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Posts Tagged ‘Healing’

Students at UC Santa Barbara Bravely Tell Media to Go Home

(Courtesy: Los Angeles Times)

(Courtesy: Los Angeles Times)

It is one of the staples of 20th and 21st century life that wherever calamity strikes, the media soon follows with microwave and satellite trucks, camera and audio people, producers and reporters. They take over entire towns or city blocks, create parking headaches and traffic jams and manage to intrude on communities that probably would prefer to suffer, grieve and eventually heal- in silence. All of this is mostly for television and it’s all to give the background scene for the all-important TV stand-up reporters need to do to deliver that definitive air of authenticity.

No sireee, this ain’t no live shot from the in-studio satellite news desk with a reporter reading from barely edited wire-service copy; no- this is where the Channel 11 Action News Team proves there’s no disaster too distant that they cannot intrude on any given community’s pain- instantly and live.

By the way, it’s the immediate suffering and grieving that provides the money shots. We never actually get to the healing part because by then the micro-wave and satellite trucks have left and no one cares much or even remembers the given tragedy that occurred some six months earlier.

At UC Santa Barbara, the students decided to revolt and good for them. Turns out that before taking his own life, Elliot Rodger, the misogynistic 22-year-old who shot, stabbed and rammed six of the students to death, and wounded 13 others in his bloody rampage, killed his final victim at a little shop called the I.V. Deli Mart. It was the perfect place for the media circus to invade and encamp for the next 4 or 5 days that the story still had legs.

But the students started intruding back. They got in the background of the reporter stand-ups and they waved signs. “Our tragedy is not your commodity,” read one. “Stop filming our tears,” read another. “Remembrance not Ratings,” read a third. “Let us Heal!” and “News Crews Go Home!” rounded out the sudden anti-media protests.

Bravo to the UC Santa Barbara students and community. And the next time it happens and the anchorman/woman asks the reporter what that ruckus is in the background, for once I’d like to hear something like this: “Well, those are residents of the devastated community repulsed by the fact we are exploiting their grief and suffering. Back to you, Jim.”

Notes from Recovery-ville

May 27, 2013 1 comment

Takes a Village

I don’t mean to turn this blog into a personal medical site, but God apparently did, so….

We’re just past the halfway point of the short side of the theoretical recovery period after most of my stomach, a piece of my liver and my gall bladder all sacrificed themselves in an effort to annihilate a 5cm tumor that turned up in my stomach 14 years after receiving unnecessary radiation in that vicinity following a bout with testicular cancer.

OK, with the background out of the way, what’s it like to recover from major gastro-intestinal surgery?  Meh.  Some days are better than others.  Some days are high energy, some days are low energy.  What is a constant is sleep.  This is the magic potion of healing.  I can drop a 2-hour nap in a New York minute (I know- that sentence must be a gross metaphorical violation of some sort).   The trick is getting 10-12 hours of sleep a day but not turn into a piece of the living room furniture.  You have to get out.  You have to walk.  You have to get in the sun.  You have to breathe the air.  Sometimes easier said then done.

A few days ago, I made my first distant foray from home besides the hospital to take in a Nationals game that reliever, Drew Storen tried to ruin for me but it’s not really his fault- he didn’t know I was sick.  The point is that when I mentioned my outing on Facebook, a friend noted “great you should be feeling so well to get out and about.”  In fact, without going into any detail, I will tell you categorically that was the single worst day of my recovery that I have had.  And that is precisely why I pushed on and decided it was imperative to get out and get TO the ballgame.   And it worked.  The field, the wind, the night air, the best game ever invented in the history of mankind- all conspired to make me feel vibrant and alive.  It did wonders.  Thanks to Drew, I got to leave after the bottom of the 8th and beat a lot of the subway crowd so even the Metro experience was pleasant.

This is about pushing the limits of your physical and mental boundaries.

One of the things I’ve done mentally, is divorce myself from the news within reason.  I am in the news business so it goes against instinct.  But I’m sorry, there is just too much conflict, violence, blood, natural disaster, evil, ego, banality, superficiality, celebrity-worship and general bullshit out there for it to possibly be healthy in any way to consume in large quantities at this time.  I’ll catch up later.

One of the larger adjustments is in the area of nutrition, appetite, food.  After leading a life, like most others I think, in which meals are defined by their taste, all bets are off now.  Foods that I used to secretly crave (and which are advertised more than any other) like cheeseburgers, french fries, fried chicken, have lost their appeal.  Food just tastes different.  With a smaller stomach, I also eat much smaller amounts.  And my appetite is all over the place.  Sometime I have one, sometimes I don’t.

The trick now (and this is too funny for words) is keeping my weight up.  After years of trying to watch my weight, I am currently losing about 4 pounds a week.  Add it to the weight loss that occurred after surgery and a week of hospitalization and we’re talking nearly 30 pounds.  Eventually this has to stop but right now, it feels great to be lighter.

In a couple of weeks I begin a discussion with my doctors about chemotherapy.  They seem to be all gung-ho about the poisonous little cocktails they want to give me to prevent any return of cancer.  They are going to have to convince me with science, research and logic.  The white coats and air of authority will not be enough.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my doctors.  They have saved my life.  I just don’t want a repeat of 14 years ago when the prevailing medical orthodoxy was to radiate the crap out of people.  It’s one of my own doctors who tells me he is now constantly running into patients with tumors who received radiation 15 and 20 years ago.  A debate for another day.  For now, a few more weeks for healing from the sharp, steely knives.

They say God works in mysterious ways.  I do believe the dude has tried to kill me several times in order to make me stronger and healthier.  Eventually, this time, I think it’s going to take.