Saturday, 5 December 2009

Parsnips, bursitis, bishops and keys.

1. Parsnips are good. I stir fried some tonight alongside carrots, green beans, mushrooms and red peppers.

2. The magical steroid injection worked. I am more or less pain free from my hip bursitis, and I have been able to take my dog Penne on some good walks.

3. The Episcopal Church in Los Angeles elected two assisting Bishops yesterday and today. Both are women. One is a lesbian in a committed partnership. Way to go!

4. I am preaching tomorrow at All Angels by the Sea Church on Longboat Key, FL. Hence I have been edgy all day. I am finding it more and more difficult to prepare sermons in these days of retirement (I enter into three and a half years of retired life tomorrow).

5. I was walking through a parking lot this afternoon and spotted a car key on the ground. The key had a “Saturn” decal. I picked it up and placed it on a wall where it might be spotted by the person who had lost it.

The parking lot led me to a drug store where I purchased a few items.

Just as the clerk/cashier was ringing me up, a man began to scrabble on the floor. He explained that he had lost a key, and was looking for it in the store.

“Is it a key to a Saturn car? I asked.Yes it is”, he replied. “Follow me I countered, “and I will show you exactly where to find your key”. The man was entirely grateful!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Hip pain. Single payer health care. "Penne" my dog

 I saw my primary care physician, the wonderful Dr. Kristin Paulus, on Wednesday 2nd December ’09.

She was sure that my intense hip pain was because of bursitis. 

I was able to see an Orthopaedic Physician’s Assistant today, and after a physical examination and x-rays that diagnosis was confirmed.  I received a cortisone/steroid injection.  Within a few hours the relief was palpable.  I should be free to resume “normal activities” tomorrow.

I will follow up with some “at home” hip exercises, and with a bit of physical therapy. 

How lucky I am!

First: to be in Sarasota where there is an abundance of first class physicians within a few miles of my home.  I cannot imagine how it would be to live in a rural area where the nearest Doctors are many miles distant.

Second:  to be a beneficiary of an American socialistic plan for over 65’s called “Medicare”.

Medicare is a decent enough system but it does not cover all medical costs.  So those of us who can afford it purchase supplemental insurance.  

In this instance I am fortunate enough to be a retired Episcopal Priest.  Episcopal Church retirees are able to purchase the very best supplemental insurance at a bargain price.

Even with Medicare (which is not entirely free - a deduction is made from my social security benefit), and my supplemental insurance (for which a deduction is taken from my pension) I still have to make some out of pocket payments called “co-pays”
Thus my Doctors will be reimbursed from three sources:
1.      Medicare
2.      My supplemental insurance
3.      Me
The paper-work for these three sources is astonishing.

Readers of this blog who are American retirees will “get “what I am writing.

Readers of this blog who are Americans, but not yet retired will have a steep learning curve when they retire.

Readers of this blog who are British will be baffled.  They are used to a much simpler single payer system.  Brits pay for their health care via a payroll deduction known as National Health Insurance.  Their physicians and surgeons are paid by a government salary.

All research shows that British “National Health” is at least as efficient as our American hybrid system.

And the British system is not bogged down by the expensive paper-work which is our American lot.

Thanks to good medical care my  hip pain will soon be o’er.  This would also be true if I lived in Great Britain.

Since I could not walk without severe pain, I sent Penne to her dog-sitters for two days.  She is a lovely dog who is quite happy when Ron, Myrtle and Lee take care of her.
She will be overjoyed when she comes back home tomorrow.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Dog pee

There is a market for spray bottles of dog pee.

About half an hour ago I was trying to walk outside as I took Penne out for her “before bed pee”.

“Trying to walk” is accurate. More about that in a bit.

Anyway, I wanted Penne to have a quick pee, so you could have overheard me cajoling her in my most dulcet tones. “Nice pee, nice pee” I repeated at length. But of course canines have to find that exact spot where another dog has recently sprayed.

After some time, and at her own sweet pace, Penne found her pee place, either in spite of, or because of my earnest pleas.

‘Twas during this nocturnal peregrination that I wished for a spray bottle of dog pee. I could then have sprayed on my front lawn so that Penne could do her thing without delay, and I could get off my feet.

For you see, on Monday morning I awoke with intense pain in my left hip. I had not fallen or injured myself - the pain simply developed overnight. After 60 hours the pain has not diminished. Walking is extremely difficult.  So I will be seeing my physician first thing in the morning.

I’ve been trying to limp around as best I can, partly because I am defiant, and partly because I am trying to be helpful to my best pal Ben whose right (or is it left?) leg is in a cast from toes to just below the knee. He fell on Nov 20th and fractured two bones in his ankle.

Driving is painless, though getting in and out of my car is difficult. So I managed to get to Resurrection House this morning for my Wednesday morning prayer service, and to St. Boniface Church this evening for the
5:30 p.m. Eucharist (at which I was celebrating and preaching) – and the parish dinner which follows.

Being out and about a bit has reminded me of something I already knew. When one has back or joint pain every third person one meets is an expert diagnostician, and knows exactly what remedy to prescribe.

I am amazed that some many people who have never even seen a Medical School have such expertise.

The cool thing is that they can make a diagnosis and suggest a remedy without any physical examination of the sufferer!

As you might infer, I have received so much “medical advice” today. I’ll share the views of one expert. She asked me to point out where the pain was most acute. I pointed to my left hip. The pain, she assured me, was caused by “money problems”.

I was too kind to point out that if her “new age” diagnosis was correct, 98% of Americans would have painful hips!

I have no doubt that my pain is temporary, and that my good Doctor will suggest some efficacious treatment. So I do not need to be on any “prayer chains”, nor do I wish for any “get well” cards!

My sole regret concerns my friend Betsy from Pittsfield. She was to have flown down tomorrow for a five days visit. She has done so in the previous three Decembers to celebrate her Dec 7th birthday.

I am not up to hosting a guest for five days so I’ve asked her to postpone her trip until the New Year.

“Onward and upward!”

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Cabbages and phone calls

My ‘phone rang at 3:00 a.m. today.  I picked it up after one ring.

On the other end was a woman from Fitchburg, MA whom I’ve not seen for nearly 30 years.  She had an odd question.  “How do you cook cabbage? she asked.   I offered two suggestions – steaming or stir-frying.

She called again a few minutes later. Again I picked up my ‘phone after a single ring. She had another question. “Now that I have cooked the cabbage, how do I eat it?”

I could not comprehend why she was calling me about cabbage in the middle of the night

The ‘phone rang for yet a third time.

 This third call woke me up. 

Awakened I realised that I had been simply dreaming about former parishioners, and cabbages.

What I’d been hearing in that half-sleepy state was my senior cat Ada. She was yowling her loud yowl which could indeed, in a dream, sound like a ringing ‘phone.

I giggled myself back to sleep.

Fortunately I remembered  all this today and "wondered" about the mystery of dreams.

It's interesting indeed that a real noise  (my cat yowling) became the sound of a ringing 'phone in my dreams.

As for the cabbage.  Earlier yesterday in a Supermarket, I had indeed contemplated whether or not I should purchase a cabbage!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Too tired

I am a bit under the weather.  Therefore I am too tired to blog today

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Wat too much

I often have too much on my mind.

This “too much” is not about duties, activities, or responsibilities. I can balance those very well.

My “too much” has to do with my thoughts about concepts, ideas, theologies, politics etc. These thoughts race around my mind like an unstoppable merry-go-round/carousel.

Today’s carousel has included:

1. the vote in Switzerland about Minarets.
2. the huge gulf in the ways that Christians in Massachusetts and Uganda think about gay and lesbian people.
3. the ways in which hymns shape our faith – especially a contrast between the wordiness of Episcopal church hymns, and the simplistic nature of what is called “praise music”. Both are quite crummy.
4. the “circling” of the wagons of races, classes, religions and cultures in the face of what we call “globalisation”.

“Stop the world, I want to get off!” 

I cannot cope with this merry-go-round of my mind.

But I can cope with simpler matters – especially good food.

So I will relate with joy that my friends, the Revd. Arthur Lee of St. David’s in Englewood, FL and his wife Rosemary; together with the Revd. David Danner of All Angels Church in Longboat Key, FL and his wife Wafa came to my home for lunch today.

I served a simple lunch with a “main course” choice of either bean soup or fish stew, and good bread.

On the table for dessert were two good cheeses and  fresh fruit.

It was all fairly effortless for me. And the table conversation was great.

Best of all I was able to offer some “home hospitality” to the Lee and Danner families who have shown me such great hospitality in their parishes.