BRAVE new world…and a bionic one

 “Modern medical advances have helped millions of people live longer, healthier lives.”    Ike Skelton

I’m going to be off a few weeks – working at becoming the Bionic Woman, one hip at a time. (This will be my second and shoulder next). But the prospect of joint replacement surgery got me thinking about the incredible time we live in in terms of medical advances. I’m old enough to remember the very first heart transplant ever, to have had to reschedule my wedding because a beloved member of our wedding party had found a donor and was going to have a kidney transplant – a rare and tricky procedure then that is commonplace today. I remember discussing the prognosis for our friend and hearing the word that the expectation was that the transplant – if it worked at all – would give our friend five more years of life. He is, thank God, still very much alive and that was 45 years ago.

I remember too, a time when there was no such thing as joint replacement – if your knees went bad or your hips gave out, you lived with a lot of pain and wound up in a wheel chair. Arthritis is not a forgiving disease – you can slow it down but you can’t completely restore function once a joint is badly worn. But today, the miracles of modern medicine let us opt to replace knees, hips, shoulders with titanium parts or to fuse the vertebrae in the spine with metal rods. Most people come through such surgeries extremely well and after several months of physical therapy, they are almost as good as new! I’m pretty sure that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the kinds of advances that are going to keep people living and living well well into their second centuries of life. It is indeed a Brave New World – and I’m grateful that I get to be a part of it.

So I hope your first weeks of summer are filled with light and warmth and joy and I’ll see you when I get back around the end of the month. I’ll be looking forward to catching up on all your “discoveries” and creations when I get back

Brave New World digital seascape painting by Lianne Schneider buy

TRAVEL bug…wishing it were so

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo

I used to love to travel before my old bones started protesting and airlines starting charging so much just to pack enough clothes for a week, before direct flights from my small city became a thing of the past. When I was a bit younger, I drove everywhere I could, never minding 14 hour days on the road, loving the freedom to reach my destination by the most out of the way and indirect route. Nowadays…I don’t travel much and if I do it’s vicariously much of the time.

For example, I have friends who just returned from a 10 day trip to England. Personally, 10 days in the UK would never be enough for me. My mother and I once spent three weeks and have bemoaned the fact that we saw so little of what we’d have loved to see. We weren’t on “tour.” We were driving around setting only daily destinations as they struck us, stopping in out of the way places, eating in local pubs and except for a few “mandatory” tourist spots like Canterbury or the Tower of London, we found ourselves on narrow little country rounds and fell in love with Cotswold villages and forgotten ruins like the castle in Astley.

Worse than too short a trip – they took a similar short hop to France a couple of years ago – is the fact that my friends spent seven of the ten days on a ship going over! I’d have hated losing that time confined to a ship no matter how elegant. On an arranged tour, they missed this gorgeous little village in France called Loubressac. Considered one of the most beautiful medieval villages in all of France, it’s also one of the many “villages fleuris” or villages in bloom scattered throughout the countryside. This is the kind of place that deserves whatever time it takes to explore without having to settle for an hour’s stop on a tour bus.

I must admit I still get the travel bug something fierce and I’m longing to go back to Scotland to see much I missed and ferry over to Ireland. Perhaps…when I’ve rehabilitated my titanium hips enough to bear the flight over!!

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Village de Fleuris digital painting by Lianne Schneider buy