A Sad Lesson About COPD From Leonard Nimoy

Actor Leonard Nimoy — Mr. Spock to his legions of Star Trek fans — has died at age 83 from a destructive lung disease called COPD, telling his fans in a poignant tweet last month: “Don’t smoke. I did. Wish I never had.” His wife confirmed his death to the New York Times, saying the cause was end-stage COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week. COPD is one of the most common lung diseases …

Leonard Nimoy: Star Trek’s Pointy-Eared Icon

How powerful an impression has Leonard Nimoy’s Star Trek portrayal of Spock left on American culture? Hold up your right hand in the split-fingered Vulcan salute that Nimoy invented for his relentlessly logical, dispassionate half-alien starship officer, and odds are that just about everybody in the room will get the reference. >> Famous People We’ve Lost in 2015 Here are some facts about Nimoy, who passed away on Feb. 27 at age 83 in Los Angeles, and his relationship with …

In Memoriam — Al Martinez: More Than a Life Well-Lived

His voice was deep; his soul was too. His humor made you rock with laughter; his insight rocked your world. I never got to squeeze Al Martinez’s hand or give him a hug, though I often wanted to. We lived six hours apart, but when we talked by phone, Al, who died Jan. 12, was in my living room, sitting next to my desk. We laughed at each other’s jokes and exchanged sometimes thoughtful, sometimes silly emails about the topics …

The Dawn of a New Morning

I took the first step of my new life today. It was only kind of a baby shuffle, but, by God, to me it was the dawn of a new morning. It had freedom written all over it. I was at last feeling able to dump the walker that had helped me amble around the house and I was ready to walk, really walk, as any reasonably mature Homo sapiens should. That first step was accomplished just a few mornings …

An Old Dog Scratching at the Door

I feel like an old dog who has been wandering aimlessly through the streets of Los Angeles, and finally, worn and hungry, has decided to come home again, scratching at the door to get in. Well, I may be that weary old hound in some ways, but it has not been a joyful, or even relaxing, drift down the avenues and up the alleys. For almost three months I have been hospitalized with pneumonia, internal bleeding, a severe diabetic attack, …

Walking and Working with the Extenders

The first time I ever heard the term “extenders” applied to human effort and not necessarily to equipment utilized by the handicapped was in the office of a doctor who actually had disabilities. He redefined the word to mean that you never give up. Burdened by the ever-increasing impact of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) on my body, I had requested a wheelchair from Medicare and was told to make an appointment in Los Angeles with one Dr. Thomas Hedge, …