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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

12 days pain haze daze

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

taking my breast shot

12 days pain haze daze.

To go through massive flesh pain to get rid of constant pain?
Or avoid new pain by living with forever increasing old pain?
That is the question.

Every time I’d tell the doctors I’d gone through hip replacement surgery, they would darkly hint how much harder a shoulder replacement is, so I figured I was in for a bit of a slog.

Started down pain road during prep when one doc said she’d gone through two shoulder ops, one with a neck nerve block and one without, and the one thing she knew was I did NOT want to be cut open without a block.

So they brought in an ultra-sound machine to help find my phantom neck vein, injected a bunch of uncomfortable stuff in through a needle while saying things I didn’t want to hear like “you don’t want to miss this because that’d mess with his heart.”

When they were done I told them it hadn’t worked because I could still feel, but they said it was too dangerous to do twice and maybe it’d kick in later. Never did. Never worked. Never blocked pain, which was nasty because they assumed when I was coming to in recovery I was pain-free when in fact I hurt so much I thought something had gone seriously wrong and was trying to explain to them through the anesthesia that the block had failed.

Once recovered they gave me percoset or oxy-codone every 4 hours which got rid of most of the pain, followed 2 hours later by a shot of liquid Dilaudid (Elvis’ favorite drug) which zapped all the pain and made me happy for 2 hours.

I was ecstatic I’d woken from the operation because of course had had small thoughts of not making it, so the day before just in case I did the dishes and a couple loads of laundry to tidy up.

Talked myself out of the hospital 24 hours after operation.

Doc said it was particularly difficult session because my arm ball-joint had holes in it, more than half of it worn away, and it and my shoulder socket somehow had wedged together, which doesn’t compute because I don’t see how I could even move my arm from what he showed me.

First nine days were pretty bad. Pain. Trapped in arm sling. Sleeping upright in chair (12 nights so far) because horizontal hurts. Kept getting chills, uncontrolled hypothermic shaking rattling my teeth and skeleton, often while stuck on the toilet with massive constipation from pain pills and body trauma.

Not a lot of fun.

But it turned the corner three days ago, every aspect getting better, except it’s rather like those nested matryoshka or babushka Russian dolls where each doll breaks open to reveal a smaller doll inside — every level of pain reduction after a brief celebration reveals itself to be another vast sea of just slightly smaller pains and discomforts, so you’re happy you feel better except you still feel bad.

Now feeling near human, running out of pain pills while heading for painful rehab in a couple days, but at least the bad bad’s mostly done while the bad’s good is waiting somewhere down the lane.

But I’m tired of this. Four operations in four years is enough.


I’ve been often bit,
but will not again by these
particular teeth.

– Smith, 10.12.2014

One nasty note: after 4-5 hours of operation, they called Lady into a special room so the doctor could talk to her. This hadn’t happened before, and when she saw the box of tissues, she assumed something had gone real wrong. The doc just wanted to explain that once they’d gone in, they saw I was too far gone for normal repair so they’d had to turn my replacement ball and socket upside down to make it work. They’d wanted to explain a difficult operation had gone well, while she thought they were trying to tell her I was gone. Not nice.

Thanks to Lady for her loving care, thanks to the docs for their skill, thanks to the pain pills for getting me this far, and thanks to grass for easing the potentially too much bodymind distress over all.

better day down the line


Elvis Drug

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

x-ray my new inverted shoulder

I walked up behind the doctor as he was showing my x-ray to his learner-person and overheard, “It was so bad if you had to do them all the time, you wouldn’t want to do them.”

Guess my Swiss-cheesed-bone-ball joint had wedged into my worn-away socket and did not want to come out and play.

Been a bit of inner darkness here past few days due to too much pain, too many pain pills, too little sleep with too much now and naught but vague promise of some better future then, but the doc visit yesterday got be back on track . . . things are progressing to the good.

Time fills an empty fool with brain gruel’s cruel drool.

Elvis Drug

They said
you don’t want to go through this
without a neck nerve block.
Well the neck nerve block failed,
and boy were they right.

Pain and discomfort
lurk in the pain medicine
just paindrift away.

Oxycodone and
dilaudid (Elvis’ drug)
finely chase the pain.

Before the drugs,
pain in cry, cry in heart,
screaming all alone.

Sitting on the toilet
straining through waste slot pain clot
of painpill constipation,
wonder if this how Elvis died.

– Smith, 10.7.2014


ball & joint lop & swap

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

3-D printed model of my ex-shoulder, 3″ x 4″ x 5″

My left shoulder is upside down.

Went into surgery Tuesday for a ball & joint lop & swap, came home Wednesday with my arm-ball pinned to my shoulder and my shoulder socket glued to my arm-bone below.

The ball of my humerus was a half-eaten hollow, and my rotator cuff was shot, so they performed a reverse total shoulder replacement instead.

I’m used to being the oddball outlot, so it’s fitting. I thank Lady for taking care of me in my one-armedness . . . she washes me all over with warm and soapy water – so sorry for the sorrow worry, wife.

Doc loaned us a 3-D printed model of my before-shoulder, so here are some fotos of the crime. Looks like a damaged feathercock or t-ball hit too hard and left out in the weather too long. Those holes you see through are not supposed to be there.

I asked the doc if I could have my real shoulder bone after for art. He laughed, said no because they shave it away so there’s nothing to give me.

Told Lady I might not do coffee tomorrow because her potent methamphetamine blend gave me a nasty edge that clashed with my pain medicine’s nasty edge which clashed with my pain’s nasty edge which clashed with my uncomfortable body edge — but every time I’ve said that, it’s been a lie. She said we’ll see, so I sang
“Oh say will we see by the pre-dawn’s light
if indeed I go clear or head for the dark bright.”

Strange, I used to love a pain pill high, now it’s an unpleasant bother, muddisome. I cut my dose in half this morning and will stop that as soon as possible. If me from 20 years ago were to read me now, he’d think I’d gone daft.

But boy did they give me a drug fest in the hospital – percosets or oxycodon every 4 hours with a needle of dilaudid in between . And still pain leaked through.

3-D printed model of my ex-shoulder, 3″ x 4″ x 5″


cobalt & clay

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Twixt now and noon they’ll cut my left shoulder off and plop in an artificial one of colbalt and clay . . . odd way to spend the day. Even odder is no coffee this morning, no water, no food, no grass.

Chop Lop Shop

This is day I’m cut,
trade bare bone ball left shoulder
for colbalt and clay.

There’s nineteen muscles
twixt skin and bone for doc’s knife
with my me between.

Weeks of pain and whine
entwined with more morphined aim
right hand left regain.

They cut my shoulder
today, chop and lop it off,
add cobalt and clay.

– Smith, 9.30.2014


lop & chop shop #2

Monday, September 29th, 2014


Checking off my list of 2-armed stuff needing done today because tomorrow they lop off my left shoulder, replace it with cobalt and ceramic, and there’s a 4 to 9 week rehab.

no pain



Saturday, April 12th, 2014

For Dad (and everyone)

Good health thrubbing in you
like the newness of a fetus
the calmness of
a heavy curtain of sleep
closing your eyelids
or whatever accounts
for well-rested awakenings

Like seasons clock the year
good health in you

Fluid ease into Spring
that wet warm earthy breathing
and at the other end of the year
clenched cold that strengthens,
regulates us

What I draw for you now is
not just theoretical chalk
but our own Simon’s world
made in living real color

rosining my bow
on a cello
getting the best
of upswing
and down

Learned ear and capable fingers

A super intelligent hedge fund manager

Reality as system elevated, system exercised,
exorcised of illness

Vivaldi’s seasons
with salad, fruit,
whole grain bread
and lentil soup

Good health enduring in you
like a perpetual motion machine
or at least a long lived one, the
cathartic oxygenating after
great aerobic workouts

The syrup of your blood able,
capable, hardy, strong
and stable

~ Lady



Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013


My main issue
is with my mind and body
this is what makes me feel
one way and another

My mind palpable
buzzing and tight or
relaxed and fluid
and the associated
feelings in the body
that contribute to that
or are caused by it
feedback and
multiple ways

It’s anxiety
that bothers me the most
tight throat, tight head
churning stomach
stew of thoughts

And usually over nothing!

Fortunately I’ve learned stuff

It’s just a matter of remembering
what I’ve learned

What is it that connects this
moment to the lesson learned?
What lasso, platform of grace
makes those neurons connect?

What I’ve learned:
Self-soothing through music, art and writing
conversation, prayer
Self-soothing through putting oneself
in better situations
taking care of what one
handling what one
should handle

How an animal suns itself,
breathing, just being itself
turtle on a log

Cats self-soothe,
they purr if need be
jump start thrums
of happiness

smile, have a warm drink,
a bath, hug yourself

can involve two:
get yourself by
your companion or
family member or friend
and soak up a hug

Develop new habits–
Soothe until you don’t
even realize you are doing
preventative maintenance

Why even call it self-soothing–
maybe it’s just taking care
of yourself–the stuff
of love for yourself!

Love yourself!

~ Lady


Deconstructing Cyborg Smith

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Deconstructing Cyborg Smith

1950s: once a year I’d rip flesh open
and parents would dash me to town for stitches.

1969: first operation, deviated septum.

1976: second operation, nut-cut sterilized.

1977: collar bone, ribs break, crack pelvis.

1985: fall down hill, break both wrists both elbows.

1989: squishy movable blob cut from finger.

1991: alcohol crash burn bled to death, woke in ICU.

2005: cancer cut from voice box

2006: 8 weeks radiation
2006: throat biopsy and removal of nose polyps
which filled my head eye socket to brain pan

2008: hernia operation left side.

2011: right hip replacement.

2012: hernia operation right side.

2013: all but 8 lower teeth removed.
2013: all upper teeth removed.
2013: bone spur cut from upper jaw (today).
2013: in three weeks, voice box bump cut out,
biopsied, will await outcome.

Synthetic mesh in left groin,
more mesh in right,
titanium ball and screw and ceramic socket in hip,
metal plastic eye glasses,
plastic upper teeth and metal plastic partial.

Welcome to Cyborg Smithworld.
I now set metal detectors off in courthouses, airports.

Lady’s searching for my receipt and warrantee,
just to see
but still says she plans on keeping me.

I’m one-of-a-kind prototype anyway,
factory decided not to proceed with production.
For obvious reasons.

So if you want to meet the real me
best hurry
before there’s less be to see.

– Smith, 10.14.2013

ear nose throat – fotosmith


The whole tooth and nothing but the tooth

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Magic mouth – foto Smith

My sister emailed asking if I were alright . . . she was worried because I hadn’t blogged for four days. Guess that says something about how wordy I’ve become.

We’ve posted almost a blog a day since June 25, 2006, which means except for our first ten months, Lady’s and my life is online with almost daily reminders of where we were and what we were doing — 2,846 blogs with more than 7,000 fotos from 10 countries on three continents posted in the past 2,431 days (of course for the first two and a half years Lady and I were both blogging daily).

If the cops were to pick me up and ask what I was doing 5 years ago, I could read the blog and tell them.

This is kind of funny because when Lady started blogging in June 2006 I asked her why she would want to do such a thing; then took a taste myself and got hooked.

I’ve been quiet lately because my last eight upper teeth being pulled and a thick chunk of plastic teeth slapped into my mouth a week ago has consumed my thoughts. Tried an open mic last Friday as a poetry reading test and found I whistle my esses and slur certain thickened sounds whenever my tongue slides against the plastic teeth.

An online article says it takes a week to acclimate to false teeth for every ten years of age, which leaves me with six more weeks suffering before I get used to it. Funny how no one tells you these things before the procedure. I have to sing my lyrics for the first time in public a month from now and wonder how it will go.

Oh well, suffer now for a better tomorrow, in my continuing process of trying to rise to meet the horizon

Take care of your teeth folk; you don’t want to be where my mouth is, which seems to be one of the lower levels of purgatory.

Need some diversions – foto Smith


woe is me, oui (no, not really)

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Transparent skull in dental office – foto Smith

Can’t blame them, they were only fighting for their existence, but two of my eight teeth pulled yesterday did not want to go.

In fact reality conspired against me making it to the dental chair in the first place, even though we left early.

The dental school parking lot was full, as was my first special-knowledge free-parking side street.

The second hidden free-parking back street had an open *trick* parking space which tried to eat us . . . it was an open ice sheet with holes, and as I tried to pull in, the front tire got stuck in an ice-hole pocket while the rear tires were trapped by an ice-lip — the car rear sticking out in traffic. Couldn’t push due to the ice sheet.

I got a chunk of concrete and was smashing the fore and aft ice-sheets to create rocking room when an electrical lineman walked up with blue salt pellets and sprinkled them under the tires (there always seems to be a helpful angel stranger who comes along unbidden when we’re in a serious bind) . . . and between the salt and ice-smashing, it worked.

Headed for the main pay lot because we were running out of time, only to find the parking lot literally gone, turned into a construction lot. Eventually found a high rise lot where I almost backed into another car that snuck up behind me.

After plopping down $550 to pull eight teeth (probably half the normal price due to dental school status), my last two teeth put up a serious fight. Don’t believe one is supposed to hear that much cracking and breaking teeth bone inside one’s head.

Now I have a gigantic chunk of plastic in my mouth masquerading as teeth but basically acting as a gag-reflex initiator . . . as I talk, certain tongue-roof–mouth dances make me feel like vomiting. Fortunately I know I’ll acclimate to this because the body/mind can get used to almost anything (look at the Bush/Cheney years) . . . thank goodness we have no poetry or book readings because I’m going to have to relearn how to talk, and eat, and swallow.

All in all not something I recommend to others . . . what I do enthusiastically shout out though is TAKE CARE OF YOUR TEETH WHEN YOU’RE YOUNG cuz you don’t want to be me right now. I’m in one of those situations where I don’t want to be yet have no choice but to endure.

My mother-in-law, who is four years younger than I, commented that I’m finally toothless . . . reminded her I’m keeping eight bottom teeth, plus I can always gum evil-doers into submission if I must.

Skull in dentist office – foto Smith


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