Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Colonoscopy: Unpleasant and More Unpleasant

Colonoscopies are not fun. I don't think CBS newsman Harry Smith who had one performed live on The Early Show last year would disagree with me there. His on-air procedure was his second; my recently performed colonoscopy was my third or fourth. I remembering Harry observing that the only "pain in the neck" about the experience was the prep the patient has to endure the night before which consists of drinking a lot of stuff that's designed to flush out your colon. I agree. Usually, you get knocked out by an anaesthetist and when you open your eyes, it's over and you're in recovery. The doc comes over, tells you how you fared, then, relieved that you won't have to go through that again for four or five years, you get the hell out of there and go find something to eat.

At least, that had been my experience prior to last Friday's adventure at Bayonet Point Surgery and Endoscopy Center. As usual, the anesthesiologist injected a cocktail of drugs into my IV and the next thing I know I was waking up in recovery. But, as I awakened, I became aware that the roof of my mouth was sore. As the anesthesia wore off, the pain increased and expanded to the point that my teeth and jaw were also hurting. When I got home, I discovered it was too painful to eat regular food and I had to limit myself to soft foods for five days.

Before I left Bayonet Point Surgery and Endoscopy Center on Friday I had asked the girl who was in charge of releasing me about the pain in my mouth but she said she had no idea what went on during the procedure. On Monday, when someone from the center called to see how I was doing, I reported the lingering pain in my mouth and the difficulties I was having eating. This girl said at times it might be necessary to shove something in a patient's mouth to aid his breathing while he's under anesthesia, but she did not know if that had been necessary in my case.

Well, I would like to know. And I would like to know what the urgency was that made it necessary to shove the damn thing in there in such a brutal and sadistic manner rather than inserting it gently so that there would be no lasting effects.

I'm just saying, a colonoscopy, by nature, is an unpleasant experience. Why go out of your way to make it more unpleasant.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stephen King's Ten Best Reads of 2010

I was sitting in the waiting area of a local clinic, yesterday, leafing through magazines, when I came upon this list. Being an avid reader, I was immediately interested. Admittedly, I'm not a connoisseur of fine literature. Sure, I have an undying love for Dickens and Dostoevsky, but, nowadays, I read just about anything that comes my way. Realizing that Stephen King is more knowlegdeable about books and a much more discerning reader, I was happy to come across this montage which, incidentally, does not contain one book I have read. While I do recognize several of the titles from the N.Y. Times Bestsellers list, I've spent my reading time following the exploits of Jack Reacher, Mitch Rapp and Harry Bosch. I am, now, going to make it a point to elevate my reading horizons by getting into the following:

1. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
2. Freedom: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen
3. I'd Know You Anywhere: A Novel by Laura Lippman
4. Savages: A Novel by Don Winslow
5. Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving
6. Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes
7. Blood's A Rover by James Ellroy
8. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
9. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
10. City of Thieves: A Novel by David Benioff

My Progress:
Well, I dove right in, starting with David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, and, all apologies to Mr. King, thought it sucked. For 980 pages, it leads somewhere. Then, it ends without ever getting there. The only list it belongs on is a list of books to avoid. Here's an archived N.Y. Times Review. To be honest, I gave up on the footnotes early on. That was probably a mistake. Still, on a scale of 1-10, I rate it a 5.5.

The second book I took from the list was I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman. This was a real page turner. Cleverly interwoven were the perspectives of several characters united by their involvement with a past brutal crime. I'll give this one a 7.5.

The third book I read from the list, and the best so far, was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It's not that I was unfamiliar with the book - it was on the times Best Sellers list most of last year - but it's presence on King's list compelled me to read it. And I'm happy I did. I give this novel a 9.

The further I get into it, the more appreciative I am of Mr. King and his list. Last Night In Twisted River by John Irving  and Savages by Don Winslow were the next two novels I checked off. Though very different, I rate them both very highly, I'd say an 8 and a 9, respectively. I'm taking a break from the list right now, I'm reading a Kinky Friedman adventure I may have read before, but I've purchased two more from the list.

I'll try to work my way through this list and report on my progress, but be forewarned, I frequently divert my attention to graphic novels like Superman: Earth One. I'm happy to report that it appears certain that I'll never grow up.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Best Steppin' Videos

Weather permitting, I go to a nearby park and walk a couple miles every morning. Unfortunately, even here in Florida, there are days when it's too cold or too rainy and I'm not one to brave the elements. Still, I have to exercise. So, I opt instead to do some steppin'.

There are many different step platforms available. Mine is a Stamina Aerobic Step I purchased at amazon. With it, I picked up a beginner's DVD, Everybody Steps with Gin Miller. This enabled me to learn enough basic moves that I now feel confident free-styling to the on-demand videos available to me through Brighthouse on channel 368.

Right now, I like to start my workout with Bruno Mars' Just the Way You Are. It's not too fast and serves as a good warmup.

If I'm in a Bruno Mars kind of mood, I might back it up with Grenade.

Then, I get hummin' with some Black Eyed Peas.

Let's keep it rolling with David Guetta - Sexy Chick (Featuring Akon).

I usually cool down with a replay of Just The Way You Are. Exercise aside, it's a great video.