Sunday, September 26, 2010

A wrinkle in time or "Where Been You?"

Time warp is a quirky thing.
Take, for instance, this week. Where did it go?
Into that parallel universe we call Medical Care, that's where.

This week I was introduced to Massachusetts medical care on the island, otherwise known as the black hole into which even my opinion will land.

I went to the orthopedic guy to recheck my fracture. Since it wasn't getting any less painful, and I had turned over in bed and felt something go SNAP, I figured I needed a recheck.

While on the x-ray table I reached down to show the tech where the pain was, but instead found a new swelling. Huh. Where did that come from? Since I have been losing weight new things pop up, you know, that you didn't know you had... like hip bones and such lol. But no, this wasn't a hip bone.

So the good doctor did what any good doctor would do - he ordered a Medical Test. Which meant navigating the new hospital - talk about uncharted territory. Boldly going to where no man has ever gone before. The new hospital is lovely, but a version of a labyrinth I did not want to play.

I pulled into the parking lot only to find this sign.
 And I will save that for another day. :)

 45 minutes later I was on the gurney getting an ultrasound. The room was impressive, the equipment impressive, the tech impressive, but do you think they could find that lump? Fair enough it was along the crease of the leg/hip, and I have lost weight recently, so things appear and disappear on a whim, but PEOPLE. Perhaps we shouldn't have Jumped To Conclusions.

After another 20 minutes something was found and photographed.

3 hours later the doc was on the phone with me scheduling a visit to the Surgeon. The SURGEON? What the? A swollen lymph node?

24 hours later the surgeon was explaining that I had hit the tri-fecta of possibilities - a swollen lymph node, a benign lipoma, and/or a small hernia. Mostly ruling out the lymph node by location upon examination, we were left with lipoma and hernia. And the declaration "it has to come out".

Now if this had happened anywhere else or at any other time, we would have done the following: orthopedic finds the swelling and refers back family doctor, who goes over findings and then arranges for a consult with a surgeon. If necessary. But ta-da, this is Massachusetts, home of mandatory medical care. We pass Go, we pay $200 out-of-network pocket, we skip the GP, we head straight to the specialist.

All because I "have no GP". I quickly hobbled over to the GP offices to register so I could at least talk it over with a family doc. But no, receptionist after receptionist politely told me their doctor was not taking new patients, or I could be put on a waiting list for many, many months, or the best one - the doctor could not see me till mid- October, but would pass my dilemma on to the doc, and I could see the local "Dr. Feel Good". You know every community has them, the one doctor who is laid back and has a lot of prescription pain seeking patients. Uh no, I don't think so. Or I could go to the walk-in clinic for a consult. Ok the last time I went there, I waited 3 and 1/2 hours to see someone about a rash/lymne disease scare that ended up being nothing.  Apparently, they can't get enough GP physicians to practice on the island. Low pay, overworked, wrangles with medical insurance companies. You get the picture?

Now I do like the swiftness of the system - if they feel you have a real issue, they will get you to the right doctor pronto. But since this was, upon an actual physical exam not so clear cut, I would at least like a chance for a second opinion. Which I will get. Come hell or hurricane water.

So. As my son once said sleepily, upon awakening from ear tube surgery when he was 2, "Where been  you?"

I been through Medical Care. :)
Come on Congress we can do better.

Have a good one.

Friday, September 17, 2010

All we wanted was a pizza

But what we got was much, much more. :)

It was a typical Thursday night, and I was avoiding Weight Watchers like the plague since I had been feeling sorry for myself. My niece (and namesake ) Julie, who happens to have lived and worked on this island for close to 15 years, suggested we grab a quick bite to eat at the newest pizzeria, Flatbread Company, at the airport with my sister-in-law Carol (her mom, you'll get the connections sooner or later).

So far, so good.

With everyone arriving separately, I had no idea (and apparently neither did they) for what was in store when I hit the overflowing parking lot. Hmm, maybe this pizza is way better than I thought.

I just barely got inside when they closed the doors - no tables left, standing room only. Wow, this pizza must be way better than I thought. Luckily, Julie had secured a table for us down near the stage. The pizzeria shares its uber-cool, tin-roofed warehouse with a small-venue bar/club now called Nectar's, (owned a long time ago by Carly Simon).

I sat down quickly, surprised to see a stranger, already eating, also seated at the table. Usual Sidekick Carol was nowhere in sight.  As with all places on-island, who sells you the cute, boutique shirt in the morning may also serve you dinner at night. Tonight we were lucky: one of my niece's work assistants was also waiting on us.

inside Flatbread Co./Nectar's
Julie introduced me to the stranger, Stephanie, and mentioned that apparently there was some kind of concert (she didn't know quite what) also happening tonight, so we were fortunate to get the table. We immediately set to work finding Sidekick Carol so that we could order and perhaps get out before the concert started and we had to pay? we weren't sure.

Making careful conversation, since I still didn't know what the connection was with the stranger, and since said stranger was also finishing her meal and I didn't want to interrupt, we continued to call and text Sidekick Carol so we could get the order in and get the heck out of Pizzeria Dodge.

Shortly thereafter Sidekick Carol appeared at the table, looking as bewildered as we apparently looked, and we set about deciding what to order. We continued to make polite conversation - oh hell, we just plain conversed, on this small island, you just get on with it, you know what I mean? - And as we did, we soon discovered this was not just some concert, it was SOME CONCERT, celebrating 25 years of local radio DJ Barbara Dasey's career at MVY radio.

Livingston Taylor
And remember when I mentioned the island has a soft spot for musicians, especially local ones? Well they really do, for this concert would feature a great many new and established island artists, especially one local singing family... you might remember them as the Taylors? As in Livingston, James Taylor's brother and also sister Kate, and Ben, his son with Carly Simon, Ben. New to island life, I had no idea how serendipitous and frequent these family sing-alongs were!

And the other musicians, equally awesome - among them Mike Benjamin and his lovely daughter Charlotte, who has a set of pipes that could put Norah Jones and Joss Stone out of business, and Tom Majors, drummer extraordinaire, of  Entrain.

So all in all, it was a great little surprise of a night. We had super delicious made-to-order organic pizza, I was ushered into how local the nightlife really is, we fell under the spell of the Taylors and Benjamins, I began to understand just what a unique and brilliant little island this is, and I had dutifully scoured the crowd for any other celebrities I might spy. After all, I am still a greenhorn at brushes with fabulousness. As for the stranger in the midst? It was the island version of a four-top community table lol.

Oh, I forgot.
Was Prince there? Though he is rather striking, and it shall long be debated amongst ourselves ... you be the judge.
There under the exit sign, at the end of the show. :)

The Purple One?

Have a good one.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Getting my Ohm on island style

Today is meditation day.
Today I will drive down a long and winding dirt road in West Tisbury, shared with beach goers searching for the perfect wave at Long Point, and turn off to a simple shingled building housing the Bodhi Path Buddhist Center.

I will take my shoes off just outside the door, step barefoot onto a glistening wood floor, leave my cares and worries behind, and enter into calm and bliss - if just for the moment.

picture by Bodhi Path Centers
Today Lama Yeshe Drolma (seasonal lama in residence) will again instruct us on how to be present in the now, calm the mind, concentrate on our breathing, and let the small child chatter rise up and float away, leaving a mind ready to do its work - gain insight and clarity in this busy give-and-take world of ours.

I like this center - it's easy going (you can sit on chairs instead of that infernal lotus position, which in my present condition would never do). There's no pressure to perform or jump ethereal hoops. And for the time, I can be the essence of me - a child of a most high God (you do not have to be Buddhist to attend or practice - they accept modern-day practitioners), pure and good and willing to be of service to all beings without putting myself or others in harm's way. 

The main meditation practice is shamatha - calm abiding meditation. Letting ourselves be here peacefully.

But our mind isn't always calm, peaceful or abiding is it? It might be irritated, angry, jealous, worried. How do we get to peace? We begin. We take focus on our breathing by counting the in and out breaths. We let our squirrelly thought float up, recognize it as a thought, and let it go.

And then it happens. We experience the quiet. No drifting, no thinking about a zillion things. We hear the crickets or the plane or feel the warm sun coming in the window. Before we couldn't keep our mind focused on anything long enough. Now we can keep it in peace long enough to recognize and value our surroundings.

This is not just the point of being Buddhist. It's the point of being a human.

Think about it.

No wait, don't.

There, you have it! :)

Have a good one.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The price of fame and fortune or wasn't that Keri Russell that just walked by?

Ok People. It is the 15th of the the effin' month of September and I still can't get a parking space on Main St. Vineyard Haven?! At 2 o'clock in the afternoon even.

Oh dear. What have I gotten myself into?
 I think we know the answer to that. Plenty. :)

It's nice to think that everyone wants to visit this place, even in the Off Season. That we welcome one and all to this idyllic setting with open arms (and pockets :) ). This is the kind of place that even prides itself on being the "nicer cousin" island playground of the rich and famous to the more rigid and uppity "other" island playground of the Uber Rich and Famous, neighboring Nantucket.

Here we like to leave our celebrities alone, preferring to ogle at a nice, quiet distance. Here you might see on any given morning, Ted Danson dipping into the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, or Meg Ryan waiting patiently for her young child to finish playing a game at the local game arcade like any other mom or dad. With no massive crowd yelling for autographs or paparazzi snapping tabloid shots. Or you might run into Jim Belushi enjoying a family dinner at the local bistro/bar, the only thing differentiating him from the general patronage is the fact that he has a labeled private reserve liquor cabinet above the bar - a privilege also afforded to non-celebrity locals as well. And when the Presidential Motorcade arrived for a second visit, our only complaint was traffic jams.
from MV Times, Main St. Vineyard Haven

Yes, the islanders try to treat the "fortunate 500" the same as everyone else here - with that insouciant, devil-may-care attitude afforded anyone here... if you "ain't" born and raised here, you're just an off-islander! However. They do have one guilty pleasure they get a little ga-ga over -- celebrity musician sitings.

This morning at 12:41 a.m., I got the following text from my brother-in-law, John Robert (yes first and middle - he's originally from the South, so we try to humor him into thinking Yankees do that, too lol) who works as a professional waiter at the above bistro/bar shabby chic kind of place: "I just waited on PRINCE!!!"

I think that says it all. :)

Just don't park in my parking space.

Have a good one.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Well will you look at that!

Or don't.

There's something to be said for being able to stand out in your front yard in your nightie letting the dog take a leak and not having a single person see. :)

Couldn't ever do that at our Old Kentucky Home, although our next-door neighbor Art persisted in getting his morning paper in his boxers till he got remarried. But men are a different breed.

Do I Spy a Path?

I love the fact that our driveway is a theoretical path on a nature conservancy we abut. I say theoretical because where this is on our town plot map is smack dab in the middle of what looks like might be a scene out of a Sylvester Stallone movie. No path there, no siree. Nothing else located on our driveway but us. And the neighbors on the other sides are hidden by evergreens. Nice!

Beyond the driveway
So I will continue to stand outside proudly in my pj's, at least 'til the first cold snap. Or as my Aunt Ruth likes to say (paraphrasing a famous actress), "I don't care what you do, so long as you don't do it in the street and frighten the horses."

Have a good one.

Monday, September 13, 2010

If a tree falls in the woods...

You know the saying. But here's a twist. This morning I took the dog out (a 16 year-old female cocker spaniel we like to call Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, but  referred to as Quinn) for her morning constitution, and she began nosing around what I thought was a bunch of brown leaves.

Intrepid Investgator Quinn
On closer inspection, I discovered it was, in fact, the brown withered shell of a large crab. Now I know I've been a landlubber for most of my life, and I know we do now reside on an island, but I live what would be roughly 2-3 blocks, if we had blocks, from the Lagoon. And for the withered shell of a crab to show up one morning in my front patch we like to call a yard... well, no I don't think so!

So to put a twist on the usual philosophical quote, if a crab shell shows up in the front yard and there is no one around to see it, who the heck put it there??

This, dear reader, is the stuff islanders are made of! So I did what any self-respecting island greenhorn would do. I did a mobile shout-out to my friend Sue, who has spent more time in and around water in her first years of life than I have in the whole of my 55 years, and who also happens to live here seasonally.

And her answer ladies and gentlemen... wait for it, wait for it... boom. Flying seagull!

Originally, I had thought skunk or maybe raccoon. But I'm gonna go with Sue.

Have a good one.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Let the Madness Begin

What does 748 miles + clearing, packing and moving out of a 5,000 square foot house + clearing, packing and moving out of a 2,000 square foot summer cottage + moving into a 2,800 square foot house on an island off the coast of Cape Cod + 3 cats and 1 dog + a traveling husband  + a broken pelvis, all in 8 weeks', yes I said 8 weeks' folks, time = ?

Sheer madness.

But wait. Don't touch that dial just yet. Let me explain.

My Old Kentucky Home
I first got the crazy notion for a simpler life, while traversing Concourse B in Boston Logan for, yet again, the umpteenth time in so many months, that hey, why don't we just slow down and stay in one spot for a bit. I had been commuting from the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area to a small island off the coast of Cape Cod for several years due to health issues in the family, and frankly I was literally wearing out my bones doing it. Rehabbing two knee replacements (from earlier injuries and I'm not that old - 55) in between all this had just worn me down, and I was ready for a rest.

Fast forward to summer of 2010 and voila, I was in the midst of moving out of, and putting onto a dismal real estate market, 2 houses. One, a lovely, large and urbane house in the Cincinnati area, and the other, a unique, historic 4 bedroom Victorian cottage on Martha's Vineyard Island. Oh, and did I mention I found a perfect winterized house on said island that we closed on in same summer of 2010?

Yes, once you get to know me you will realize how this scenario is just one of many crazy, skewed, but typical happenings in my life. But I digress.

Now it is the fall of 2010 and traveling husband, 3 cats and 1 dog and I are somewhat ensconced in our New England winterized house. Well some of us are. :) Hubby is still commuting back and forth from Cincinnati. We expect to keep a townhouse or apt. in NKY once the house there sells. Oh, and the Gingerbread cottage has a contract (closing in October - wish us luck). So all is not lost. Except, I didn't explain the broken pelvis part did I??

Suffice it to say, one does not do the above, somewhat by oneself (remember, traveling hubby?), and go to diet group and not sacrifice something! So I cut back a little too much on the calcium. And then I lifted and carried one box too many. And then I did some heavy overstriding on Concourse B, remember? Hey I'm short, and the bus to the Cape only makes so many runs!! Abracadabra - and a fracture of the pelvis appears!

Anyway, here we are, at 5:30 in the morning having a cup of joe, sitting on a foam cushion, reminiscing about the good times, ha. :)

Victorian Cottage
Check out the photos of the houses. Yes, folks it can be done!       

Have a good one.

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