DVT Alert – A Spring Awareness Campaign

I received phone call last week from a publicist at Burson-Marsteller. This was unusual on many counts.

  • 1. it was a phone call (I miss that)
  • 2. I don’t have any personal contacts with flacks there
  • 3. she was calling about a medical story, not my usual beat
  • At first I assumed she found me because of my blog, but I noticed when she followed up via email that she had my writer email address, not my blogger address. Hmmm… She led right off with Deep Vein Thrombosis and she sounded surprised that I knew what that was.

    Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolisms can be lethal. I’ve never had one, but I well remember the scare. It was during my cancer war days and I, an in-patient, fainted while seated in a wheelchair enroute to my room following a CT scan. When I came to, moments later, I was on a gurney and already on my way to Intensive Care because the doctors feared that I might have thrown a clot. They kept me there for 48-hours, just in case. In addition to the chemo lines, trachea and gastro tubes, I was now connected to the EKG, pulse, oxygen, and other monitors; tethered in every possible way. Those 48 hours were scarier than the cancer.

    DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the lower limbs. A complication of DVT, pulmonary embolism, can occur when a fragment of a blood clot breaks loose from the wall of the vein and migrates to the lungs, where it blocks a pulmonary artery or one of its branches.

    Anyway, six years ago, March was proclaimed National DVT Awareness Month and the Coalition to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis is on a mission to educate Americans about the dangers. Their National Patient Spokesperson is Melanie Bloom, widow of NBC news correspondent David Bloom who died in Iraq due to complications of DVT, and they’ve recently announced Driving to Reduce the Risks of DVT, a nationwide mobile campaign designed to encourage dialogue between healthcare professionals and patients about this serious but preventable condition.


    The customized recreational vehicle is currently visiting hospitals and local communities. They started off on March 3rd in Washington DC. On Tuesday the 10th they’ll be in the big apple, stopping first at Rockefeller Center for The Today Show and then the Weill Cornell Medical Center. Another highlight will be a stop at the Metrodome for a Minneapolis Twins baseball game on May 12th, but mostly they’ll be visiting hospitals and universities. Other strops include Richmond, Atlanta, Orlando, Dallas, San Antonio, Pheonix, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Columbus, ending in Pittsburgh on May 23rd.

    Here are a few more scary facts:

      Complications from DVT kill more people each year in the U.S. than breast cancer and AIDS combined.
      In the United States, DVT affects up to 2 million people annually.
      Approximately 300,000 Americans die each year from a pulmonary embolism, the majority of which result from DVT
      DVT-related pulmonary embolisms are the most common cause of preventable hospital death

    And here is their factsheet.

    Jazz Ladies In March

    February’s Black History Month is over and April’s Jazz Appreciation Month is coming soon, meanwhile March 8th is International Women’s Day and NPR’s Take Five: A Weekly Jazz Sampler is celebrating with It’s A Woman’s World: Six Jazz Trailblazers featuring Mary Lou Williams, Shirley Scott, Marian McPartland, Geri Allen, Regina Carter, and Maria Schneider. Three of these women are good friends of mine, and from conversations with them over the years I know that they don’t particularly care to be singled out for their gender — “you sure play great” looses something when the unspoken end of the sentence is “for a girl” — but the past-publicist in me says any angle that helps to gain exposure is a good angle.

    Birthdays this month include: Carol Sloane, Shirley Scott, Marian McPartland, Eliane Elias, and Sarah Vaughan.

    Computers – a tool for enhancing communication?

    This really cracked me up, especially now that I’m Mac-enamored. I’m not one who usually passes around jokes via email. A few are indeed funny, but most are just so-so. And who among us has enough time to read them all anyway? Anyway, I found this enactment on YouTube awhile back and I’m still enjoying it.

    I can assure you that this is all too plausible. Here’s the script:


    ABBOTT: Super Duper Computer Store. May I help you?

    COSTELLO: Thanks. I’m setting up an office in my den and I’m thinking about buying a computer.

    ABBOTT: Mac?

    COSTELLO: No, the name’s Lou.

    ABBOTT: Your computer?

    COSTELLO: I don’t own a computer. I want to buy one.

    ABBOTT: Mac?

    COSTELLO: I told you, my name’s Lou.

    ABBOTT: What about Windows?

    COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

    ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?

    COSTELLO: I don’t know. What will I see when I look in the windows?

    ABBOTT: A desktop and wallpaper.

    COSTELLO: I already have a desk with a large top, so never mind the windows with the computer. I just need a computer and software.

    ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

    COSTELLO: No. For the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What have you got?

    ABBOTT: Office.

    COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

    ABBOTT: I just did.

    COSTELLO: You just did what?

    ABBOTT: Recommend something.

    COSTELLO: You recommended something?

    ABBOTT: Yes.

    COSTELLO: For my office?

    ABBOTT: Yes.

    COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

    ABBOTT: Office.

    COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

    ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.

    COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let’s just say I’m sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?

    ABBOTT: Word.

    COSTELLO: What word?

    ABBOTT: The Word in Office.

    COSTELLO: The only word in office is “office”.

    ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

    COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows? I told you I don’t want windows installed in my computer.

    ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue “W”.

    COSTELLO: I’m going to click your “blue ‘W'” if you don’t  start with some straight answers! OK, forget

    that. Can I watch movies on the internet on this computer?

    ABBOTT: Yes, you’ll want Real One.

    COSTELLO: Maybe a real one, maybe a cartoon. What I watch is none of your business. Just tell me what I need!

    ABBOTT: Real One.

    COSTELLO: If it’s a long movie I also want to see reel 2, 3 & 4. Can I watch them?

    ABBOTT: Of course.

    COSTELLO: Great! With what?

    ABBOTT: Real One.

    COSTELLO: OK, I’m at my computer and I want to watch a movie. What do I do?

    ABBOTT: You click the blue “1”.

    COSTELLO: I click the blue one what?

    ABBOTT: The blue “1”.

    COSTELLO: Is that different from the blue “W”?

    ABBOTT: The blue “1” is Real One and the blue “W” is Word.

    COSTELLO: What word?

    ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

    COSTELLO: But there are three words in “office for windows”!

    ABBOTT: No, just one. But it’s the most popular Word in the world.

    COSTELLO: It is?

    ABBOTT: Yes, but to be fair, there aren’t many other Words left. It pretty much wiped out all the other Words out there.

    COSTELLO: And that word is “real one”?

    ABBOTT: Real One has nothing to do with Word. Real One isn’t even part of Office.

    COSTELLO: STOP! Don’t start that again. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

    ABBOTT: Money.

    COSTELLO: That’s right. What do you have?

    ABBOTT: Money.

    COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

    ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

    COSTELLO: What’s bundled with my computer?

    ABBOTT: Money.

    COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

    ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

    COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer?  How much?

    ABBOTT: One copy.

    COSTELLO: Isn’t it illegal to copy money?

    ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

    COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?

    ABBOTT: Why not? THEY OWN IT!


    ABBOTT: Super Duper Computer Store. May I help you?

    COSTELLO: Your people set up this computer in my den and turned it on, but how do I turn it off?

    ABBOTT: Click on “START.”

    Lukas Foss, R.I.P.

    Lukas Foss, Composer at Home in Many Stylistic Currents, Dies at 86 (The New York Times obit) Back in June of 2007 Laurie (my girlfriend from elementary school days) was in the chorus of the revival of Lukas Foss’s major cantata, “The Prairie.” It had been decades since this work was heard in a New York performance.

    The concert at the Rose Theater celebrated Foss’s 85th birthday, and he was present for the concert celebration. Professional soloists were backed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic and The Greenwich Village Singers (Laurie has been a longtime member) with the Choral Society of the Hamptons forming a chorus of over 100 voices.

    Laurie said the piece reminds her a bit of Gershwin, with some Copeland-esque sounds, “but it is not at all derivative–in fact, it’s wholly original and just a very cool piece of music. Very difficult not to like, even for those of you who do not ordinarily listen to choral music.”

    You can read more about An American Awakening: The Rediscovery of a Choral Masterpiece on The Prairie Project website. The text, which was adapted by the composer from Carl Sandburg’s “The Prairie,” is posted there, along with the composer’s commentary a seen in the program from the 1944.

    A Violinist in the Metro

    A Violinist in the Metro is the subject of a viral email that I received just this week. The story it tells, of renowned concert violinist playing in a Washington D.C. subway during rush hour who goes unrecognized and unappreciated, is true. The violinist was Joshua Bell and it was widely reported, by the Washington Post and NPR among others…two years ago. The event took place on on January 12, 2007 and I don’t know why this email is circulating now but it bears re-telling for it gives rise to questions that are worth considering.

    The email concludes with this question:

    If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments …. how many other things are we missing?

    It’s a good question, but I would also have to ask whether the adults, who probably had no arts education or even exposure to the arts, would have had the ability to discern quality and beauty even if they did have the time to stop and listen. Some might argue that art has the power to touch all, and I might agree, but I also think that those who grew up in recent times may have had the innate ability with which we are born sucked out of them by adulthood. (The children in this story wanted to stop and listen, but the grownups pulled them away.)

    It reminds me of a story I read some time ago about people are born with the ability to taste color or see musical notes as colors and shapes but the ability fades away from disuse, lack of encouragement, lack of adult understanding… It’s called synesthesia (“a rare neurological condition in which two or more of the senses entwine”) and while I am not a scientist, I do believe that we are born with way more abilities and talents than we ever imagine, let alone nurture.

    What do you think?

    Best interests?

    The issues are no longer clear cut. Maybe they never were, but now, I think, less so than ever. For example, are unions good or bad? There was a time when unions did a tremendous service, fighting for the rights of commenfolk. But today we seem to be in an age of me, me, me, and I wonder if the demands being made to supposedly protect the worker are out of line with common sense. Don’t get me wrong, I am not an advocate of corporate greed, and I would be the first to confiscate the obscene bonuses and out-sized salaries of the suits at the top. But take a look at this video report about Ford’s manufacturing plant in Brazil and tell me what you think. Is Ford doing “the right thing”?

    Sunday morning correspondence

    This morning’s email brought links to three CD reviews: two about Hemispheres (Jim Hall/Bill Frisell with Scott Colley and Joey Baron) in The Independent newspaper in London and State of Mind, and the third was in JazzReview about Brother to Brother (John, Jeff and Gerald Clayton with Terell Stafford and Obed Calvaire). As you may know, I’m a fan and it just so happened that as 2008 drew to a close I had a last-minute assignment to write press releases for these two ArtistShare recordings. I have become so used to reading articles and reviews from around the world that I have to remind myself just how amazing it is that we can be so connected with the whole wide world…and how exhilarating as well as overwhelming that can feel.

    Social networking is a part of that mix and as I just wrote to Orrin Keepnews this morning, “this social networking stuff is crazy and can be time consuming, but it’s fun, people post some wonderful videos and pictures, and it feels good to be connected.” I am trying to juggle the feel-good nature with the usefulness factor, exponentially confounded by three networks — Facebook more social, Linkedin more biz, and I haven’t figured out the point of Twitter yet but you can follow me. All I know is that I can now use HelloTxt to post status messages to Twitter and Facebook simultaneously…for whatever that’s worth. Does anybody really need to know, or care, that I’m about to brew a pot of coffee or head off to pilates?

    What do you think? Are DevraDoWrite readers signed on to any of these networks? Why or why not? Do you read publications from afar and if so, how often? Please post your comments or email me directly.

    My Two-Cents Worth

    Happy New Year, one and all. Have you made your resolutions? I’ve got so many that I had to make lists of my lists. Mostly I resolved to allocate my time more wisely, eschew distractions so as to focus on my writing, and return to a consistent blogging schedule. My desires, coupled with the current state of the world, require that I make some more money and spend less of it.

    I took some time this morning to clip coupons. I never used to do this with any regularity, and while the world’s economic downturn has motivated all of us to tighten our proverbial belts, I admit that my clipping fancy has more than a little to do with preventing the conglomerates from taking extra advantage of me than it does with saving 40 cents on my next four cans of soup. Coupons, and grocery club cards, are proof of the over-inflated prices on all of the products we buy. On top of the cost of making goods, manufacturers add in the cash-back values along with the advertising expenses, kitchen sink, and profit margin before settling on a retail price. If we take the time to clip, and remember to carry the coupons and club cards to the store, then we save a few cents, or even several dollars, and they still get their profits; if we forget, then they get their profits plus a cherry on top. Why should I anoint their sundaes when I can bake my own cherry pie?

    And do they really believe that the availability of coupons actually alters our shopping selection? I’ve been told that I am not a typical consumer, but I wonder. The coupons never affect my taste preferences nor shake my brand loyalties that were mostly forged in childhood. Just because I can get cents off a box of Fiber One doesn’t mean I’ll buy it instead of Raisin Bran; and the only time I ever buy go-gurt is when the grand-kids are visiting. Furthermore, while I now have a large stash of coupons for products I do buy, sorted by the month in which they expire, I am not likely to buy those items right now, unless I need them right now. If a coupon expires before a need arises, too bad — no sale.

    Okay, so this counts as a double check-mark on my lists: a blog post + saving cents.


    It’s 6 AM
    and John’s asleep,
    the house is quiet,
    not nary a peep.

    I’m awake,
    or so I think,
    is that an oven?
    No, that’s the sink.

    Bread’s a rising,
    turkey’s roasting,
    pie’s a baking,
    we’re here, left-coasting.

    Composing at my desk,
    with java in a mug,
    I send to friends and family
    much love and lots of hugs.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    p.s. Rifftides resurrected one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories in honor of Paul Desmond’s birthday. If you haven’t read it yet, click here.

    NPR and Jazz?

    I have very mixed feelings about NPR and their commitment to jazz, or lack thereof. They long ago dropped staff and funding for Jazz Profiles — no new ones, just re-runs. Jazz Set, now hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater is still running (I don’t know how much of it is new or not), and thankfully Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz also continues. (I think there’d be a world-wide honest-to-God rebellion if they dropped Marian’s show.)

    But lately I’ve taken notice of the NPR online jazz offerings such as their Jazz & Blues page with changing features and Take Five: A Weekly Jazz Sampler. This week’s sampler is titled Feeling The Vibes: The Short History Of A Long Instrument. The five selections include the usual suspects — Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson, Gary Burton and Bobby Hutcherson — plus Stefon Harris playing Bach, specifically “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”

    This particular track brought to my attention The Classical Jazz Quartet featuring some of my favorite people – Kenny Barron on piano, Lewis Nash on drums and Ron Carter on bass. How this series of recordings (CJQ Plays Bach, CJQ Plays Rachmaninoff, and CJQ Plays Tchaikovsky) escaped my radar I do not know.

    Perhaps due to my classical conservatory training, combined with growing up in a jazz household, I am one of those who love the jazz/classical hybrid. Eons ago, during lessons with Roland Hanna, he would take a classical piece from my repertoire and interpret it his way. At that time he was especially fond of Debussy and also introduced me to Scriabin. I could only dream of making such magic.

    To this day, when I’m writing, or editing, I find it soothing to listen to John Lewis’ Bach Preludes & Fugues or Ron Carter Meets Bach. So now I’ve got some new CDs on the way.