How Green is My Life

Image The words”green” and “sustainable” can be overused and misunderstood. Perhaps many of us don’t really know what either word really means in practical use. Sustainable can mean taking action to be sure that a resource is protected or preserved for a very long time. That could be a bit simplistic, but it’s a place to start.

Meantime, this was passed along to me. The author is unknown but it is food for thought as we work to protect the natural resources of our planet:

The Green Thing

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.
The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”
The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

What do you think?

Unfreezing the Shoulder

The “Year of Living Gingerly” has ended for me – thanks in part to Meryl Goldstein, Erin, Mark and Rachel at Excel Physical Therapy in Cherry Hill.

I’m not a whiner, but it really annoys me that my body just can’t keep up with my mind these days. The pains of 2011 are fading away. I hope for a much healthier 2012.

During May & June, Excel’s former therapist, Jeff, coached my through PT following a total right hip replacement at the age of 52. I came through that with flying colors thanks to all of the exercises and therapy Jeff and the staff gave me during that period. Plus, it always helps to be vigilant with therapy even when you are not at the Excel office.

By fall, the more painful of my afflictions, “frozen shoulder” brought me back to Excel. After my orthopedist prescribed therapy, Meryl explained the phases of frozen shoulder – freezing, frozen and thawing. To some degree, I was fortunate since my left shoulder was not completely frozen. The learning curve on solving this problem was painful and I had to again be vigilant in my therapy sessions and exercising outside of therapy to bring my left shoulder back to health.

Twice a week for just over two months, I arrived at PT to experience what I affectionately called “Torture by Meryl.” Erin or Mark would oversee my slate of exercises, and then Meryl’s magical hands and fingers would dig into every part of my upper arm, shoulder and back to get everything moving. That’s when the pain was sometimes blinding. The “cracks” and “pops” from inside my left shoulder and back were sometimes frightening. What was at times worse, knowing how hard Meryl was working on me and that it hurt her as much as it hurt me.

All this was for the greater good. I was released by my doctor exactly two months after I was first seen by him and ended physical therapy a few days later. Meryl says my shoulder is extremely functional; I have regained a lot of strength and mobility. I will continue my exercises and will faithfully follow the stretching and strengthening sketches on the Excel sheets Meryl & Erin supplied.

What Meryl and the staff do for the patients is amazing. They expertly assess each person and compassionately work with each person encouraging them on even just a speck of improvement. I hope I don’t have to see Meryl ever again – and I say that with great affection. If I do need therapy again, I will return to Team Meryl.