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

Friday, April 24, 2015

Two Doctors Plus Honoring and Surviving the Sadiversaries



It snowed off and on Wednesday and we even got some hail but nothing stuck to the spring landscape. According to the local weather guy we’ve gotten snow this late in April before but I don’t remember the last time it happened. Mother Nature, I guess, wanted to let us all know who rules the earth. Still, it’s disheartening to see snow so late after the robins had moved back to town.

That day I had an eye doctor appointment and I was sweating the encounter. My eyes have been bothering me all winter and since I’d just seen him in June of 2014 and got a new prescription back then, I was sure he’d find a dreaded disease or at least want to rush me into the cataract surgery rat race of follow up appointments and eye drops. My sight had changed a lot, he said, and I have to start seeing him once a year now instead of every two years. Oh, goody, another sign that I’m getting old. As if I didn’t already know that. He pronounced my eyes free of macular degeneration with no glaucoma or retinopathy---and my cataract, although cloudier than he normally sees, is still too small to remove. I do have extremely dry eyes (who knew) and vitreous detachment which is causing some distortions that glasses can’t help but eye health-wise that’s not considered serious. Once the detachment is completed, I should see better. In the meantime I’m to start using artificial tears throughout the day and wait a month to get my new glasses made. It got lost in translation why I have to wait, but he’s the boss of my eyes, so I'll do it. I’m just glad I won’t have to add a white cane to my shopping list.

Also on the day planner this week was my final follow up for the shoulder surgery I had last October. What a long haul! I’m 98% pain free but I can go back to the bone doctor any time for follow up shots, should the pain not stay at bay. I should be good for a year, though, if I mind my p’s and q’s. In the process of giving me a list of do’s and don’ts the orthopedist asked me what kinds of hobbies I like to do and when I rattled off the list they sounded so stereotypical old ladyish that I threw in skate boarding. The look on his face was priceless. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen him speechless. He likes me and probably thinks I’m smarter than I am. That’s because I’m usually reading a nerdy magazine like Scientific American when he comes into the room. I don’t understand much of what I’m read in that magazine but he doesn’t need to know that. This time, however, I was actually engrossed in an article about experimenting with using electrical shocks in the brain to control pain associated with chronic diseases and it had several paragraphs on how the history of strokes fed into this path of study. It was quite detailed and mentioned precise speech issues I know about because of my husband’s stroke damaged brain. You just never know when something around you will trigger flashbacks to your pre-widowhood days.

On the way back from the orthopedist’s office I was on the belt line that skirts the city when I got behind a 2015 Corvette with its top down. I was in my Trax, the heater turned on and I was wearing a winter coat. I kept pace with that car, remembering all the good times we had in my husband’s Corvette. That old car and this new model both have such beautiful lines. Reluctantly, I had to turn off the road at the sculpture park; I was enjoying my Corvette related ride down Memory Lane. 

Every April since Don died I’ve made a pilgrimage to the sculpture park and gardens where the annual butterfly exhibit reminds me of the cycle of life and how fragile yet beautiful that is. The pilgrimage is meant to offset all my April sadiversaries. While I was at the park I wandered through the exhibit of ‘treasures from Japan’ and I also hiked back to where the oriental tea house and gardens is taking shape for its June debut. Then I walked deeper into the woods. Daffodils and hyacinths were in bloom everywhere and beds of tulips looked ready to do the same. I took a bench overlooking a pond and listened to the Red Winged Black birds calling back and forth as they took turns sitting on cattails. The air was so crisp and clean, the sun was bright and warm and it made me as toasty as a Ball Park Frank in a steamed bun as I sat bundled up in my winter coat. My widow’s heart although tinged with memories of better times was accepting of my past and the present. The future? None of us can know what the future will bring but I did know that a slice of brown cow chocolate pudding cheesecake at the sculpture park’s restaurant would make a good ending to my April pilgrimage so I left the bench in search of a widow’s best friend: chocolate.  ©

18 comments:

  1. Chocolate is my downfall, too, and cheese. Cheese is a beautiful thing.

    I have dry eyes, too. I use Systane. It is more expensive than other eye drops, but they do a better job. I put them in whenever I think of it, even in the middle of the night. I keep them in the car, office , bedroom and kitchen.

    That red tipped blackbird is striking. I have a friend who loves the botanical gardens that are nearby. We always make a stop at the butterfly garden. They're so beautiful and friendly. They land in us.

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    1. That's the brand my eye doctor wants me to use. I couldn't believe how much that stuff costs! I was going to buy two bottles but when I saw the price I decided to wait for a coupon.

      The the gardens I enjoyed the red winged blackbird but when the raid my bird feeders I chase them off. As I watched them today I decided I needed to make up my mind. LOL

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  2. Oh yes, the eyes do go through so many changes. I'm doing eye drops twice a day (Restasis) and it has helped so very much. It's just fun getting old.

    Would have loved to see that doctors face when you told him you skateboarded. Bwahahahahahahaha.

    Sounds like a nice time in the park and there was chocolate too. Excellent.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I think the dry eyes came on so slowly I didn't realize it was happening but, boy, do the artificial tears help!

      The doctor has a baby face and he blushes easily. It was fun watching him search for words. I fessed up and let him off the hook.

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    2. I'm using Restasis now, too, to help prepare me for my cataract surgery. That stuff had better work! A three month prescription is $500, give or take, and my Part D wasn't about to pay a lick of it. However, my surgeon's assistant gave me a tip. Restasis comes in individual, teeny-tiny tubes. You're supposed to open one, use it, and throw it away. She said, "Fiddlesticks. Open one, and use it until the little dose is gone. You'll get at least two days out of one vial." She also said to get only a one month supply ($200) since, despite the higher cost for a single month, the fact that I can stretch out 60 doses to 240 doses is -- well, good.

      You have to be extremely careful not to touch the tip of the vial to your eye or anything else, but it's easy enough to do, and a real money-saver. Not only that, they seem to be helping.

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    3. Oh -- and I use artificial tears in addition to the Restasis.

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    4. Wow, $500! Now I see why they advertise Restasis so much on TV. I won't be complaining about paying just under twenty dollars for the over the counter stuff. That's a great tip on how to stretch those tiny tubes out for anyone using the prescription. Glad it's helping you.

      Thanks for chiming in!

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  3. I've got drops for my eyes too. And he also told me that warm washcloths over the eyelids would help to loosen the tear ducts that are stuck (I'm sure that isn't the correct terminology but I think that is what he meant).
    And how disheartening this weather is...it can't seem to rise above the 30's here in Northern New York and we had snow yesterday too. The daffodils like it but I would like some warmth.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. I'll have to try that! It sounds comforting if nothing else.

      We have a 70 degree day in our forecast for next week. Maybe that will move to New York by the weekend. We can only hope.

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  4. I understand those pilgrimages. I make some too but haven't mentioned them lately. I should I suppose.

    Hugs, bee
    xoxo

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    1. I think you should. It would help other widows. We all check each other against one another.

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  5. I also have dry eyes. Bugger. Tried using pricey Restasis, but the only difference it made was in my funds! My eye doc recommended the tears, which I use, and to wash my eyes with a very warm wash cloth AND baby shampoo/body wash. I do, and that helps. There is certainly no harm to be done using the baby product.

    Have a ginger peachy Sunday...

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    1. I never realized how common dry eyes must be...well, at least judging by the comments and great suggestions I'm getting here. It makes sense that baby shampoo would be safe. Thanks!

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  6. I always wondered why seniors had doctors appointments every hour. But now I know. We have a lot of working parts that don't work like they used to! I believe I will be getting cataract removed this summer. And my eyes bother me on a weekly basis. Thank goodness it's still over the counter stuff to help things feel like they used to!

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    1. Cataract surgery is pretty safe but involved finding a lot of rides which will be the tricky part for me.

      I usually only go to the doctor in the spring and the fall for my bi-annuls but its not one stop shopping. There are so many specialists!

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    2. And once we HAVE a problem (shoulder?), then we have all of those. And physical therapy. YOU have done an amazing job of healing quickly ... I think because you actually did what you were prescribed to do!

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  7. Love your description of the park and gardens. It sounds like a beautiful place to rest with memories and then to find a place in the present that urges you on. And if that urge is for chocolate, well, so be it.

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    1. It is a beautiful place with lots of things going on including big name music concerts in the summer. (Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett, The Beach Boys, Harry Connick Jr to name a few). It's a great place for artists, writers and nature lovers to hang around.

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