Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Knee Replacement - Surgical Nightmare - Dr. Brian Lohrbach, Appleton WI

Just over a year since my bilateral knee replacement and my knees do not bend beyond 95°. They are painful from a minor annoyance to a full on incapacitation. 2nd opinion: I'm "lucky - it could be so much worse". Implants used are over 30 years old - very concerning considering all the advancement in implant technology in that time.
Walking, bending, kneeling are all difficult to impossible. Pain management from the beginning was sub-par including an instance where one prescription couldn't be filled by 3 pharmacies because "nobody makes that anymore". Dr. Lohrbach's response to my tearful pleas for help with the pain at my 2 week follow-up was, "Your left knee is slightly worse? Must be because I'm right-handed." Humor? Really?
I do NOT recommend Dr. Lohrbach. He's a factory surgeon (get em in, get em out), he has no empathy or bedside manner and his abilities are specious.
Any doctor who uses out-dated technology so blatantly should be ashamed.
#BrianLohrbachMD Orthopedic & Sports Institute
UPDATE 12/28/16 -
I got a message yesterday from a chirpy young woman asking me to return her call - she was sorry but she was busy with "personal" issues and couldn't reach out to me sooner (Why I needed to know her back story is beyond me). I called her today.
She said she handles "revenue and clinical issues" for the practice and its doctors. After a brief exchange, I asked what she expected to do for me as she had NO IDEA WHAT MY PROBLEM WAS. She doesn't read "social media" - doesn't have it or use it - and no one told her anything substantive about my review.
Why are you calling me then? You're reaching out? I didn't ask to be "reached". After 14 months of pain and lack of mobility, I'm certain you can't do anything at all about Dr. Lohrbach's "work".
What a remarkably uncaring, disinterested, inept group of people.

Monday, November 14, 2016

I Sing The Body Electric

In my nightmares - every night, by the way - there's a banging on my front door and the "authorities" have come to take me away.
These nightmares started the day after the election. I have no control over my nightmares. I'm not sleeping well.
My first response was profound fear and the intense desire to flee.
When I lived in my beloved NYC and this feeling became too overwhelming after 9/11, I moved. Here.
Here. Where a retired teacher who lives around the corner said, "I voted for Trump. Anyone but Hillary."
A fucking TEACHER said that.
I still have the nightmares. But every night, something changes.
I yell. I don't scream. I YELL.
I curse aggressively. I fight. Every nightmare, there is the smallest change and I accomplish something. Sometimes, the people arresting me react with shock and freeze. I escape.
And when I wake up, I'm angry.
I have my coffee. I eat a bagel (well, as close as I can get) with a schmear. Sometimes I find lox at the local Pick N Save and that helps.
I calm down.

Wisconsin Woman - Fuck yeah.

I love Gustav Klimt. His works are represented everywhere in my home.
I especially love the portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer. I got to see the original at the Neue Gallery in NYC. I stood there for a full half hour, just gazing, examining, marveling at how bright it was. All the prints show the gold leafing in a deep color but in person, it's so light.
I watched the movie, "Woman In Gold", recently. It's about the fight by Adele's niece to get back what the Nazis stole during the Third Reich.
I really have nothing of value - truly. I think my shit is valuable but only to me. I'm very sentimental.
The thought that my home could be invaded and confiscated as a result of Newt Gingrich and his intention of re-creating the "Un-American Activities" panel (which if anyone still remembers history was created by a Wisconsin representative, Joe McCarthy), is absolutely, terrifyingly repugnant to me.
I am horrified by what the people who live right next door to me have done by voting for a miscreant.
But I live in Wisconsin. Short of moving outside the country and leaving the people who need me to fend for themselves, I've decided to embrace that.
Gun classes. Handgun permit. Concealed carry. Open carry.
THOSE are my rights and I am mother-fucking going to avail myself of them.
To the person who said, "We can't become them", I'm not.
I'm availing myself of the rights I still have.
I will become the most bad-ass version of myself.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Second Class Citizen

On October 29, 2014, I wrote the following:


This sign - a good 4’ x 5’ - stands on the lawn of a house at the end of my block.

Well, not really on my block…it’s off the dead end spur toward the lake at the end of the street.

I know this couple. Older but still active. The wife sought us out when we first moved here and invited my parents and me to a curling fundraiser. My 90-year-old Dad got down on the ice, crouched and sent that puck/disk/thingy flying while she coached him. Still one of the great images of my life burned into my brain.

They are a lovely couple.

I want to ask them if they think the wife is worth less than the husband. I want to know.

Is she, all fire and spice, worth less than the lovely easy-going guy to whom she’s married?

I want to know why they think Scott Walker repealing the law that mandated Wisconsin companies pay equally for work done regardless of gender is okay.

I think her response would be “why are you so upset - I’m entitled to my opinion - it’s politics and this is how I feel - you are way too aggressive”. She might add “don’t take it so personally”.

Yup. I’m aggressive by my own admission. And I take it VERY personally.

I want her to vote. I want EVERYONE to vote.

To this lovely woman who would vote for a person who thinks of her as a second class citizen, I would say:


Because sometime in the future when you, your daughter and your grandchild are relegated to the back of the bus or the closet or THE KITCHEN, you can say, “I VOTED FOR THAT”.

That will be the least you can say.

Today, the only signs up and down my block to the big lake are 2 small ones across the street from me for local democrats -

And Trump/Pence with other Republicans scattered around on the lawn of the people described above.

I have a complete picture of who they are now.

I don't need to ask her a damned thing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Artistic Freedom

When I was about 3 or 4, my beloved dad would let me sit on his shoulders and "do" his thinning hair while he read the paper.
I would use his pocket comb and my mom's pin curl clips (remember them?) and make curls all over his head where I could. Then I would take them out and style.

I would repeat this at least 3 times during our salon time.

My mother, in a completely nerved out voice, would ask him how he could could stand it.

"I don't mind," he'd reply with a grin.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

True Love

I never thought I would find great love. True Love.
I've loved in the past - deeply. But those loves always ended painfully.
When I've looked back over my amours, there isn't one I can say "got away". Those affairs ended because they expired either for me or for him.
One can't regret what was not meant to be permanent.
I thought great love and enduring passion, like that shared by my parents, would never be part of my experience.
And I was content, finally.
By 2008, I was a grown up and completely on my own. I was enough.
Then came a man who opened the door to a whole new world.
Because of him, my world is new every day - exciting, passionate, comfortable, fun, funny and full of possibility.
I know great love now. I'm complete because I'm more now.
My parents would be so thrilled. And they would've adored my guy.
Happy 65th Anniversary, Mum and Papa-San. Thank you for showing me what True Love looks like.
Now I know it when I see it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Being Brave

Living in New York City was exhilarating when I was 18. And 25. And 30.

By the time I was 47, I was done. 9/11 really fucked me up beyond my average state of nuts (as some of you who still love me know) and I tried to make it work but by the summer of 2003, I was done. 
There was nothing in my "Go Bag".

I couldn't leave my apartment without fear. There wasn't a thing that made me feel good - not even performance opportunities. I had to leave or become one of those agoraphobic people who lived on delivery and lost everything because of credit card debt. I was living in my only asset and I had to let it go.

Look at that view wiggling toes on my own deck with a lake in my backyard.

Look at this photo of lips pressed against my cheek and the joy of being loved by a man I never would have met if I hadn't taken the terrifying leap of faith I did in moving to a place I'd never been.

I did not do any of this without help. I asked for help.

People I knew and loved back in the city are struggling in all sorts of ways. I wish I could help them. 

Sometimes I do in teeny tiny superficial ways.

I find joy in the minutiae if that's all I can accomplish.

Asking for help is the most mortifying thing a responsible person can do.

And the bravest.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day - a plea to Facebook to set me free.

It's now my new game to look up RIDICULOUS WORDS AND CHARACTERS to see how many Facebook profiles sport them.

Today? Mxyzptlk - a character from the old Superman comic books of my youth, which as you know from my DRIVERS LICENSE was a long time ago.

MXYZPTLK - Really?  A real name that someone is using?  NO.  NO.  NO.

Close them down while you mull my request to reinstate my NAME as ANNIE EQUALITY HUGHES.

Let me recap:

Mail in that name.

Gym membership in that name.

Paypal account in that name.

Instagram account in that name.

Twitter account in that name.

Google account in that name.

Domains in that name - TWO.  Two domains in that name (.com and .org) that point to my WEBSITE displaying that name.



Why aren't you proud of that?  Why won't you let me use what you helped me find?  I AM the person you helped me define.  Why are you not on board?

How can you say you can't confirm my identity when you have my address on my drivers license (which, when you requested proof of who I am you neglected to tell me I DIDN'T NEED TO GIVE YOU MY PHYSICAL ADDRESS?)

Facebook, I am frustrated.  But I am NOT TIRED.  I'm old.  BUT I AM NOT TIRED.



Annie Equality Hughes.

#AnnieEqualityHughes  #FacebookGiveMeBACKMyName

UPDATE:  Facebook has given me back my name.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Pretty Little Life

I'm 60.  Sixty years old.  LX.

I should be completely settled in my persona by now.  Exactly who I am.

I should know.

I should know by now.

Any rational person would assume I know who I am by NOW.

Who would question my experiential certainty of who I am now?

Because REALLY.

I should know.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What is in a name?

Yep.  Age OLD question.  A rose.

Okay - I'm a rose.  What's my name?

Is my name the one that was given me at birth?  Gender specific, family heritage, etcetera etcetera, etcetera.

Is that what defines me?  Anne E. Hughes.

In my childhood I went to Catholic school.  My name was ANNE.  Or HUGHES in fifth grade as the nun decided I would be the only one in the class not to be called by my "christian" name.  "Anne" was the sneering sound I heard when called upon by the abusive nuns of St. Peter's Grammar School.

"Aaaaaayyyyyyyaaannne".  That name still makes my skin crawl.

I was also never a fan of the distortions:  Ann, An,  Anus, Huges, Huge, Use....

Well, you get the picture.

My name became "Annie" when I made friends with a southern girl who was my coworker at the NY Playboy Club.  I was lucky to get my actual name as my "bunny" moniker - Anne - and the plastic rosette I wore on my right hip was engraved as such.  Joycie, however, called me Annie from the jump.  And not any proper flat "A" mind you - she said it with all the nasal, sexy drawl of an Alabama woman.  I loved her beyond words.  Her way of saying "Annie" made me own it.  Because that inspiring reinvention of my name was what made me force myself to become the person I am today.

I BECAME Annie.  I did my best to shed the oppressive mechanisms of my childhood and I pushed myself to be another person....a better person.

I was not completely successful as evidenced by what I was dragging with me...all the emotional baggage that could not be left behind.  I took one step forward some days.  Two steps back others.

The most telling remark was when a major casting director actually told me I would "never work in this town again" and being informed that an actor said he "would rather eat glass than work with her again".

Yes.  I am challenging.  To say the least.

But I am who I am.

I became Annie Equality Hughes when I joined Facebook.  I took that name as a gesture of support for the LBGTQ community and their struggle for equal rights under the law - more specifically, marriage equality.  Over the next 6 years the name became my own, adding to my identity.

I identify with that name as completely as anyone who has found their identity through experience and self-awareness.

Who am I?

Fiercely devoted and supportive of my friends.

Fiercely confident that religion - all religion - is bullshit.

Fiercely opposed to Republican obstructionism.

Fiercely committed to protecting animals against abuse and murder by "trophy" hunters.

Fiercely and actively campaigning for women's rights and LGBTQ rights.  FIERCELY.

My name is Annie Equality Hughes.  It is my identity.  It is my public persona.  It is my NAME.

#EqualityISMyMiddleName  #FacebookGiveMeBackMyName