Buster as a superhero against a cinder block wall at a supersonic 800+ mph powered by a rocket sled and no I'm not making this up. Spectacular stunts and I laughed, but not exactly mythbusting science.

I'm sure the curators at the Smithsonian were crying.

That was at 8pm. At 9 they did a reunion show with both Adam and Jamie and the B-team. This was the send off they needed. At 10 they reran the first episode. Rocket Car I and the Pop Rokz exploding stomach. Brings back memories...

They had clips of some of my favorites. Lead Balloon was beautiful, especially when it went to origami large scale unfolding with the delicate lead foil. And the Hindenburg thermite paint -- such a lovely scale model destroyed disturbingly like the real thing. Coffee Creamer Fire was magnificent. And Water Heater Rocket was unexpected and terrifying.

So many more simply because I can't think of them.

Mythbusters wasn't science, but it was an examination of sayings, movies, myths, by some technical experts using the hallmarks of science. That made it accessible. That made people wanting more. That made people raise questions about what they did on the show.


Some labeled Mythbusters as a reality TV show. Given where reality TV has gone, that's an unfortunate and demeaning classification. Entertainment? Sure. That was part of the charm.

That Jamie and Adam aren't exactly friends helped the show. It fueled the professionalism and provided divergent views, rather than me-too buddyism.

Discovery channel didn't always treat the show with respect. Their realization of what they had seemed to go in and out of fashion. Probably with changes in management. The ratings probably were a self-fulfilling prophecy, what with the scheduling games.

But Mythbusters is finished now. I'm sure I'll see reruns over the years.

And I am sad they are done.

Dr. Phil

UPDATE: I forgot, but the final final fade out of the Reunion special was an homage to The Avengers and the schwarma scene. Nicely played, Mythbusters. Nicely played!

Flying Kiwis

Wednesday, 2 March 2016 23:38
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
Hmm. Isn't the kiwi a flightless bird?

I suppose, but always there's a wrinkle. The #3 Kiwi brace has fallen off once, been loose once and almost loose once since the surgeon visit a week ago. And then there was this message I sent off to my buddy Tom at Hanger, who has been making my three usable Kiwis:
And... we have a new one, Tom.

Shortly after the Kiwi was put on in bed, the fiberglass shell went
flying across the room -- slipped right out of the gel sleeve. I
couldn't see what was going on -- the aide who put it on wasn't my
usual one. We got it back on. It felt "bunched" in therapy according
to the therapist, who pulled up on the 5-ply white sock and the gel
sleeve, and so far it stayed on through therapy.

But we may need to have the fit checked.
You think? (grin)

Anyway, someone is coming out tomorrow or the next. It's not unreasonable -- this Kiwi I believe dates to around January 15th or so. That's around six weeks. Guess my stump continues to shrink.


-- Today went to the front lobby and tried a sit to stand at the 17-17½" level on a bench seat. That's home toilet level. Tried using the yoga blocks as handles to push off, but the bench's surface was a bit soft. Took some assistance to get up. Try with the heavy cane on Friday.

-- Complained a bit to the PA on med team on Monday. As a result, talked with with one of the physical therapists in charge. And I am now cleared to do sit to stands with the hallway railings by myself. And I will be scheduled to be up and in my chair by 9:30 Mon-Sat even on days with later therapy. It's sometimes hard to get help on days I don't have a scheduled time.

-- I am told that if I get a leg soon, that not only should I pick up walking again quickly, the motion will help with my one-legged motions.

-- The financial advisor came by. Why? Because your 120 days are almost up. Uh, no... it reset on January 1st, according to the insurance company. Oh. Well, have you considered Medicaid? Uh, no... what does that entail. Well, cashing out insurance policies and spending down savings and assets... Uh, no! Fuck that shit!

-- Trying to do walking on carpet with lighter walker. Also stopping, standing and starting again. Almost able to do that. Need more distance and longer standing endurance. Still think cutting my therapy hours in half is stupid.

But I am getting stronger.


So a new DSL modem showed up at home. We have to convert Real Soon Now. Sigh. Alas, the WiFi router won't connect. And the info I need is buried on the desk, including the password.

But... the new modem has WiFi, which they turned on. Mrs. Dr. Phil connected up her laptop, Kindle Fire HDX and the Echo.

But... not our lovely old HP DeskJet 6980.

So, a stopgap measure, we ordered an OfficeJet Pro 8610 3-in-1. Well, we needed to replace the last, dead copier/scanner anyway. But I'm bummed that I don't get to play...


Dr. Phil

Ooh, Shiny

Sunday, 28 February 2016 11:02
dr_phil_physics: (kates-first-oscar)
I've been keeping track of movie openings, as usual, but not closings so much. I mean I've missed the final installment of The Hunger Games, the new Star Wars. Likely to miss the final installment of Divergent. Sigh. Haven't checked the local theatre listings in months.

Oh look, Hunger Games 3.2 is at Celebration Woodland, the second run theatre. And VII is still playing first run at Celebration North. Both I'm sure will run out before I can do movies. No Creed or Deadpool on the big screen for me, I'm afraid...

Yeah, I was looking today, just because I haven't in so long.

But out favorite Holland 7, is undergoing more renovations...
This spring, get ready for comfortable plush electronic recliners in every theater at Holland 7. Get ready for an all new spacious lobby, new box offices and concession stand, new concession offerings like Nathan's hot dogs, self-serve drink refill stations, party room for birthday rentals and new restrooms! Reserved seating in every auditorium to follow the renovation!
We knew that the comfy seats in Theatre 5 would be done in the others, but I didn't know they were expanding concessions. Hot dogs are good. We've lamented that they didn't go beyond popcorn, candy and I think nachos.

The restrooms have been functional, but tired. I'm hoping for a nice handicapped men's room. Or better, a separate family/handicapped one. I suppose they could rebuild into the open spaces, for better accessibility. Funny how you really notice ADA compliance when you need it. (grin)

Holland 7 has always been a lovely, local family theatre. They get good repeat business despite glitzier plexes in West Michigan, including the Holland 8 in town. So I'm hoping they don't break it. I don't think they will. Not every movie theatre has to sprawl.


For the second weekend in a row, we are down one of the two passenger elevators. I heard that the one broke at 10pm Saturday night with a staff member on board.

I did get this morning's aide Joy to take me outside, though, after I got up. Does that make this a Joyride? Mostly sunny, breezy, 52°F at 10:45 am -- I was not going to miss this. Fer sure...

Off day from therapy. May have some visitors today, beyond the usual Sunday Mrs. Dr. Phil visit. Hoo boy, big excitement!

Oscars tonight. There's some talk about La Kate from Steve Jobs. We'll see.

Dr. Phil


Saturday, 27 February 2016 18:15
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
(1) Stepped up the little 1½" ramp in the parallel bars. Both the ramp side AND the step-up side. Do this with the walker and I can get into the house.

(2) Did a 180 in the parallel bars. That means that next I can walk the six feet of the bars, turnaround and keep walking. Endurance.

(3) First time I ever stopped and stood -- briefly -- in the lightweight walker and then resumed taking steps. Need to work on this. Standing on one leg requires effort and wears the leg out same as walking. And I won't be able to sit and rest at random intervals.

(4) I thought there were four new things I accomplished in PT this morning, but can't think of the other. So I'll use this block to whine about not getting enough sit to stands or standing endurance with the reduced therapy schedules. I could do these as part of my free exercise time, but I was absolute clearance from people. We're working on a lot of different things and you can only accomplish so much in an hour.

On the plus side, during Mrs. Dr. Phil's visit yesterday, we measured the one chair in the room as in the 17-something inch range. There's also these low benches in the front lobby that we should check out. Needed for low sit to stand heights for life at the home toilet...


Beautiful day today. The heavy snow is gone from the trees. Much of the snow has melted on the grass. Tomorrow will be in the fifties, with maybe some rain. Sunny Monday and Tuesday. Then another round of snow to start March.


Dr. Phil


Friday, 26 February 2016 17:52
dr_phil_physics: (snowflakes-4)
I suppose technically you could say it snowed today.

If this was spring, I'd say outside looked like cottonwood season -- or maybe Mayflies. Large, fluffy loose conglomerates of snow flakes wafting about. You know it's not serious when you watch them going up as much as you see them going down. When you can still see individual clusters out twenty, thirty feet -- it's not really snowing.

And... it's stopped. Hardly had time to get out the Kindle and start a blog post.

This morning someone said, Oh it's snowing. And I saw one... two... three... flake clusters wafting upwards. Yeah, it wasn't snowing. It was flaking.

I also saw one goose flying along. I don't call that a flock, either.

Had a very pleasant visit with Mrs. Dr. Phil this afternoon, who brought another small container of the excellent lasagna, along with a small bottle of Simply Limeade, as she's been doing. Looked at funnies, talked about the online class she's teaching. Gray, but no threatening weather. Roads dry.

I guess that yesterday's storm was part of Winter Storm Petros.*** We really didn't get much snow, but the winds made a mess of things. I've not been recording these snow (non) events to say how terrible it's been. Rather to document.

Also I worry. Even if I were out and about, I'd be worried about the idiot drivers. In the U.P. they used to say that by Christmas the idiots will have all wrecked their cars and be off the road, while the snowbanks would be high enough to cushion your slideoffs. Alas, this winter we haven't had much snow. It's the end of February, and everyone thinks they're back in snow driving form. They aren't.

And this year, Mrs. Dr. Phil is on her own.

Ironic that I was going to take this semester off this year, as I did last year, but they asked me to teach Modern Physics, PHYS-3090, which I haven't taught in what... 14 years? And THIS winter would've been the one to navigate with my walker?

Damn. (grin)

I still hope to teach in the Fall. Unless I can't negotiate with a prosthetic. And I am not anticipating that.


Oh, and I mentioned doing sets of 60s in my exercises this morning. Actually, the hardest one I did a set of 70. My RT therapist says I'll feel that in the morning. (double-grin)


Dr. Phil

*** Have I mentioned that Weather Channel is stupid? In their graphics, WINTER STORM is in white against a dark blue background. PETROS or whatever storm name is in red. It's not high contrast, and on these TVs which aren't set right for HDTV on all channels, it's too fuzzy to read. And this year they hardly ever mention the storm name aloud. Dumb infographic.


Friday, 26 February 2016 12:41
dr_phil_physics: (solar-eclipse)
Well, it finally had to happen. A clear morning, and the rising sun peeked around the brickwork outside my window and shown in my eye before I got up. Lots of mornings it's gray and cloudy, but I've seen the brightening moving to the east and earlier each morning.

Was pretty sure I wouldn't make to the Daylight Saving Time change, which would push back the clock from 7-ish to 8-ish. But that doesn't stop the advance eastward each dawn.

Guess I'll have to put one of my yoga blocks on the one tray table to make a Sun shade. The window shade covers the whole expanse of windows in one fell swoop and I won't have it pulled down and block the rest of the world.


Did reps of 60s with my black theraband exercises in RT. The therapist sat far away for the one exercise, in case the band snapped as I pulled the bands down. (grin)


Dr. Phil

Two Weeks?

Wednesday, 24 February 2016 22:15
dr_phil_physics: (snowflakes-4)
The night sky is orange tonight --- filled with falling and blowing snow lit up by sodium lights...

Don't know what the depth is, but we're supposed to be getting an inch an hour with winds through the night. Mrs. Dr. Phil said both neighbors had plowed our driveway tonight.

Today was my surgeon's visit. Revision surgery was on the first. Sutures removed today. Everyone is happy with the revision results.

Can the stump get wet? Yes. Just not soaked. Shower Sunday...

What about... weight bearing?

In two weeks, March 9th, Dr. Fras will check. But he thinks he'll approve it.

Leg? Leg?! Leg!

Otherwise, just a routine visit. Other than the 21st century twist. Mrs. Dr. Phil has been stopping by the hospital and riding along on the ambulance. But with the weather getting shittier as the afternoon progressed, that didn't seem smart.

So I brought the Kindle Fire HD with me and we Skyped her presence. I held the Kindle over my stomach so she could watch the sutures come out and the steristrips being applied. Huh. They come on tape, so you can put like three in a row all perfectly spaced. I did not know that.

Coming out of the Lake office plex, there was a Ford Explorer encased in two inches of wet snow slush, everywhere including the glowing headlights -- except for the pattern from the two wipers. Alas, the Kindle was packed up -- no photo.

EMTs arrived here at 1:45 and I was back here at 3:45. This despite a slow drive on surface streets, rather than the freeway. Interesting radio chatter -- at one point a crew was informed they were the only backup for the city of Grand Rapids. My crew left to see where they could help the chaos.

... Leg?

Two weeks to the start of that process. Back to work in the morning...


Dr. Phil

Steppin' Up

Tuesday, 23 February 2016 23:46
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
Today's new trick...

Stepped up onto the little wooden ramp normally used to get up into the parallel bars. It's maybe 4-6" wide and 1½" high. Much like the door jam from the garage to the kitchen at home. I had the therapist place it across the floor of the parallel bars.

See, a comfortable bariatric rated wheelchair won't fit into the door, so I'll need to use the walker to get into the house.

A few weeks ago I wasn't getting much clearance off the floor. But I'm doing better. So I suggested this test in the parallel bars. We'll probably test this with the folding walker on Thursday.

Also worked more on walking on carpet. Also suggested we try walking, stopping, and resuming. After all, there won't always be a therapist following me with a wheelchair. Not quite there yet.

Lovely day. Clear in the afternoon and into watching the full moon rising out my window.

The storm... may not be passing east enough. Snow starts in afternoon. Gusts to 40 mph. Heavy wet snow. Possible white out conditions into evening rush hour.

If Mrs. Dr. Phil decides to abort coming here to ride to the appointment with my surgeon, I'll take my Kindle Fire and we'll try to Skype her in.

She's meeting a contractor tomorrow about things for the house.

Insurance messed up with covering the ambulance to the surgeon's visits. Um, how the fuck am I supposed to get there? Walk eight feet at a time with someone following in the wheelchair?



Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
Today we tried the sit to stands from the bedside. But the surface is too soft, even with yoga blocks to push up on. (This is not the bed we did slideboard transfers with a while ago.) Wednesday we'll try sticking a slideboard under my butt to make a firmer surface. Got down to effectively the 19" toilet height here and used the heavy duty cane.

After some wheeling around and a brief visit outside, we worked with the knotted black theraband over door. Ended up doing sets of 50s instead of 40s. Finished up with leg exercises -- 50s there, too.

My arms are definitely tired. Go me. Rah...

Last night I saw another almost full moon rising -- 99.7% -- so I've been here about three lunar months. There are times this seems short and others where it feels like forever. Whatever, I am not merely marking time before Wednesday's appointment with the surgeon. I am making advancements, dammit.

That murderous sonofabitch Uber driving murderer in Kalamazoo picked up at least one Uber fare in the middle of the random killing spree. Last night a WMU student was shot somewhere in the fraternity district. I guess this time the campus alert system did go into effect.


Typically we make a vat of something on Sunday -- anything which takes time to make. Mrs.Dr. Phil had made spaghetti. Now we love leftovers and our spag sauce makes a great lasagna. But usually we eat up the sauce before there's time to make lasagna. Well, with only one person at home, Mrs. Dr. Phil had plenty and made a lasagna on Saturday, before going to a game night. She's been doing a no boil bake, which works well. But putting the uncooked lasagna into the baking dish does tend to make some hard or chewy edges where there isn't enough moisture surrounding the noodles.

But the newspaper last week had a thing about soaking the noodles in salted water before baking. Another source online suggested just hot tap water. She did that and after setting up overnight, the bit we shared on Sunday was scrumptious. Yay, lasagna.

Wednesday's weather may or may not include heavy wet snow. Naturally that's the day to go to the surgeon's.

There were tiny pancakes for breakfast, but they were good. Unlike the biscuits on Sunday that were way over baked. Not really burned, but too crunchy on top and bottom to cut. Not enough syrup to soften. Very find of biscuits and maple syrup as ersatz pancakes. Disappointed yesterday, redeemed today.

Weekends can be a mixed bag for staff. And one of the two main elevators has been Out Of Service since Saturday early... Traffic jams. Mrs. Dr. Phil walked up to the fifth floor on Sunday! Carrying stuff!


Dr. Phil


Sunday, 21 February 2016 18:17
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
I am doing a semi stand from the wheelchair now -- pushing up on both wheelchair handrails and then transferring the right, then left, hands. Results in less sliding of the walker. Plus, it's like how you get out of a chair...

No one bracing the walkers any more.

I can do up to 18 of the smoother swinging step hops in the lightweight folding walker. On the gym floor, the hallway, and as of Saturday, on the hall carpet behind the PT gym and the shag carpet in part of the OT gym. Our carpet at home has a nap somewhere between the two.

Can now get the wheelchair through the tight door in my room and the dining room. Mobility.

Can back onto the elevator by myself. Mobility.

Got my aide to bring me and my stuff down to the gym, even though no therapy scheduled. Doing boring reps with weights. Strength.

Figured out how to fold my shirt into a pouch to hold Kindles.

Dammit, I will safely get out of here.


Lovely day today. We spent some time outside in the sun while Mrs. Dr. Phil was here. Last night she made it to a game night in Standale. I briefly said hi to everyone over Skype on the Kindle Fires.

Filled out my Michigan primary absentee ballot today. No, I won't tell you who or what party.

Wednesday is my next surgeon's appointment. Should get stitches out from the revision surgery. Waiting on clearance for weight bearing on stump.

Gosh, Battleship is a bad movie.


Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
This morning's Channel 3 news was all about a mass shooting in Kalamazoo.

Some guy shot and killed two people at a car dealership, and then four (or five) women in a car outside a Cracker Barrel at 9th and Stadium Drive. Suspect was pulled over and arrested, following security videos. No motive. It's billed as a random act of violence -- I suppose that means there could be other victims.

I was told by one of the aides here that WMU students a few mikes away were complaining that the shootings didn't make it onto the university's alert system before the arrest.

One news report suggested that this Jason (a) was an Uber driver and (b) there'd been a posting on Facebook about a dangerously erratic Uber driver who could be the same guy. During their ride, the Uber vehicle sideswiped one car and didn't stop, which then played slalom around cars on West Main at 80 mph and refused to pull over and let the couple out. None of this is confirmed, the Facebook post said 911 was called but the police weren't all that interested. The police say they were aware of the incident.

The first comment on the Mlive news story about the Uber driver suggested that all Uber drivers should carry a gun. Second comment said, they do. Third comment was that maybe Uber drivers should carry a second.

Uh, did these idiots read the story? The Uber driver was described as reckless and you want him armed, too? Oh, maybe he was...

Unfolding stories ars always chaotic. But noise doesn't help.

The possible seventh victim was fourteen, but it was confusing online just now which report is correct. The sixth victim was eight.

News at 11?

Dr. Phil

Heavy Duty

Saturday, 20 February 2016 01:32
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
A few years ago, when I just had the compressed nerve, I bought a cane at Walgreens -- just to help with balance at ConFusion. Amazingly, it also bought instant politeness. Plus I bought a good looking cane.

I've bought a number of them. Changing the rubber tips is a pain, plus I am overloading them.

Today the heavy duty 500 lb rated cane came. Much more secure feeling during a toilet transfer test. I was getting a bad feeling that overloading the old cane felt unsteady and could buckle any time. I was putting a lot of weight from my left hand on the cane.

Alas, we never did the full weight on the new cane test without the assist, because when I got up,the grab bar on the wall shifted on its mount.

This. Is. Not. Good.

A repair order was issued.

I did get outside for a few minutes. Thursday morning the 7:30am temp was 6°F. This morning with was 52°F. Huh.

I am doing reps of 30s in my arm and leg exercises, instead of 20s. A few weeks ago I was doing 10s. Strength is coming. Maybe I was ripping the grab bar out of the wall. No, not really.


Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (us-flag)
In the last week or so, we've seen such things...

-- Two candidates going after each other as to whether the other could speak Spanish.

The amusement factor here was having one of the inmates at the hospital venture that neither could speak any Spanish he'd ever heard. In their defense, I pointed out they had Cuban roots, while my friend spoke Brooklyn Puerto Rican Spanish. There are a lot of dialects.

-- Two candidates arguing who has done more for minorities and women.

-- An argument as to whether real feminists and women had to vote for a woman.

Funny, this argument never showed up for Carly Fiorina.

-- Finally, Separation of Church and State has been brought up by the Republicans.

Against the Pope.

While one of the campaigns touts they have 300 pastors endorsing them.

-- Voter suppression is argued for holding the Nevada vote on Shabbat. Again.

As opposed to the elimination of Sunday voting in some multi-day voting, ending a tradition of voting after church.

Welcome to 2016.

I reiterate -- I still don't think we've seen the November candidates.


More of Mrs. Dr. Phil's spags to supplement dinner. Oh yum.

Folding walker in the hallway. Made good headway. Followed PT with independent exercises with hand and an ankle weight. A little soreness on the sides of the right knee -- connected to a tender spot in front. Ah, the patella tendon. We're obviously working it. Make it stronger...


Dr. Phil

UPDATE: For posterity's sake, long after we've forgotten about the endless 2016 primary campaign... the players are:

· Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz
· Bernie Sanders and Hilliary Clinton
· Pope Francis called Donald Trump on his wall building immigration plan, saying Christians build bridges, not walls. The Donald said it was inappropriate to call anyone on their faith and anyway the Pope had been duped by Mexico.
· Ted Cruz had 300 pastors behind him in South Carolina.
· Nevada Caucuses held on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. Apparently not an issue in South Carolina's Republican primary.


Tuesday, 16 February 2016 23:54
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
A few weeks ago I came to the realization that one thing I was missing here in hospital was things that go crunch. Hell, the potato chips arrive under the dome on the hot plate with the hot food -- and go from limp to soggy. Order lettuce for my sandwich -- almost a crunch. Of course, now that I'm eating in the dining room, I have resumed eating salads. Especially now that I've found the bleu cheese dressing. Not that bleu cheese is crunch, mind you.

Anyway, Mrs. Dr. Phil has been bringing in Ziploc Snack Bags of pretzel nubs and Triscuits. Early on, I'd eat a whole baglet at once. Now I split it over 2 or 3 days. Yay. Crunch.

Today Mrs. Dr. Phil brought some spaghetti she made the other night. O yum. Including the really thin spaghetti. Funny thing, they had spags here the other day, but they didn't use spaghetti, but fettucine. Yum, too.


Did more folding walker in the parallel bars. Two sets of three runs of six feet. Then took it on the road for the last stand, facing across the width of the gym. Was going to feel it out, but ended up going eight feet. Still a little heavy, stompy. But way better than the hopping I was doing a few weeks ago.

May try on a slightly smaller wheelchair next time, too. Trying to make this all real. Net surgeon visit is the 24th, a week from Wednesday.

And oh god, there's another Huntsman movie. Thankfully it's a prequel, so no Twilight of the Snow White. Charlize Theron was the best part of the first movie. So evil...


Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
Had both RT and PT today -- perhaps the last day of both on the same day.

I suggested this morning, after doing some warm-ups of swinging steps in the parallel bars, that we take the folding walker I tried the other day and put it in the parallel bars. This way, if I did tip it over, I couldn't go far. Widened the parallel bars so my hands would be clear.

First stands used the parallel bars to get up. But on several stands I switched to getting from wheelchair to walker. Huh. I might get the hang of this. With the right balance, I could minimize any hint of tipping to the left with my overheavy left hand.

Then on to trying the swinging step. Not nearly as clean or as far as with the rigid parallel bars, but I did travel most of the length of the parallel bars in one go -- and repeated it.

For me, this is excellent news.

There are four things preventing me from going home today.

1 -- ability to transfer to a toilet, use it and get back up, safely.

2 -- maneuver around the house safely by some means that aren't a wheelchair.

3 -- get in and out of the house safely. There are four six-inch stairs.

4 -- get in and out of the Bravada on the passenger side, if not the driver side.

I've been looking at crutches to manage #2, but it is slow going. And a bit scary. We are looking at getting a garage wheelchair lift to address #3. We aren't getting younger, and having a lift will have uses other than a wheelchair. Starting cost looks like perhaps two thousand and installation.

An inside lighter weight walker would also serve #2. As might a knee walker -- or both.

It certainly doesn't hurt that the heavy duty folding walker brought down from LTAC on the 6th floor is black. Somehow the plain aluminum ones always look cheap and flimsy. My big walker is black, as are my canes. Silly, but you can gain security and confidence from the damdest sources.

In OT/RT, we're getting good at transferring to a toilet with a handrail and one cane. Alas, it's at a 19" height, nearly two inches more than at home. And I've had them order a new cane. My cane specifically is rated at 225 or 250 pounds, at with a modest assist on the gait belt, I am really overdoing it with a hard left hand. The height issue we'll address by using my bed, which can be lowered much lower than any of the mat tables in the gym. I'd like to be able to sit to stand at the 15" level, if I can. That will all help with #1.

Note, this just gets me home. Still therapy and still waiting for the promise of a second leg. It doesn't mean we'll be going out to movies or dining. I've not even tortured myself to see if Episode VII is still playing in the area. (grin)

But I've been through a variation of this before.


Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
It was shower day today.

Not a trivial thing in a hospital. My last shower would have been in October 2013, when I was here last. Since then it's been sponge baths -- with the heel wound and balance issues, I was never cleared to shower at home. We tested using the shower, but ended up using the overhanging part of the tub chair and bathed outside of the tub.

But the healing from the revision surgery looks good and we wrapped the stump and kiwi in plastic anyway.

My last hair wash was in mid-November in my kitchen sink.


It's cold outside, lows near zero, but a warm up is coming. Frankly the snow storm here on Fuller was three days of dud. The sidewalks are clear and grass is visible. Heavy lake effect brands elsewhere, I guess over a foot of snow. But made it.

Rest day on Sunday. Disney showed Frozen. FX is showing Thor movies. TMC had Sabrina and Casablanca.

Yesterday I took a few steps of some sort with one crutch and a handrail -- I guess we made it to the end of the short hall. Played with a more ordinary folding walker -- might be useful indoors. But I have to be careful not to tip it over...


Dr. Phil

Two Down

Sunday, 14 February 2016 00:48
dr_phil_physics: (potus)
Ugh. The Presidential campaign for 2016 has been going on forever -- pretty much the day after the 2012 election. Usually that's hyperbole. Not this time. Lots of campaigning openly in 2014, 2015... at one point at least 16 Republican candidates alone.

I've been composing a commentary piece for a year. It's central thesis hasn't changed. In my opinion, we haven't seen the eventual candidates possibly for either party. I'm expecting one or both conventions to be brokered.

The GOP central forces can't stomach Trump and are worried a strident candidate will lose them the White House. The DNC has to worry about the Anyone But Hilliary and A Socialist Can't Win forces out there.

Debates, which have become sound bite theatre, have been particularly worthless, despite the inordinate number.

And astoundingly, Michael Bloomberg could, in fact, mount a successful independent campaign. He'd need an army to get him on the ballot in fifty states, but he's got a billion dollar war chest in his back pocket, without ever having to waste money and resources or his soul on fund raising. Seriously, he could appeal far more than the other billionaire who has never served in office anywhere.


Shit has finally gotten real.

Some object, no, strenuously object to the First In The Nation duo of the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Damn the demographics, I want the candidates and the reporters to slog through winter fallow corn fields and the rigors of New England weather. Sure, it's not a lot of delegates -- or eventually electoral college votes -- but that's my point. I don't want the first primaries to be in comfortable California and Florida and have the elections sewed up before it begins.

Besides, I like traditions. This is the 100th anniversary of New Hampshire as the first primary. And having the wacky Iowa caucus system which calls on people to stand for their candidate -- love it.

And that's pretty much what I was going to say after two weeks of real and Iowa/New Hampshire in the books.


Shit got realer tonight.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died.

Jeez, he wasn't on my radar for next justice to leave the bench. I would've put even money on Ginsburg or Kennedy. And yet I was surprised to realize he wasn't in the middle of the pack, but the longest serving member of this iteration of the Court.

Supreme Court nominations had been a back burner issue in this election, figuring the next President could change the composition of the Court.

And this Senate might refuse to approve any candidate until next year.

Shit's gotten real and finally this campaign has an issue.

And as I've said for a year, not here on the blog, I'm not sure either party has seen their candidate emerge.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (bow-winslet)
Valentine's Day Weekend -- Sunday is the 14th.

So, what romantic movies are on Friday night?

TVLAND had Love, Actually.

But TCM, after Tootsie, ran Kramer Versus Kramer. And followed that with... The Deer Hunter. (grin)

Yup. Love is in the air...

Marooned (1969)
Turner Classic Movies

Earlier tonight I ran into the movie Marooned. Great book by Martin Caidin, who was one of my favorite authors in the 70s. This was a huge, big budget Apollo era space movie. Excellent NASA and USAF support. Hell, they even used a real Apollo command module as a set, to say nothing of being faithful to the main story in the novel. (They skipped Pruett's backstory, which is the other half of the book.)

Loved this film. Still do. But...

The visuals in space have always bothered me. And don't tell me it's just dated, that it was the late 60s. I've seen 2001. And zero gee is affected by moving... slowly...

And there's technical issues. The Apollo moved the wrong way when the hatch blew. Why are they hearing the beeping representing the Soyuz? And where are its solar panels? The X-RV cockpit, and especially that absurd canopy hatch, were clearly Hollywood. Some technical issues were done to minimize confusion, but to someone who knows, they seem to have conjoined the launch and mission controls, though they used both sets. And goodness knows, the jargon of the launch procedures was there.

And then there's this:
In 1991, Marooned was redistributed under the name Space Travelers by Film Ventures International, an ultra-low-budget production company that prepared quickie television and video releases of films that were in the public domain or could be purchased inexpensively. As Space Travelers, Marooned was mocked on a 1992 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, becoming the only Academy Award winning film ever to receive the MST3K treatment.
Yeah the cut version is incomprehensible.

Still, as an advance on Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz, and even the Space Shuttle, it's worth seeing. Besides, it's Gregory Peck. And you get to watch Gene Hackman go nuts in space. (grin)

Down in my office, I have a copy of the original novel, which is Mercury based. The one I read As a teen was the updated Apollo version. Alas, it will be months before I get back to my office...

Dr. Phil


Thursday, 11 February 2016 00:33
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
Hospital time allows me TV time. AMC and TCM have been showing lots of great stuff. Jurassic Park trilogy, Lawrence of Arabia, The Great Escape, A Few Good Men, most recently...

Some are shown multiple times. And I often join them in progress.

Since I don't have a TV guide -- seriously, the online sites suck and TV Guide has always pissed me off -- I am often surprised.

Tonight I hit a movie in the opening credits. Guessed the movie. And was right. I settled back and enjoyed an uncut movie with no commercial interruptions. An old friend I haven't seen in years.

Bullitt (1968)
Turner Classic Movies 11pm

Y'all know this film for two reasons. Steve McQueen. The Car Chase. Or perhaps your pair is Mustang Fastback versus Dodge Charger. But the rest of the cast is superb. Robert Vaughn as the oily Senator. Don Gordon as the jaded Sergeant Delgetti. And don't forget Jacqueline Bissett. Water velocities of six inch pipes... grin.

The Chase runs about ten minutes. The cat and mouse resulting in the Mustang coming over the hill in the rear view mirror. The bad guys buckling their seatbelts before they take off. Yeah there are some continuity issues -- who cares? Wikipedia notes the Charger loses five hubcaps...

There long scenes of nothing or something unfolding -- a taxi going through a car wash, before Steve gets to the cab driver. Wait, is he a young Robert Duvall? Why Yes.

And technology. 1960s style. Pay phones. Rotating drum facsimile machines over phone modems. Nurses still in white hats.

Terrific jazz flute score. And tension building strings in the airport scene. Sirens that go on and on. What a great cinematic masterpiece!

That sure looks like a real surgical team in the OR. I didn't realize they had ABD pads then. At one point, the surgeon asks for a Kelly. Huh. They asked for a Kelly on tonight's Code Black on CBS. Might be a real thing. That's the thing with Bullitt -- stylish and taciturn, it feels far more real than other cop dramas. Lots of waiting.

And is there anything lovelier than an intercontinental blue, white and silver Pan Am 707? But the interiors were of a real plane -- all narrow. Too many movies and TV shows make more spacious sets.

Very, very satisfying movie. This is what cinema should be...


Dr. Phil


Wednesday, 10 February 2016 01:13
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
So I ended up in the wheelchair from about 11am to 7pm -- probably the longest stretch in forever, certainly this hospital stay. Normally I've taken a nap after lunch and gotten up for dinner. But the care conference was at 2:30 and lasted to about 4, then Mrs. Dr. Phil and I talked for a bit.

Which brings us to the amusement of peeing. Gentler readers may choose to avert their eyes and leave now.

Some time ago we did a proof of concept test that indicated I could get up from the wheelchair and sit at the edge of the bed and fit a hand urinal under there. Tuesday would be the functional test.

Everything went according to plan, except I couldn't pee! The pressure was there, just no release.

It finally occurred to me that perhaps there was a reason that toilet seats have holes. That perhaps pressure of sitting underneath was constricting the prostate or some other damned body part.

Plan B was to try to stand at the walker. Alas, with my stomach, this proved difficult and so we abandoned the effort. TMI -- I haven't peed standing up in years.

So I had to lie back on the bed and do it horizontally, some 550 mL. Ah, relief...

But this is a disappointment.

Truly it points to being crutch ready in order to be able to go home. For even if I have a prosthetic, it isn't likely to be in place in the middle of the night.


Dr. Phil


dr_phil_physics: (Default)

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