Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Leg Update - Case Closed!

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Great news; my Social Security case was approved. I was declared disabled from 10/28/05 through 6/07. It was the best possible outcome. I was in the hearing room for about 20 minutes. In an incredibly sad coincidence, the Judge had lost a son six years ago in a motorcycle accident. His son was 30 at the time, which was my age when I went down.

On top of that tragedy, he saw a report on MRSA (the infection I had) on 60 Minutes this past weekend. He kept saying how lucky I was to have survived the accident and MRSA.

I spoke more than my lawyer. After the judge's decision, he went off the record, gave me a lecture about motorcycles and then we talked about Boston and Iceland. He used to visit Boston regularly as a kid and has fond memories of a 6 hour layover in Iceland.

I should receive a written decision from SS shortly, explaining the financial side of things. SS will also contact Medi-Cal, my bills will be paid.

So after a little more than two years the saga of the leg is over!

THANK YOU again, to everyone, for all your love and support throughout this process.

I only received the decision a few hours ago but I can't believe it's finally over.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

beware the cockroach

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photo via Shanghai China Snippets

Good hygiene can stop staph infections
Lauran Neegaard, AP, 11/7/07

WASHINGTON - Drug-resistant staph infections that have made headlines in recent weeks come from what the nation's top doctor calls "the cockroach of bacteria" — a bad germ that can lurk in lots of places, but not one that should trigger panic.

It takes close contact — things like sharing towels and razors, or rolling on the wrestling mat or football field with open scrapes, or not bandaging cuts — to become infected with the staph germ called MRSA outside of a hospital, she said. But MRSA is preventable largely by common-sense hygiene, Gerberding stressed.

"Soap and water is the cheapest intervention we have, and it's one of the most effective," she told a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Over time, germs evolve to withstand treatment. Most staph is no longer treatable by the granddaddy of antibiotics, penicillin. By the 1960s, staph also began developing resistance to a second antibiotic, methicillin.

MRSA mostly causes skin infections, such as boils and abscesses. But it can sometimes spread to cause life-threatening blood infections. Last month, the CDC reported the first national estimate of serious MRSA infections — 94,000 a year. It's not clear how many people die, but one estimate put the MRSA death toll at more than 18,000, slightly higher than U.S. deaths from AIDS.

Should every patient entering a hospital be tested for MRSA, and isolated if they harbor it? Some hospitals have begun that, but current guidelines call for that step only if hospitals fail to reduce MRSA infections by less drastic means, Gerberding said.

*note: The leg was put in isolation for a month with MRSA. It was nice to have a private room in a county facility but the cockroach delayed my recovery and forced the doctors to revise the blueprints for operation rebuild.

Her concern: "Patients in isolation get less care." Doctors and nurses check on them less. They get more bed sores, opening the body to other life-threatening germs.

It seems like common sense but PLEASE, PLEASE wash your hands regularly or carry hand sanitizer and bandage your cuts and scrapes.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Play of the Week

Detroit Defensive Lineman Shaun Rogers' (6'4", 340 pounds) Interception

He also had 3.5 sacks on the day.

The man is a monster. Give him the ball on the goal line.

leg update

I had my last leg appointment three weeks ago.

Dr. Gold looked at my x-rays and said, "You graduate today, not that we don't like to see you."

I asked if I needed to take any special precautions.

"Can I jump out of a plane and land on the leg?"

"Oh the leg's solid do whatever you want."

He did mention that the MRSA bug that I picked up in the early days of project leg may be lingering in my leg and that it could flare up at some point.

"How will I know?"

"Oh you'll know. The leg will really hurt."

In the meantime, I won't loose any sleep over it. If the dreaded superbug Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus resurfaces, I will deal with it then.

Dr. Gold took some final video of me walking down the corridor, I executed a pirouette and the medical part of, the saga of the leg, drew to a close.

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There's a connection here somewhere, there always is; the Six Million Dollar Man, "No Glue Needed" (well in my case they used a little high grade spackle), the motorcycle

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Jamie Sommers, the Bionic Woman and Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man

I have a hearing scheduled in November with the Social Security Administration that will resolve the disability/financial side of the leg one way or another.

Thank you to all the family, friends, medical professionals, administrators, access drivers and strangers that have helped me throughout the long journey back.

"Gentlemen we can rebuild him. We have the technology."



With the Camry starting to experience multiple system organ failure I have found my next car. There is a smart store in Venice. A scouting mission is on tomorrow's agenda.

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2008 smart fortwo

The Facts

*1.0 L, 71 HP, 3 cylinder engine

*5-speed automated manual transmission with manual or automatic mode

*Air conditioning

*Protective "tridion safety cell"

*The top speed of the smart fortwo is 90 mph (Electronicly limited).

*The vehicle is designed to achieve 40 plus mpg under normal driving conditions and current standards. The gas tank of the smart fortwo is 8.7 gallons.

*The fortwo has 8 cubic feet of storage space – 12 feet if you load up to the roof line.

*The smart fortwo that will be available in the United States will be:
o 8.8 feet long (you can usually fit two smart fortwos in an average parking space!)
o 5.1 feet tall (the smart still has as much headroom as most luxury vehicles!)
o 5.1 feet wide (two six foot, five inch plus people can sit side by side with plenty of shoulder room to spare!)

***Note the leg is 6'5" (at least on my left side). Check out the Big Man commercial.

football miscue

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Jack Nicholson in, The Passenger.

The Passenger Trailer

I managed to avoid all information pertaining to the Colts Patriots game yesterday. The game was waiting for me on the DVR when I returned home from the world. Dinner, a beer and what had been over-hyped as the game of the season. I was hoping for a shoot out with a few defensive touchdowns. I and presumably everyone else watching missed the opening kickoff due to CBS's ongoing coverage of the Vikings game and Adrian Peterson's monster day (296 yards, 3 rushing TD's and one reception for 19 yards). Miscue number one, a CBS issue.

The Colts pass rush was intense. They made the Patriots offensive line look slow for the first time all year.

By the fourth quarter Indy's high energy defense started to looked tired.

When I was fast forwarding through a commercial (truly a joy) during the fourth quarter, I noticed that even though there were just under eight minutes remaining in the game there were only two minutes of footage left on the recorder.

Tragic, after avoiding all game news, asking people not to text or call with game information, steering clear of strangers in Patriots and Colts gear and watching over three quarters of the game I was going to have to read, READ, about how the game ended. Miscue number two, a Direct TV/DVR issue.

A definite flaw in the DVR; it records by time slots on the program guide. It doesn't make ajustements for sporting events that take longer then expected to be completed. The game was slotted for 1PM-4PM(PST). When four o'clock came despite seven minutes remaining in the game, the DVR shut itself off. I know the machine has no soul and it preformed its task as directed, but it was a true HAL moment. The next time around I will also record the program that follows the game. Rookie mistake on my part. However, Direct TV should idiot proof their device or at least remind me that sporting events do sometimes go longer than expected and I might want to record a buffer as I am recording a time slot not a game.

Quick Hits: Patriots vs. Colts

*Can anyone stop Randy Moss?

*An odd day for former Patriot and current Colt place kicker Adam Vinatieri to miss his first kick ever in the RCA Dome.

*Penalties handcuffed the Patriots throughout the game.

*Both of Tom Brady's interceptions led to touchdowns.

*Addai is going to the pro-bowl.

*I thought Reggie Wayne would continue his hot streak instead he put up a modest six receptions for 62 yards and no touchdowns.


*Up close in high definition Terry Bradshaw looks like Emperor Palpatine.

*Steve McNair looks old.

*How did Raven's coach Brian Billick think he was going to win with McNair as his starter? Is it that he can't physically throw a pass of over 20 yards or even 15?

*Why did McNair start the 4th quarter?

*Wow, five touchdown passes in the first half for Hayabusa Ben.

*Commentators should be restricted from talking about referee Ed Hochuli's physique. They've been pointing it out for 16 years.