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3 month Recovery update!

It has been just over three months since my back surgery.

Jan 23 to April 23.

I tried to take my time to relax since I wasn’t allowed to lift more than 5 lbs or twist or turn. It sucked.  This is what I did.

Actual Recovery

  1. Literally insurance denied pain meds right after the surgery. I was in so much pain, I passed out multiple time.
  2. Then they didn’t approve anything that did anything. They keep saying I am allergic to morphine so hydromorphine is out. I am in fact not allergic to morphine. I am just a non-responder like a lot of people with my genetic background. Hydromorphine tends to work fine, but no one ever gives me that.
  3. Stitches removed. Everyone says it looks great.
  4. After a month, did 12 sessions of physical therapy which insurance refused to pay for what they were supposed to pay for. Idiots.
  5. I am going to have that functional exam soon only because my LAWYER is going to pay for it.

Films Watched

  1. They Came Back from Somewhere – I plead the 5th on this movie.
  2. Jabberwocky – Wasn’t bad, but I would prefer more silly.
  3. Bram Stoker’s Van Helsing – Think Dracula but never seeing Dracula
  4. What about Dick? – this was funny (no violence but sexual innuendo, no rating, but probably would be PG-13 or R)
  5. Cocaine Shark – no. Just no.
  6. Kentucky Fried Movie – just why does this exist?
  7. Amazon women on the moon – Better than KFM
  8. Night Flyer – predictable ending in my opinion
  9. Cheap Detective – it was ok
  10. First Men in the moon – I don’t even know why I watched this
  11. Mysterious Island – This was better I think
  12. Day of the Triffids – I have so many questions about this movie that I don’t know where to start.
  13. Travis: The true story of Travis Walton – a documentary.
  14. 7th Voyage of Sinbad – Why are evil people always bald?
  15. It came from beneath the sea – A product of its time.
  16. Porky’s – offensive but I got through it.
  17. Galaxy Quest – I have mixed opinions. The actors playing the aliens, where did they actually get them? They probably were aliens.
  18. Real Genius – I could only get to probably not even like 30 minutes in, this was just too offensive for someone who is actually intelligent. I hate super nerd in college movies.
  19. Who is minding the mint? – Frank thinks this is funny. No. Klinger was funny though
  20. Road to Rio – No
  21. Visit to a small planet – This became a PLAY! Why?
  22. Wackiest ship in the army – Based on a true story. I feel for them
  23. Earth Vs the Flying Saucers – Product of it’s time
  24. Mars needs women – I don’t even…
  25. 100 million bc – Actually this was interesting
  26. What a way to go – I wish I had her curse.
  27. The great scout and Cathouse Thursday – Why does he like these films?
  28. Abbott and Costello’s Jack and the Beanstalk – Sigh… I do like them, but none of this surprises me at all.
  29. War of the satellites – Are the satellites Tardises or something?
  30. Teenagers from outer space – These are not teenagers, but man the effects. What Z level movie is this?
  31. It conquered the world – Cheesey
  32. The day Mars invaded the earth – Cheesey
  33. Exploring the Martian Frontier (aka Flight to Mars) – unique I guess.
  34. Amazing transparent man – Meh
  35. Tormented – I do not like any part of this movie.
  36. Death at a Funeral – Not amusing
  37. Giant Gila Monster – This is so bad.
  38. Disremembered – no, not really a fan. I did not realize how violent this was going to be.
  39. Brain Eaters – Meh
  40. Phantom from 10,000 leagues – Sea Monster! Apparently this special effects guy did everything
  41. 20 million miles to earth – Cheesey
  42. Beach blanket bingo – It was cute. I will say that
  43. The Brain that wouldn’t die – This is almost horrifying
  44. Wizard of Mars – Very wizard of Oz
  45. House (1985) – This was supposed to be a comedy??
  46. House 2 – Sweet baby Jesus
  47. Reptilicus – I almost want to know if this and Phantom from 10,000 leagues were related
  48. Blob – Very horrifying
  49. Lunar She-devils – worthy of MST3K
  50. Wasp Woman – I hate bugs, HATE BUGS MAN!!!
  51. Hercules – ok, very 50s-60s
  52. Absolutely anything – not horrible, but not intelligence
  53. House on haunted hill – This would have freaked me out.
  54. Devil girl from Mars – Lovely woman, very cheesy though.
  55. Legend – Ok… so Princess Bride?
  56. Trilogy of terror – This wasn’t that bad.
  57. Awakening – this is actually about an Egyptian spirit
  58. Spaceman – Finally Adam Sandler in a decent film.
  59. Mouse on the Moon – This was a sequel to Mouse that Roared.
  60. Renfield – This was absolutely brilliant. My fav of the movies.
  61. Woke up dead – this is weird. IMDB says this is a miniseries but this was an hour and a half movie.
  62. Glass bottom boat – *shakes head*
  63. The Thing – not as scary as I was expecting. Makeup/effects pretty good for the time. I want to know which one of them (if either) is the thing.
  64. Crucible of terror – that was very… troubling
  65. Vampire – well ok then
  66. The Frontrooms – I’m involved with this… I’m sorry.
  67. Tucker and Dale vs Evil – better than I expected, but really weird. Interesting twist at the end.
  68. When worlds collide – I have science questions about how this is working.
  69. King of the Jungle – It’s Tarzan before Tarzan!
  70. The Gorgon – the British are strange people.
  71. The Bear – there is nothing going on with this.
  72. Curse of Black widow – spider!
  73. Cat Creature – Another Egyptian
  74. Theater of death – well that was twisty
  75. Dark places – well… also had a twist

TV Watched

  1. Drink Masters (season 1)
  2. Jeff Dunham’s new special
  3. Forged in Fire : Knife or Death (seasons 2 and 3)
  4. Feltopia
  5. Faceoff (seasons 4 and 5)
  6. Is it Cake? (season 3)
  7. Dave Attell: Hot Cross Buns 
  8. Blown away (season 4)

Books Read

  1. One idiot short of a village
  2. Vampires Fact or Fiction

Coursework Completed

  1. Building Generative AI Skills for Business Professionals Learning Path
  2. AI Accountability: Build Responsible and Transparent Systems Course
  3. Building AI Literacy Learning Path
  4. Building Generative AI Skills for Creative Professionals Learning Path
  5. Foraging
  6. Feng Shui
  7. And some more

Interviews at

  1. Big Rock Productions – they are interested in me freelancing for them
  2. University of Denver PsyD program
  3. Fielding Graduate Institute
  4. Adelphi
  5. Univ of Central Florida

Academic

  1. Presented at the Georgia Educational Research Association (Theater Therapy : Using Stage Management to teach Students with Disabilities)
  2. Invited for a full research proposal at the World’s Biggest Analog
  3. Presented at a Tourism conference (Ethics of Extreme Tourism)
  4. Article submitted to North American Journal of Psychology
  5. I’ve now given up on the LGS article at the Journal of European Graduate Students.  4.5 years in review!  I’m tired
  6. I’ve started sketching out a new book.

Therapy Soundbites

  1. I am already good enough
  2. Thankful for gifts 
  3. It’s ok to be eccentric

Creative 

  1. Book submitted to Atlanta Book Festival
  2. Book submitted to Jewish Book Council
  3. Recorded lines for Kaiju Glam Metal Shark Attack  
  4. Recorded lines for Backrooms
  5. Recorded lines for 31 Kills of Halloween
  6. Recorded lines for Amnityville Authority

My Website

  1. Website book plugin upgrade crashed website, fixed
  2. Upgrade allowed multiple booktables so I split the book from the book chapters
  3. Website has almost everything now up
  4. I upgraded the theme and got that fixed.

Legal 

  1. WC denied pain meds, lawyer got involved
  2. Hospital claimed they don’t take workman’s comp for the Dec MRI, lawyer got involved
  3. Neighbour slandered on Yelp, Yelp removed it.  Do you know how hard it is to be so out of bounds that YELP removes a review?  We have a lawyer now.
  4. Had meditation.  Other lawyer is being a fool.

Animals

  1. Reported dog in back of me (barking nonstop for 4+ hours. 20+ min is illegal)
  2. Reported dog next door (barking nonstop for an hour)
  3. Found out the squirrel in our attic is famous throughout the city for evading capture.  He has lived there for a year, has removed sheet metal from the house, leading to Critter Control coming to my house almost every day since August to deal with the live traps.  We removed one squirrel (relocated to a park in Aiken), but the other remains and has evaded capture for 6 months.  We are unfortunately going to have to move to less friendly traps which breaks my heart but the squirrel is letting mice/rats in and eating my electric wires which I can’t have the house rewired until he is gone.  It took them until mid April (from August 2023) to kill the squirrel.  We still have rats.
  4. Sophie (dog) likes Ritz crackers and wants caviar
  5. Taz (cat) has no interest in caviar, but wants pizza.
  6. Taz is trying to eat everything.

3 month Recovery update! Read More »

Always look for a silver lining

Life can turn on a dime, or in my case, a gurney. One minute I’m lifting a 266 lb. patient on an unbalanced fully loaded stretcher at University Hospital, and then for some still as of yet unknown reason, the five nurses plus the unlicensed EMT at the foot of my stretcher decided to have a gravity malfunction and which meant nearly 400 lbs (patient, stretcher, 10+ bags of clothing, and the largest artificial leg I’ve ever seen in my life) came crashing down on me, courtesy of a gravity malfunction.  I could hear the crunch of my back as it gave way and felt the trickle of urine down as it ran down my leg.

The most common injury of all of EMS, a back injury, and one that I had successfully avoided for 7 years.  But as I would find, it wasn’t just a back injury, it was cauda equina syndrome, a rare medical emergency affecting the base of the spinal cord and one that workman’s comp did not want to cover in the least.  If it is not fixed within a few hours or days, it becomes a permanent condition with permanent issues with urination and bowel movements.

But amidst the bone bruises and physical therapy, something curious happened – I rediscovered the forgotten song in my soul, the one I’d silenced with sirens and sterile sheets.

Let’s rewind. 8 years in EMS, but 13 years in healthcare. Adrenaline fueled my veins. I loved helping people, but somewhere along the way, my own creative fire dimmed. Writing, the passion that once consumed me, became a dusty relic in the back of a mental drawer. Then, boom, 400 pounds of reality landed on me. And in the quiet hush of recovery, the whispers of that old dream crept back, louder than ever.  It’s not that I stopped writing, it’s that I changed what I was writing.  The reason I was still doing EMS was because I was putting myself through graduate school getting my MS in Psychology and then Covid hit so science, science, science.  Nothing about me or my experiences.

Suddenly, for over two years from Feb 16, 2022 to now, downtime wasn’t just “forced leave,” it was an unexpected residency program in Writeville.  Imagine the old phrase “write drunk, edit sober” but with prescription pain medications.

Due to the pain and the time I have with physical therapy, I have barely been able to do any other work, not even the hypnotherapy practice which I loved so much.  I can’t work elsewhere since I can barely move and the neighbour’s dog barking next to me (as well as the ones in back of me who keep jumping the fence at 2 am) and the harassment from the neighbour who insists on leaving fake reviews is destroying that business slowly.

Hours spent icing my swollen back and hurting hips became stolen moments for stolen chapters. The rhythmic drone of my heating pad morphed into the steady beat of a new story’s pulse.  Waiting for Frank to come help me to the bathroom since I couldn’t walk myself became moments for me to try to edit some grammar time and time again.

My physical therapy room, really my living room where I did physical therapy three or more hours a day until I could walk again, became my writer’s studio, filled not just with rubber bands and other, but with notebooks, plot twists, and characters bursting to life.

This wasn’t just some forced sabbatical; it was a serendipitous shove towards the life I’d nearly forgotten. Sure, I missed the camaraderie of my EMS crew. But in their place, a different adrenaline surged – the joy of crafting worlds, the thrill of breathing life into words. Every page turned was a victory lap, every finished chapter a bandage for the ache of what was lost.

And guess what? Writing didn’t diminish my recovery, it fueled it. The act of creation, of pouring my pent-up energy into writing both fiction and non-fiction, became a powerful form of therapy. My fiction characters grappled with their own challenges, mirroring my own struggles with pain and uncertainty. Writing became a way to process, to heal, to reclaim a sense of control while my non-fiction was finally telling my story.

During my down time, I published my non-fiction book which I had been working on for 10 years, and watched it win a Non-fiction Book Award.  I also published my first monologue in an anthology.  Of course, I have also had to say goodbye to 11 friends and family members in 14 months, everything from old age to suicide as well as dealing with all their legal issues.  Especially my grandmother’s.

Last week was my surgery at last, it took almost two years to get which included 1.5 hours in court litigation.  And I come out of the hospital to see fake reviews, on something I could not have reported because I was literally in the hospital under sedation.

Now, with my back on the mend (we hope) and my manuscript published, I see the accident not as a detour, but as a detour towards destiny. Sure, the path may have been unexpected, paved with ice packs and Percocet cocktails, but it led me back to who I truly am – a storyteller, a weaver of words, a chronicler of the human experience.

So, to my fellow injured souls, my brethren of workman’s comp, I say this: listen for the whispers in the quiet. Your injury may have sidelined you, but it may also be pointing you towards a hidden passion, a forgotten dream. Embrace the pause, the enforced quietude. See it as an opportunity to rewrite your story, not just your body. You never know what unexpected gems may surface when you let the dust settle and listen to the symphony of your own soul.

This experience hasn’t just healed my body, it’s healed my heart. It’s reminded me that life’s detours can be the most scenic routes, and that sometimes, the greatest silver lining comes wrapped in bandages and painkillers. So, grab your pen, your paintbrush, your instrument – whatever whispers to your soul. Let your injury be the catalyst, not the roadblock. This could be your chance to rewrite your story, one word, one brushstroke, one note at a time. Because sometimes, the best endings come after the unexpected falls.

Remember, fellow scribblers, even when life throws 400 pounds at you, there’s always a story waiting to be told. Go write yours.

Always look for a silver lining Read More »

Thankful for being able to help

This Thanksgiving and Black Friday, I am reminded consistently of how fortunate that I am in the position to help people with time and money and that I have the ability to do as much as I can.

In fact, sometimes I think this back injury and being forced to NOT be on the ambulance was a blessing because I was able to help more people and have a better attitude when doing so.  During the worst of Covid, I was working 24 hour shifts back-to-back for four months, while getting my MS degree might I add, then took a small break to work part time for two years which meant so much of my other parts of my life just… died.  Now with the sabbatical from EMS, I could work on the others while still using the ethic of hard work and my non-pandemic standard 12-48 hour shifts that I learned from EMS (and ok even 14+ hour shifts from theater) to do a lot of good.

Since the injury a year and a half ago, I’ve donated thousands of dollars from everything from arts education (mostly high school theater and stage management stuff) to things for the refugees from the war in Ukraine (mostly the organization my cousin Tirza was working with).  I have another $3K earmarked for the World War II Museum in New Orleans.  Most of that were my tzedakah payments that every Jew is required to make.  That’s an obligation.  I don’t know how many people I’ve helped but I am grateful that they allowed me to perform a mitzvah.

I also donated anywhere from 15 to 60 hours every week as a volunteer.  Mostly in either theater related or healthcare, but other things as they came up.  I certified almost 400 students in bleeding control, offered free acting classes and stage management courses.  If anyone needed anything, I tried to help. A few months ago I ended up with a dog who is in really bad shape and needs so much work (Sophie).  I also did so much crisis counseling.  Even on holidays.  Last night (yes Thanksgiving) and the night before, I was dealing with an autistic with self-esteem issues whose therapist was taking advantage of him.  He got several hours of free therapy and I think he had a breakthrough (well given he just dropped me a note when I was writing this confirming a huge breakthrough.)  I was NOT supposed to be doing counseling last night because I have so much stuff I have to do this week.  But I’m happy I could help him.

Of course, there are always people who like pretending I don’t do anything or have never heard of me, but surprisingly that only happens in Augusta.  Like I was just harassed by someone who works at Le Chat Noir (Maddy) which is the theater that is always on the verge of shutting down.  It’s the only one I haven’t worked for in any capacity because all they promote is burlesque which I am uncomfortable with as a respectful Jew as was my Augusta BFF Caitlin who was religious.  Instead they decided to say they don’t recognize my name (um… which one?  Facebook name?  Maiden name, married name, Hebrew name, nickname, initials, callsign, or stage name?  No one calls me by my Facebook first name but Adrian) and that I don’t know what I am talking about writing wise because my public posts are all kosher recipes.  People actually follow me for them, one day I want to assemble my own book to include them.

The harassment is because I said I had never heard of some writing competition that was formerly only open to local writers but now is open to internationally.  Please note, it says first annual in one place and 10th year somewhere else.  It’s either one or the other.  If you can’t advertise or market in such a way that the local writers groups know, that the local theaters know, that the media knows, and that the creative writing professors know, then you can’t blame the person.  They are complaining that my autobiographical accounts are fictional… could have fooled me since I have documentation on everything I’ve ever done and I am primarily a non-fiction writer.  As I find the documentation, I list into the correct section specifically so people can’t make wild claims about the things I do and do not do.  The amount of slander/libel that goes on in Augusta is the reason that people in general hate this town and the amount of hostility just makes people leave this area which I am really trying to do.

I’ve been very selective of my fiction attempts since I am a non-fiction writer and nearly everything I have written fiction wise was based on something I did when I was doing research.  I have a monologue, which I stole and shamelessly adapted from my time in the field learning about paranormal investigators (the paranormal tourism project from 2018), that will be published in a few weeks.  Two more that didn’t get picked up, but I might polish them and submit for next year.  The monologue is going to be performed in a few weeks in the UK somewhere.  So I am also thankful for that too.

One might ask why I focused on helping others as being thankful for despite no one believing what I do?  It’s not about what other people believe or don’t believe.  If you remember the MASH episode where Charles Winchester donates a fair amount of chocolate anonymously, that’s the meaning of charity.  Not to announce it on social media every time one can.

I also find it hard to be thankful for family when your child is a missing person and Augusta PD (well really Richmond County Sheriff since we don’t have a PD anymore) or that you’ve lost 11 people in 14 months including all three dogs, which is basically all the family you have.  The people I help are my surrogate family.

Thankful for being able to help Read More »

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