Friday, January 13, 2012

Bed Time

Let me tell you about the Clinitron Bed!  A heavy thing with a fine glass "sand" filled mattress, - very tiny glass beads floating in warm air... and it leaks!  It leaks air under you, around you, ballooning the  sheets. It often squeaks madly against bare skin as the mattress moves gently, changing position for you, - a slow and sometimes silent "rock & roll" with added vibration!

I found myself "floating" post-surgery on just such a bed, - a hospital bed for patients with deep difficult wounds, terrible burns or surgical incisions requiring the patient to stay very still.  I was wrapped in wonderfully warm sheets, told not to move, - the bed would do it for me, they said.  It was a strange, patience building experience, - mostly flat on my back for almost five weeks!  A deep non-healing pressure ulcer, common in paraplegia, had kept me down for the better part of a year, its potentially lethal result making serious surgery necessary. (Re: Christopher Reeve)  It was "Flap-surgery" where major muscle tissue was moved to provide padding over an offending boney prominence so I might eventually sit happily without further injury.  I'm doing well now.

I loved the caregivers of Glens Falls Hospital's 4th floor surgical recovery, - wonderful people!  I have nothing but profound respect for my plastic surgeon, Dr. Jitendra Singh (a true artist with his knife!) and his right hand man, P.A. Tim Ward, another good guy!  I certainly loved the heated mattress but a real downer for this artist was the Clinitron bed's constant movement and ever-present vibration.  It was impossible to do any serious drawing!  My pencil would skitter across the paper, - all wiggly lines, incomplete marks and mistakes.  You can see one small attempt here where I tried to make positive use of those short broken marks and uneven lines.  Hey, I tried!

"It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life."  Joseph Campbell



  1. Phil:
    Thanks for sharing a bit of your journey toward healing and health. You're inner strength, creativity and patience is amazing and inspiring.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Carol! I'm very happy to be back at it.