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...and they lived happily ever after. Smith & Lady: poets, artists, photographers & adventurers.
Our relationship was forged to the soundtrack of Yoko Ono's magic,
frenetic, love-laden song, "Walking On Thin Ice." ( play song )

Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ Category

The Bad Narrative Covid Blues

Friday, May 20th, 2022

The Bad Narrative Covid Blues

“You tellin’ yerself lies, boy, got the story all wrong,” laughs the now voice in my head over my miserable misanalysis of then.

10 days ago I took an open pack of hotdogs out of the fridge and microwaved two. Read the back during heating and found sell-by-date 3 weeks past. Sniffed them, seemed fine, so scarfed them.

Was fine till 3 a.m. when I woke in brutal pain . . . knew from experience it had to be food poisoning, which I’d had in Marrakech, and Baltimore, and Cleveland. Don’t know how, but when the body ingests poisons, it tries to flush it any way it can, so I’m in the bathroom, stomach water gushing from mouth, rude water rushing below, mass of pain up and down in and out.

Eventually one runs out of stomach content, but the body keeps on, so you try to bring up stomach lining.

O what a retch am I.

Round 8 a.m. Lady askes how I’m doing. “I think I’d rather die.”

9 a.m. finally get some Tylenol to stay down.

10-noon sleep in LazyBoy, wake with hope.

By 2 p.m. my chilled, shivering body is sitting on the deck in the sun, sucking in heat, toking to control nausea and pain.

At 3 p.m. my 3 a.m. body has regained some of its sense of humor, and I drink coffee, eat well, enjoy the remaining day, and at 3 a.m. wake with bowel water rapids again, but no vomiting. Food poisoning doesn’t work that way, I say. Lady theorizes my over indulgence irritated my irritated innerds.

Went to ExpressCare.

They take blood, give me intestine coating medicine that blocks my bowels, send me home, and call me later saying my blood’s looking bad, my kidneys may fail. Tell me to drink lots of water and come back in 3 days for blood test.

Go back 4 days later, get more blood drawn, then go get my second Covid-19 booster.

Day later (yesterday) Lady gets cold sniffles, then slight fever, then dry cough, thinks it may be Covid. Today we get her tested at the pharmacy. She has Covid. I take a home test. I have Covid.

Lady being logical calls the hospital, they say they’ll send her some medicine tomorrow to help. She has me call too. They look at my bloodwork and tell me my food poisoning wasn’t food poisoning, was Covid instead, and that I’m pretty much over it, my blood and kidneys are fine.

We notify anyone we’ve seen past 10 days, and now wait to see how bad Lady’s bout is going to be, me sitting here knowing I gave the love of my life the disease of our life, and there’s little I can do to ease her burden.

The good news (???) — she’s 27 years younger so has more to fight with, and says she’s glad it’s respiratory rather than far flung bodily fluids . . . though misery is misery, so who knows what that means.

Right now she sleeps, tossing, moaning, groaning, 101°, waiting for some better somewhere down the line.

– Smith 5.19.2022


Lady K eye cancer news (basically good)

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Lady had her extremely rare (1 out of 2,000,000) eye cancer tumor radiated March 2017.

Then in March 2018 she had cataract surgery for that eye since the radiation worsened the cataracts.

For two month she had great vision, better than in years, but now her retina is swelling from radiation damage so they stuck a needle in her eye yesterday to give her a shot of steroids.

The tumor’s dying. Catscans say it has not spread, and is extremely unlikely to.

So now it’s a cat and mouse game of healing her eye from radiation damage.

Last foto is skylight at Cole Eye Institute up at Cleveland Clinic.


in the land of the one eye

Monday, April 10th, 2017

too bright the light

Life with Wife 5

Scrub tub
add epsom salts
fill with hot water
ease in
take a toke
lay back in hot wake
to soak away ache
and phone rings
wife saying
“Can you pick me up?”
“My eye hurts.”

Four weeks ago
doctors took her eye part way out
sewed on 21 radioactive pellets
put eye in
locked her down three days
while radiation bombarded tumor
popped eye back out
removed pellet plaque
put eye in again
sewed inner eyelid shut
and sent her home to hard since
her eye blurry from serious salve
pupil dilated due daily drops
eyeball swollen and bruised
burning from bright
tired of trauma
she works more to see less
amid multiple pains
shooting ache stab throb
burn itch pinch
and she is

“Sure, I’ll pick you up”
because pain trumps pleasure
and love binds both

and baths can be refilled

– Smith, 4.10.2017


Lady K eye tumor update as positive as possible

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Lady K had a cat scan today to see if her eye cancer had spread. It tends to spread to and from the liver and lungs.

Her liver is clean, and they found a couple small spots in her lungs which they say are probably benign and nothing to worry about, but which they will keep an eye on just in case – and if it is cancer, it’s early enough to stop it before it gets started.

So essentially this is as positive a prognosis as one could hope for, especially since her eye tumor is a rare type of cancer (perhaps 2.5 cases in a million) and is aggressive.

So Friday they are going to partially pop out her eyeball, sew a small curved radioactive bead containing 21 radioactive seeds to the rear left side of her left eye, pop her eyeball back in, sew the conjunctiva closed (the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelids) and keep her isolated in a hospital room for three nights, then remove the radioactive bead Monday morning and send her home.

At some point in the next three weeks, the stitches will dissolve and her eye will open again. She’ll wear an eye patch until then.

Doc says her prognosis for killing the tumor is 95-97%. Since there’s no known cancer elsewhere, her outlook is good, and they’ll keep monitoring her monthly for 6 months then yearly through five years to see if it springs up elsewhere.

It’s lousy to get cancer, but since she has it, this is as good an initial prognosis as possible.

This will make two cancer survivors in our family. We did lose a third family member to intestinal cancer – our cat Mandy.

future hope – Lady’s 7 month-old niece Liberty Lynn Green


pixie-cut Lady w/ cancer eye

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Lady cut her hair pixie short yesterday, it had hung below her shoulders.

She did it to break the mental/emotional gloom brought on by discovering two days ago she had eye cancer, and that in 15 days the doctors are going to sew a radioactive pellet to her eyeball for three days to kill the tumor without mushing her mind.

Her online research found a 30-50% mortality rate over 10 years (much of that in the first year), so odds favor us 50-70%.

Her doctor said sewing a radioactive pellet to her eye for three days gets rid of the tumor 94% of the time. The 30-50% mortality rate comes from the cancer having spread to or from the eye, so they’re going to give her a cat scan to see if it’s anywhere else.

My being 27 years older, she’s always worried about outliving me, but now the shoe’s reversed.

She had long hair when we took up in 2005, but when we began traveling for 31 months, she kept cutting it a little shorter each time we got to a new country because long hair and living out of a backpack in foreign lands is a burden, and finally in southern France she cut it pixie short, which has always been my personal favorite of her endless permutations.

Speaking of endless permutations, check out this 70-foto montage of Lady’s looks from 1976-2007 >>>


Status Report 251

No poem today
My brain is fried

Too much grim
Happy denied

Yet hope remains
It will go good

Roll rock up hill
Of endless could

– Smith, 2.23.2017

Lady K’s mugshots 1976-2007


sermon of the mote

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Lady K has a medium sized cancerous melanoma in her left eye. In 17 days, they’re going to sew a small radioactive pellet into her eye, keep her in the hospital for 3 days, then remove it. This could solve the problem.

Only two options with this cancer is radiation or removal of eye, and they recommended radiation, which is effective 94% of the time.

Since radiation can also harm the eye’s vision, there’s a 10-15% chance she could lose sight in that eye in the next 2-5 years, which means 85-90% chance she won’t.

They’ll do a biopsy to see how aggressive the cancer is. If it’s type 1 which only moves from eye to liver, they’ll monitor her liver every 6 months for awhile, and if it’s type 2, they’ll monitor her more aggressively.

This will make two cancer survivors in our two-human family. We lost our cat to cancer.

The world cannot pump this many corporate toxins into the air, food chain, and water and not mess up the bio fluxflow.


Sermon of the Mote

Fear lurks in the bushes
rustles mind’s maybe
robs eye’s line
rubs wrong

Flower pluck song long
when draped in gray
and gauze of gaze

Loss of lens reduces focus
lessens long

I soul lies in eye

– Smith, 2.21.2017


dem bones dem bones dem dry bones

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Neck rods inserted Jan 12, 2017

Post-Op, Day 19

In last dark of night
awaiting new morning dawn

Day reduced to pain management

Night to finding compromise
twixt neck, neck brace, and sleep

Pain as Sisyphus slog

No right and comfortable
just long wrong

Slowly fading to gone

Tired of the pain
tired of the pain pills

– Smith, 1.31.2017

Dem Bones from the 1950s by the Delta Rhythm Boys who recorded from 1934 to 1987

Hip replacement June 2011

Shoulder replacement Oct 2014

Unhealable broken knee Jan 2016

Neck rods inserted Jan 2017 – foto by Lady K


been wondering about my dreams

Monday, May 16th, 2016

spur is about 1/3 from top of foto,
the black protrusion on the right
pushing into the white surrounding
the lighter gray spinal cord

I’ve been wondering about my dreams. I’m a vivid dreamer, totally detailed with things like pebbles on the ground and dust in the basement and spiderwebs, all in color, frequently surreal.

Like to remember my dreams because they give me an idea of how I’m doing mentally and spiritually.

But when I smoke grass every day, my nightly dreams are dumped from short-term memory as I wake, leaving me clueless, and I’ve had a great run of smoking daily for past five months. But ran out a week ago and decided to wait due to finances, and voila, woke with memory this morn.

In my pre-dawn dream, the Akron Art Museum had an open show, so I snuck in and left a live beehive. One woman got stung and caused a scandal. When Lady and I went down to pick up the hive, the authorities asked me to apologize. Lady said she was sorry, which she would have been in real life because someone got hurt, and in real life I would never have done the hive thing for that very reason, but in the dream I said no, I’m not sorry, it was an excellent art interaction. Then the director asked, “Did Chiplis drive you down?” and I said yes. Dream over.

Jeff Chiplis is a 35-year-long friend who creates sculptures from found and recycled neon and is quite well-known – see his work here >

Mary E. Weems, Lady K. Smith, and myself are writing a poem-a-day for May. Here’s today’s poem incorporating the doctor’s description of my MRI showing a bone/cartilage spur in my neck pressing against and bruising my spinal cord causing a 7-month slight numbness and tingling in the fingertips of both hands. Looks like the doctor’s going to go in, scrape the burr spur off and put two metal rods in to stabilize my degenerating neck bones – a laminectomy and fusion sometime this summer.

I’m going to ask him if he can insert the rods horizontally so they stick out of my neck with bolts on the end Ala Frankenstein’s monster.

Status Report 211

Doc sez
There is severe degenerative disc disease
at C4-5.
Exaggerated kyphosis at C4-C5
is demonstrated.
At C4-5 there is moderate compression
secondary to the kyphosis
and degenerative disc bulge
and ligamentum flavum hypertrophy.
One subtle area of abnormal signal
or mass demonstrated.
There is hypertrophic facet arthropathy
bilaterally left greater than right
contributing to moderate
foraminal narrowing on the left
and mild foraminal narrowing on the right.
At C5-6 hypertrophic facet arthropathy.
This causes minimal degenerative
spondylolisthesis of C5 on C6.
There is no spinal canal encroachment.
There is minimal foraminal
narrowing bilaterally.
At C6-7, mild degenerative disc bulge
and spurring without neural compression.
Moderate compression of the cord at C4-C5
secondary to focal kyphosis
and degenerative disc disease.
Going to have to do a laminectomy
to scrap the burr spur off
then fuse the neck bones
to two metal rods.

So I say
Doc, can you insert the rods sideways
so they stick out, and add bolt heads
a’la Frankenstein’s monster?

As I say in a previous poem
I am a man of bad bone.

– Smith, 5.16.2016




Tuesday, April 19th, 2016


Spring’s watercolor renewal:
wood buds, floods green
over winter’s pencil palimpsest
which is fading, fading, fading,

The old king is here

~ Lady


my spine’s on my mind

Monday, April 18th, 2016


Strange pre-surgery preparations . . . carried two 40-pound bags of birdseed up the stairs . . . bicycled over to West Side Market for ingredients for two large batches of soup . . . three loads laundry . . . finishing up my Holmden Hill Community Garden sign . . . gather and send next month’s batch of poems/fotos/songs to Medusa’s Kitchen . . . all stuff I won’t be allowed or want to do in a couple days when I pain pill surf after surgery.

My spine’s on my mind.

Thursday I’m undergoing a laminectomy and spinal fusion . . . they need to scrap away mutant bone and cartilage that’s pushing against my spinal cord causing slight numbness and tingling in my finger tips, throws my balance a little off, and causes me to drop things.

They’re putting two metal rods in my neck to keep it from degenerating further (and maybe even make it better) . . . this will nicely complement my metal hip and shoulder which have already set off metal detectors in courthouses, airports, and Social Security offices.

I’ll be in a hard plastic neck collar for two weeks, a flexible collar for four weeks, and who knows when I’ll be functional again.

Not looking forward to the operation, nor the recovery, nor the worry both cause Lady, but it is what it is so what you gonna do?

Tired of my body being repaired, but grateful it can be. Now if I can only find a repair shop for my mind, one for my soul.

~ ~ ~

The Simplex Things in Life

From the darkness of my third floor window
I watch the traffic light below
go from green
to two seconds of yellow
to short red
whereupon the side street light waits 2 seconds
to turn 12 second green
before 2 second yellow goes back to long red.

2 seconds later
my 16 second red turns long green again
and again and again
night and day year after year
yellow red green
green yellow red
you can bet on the color
bet on the living
bet on the dead.

It’s simple
life is complex.

– Smith, 4.18.2016



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