Derb’s Disastrous December—A Sick Note For The Missing Podcast
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Normally at this mid-month point I post a blog under the title ”From Derb’s Email Bag.” The blog starts with a worked solution (if I have one) to the math brainteaser in the previous month’s Diary. I follow that with my responses, reactions, and rebuttals to a handful of reader and listener emails on various topics.  

 OK: In that tradition, here’s a worked solution to my November brainteaser.  

 That disposed of, I’m giving over my mid-month posting for December to explanations, excuses, and, um… extenuations.      

What mainly needs explaining is the absence, without any advance notice, of a Radio Derb podcast last week, December 8th-9th. The hungry sheep looked up but were not fed. My sincere apologies for that.  

It was a health issue: a minor health issue that was swiftly followed by a more serious, unrelated one.

Let me tell the story from the beginning. I’ll try to keep it brief. The late William F. Buckley had a conversational rule that forbade any person from talking about his health for more than 45 seconds (I think it was) at a stretch. 

I like that rule. I especially like to see it applied to geezers. Persons of the senior demographic all too easily fall into discussing their ailments, which are rarely very interesting.

In brief then:

 Tuesday, December 5th: Woke unable to move my head: the slightest motion sent major pain up & down my neck muscles. 

Firm in my lifelong belief that most things get better of their own accord, I struggled through the day, but in the small hours of Wednesday, the pain unbearable, I had to wake my lady for a ride to the ER. 

They gave me muscle relaxants, which I took, X-rays, which showed nothing they could decipher, and a referral to a local neurologist, which I ignored.

The muscle relaxants worked (or perhaps my lifelong belief is a true one). Come Friday the neck pain was much reduced. I had, however, been too distracted to do the usual preparatory work for my podcast. Peter Brimelow let me take a pass, so… no December 8th Radio Derb. Sorry sorry. 

 Saturday, December 9th: Neck now almost normal. At noon I ventured out to do garden work. Slipped & fell in my driveway, savagely twisting my left ankle.

Saturday afternoon & night I lay on the sofa with an ice pack on that ankle, murmuring: ”Death, where is thy sting?”

 Sunday, December 10th: Ankle pain now unbearable. Back to the ER. X-rays, CT, Ultrasound,  Ankle broken in 3 places—which, said the radiologist with something like awe, is as many places as it’s possible to break an ankle all in one try without taking a 14-lb hammer to the darn thing.

 Monday & Tuesday, December 11th-12th: Adjusting to life on crutches. For a badly swollen ankle fracture the mantra is: ”Elevate! Refrigerate!” So: long hours lying on the sofa with the ankle elevated & ice-packed, reading Mrs. Antognazza’s suitably long & dense life of Leibnitz.

Learned (from a neighbor) the phrase ”cast bag.” Purchased one, quietly reflecting that if, as a contestant in a TV quiz show, I was challenged to define the term ”cast bag,” I’d assume it referred to one of the actresses playing a witch in Macbeth.  

 Wednesday, December 13th: Appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon to see what can be done. The answer seems to be ”not much.” There’s way too much tissue damage for an operation to be possible; but this may heal sufficiently in a few weeks.
So the rest of December’s shaping up to be a dreary extension of the past few days: alternately hobbling around on crutches, then elevating & refrigerating the ankle; alternately trying to understand windowless monads, then when to wear or not wear this damn great ugly boot they gave me. 

 Worse things happen at sea. There are of course many people with distresses far greater than mine. I shall pray for them all and give thanks for my many, many blessings, chief among which is my tirelessly loving and supportive family.

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