Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bones, the OP Fairy and my Niece



Next winter when I’m snowed in I know I will look back at the statement I’m about to make and think I was crazy for saying it. But here it goes: Hallelujah, I have four whole days with nothing written on the calendar! That’s not exactly true, I could go to a slide presentation at the museum tonight but my after-dark driving is going to have to wait until after I have cataract surgery. “They’re not big enough yet,” the ophthalmologist said, “but soon. Maybe next summer.” Oh, goody, another gift from the Old People Fairy.

At night when pain from my bad bones wakes me up and I can’t fall back to sleep it’s hard for me to stop plotting ways to assassinate that Old People Fairy. I gave up on the idea of wringing her neck. After a summer of having my shoulder joint pop in and out of its socket I’d probably hurt myself more than I’d hurt that evil fairy. I gave up on the idea of kicking her butt because one of my knee joints is too painful and bending it is impossible without major fanfare. In the middle of the night the Old People Fairy just laughs at my currant aches and pains and reminds me that someday I’ll be at the mercy of a nursing home aide who may or may not like her job. I tell her I don’t like to borrow trouble from the future but that evil fairy knows me too well. “Yes, you do,” she taunts, “you’re always trying to come up with plans A, B and C  so you can give yourself the illusion that you’ll always remain in control of your future. But you’re not. I am!”  After one too many arguments with that bitch, I rolled out of bed one morning and made an appointment with my orthopedic doctor. Can we all shout out, “Hallelujah"? Help is on the way!

I saw Dr. Bone Guy yesterday and I got better news than I expected on my knee. When you imagine the worst that’s not hard to do. I imagined the knee replacement in my left knee---I’ve had them both replaced---had completely worn out after only seven years or it was out of line and either way I’d have to have another surgery. I imagined he’d say, “You’re a bad old lady! You shouldn’t have been doing Zumba in the first place!” What he did say was: “Both prosthetics still look great, no wear pattern, nothing out of line, the spacing between the top and bottom joints are still exactly as they should be.” He gave me a 12 day round of prednisone to cure the pain and stiffness and told me that in a couple of weeks I co-o-o-uld go back to Zumba but he’d much prefer I found a less intense workout in a swimming pool. Prescription: Build a swimming pool in the backyard or move to a condo with amenities. “Great!” says my Debby Downer persona, “that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.” “What about the YMCA just three miles away?” you’re asking. “They have a pool.” Three miles might as well be three hundred when there’s six feet of snow on the ground. I shall grow fat and sassy over the winter and join the Y in the spring. So there!

Dr. Bone Guy is a god in my family. He’s our go-to-guy for all deep dives when it involves a structural problem with our bones. When I saw him yesterday I also found out I probably have the exact same thing as my niece’s daughter-in-law. “It’s likely a labrum tear in your shoulder joint,” he said. Then he gave me a cortisone shot as part of the diagnosis process and I have to go back in two weeks. At the worst, I’ll need an hour operation to fix it. All those trips to the chiropractor this summer, when it felt like the joint was out of its socket, were a waste of time and money because that can’t cure the underlying problem. You don't have to write that on a chalkboard for me to remember, wasn't I the one who called Dr. Bone Guy in the first place? I just should have called him sooner. Oops.

My niece takes her daughter-in-law back to Dr. Bone Guy tomorrow and she’s going to call me with details on how her cortisone test shot went and what her next steps will be, but she’s a nursing mother so she might be delaying her surgery if that’s practical and won’t cause more damage. But the best part of my conversation with my niece was when I mentioned I was worried about driving myself home from the surgery, and she said---without the slightest hesitation---that she and my other niece can work something out on that. I could have cried from relief! They both live a great distance away so this is not a small commitment, but in the middle of the night when I’m arguing with the Old People Fairy, it’s the biggest issue on earth. I visualize myself getting permanently admitted to a nursing home, kicking and screaming, for lack of a ride home from a minor surgery. My nieces are both new grandmothers and if you believe the Republican pundits on TV, first time grandmothers don’t have time for things like running for president and helping out old aunts. Ohmygod, I should wash my fingertips off with soap for typing that last sentence and bringing politics into my blog. What I should be saying instead is that after the conversations with Dr. Bone Guy and my niece I feel like I can stuff that Old People Fairy back in her box and pile rocks on top. That will teach her for annoying me in the middle of the night. ©

12 comments:

  1. You know I don't like that Old People Fairy either. I've not called a bitch yet, but I'm getting close. You're worst fear is over as you've a ride home after your minor surgery. That should really piss off the Old People Fairy.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya, I'm sure she's in a dither now because I'm back to my optimistic self again. Although after spending some time reading about the recovery after labrum tear surgery I'm now so sure that optimism isn't a little too high.There will be a 12 week recovery and maybe some physical therapy and a sling involved. But I've been through worse so I'll buck it up and try to wait to see what my doctor says. Apparently, it's a common thing for people into sports to get.

      Delete
  2. It's amazing how large transportation issues loom as we grow older. For the past several months, I've been driving about an hour each way once every week or two to take a friend who is having medical problems that keep her from driving to her multitudinous medical appointments. I'm also in the early stages of cataracts group, nowhere near time for surgery on them but with some trouble driving after dark -- not a big deal in mid-summer when it stays light until 9 p.m., but a big deal in mid-winter when it gets dark by 4. Your nieces are treasures, building good karma for their own elder years. -Jean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Transportation most definitely is my major issue as I age. I have many friendly acquaintances but so far I haven't found any of them who doesn't have children to help them when they need rides for medical issues. I've always got my ear open to an opportunity to volunteer for something like that so the deed might give me a pay-back when needed. There is no public transportation here, either. the Red Cross will do transportation reoccurring medical treatments like for cancer or dialysis but for the one shot stuff like cataract surgery, etc. I can't seem to solve that worry. My nieces are treasures but they have aging parents and at some point they could get overwhelmed with being in the sandwich generation. Knock on wood it hasn't started yet.

      Delete
  3. It freaked me out to have to go to the nursing home/rehab center after hip surgery, because no one at home to help. i was truly scared they'd keep me there and my kids would pretend I had died. "Poor Mom. We'll never see her again." Really hard to take a day out of their totally busy lives to get a ride to surgery, and then home from rehab two weeks later. One teaches, one works 16 hours days, the other one baby sits for the one who works 16 hour days. They only get vacations off--scheduling problems abound. Can you try physical therapy for the shoulder to see if it helps and put off surgery? At least if you are in the nursing home and need the surgery, they will take you and pick you up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a real fear for many of us, Judy, and it does actually happen where family doesn't press hard enough or assure the people in charge of those places that the patient will have back up at home.

      When I had my knee surgery I had a real cob-up-her-butt type social worker who didn't want me to go home. I had hired a friend to stay with us to help with my husband and to drive us around but that wasn't good enough. I had to make our friend come down to meet her to prove he existed, I guess, because she didn't ask him a SINGLE question. Made me so mad! She seemed disappointed when I could put my pants on by myself....her little test. I think she must have gotten a bounty on nursing home referrals. Believe me, I will ask a ton of questions on arm surgery. I really don't think an shoulder issue recovery is as high on the disability ladder as a leg or a hip so I don't expect a problem. I will know more in two weeks when I go back with my list of questions.

      Delete
    2. P.S. From what I've read, physical therapy helps after but no so much before. The little thing that is torn is what helps hold the shoulder joint in place which explains why it's been in and out of its socket off and on all summer.

      Delete
  4. i completely understand, even if i am sort of a republican! lol

    smiles, bee
    xoxooxox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had that figured out already, Bee. As much as some of us Bloggers try to keep politics to a minimum in our blogs, it still creeps out. LOL

      Delete
  5. Oh, Jean. I wish we lived closer -- the conversations we'd have about middle of the night fears, control issues, nursing home dread….and politics (loved the comment about first time grandmothers being unable to run for president -- hope that's not true!) Keep speaking for all of us. And punch that Old People Fairy in the face.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Years ago we had a neighbor who didn't sleep well at night and neither did did my husband sometimes. They had a signal of turning on their porch lights if either one was up and felt like talking. They would have the best conversations at 2-4 in the morning. In recent years, I sure have wished for a middle-of-the-night person I could call like that.

    Thank you for the comments and I punch that Old People Fairy as often as I can.

    ReplyDelete