The State of Synthfool.. by Monica Lightner

Unlike a lot of wives and girlfriends in the analog synth world, I actually like synthesizers and have an avid interest in what my husband does for a living.
From the beginning (late December of 1996 to be exact), I accepted the fact that living with Kevin also meant living amongst stacks of synths, parts, and test equipment.
It's what he did for a living, after all.

As some of you are aware, Kevin has been suffering from back problems for several years.
In 2009, the pain became chronic and intense.
It's never really gone away, no matter what he's tried--baths, muscle relaxers, massages, chiropractors, NSAIDS, and even strong painkillers such as morphine.

I am devoted to Kevin, my soulmate and loving husband of over 10 years.
I do all I can here--I am part housewife, part caretaker, and part office manager.
As I'm pretty much the only family Kevin has (aside from the cats), I have, and will continue to do, everything in my power to help Kevin in any and every way I can.

After spending most of 2009 trying to get doctors to take Kevin's pain seriously (no easy task, especially without health insurance),
I was able to find a program that allowed Kevin to obtain an MRI for $500, which he did in late November, 2009.

This is the diagnosis:

1. Degenerative changes in the L4-5 and L5-S1 discs.
2. Foraminal lumbar stenonsis as described above at L4-5 and L5-S1 mainly on the left.

Here is Wikipedia's entry for spinal stenosis:

Put simply, it's a narrowing of the spinal canal that pinches the spinal cord.
A very painful condition whether standing, sitting or sleeping.

This is a degenerative condition and will not improve without surgery.
However prices for such surgery can range from $60K to over $100K and even then it might not cure his problem completely.
Therefore, there is no end in sight to his pain.
Painkillers help, but they're expensive (over $200 a month) and have their own side effects.
We've explored almost every option we can afford, short of accupuncture or prolotherapy.
(Placebos are not a realistic treatment for this condition.)

Synth parts sales are our main source of income these days.
We're selling everything we can in order to make ends meet.
Kevin is in a wheelchair now and we're only eating because of the foodstamp program.
(so much for the American Dream, eh?)
We've had to turn away work because Kevin can barely handle what's here already.
He can't even pick up a Minimoog, one of his favorite synths.
And right now, the synths here are some of the heaviest ever made.
Instruments like the huge EMS Synthi 100 and Yamaha CS80.

This letter is to explain what's going on here nowadays, not to elicit sympathy or donations.
It's an answer to the many kind people who've asked how Kevin is doing and if there's any improvement.
Unfortunately, no improvement is expected and all signs suggest Kevin is getting worse.
So if either of us are late in sending out parts purchased or replying to your emails, please understand we're doing all we can and your patience is appreciated.

Thank you,
Monica Lightner