Archive for August, 2011

Me and My Bionic Shoulder at Two Months

August 24, 2011

I last weighed in on my new, titanium-and-polyethylene left shoulder on July 2, just 10 days post-op. A lot has changed since then. For anyone interested, following is a rough diary of my post-op progress:

2 Weeks Post-Op

On July 6, I start 3 months of twice-a-week physical therapy (PT) at a facility at the Hospital for Special Surgery, where I had the surgery. It’s an easy bus ride from my apartment, and the physical therapist follows my surgeon’s protocol. Most of the other patients are in my demographic or older, but there are some young people too. Everyone is serious, focusing on their therapist’s directions; there’s little banter. (Sports-related injuries are handled at a different facility, across the street; here it’s all post-op.)

I don’t do my home PT exercises daily, but since I’m allowed not to wear my sling at home (apparently not everyone gets this privilege), I’m using the left arm as much as it can handle (e.g., no heavy lifting, but I can do laundry [goody], make the bed and pick up a plate or mug ). Serious apartment-cleaning is beyond me; a friend has kindly given me a session with her cleaning lady so my apartment doesn’t become totally rancid.

I do wear the sling whenever I go out, to support my arm and, hopefully, warn people to steer clear of my shoulder. Seems to work. It also generates a certain amount of sympathy: I’ve had total strangers stop and say, “I hope you recover soon.” Read more

What’s What with a Bionic Shoulder?

August 24, 2011

Some friends I saw a couple of weeks after my shoulder replacement wanted to know what part of my shoulder was “me.” I realized that we’re all pretty hazy about anatomy. For instance, who knew that the shoulder joint is part of the shoulder blade (scapula), not the collarbone (clavicle), which is the bone from which we hang our tote bags, briefcases and pocketbooks?

Read more

Anselm Kiefer Digs the Dirt

August 21, 2011

Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow
A Documentary Film by Sophie Fiennes

It’s great fun to watch Anselm Kiefer work. It’s also sometimes heart-stopping, as when he patters around in flip-flops while he and assistants smash large panes of glass into piles of shards. Or when, sans goggles, mask, or gloves, he wields a powerful, long-handled blowtorch, melting lead in a cauldron while standing precariously atop the steep slope of a giant pile of dirt.

Watching him work is the best part of Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow, a documentary by Sophie Fiennes, who followed Kiefer around his vast art-making complex outside of Barjac, France, shortly before he decamped to Paris in 2008. In fact, the amount of installation-work he was doing at a point apparently close to his departure suggests a whole dimension of performance art designed to be filmed.

Kiefer moved to Barjac from Germany in 1993, and made a lot of art—at one point he casually mentions “112 lorries full” of art already trucked away, presumably to galleries, museums and private sales. But, he says in the film, he plans to leave a lot in Barjac, too—some kind of sculpture or painting in every room or house, of which there are many. Some appear to be freestanding sheds, small outbuildings with doors through which you can peer at a painting or installation. Others are bare suggestions of houses: cobbled together from pieces of cast cement in varying sizes, they are stacked one atop the other, so many mad leaning towers across the landscape.


Read on

Jerusalem: the Play by Jez Butterworth

August 5, 2011

Do we  believe that Johnny “Rooster” Byron is having sex with Phaedra, the 15-year-old girl he’s sheltering from the stepfather who has apparently been sexually abusing her? And, if we do, how come we don’t think Johnny’s abusing her, too? Or do we?

These questions go to the heart of what makes this play so interesting and disturbing—and the answer is only partly that Mark Rylance embodies Johnny as such a vivid life force that we might almost forgive him anything.

Painted Wooden Roof Boss from Rochester Cathedral, Kent (Medieval)

Read on

Welcome to Beyond the Zeitgeist

August 5, 2011

Zeitgeist: The spirit of the present time.

Simply by being, you embody it—until the zeitgeist moves on, and you find yourself wired into previous versions.

Unless all zeitgeists continue to flow, separate currents in the same stream, so that anyone can swim in any one at will. In that case, welcome to this one.

Signe Hammer

Sole Author of All Posts on This Site

Report from the Surgical Trenches: Total Shoulder Replacement in NYC

August 5, 2011

July 2, 2011; 10 Days Post-Op

Having had my initial follow-up visit with the surgeon and seen the x-rays, I can now say that I underwent successful surgery on Wednesday, June 22 and am the proud possessor (bearer? wearer?) of a titanium and polyethylene left-shoulder joint, plus a plastic ID card to show TSA screeners should I set off their security alarms. Read on