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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Judge, the Vet and the Widows



My poor little dog went into the veterinary clinic at 8:00 AM for a routine teeth cleaning and came back out at 4:00 PM with nine teeth missing. Several times during that time frame I was on my cell with the vet, going over options and making decisions while Levi was out cold, his tongue pulled over to the side. I know this because the vet sent me pictures of him in that condition and at least twelve x-rays pictures of his teeth and their roots. One time, I was sitting in the waiting of my orthopedic doctor saying things into the phone like, “Gosh, that one is gross, yes, pull it.” “How many teeth will he if left if we pull all nine?” It’s the only time I’ve ever had taken a cell call in public and it left little doubt that I was racking up a big denial bill---I never did explain it was for a dog.  

How on earth his teeth got that bad in one year since his last cleaning is beyond me. He’s only six. They tell me it’s common with schnauzers and nine extractions was bad enough but there is one tooth the vet says may need a root canal in six months. Can you believe that, a root canal for a dog! It’s a tooth dogs really need for chewing and if the treatment they did on it this week doesn’t clear up the puss pocket at the bottom of the root, he’ll be off to a doggie dental specialist forty-five miles away. One thing for sure, he’s not getting his allowance anymore. It can go towards fighting his gingivitis which includes---get this---brushing his teeth with peanut butter! Regular dog tooth paste, I guess, breaks down the cement-like stuff the vet put on his gum line to help with gingivitis. I am not looking forward to learning how to brush Levi’s teeth, which will happen at his two-weeks-out-from-his-dental-surgery appointment.

The next day I went to see The Judge with my Movie and Lunch Club, trying to ignore the guilt that came with leaving Levi alone with his pain pill and pillow. Here’s how IMDb sums up the storyline: “Big city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his father, the town's judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family.” Robert Downey Jr plays the lawyer and the small town, Indiana judge is played by Robert Duval. They both brought their A-games to the film as did the rest of the cast. Reviews I’ve read after seeing the film were mixed and used phrases like “muddled melodrama” and “steadfastly old-fashioned” and more than one reviewer compared it to Kramer vs. Kramer for reasons I’ve yet to figure out. The seventeen of us in my group, though, all gave it a thumbs up. I felt there was never a moment when I wasn’t engaged in the many sub-plots. Of course, it was all those under currents that caused some reviewers to think the film was too "complicated" and glut with too many scenes---Hank’s marriage falling apart, his high school sweetheart’s daughter who he thinks could be his, his relationships with his two brothers, and the car accident that caused the family estrangement. There was even a tornado thrown in for good measure. How is all that “complicated?” Complicated to who, people under thirty who don’t understand that life gets messy?

What I didn’t like was the place my Movie and Lunch Club went for lunch. The movie was long and we didn’t get out until late afternoon and the restaurant they picked was on the other end of town, making it necessary for all of us to drive home during rush hour. Several times on the drive down I was sorely tempted to skip lunch, find a place to turn around and head back home. I hate rush hour driving! But I didn’t want anyone to worry if I didn’t show up, thinking maybe I’d been in an accident. Oh, well, you can’t win them all and next time when I get the email announcing the movie and lunch locations, I’ll pay closer attention to the route and travel times.

Speaking of rush hour, I’ll have to do it again at the end of the month when my orthopedic doctor has my labrum tear surgery scheduled on my shoulder. It’s only a one hour, out-patient surgery but I’ll be out like a light and will be wearing a sling afterward to remind me to keep my elbow close to my waist at all times---for up to four weeks depending on how much work he has to inside. But, he says, I won’t be able to shovel snow all winter even after the sling is no longer needed. That sure complicates my life! I have a little electric snow blower that I’ve never liked using but I’m going to have to make sure it’s still working and if not, buy a new one before I get cut open and can’t lift a blower down from the car if I need to buy a new one. I like to think I can totally take care of my own needs, but this winter might prove otherwise. ©

20 comments:

  1. Your poor baby. Hubby brushes Little Bit's teeth every morning. She lets him too. No more teeth cleaning for her as she'll be 12 on the 26th of this month. She just can't tolerate being put out.

    I hate rush hour and will also do just about anything to avoid getting caught. Sometimes you just can't avoid rush hour.

    Have a fabulous day. Special scritches to Levi. ☺

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    1. That's what worries me. They are recommending cleaning twice a year and that's a lot of going under anesthesia!

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  2. oh gosh that's so sad honey. i know pets give people lots of pleasure, i do, but i don't want any. i don't mean to be selfish, i'll donate money to shelters or wherever but i don't want the responsibility.

    hugs, bee
    xoxoxooxxo

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    1. Except for when I was away at college, I've never lived without a dog in the house. They do alter your life and activities but I gladly accept that because good outweighs the inconvenience. To each his own and I'm glad people who don't really want a pet don't feel pressured to have one. You go, girl!

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    2. Oh my! A doggie dental bill that is higher than mine! We had a miniature schnauzer for 14 years who never lost a tooth. But had chronic ear infections ... until I started cleaning them twice a week with vinegar. Pets ARE our sons and daughters for sure.

      OUCH for you and your shoulder. Do you know any of your neighbors who might shovel for you, even for a fee? Or just talk to everyone and maybe someone will volunteer? It's hard to ask for help but just do it. You definitely could use a village!!!

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    3. I never had a dental bill as high as the dog's either. But he is my kid so he's going to get what he needs to stay healthy.

      I tried last year to hire someone to shovel snow but the kids in this neighborhood don't seem to need to earn extra money. The neighbor guy does snow blow about half of my snow along the street but I still have a LOT to do myself. I plan on called the neighborhood association next week and see if they know anyone but I don't think that will be promising. We get so much snow that working people have enough to do to keep up with their own, let another helping out someone else on a regular basis.

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  3. I hope you have someone to drive you home from surgery. You CANNOT drive yourself, you know. As for snow shoveling--there HAS to be someone. You don't need to do that--even a snow blower is hard to maneuver!

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    1. My niece is coming up to take me to and back from surgery. When I asked the doctor about me driving myself home he said no I couldn't but he's heard of all kinds of crazy schemes people have tried to do that. One guy called a cab to drive him around the parking lot and dropping him off at his car. LOL

      I never liked using my snow blower even though it's about the smallest size you can get. But I won't be able to do the throwing action with weigh on a shovel and at least with the little blower I won't have to do that. I would much rather find someone else. Trust me, I will try to find someone but I've tried for at least five years without any luck.. Snow will eventually drive me out of this house when I can no longer do it.

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  4. Maybe I could use the vinegar ear cleaning that Awkward Widow suggests. :)

    I know you want to be independent, but maybe you should consider hiring someone. Don't take the chance of aggravating your shoulder.

    Poor Levi. I feel for him. I hate the dentist. I had no idea that schnauzers had that issue. Love the picture you have up there.

    I immediately looked up "The Judge" at our local theater. Robert Duvall is my favorite actor and Robert Downey Jr. ain't bad either. Must see.

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  5. I would gladly hire someone to do my snow shoveling and tried doing that last year and the year before. If I lived closer to commercial businesses I could find a sidewalk service but none want to go so far off their route. The teens I've asked in the past just don't want jobs. I have two numbers to try this next week but I think it will be up to me. I did try out my snow blower and it's working. It's electric and not a big, heavy one.

    Levi and I are having issues this week because he wants his treats but he can't have them until after his surgical follow up appointment. We both hate the canned food he has to eat in the meantime. LOL

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  6. What is it with teens today? We were always looking for a way to make money when I was that age. Oh, God. I sound old don't I... but really. What's up with that? I wish we lived nearby. My husband would shovel for you... for free.

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    1. I'm thinking of handing out "help wanted" slips of paper on Halloween to every kid who looks tall enough to do the job. LOL

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  7. Hi Jean,
    Mostly read your blog on my mini iPad but somehow can't usually get the comments to work on it...I'm technically challenged..ha Read this blog about Levi to my daughter yesterday cause something similar happened with my grand-dog, Molly....a mutt. She has bad teeth as well.
    I also want to say how much I appreciate your blog...found you when looking for info for my sis-in-law and I read you all the time. Sometimes I print out your posts for her to read...she has eye probs and can't read unless it's large print. Just want you to know you have helped her with your attitude and the things you say. My brother passed away in January, 2013.
    Good luck with your surgery and finding someone to help.
    A Texas reader, Alice B.

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    1. How sweet! Thank you so much for the nice comments and I'm glad that you are able to share some of the posts with your sister-in-law. Sometimes I do wonder why I keep writing or rather why I keep posting publicly. I will never quit writing but comments like yours remind me that it is possible to connect with others even when I don't know that I am.

      Hope Molly is feeling better soon!

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  8. I don't envy you your shoulder surgery. Repair and recovery for a labrum tear isn't nearly as long as it is for the reattachment of two tendons, what I got last year, but the recovery drill is pretty much the same. I found the most useful tips at this fellow's website http://sjl.us/main/2009/11/my-life-in-a-sling.html . In the comment section are ongoing discussions from people going through surgery. Their boots on the ground experience gave me the low down much, much better than any other site. As a result I was much better prepared for surgery's aftermath. Recovery severely restricted my activities for 9 months. My arm was in a sling for six weeks, went to PT 2x week for 6 months, plus exercise 3x week at home for one year. I supplemented the official programs with acupuncture and active release technique massage to recover mobility faster. I'll never be as strong or good as new. I can't shovel snow any more, or pick up 50 labs bags of gardening supplies - 35 lbs is my limit. But I can use a snowblower, and garden and swim and bicycle now.

    Your recovery will be quicker, with a labrum tear. You certainly know the recovery drill from knee replacements and god knows what else you've had done. Everybody's experience with meds and recovery is different, but reading that guy's blog really helped me prepare mentally, emotionally and physically. I lobbied my insurance company, and got coverage for a visiting nurse to check up on me the first few days. I lined up people to stay with me 24/7 for 4 weeks. I also applied for, and got nearly free transportation for the handicapped, while my arm was in the sling and I couldn't drive. Some people do drive one armed, but if there's an accident, that is big trouble. So I played it safe.

    Keep us posted, and good luck with surgery! Take all the help that's offered!

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    1. Now you're scaring me! Thank you so much for the website. I will check it out and do my homework. This will be my forth time living with an arm in a sling/cast so I thought I'd be prepared plus I helped my husband learn how to live with the use of one arm and know a lot of the work-around techniques already. But I don't even know if I'm going to need physical therapy afterward and I should have asked. I do have a place only a mile away, if I need it so I won't be driving all over the place.

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  9. Mama just typed a comment but she thinks it ended up in cyberspace. So she will try this again.

    Kaci and I love getting our teeth brushed. I (Hershey) have had mine done since I was a puppy. But I might have to get a professional dental cleaning next checkup. We won't know until next spring. Mama brushes my teeth at least once a week without fail. And I still have all of my teeth - I am eight years old.

    Kaci was not as lucky. She has lost four teeth due to extractions. Mama does brush her teeth when she can. Grammy can't brush her teeth because she has arthritis in her hands so Mama does it as much as she can.

    When you want some tips to brush Levi's teeth ask Mama. She knows some good ones.

    Love -

    Hershey and Kaci

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    1. I'm glad to know you don't mind getting your teeth cleaned! The vet is going to teach me how to do it on Tuesday but if it doesn't go well I'll take you up on getting tips from your mama. He got razor burned where they put in his IV line and Levi is fighting like crazy me putting the doggie-safe liquid band-aid on it keep the itchy down. So I'm not looking forward to the first brushing.

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  10. Hi Jean! I've been neglecting my blog reading lately and getting caught up. Really related to Levi's teeth cleaning story. Back in the dark ages I worked as a vet tech and it was part of my job to clean dog's teeth, so I can just see him laying there tongue hanging. We had a Brittany Spaniel at one time and her teeth were a mess! The vet told us certain breeds just are prone to gum disease. By the time she died (age 13) her mouth was a sad empty space. I guess back then they didn't have doggie dental specialists and root canals. We just kept brushing (didn't do much good) and extracting. Hope Levi fares better!

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    1. Me too. It was just such a shock when I first got the call from the vet, not to mention the $1,200 bill. I don't know what people do who can't afford to pay vet bills like that.

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