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Posts from — March 2010

AVN, or, Who Knew?

I have a new, somewhat troubling, and indisputably true diagnosis:  avascular necrosis, sometimes called AVN, of my hip joint. 

This means that the flow of blood to my hip joint has been cut off, via some presently unknown physical process/cause, and the head of the femor is dead.  The surrounding bones are crumbly.  Total hip replacement within the next month. 

Initially, I was paradoxically happy when I found out that I needed a new hip, and gathered, from the surgeon, that it was because of osteoperosis.  However, I had a cd of the x-rays and the doctor’s note sent to my husband.  He called me when he got it and told me the true results.  He asked why the surgeon hadn’t told me that it was really  AVN.  Welcome to the world of civilians.  He had just said “You need a new hip last year.” 

I was happy because here at last was proof that I was not crazy.  I’ve been going to doctors for the last ten years about my leg, hip, pain, and inability to walk.  I’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, anklyosing spondylitis, and other things about which one can do little, including, probably, Severe Chronic Hypocondria (i.e., here’s that crazy lady again).   To be fair, none of my doctors have really responded that way; they were just all at a loss, it seems. 

A diagnosis of AVN before total collapse of the joint requires an MRI, which no one had ordered.  My last x-ray was eight years ago, and looked normal.  My internist orded the x-rays in mid-March as part of a general checkup, and the reason I can’t walk was quite clear with just one glance at the results.  My main concern now is trying to figure out the process that caused the problem so that I might be able to prevent it from happening in other joints. 

I’ll be up and walking, pain-free, some time in June if all goes as advertised.  In the summer of O8 I climbed from Newfound Gap to Mount LeConte Lodge and went down the Alum Cave trail the next day, total elevation in up and down hiking 7,000 feet.  It really hurt, but I made it.  Right now, I can barely make it across a room.  Farah Mendleson loaned me her Fabulous Collapsible Walking Stick at the ICFA meeting last week, which enabled me to at least hobble around.  I’d thought about not attending, but all the arrangements had been made and I always have a marvelous time, so I went.   I did have a marvelous time, but retired to my room a lot to rest.  Thus I missed the marvel of David Hartwell, among others, climbing the trees around the pool in the wee hours of the night.  Alas!

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March 28, 2010   No Comments

Hello, Hooray

I just turned in yet another “final draft” of THIS SHARED DREAM to my editor.  Shorter by 20,000 words than previous drafts.  I generally write at MISSISSIPPI BLUES length, and I’m told that big fat sf books are hard to sell. 

I think I should just start out with an idea for a short story and move on from there, next time. 

However, right now I’m getting ready for speaking to a class at Miami-Dade’s InterAmerican Campus on Wednesday.  They are reading SF–a great assortment of titles, by the way. 

Next on my plate is a mentoring job I’m looking forward to, and then I can at last get moving on HURRICANE, which is not SF, but historical fiction I’ve been working on for years.  In January, I workshopped yet another chapter at the Key West Literary Seminar, this time with Valerie Martin.  Last year, it was Alan Cheuse.  Next year, I hope it will be finished and out the door. 

And I. Shall. Paint.

We won’t even mention clearing up the potential hazards gravity has collected on the floor of every room in my house, because this is my day of rest and I don’t want my mirror neurons working overtime.

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March 1, 2010   2 Comments


Yes, yes.  Haven’t been here for a while.   More on that in a bit.  Right now I want to talk about www.signingwithsusie.com

My sister Susie has an MA in Montessori and a BS in Deaf Education.  For twenty-seven years, she has taught deaf preschoolers, hearing preschoolers, preschoolers in Magnet schools and preschoolers in Montessori schools.   She also tutors hearing impaired children and their parents. 

Susie is now teaching a new private course in Oviedo, Florida for babies and their parents.  She teaches parents and babies to use ASL signs to communicate with one another well before the children have mastered the exceedingly complex nueromuscular task of actually talking.  Her site is www.signingwithsusie.com

We are able to speak aloud because of our physiology, but speaking, as most of you know, is accomplished in stages.  Try reading that sentence aloud and think about how many complex motions of tongue and mouth and breath regulation you use.  You needed teeth, right?   A lot of fine motor control.  And so on.  Parents pay speech therapists a lot of money to help fine-tune the physical process.   Being able to say what you think takes years of mastering small steps.  Until then, babies resort to crying, screaming, or other ways of getting the attention of the dense adults around them, not to mention their older siblings.   It’s frustrating for everyone, especially the baby.

Babies are emotion.  They want and need certain things at certain times.  Adults have a hard time desciphering the all-purpose cry, or even the nuanced cry.   Babies can learn to sort and express their emotions with signs quite early–particularly if mutual signs are taught and the result of a particular sign is constant.  For instance, sign for teddy bear, get teddy bear before being checked for a wet diaper, fever, hunger, etc.  Help your baby commicate and get what they need without crying for hours.  Increase complexity as needed.   

Susie has spring and summer courses for parents and babies.  She has taught deaf, normal, and gifted preschoolers in many public school settings.  She’s a marvelous, talented, empathic woman.  I’m not just saying this because she’s my sister!  

If you are expecting or have a baby and live in the Oviedo/Orlando area, click on www.signingwithsusie.com .  Tell your friends.  Learn how to communicate with your baby in a new way.

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March 1, 2010   No Comments