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

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tattle-Tales and Doctors



Spring and fall I see my internist and in recent years all I ever see of him is his back as he types my answers to his questions into a computer. A few days before my appointment, this week, something new occurred. The internist’s office emailed me the questions he usually asks, “to save face time with the doctor.” I was to email the questionnaire directly back to my medical chart that I can now access online, including the results to all the blood tests I took in preparation for this appointment. I don’t see the point of going to a doctor’s office anymore. Even getting weighed and your blood pressure and pulse taken can be done with a fancy-pant gadget that sends readings through cyberspace. My sister-in-law has one those gadgets/scales and it’s connected to a nurse sitting in an office miles away. Every morning she hops on her space-age scale so her readings can tracks her water retention, heart rate and who knows what else and if adjustments in medications are needed she gets a call. If she doesn't get weighed by a certain time, a computer calls to remind her. At what point do they do away with the human element altogether and just let computers diagnosis us? It’s coming, like cars that drive themselves. Can you imagine the headlines in the future? “Hacker Accessing Medical Charts Kills Hundreds in Ohio!”

I became the village Tattle-Tale in Chief over the weekend. If you don’t want to hear the back story, stop reading because I’m going to tell you about the up-for-sale-and-empty house next door. When I work at my computer its backyard, with its enormous and ugly two story deck, is in view and that deck has become a gathering point for six or seven kids from the cul-de-sac. One side of the lower level of the deck is open so you could dive into an above ground swimming pool the previous owners took with them when they moved. The kids---ages 6 to 12---are kicking slats out along the sides of the deck, throwing landscape stones all over the place and uprooting outdoor carpeting. And the roughing housing is going to get one of them seriously hurt in a fall. One time a girl was getting picked on by three others as I debated with myself about getting involved and I hated being put in that position! Just when I decided to go out there, she was able to break free and I was left wondering if this is how it starts, that old person thing where you find yourself yelling at the neighborhood kids to quit doing anything and everything that resembles fun in their eyes. 

A few days after the fight, I saw the dad to three of the kids working in his yard so I went out to talk to him. I opened with, “You might want to have a talk with your kids about respecting other people’s property” and I told him what was going on. He wanted to go see the damage for himself and I was thinking, Jeez, now the kids will know who ratted them out! After the damage tour, my neighbor assured me that his kids will not be playing back there again and “they will be punished.” I hoped he meant a take-a-cell-phone-away kind of punishment rather than a physical one and then I started worrying about that! But the thing I hated the most about the whole episode with was feeling vulnerable, like the cul-de-sac kids would see me as a cranky, old woman they could target next for mayhem and destruction. Feeling vulnerable and my old age seems to go together like Google and maps.

Later on in the day I ratted on the kids, their father walked them over to my house. He said they admitted to doing exactly what I reported and he told them it wasn’t a tattle-tale situation on my part because I had talked to the kids about the stone throwing a couple of weeks earlier without telling their dad about it at the time, “Giving you a chance to do the right thing all on your own,” he said to the kids in a soft, teaching tone. Then the oldest boy says, “We’re sorry, Miss Jean, that we didn’t listen to you the first time.” What a great dad! I guess every village needs a tattle-tale, I just wish it didn’t have to be me.

Oh, and the results of my bi-annual wellness physical in case anyone cares... I got my Medicare mandated hug from the doctor, a clean bill of health and a vaccination to protect me against whooping cough and tetanus. (I've never liked shaking hands with doctors who are around sick people and now I have to get hugged?) I didn’t think I needed the vaccine but the doctor says that three quarters of the people who get tetanus in the USA are the elderly. Now that I’ve been vaccinated I can walk barefoot in a garden filled rusty nails, use dirty needles to shoot myself up daily with my osteoarthritis medication and get surgery done in a less than sterile operating room and not worry about those nasty lock-jaw bacterial spores getting in my blood. Not that I was planning on doing any of those things but it’s nice to keep all your options open. ©

16 comments:

  1. Great on the clean bill of health. That's always a good thing to hear.

    You did the right thing about the kids. They would have eventually caused a lot of damage that someone else would have had to pay for. Great dad too.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I didn't know the dad well at all, never said more than "hi" to him in the past so I didn't know how he'd react to the whole thing. But I was impressed with how he handled the episode. With some people, their kids can do no wrong. The number of slats the kids have kicked out on that deck is shocking---probably two dozen---and I wouldn't be surprised if a few windows get broken when a lawn mower kicks up the rocks thrown all over the lawn. Ya, I did the right thing but I still hated dong it.

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  2. Good to hear that you received a clean bill of health. I have to see my doctor next week for my regular physical check up. I'm a little worried because I've been feeling to good lately. Oh well. Have a great day Jean R. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. Hope you have a good check up, Paul. I was feeling good, too, and it almost seemed silly to be going to the doctor. But I guess regular check ups will keep us that way.

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  3. Jean :

    congratulations on clean bill of health, and about tattle tale you did the right thing it takes village to raise kids & you played your part well, and ofcourse dad handled it very well. I always feel when someone complains about kids it shows that they care enough about their well being & have not given up on them, and that's the bad place to be in


    Asha

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    1. Thanks for a parent's point of view, Asha. I haven't had issues with neighborhood kids for so many decades that I've forgotten how it goes. Back then, the parents to the kids didn't care what they were doing and Don kind of took them under his wing, giving the kids a role model they weren't getting at home.

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  4. Empress Bee wrote I reply that I can't published because she included her email address which I don't publish to keep the spam crawlers from finding them. (Bloggers won't let us edit replies.) But she wrote: "Oh, my gosh, I love that dad! If you see him please tell him how much I respect what he did. He should be an example for SO many parents. I'm so glad you got a good report from your doctor, Jean."

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    1. Funny you should say that, I was thinking I should say something similar to him myself!

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  5. I know the lousy feeling of being in that kind of situation, but you would have felt much worse if one of the kids dove off the deck into the no-long-there pool and ended up with a broken neck. You did the right thing. It takes a village to raise a child, and we senior citizens are an important part of that village.
    A friend of mine had the situation you've experienced with seeing the doctor's back while they type on the computer. All the doctors around here have switched to standing computer stations where the health-care provider can face the patient, make eye contact, and converse while they type -- a much better set-up. -Jean

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    1. The way the kids were rough-house it was only a matter of time before someone got seriously hurt. My neighbor's kids were the smallest of the lot and it would probably have been them. Can't wait until Saturday to see if the other neighbor's kids show up. If so, my snitching job is not finished yet.

      I was wondering about those standing computer stations, it that would be the wave of the future. My bone doctor has one that he rolls from room to room with him.

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  6. So glad you got a clean bill of health. Did you have to take a mini-cog or any short-term memory test? Just curious. H went to the doctor yesterday and his doc gave him a whooping cough vaccination, too. I guess I'll get mine next week. He doesn't need the tetanus yet.

    You did the father and the kids a good turn. I'd sure want to know if that was my kid. Letting kids get away with things like that does them no favors.

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    1. If he gave me the mini-cognitive test I wasn't aware of it. LOL I'm glad I didn't think about that before the appointment. He did ask a lot of questions about depression and state of mind---Medicare mandated, I'm sure. He asked about end of life issues and if I wanted to be resuscitated which shocked me. I said, "Well at first! I'm not ready to kick the bucket yet and I trust my nieces to make the right decisions based on my living will." I did not want 'do not resuscitate' written on my records just yet!

      When I was younger I had no trouble confront kids or parents about stuff like that but it's harder now. My brother says you can stop a lot of that kind of stuff by just going outside in their view and take their pictures. Gotta try that sometime. I hesitated telling the parents because I figured that the parents had to know their kids were over on this side of the street playing on property that didn't belong to them, and they didn't care.

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  7. I think you did the right thing in tattling. I grew up in a neighborhood full of tattle-tellers. I was not supposed to ride my bike in the street and the first time I was not on the sidewalk, by the time I got home, my mom knew!

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    1. Thanks! You reminded of a time when I was teenager and a boy walked me home from school. Along the way he kissed me and by the time I got home my mother had received a couple of phone calls about the kiss. We could never get away with anything back in those days.

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  8. It takes a Village to raise kids and you are part of the village. I'm glad the dad was responsive and appropriate in his "punishment"; my fear is that parents will model even worse behavior than their kids did when they "punish" them, but then I worked in Foster Care for years and saw the worst of the worst and it's heartbreaking. Glad it worked out and the kids are safer for it.

    The doctor thing must be universal -- ours type on computers too, but have them situated so the doc can face the patient, at least. Being married to a semi-retired physician, let me tell you that the docs both love/hate the increasing reliance on technology. It's hard for them and over a certain age it's just as challenging to learn a new way of being a doc as it is for the patient. Also, the "bottom line" thinking that is the business of medicine is NOT what most docs want to impose -- it's just the "cost" of being the profession and most of the time they are trying to be efficient, cost-effective and still offer excellent patient care. But often all those things get in odds with each other and no one is happy. Hope I don't sound defensive, but often the doctors are cast at the villains when they are just as unhappy with the current state of affairs as the patient is. (Not saying you did that in your post -- you didn't -- just that if is often what I hear.) Anyway, congrats on a clean bill of health!

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    1. Yes, it is universal. According to my doctor, they have x number of years to get all patient records online and exchangeable between insurance/doctors/patients/other medical professionals at hospitals---part of Obama Care. I agree with the idea. It will cut down on costs, time and deadly mistakes even if we do lose some privacy. The face-to-face thing will work itself out as doctors remodel to a different kind of work station. My bone doctor has the drag-around computer but my internist is in a large office with a dozens doctors. It will take them longer.

      Confrontations are never easy for me, especially if I don't know the people I'm confronting so I was very glad the dad turned out to be a great dad.

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