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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

CHER MUSIC REVIEW BY HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT



BELIEVE, CHER (WARNER BROS.):

Sometimes low expectations are a good thing.

For example, take the holidays.

Any occasion for a family gathering necessitates planning for the worst.

Then, if by luck, everyone is still speaking and no one winds up welcoming the new year from the pokey, it’s all good.

Same goes for a new Cher release.

Granted, her ‘70s variety show with Sonny Bono remains a TV classic.

Her acting talents are considerable.

And her old songs, with their patina of camp, are still fun to listen to. (Dark Lady being my personal fave.)

But these days Cher is more a celebrity than a formidable musical force.

With that in mind, Believe is a pleasant surprise.

Vocally, she’s the same old Cher: the strong, resonant, sometimes deep voice with the occasional little flutter from the back of the throat.

Her material, though, has a contemporary sound – thumping beats and electronic textures.
The title track/opener grabs attention with its upbeat feel and mantra, “Do you believe in life after love?”

 Cher’s cover of Amy Grant’s The Power delights with its energy and elegance.

Strong Enough is a retro-sounding disco anthem in the vein of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive.

Spanish guitar flavors the beautiful, exotic Dov’e L’Amore.

The disc’s best tune, however, is Taxi, Taxi with its monster hook and poetic lyrics.

Though Believe is little more than fluffy ear candy, it’s still a tasty morsel from an ever-radiant star.
                                                                                     
--Heidi Johnson-Wright

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

AMEN, PAULA COLE BAND



AMEN, PAULA COLE BAND
(IMAGO/WARNER BROS.):

The title of this album is the expression of approval listeners are sure to utter.

Singer/songwriter/musician/producer Paula Cole has created an artistic masterpiece, a collection of nine songs with melodies beautiful enough to bring tears and lyrics provocative enough to fuel contemplation.

Cole wrote and produced all tracks, imbuing them with what appear to be highly personal takes on spirituality, love and social consciousness.

Graced with her soaring songbird vocals and the succulent, seductive elements of R and B, funk and hip hop, Amen emerges as a defining work from an artistically confident performer.

 Listening to the sweeping, symphonic strains of the opener, I Believe In Love, is akin to body surfing on tropical, aquamarine waves.

The ballad is grand but not pretentious, ‘70s funky but fresh.

The title cut plays off a story of a very human heroine searching for meaning in life and an eclectic laundry list of cultural icons, including Marilyn Manson, Bettie Page and Gandhi.

 Equally eclectic but effective is the combination of string quartet, harp and hip hop scratches by Gang Starr’s DJ Premier.
Cole addresses feminism and femininity in Pearl in which she fires scathing salvos at her chosen profession: “There are no role models in rock ‘n’ roll/No women who could have it all/The long career, the man, the happy family/And here I stand and God I do demand it.”

--Heidi Johnson-Wright

Monday, February 27, 2012

OLD PIKE REVIEW BY HJW



 TEN THOUSAND NIGHTS, OLD PIKE
(SONY/550 MUSIC):

Old pike is just another way to say “fish that’s been sitting around for a while.”

And like aging fish, this disc stinks.

On the opening track, I Should  Never Have Left, lead singer/songwriter Tim Jones cuts loose with a wail guaranteed to raise the hairs on the back of the neck.

For the balance of the album, Jones flies his oh-so-serious passion like a flag and struggles to raise his vocals to the level of a poor man’s Bruce Springsteen.

Perhaps most annoying is his inclination to stretch out words, especially short ones, at the end of lyric lines. Words such as “else,” “life” and “rain” become multisyllabic and unrecognizable.

But no harm done.

It’s not as if this bloodless, barely melodic and nearly hook-free collection is any worse for Jones’ bellowing.

Should a friend be unfortunate enough to buy this junk, indulge your morbid curiosity and listen to What You’re Crying For.

The irritating hand claps will produce an inexplicable yearning to hear John Cougar Mellencamp’s Jack & Diane, a masterpiece by comparison.

 Funny what truly bad music can do.
                                                                                                
--Heidi Johnson-Wright

Sunday, February 26, 2012

WEEN LIVE REVIEW BY HJW


 PAINTIN’ THE TOWN BROWN: 
WEEN LIVE ‘90-‘98, WEEN (ELEKTRA):

Dean and Gene Ween are an odd combination of junior high-esque naughtiness and musical genius.

One moment they’re singing tasteless songs about children dying of spinal meningitis and the next they’re delivering deliciously clever parodies of soul, art-rock or Irish drinking ditties.

Their hilarious lampooning of the album cover of The Best of Leonard Cohen, mutated on the cover of their disc, The Pod, is sardonically brilliant.

Too bad this double live collection isn’t.

Ween discs can be spotty, but the good often outweighs the bad.

Not so here.

And Paintin’ suffers from the twin evils that plague so many live albums: uneven sound quality and one-dimensionality.

Consequently, the spark and passion of the live performances simply don’t come through.

To make matters worse, the artists’ overindulgence in excesses mars disc one and renders disc two utterly unlistenable.

 Some songs degenerate into amorphous sonic soup while others feature seemingly endless solos and jams so torturous they must violate the Geneva Convention.
      
--Heidi Johnson-Wright

Saturday, February 25, 2012

AIR PREMIERS SYMPTOMES REVIEW BY HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT



 PREMIERS SYMPTOMES, AIR (ASTRALWERKS):

 My friend, Bill, is the staunchest Francophile I know. 

He becomes ecstatic just planning a trip to France where he is likely to stay several weeks at a time living amongst the locals. 

He speaks French fluently, expertly doing that “r” pronunciation thing that sounds like a cat coughing up a hairball. 

Bill is also a serious film buff and given the opportunity, will rhapsodize charmingly about Some Like It Hot, sounding not unlike a tent preacher describing the coming of the Rapture.

Which somehow get us to the newest release by the French band, Air. 

The seven more-or-less instrumental cuts on this disc are from the group’s formative years before they achieved notoriety with their 1998 release, Moon Safari

For those (Bill and me included) who aren’t overly familiar with the band’s work, imagine a mixture of the Art of Noise, Brian Eno, Stereolab, Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew and music from the late ‘60s-early ‘70s TV show, That Girl

Such a hodgepodge wouldn’t really sound like Premiers Symptomes, but that’s the closest description possible of these virtually indistinguishable “songs” comprised of electronic sounds, echoing tones and repetitive horn and keyboard riffs. 

Quite honestly (and I think Bill would agree), this album barely rises to the level of mediocre soundtrack music.

Simply put, Air could be mistaken for breaking wind.

--Heidi Johnson-Wright

Friday, February 24, 2012

INVINCIBLE SUMMER, K. D. LANG


 INVINCIBLE SUMMER, K. D. LANG
(WARNER BROS.):

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer” is the Albert Camus quote that serves as ground zero for k. d. lang’s first release of original material in five years.

Though such an upbeat sentiment is a bit unexpected from Camus, a well-conceived concept album is par for the course from the androgynous Canadian hanteuse/songwriter who brought us Drag.

Just as Drag was more about need and addiction that smoking, Invincible Summer is really about love and the emotional heat and light that go with it.

And while we could do the tiresome English Lit major thing and analyze metaphor and imagery in these 11 songs, this disc is best enjoyed in a chaise longue with a cool drink in hand and one’s mind lost in dreamy reverie.

From start to finish, Invincible Summer has an irresistible listenability that seamlessly melds sunny melodies, glistening hooks, Latin rhythms, funky beats, horns, strings and electronic blips and bleeps into a futuristic retro a go-go musical amalgam.

Holding it all together are lang’s gorgeous, soaring vocals that alternately swell like an ocean wave and caress like a summer breeze.

Though there’s not a clinker in the bunch, standout tracks include the cinematic opener The Consequences Of Falling, the playful, campy Summerfling, the funky, bouncy It’s Happening With You and the simple, pretty Love’s Great Ocean.

--Heidi Johnson-Wright

Thursday, February 23, 2012

THE VENTURES MUSIC REVIEW


 
NEW DEPTHS, THE VENTURES (GNP/CRESCENDO):

This instrumental guitar rock band has spanned four decades yet they still sound fresh. 

With this collection, the Ventures ride the wave of the surf sound future with tunes such as Web Surfin’, an original composition, and Wipeout 2017, a modernized cover of the Surfaris’ tune.

All of the musicianship on New Depths is superb, but it’s the guitar work that really commands attention.

It’s especially fitting that a track titled Spanish Armada finds the band working for the first time with guitar great Duane Eddy. 

Eddy also plays lead guitar on the group’s exotic, spirited rendition of the Bobby Fuller hit, I Fought the Law.

Other choice tracks include versions of two Henry Mancini songs, Banzai Pipeline and Peter Gunn

The former is, according to the liner notes, “(a) good example of the great influence of the early ‘60s West Coast surf sound...” 

The latter is the instantly recognizable theme from the TV series of the same name and is given the Ventures’ touch with inspired guitar work.

The percussion-heavy Drums A Go-Go and the bluesy Hide Away are also delightful.

The only clinker – and the only track with lead vocals -- is Kanari Kiteru Koi.

 The Ventures wrote the tune, but the lyrics were penned by a Japanese songwriter for the Japanese vocal group, the Rice Girls. 

The Girls’ cutesy-poo voices may bring on nasty flashbacks of the short-lived NBC series, Pink Lady, so be warned.
                                                                                     
--Heidi Johnson-Wright

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

TINA TURNER REVIEW



 

TWENTY FOUR SEVEN, TINA TURNER (VIRGIN):

One of the few constants of the universe: Tina Turner will always be fabulous.

This release, however, is somewhat less than fabulous. 

It’s not a terrible album, mind you. It’s just not worthy of a performer of Turner’s caliber. 

Though the term “diva” is thrown around these days so as to become almost meaningless, Turner is a true diva of both style and substance.

 Unfortunately, much of the material here is a like a diva’s couture gown made to a stranger’s measurements; it doesn’t quite fit. 

Oh, there are some decent tracks with catchy melodies and kicky hooks, but it all feels a bit contrived. 
And this gritty and gorgeous goddess capable of music that gets in your bones is deserving of so much more than surface-sexy pop sheen. 

Still, as one would expect, Turner works the material like nobody’s business. 

The anthemic When The Heartache Is Over with its sweeping feel and thumping beat is an attention-getter. 

The heavily layered, lushly produced Whatever You Need is pleasant enough ear candy. Better still is the slow, soulful Falling and the orchestral Don’t Leave Me This Way.     

--Heidi Johnson-Wright

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

MARIANNE CUSATO -- PART 5


GETTING YOUR HOUSE RIGHT
 
New Urbanism, for the record, is very appealing to Cusato but she doesn’t like the way some NUers approach it like a crusade. She doesn’t like Urbanism dictated by a list created by a zealous NU convert.

“People don’t want to be part of a movement, they just want to live in a great place,” she said. “We need to strip the labels away and say `how long do you want to sit in the car – 20-minute commute or two-hour commute? How much do you want to spend on air conditioning and energy? Do you want to really live in your house, or do you want to have a bunch of rooms you hardly ever use? Do you want to be able to walk down the street to get a newspaper or visit a store, or do you always want to need a car?’”

“The word `utopia’ needs to be purged from our vocabulary; you can’t go around sounding like people who have an agenda,” Cusato continued. “We’re offering the greenest, most economically sound and highest quality of life way to build. That is not a niche, that’s at the heart of day-to-day existence of everybody in society.”

For more information, visit:

 
Wright has written for a living for 25 years, with nearly 5,000 published articles. He lives in historic Little Havana and is very active in Miami’s urban issues. He and his wife of 20 years also are involved in making new and old towns more accessible for people with disabilities.


 

Monday, February 20, 2012

MARIANNE CUSATO -- PART 4



GETTING YOUR HOUSE RIGHT

Cusato collaborated on a book with the James Hardie Siding Company titled The Value of Design.

“The book talks about that garage-dominated front of the house…it approaches everything from houses with too many gables to not using materials like wallpaper. We talk about why it’s happened so you can avoid it happening,” she said. “A builder keeps building these boring boxes so they try to differentiate and mix in stone, arch windows, phony details. Builders need to learn to look at the street as larger composition and put in fewer details but do them really well.”

Cusato, for the record, is a designer, not an architect – “I haven’t sat for the exam, but I’m so happy doing what I’m doing as a designer. The New York-based (her Greenwich Village apartment is only 300 square feet, the Katrina Cottage felt like home, not a demonstration kit) Cusato is thrilled that her Gulf Coast cottage has sparked a nationwide discussion.

“The cottage opened the dialogue for New Urbanism, for building better places -- it got people’s attention,” she said. “The message is pretty basic: build very nice places, make them realistic and easy to execute and live in.”

STORY CONTINUES TOMORROW -- FEBRUARY 21 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

MARIANNE CUSATO -- PART 3


GETTING YOUR HOUSE RIGHT

Notoriety has been fast and furious for Cusato, who with no prompting, started drawing designs and floor plans back in the third grade. 

She recalled that she knew the value of a traditional town before she had the words to describe it.

Now that her sustainable and flexible answer to the horrid FEMA trailer has given her a national forum, Cusato is on a mission to equip the everyday person with the right words to describe – or better yet – demand proper scale and built environment.

Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use & Avoid (written with Ben Pentreath Leon Krier and Richard Sammons for Sterling Publishing) is her antidote to the McMansion.

“We know the language -- eaves, soffits, etc… -- but we’ve lost the grammar,” she said of architecture. “You see a modern structure, you feel something isn’t just right but you can’t put your finger on it. “We show the common mistakes made with window sizes, arches, double height entrances.”

STORY CONTINUES TOMORROW -- FEBRUARY 20

Saturday, February 18, 2012

MARIANNE CUSATO -- PART 2


GETTING YOUR HOUSE RIGHT

The Notre Dame School of Architecture graduate said Alaska’s stunning natural beauty taught her about a sense of place.

“I remember driving through sprawl in Anchorage and telling my parents `I want to be an architect, but I don’t want to work at a firm that designs strip malls.’ I was in seventh grade, but I somehow knew it was wrong,” she recalled.

Fast forward to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in late 2005 and Cusato was working with Andres Duany and others to create a FEMA trailer alternative that would be safe, affordable, able to built quickly and also be attractive and sustainable.

The quaint living spaces – both beautiful with little porches and high roofs and practical by meeting hurricane wind standards and easily elevated above the flood plain – start at 308 square feet and can be delivered for a cost of about $70,000.

Katrina Cottage kits coming in sizes up to 1,800 square feet, are being distributed by the giant retailer Lowe’s and have earned The Smithsonian Institute's National Design Museum’s People's Design Award.

STORY CONTINUES TOMORROW -- FEBRUARY 19

Friday, February 17, 2012

MARIANNE CUSATO -- PART 1



GETTING YOUR HOUSE RIGHT

Thomas Edison: Light Bulb.

Alexander Graham Bell: Telephone.

Marianne Cusato: Katrina Cottage.

Could it be possible that a century from now, people will link the 33-year-old Cusato with her 300-square-foot piece of perfection as much as they match Bell and Edison with their revolutionary inventions?

Whether the quaint structure named after horrific hurricane remains in the 21st century’s lexicon or not, it is hard to imagine any single element of the built environment having as much of an overnight impact as the Katrina Cottage.

Name innovation that has caught fire with New Urbanist iconoclasts, turned the heads of builders and catapulted a designer onto the pages of the New York Times, the air waves of television and the bookstores with not one, but two dynamic books pending release.

Growing up in Alaska, the built environment is quite grim,” Cusato said. “Anchorage didn’t start booming until the `60s and the result is glass and concrete buildings and lots of strip malls. The good oil economy came in those years when design was at its worst – nationally and internationally.”

STORY CONTINUES TOMORROW -- FEBRUARY 18

Thursday, February 16, 2012

AMERICAN AIRLINES -- THE RESPONSE

THIS IS AN EXCERPT OF THE EMAIL WE RECEIVED FROM AMERICAN AIRLINES -- ADDRESSING OUR CONCERNS ABOUT DISABILITY ACCESS

This note is in response to your January 14 email addressed to Tom Horton, who asked me to research your comments and respond.

We regret we were unable to accommodate your wife's wheelchair in the cabin onboard flight 2199 on December 25.

According to our purser, the inflight wheelchair was already stowed in the closet and your wife's wheelchair would not fit -- even if the crew luggage was removed.

Nevertheless, we are concerned about the flight attendant behavior you described. 

We work hard to provide professional, courteous service to our customers, and we are sorry if we fell short when you and your wife traveled to Mexico City.

We have forwarded a copy of your comments to our Vice President of Flight Service for review. 

Thank you for giving us this opportunity to improve our service.

Additionally, we can imagine how disappointed and distressed you and your wife must have been when the chair arrived damaged.

Although we do our very best to avoid such problems, please accept our apology for what was undoubtedly an annoying and disruptive experience.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

AMERICAN AIRLINES UPDATE -- THE GREAT NEWS



AMERICAN AIRLINES RESPONDS TO 
FLIGHT CREW THAT DAMAGED 
HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT'S WHEELCHAIR
Today we received a $500 voucher via email from American Airlines.
Call it a belated Valentine's Day monetary value gift to go with yesterday's commitment from AA's Dallas-Fort Worth headquarters to do more to try to accommodate wheelchair-using passengers.
The sad thing is that court decisions have taken some of the teeth out of the Air Carrier Access Act (which governs air travel instead of the Americans with Disabilities Act).
Newer planes are being built with even less closet space at the front of the cabin, further reducing the possibilities of storing a lightweight wheelchair onboard -- instead of risking it being pulverized by baggage and cargo stored below. 
We had asked for a full refund of the roughly $800 we spent on a pair of tickets from Miami to Mexico City.
But the voucher, good for a year, is a reasonable response to our complaint.
TOMORROW, WE WILL POST AN EXCERPT OF
THE LETTER FROM AMERICAN AIRLINES.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

AMERICAN AIRLINES UPDATE -- THE GOOD NEWS


AMERICAN AIRLINES RESPONDS TO 
FLIGHT CREW THAT DAMAGED 
HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT'S WHEELCHAIR

A Disability Services specialist from American Airlines has been in contact with us to address the situation when a flight crew refused to allow Heidi's wheelchair aboard, resulting in damages from being stored below.

The American Airlines person was very kind, accommodating and apologetic.

She said crews would be trained better to accommodate people who travel by wheelchair.

Here's the back story on what happened:

Although the chair collapses down and the wheels and footrests come off for stowage, the crew didn't want to rearrange its closet to accommodate the wheelchair.

When we arrived in Mexico City on Christmas Day 2011, the wheelchair was damaged.

The only reason Heidi is smiling above at Parque Mexico is that the outstanding crew at the St. Regis Hotel Mexico City patched up her chair.

For the full story, read our blog entries from December 31, 2011 through January 9, 2012.

Bottom line, American will try harder next time.

Their point person for disabled passengers has promised.

Committing to serve all guests, including those who travel by wheelchair, is the best Valentine's gift our favorite air carrier could give us.

THIS STORY CONTINUES TOMORROW, FEBRUARY 15


Monday, February 13, 2012

THE RECOVERY -- PART 13


ESSAY BY HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT


I was referred to Dr. P, an anesthesiologist, in yet another attempt to find a solution.

A pleasant, unassuming man, he made no guarantees but promised to do his very best to help. 

In a three week period, I went to him twice.

Both times, I lie prone in an out-patient O.R. suite, while Dr. P. and his team looked into my pelvis and groin with a fluoroscope.

Using a nerve stimulator, he located the place to inject me. 

The whole process took less than 30 minutes and hurt less than a flu shot.

Within two weeks of the second injection, I returned to swimming twice a week.

I was able to increase my walking to multiple 100 feet treks each day. 

And the worst of the blasted pain was gone.

It’s been nearly 18 months since my surgery.

I have very nearly reached my goal to return to the same level of activity I was capable of prior to getting a new hip and femur.

Make no mistake: my sciatic nerve still occasionally lets me know that it can be a very nasty SOB.

But I have gotten my life back. 

And there are still so many bullrings to explore.     

Heidi Johnson-Wright is an attorney and ADA professional. She lives with her husband in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, FL.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

THE RECOVERY -- PART 12


ESSAY BY HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT


I tried everything possible: PT, rest, electrical stimulation, massage, heat, ice, and meditation.

I took Vicodin round the clock.

Nothing worked and nothing mattered, as I grew more morose. 

Each successive pain management doc had a different theory.

I heard: “This was a big surgery; it will take a year to come back from it.” 

Or “It’s only been three (four, five, six, seven) months since the surgery. Be patient.”

On my office wall, I had a photo that my husband had taken of me in the bullring in Ronda, Spain on a trip four years before. 

There I stood in my best cocky matador’s pose, full of life. 

Superimposed over the photo were lyrics from a song by David Sylvian:   

“Life is a bullring for taking risks and flouting rules.”

Now each time I looked at the photo, I fought back tears. 

The woman in the photo seemed like a stranger. I simply could not imagine ever feeling so joyful again. 

RECOVERY ESSAY CONTINUES TOMORROW -- FEBRUARY 13

Saturday, February 11, 2012

THE RECOVERY -- PART 11



ESSAY BY HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT


My leg was still very weak, but I knew this would improve. 

At last, it seemed that my life was on the road back to normal.

Then Thanksgiving came, and it was as if a trap door had opened and I fell straight into hell.

The next four months were a blurry nightmare of unrelenting pain. 

Some days it felt like battery acid on the back of my thigh, or I was being Tasered in the groin.

Other days a sickening achy, pulling sensation took center stage.

What never varied was the intense pain every time I stood or attempted to walk. 

Prolonged sitting brought on more pain.

I was only comfortable lying flat on my back with my legs elevated on a pillow.

My life was reduced to a miserable slog of trying to get through each day.

I constantly strategized so I could minimize any amount of weight bearing.

Months before at the rehab center, I could walk over 100 feet at a time.

Now I could barely manage 10 feet. 

RECOVERY ESSAY CONTINUES TOMORROW -- FEBRUARY 12 

Friday, February 10, 2012

THE RECOVERY -- PART 10


ESSAY BY HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT


By my second full day, I walked about 30 feet. 

By discharge day, I could walk 130 feet at a stretch.

I was sent home with a customized platform walker, PT orders and prescriptions. 

My husband took me out for Chinese food on the ride home to celebrate.

For the next couple weeks, I worked like a dog each day on exercises.

My hope was to return to work in five or six weeks.

All was going well until about a month after the surgery, when excruciating muscle spasms and nerve pain came out of the blue.

I had suffered with musculoskeletal pain for 30 years, but nothing could have prepared me for this load of bricks.

My surgeon confirmed that the bones were healing very well, but the pain was likely the result of his lengthening my leg about a half inch. 

The muscles and nerves were being required to serve a longer leg, and were temporarily rebelling.

He gave me muscle relaxants and a nerve med.

I was much better in a couple weeks, and eased back into a full-time work schedule.  

SAY CONTINUES TOMORROW -- FEBRUARY 11

Thursday, February 9, 2012

THE RECOVERY -- PART 9


 ESSAY BY HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT


That first evening in my private (!) room was heavenly. 

I took my first shower in eight days. I used a toilet instead of a bedpan.

I sat up in a chair while I ate a decent meal. I lay down on soft, clean sheets and watched Animal Planet.

I worked harder than I ever had over the next week. 

My day was rigidly scheduled from 6:30 am until 5 pm every day but Sunday.

I quickly learned that treatment protocols for joint replacements had changed considerably over 30 years.

As a teenager, I had to lie flat on my back for an hour after each hour I sat up because of concerns about swelling at the surgical site. 

For the first month after surgery, it was one hour up, then one hour down, over and over again. 

But now, the rehab staff had me sitting up all day long, regardless of how much my leg ballooned up by day’s end. 

One thing that hadn’t changed: I could sleep only on my back for six weeks, a miserable situation for a side sleeper. 


RECOVERY ESSAY CONTINUES TOMORROW -- FEBRUARY 10

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

THE RECOVERY -- PART 8


ESSAY BY HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT

I was expected to start weight bearing just a couple days after surgery. 

The hospital’s PT staff was unable to bring me the type of walker I needed to attempt to stand, despite my daily entreaties. 

Three days after surgery, a PT somehow persuaded me to walk a couple steps with nothing to take the weight off my legs but holding his hand. I’m not a bragger, but I guarantee even Dick Butkus would have wept like a baby from the amount of pain it brought me.

I knew it was hospital discharge day because that’s when the maintenance staff fixed the A/C in my room. 

The rehab facility had everything the hospital did not: highly skilled PTs, OTs, and nurses who knew how to care for hip patients, quality cable TV and functioning A/C with a thermostat I could control! 

RECOVERY ESSAY CONTINUES TOMORROW -- FEBRUARY 9

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

THE RECOVERY -- PART 7


ESSAY BY HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT


Those seven days in the hospital were perhaps the longest of my life.

As the senior orthopedic resident said to me: “Consider this surgery a hip replacement, times two.” 

Twice the pain, twice the rehab effort, twice the recovery time. 

To even sit up on the side of the bed filled me with horrific, nauseating waves of pain.

It took one person to lift my torso into a sitting position while another held my leg and little by little, lowered it to the floor.  

Compounding the misery was the hospital’s -- how can I put this? – less-than-stellar quality of care. 

The A/C in my room barely functioned during sweltering August Miami days.

 Nurses repeatedly failed to support my leg while getting me off the bedpan, allowing it to slam back down onto the mattress.

I needed a special chair to sit in when I got out of bed. 

What they brought me was a glorified bar stool that 4 foot, 10 inch me would have needed a ladder to reach. 


RECOVERY ESSAY CONTINUES TOMORROW -- FEBRUARY 8