Archive for the ‘Physical Health’ Category

What Better Time Than Now?

March 21, 2020

It’s an interesting time for many.
It is also a good time to disconnect from the things that can wait and reconnect with the things that have been waiting for you.

If you’re a news junkie who would consume a 24 hour news cycle if you were able to stay up 24 hours at a time, might I suggest you start tackling some of those projects in your home you have left on the back burner because of a lack of time. I also suggest you give a little less to the news feeds all together. Right now the barrage of news is like a flood of biblical proportions, coming in heavy from everywhere. But if you’re watching the news looking for a change in the tide, you’ll have to placate yourself by knowing that news will come as well, just a little more slowly.

So, those projects that have been waiting for you? What better time than now? And, if you happen to be in a household with extra hands, what better way to create family bonding time while having the benefit of extra hands? I get it that you may be ready to pull out what little hair you have, because now you are having to be  parent, teacher, and everything in between.  It’s a great time to reflect on exactly what it means to be a teacher. If you have been pressed into service as one and it is not your ordinary vocation, it provides perspective on what your teachers are doing for your children.

Remember, you are not alone. There are many communities popping up on social media providing a wide range of experiences and services. They range from dance classes to yoga and meditation, to Renaissance Festival vendors and merchants. Even the Kennedy space Center is in on the game, providing plenty of online tools to excite learning. Everyone of these share the same objectives, which is to help everyone else while helping themselves. Make use of these resources. If you have something yourself to offer, what better time than now? We are now at a place where, despite things such as social distancing and social isolation, we have the opportunity to become even closer. Social media platforms have the opportunity to be transformed into the front porch, a place where we gather to share stories and information. But all of that happens only if we will it into existence.

Speaking of the front porch, now is a great time to check in on people. Check in on your neighbors, both digitally and literally. Check on your employees and your peers. Let people know you are there. Continue to exhibit common sense. Continue every day to be the best version of yourself around those that love you and those you care for. And let that love and care spread beyond you. Let’s experience and learn and care for each other together.

A Public PSA About a Very Private Part

December 12, 2019

I had this conversation with my doctor about 5 years ago. He said, “Ron, it’s time to start thinking about this procedure.” And over the following 5 years I had his voice in the back of my head. It didn’t feel urgent or necessary.

But I finally decided it was time. I walked into my doctor’s office and told him and he made the referral.

After doing some research on my own I decided this doctor he’d recommended was the one that should probe around the inside of my bottom. We met and talked and he commented that my physical condition suggested I wasn’t the normal patient they saw since I’m in pretty decent shape for somebody my age. I explained why I was there and we talk about the process. Fast forward 2-and-a-half-months later and I start hearing about how the process and procedure itself is not as bad as the prep. And the gallon of this terrible horrible stuff you have to drink. So I go and pick up the stuff and I mix and refrigerate it the night before so it can be super cold. I added the lemon flavoring, thinking if everything I’ve heard is true it’s not going to make a difference.

Turns out the stuff doesn’t taste nearly as bad as people say. Doesn’t taste delicious either. Now pounding a gallon of this stuff down over 5 hours might be a challenge but if they say you have to do it you have to do it.

Actually, the container that the powder comes in is mostly empty and big, with powder that you mix with water and a lemon flavored packet, to make a super delicious and nutritious gallon of what can only be described as Ambrosia of the Gods, said no one ever. This part of the Colonoscopy prep was tough. The lemon flavor does nothing to mask the density of this liquid that even well chilled, tastes like a combination of a salt lick and Fuller’s earth.

Of course the other thing you need to do is make sure you’re very very close to a bathroom. Doing research beforehand, I found some recommendations. Have juice but it has to be a light-colored juice like apple juice, and vegetable broth. You can’t eat anything the day before and you can’t have anything at all the day of. Many sources also recommend having baby wipes on hand.

So I already had a box of vegetable broth, and half a gallon of both water and of apple juice. And the hour has arrived in which I must now begin drinking this stuff. I’m not going to lie to you, I was really psyching myself out watching the time as I got to the point where I was supposed to start drinking this stuff and I finally decided, I’m going to start a few minutes early.

Among the many things that are recommended: don’t sip this stuff. It is not Brandy. Drink it as quickly and in as few swallows as possible.

And 20 minutes later, the magic starts to happen. It works faster on your body than a Taco Bell Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito.


After prep, Tony the anesthesiologist wheeled me into the room. I asked if they used Versad and he told me they use Propofol. Same impact without the after-effects of a hangover.

He prepped his part of the procedure as the doctor came in and said hi.  When Tony started to administer the sedative, I looked at the other three.

“You’re waiting for me to go to sleep right?” I could feel the stuff slowly covering my brain…


“Ok. Let me settle down on this pillow and…”

Viviana woke me up with a jostle to the shoulder. The doctor stopped by a few minutes later and said, “easiest colonoscopy all day” (not sure I believe him but I’ll take it). He told me everything looks great and he’d see me in a few weeks.


The most important thing to remember is that mammals produce gas, which is why we, er uh, burp and pass gas. The evening post-procedure, do not trust that you have to pass gas, or else you will be changing your shorts all night. Wear a diaper or cotton undergarment if you’d like.

As a note, one of my peers in the stunt industry who has a history of cancer in his family went for an exam at 38. The doctor found a pre-cancerous growth and was able to address it without any other challenges. If he had waited until the recommended age, he wouldn’t be around.

So, if your doctor is having this conversation with you, please seriously consider it. You’re not just doing this for you, you doing it for every single individual who loves you and values your presence.
Consider this: it’s great pipe maintenance and you even get a guaranteed nap.


Death of a Popular Poet

November 15, 2017

Working as an MBA candidate comes with a remarkable series of challenges and responsibilities. Most recently, one of my professors, who clearly was passionate about motivating his students, shared some deep and meaningful insights. He sent me an email in reply to mine in which he shared with me that the pessimist states death and taxes are the only two immovable objects that are a guaranteed certainty.
He then went on to share with me an optimist looks at change and time as certainties. I think he wanted to make certain that I understood the depth and value of both, and that how we launch our perception impacts the way we look at the world.

Yet my perception of the world has recently become a little hazy. Recently I have been forced to reckon with the mortal enemy that is death. In the past two weeks I have had to say goodbye to two people. The first one had given up a long time ago and tip what some might say was a brave choice and taking his own life. But the other, well he was a fighter. But even his optimism was not enough to Conquer Cancer.
Let me tell you a little bit about AJ.
I first met AJ years ago when I showed up for an interview on a radio show that he was one part of a partnership. He and Ernie, a mutual friend, invited me to come talk about a book that had just been released titled Confessions of a Transylvanian. This book, written by an old and dear friend and myself, detailed the experience of being part of a Rocky Horror Picture Show shadowcast.
The very first thing I noticed about AJ was his energy. He possessed this smile and a genuine eagerness to laugh and share.
We laughed a lot during that interview and at the end of that hour I knew I had made another friend.
But it wasn’t until I started working at Epcot with the entertainment team that he and I really started to connect. Everywhere I would have to track him down he was always on the go, eager to chat.

It was during one of these conversations that we both discovered one of our most favorite mutually appreciated holidays, Halloween, offered us no shortage of creative Outlets. I shared with him some of the things I had done when I designed haunted houses, many decidedly low, low Tech, and he shared with me Cutting Edge high-tech things that were either of his creation or off the shelf.
We talked repeatedly about combining forces to create a haunted experience like no other on a ranch for another mutual friend, Dave.

And when, in the process of producing a fairly sizable event, it came time for a DJ, I asked him for recommendations. Instead of a recommendation he suggested he do it.
I learned about AJ that almost like a good book, every few pages there was some new and incredible facet or skill he possessed. I was always learning something new with him.
At the event venue, we took the elevator. He gestured to the walls and said “velvet. ”
He sounded like an old crotchety guy, commenting on the quality of an inferior product. And the two times we were there, for the tech scout and the event, every damn time we rode the elevator, we’d both say, “velvet.” After a while we’d just randomly say “it’s velvet,” and it carried to EPCOT where it stood proxy for a normal greeting.
But that made sense. AJ was not normal. He transcended it.
He was a class all his own, always a pleasure to be around.

I used to bleed alone, keeping my grief and pain to myself. That ended the day I lost my brother, five years ago, and was clear and present when I lost my dad a year ago.
With AJ I have no regrets. I had the good fortune of seeing him damn near every day that I was at work, if you could call what we did work. And he always had time for me and I always made time for him and I am glad for that. Because I have regrets when it comes to my brother and I have regrets when it comes to my dad.
Maybe that’s the thing to take stock of now. If there someone in your life you’ve been meaning to reach out to, don’t wait. Regret is a deceptively heavy burden to shoulder.

I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to catch my breath.
It is a callous thing to say, but I can think of a few people who are probably past their expiration date on planet Earth.
AJ was not one of them. He was one heck of an individual with a lot of light, love, and life still to give.
The world is little quieter today.

Anxiety…Can You Feel It?

October 24, 2017

Anxiety should be called the Beast of No Name, or the lost ancient language from the Tower of Babel. Finding the words to express the frustration, or an event, situation or feeling can be so difficult that there are no words. Internalize the feeling and sensation of extraordinary pain and you find yourself exhausting your energy and resources maintaining a facade for the world around you.
This naturally becomes very taxing and ultimately those closest to you see through it and yet, if you are as stubborn as I am, you still insist on saying nothing.

I Prevail alone. At least I believe I do.

I also bleed alone. That was something my brother observed and pointed out years ago. Another way he and I were so much alike. We tended to keep our injuries, our sufferings, and our pains to  ourselves.
I was in a car accident a year-and-a-half ago. A young mother of two at a stop sign, distracted either by her two boys in the back seat or an electronic device, pulled away from the stop sign and hit me on my driver side of my vehicle.
In the days that followed, the pain started to come to my wrist and my shoulder and a couple of other places.
Having decided that no severe or Serious injury had occurred, the young mother texted me and offered me $200 if we just dealt with it ourselves. I declined. Didn’t feel right.
Over the course of the past year-and-a-half the pain in my shoulder Amplified. It was so bad at times it was impossible to work through. There was also radiating, searing pain in my upper bicep on the same arm.
But I never let anyone know.
I exhausted all options. I initially started physical therapy under the direction of a doctor. It wasn’t helping. They sent me for an MRI which showed some damage. Amother series of physical therapy sessions. The effect was palliative at best. Less than an hour after each session, the pain came back.
I received a cortisone shot and then another and then another. I tried acupuncture and Chiropractic work. I am more of a believer of the first than the second. But neither had lasting effects.
After a year-and-a-half I decided surgery was the only option.
The procedure lasted 2 hours.
After I came out of the OR, the doctor shared the work he had done on my shoulder with my caregivers.
He explained to me during our pre-surgery meeting something he had said before, which is an MRI offers a surface and somewhat detailed, yet not complete, picture. Once inside my shoulder he discovered one of my bicep tendons that anchor to the shoulder was torn too severely to repair. This on top of the ligament, cartilage, and bone damage.
The anesthesiologist came to talk to me, pre-surgery, and told me they were going to administer something called a nerve block and the side effect was I would feel absolutely nothing from my shoulder down to about midway passed my elbow to around my forearm. Sometimes the nerve block is so effective the entire area is rendered useless.
Welcome to my world.
In this case that entire area is my shoulder to my fingers.
I expected, post-surgery, to be calm and in that drug-induced haze one experiences emerging from anesthesia. I expected I would get home and climb into bed, and sleep blissfully.
Over the next few hours following surgery I became extremely anxious and frustrated that my left arm basically hung like some dismembered appendage in a haunted house.
I became angry and impatient, irritated with everyone and everything. I was miserable to be around.
I realized I  had become so anxiety ridden and frustrated that I was taking it out on everyone.
Not having any control over my arm is a kind of frustration that I have never experienced before. It’s in a sling looking to escape. And thanks to gravity, it does so effortlessly every time I get out of bed. And that happens currently every 2 hours because they pumped me with so much Saline that every visit to the bathroom is just like the first visit at a bladder bust, you know, where the bar will lock the bathroom doors and tap kegs, and the beer is free until someone has to go to the bathroom. In such a case people wait as long as they can. I’ve heard some people hold off going until they are in extreme abdominal pain. That’s not me. Undaunted, I get woken up by my bladder every 2 hours because it feels like a fluid-filled basketball. The first few trips I needed help. I needed help getting out of bed, walking to the bathroom, opening the door…and it was an especially interesting time dealing with an elastic waistband, to which I’ll spare you any other  TMI details but know I was on The Struggle Bus.
I can walk to the bathroom by myself now.  It’s the little victories. But 16 hours after surgery I still feel like I have a zombie cadaver’s arm attached from the elbow down.
As I mentioned, this arm slips out of the sling as I get out of bed and in one solid fluid motion drops to whack me in the groin with every step. I imagine the feeling is like strapping a cricket bat to your waist as you walk through town for your brisk morning constitutional.
I’ve gotten better at repositioning this arm and getting it back into the sling. But at first, I was wholly dependent on everyone around me, including my beautiful wife and daughter. And I would watch as they would gently and gingerly place my arm back in the sling. And then it would be somewhat manhandled so the strap that went across my back was properly readjusted.
Not feeling or having control of my left arm from the shoulder down is the most disconcerting, frustrating, and anxiety provoking sensation I’ve experienced during the process. Forget for a moment the fact I am left-handed. Not being able to do anything with my left arm is frustrating beyond words. Living, even temporarily, as an honorary member of the right-handed world, every single action is deliberate. So far I have managed to get ice and water, fix coffee, and accomplished the challenging task of hanging address shirt on a hanger and buttoning it with one hand. It’s the little things, right?
I was a wreck in the months leading up to the surgery. And a lot of those around me and close to me knew. The day before the surgery I called my mom and spoke to her for 45 minutes. See, with her degrees and certifications, she knows a thing or two about the human mind and internal conflict (she says, tongue in cheek, she helps keep mountain folk’s heads screwed on straight. Does the same for her family too, I suppose). Before the accident this shoulder was in Prime condition. In my career profession I had sustained injuries, but never to this area.
I’m told this sensation of no control over my arm usually last no longer than 12 to 18 hours.
It’s been over 16 hours and the only thing I feel is a heavy-weighted numbness, with an undercurrent of tingling.
I still bleed alone with a lot of things. In doing that, I’ve discovered I am hurting those I love which in turn hurts me.
I’m learning a lot about anxiety. I’m learning a lot about frustration.
And I am learning in discovering that those near me that love me,  love me more when I open up about these things.
I’m always going to bleed alone with certain things, but for sanity sake it makes sense to share these things with the people around you, the people who are here for you, the people who love you and who want to help. And all they’re waiting for is for us to speak up.
The key is our words. I’m discovering those who want to help are right there on the other side of the door, ready, willing, and able in most cases.
Meditation also helps. I need to get back to finding that place of peace and calm Within me. With the world beyond my control seeming to spiral out of control, seems to me it’s up to each of us to make our local universe a better place for everyone living in it and stopping through.
Hey! Just this very moment I almost moved my pinky. It’s the little things.

I got it better than most. Things are looking up. I just have to learn, like we all have to learn, there’s no crime or shame in reaching out to others when we need help.

There is always strength in numbers.