As recovery progresses, I am discovering new ways to hurt.  Yesterday’s session with the central vacuum cleaner hose was an eye-opener.  It looks as easy as can be, right?  Plug in the hose and push the nozzle around the floor.  But that nozzle is a bit over four feet from the operator’s right hand, and he moves it from side to side by twisting motions of his hand.  What do you figure the mechanical disadvantage of those movements is, 36:1?  And say the suction produces 1 lb. of friction on a hardwood floor.  That’s 36 pounds on your wrist to move it.  My wrists, arms, chest and all are restricted to a 15 lb. maximum load.  Lots of pectoral and shoulder pain overnight.

Today’s adventure was a drive in my neglected Toyota Tacoma pickup.  The truck started willingly after three months of idleness.  No problem.  It rumbled down the driveway and onto County Road 42.  Up through the gears, until it came time to shift into fifth.  Eyowch!  That movement against the little spring in the transmission to get into fifth really hurts on a muscle that must have been cut off six weeks ago.  I toughed it out with every upshift, but now that it’s home I think I’ll leave the Tacoma where it’s parked for a couple of weeks.



My economics prof once told us: “The only valid principle of taxation is that that tax is best which gets the most feathers for the least amount of squawking.”

Taxation is a messy, morally-ambivalent activity, especially so in a progressive democracy. I support Morneau’s efforts. In fact, tax reform is a precondition of my continued support of the Trudeau government. I am sure there are lots of voters in my situation who share this view.

Give Morneau a set of earmuffs and put him back to work at a dirty, distasteful job. He’s building a better Canada, though it’s sometimes hard to tell because of the feathers in the air.

Google discovered a more detailed examination of this topic I wrote on September 15, 2015:

I watched the videos the kids posted of our Thanksgiving Day walk.  There’s this pale, stiff, sick-looking old guy around the edges of the action.  Much thinner than before, though.  That’s because of the walking.

Bet quickly realized that I would grow bored with the driveway as an exercise track, so she headed off through the plantations of walnuts with the lawn mower, creating trails.  To my amazement she failed to hit a single rock. We now have a variety of routes with a choice of interesting foliage or panoramic views.  The entourage (Bet and the dog) accompanies me on most expeditions, so all are exercised on one-mile hikes, two or three times per day.

That part of my recovery is fine.  Legs, heart and lungs work well.  It’s the rest of the day that causes grumbles.  I can’t really do anything but walk.  This morning I tried to dry the dog and felt a sharp pain down the incision on my chest.  Oops.  Can’t stretch.  Yesterday I moved my Porsche out of the shop to its parking space.  Sore pecs for the remainder of the day from steering an SUV with power steering into a parking space!  Two days before I tried a little run on the Kubota equipped with a belly mower and hydraulic everything.  Sore pecs.  I literally can’t steer anything.

Of course any sort of housework is out if I can’t handle a steering wheel.

On the other hand, yesterday’s turkey and pie were outstanding, and we had a great time with Charlie and Roz and baby Ada, even if Bet had to do all of the work.

So far my bride still seems glad to have me around, but I’ll have to tread carefully in this area.

260 business leaders and philanthropists this week lined up against Finance Minister Bill Morneau with a blunt message I chose to paraphrase as follows:  “If you don’t help us cheat, we’ll vote with our feet!”  Sorry, Guys.  Stephen Harper was your man.  Canadians voted him out.

On this issue I’m solidly on the Government’s side.  Going after tax cheats was my main condition for supporting Trudeau and company.  It takes guts to annoy accountants, lawyers, government contractors and the like, but I spent 34 years getting at best 58% of my salary while funding my own course work and home office, while the various people around me breezed through life with deductions or corporate funding for professional development sessions at family resorts, home offices, boats belonging to their corporations, and finding creative vacation deductions, protected from audit by their accountants.

If you read the petition, they even call themselves “job creators.”  That term was one of Harper’s most egregious assaults on the language, right up there with the time he called members of  an Opposition coalition “traitors.”

Stephen Lewis’s term for the same group Harper called “Job Creators?”  “Corporate Welfare Bums.”



Rehab progress so far

September 26, 2017

It’s been almost a month since the operation where Dr. Bisleri at Kingston General Hospital bypassed two arteries and replaced an aortic valve, so I guess it is time to see if my mind still works well enough to write a blog entry.

I’ll pick at the edges of the fog of anaesthesia and intensive care and further hospital time devoted to balancing hemoglobin and so on, the time when I became convinced that someone had made me a test subject without a will and planned to keep me forever incarcerated in a room in KGH.

But then they let me go home, and better still, my local GP let me quit the diuretics which were wrecking my sleep, and things improved.  For the last two weeks it’s been a boring regimen of careful eating and moderate walking — the only exercise I am allowed, as I must protect the severed muscles of my chest.  Bet has proven an effective and uncomplaining nurse and treatment manager, chef, dog handler, chauffeur and gardener.

With the return of sleep have come improvements to my mental acuity to where pulp fiction again appeals, and I have availed myself of the good Internet service on Young’s Hill for state-of-the-art TV, as well.

So things are looking up, notwithstanding the heat wave this week.  Travel by car requires a large pillow between my chest and the seat belt, and so far has been restricted to medical appointments.  Coughs are a pain, sneezes are sudden and excruciating, but generally my days are pain-free.  The most obvious injury on my body is the area on my left thigh where the team harvested the veins for the bypass.  It bruised badly, occasioning a couple of weeks of kill-or-cure diuretic therapy with the lamented side-effects above.

Anyway, the refurbished heart seems to work very well.  Hills and stairs which left me gasping before are pretty easy to climb now, by comparison.  At times parts of my left leg feel tender, but walking is unimpeded.  Because I can’t lift anything or squeeze my fingers together, my fingertips feel numb.  A few hours of seat time on a machine will likely take care of that, but not for another six weeks or so.

Hospital stay coming up

August 28, 2017

I’ve been waiting a month for Wednesday’s heart surgery at Kingston General Hospital, if it isn’t cancelled because of an emergency.  Looks like a triple bypass and an aortic valve.

Prospects are good, though I hear the recovery from the incisions is rough.

More later, I hope.

UPDATE:  4:25, 29 August, 2017

The call just came.  The operation is on for tomorrow.

The pleasing surprise is that the dystopian Mecca of the near future is Toronto.  In fact huge chunks of the novel play out across the Eastern Ontario landscape culminating in a final scene in, of all places, Joyceville.

Doctorow has written a speculative piece about what happens to those who leave society by walking away into the countryside in a future without scarcity, where “feedstock” can recycle through printers and produce prescription drugs, clothing to order, or foodstuffs and weapons.  These walkaways remain at the leading edge of technology, of course:  it seems the smartest are those most inclined to quit “default” society.

No doubt the dictionary will acquire a number of new terms from the book.   “Foof”, for example, is a derisive acronym to describe someone from a Fine Old Ontario Family.  Derivatives of this term, foofery and foofy are self-evident in their usage.  Doctorow has coined “beautiful child” to describe someone younger than oneself who surpasses one’s technical skills or even intellect, i.e.:  “Did you see the beautiful child who did the surgery on Uncle Alex?”

The novel’s thesis runs along lines that people walking away from default pose an existential threat to the defaults, even though they demand nothing from them, and choose regularly to move on rather than fight for land and possessions.  It’s fairly easy for the walkaways to do as they have unlimited material, youth, and health.

The construction of an elaborate camp (known as a B&B) is quite easy with the help of online information and a sic-fi-level salvage network of abandoned factories and warehouses from which materials may be liberated to recycle into the new building.

Of course it is easy for default — portrayed as shadowy corporate interests and embodied in one wealthy Toronto family — to turn its sense of abandonment into fear, and portray all walkaways as terrorists of the ISIL variety.

I’ll try not to spoil the book for you at this point.  If you like Neal Stephenson’s writing, or that of Douglas Coupland, Walkaway is a likely read.