Keep the wind in your cell

No self-respecting teen would ever think of showing up in school without a cell phone; it would be too gauche, too weird, too embarrassing. A cell phone you should know is a must-have component of a teen on the go, and without it, you are nothing, nada, RIEN.

When you are deprived of mobility, staying in touch with your loved ones, your friends, even your creditors, is extremely important and the cell phone is the perfect implement to fulfill that function.

Since I left the hospital, I have been housebound and my only link with the outside world has been this remarkable gadget. Kate, my lady in waiting, is doing her best to coddle me but that’s not enough. She is a great caretaker, but like many pretty things, a little empty-headed. She can cuddle but she cannot cook or even fetch me my slippers.

When handicapped, you have no better friend than your cell phone and I am not embarrassed to say that when I go to sleep I cling to my iPhone like a pacifier. I am not sucking on it, but it is close.

I have become a newborn Christian teenager again and texting, sexting or messaging is now part of my regular routine. I can keep in touch with old partners in crime or plot new escapades from under my blanket. In the mean time, my spies in the field keep me aware of what’s going on outside my small Big House and are waiting for my instructions to proceed.

I could tweet some grandiose non-sense but I prefer not too. I entrust that role to our Tweeter-in-chief who is obviously more adept (?) than me at that.

The road to recovery goes through dark swamps and gloomy forests but my guiding light is the hope of walking unhampered and competing with you very soon.

Before I go, thank you again to all those people who have called, texted, tweeted, visited and made my life so much more pleasant by doing so.

Thank you brothers and sisters!

Ce n’est qu’un au revoir mes frères…


Fourteen steps

There are fourteen steps leading from my living room to the upper section of my condo. Even though I have lived here for a number of years, I was never fully aware of this fact… until now.

Down but not out.

Normally I probably climb those stairs 8 to 10 times a day. No big deal. Just a hop, a skip and a jump, all of this while yodeling. My cat often accompanies me and does this with irritating ease. But lately this trivial activity has morphed into something much more challenging. Since my back surgery, I have to pause almost on every step before trying to conquer the next one. I keep telling myself that this is just a temporary setback, but it hurts my self-esteem… without mentioning my back.

In today’s jargon, I am now what you call “mobility impaired”. I need to use a “walker” for moving from place to place. My own assessment is that it is much too early to pigeonhole me in this demeaning second-class status.
My only consolation is that I can now park in handicapped parking spots. But frankly, I would rather walk a few hundred steps rather than to use this dubious privilege.

A step is not much: in the US it is just 7 inches tall, but lately it seems to have grown taller overnight. It feels more like 9 inches than 7. Is it all these pills that I am popping up?

When I was growing up In Paris, we used to live on the 3rd floor of our building. This gave me ample opportunities to practice what is now called “competitive step climbing.” In those days, like most families, we didn’t have a phone and children were routinely used as unpaid laborers.
Alain, go and get a baguette… Alain get me a newspaper… Alain take the garbage down… Alain get some fresh milk for your brother…

I didn’t mind though. Any excuse was good for me to get out of the house and stretch my short-panted legs. I would rush down the stairs like an avalanche and woe be to anybody standing in my way. I was a real “galopin”.
Climbing back was no problem either. I would go up two steps at a time and I was up on the 3rd floor before you could finish any prayer to fend off the devil and his disciples.

So again, I am no stranger to stairs climbing. In my heydays I could challenge the best of them. You could even call me a visionary trendsetter.

Small steps are good for you. They keep you humble and levelheaded.
Remember Lao Tzu:

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.


All roads lead to Rome

In other words, I just discovered that all the fuc****g nerves in your body meet and hold congress in your spine. After back surgery, whatever you attempt to do is going to instantly send punishing electric jolts to your backbone.

The ugly truth

When you tamper with the sanctity of the flesh, even the most trivial body movement becomes an ordeal. All your muscular efforts are now subject to careful consideration. Is this move necessary or worth the subsequent amount of pain?

You are now dealing with an exquisitely crafted app called “painometry”. This app requires you to use your pain debit card for any extra physical exertion. For instance, for the privilege of standing up you will be charged a certain amount of pain. Same for sitting down or for attending to your bodily functions. And you will have to pay on the spot. As the French say, “No tickee, no washee.”

On the 5th day at the hospital, the dark powers behind the shiny façade of the hospital decided that it was time for me to vacate the premises. A variety of nurses and doctors also concurred to evict me.
I had two options: spend a week or two in a rehab facility or go home with a rented hospital bed and have my live-in lover cope with me. Tamara and I wisely picked the second option.

We started transitioning back from the Vacaville Kaiser facility to San Rafael Tuesday August 8 at 2:30 pm; a long car ride (about an hour) for somebody with a sensitive back condition. Tamara did an excellent job of driving and avoiding the numerous potholes blossoming on the freeway. I am afraid that her bill for services rendered is going to be staggeringly high, but she is worth her weight in gold.

Unfortunately when we arrived in Marin the promised hospital bed and the accompanying walker that we previously ordered were absent. I had to spend an uncomfortable night on a makeshift bed set up in the middle of our living room. In the meantime, due to technical problems the second floor of our condo is now a no-man’s land where squirrels and raccoons roam at will. A new Fukushima. Enter at your own risk.

Facing this new situation, I had to reorganize my life around the living room. And the worse part is that I cannot use my beloved 27” Mac (32 MB of memory) located in the restricted zone. I have to make do with Tamara’s MacBook that is not set up to my own personal specifications. It is like driving a Trabant after having strutted for years in a Bentley.

But beggars cannot be choosers! A reporter must report regardless of what the field conditions are. So it is from my living room bunker that I will be feeding you some tantalizing tidbits of news.

Before I file this report though, I would like to thank all the lovely people who were rooting for me and helped me to keep my spirits up while being tossed like a rag doll in the white waters of back surgery.

See you soon sometimes in a few months in the pétanque’s golden arena. Tata for now my little cochonnets.

Alain aka La Foudre