The Front Yard
Diagnosticians and Therapists


There comes a point whenever we go out to a movie when Josie will lean out to look past Lynn to me to see if I'm crying yet.  (We usually sit Mommy, Josie, Nonni, Nonai).  The odds are good that I've started a bit before she thinks to look.  Is there any movie I don't cry at?  All three of my strong and steadfast girls think it is sweet and amusing.  I've no choice but to suffer their laughter.

I like crying at movies.  I like my high emotions.  In the later years of my first marriage, I never cried.  I needed to be the rock.  I didn't realize at the time what an emotional cost that demanded.  When I got my tears back, I felt like I'd been given a gift.

The last couple of days I've been particularly subject to bursts of emotion.  I've been listening to Queen's Platinum Collection and am enchanted by the joy that Freddie brought to everything that he sang.  And yes, when he and Bowie duet on "Under Pressure," I cried.  Just for the passion of it.

Part of my current sensitivity, I suppose, is due to the health crisis.  I'd been feeling some tingling in my hands & some weakness in my arms for quite awhile.  Finally got around to going to see my doctor week before last.  I'd been diagnosed with a herniated cervical disc fifteen years ago, and recent x-rays show quite a bit of cervical osteoarthritis, so I put it down to pinched nerves.  Mike told me to load up with ibuprofen to see if that'd ease the pressure on the cervical nerves and he booked an MRI for me for the following week.

Then, early Sunday morning (a week + ago) I'd stayed up to watch a movie after Lynn went to bed and as I was putting  things away I collapsed.  No motor control from the neck down.  Lynn got the ambulance guys here and by the time I was in the ER feeling was coming back.  Turns out that I've got some inflammation in the spinal cord.  "Transverse myelitis" is what they're calling it.  They haven't sorted out the cause, although scary things like MS or a tumor have been ruled out.

I came home on Wednesday, loaded up with steroids and the docs seem pleased with how quickly I've recovered so far.  I still have weakness and tingling in my fingers and hands, but I'm typing normally, getting out for walks, and young Dani, the delightful Occupational Therapist who came by my room on Tuesday prescribed as much guitar playing as I can find time for as therapy for my left hand. I'm grateful to her forever.  I'll go back to work on Thursday.

I found the hospital experience fascinating.  I never lost my sense of humor.  And I've been enjoying the slap upside the head that reminds one of where one's true priorities need to be.  Josie's had the flu, but she texts me every morning to see how I'm doing.

So yes, this all could have me being a little more sentimental than usual, although I expect my girls would tell you it's just par for the course.

This morning I came across Jay-Z's "Where I'm From," the 25 minute documentary he posted on YouTube of his opening stand at the Barclay Center.  Perhaps it's a surprise to some of my mates that I'm a rap fan, but Jay-Z in particular impresses the hell out of me.  The journey that he has taken, and what he keeps trying to do with the larger than life person that he's become, I find tremendously stirring and inspiring.  He knows that his success carries a great weight of responsibility and in everything he does he's trying to live up to that. 

There's a moment in the documentary, from the last of the eight shows, where a fan in the audience hands him a Jackie Robinson Dodgers jersey.  "How far we've come," says Jay.  And how long are the roads we still have to travel.

I cried.

It felt wonderful.



Barbara Faye Harkins

Dude, I am so glad you are doing better and that it wasn't super serious. Having undergone my own little health emergency around the same time, I understand the sentimentality. I hate for people to see me cry-- and I absolutely hated the hospital experience but then again I'm fairly stubborn about people trying to tell me what's wrong with me. Take care of yourself. You are the best director I've ever had and I am sure others feel the same way. Faye

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