Friday, April 25, 2014

List of Doctors/Organizations Providing Ketamine Treatments for CRPS / RSD

This list was current as of April 2011, when it was originally published. Please help me update it by leaving a message detailing new clinics, hospitals, and doctors who are providing subanesthetic Ketamine treatments for CRPS / RSD -- also let me know, s'il vous plaît, about any errors in the current listing.  Thank you, Sweet Readers!

Doctors/Institutions Providing (Subanesthetic) Ketamine Treatment for CRPS / RSD

CA Los Angeles Thomas Leverone 310-209-6500
CA Los Angeles Joshua Prager Center for Pain Rehabilitation 310-264-7246
CA Los Angeles Linda Rever USC Pain Center 323-442-6202
CA La Jolla Nancy Sajben Scripps Memorial 858-622-0500 oral Ketamine
CA Santa Anna Lawrence Miller 1450 17th St, STE 200 714-953-6000
CA San Francisco SF Kaiser 415-833-0095
CO Univ. of CO Alan Brewer 720-848-1970
DC Dr. Chin Geo. Washington Hosp. 202-715-4599
FL Hollywood Dr. Kaufmann Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital 954 360 6383
FL Sarasota Doanld Erb, DO Institute for Advanced Medicine 941-917-5111
FL Tampa Anthony Kirkpatrick 813-435-8206
GA Atlanta Erik Shaw, D.O. Shepard Pain Institute
IA Des Moines Steven Quam,DO Metro Anesthesia and Pain Management 515-221-9222
IL Palos Park Renata Variakojis 708-631-5550
IL Chicago Timothy Lubinow Rush Univ. Med Cntr 312-942-6631
IL Rockford Medical Pain Mang. Serv 815-397-8400
KY Louisville Christopher Nelson Bluegrass Pain Cons. 502-423-1021
Kas Leawood Dr. Simon Mid-America Physiatrists 913-599-2440
MA Boston Arnold Pain Center 617-278-8000
MA Boston Christine Peeters-Asdouria Beth Israel 317-278-8000
MS Jackson Kenneth Oswalt University Pain Management 601-984-5950
NC Winston-Salem James North Carolina Pain Institute 336-765-6181
NE Hastings Mark Brosnihan/John Dungan Manny Lanning Mem. Hosp. 402-463-4521
NJ Marlton Philip Getson 856-983-7246
NJ Morristown Edward Zampella Atlantic Neurosurgical Specialists 973-285-7800
NJ Camden Pain Management 856-983-7246
NV Carson City John Di Murro 775-841-4057
NY NYC Vadim Kushnerik Downtown Hospital 212-312-5247
NY Dr. Durkin 631-638-0800
NY NYC Seth Waldman Hosp. for Special Surgery 212-606-1015
NY/DC/VA Nameer R. Haider, MD see website
NY NYC Ron Hertz Roosevelt Hosp. 212-523-6357
NY Syosset Northshore Hosp. 516-496-6506
NY Stony Brook Brian Durkin, DO Stony Brook Hospital 631-638-0800
OH Mayfield Hgts. Teresa Dews Hillcrest Hosp 440-312-8599
OH Centerville Amol Soin, MD Ohio Pain Clinic 937-434-2226
OK OK City Jack Marshall 405-775-9355
PA Bryn Mawr Matthew Kline Center for Pain 610-527-9500
RI Pawtucket Pradeep Chopra, MD Interventional Pain Mang, Ctr 401-7294985
TX Houston Everton Edmondson Interventional Neurology 713-797-1180
TX San Antonio Kaleb Shaw, MD Univ. of Texas, San Antonio 210-450-9850
UT Salt Lake City Andrew Tallbutt Life Tree Pain Clinic 801-261-4988
WY Casper Tuenis Zondag Neuroscience Center 307-265-7246
WA Yakima Waters Edge Pain Relief Institute 509-574-3805
New Zealand Aukland Greenlane Hospital (09) 638-9909

4/25/2014 addendum:  Please remember that the textual stuff below was painstakingly typed wayyy back in April 2011, hence some oddity.  For instance, Dr. Schwartzman has [alas!] retired...

*I cannot vouch for what you'll discover upon contacting the individual doctors and institutions listed above.  I can verify that this list is NOT complete -- for which we should all be more than a little bit grateful!  I say that because I know of several exclusions from my area -- exclusions that are completely warranted by the less than impressive approach being taken by those excluded!  For instance?  Well... the local doctor whose approach to the ketamine infusion is to LEASE an infusion machine to the patient, toss in an i.v. or PICC line, and send the patient home with bags of ketamine... That's right, you can do your ketamine treatments in the privacy of your own bedroom!  Oh, and the cost is as attractive as the "protocol" -- beyond the insertion of a line and the leasing of a pump -- it's...

Personally, by excluding that particular physician from this list, the list maker proved his bona fides!

You'll note some more obvious things, like the absence of Dr. Schwartzman of Philadelphia (Neurology Chair at Drexel). I can think of numerous reasons why that might be so, first and foremost that he has more patients and potential patients than your average bear, and second, that he may wear more the mantle of researcher and academic at this point. Mostly, though, I don't know. He is easy enough to find, as are the details of his protocol.

A word about the Schwartzman protocol: It is a research protocol, and therefore is not subject to any adjustment. The results need to proceed from a process that is double-blind and placebo controlled -- reproducible, ethical, heavily monitored and so on.

Uh-oh.  I feel a sensation of mounting bile.  Perhaps a moderate rant...
I am fed up with the CRPS / RSD patient culture -- online, at least. I should not have strayed from my neurologist's longstanding advice not to join online CRPS/RSD "support" groups. A few weeks ago, I found a group fairly experienced with ketamine, joined, shared my "story" (de rigueur), but mentioned prominently, and twice, that I did not wish to debate ketamine protocols, as I am in the position of using what is available to me. That I am unable to swoop into Philly on a private ambulance plane, "Dr. S" having dropped whatever insignificant thing he was doing to meet and escort me around his facility, does not mean that I am not invested in getting well. That I am no longer pursuing inclusion in the "coma" treatment studies does not mean that my efforts to beat "the monster" are either half-assed or half-hearted. (I am pretty sure, as are others, that it would kill me.)

Yes, despite declaring the ketamine protocol debate off limits -- that's all most people came back at me with... Not to say that there weren't any who attentively read my post and responded thoughtfully and with a clear intent of being... you know, *supportive* -- there were. Two. Two people. One is about as frazzled as I am, and we are enjoying behind the scene banter. It's a case of instant recognition of one's self in the other -- I'm very comfortable with her.

And it occurs to me that I pulled on her exactly that with which I am charging the Protocol Protectorate!  The difference was time and place -- we had at least perfunctorily "met," and we were communicating privately. She wanted to pursue a treatment for whom the only known advocate is a very shady doctor (*cough* *sniff* dr. H *achoo* in Florida *sneeze*), now retired but still in the business via an equally shady website and -- I innocently and unknowingly surmise -- some longstanding system of kickbacks. If folks will do just a bit of due diligence, they'll discover that *cough* *sniff* dr. H *achoo* in Florida *sneeze* did time for Medicare fraud. In a different state, a bit more to the north. Starts with a V.

So I spoke up and posed some rhetorical doubt.

It turned out that, in the interim of our communications, she had stumbled on some less than savory details on her own. She was doing what needed doing and I felt relieved. God only knows how many desperate people have fallen through the cracks, lost to these assholes armed with medical licenses.

But I have been through this process -- constant guarding against people with no aim other than fleecing patients so desperate for relief that they will believe the most amazing crap -- and it is tedious. Mind- and heart- numbing.

What did I expect from the group? What help could they realistically have been?

I wanted to know what, if anything, I could do to optimize the benefits of my treatments. There was only one clear response and it was buried in a bunch of condescending advice for the neophyte, and full of "Dr. S" this, and "Dr. S" that... In order to participate in his studies, Dr. Schwartzman requires that patients be off most meds, and all opiates. That makes sense to me... but mostly, it makes sense in his intensive research protocol.

Crud. Let me chat about something else for a moment. I am not completely sure of this -- I saw a video by Dr. Prager of L.A. from about a year ago in which he said the German arm of the coma studies had been shut down. That makes me sad even though I understand the forces at work.

It has to do with what happened to Laura Beckett, I believe, and while her situation is tragic, I don't see how "blame" can realistically be assigned or why the study had to be punished as a result. MRSA is everywhere, and I have some experience with contracting it, even in an ICU environment where standards are high. It strikes me as odd, as well, that the work in Mexico continues unabated with barely even a mention of the patient death that occurred there.  The implication in Prager's video is that her inclusion was on a compassionate-use basis, not as part of the research cohort.

It's a darned good thing that I recognize the dangers of knowing-a-little-but-not-much. What would be even better? If I could find more medical professionals to trust, with whom to share the burden of worry. I have a group of trusted doctors but none of them are, or will ever be, CRPS experts. When you have an orphan disease that is not at all sexy in its promise for monetary reward, you also have a disease that doesn't/cannot interest many mainstream treating professionals or fire up research consortia (Big Pharma) with burning passion. CRPS just doesn't have that special cachet that comes from infusions, not of ketamine, but of cash.

On the occasions when I pray, it is almost always in the form of intercessionary prayers -- perhaps the prayer of the pompous, definitely the prayer of the dilettante.

Self-interest is never absent, never far from my lips.

I pray for my local, real, available, and wonderful doctors and nurses. But I also pray for Dr. Schwartzman, Dr. Kirkpatrick, Dr. Prager. I pray for Laura Beckett and for the family and friends of Andrea Gianopoulos. They each own, somehow, a little bit of my wayward soul by virtue of their bravery and by the evidence of their faith. 

It's a rough weekend. I hit a pain cycle starting -- roughly -- Wednesday morning. If you noted my previous erudite discussion of the term and concept of "flare," let me say that I seem to be in the midst of shifting pain types, not just some sort of eastern purification of the pain -- *snort*! Some of it may be due to Buddy the Kitten's claws but I don't see that I can blame it all on the Wee One. Ask me again in a few days.

My anxiety levels hit their peak around 4 am last night. All I seem able to think of is how Monday's ketamine treatment is likely to be my last.

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3/3/12: A REPOST of "things i wrote in the night"

this repost from march of 2012, most memorable for its images, is brought to you by my curiosity over a sudden rise in its number of "pageviews." yes, i realize this is likely due to some new surge of interest in zhang dagian... well, maybe this repost will somehow do her a good turn, a mitzvah. it's far too late to help van gogh, and i am not really sold on jason ferguson. as for context, it appears to be one of my godawful home-after-the-hearsepital posts. i tend toward a full week of confusion upon my return to the manor...

many museums have established virtual tours of their holdings.  it's a great way to spend a few hours, together with a good cup of coffee.  the impetus for gaping, all schmaltzy-like, at art in the wee hours of a saturday morning?  an article in Rue89 about the chinese artist zhang daqian.  the emphasis was on what the art market is willing to bear, in terms of price, and how shocking that zhang daqian outsells picasso, gasp!

the art market is, of course, complicated -- just check out the information about auction results and other indices over at

were i a bit more evil, i bet i could turn art prices and some prefab notion of a free art market economy into frothing fodder for the GOP presidential aspirants, what with their errant attention spans, an opportunity to use the word "inflation," and crippling xenophobia. with a tweak here, and a tweak there, i can have the value of zhang daqian's work intimately entwined with foreign policy and the imperative to reduce the national debt.

just look at this swirling loveliness!  now try to turn your facile and waffling take on free trade agreements and illegal immigration into some sort of china policy that covers the art work of a master forger. ah, the twist, the rub!

i miss the heady days of the early republican debates, when the ideas for maintaining a strong national artistic border came down to having boots on the ground and electric charges in the fence.

boots with laces, 1886
van gogh

From the dark opening of the worn inside of the shoes the toilsome tread of the worker stares forth. In the stiffly rugged heaviness of the shoes there is the accumulated tenacity of her slow trudge through the far-spreading ever-uniform furrows of the field swept by a raw wind. On the leather lie the dampness and richness of the soil. Under the soles slides the loneliness of the field-path as evening falls... 
-- Martin Heidegger
The Origin of the Work of Art

Jason Ferguson | Koe | custom circular ditch, water, electric fence, & live cow
Eastern Michigan University Art Department

i found a small spiral notebook stuck in a plastic bag full of bills. in an attempt to keep track of goings-on in the hospital, i'd jotted down notes as reminders and testaments.

one day, two women from environmental services dominated several pages.

this hospital has a pilot program whereby mentally retarded [i really don't want to run a marathon on the euphemism treadmill this morning, so make whatever politically correct changes you deem necessary] workers work as nurse's aides, food service delivery folk, and ward minions.  one such employee was named annie, and she worked for environmental services, cleaning patients' rooms.

"Knock, knock.  My name is Miss Annie from Environmental Services.  I am here to clean and freshen your room. May I come in?"

it's a very nice introduction, and it made me smile, usually.

i wasted a fair amount of time interrogating visitors as to their identities.

for instance -- imagine that you are half-napping.  you jolt upward into complete awareness when the smiling, well-groomed woman in spotless blue scrubs -- under a knee-length white lab coat without embroidered identification or departmental badge swinging on a lanyard -- proffers a tiny, fake cough. she calls your name and then asks, as if asking this were a perfectly natural beginning to a conversation -- "so... what happened, darling?"

tell me that you would not, at that precise point, ask her who the hell she was, being careful to add "sweetcheeks" as an endearment.

so, yes, i liked miss annie.  i liked that she told me what department she represented and that she warned me, up front, about what she was gonna do.

miss annie was huge.  her voice was even larger than her actual frame.  sometimes it shocked me so that i feared being stuck on the ceiling.  even so, we developed a fondness for one another, even though we never much talked beyond her vibrant announcement and my "thank you, miss annie."

twice, though, i upset miss annie's world.  once, i was in so much pain that i needed to be left alone, isolated, packed away.  it came out as a cruel and strident "no, miss annie, you may not come in now...  please come back later."  it rocked her world and she could only repeat her lines, a little louder, with a few shifts in emphasis:

"Knock, knock.  My name is Miss Annie from Environmental Services, God damn it.  I am here, right now, right here in the here and now, to clean and freshen your your God damned room. May I come in?  Let me in, God damn it."

i acquiesced but spent the whole 10 minutes of her merciful mission sighing and swiping at my angry tears.  i also insisted that she wipe down the trapeze bars and help me find the two pens and a pencil that i'd dropped on the floor.

the next day, miss annie was back, didn't miss a beat. and when  "please, not now" became necessary once again, we conversed seamlessly, as friends.  well, no, not as friends.  as environmental services rep and patient.

when miss annie was not there, another woman took her place, and announced her name and job.  she lacked miss annie's style and overall panache. she was adequate.

one of my last days there, she arrived while i was writhing about in full spasm, trying not to claim a number on the pain scale that was above its limit of ten.  as i have many times maintained, calling out a 10+ rating just renders the whole silly effort to quantify pain... sillier.

i made an effort when she first came in, smiling, joking, even.  but then the spasms got serious and i dissolved into tears.  the next thing i knew, she was bent over me, yelling:

"do you know my face?  do you know my face?"

i don't know how i answered her, but i think i repeated this:  "what?  what?"

then, crafty devil that she was, she shifted verbiage, now demanding:

"do you know who i am with?  do you know who i am with?"

this was becoming pretty scary to me, i admit. my nurse came into the room with some medication and was probably shocked by my happiness to see her.  before i could speak, though, miss annie's replacement gave report:

this lady started out okay, nurse, but then she went rotten with pain.  she didn't know who i was. she didn't know environmental services, and her eyes won't focus. 

and so, dear readers, this is what i wrote during the night.  odd and disjointed, it; odd and disjointed, me.

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New Clinical Trial For CRPS At HSS

Randomized Controlled Trial of Ketamine Infusion With Continuous Epidural Infusion for Treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/CRPS/RSD

The study above can be accessed at -- it began last month and ends in December 2017. They are seeking an enrollment of 60 at the Hospital for Special Surgery (535 E 70th St, New York, NY, United States, 10021).

Go for it! [That's a decidedly editorial comment from a know-nothing blogger who has 12 years "in" the CRPS Wild Ride Experience, so feel free to do your due diligence as to inclusion and exclusion criteria, risks -- and just ignore me egging on folks who are in the area and desirous of aiding research into this god-forsaken malady!]

Contact: Kaye Estioco      
Sub-Investigator: Jodie Curren, BSN         
Sub-Investigator: Robert Griffin, MD         
Sub-Investigator: Vladimir Kramskiy, MD         
Sub-Investigator: Christine Peterson, MD         
Sub-Investigator: Seth Waldman, MD         
Principal Investigator: Daniel Richman, MD    

The Hospital for Special Surgery, which is a fantastic place for all things even remotely orthopedic, is located here:  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"And rend your heart, and not your garments..."

The most heartrending post I've ever read, from Ethan's Mom Rachel.

Rachel Hallmark posted a new journal entry.

If that link doesn't connect you, go to and enter "ethanhallmark" in the "VISIT" search box.  Then scroll down to the journal feed for today, 24 April 2014.

oh, garcia marquez, how i will miss you!

listen, folks, i admitted in the previous post that i'm on drugs -- the good, legal kind.  covered by my blessèd obamacare-ACA-presidentially-approved health insurance policy, for which, you wacked-out wingnuts, i pay good money.

well, not good money.  just money.

anyway.  [the best of segues]

here follows the provenance of this post, and you SHOULD know by now my obsession with provenance:

at least a bazillion people a day tramp through marlinspike hall (read the damn **ABOUT::THIS::BLOG** section over on the right side of the freaking page, would 'ya?), and wayyyyy too many of the folks come with a pass stamped "looking for information about that asswipe Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa, 1st Marquis of Vargas Llosa."

what's more?  our docents, docentesses, and the struggling underclass of the most recent priestly novitiate from next door (they earn coin to make desperate calls home) are overwhelmed with the number of theta and lisping Spanish-speakers (we report them all as likely nazis to Tête de Hergé Homeland Security) inquiring after vargas llosa.  just click the underline, light blue shaded (or is it purple?) text of his name in the preceding paragraph and you can read about him to your hearts' content. or HERE, click HERE!  at Wikipedia!

track in the gritty clay of our land, smear smooshed greeny asphodels around our pompeian mosaic floors, we don't mind the cleaning... it's of the mindset ruling your sneakers that we think whilst scrubbing away the dregs of nature with toothbrushes and tubes of Sensodyne! [don't you dare touch that sentence.]

why, o why, are we not receiving pilgrim upon pilgrim seeking after our magical collection of Gabriel Garcia Marquez arty-facts?

where did all this people clearly RAISED IN A BARN come from?  okay, okay, i know, they're likely of german descent, but we don't paint tar all over the sensitive skins of an entire people around here! that's not the marlinspike hall way!

oh, garcia marquez, how i will miss you! 

i need a new fentanyl patch.  and a percocet.

********* *** *********
vargas: SF= steepest part of a slope

********* *** *********

Gabriel García Márquez: Discurso por el recibimiento del Premio Nobel de Literatura en 1982 --

© 2013 L. Ryan

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A Letter From My Buddy Barack Obama

I love it, more Secret Service Envy headed my way!  Having been the only instructor at Major Gothic Wonder Land University to hold a required class on the day Ronald Reagan came to jabber at the undergraduates, and wave at the picketing grad students, I am a favorite of the Secret Service.  What they can't figure out is the "no-make ups allowed" major exam question that equally (always *equally*) excited my students -- made up of 14 upperclass undergrads and 1 relieved Divinity School doctoral student:
Explain, dissect, conjugate, and defend the following assertion:Michael Reagan, son of United States of America President Ronald Reagan will one day serve on the board of The John Douglas French Alzheimer's Foundation.

Of course, this pretty standard "no-make ups allowed" major exam question was in French, as this was a course designed to dunk -- by which I mean, of course, immerse students into French Lit.  As you can tell from the question, we had just finished reading Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.

Oops.  Train of thought problems, yet again.  I was telling you about the letter I just personally retrieved from my private email account -- known only to my best of best Facebook Friends. [Loud guffaw! I have a fake Facebook account and about, oh, two Friends, all the rest being right-wing relatives.  My two Friends are right-wingers, as well, but tolerant.   Very tolerant.]

So, yeah, it was from Barack.  My buddy Barack.

[Look, let me settle this, as I just was barraged, nay, blitzkrieged by two Super Secret Facebook Friends who are actual full-blood relatives and consider themselves, and I quote:  "progressive as hell, girl!" Fine, let them assert their leftist tendencies.  Yes, their leftist tendencies surpass even my own, to the extent that I doubt either of them have ever voted in their entire political adult lives.  Not even for McGovern.  Okay... I'm telling lies now.  Let's just say that they may temper their support for President Obama due to expectations of a shift to the left by a rather large amount.  Not this profderien, no ma'am! I adore, respect, love, admire, and imitate this intelligent sign of life -- and his awesome family -- every chance I get.  Well, okay, so there are a few things, policy-wise, that could use a slight Marxist tweak, but, most days, I'm fine with that.]

That's right. The President, himself, writing to The Moi, care of, admittedly, the Haddock Corporation (now completely divested from Halliburton *).

 * Can you freaking believe that "Halliburton" pops up as a correction in SPELL CHECK?! How screwed up is that?  I mean does "amnety internatenal" show up in spell check? No, it does not, thankyouverymuch!  Jesus.

Cough.  Yes, my friend Barack wrote to thank me -- just me -- for my round-the-clock, high tech multi-year campaign on behalf of the watered-down Affordable Care Act.  I keep referring him to my other dearest pal, Bernie Sanders, but haven't heard yet how that's going (so much to talk about!).

In the past, as many a Beloved Reader of this blog recalls, I have shared a few of my personally keyboarded letters to our President -- never violating protocol, naturally, but always seeking advice from the now deceased Tante Louise on how best to post presidential correspondence
Well, okay.  Tante Louise and I may have flubbed a few posts in which my buddy Barack figured, but we toed the, er, red line in the, er, sand when it came to my personal, and by personal I mean one-on-one, tête-à-tête sorts of intimate, soul searching, letters.  The whole Flaubert and Bob Herbert catastrophe.  The admittedly odd basketball post.

Even when you limit a search of this blog to "Obama, ACA," there are just a half-dozen or so weird ones...  I mean, omit blog war waged on Walmart, and the regrettable incident in which I claimed not to be able to support "Obamacare" until Socialism was in place.  I was on drugs.  You can tell, I bet.  I mean, look -- clearly, I say often enough that Obamacare -- the ACA, the PCIP, whatever you like to call it -- saved my life.

Probably, that's all my vast reading public needs to know:  President Barack Obama saved my life.
And then pulls off this comedic email in which he pretends I had something to do with this brave legislative and moral effort [ ::waving:: at teddy!].

That is a true friend, indeed.

Oh hell, there is a man in a terribly plain blue suit that has been tailored, clearly, to hold a spare machine gun and drone in the small of his large back... peeking in the badly leaded hand-poured window panes that stud the upper chamber of the Computer Turret.  I have repeatedly and repeatedly asked Barack, even "cc"-ing Michelle, to have the damned Secret Service "STAND DOWN," already!


Lincoln's Presidential Seal

[Hi there, prof-de-rien!  How're they hanging?]

I had to take a moment to say thank you.

Lisa, you made history.

A long line of organizers fought for nearly 100 years to make health care reform a reality, and now we're seeing the results. Millions of Americans have health insurance today, thanks to reform -- some for the first time in their lives.

The work you did is how real, lasting change gets made, and I hope it will be remembered for years to come.

I'm so happy your name will be there, alongside mine, as part of OFA's permanent record of the people who made health care reform happen.

If you know anyone else who deserves to be recognized, tell them to add their name here:

Anyone who was part of this decades-long fight will tell you it was never easy, but it was always the right thing to do. Teddy Roosevelt knew it. Harry Truman knew it. Teddy Kennedy sure knew it.

No matter how hard it got, the results we're seeing today make it all worthwhile. Millions of Americans now have coverage, and even more have better health care, thanks to the work you did.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

It's proof that when people come together and fight for what they believe in, real, lasting change is possible.

I can't thank you enough,

Barack Obama

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Eternal Vagaries of Dwinelle Hall and That Green Bescherelle

This is a very precious Southernism:  I'm having me a day.

I could just leave it at that.

But really, continuing with the leitmotif made famous by elle est belle la seine la seine elle est belle, "whose blog is it, anyway?" -- I feel like telling you the gist of one of my recurring nightmares.  The gist, that's all.  Were "gist" a word favored by Joe Friday, you'd be reading:  "All we want is the gist, ma'am."

Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

So I'm sleeping the sleep of the innocent when the past hijacks my brain and I'm strolling down Telegraph Avenue toward campus.  having just opened a lucrative checking account at the Bank of America, I swing a right onto Bancroft, wiping out an entire Street Vendor Free Enterprise Zone [SVFEZ] with my various forms of rolling luggage.  By the time I hit Piedmont and climbed the steps to the International House, my face is bright red and my curls are fetchingly damp.

There's no rest for the weary, however, so I leave my bags with a pleasant young Arab and head over to Dwinelle Hall for an orientation meeting with a 1970's version of Fabio before teaching my first scheduled Very Important Class on the fourth floor of that austere educational edifice.

You need to know that:

Dwinelle houses the departments of classics, rhetoric, linguistics, history, comparative literature, South and Southeast Asian studies, film studies, French, German, Italian studies, Scandinavian, Slavic languages, Spanish and Portuguese, and gender and women's studies.
Who knows, that might be important to the plot.  I run a tight nightmare.

Yeah, that's how I roll.

[Oh, God.  Yes, I'll stop.  For once, the Reader on My Shoulder prevails... and has gone in search of something for stomach acid.]

[Oh, and, he says, "...and for a headache, for a GD headache..."]

There are a few new details in this recurrence of the nightmare, most notably that I've also stopped at a hair cuttery along the way and am inexplicably blonde.  I'm also carrying a tennis racket and am obsessed with detailing a return of service plan for some tennis match that the dream doesn't yet allow me to fully envision.

Blonde.  I am blonde.
Wait!  There were those odd under hair highlights, of a color yet to be determined. My memory hazes over and my eyes cross when I try to recall the hair of this recurrent nightmare.  But blonde, yes, I was blonde, with something extra twerking below my shimmering outer locks.

[Reader on My Shoulder just left.  Slowly, leaning on the bedside table, grabbing at the wall as if it had handles.  Oh, wait, it does!  "Twerking?  Are you shittin' me?  Twerking?"]

Well, screw my readership, then!  No, not YOU!  Just HIM!  And all of you born-blondes with naturally occuring RHYTHMIC underhair color schematics?

Eat my grits.

I knew I was a little dehydrated, but I didn't think it was that bad. Or is this chronic, degenerative, neurological pain disorder in control of my keyboard, mwa ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaa!?

Anyway. This is still bothering me, this walk back down the hill, head half full of pedagogical mneumonic lifesavers, but the other half teeming with tennis strategies and freaked out by the fact that I'm now carrying, as I should be, a Brunello Cucinelli triple gussetted briefcase, in which I've that well worn, much loved, long gone, green Bescherelle, and a David Oscarson "Lily" fountain pen... plus a Snauwaert Ergonom (graphite) which ought to be universally, galactically, against the rules of sporting decorum.

Wow.  I had no clue any of that was going on between my ears.  I haven't thought of that Bescherelle, certainly haven't even uttered the word "Bescherelle," in eons.  And do I really care about briefcases or fountain pens?  And tennis rackets?

Well, yes.  But not like THAT!  Except for maybe the tennis racket part...

Much more important? Extra- super- galactically important?

How far behind the damned service line do I need to be?  Or is this a really lousy player, maybe some famous dreamy person competing in their first oneiric tennis competition, who is just going to dink it over the net, then jump up and down, laugh and throw a party?

Yes, well, yeah.  Okay, so I get through the nightmare orientation session, which seems remarkably short (don't you LOVE dream versions of tedious crap?), and get my teaching assignments.  French literature in various forms, mostly, plus a remarkably important French One Grammar class. 

On the fourth floor of Dwinelle Hall.
There is no fourth floor of Dwinelle Hall, a building which anyone who knows it will describe as "bizarre." 

I suppose continuing the narration might take forever, and subject my more devoted Readers, as well as the bevy of forensic psychiatrists analyzing my texts in the name of "national security," to mind-numbing ennui.  So I'll give you what is called the "short" version:

I got kicked out of the International House, and so hit the streets of Berkeley again, bags in tow, searching -- in a daze of nocturnal lighting -- for an apartment, but only finding offers to take in a roommate, which, sadly, I had to turn down.  (For dream reasons unaccessable at the present time.)

My students were unable to be taught, as they were unable to be found, since the fourth floor of Dwinelle does not exist, in my nightmare as in every day University of California life.

My hair required some touch-up trimming and dye action, so I returned to a hair salon.  It was located, not on Telegraph or Durant or Bancroft, but on a Vegas-like section of Shattuck.  Upstairs, the chic salon, where not just the hair stylists consulted on my case, but even hair stylist interns vehemently opined in the large group meeting that ensued... before I did a quick change job and headed downstairs, where there was, of course, a huge installation of tennis courts, styled after the All-England Championship venue, Wimbledon.

Nota bene:  The Wimbledon championships are known, in our neighborhood, as "Wimpleton," a typical variant of the English pronunciation in Tête de Hergé, particularly west of the Lone Alp and when the speaker is in a singularly imperative mood.
My first round match was a breeze, and left no dream impact. However, the beginning of my second round match, which turned out to be the quarterfinals, was marred by the tragedy of the huge hole in my graphite bit of grotesquerie, that twisted Snauwaert Ergonom.

One of the hair stylists saved the day by loaning me an autographed mint condition Wilson Jack Kramer... meaning that I had the smallest head on the courts, both literally, and even more literally, in terms of racket size.  Given that it was a true nightmare (remember the savagely separated and lost professor and students? my eviction from the I-House?), I got to "relive" one of the tragedies of my UNDEFEATED high school tennis career -- being in a USTA regional doubles final and choking, developing back spasms so vicious I could not serve to save my life.  (Or my friendship with my doubles partner.)

The nightmare slowed to a snail's pace during my quarterfinal match, each service fault magnified in my experience, and highlighted for the partiers and hair salon patrons of Shattuck Avenue's hottest night spot.

Interspersed throughout these events were encounters with students, some as I remember them, some now grown to a middling age, on steps, in libraries, Sproul Plaza, at poetry readings, and a few smiling and nodding as we sat together in audiences, listening to important people, smart people, some of whom changed my life...

Except when I am at the mercy of a somnolent past, a hearty ego, and the eternal vagaries of Dwinelle Hall.

It was nice to feel the tiny heft and the equally tangible huge significance of that green Bescherelle *.

From Our Island Home

*****  **********  *****  

Louis-Nicolas Bescherelle (10 June 1802, Paris – 1883, Paris) was a French lexicographer and grammarian.

With help from his brother Henri, he wrote "Le Véritable Manuel des conjugaisons ou la science des conjugaisons mise à la portée de tout le monde", a reference guide to French verb conjugation, in 1842. The book became so important that his last name is used as a noun to refer to any French conjugation book.

© 2013 L. Ryan Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On Rectitude

I pity you, Dear Reader.  The richness of life's tapestry around me calls up this pity, this sadness for you and what must be, by comparison, a bland and monochromatic existence.

You poor thing.

When you look out your bedroom window, you aren't gifted with the best-crack-dealer-on-the-block's cheery wave.  You don't know that the color of the day is green.

Just yesterday, it was red.  Our dealer sported red trainers, baggy jean britches -- with the fabric crotch a mere two inches superior to his knobby knees -- patched with scarlet pockets, and topped off the ensemble with one very backward baseball cap, cardinal brimmed.  His t-shirt was high tech, some sort of wicking material, and sternly black, the better to make the red shine.

The kelly green for the day does not quite work.  It's neither editorial nor a suitable fashion irony.  Let us hope his dope makes up for his design deficit.  He was working the phone, as usual, when he looked up to give me the highest five.

Back to your pitiful state, Reader Darling.  You were not greeted at your waking by the Feline Triumvirate, working together as a tight, tight trio.  Buddy the Outrageously Large Maine Coon was in charge of attacking the door and all major vocalization.  It sounded like a freaking tornado spinning out in that gaudy gilt and velvet hall. Marmy of the Fluffy Butt paced behind the other two, whipping that marvelous tail with each about-face.  It was kind of nice to hear that staccato undercurrent of her gutteral *ack*::*ack*.  That leaves the rest of the feline phenomenon in Dobby the Runt's domain. He was toe-tapping, rat-a-tat-tatting, bringing some soul to the beat they had going on.

I had shut them, and Fred, too, out.

The Spaz chose Easter Sunday to begin an all out blitz of my ragged nerve endings and my CRPS-afflicted attachments were flailing about with all the abandon of their resurrected joy.  It was hell.  It was the purist of agonies.  I kept yelling "He is Risen" out the Computer Turret windows -- more lead than glass pane.

I've declared war on my tendency to curse.  Hence, screaming "He is Risen" and, for some reason, "Ichabod Crane." For a week or two, it was "Christ in a hand basket," until Fred informed moi that that was, sniff, common.

So, anyway.
Right!  The Easter Spaz Attack and the Eviction of All Living Beings From the Bedroom.

Fred left of his own Free Will -- to continue tossing in Christian textual pearls.  I had hobbled to the bathroom, the best bathroom in our West Wing suite, the one with the Lotus Pool.
I wanted a space in which I could scream at will -- nothing to do with "Free Will," this screaming. It was a holler that demanded its own Appalachian valley.

When I came out, a very crooked smile pasted on my blotchy face, Fred was gone.  Along with his triple-decker sandwich and his grape soda.  La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore is on tour with her troupe's most successful staging of Faust in decades, so I didn't have her or her entourage to throw out.

There was no one but Dobby.  Ever faithful, that little one.  He may be paid under the table, though, I don't really know.  I'd like to think he loves me enough that when everyone else flees, he runs toward me, the burning building, the swaying tower about to crash into waves of toxic cinder.

That may be overstating things a bit but it's my blog, not yours.

Much of yesterday's behavior was dictated by a visit to Dr. Go-To-Guy and Super Nurse Justine.  I did not even bother complaining of rabies, of CRPS sadism, and they attributed every bit of aberrant jerking to my aberrant personality, and the usual fever and chills.

Shake, rattle, and roll, My Babies, shake, rattle, and roll.

There is a sad tendency being played out in doctors' offices throughout the world, and when we all feel better, we need to stand up and change the damn channel.  I am referring, of course, to the prevalence of CNN on waiting room televisions.  Yesterday, I fought back by bringing my copy of Mother Jones to mix in with the Smithsonians and the well-fingered, tantalizing People magazines.

I underscored my CNN protest and my central nervous system maladies by an endless commentary on the purported "news." Things the receptionist may have heard:

"Yeah?  Well, I think you're oxymoronic."

"Yeah?  Well, why aren't you reporting on the dying baby Puffins on the Maine seacoast? The tragedy of baby bird fish food that is too large for their tiny beaklettes!" 

Most of my verbiage followed the "Yeah? Well..." formula.

So, Fred, Dobby, Marmy, Buddy, and I cruised around the Metro Tête de Hergé freeway pretzel while I hummed off key at high volume.  It about killed me to be in such pain, to be spasming to beat my cacophonous band, and not to be able to talk about it, admit it, show it.  Unless that off-key humming at high volume clued in my trapped audience somehow.  The dimwits.  

The sweet dimwits.

Sven Feingold was waiting by the moat when Ruby the Honda CR-V screeched to a halt just short of its pristine waters.  The sweet dimwits fairly peeled out of the car to interrogate him on his reasons for standing guard and to escape the putrid gaseous quality of Ruby's atmosphere.  Turns out Sven was just taking a break from some Maze work -- topiary saps his strength.  He knocked off for the day and joined us all for a fish dinner I had promised to cook.  We invited the best-crack-dealer-on-the-block but he was too busy organizing lookouts and runners, much in the way we used to get up a good softball game late in the breezy afternoons of my lost youth.

Well, that didn't happen. The dinner, I mean. People lined up to beg me NOT to cook, and to "go rest." I gave most of that crowd the "Yeah? Well..." treatment.  And I went to our suite to go rest.

My legs were dancing like a hopped-up whirligig.  There were four packages from Amazon dot com awaiting my penknife's slash.  I had ordered:  4 bottles of Valerian Root that were on a kickass sale and four canvas container thingies, designed for me to "organize" my CDs and sundries, an effort to make my office even cooler a place than it already was.  

Someone at Amazon dot com has gone batshit crazy about shipping.  I always request the option that offers the fewest shipments as possible, trying to curb my large carbon footprint.  I did not request "free 2-day Prime."  So why, barely 24 hours after placing the order, did I have four large boxes to unpack.  One box held one of the stackable canvas container thingies.  One box held another of the stackable canvas container thingies and three bottles of Valerian Root.  One box held two stackable canvas container thingies, stacked.  And the last box, unbelievably, contained one bottle of Valerian Root and what looked like an entire box of green puff pastries, those Earth-friendly biodegradable supersized bubble wraps, tied together like salamis.

So, anyway.

I hope you begin to pity yourself, as you gauge your empty days against my full and abundantly purposed time.

Having made it to this morning, it was something of a hoot to be invaded by the domestic animal family and to appreciate its loving idiosyncrasies.  Little Dobby gave me a "don't try that again" warning look and then demanded a double grooming.  That means making the perfect jug of coffee and then letting it grow cold because his tiny white belly needs brushing and bubbles blown.  The coffee ends up seeming fine and Dobby stays on his back a good while, emitting pheromones of love and peace, and mixing biscuits upside down with precious tiny paws.

"Yeah, well, His is Risen, and you can just kiss my Ichabod Crane."

Don't forget, Dear Reader, I can hear every thought you can squelch out.

Buddy watched the Dobby Double Grooming Routine, hooting softly at the appearance of the second jug of coffee being set aside to cool.  Then Buddy got That Look. He's part engineer, part artist.  He's very Leonardo. I regret naming him "Buddy." The folks at the no-kill shelter had named him "Munster," as they had given the whole Maine Coon kitten clan discovered at a local horse farm (the tiny kittens sheltered under a Budweiser Clydesdale runaway, attuned to the plight of abandoned young...) the name of a cheese.  As we witnessed the destruction of which the young Maine Coon proved capable, "Munster" began to seem more appropriate than the mundane "Buddy," even though his heartening habit of sticking right with you, no matter what (except for CRPS spasms), engendered that name. He was "our buddy," and soon responded to the word, so we let it be.  

Now I think "Bubba" might be suitable.  He has that wild look, and an indecipherable eye twinkle.

So Buddy got That Look.  He's been perturbed by the hospital bed since its arrival in January.  Never mind the problems of three cats staking out three territories on a bed this small, because when you add me to the problem, my body becomes land to which a feline must lay claim, and my body bears the bruises and scars.  The comfort provided by the bed is often offset by the aches of the cat fights over its ownership.

Buddy is the most delusional of all.  He thinks it's all his, including the pale, jerking human form that takes up most of the actual mattress area.  He understands the controls and is the only one not to flee when the bed suddenly begins to move, or the trapeze slaps gently against a metal pole.  But he cannot conquer the affliction of the bed rails. He's grown since his arrival, as you've likely gleaned, my smarty-panted Reader! There are four entries to the bed that are essentially trails around the rails. Simply avoid the suckers.  Simple enough, you'd think.  It's good enough for Dobby, though he also likes to arrive via the wheelchair parked alongside the bed.  He enjoys leaping over the rails with the verticle assistance of the power chair.  If I am behaving within parameters, he will jump and land between my feet.  If I am misbehaving, violating some Dobby protocol (failing to groom being the most likely), he plants his pointy, pokey paws right on my legs and I scream at him while he trims his toenails.  But Buddy... 

Buddy wants to make his entrances to the hospital bed by coming between the rails.  It is a small space.  Granted, he's a cat, and cats can fit into the oddest places.  This feat, however, is not about fitting into anything -- usually a box -- but about passing through something without becoming stuck in it -- usually, again, a box.  You are likely familiar with the famous Maru.  Buddy is no Maru.

This morning, the gods of engineering and Buddy's personal artistic muse smiled upon him and he found the necessary alignments and twisty turns necessary to leap between the rails without need of rescue or first aid.

It was beautiful.  
And it's now something he wants to do again and again.
He's solved his problem;  I've acquired a new issue.  For the moment it is solved by a stopgap blockage of the passage with a quilt.

Marmy, for her part, is demanding that standards be upheld.  She has fussed at me in the manner of mothers the world over, a funny thing for such a heartless queen, she who left kittens scattered willy nilly about the floor as she stalked off, the bubble over her head proclaiming, "You want milk?  Suck this!"  I reminded her of how she quit in mid-delivery when Dobby was trying to be born.  I got a "Yeah, well, *your* mama..." as retort.

She did her job.

I remember protocol.
I know what I am supposed to do, and what I'm not.
I'm trying.

For Sven, I've sketched out a few topiary fixes.  He's putting in a whole English Boxwood section memorializing Alice's Trip Down the Rabbit Hole and the Mad Hatter is driving him crazy.

For Fred, I'm preparing the aforementioned fish dinner, with fresh vegetables and a careful hand with the herbs.  I'm also taking a boat load of Baclofen, so that the filet knife and I shall be an interesting pair.

I won't bore you with the complete list of my tasks, my jobs, the things that people deserve without the pressures of all that asking and answering nonsense.  

For Mother Earth, I've but admiration and intention.  See the beauty, big and small, usual and not so usual. See the ugly, and its needs, its wonders, too.  Pick up the yellow plastic newspaper wrapper stuck on the drainage pipe. Get mad about our radiated oceans.  Save a Puffin.

I pity you, Dear Reader.  The richness of life's tapestry around me calls up this pity, this sadness for you and what must be, by comparison, a bland and monochromatic existence.

You poor thing.

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beautiful redundancies: happy birthday season, sweet pilgrim