Friday, April 14, 2017


Hi, all. Sorry for the long delay in blogging. Unfortunately, I ran into another health problem that required a long stay in hospital and physical rehab.

It's a sad sorry, but much good has developed from it.  Warning: I am going to include photos which, in and of themselves, are neither "gross" nor "sickening" in my opinion. However, some people have weak constitutions, so bear that in mind before reading this entry.

I have slowly developed neuropathy in my hands. Although not as severe as in my feet and legs, it prohibited me from feeling hot and cold. I was trying to be careful when microwaving food, but managed to burn my fingers anyway.  The blisters on my left hand healed.  The one on my right, index finger did not. One Sunday morning, after my shower, I noticed that my finger had turned white, and a rash was running down my arm. Within 12 hours, the finger had turned black.

By then, Claude and my housekeeper were at my flat. An ambulance was called, and I was taken to Saint Peter's first, then transferred to Robert Wood Johnson/ Barnabas Health. They had a hand specialist. Initially, the surgeon didn't think I would need surgery, but changed his mind when antibiotics failed to improve the condition of my top joints. It was gangrene.

Now, here's the wacky part: initially, the surgeon said it was a "dry" gangrene. "We can send you home, and just wait until the finger falls off!"

At first, I just starred at him, slack jawed. Then replied, "I have a cat. There I'll be, sitting on the sofa, petting my cat with my left hand when - boing - I feel my right hand jerk...and my finger is hanging by a thread of skin. When it falls off completely, I get to chase the cat, who thinks he has a new, tasty toy."
"Oh, it won't be THAT fast," says he. "It's the natural way to let it happen."
"Cut it off."
  "But general anesthesia is so.."
"You're cutting it off."
And so...he did.

I was awake for the entire procedure, and insisted on seeing the end result. I was shocked that he was only able to save 1/3. Then he informed me, even that small portion was in danger.

What was left was purple and swollen...not a pretty sight.  

I tried to stay positive. I was soon advised that cultures for the remaining bone only showed staph infection. The portion they amputated was riddled with osteomyelitis. Good thing I didn't wait to have it fall off!

I was sent to Cranbury Center, in Monroe Twp., to complete physical and occupational therapy.  It was only a few miles from home, and has a wonderful staff and physical plant. While there, the finger improved. 

It went from purple to normal color, and reduced in size.

As the old, infected skin peeled away, "Dexter", as my nub was now called, took on a strange appearance.  With the stitches on top looking like hair, and scabs that resembled a nose and ear, Dexter bore a strange resemblance to a crying baby with a swollen eye!

In less than three weeks, the surgery site was virtually healed.

Today, it is better still. I've been adapting to writing sans index finger, and typing. Now, as to the good that came out of this: I've stopped playing games with my health. My sugars are now better controlled, my diet has improved, and I've lost weight. I am tired of going to the grave a bit at a time.

There is an old joke about a religious man, experiencing a flood. When a rowboat goes by his house and offers to evacuate him, he refuses. He insists that Jesus will save him. 

As the waters get higher, he is forced onto his second floor balcony. Another rowboat comes by, but is again refused.  

Finally, he us forced to the roof. A helicopter offers to air lift him, but he insists Jesus will save him.

The flood waters wash him off the roof, and he drowns.  He appears before Jesus and says, "Where were you? I believed in you, and trusted that you would send help!!"

To which Jesus replied, "I sent you two rowboats and a helicopter, what more did you want?"

The gods have sent one last message.
This time, I think I got it.

Next time, I'll tell you all about my weird experiences in my "Haunted" room in RWJ/Barnabas Health, and the aftermath. Strange story.

Finally, the last cemetery crawl from last Summer!

The Fairmont cemetery is also in Newark  NJ. It's an easier drive-thru than Mount Pleasant, but fewer unique examples of grave art. Above is an interesting statue of someone named "Clark". No relation ...I don't think. However, my grandfather was left an orphan in Newark, so...?

It's obvious that those who have the riches can't take it with them, but family can enshrine it above them!

Next time, Princeton!

Happy Holidays!