Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wounded Iraq War Veterans

I just finished reading the current Newsweek (March 5, 2007) cover story, "Failing Our Wounded." See the web version here. It shocked and deeply saddened me. I have family and dear friends serving in the military, and one young nephew has done duty in Iraq twice. Now he is back in the middle east--not in Iraq, but we all know he is not out of harm's way.

I wrung my hands throughout the piece, but the authors predicted my and countless others' feelings of helplessness. They wisely included a sidebar on the last page, aptly entitled, "HOW YOU CAN HELP." (The following info is also in a box on the web version of the article linked in the previous paragraph.) Here's the skinny:


These charities were highly rated by multiple philanthropy watchdog groups:

  • Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (fallenheroesfund.org): Built a topnotch rehab facility at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas that opened this year. Similar projects on the horizon.
  • Fisher House Foundation (fisherhouse.org): Constructs housing spaces at medical facilities so injured vets can be with their families while they heal.
  • Armed Services YMCA (asymca.org): Gives vets YMCA access, where they can do physical rehab. Offers paying YMCA jobs to help vets get reacclimated.

No matter your politics, surely you can find somehow to help those who are suffering pointlessly.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Trip to NY Without Leaving Delaware

This afternoon, D and I experienced for the first time a sold-out, live performance of the Metropolitan Opera. It was Tchaikovsky's superb Eugene Onegin (say it, yev-gen-ee on-yay-gen), which I had never seen--nor have I read Pushkin's novel in verse from which it was adapted. Fantastic thing is, we wore jeans and shared a tub of popcorn and a large soda. IT WAS BROADCAST IN HD AT OUR MOVIE THEATRE. Do my capital letters sufficiently convey my thrilldom?

Thank you, NCM Fathom, for creating HD broadcasts of the Met's productions at movie theatres across the country, including one near me. And thank you, WHYY, for providing a limited number of FREE tickets ($18 regular price) for station members. We love you.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

any excuse

blanket...hot chocolate...sudoku...two dogs...
to hell with the housework

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Belated Thank You to Pet PTs

I have been meaning to post this for many months, and had some time today.

Almost a year ago, my dog W's left knee was rebuilt by a kind and capable surgeon named Dr. Franczuszki. See this blog post. He suffered from a condition called "luxating patella," widespread among Italian Greyhounds (although our other fellow, who came from careful breeding, does not have it). W had endured it all his life, but the constant slipping of the kneecap eventually caused him so much wear and pain that he had stopped using that leg altogether, several months before we decided on surgery.

The operation was a success and his new joint was A-OK. However, W persisted in not using his new knee, despite my applying all the recommended therapies at home. W was not only stubborn, he was comfortable with things how they were. Enter the two experts at West Chester Veterinary Rehabilitation Specialty Center.

Dr. Ann Caulfield and Michelle Lazarski treated my sweet but timid rescue hound like their own child. They walked him in the underwater treadmill, they massaged him, they talked cuddly to him and they, in short, made a friend of my quivery paranoid pet. And over the three or so months we made our visits to their facility, W improved. Of course, he put on his brave face and used his leg in front of the two therapists, but when we would get home and he was free in the backyard, he'd revert to his three-legged lope. It was frustrating, but I continued our homework. And by the end of the summer, he was walking on all fours again, where he remains to this day.

We know that his right knee is deteriorating from the same condition, but he doesn't seem to be in any pain. Yet. When he first shows those signs, I will be consulting with the surgeon again, and will then be sure to use Caulfield and Lazarski for our follow up PT. They are miracle-workers.

If you are in the vicinity of West Chester, Pennsylvania, and have a pet that would benefit from therapy, I would highly recommend the rehabilitation center and the two women that head it. Thanks, ladies, from W and me!