Sunday, October 30th, 2022

This word is written exactly the same in Italian and in English although it’s pronounced a bit differently. So why am I writing a blog post about this. First of all I haven’t written a post for a LONG time as my friend Renata reminded me not too long ago and also because the circuitous train of thought that led me here. Laura and I usually listen to music with our lunch and dinner meals together and today I chose Aretha Franklin. Why, I don’t know, maybe because I haven’t played this music for a long time. The first song was “Freeway of Love”. This set my mind on a journey jumping from one thought to another. Given that my memory is not what it used to be I was really stunned that I remembered exactly where I first heard this song, I would guess it was in 1985 with my then girlfriend Cynthia. We went to a club called Rockin’ Robbin in the Haight Ashbury (very hippy) area of San Francisco and they played this song. The incredible thing is that sometime I can’t easily remember either the English or Italian word for something like a vegetable. It takes a while for it to bubble up from somewhere inside my brain but this was like a flash and crystal clear. A columnist in the San Francisco paper of that era sometimes related such trains of thought as his “monkey mind” and I see why. So the next thought was that like a fair number of black female singers Aretha got her start in choirs in black churches at a young age. Then my mind jumped to a black church that I had gone to in San Francisco a few times called the Glide Memorial Church. It wasn’t purely black and in fact it attracted lots of people like, well, me. Its church service was, I think, typical in some ways of a black church. A big choir, a lot of audience (maybe congregation would be a better word) participation. It served and I’m sure still does the poor people of San Francisco. The minister at the time was very charismatic and inspirational and the service was always a celebration. There was always a point at which he said we should all meet and great those seated near us, to either side and front and back. It became a very personal and at the same time community experience.

I know that nostalgia has more than one meaning. It can be the longing for something in the past and even the desire to return to that past but that’s never true for me. The meaning for me is remembrance of something emotional and inspiring. Sometimes, especially when I have an, er, altered state of consciousness my monkey mind is in high gear. I think it’s open to memories that are little snippets of my life that have always been there and sometimes in amazing detail. It’s a very pleasant journey through long forgotten paths although obviously not totally forgotten. I started this blog post perhaps 2 months ago and stumbled upon the draft today and decided to complete it.

I will add something more current. Twelve days ago I had another hip replacement. This time I was only in the hospital for 4 days after the operation rather than the 7 or 8 last year. I was anxious to get home because frankly unless it’s really necessary it’s quite boring being in the hospital and largely confined to a bed. By the time I left I had demonstrated all of things necessary to go home, walking and going up and down stairs with crutches among the most important but basically showing that I could take care of myself adequately with the help of my wife. When they said that, yes, I could go home they also told me that they could send me in an ambulance at no charge. That sounded great to me; kind of like going home in a limousine. That part of my joy was smashed a couple of hours later when they told me that I had tested positive for Covid. It’s still a mystery to me how I got infected in the hospital. I was totally asymptomatic but the ambulance was no longer an option. So Laura came and helped me dress, packed the little suitcase with the stuff I’d brought with me and we went home in a taxi. I couldn’t start physiotherapy at home right away because of Covid and I started doing it on my own (lots of web sites and videos available). After 5 days I did an at home test (negative) and uploaded the results to the SSN (National Health Service) site and now things are reasonably normal. I’m well along in the physiotherapy although the therapist will probably come next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Now I have a matched set of hips

There is one particularly interesting item about the new hip. Because my pelvis is crooked from when it was broken in an automobile accident 57 years ago my left leg was, in effect, 2 cm shorter than my right one. I compensated by adding 1 cm to the sole of my left shoe and have inserts in the same shoe that total about 1 cm. I had talked to my orthopedist knowing that I would have to have the right hip done and asked if he could add some length to the left leg. He said he could and to lower the risk I asked for just 1 cm although I could have gone for 2. That means I won’t ever need to modify the left shoe again. So he did it. He came to see me afterwards and was proud to show me that the left was indeed 1 cm longer than previous. In the early spring or maybe late winter almost all of the store have sales here so you can guess what I’ll be buying.

Leave a Reply