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, July 2, 2015

Report From Pain City, USA



A Recent Dream: I was sitting in a classroom with just a small towel wrapped around me and I kept pulling on it, hoping it would cover my ‘ya-ya’ but it wasn’t doing a very good job. My dearly departed husband was sitting in the front row talking to another woman but before the class was over she left, he followed. I watched them through the window in the door and try as I might, I couldn’t chase after them. He had the car keys and I was stranded, left behind without a second glance! That’s when I woke up and discovered my knee seemed to be frozen in place and any attempt to straighten my leg shot a terrible pain through my thigh. I keep a cane near my bed because I often wake up with foot cramps that need to be walked off to make the cramp go away. I used it to hop to the bathroom, each hop causing unbearable pain. I fully intended to get dressed and find someone to take me to emergency afterward. But first I sat on the toilet and when I got back up a miracle happened. I could straighten my leg and the pain was completely gone! The episode scared the starch out of my illusions of being self-sufficient because without that cane I would have been stuck in bed and you know what would have happened next. Yup, I’d have peed my pants and have to use the I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up button around my neck. 

A few days later I had an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon to get the results of my bone density test and I described the above episode to him---minus the parts about dream, my naked ‘ya-ya’ and the fear of wetting the bed. He guessed the pain didn’t come from my replacement knee---my guess---but rather from a pinched nerve between one of the bad vertebrates in my back and if it happens again, I need to come back in for more x-rays. Oh goodie, I just had a full set taken from my neck to my knees. They proved, by the way, that the once-a-day shots I’ve been doing to build my bones from the inside out actually did some good. They brought my numbers up to one point over dreaded line where you can expect fractions by just doing ordinary things like getting out of a chair which, of course, ended my aspirations of being roller derby queen when I first found out about my bad bones. 

I asked the doctor if being over ‘the line’ means I have to go back to getting bone density scans every two years instead of every year. And he said, “Good question” and explained that most insurance companies won’t pay for it yearly when you’re over ‘the line.’ “But,” he added, “I’ll cover the cost of a yearly scan if your insurance company won’t. Just let me make a note in your records about what I just said.” I love that guy. When the local hospital decided that all orthopedic surgeons had to use the same brand-name and size joint replacement parts regardless of  a patient's body type, weight or sex he and a few other bone doctors in town built their own surgical center.

Today I made a second trip out to the online auction house in the country. This time I took twenty items. They start everything out at a dollar regardless of estimated value so it will be scary watching the first batch go live. I’m making good progress in my garage. I’ve also called the recycling center to find out how to recycle old computers, printers and telephones and I have some of those things to drop off next week. While purging out there I discovered several large and totally empty boxes, who knew! It was a gift from the land of creating space. I’m feeling very good about my summer goal in the garage---to completely strip it of things I don’t want, don’t need and won’t move when I sell. 

Levi my Mighty Schnauzer had to get some dental work done today. He had nine teeth pulled in addition to the nine they pulled last summer. Poor guy, he’s only got 24 left. In two and a half years my “doggie care account” will be drained and he’ll be toothless. He’s such a baby about pain; he’s walking around whining and looking at me as if to say, “Can’t you help me?” I'm not a very good mother when it comes to brushing his teeth so I have to suck it up regarding the cost, but this year we’ll be trying a daily spray to keep his gum disease in check. I need to remember weeks like this when I get it into my head that I want a second dog. 

I need a nap. I got up too early every day this week and I’ve had a hard time falling asleep a few times at night. I’m worried I’ll wake up in pain again and my ‘ya-ya’ will be naked when the ambulance guys come to haul me away. ©

19 comments:

  1. One of the parts of transatlantic flights that you have to deal with...and that I have just done last week is the time difference and waiting for your body to readjust. Going west what it means is that for 3 or 4 days I wake up at 4:00-5:00 am as my body thinks it is 9-10 am. At this time of year it is pleasant because the birds are singing and it is light. It is not a time of day I usually see as I am not an early riser. I returned a week ago so I have readjusted.
    If I dream, which I am sure I do, I never remember that I had been dreaming!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. Remember dreams is both a curse and a pleasure. It fascinates me how the subconscious mind weaves such weirdness together.

      My sleep pattern is off this week because of a few early morning appointments. I can't imagine what's its like to recover from transatlantic flights!

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  2. If it's any encouragement, I've had a number of these pinched nerve/pain down the leg episodes, and I find that physical therapy works wonders (so that I can still do the heavy work of laying pavers and digging flower beds ;-) ). -Jean

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    1. That is encouraging, validation of sorts that it isn't more serious! What kind of a doctor diagnosis you and ordered the therapy? It really was scary and I thought I'd messed up my knee joint and would have to have another surgery.

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  3. Just tell your primary doc that you want a referral for PT from the best place he knows. It will really help!! My ortho surgeon kind of did the same thing. Didn't go out and build his own hospital, but when the hospital he was using demanded certain things, like what you listed, he found another hospital, just as close and way newer and better. He does a lot of knee and hip, his partner does shoulder, feet, ankle, wrists, etc, so the original hospital has lost a lot of business. BTW--I sleep in the nude and one of my fears is that I will die in my sleep and whoever finds me will also find my ya-ya, exposed to the world!

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    1. Good idea. I have an appointment with my primary in two weeks. My ortho surgeon was using another hospital for a year, too, while his center was being built but it was in another town so I'm glad he built closer to me.

      You are braver than I am. I could never sleep in the nude, but then I'm always cold, too. I'm still wearing sweaters and it's July!

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    2. Question? Is it your "ya-ya", or your "hoo ha", or your "vajay"?

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    3. In 'real life' I wouldn't use any of those words but in writing, in such a public forum, I don't want to use a word a web crawler might be looking for so I'd get spammed with x-rated crap. I read 'ya-ya- recently so that's why I latched on to that---I thought it was funny, I hate 'vajay' or Oprah's ''vajay-jay' or whatever she uses. Now, aren't you glad you asked. LOL

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  4. I agree with the physical therapy too. They do wonders getting your range of motion back. It's tough getting old and it's not for the weak of heart.

    Have a fabulous day and happy Independence Day too. ☺

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    1. I'm a believer already, took all I could get after my surgeries.

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  5. I'm terrified that some debilitating body fail will strike me out of the blue. I had three unexplained fainting episodes a few years ago -- even my doctor husband called 911 thinking I'd had a heart attack, so it was pretty dramatic. Ended up in the ER twice, with every test under the sun for weeks afterwards and no diagnosis. So, that seems to loom over me and get my anxiety ramped up every time I feel the least bit "off". Our bodies are miraculous, and also so vulnerable. Glad your leg thing resolved without any ya-ya exposure to the masses. :)

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    1. Sounds like an A-Fib which I'm sure they checked for. Did you have to wear a heart monitor around for a few weeks? My mom, Don and all the males in his family have one. My mom passed out like that 4 times before it showed up on a test. That's got to be SO scary to pass out out of the blue like that.

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    2. No! I never heard that as a possible diagnosis. Two friends of mine have A-fib. I haven not had another episode in almost 4 years, so not sure what it was, but that was never mentioned. They had me do a treadmill, a chatherization, MRIs, and CT scans of heart, lungs, gut...found nothing.

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    3. After 4 years and all those tests, it should be safe to assume it was a passing thing. I'll help you hope so! Sounds like they checked out your heart thoroughly and would know if an A-Fib was in involved.

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  6. Love your blog! Just glad it happened to you and not to me. Wish I could find a doctor like yours....

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  7. i sleep in the nude too and one night i woke up in the middle of the night and found a person in my bed! it was my daughter and she has a key and didn't want to wake me as she came in really late. was i embarrassed!

    smiles, bee
    xoxo

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    1. Boy, would that scare me to wake up with someone in my bed! I'd have a heart attack or sneak out of bed and call the police before I noticed who it was. Funny though when it happens to someone else.

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  8. Poor Levi. I feel his pain. I hate the dentist.
    Thank goodness you made it to the bathroom and that the pain went away and that no one saw your ya-ya! All good things. I just wrote a post about dreaming about my bladder and getting to the bathroom on time. It seems to be a concern among women of our age.
    What a wonderful doctor you have. So glad your bones are boning up well.

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    1. It's hard when pets have surgery because you can't explain to them why they don't feel well. He has to be on soft food for two weeks and both of us don't like that, but for different reasons. He barks by the cupboard where I keep his food but I can't give it to him. Going to be a long another week ahead.

      I think we dream about finding bathroom so often because we have to go and are brains are trying to alert us awake. Thank goodness that (still) works. LOL

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