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, May 26, 2015

Health and Happiness Report



Back in April when I went to the doctor for my annual wellness test, the blood work showed that my thyroid was low. I could have told him that without the lab work---my hair is falling out at an alarming rate and I’m always cold no matter how many layers of clothing I wear. And let’s not even talk about how hard it’s been to keep my weight in check. The doctor wanted another test in six weeks before upping the dosage of my thyroid replacement medication. Sure enough, that second test proved it's still falling and a new prescription came in the mail this past week. I have to get retested again in six weeks to see if the dosage still needs adjusting. Every summer there seems to be something to remind me that I’m married to the medical community. Bummer!

I’ve had thyroid issues since I was fourteen or fifteen so this isn’t new. What is new in this century, though, is me acquiring an autoimmune specialist and her suspicion that thyroid antibodies are causing the chronic hives that I get every four or five years---the first time before I could even walk---and that stick around for months at a time before they go away as mysteriously as they appear. Translation: I may be allergic to myself and there is nothing that can be done about that. So when I go to that nursing home someday and I’m covered in hives and my roommate is blasting a baseball game on TV I can look forward to oatmeal baths to get away from her. And did I mention I’ll have a broken hip as well? Thyroid replacement medications leach the calcium out of your bones thus my three broken bones since menopause and my three fake joints and still counting. Why does aging have to be a blood sport? I take daily injections to strengthen the insides of my bones but that will be coming to an end later in the summer because you can only take that drug for two years. Most treatments for osteoporosis only strengthen the outsides of your bones, or so I am told by my bone doctor. I’m hoping the next treatment I get will be the one where they hook you up to an IV twice a year. Oh well, if thinning bones, chronic hives and hypothyroidism are the worst health issues I have to deal with I’m actually pretty lucky compared to some people my age. 

I didn’t plan on doing it but half of Memorial Day I spent watching a marathon of The Last Ship, a doomsday series about a naval destroyer and its crew that is forced to roam around the world looking for ways to stop a pandemic that is killing off most of the earth's population. Hey, it was that or noon-to-dark Saving Private Ryan type movies that I’ve seen a million times. Throughout the afternoon of binge watching I was also jumping up and down to do the laundry, get my trash ready for pick up, finish up the last baby sweater I’ll knit in 2015 and water my houseplants---the normal stuff I do on Sunday or Monday. Rather than depress me like it did two Memorial Days ago, the doomsday marathon actually cheered me up. The world’s very survival doesn’t depend on me finding a cure for a deadly virus. It's all good after that. The only thing I really have to worry about is an insect bite I probably got at the cemetery when I cleaned up my husband’s gravestone over the weekend. That sucker was/still is red and swollen and, of course, the doomsday marathon has me believing the bite was actually the deadly virus transmitted to me from my flat screen TV. Oh course I’m kidding about the TV giving me the virus but what’s the point of watching stuff like that if you’re not going to get caught up in the yucky-dos and what if’s of the series? However, I am a wee bit of a germophobic so the TV show worked as good at scaring me as Poltergeist did on a whole generation back in the 1980s. (By the way, pay attention the next time you wash your hands and see if you're actually washing your thumbs. Many people do a good job on their fingers but miss their thumbs.)

Am I happy the Memorial Day weekend is over? You bet. I have my sense of humor back and I found a sock that had been missing since last winter, plastered inside the leg of a pair of pants and here I thought the washing machine ate it. But I have to say that after watching the marathon I’m totally sick of seeing Viagra commercials which begs the question: Why does the pharmaceutical company who makes it think the men who watch The Last Ship all need their product? ©

14 comments:

  1. We stayed home for the weekend and it's the first time in years we weren't on the boat. It was most delightful to have peace and quiet instead of all the idiots that don't know how to drive a boat. We're going to do it again for the fourth of July.

    Sorry you have so many health issues to deal with. Getting old isn't for sissies or the weak of heart. Not one bit.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. That's the great part about being retired. You get to pick and choose when you can go off and play with your toys.

      My health issues are quite minor compared to many other people's so I'm not complaining.

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  2. I was sitting on the couch reading your blog while eating peanuts and raisins. I finished the bowl and got up to wash my hands and experiment and my gosh you are right. I actually move my thumbs out of the way!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. Isn't that scary to think of all the people who think they're doing a good job of not spreading germs to themselves and others aren't doing as good a job as we thought. I heard about this last fall and even now I still have to remind myself to wash my thumbs...the habit of NOT including them in the hand washing process is so engrained..

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  3. Jean, When I start feeling grumpy about my various body parts that aren't functioning the way they used to, I remind myself that the alternative to getting old isn't staying young; that cheers me right up. I had a cancer diagnosis with a 20% five-year survival rate when I was 50, so I can marvel at the fact that I'm still here 17 years later.
    I've been binge watching the TV series, The West Wing, which I've been getting on DVD from the library.

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    1. You really beat the odds! That's got to feel good.

      I LOVED the West Wing and watched it when it was on every week. I should binge watch it again sometime. Great show.

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  4. OHGosh--hives and bad bones would put me under the bed!!! I think you are pretty brave to go through all that with a smile and a sense of humor. I do not tolerate health issues very well--even though I have hardly any. Wish I had known that movie was on--I love that doomsday kind of stuff. :-)

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    1. I ran into the program quite by accident, flipping changes. It's a series that will be back weekly in the fall and this was a previous season marathon. It was actually pretty good and I'll try to watch in the fall if it's not on at the same time as my other favorites.

      Hives make me want to shoot myself. LOL You are braver than you think with health issues. You self medicate and I don't have the guts or confidence to do that.

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  5. LOL about the Viagra commercial.

    I don't know much about thyroid issues, but my great-niece had problems when she was very young. I didn't know that the medication caused issues with your bones. It seems we always benefit in one way and pay a penalty in another way with long-term meds.

    I do wash my thumbs. I'm a bit of a germaphobe since I got sick a few years ago.

    I get hives from stress, but there are usually years in between episodes. The stress has to be pretty severe and go on for a long time before it happens. It usually starts under my chin, but the last time we moved, I had a severe outbreak around my waste. I thought it was singles at first. It looked like a burn. Really bad.

    I love binge watching a series, especially on a rainy day. I'm glad you found a way to get through a long holiday weekend. Holidays are always the hardest.

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  6. I've never met another person who gets hives! They are just awful, aren't they, and so hard to describe to others---the misery they cause. My allergist thought stress was causing or at least contributing to my hives, too, but I've shot down that notion because I never got them when I was caregiving my dad or when Don had his stroke. And those were the most stress-filled times in my life. He also told me that only 10% of the people who get chronic hives ever find out what causes them. When I was a kid it was easy: put me on the grass I got hives, give me a strawberry I got hives. Now neither of those things cause hives.The triggers changes over the years if it's environmental or diet. My allergist's wife gets them, so he at least tries his best.

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  7. Oh dear, I've fallen behind in reading your blogs! My mother took thyroid replacement medications for years. I have a friend now who also has thyroid issues and posts a constant stream of thyroid-related things on FB which seem interesting and likely very important to those who suffer with the effects of this imbalance -- most are "alternative medicine" things like paying attention to diet and herbal interventions.

    As for binge TV -- I love doing that! My latest was a Netflix original series with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin -- Grace and Frankie. I think you'd get a kick out of it.

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    1. I lot of people got their thyroid glands messed up in the Great Lakes area when they where testing the atomic bomb out west before WWII and a mushroom cloud caused fallout (that couldn't be seen) around here. It was a secret for many years, that radiation had gotten into our soil and water.

      With Fonda and Tomlin together, it would have to be good.

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    2. I had no idea about the radiation thing from atomic bomb testing! My mom was born in 1920 -- I think she started thyroid medication when I was a kid, so likely mid-late 50's. Falls in the time frame, huh? (She grew up in and we always lived in N. Illinois 40 miles or so west of Chicago/Lake Michigan).

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    3. Probably. My mom had a "thyroid storm" in the late 1940's and they had to kill her gland off and start thyroid medication. She always lived here in MI. I was just a few years behind her when I was started on it.

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