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, April 9, 2016

Doctor, Diets and Mysterious Messages

In my travels this week I had to get naked in front of two guys! Before your imagination runs wild I should explain it was during an appointment to get a full body mole check and my dermatologist has a male nurse. I’d forgotten about the nurse until I got there. He’s an Army veteran who was a medic over in some sand and camel country and I figure he’s probably seen a lot worse sights than a naked old lady with a propensity for growing gray chin hairs. The doctor…well, he’s a different story. He’s closer to my age than the nurse which makes being naked in front of him harder to do in my twisted, 1950s sensibilities. He’s from Poland---neat accent---and I’ve been impressed with his down to earth demeanor since we met ten years ago.

Mr. Dermatologist has beautiful skin that never seems to age and I wanted to ask him how he cares for it but I was too distracted trying to keep the square of thin paper from tearing that they give you to cover up your most private of private areas. He found five moles---three to burn off and two to biopsy. Thankfully the mole I was the most worried about was not one of the suspicious little rascals that got put on a slide to send across the state to Unsightly Mole Central. I was visualizing me losing a wide path of hair follicles right in the center of my eyebrow---a crazy place for a mole to grow. A cancerous mole that was removed four years ago left a scar down the middle of my nose. I call it my teddy bear seam because that’s what it looks like in the summer if I get a tan that accents the finely crafted stitches. Hopefully, I won’t get called back to the office for a deeper dig excavation, but I suspect I will. They don’t pay the doctor the big bucks to do frivolous biopsies. Oh well, I’ll only have to get half naked if I get the call back because the moles that were sent to the lab were on my back.

I’ve got my bi-annual appointment coming up with my internist next week but I’ve already read all my blood test results online (a perk of Obamacare) and I am pronouncing myself healthy except that my thyroid medication needs tweaking . My TSH is off---again---which explains why I feel like I’m living in a walk-in freezer. And, of course, there’s the weight I gained over the winter that he’ll have something to say about. Not to worry. I started a new diet plan. It involves apples. I don’t like them but I just bought two red “Jazz” apples. The sign above them promised they’re dense, crunchy and ‘sweet-tart’. How can an apple be sweet and tart at the same time? If I actually find out you’ll know. Here’s how my new diet works: I do most of my mindless over-eating after 8 PM so after dinner (at 6:00) I pull an apple out of the refrigerator and set it on the countertop front and center and looking pretty like an artist’s still-life. Then later on if I wander out to the kitchen to graze I see the apple and ask myself, “Am I hungry enough to eat that?” If the answer is “no” then I know I’m just searching for food out of boredom and I need to wander back out of the room. I’m guessing those two apples will last me until they’re old enough to put them in the crockpot with a pork chop.

You don’t have to tell me that it’s going to take more than a scary apple on a countertop to make me lose weight. If it ever warms up here in the frozen north Levi and I will be walking the neighborhood again and I need to curb my Starbucks habit. For example, Wednesday when I went to a Red Hat Society tea I got a cake pop (175 empty calories) with my green tea latte. It was an extra boring meeting in case anyone cares. All we did was talk about our medical tests. (I’m not the only old person in Michigan who saves up all my doctor appointments for the end of snow season.) Our recently widowed sister didn’t show up so we signed a thinking-of-you card for her and the ladies planned a walk-about outing for antique shopping and lunch and it kills me that they picked a date when I can’t go. Life isn’t fair. If it was apples would taste like hot fudge sundaes. 

Is anyone out there tech savvy enough to explain to me what a message I got from Bloggers means? On my dashboard they posted: “Coming in Late April!  All visitors will be able to view your Blogspot domain blogs over an encrypted connection by visiting https://<your-blog>.blogspot.com. Existing links and bookmarks to your blogs will continue to work. As part of this change, the HTTPS Availability setting will go away, and your blogs will always have an HTTPS version.” I have read that message over a dozen times and it still sounds like gobbledygook. 

On the opposite side of the tech coin, I had to update the billing information on my smart phone service and the woman at the service center tried to sell me a new one. I’ve been thinking about upgrading---I’ve got a generation two---so I did want to hear about the latest, generation five. She went on and on about how much I'll use the built-in flashlight (yawn) and, "You will LOVE taking FLASH pictures of your grandchildren!" (What grandkids?) It felt like I was getting an ageism, dumb-downed pitch. Needless to say, I didn't reward her with a notch in her made-a-sale belt. ©

28 comments:

  1. Apple a day sound like too much? It's a proven health tip ... people who do eat one have way fewer prescriptions. Maybe start with 1/2 or 1/4 twice a day,

    The tech stuff just means our words are more "safe" ... helps Google to detect if evil forces try to write on your blog.

    My kidlet cracked her iPhone screen (again). I'm thinking of upgrading and giving her my old one for her May birthday!! Win/win!

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    1. I wish I liked apples. I have good intentions every fall when I buy a bag to have in the refrigerator in case can't get to the store but every spring I end up making apple sauce with them. It's the texture more than the taste I don't like.

      Now why can't Google use plain English like you did! Thanks.

      I don't use my cell a lot but I like the weather and power outage alert apps and I carry it for emergences when I'm away from the house. The newer generation has talking maps, voice texting and product code reading that I'll like. I ran out of room for more apps on my current phone and I really want the one that will let me lock the car remotely. I'm always going back to check the lock after I park. Sounds like your daughter needs a better case/skin for her phones.

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  2. The best way to eat apples if you don't like them is either put them into pie or make apple sauce or put a sip of booze after each bite. Now that would get you enjoying apples. Ha,ha,ha.
    I use to worry about going to the doctor but heck, I've decided to live life to the fullest and if the Lord wants me, I'll have a big smile. Why not?
    Most of my doctors have been men but once I had a lady, and she was very beautiful. She had to give me a physical and that was difficult. She kept saying that she has done many men in her life ( sorry that sounds kind of dirty ) and that I shouldn't worry. I wasn't worrying, I was excited and that was what I was worried about. But I was able to get done with SOME problem if you get my drift.
    Well, have a snowy Saturday Jean. It's snowing at this moment 9:25 am Saturday. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. I should try the booze in the apple. LOL

      A lady doctor should know better than to say "she has done many men in her life." There is no world where that doesn't have a sexual meaning. That would have cracked my husband up during a physical and he would have ended up making her blush in the process. Too funny.

      We've got snow here, too. With sun and it's pretty especially knowing it will be gone in a few days and I don't have to shovel.

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  3. My dermatologist had me slather a topic chemical lotion all over my hands last fall that was to take care of any "pre-cancerous" spots. I thought the red spots would completely go away after the 4 week treatment which caused them to get bright red and scaly. But I still see them. Does that mean it didn't really work? I go back in May. Sigh.

    Apples - I slice them into a bowl and sprinkle cinnamon on them and eat them one slice at a time. Seem more like a snack than biting into a big naked apple.

    Health stuff in general -- Just found out a friend is having quadruple bypass surgery on Monday; never knew him to complain or have any symptoms until just the other day, out of the blue. That's the stuff that terrifies me. The out of the blue. Now my husband (who most would assume is in terrific shape at 66 -- he just left to go snowboard!), says he is going to step up his physical activity to walking, briskly 5 miles a day. WHAT? I try to get on my treadmill a couple times a week but only go about 1-1/2 to 2 miles at a fine pace, but maybe could be "brisker". All of these health worries sometimes overwhelm me and so far I have few diagnosed issues. But I guess it's all about prevention.... OK off to the treadmill, then yoga class.

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    1. I should try slicing an apple first. It really is the texture more than the taste that I don't like. Thanks for the tip.

      My back is driving me batty since the biopsies. They places itch like crazy but I can't do that without risking infection. He cut out quarter sized places. I don't have any experience with per-cancerous red spot like you've got. Hope May brings you good news.

      Snowboarding at 66? Good for him! Guys don't have to worry so much about broken bones than women. I don't get enough exercise. I'm going to look into joining a gym with a therapy-warm pool. I love swimming.

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  4. Jean :

    I love that trick of putting apple on the counter to avoid eating due to boredom. I so love your style of writing cracks me up.

    Asha

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    1. Thanks! I enjoy writing but I do have to work at it which I consider brain exercises.

      The apple trick does work for me.

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  5. My sister taught me to use thin crisp slices of apple (or pear) with a thin tiny piece of cheese ... for afternoon happy hour! But could be a great "dessert plate" as well! With 2-3 toasted walnuts.

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    1. Your "health nut" sister, I'm assuming. You guys are shaming me into trying to like apples instead of using them to measure my state of hungriness.

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  6. I, too, really like your idea of leaving an apple on the counter. If I would walk into the kitchen and see an apple, I would walk out and decide I wasn't really hungry! There is nothing wrong with the texture of. An apple for me but I don't think my stomach likes it anymore. It also doesn't like citrus and tomatoes so I don't eat them. I am usually finished eating fairly early in the evening, and if I do get hungry, it's peanuts and raisins. In fact, if I remember, I carry peanuts and raisins with me during the day in case I get hungry.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. I used to carry nuts and raisins with me, too, but I get bored with them or I end up eating too many. We all need our little tricks. My sweet tooth is too big and one trick I use is to eat well just before going to the grocery store so I can resist having bad stuff in the house. I try to have my 'sinful' foods away from the house---ice cream being one of them.

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  7. I used to love apples, but as I grew older my sensitive teeth just couldn't take them - couldn't bite into them as before, plus found them all too tart. So never looked at apples for years. Then got into juicing and re-foiund apples. They're great! pop them into the juicer with carrots, beetroot and celery and its a delicious drink.

    Just been watching a Vitamin spiel/demo on TV, and tempted to buy that when my juicer gives out (as the food processor did last year). It seems to be amazing - hot soups, cold ice-cream, all in seconds. The kids all got Vitamix and swear its wonderful but so far I've been sceptical at paying so much for a glorified blender. Now beginning to change my mind. And in the lines of the Revlon adverts, I think "...I deserve it!". ~ Libby

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    1. Our grocery store carries about 18 variety of apples. You can get confused reading their place cards.

      I have used that "I deserve it" line to justify a few kitchen gadgets--the latest being a boiled egg maker which I really love. I make a protein drink every morning and know what you mean about being tempted by the Vitamix. We're not getting any younger, so why not. LOL

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    2. Of course, part of the reason is, to keep up with the Joneses (in this case, the kids!). I should hang my head in shame. But, I was never really tempted in the slightest before - until I saw the TV demo on food network. ~ Libby

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    3. I have a hard time believing that drinking all/most our meals will actually be satisfying. I know that getting the right vitamins and minerals keeps us from getting hunger but still...the habit of needing to chew is hard to break. This is why I hadn't upgraded from my blender. Drinking one meal a day is probably all I'd ever do.

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    4. I have my juice, rather than vitamin pills, NOT as substitute for a meal. I need to eat to feel satisfied. If I have soup, need bread roll/butter so no dieting as such. Just smaller portions. Then make up with bikkies (cookies for you guys), so its no wonder I don't lose weight. Love nuts, esp peanuts, and dried fruit. Generally finish the pkt in one sitting. ~ Libby

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    5. I have the protein drink (that I make with fruit) for a breakfast substitute and it gets me off to a good start. Plus I use gummy vitamins. I just can not take regular vitamins without upchucking them.

      I'm sitting here making a grocery list (I'm going soon) and I'm going to look for "bikkies". We have an international aisle with lots of interesting things. I try to buy something from that aisle one a month.

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  8. You reminded me to check out my own patient portal after my labs last Wednesday. :-(, not there. Nice to know you keep an close eye on your numbers, and your moles, not to mention your male doctors. >>sigh<< Doctors are the only ones who are seeing this bod these days. Anyway, Fingers are crossed that you don't get called back.

    I have the same after 8 munchie attacks. Your apple idea is a good one, but my inner kid is throwing a hissy fit right now over it. I buy apples with such good intentions...

    Libby, DO buy a Vitamix. My 20 year-old one is still going strong, though it had 10 years of shelf warming until this March. I now use it daily and love it!

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    1. I buy a bag of apples every fall. Because they keep so well and I don't really like eating them, I figure they'll always be there if I get snowed in. Then in the spring I make apple sauce which I do like.

      On lab tests, I have a book to look up results with. I've been doing it for years. Before the patient portals, I pestered my doctors to to let me have hard copies long before it was common.

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  9. Jean R. - "bikkies" is just Oz slang for generic biscuits, and what you guys call "cookies".
    GowitheFlo - thx for the recommendation!
    Libby

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    1. I'm going to start saying "bikkies"instead of "cookies". Might make me feel less guilty if I eat them. LOL

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  10. I like your diet strategy. I, too, am inclined toward food cravings that have nothing to do with hunger. If I can convince myself to wait, the urge usually goes away. -Jean

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    1. Food is my drug of choice. Eating is rarely about hungry for me so anything I can do to remind me of that helps.

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  11. I saw a thing about how much wax is on apples and how to clean it off. Wax weighs a lot, so scrubbed those apples before you eat them. Okay? The weather man said we are done with winter. Seriously? I think I might believe him. I DO NOT like having January in April. I love being able to read the results of medical tests done BEFORE I get to the doctor's visit. I like knowing that I am informed--just in case he confuses with the other Ms. Miller who needs brain surgery!!!!! I haven't received that message from Blogger, or if I had, I just ignore it, which I am prone to do if I don't understand. HAH!!

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    1. Yeah, you're back in this century.! Isn't genealogy research easy to get lost in!

      Thanks for the reminder about the wax That so-called eatable wax is on/in a lot of things including chocolate which is why I don't buy the cheap stuff. Maybe all apples and cheap chocolate should be followed by a Coke chaser. Coke can dissolve anything. LOL

      That's interesting that you didn't get the Blogger message. Maybe they don't transition everyone at one time. I hate not understanding stuff like that. Makes me feel old.

      It actually looks like spring is coming this week. I'm trying not to complain because it's been a pretty easy winter compared to others in recent years.

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  12. They do look at us old people differently, don't they? They put us in a niche.

    Your apple diet made me laugh. If it works, let me know. I love apples, but I'll find something less desirable that will work.

    H goes regularly to a dermatologist because he gets basal cells. I really should make an appointment. Your description of having to get naked in front of two men is not encouraging. H's doctor is a woman, so maybe it won't be as earth shattering.

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    1. Actually, the apple diet is working! Only once in two weeks did I actually eat the apple and the other times I just left the kitchen without grabbing something less healthy.

      A woman dermatologist would not be so bad, make the appointment! Even with the guys, it was over quickly.

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