• Upcoming trips

    13-23 January, 2018 Cruise out of New York around the Caribbean on the Norwegian Gem. Note : this trip has been cancelled altogether because of the damage caused by the hurricanes to the Caribbean islands.

    October 31st - 11 November. Caribbean cruise to break up the winter. Note: The itinerary has not yet been determined owing to the havoc wreaked by the hurricanes.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    October 8 Went to BAM, for the first time since Ethel died, to hear a wonderful modern opera composed and written by Matthew Aucoin called “Crossing”. It is based on Walt Whitman’s experience and the libretto is largely taken from his poetry.

    The story is multi-themed, as modern plays tend to be; the first is a harrowing anti war depiction of the suffering wounded seen through Whitman’s eyes when he volunteered as a nurse during the American civil war; the second is Slavery and its effect upon a run-away slave who fights on the Union side; the third is treachery portrayed by a guilt-laden deserter who spies for the South. And forth, inevitably these days, is the (entirely fictional) homosexual one.

    The powerful music fits the story perfectly and the voices of the lead singers and the chorus is magnificent; Rod Gilfry, bass-baritone, sings the part of Walt Whitman, Alexander Lewis plays John Wormley, the deserter, and Davone Tines, whose baritone reminded me, distinctly, of the sound of the legendary Paul Robeson.  Both Christine and I were extremely moved by the work. We newly discovered Walt Whitman’s poetry, too.

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Of valves and things . . . .

Some twenty-five years ago, or so, my aortic valve began to show signs of wear and tear. But the rate of deterioration was slow and, when I asked  whether I should worry about it, my cardiologist at the time told me, optimistically: “No, no. You will be long dead before I have to do anything about that!”.

He was wrong! In the past two years, the rate of deterioration has picked up apace and my breathing has become more and more difficult. So it was, that my current cardiologist, the brilliant Dr. Ghodsi, after her echo examination, pronounced that the stenosis has reached the severe stage and, that my only option was a replacement of the aortic valve. She thought I would be a candidate for it and referred me to the genius of  Dr. Dangas of the Mt. Sinai heart group.

I have spent  four days in the hospital while Dr. Danglas  ran a catheter up into my heart to determine its condition and various other specialists tested my remaining organs from advantageous points of view. Dr. Ghodsi was rooting for me all the time and the net result is that I AM a candidate and the miracle workers will give me a nice new valve on Tuesday, 15th March. Wish me luck, Ben.


11 Responses

  1. Ben – you continue to amaze with your ability to beat all odds that purport to defeat you. I continue to be in awe of you! We will be thinking of you and pummeling the universe with our fervent wishes for a successful surgery, fast recovery and a quick return to a joyous life. We so adore you!

  2. Good luck! Love, Lenore and Larry

    Sent from my iPad

  3. So you’re in Mt. Sinai, couldn’t be in better hands. Dr. Da gas did an angiogram on me two years ago. All clear. Keep us posted.

  4. Dear Ben,
    Know you have my sincere good wishes for a successful surgery. Success is the only option the surgeon has since I rely on your annual holiday art/card to be the centerpiece on the buffet!
    Love, Amy

  5. Wishing you good health Ben.

  6. Dear Ben, we wish you all the best for your upcoming stay in the hospital. Our thoughts are with you. Be strong and cu in May in London! Beatrice and Ruth.

    • THANK YOU All so very much for your heartening (no pun intended) good wishes. I’ll try to post the outcome of the surgery next week. Love, Ben

  7. Thinking of you and best of luck to you, Ben.

  8. All the best wishes Ben. You’re a Timex watch – takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’!

  9. The miracle workers have a great candidate…you’re the best! The best to you – Love, Nereida

  10. Hi Ben sorry to hear your news but glad that it is being attended to so promptly. We will be thinking of you and wish you well. Don’t forget to keep us posted. Take care. Love Denise & Alan xx

    Sent from my iPhone


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