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, October 15, 2016

Bones, Books and Bad Jokes



I don’t know where to start writing this blog entry. Do I talk about my second Reclast infusion which was a ho-hum experience of sitting in a La-Z-Boy in a large room with twenty other people of all ages getting infusions? Or do I search for something more interesting to write about? I’ll just start and see where I end up. My I-V infusion was to make my bones into better receptacles for laying down calcium and it does its best work in the first two weeks thus the need to eat as much calcium rich foods as humanly possible then and to also forego caffeine. I intend to eat so much spinach and sardines over that time frame that my complexion---or is it my pee---will turn green from the spinach and my skin will get shiny from the olive oil that comes with the sardines.

If you want the technical explanation for what the infusion does, this is what the American College of Rheumatology says about Reclast, aka Zoledronic Acid.  “Zoledronic acid is a bisphosphonate prescribed to prevent or treat osteoporosis or Paget's disease. Unlike other common bisphosphonates that are taken by mouth, Reclast bypasses the stomach because it is an infusion into the bloodstream. Bone is a living tissue constantly being remodeled. Bisphosphonates specifically act on bone cells (osteoclasts) to inhibit bone resorption and turnover activity and reduce progressive bone loss and risk for fracture.”

While I was there I worked on my book club homework---a set of questions we were supposed to discuss the following day. It was a hard book for me to finish because I didn’t just dislike it, I hated it. The author of The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, must have been raised in a mass transit city because who else would repeatedly use the words ‘car’ and ‘truck’ interchangeably? “We got in the truck and when we got to the flower market we parked the car.” Drove me crazy! I can overlook that sort of thing in fiction by chalking it up to something a good editor should have caught but I couldn’t overlook not researching basic flower shop operations and servicing weddings when it took up half of the book. I was in the floral industry for twenty years and did flowers for over 4,000 weddings so I was curious to see if others in the book club noticed the amateur hour stuff that I did. But I wasn’t sure I wanted to reveal my history with weddings in that group out of fear that someone would try to recruit me for center’s decorations committee. I know myself when it comes to doing artsy-fartsy stuff by committee. I don’t plan to jump into that fire again.

When I got to the senior center on book club day the members from our two book clubs were standing on the sidewalk. The person who was supposed to unlock the door couldn’t find her key and everyone else on the board of directors who had keys were out of town on a color tour. (I’m going next week.) We couldn’t even find the building maintenance man and after twenty-five minutes of standing out in the cold, we all left. I think the gods of control freaks was looking out for me because they knew I wasn’t fond of the idea of discussing that book and coming off sounding like a flower shop Nazi. 

The next morning I was back to the senior center. This time to catch a bus for an afternoon sponsored by a senior living community who gave us a free lunch as a bribe for us touring the place. I actually liked the place better than the other, similar communities I’ve toured. The artwork alone would make me happy to live there---all donated by a wealthy person in town; but the main thing that made this place stand out from the others is when you “graduate” from independent living to assisted living they don’t move you to another building. You get to stay in the same apartment. 

After lunch our sponsor took us over to the Garden and Sculpture Park, paid for our tickets to get in and for a tram ride around the 158 acre park. It was a nice afternoon except for something the bus driver said as he was helping people get off the bus: “I don’t know if I should offer you ladies a hand getting down. I don’t want to be accused of sexual assault like they are trying to do to Trump.”

My temper flared up so quickly I scared myself and I spit angry words out of my mouth, “If you put your hand where Trump brags about putting his hand you can bet I’LL accuse you of sexual assault!” I don’t know what made me madder---that he assumes Trump is an angel and would never do what he bragged about doing that was caught on tape (I can “grab pussy” and get away with it because "I'm a star."); or that those of us getting off the bus wouldn’t know the difference between sexual assault and a hand offered to help us off the bus; or if I was mad about something larger involving the Feminist Movement and having to fight the same battles all over again. But I was mad! Thankfully, I got over it quick enough because the Gardens were beautiful with hundreds of mum plants and pumpkins lining the tram trails. The sun was shining and no matter how many times I’ve been to the park, I always see something new and beautiful. ©

27 comments:

  1. You were quite right to get angry over that comment by the bus driver. There are some men who think they are amusing without understanding the implications of their remarks. The reaction. Of many republicans after that tape was illuminating: so many of them made patronizing remarks that were quite offensive. They really don't understand.
    In a completely different situation, I was on a bus trip sponsored by our local public radio station and when the bus driver asked who sponsored the trip, and was told, his reply was "oh that's the group that only makes left turns". He thought he was being amusing. We didn't!
    In some ways, it is probably a lot easier to criticize a book than to praise it: in the example that you gave, it is noticeable when the vocabulary is not quite correct, but probably not so noticeable when it is flowing.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. Thank you for saying that. No one in earshot of the exchange said a word to either me or the driver afterward.

      It has been illuminating, has it, to hear remarks that make it clear that many Republicans don't understand or won't admit that what Trump said he actually does was so offensive. Your bus driver's remark wouldn't have set well with me either.

      I actually got hooked on reading historical romances and history because I would question the research when something didn't sound right. I'd go to the library and find out most of the writers did, indeed, do good research. Since I know so much about flower shops it really bugged me when in the book the owner of one told her only employee she didn't need to come to work between Thanksgiving and Christmas because business would be dead. It's the busiest season of the year!

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  2. Your Reclast infusion peaks my interest. I personally don't have osteoporosis or even arthritis but so many women do that I'm wondering at what stage women should be introduced to it. It seems to me when they prescribe the Rx that women have to give themselves an injection every day for two years they don't recommend it until the patient is in the advanced stages of osteoporosis. Are these treatments meant to restore damage or to prevent damage?

    Book clubs are not my thing for precisely what you mentioned. I'm not disciplined enough to read books I do not enjoy.

    I'm surprised a man would say what your driver said. Wow.

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    1. I did the daily shots for two years before I started the infusion. All doctors start out with pill forms of treatment then work their way up to the shots and infusion. Your bone density numbers have to drop to a certain criteria before you get the higher costs treatments.

      My doctor says that if your bone density numbers hold where they are at, then any treatment (pill or whatever) is considered a successful treatment. The infusion is the only treatment that actually raised my numbers and I've been on them all. I've been dropping for years. I've taken thyroid medication since age 15 and that leaches the calcium out of your bones.

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    2. P.S. I live in a red county that will probably vote in high numbers for Trump. So the driver's comment didn't really surprise me in hindsight. I was surprised that I voiced my reaction out loud. I hear pro-Trump comments around here and usually just let it go.

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  3. Your post makes me wonder about my bones. Has been literal years since I had a bone densetomitry. (sorry, I can't think how it's spelled and spell check is no help) I wonder how many of the medications we get put on for one thing, have an adverse reaction to another.

    How did that book ever make it to a book club? Even I know how swamped florists can be on holidays. She could have made that truck "Fred" the rusty old reliable, Chevy, truck and not have to even put car in the mix if she didn't want to just use truck. Jeesh!

    That driver was an idiot. I won't get into politics anymore - I just won't.

    The senior living you visited, sounds very nice. Probably way over budget, but would make living (or eventual dying) must less stressful. Nobody would want to be moved in their last "golden" (Hah) days.

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    1. You can't live without thyroid so even if they had known the long term effects, I suppose they would still would have given it to people years ago.

      That book was a New York Times best seller but it isn't very popular in book clubs. Because our club is new we haven't been able to reserve the better reviewed books. Most clubs reserve a year ahead. We did get our list made and over time our choices will get better.,

      Most of these senior places seem to cost around $3,000 a month with varying things included. For example, this one had weekly free cleaning, the last only had a free monthly cleaning. This one had a movie theater with showings twice a day and lectures once a month---looking like interesting topic. This place opens up the place for Trick-or-treating and gives the residence $1,000 worth of candy to pass out. In the winter they have a golf course set up in the hallways and they have tournament. I think I'd like it there if I was ready. I will be five years I'll bet.

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    2. Jean, are dogs allowed in that place? I'd to live without a dog.

      Peggy

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    3. That's always my first question, too. I've toured three places and two of them allowed dogs and cats. One place had a pet wrangler you could pay extra for to walk your dog, groom it or take it to the vet. The other place had staff that volunteered to walk dogs (probably for a tip). The most expensive place is the one that didn't allow them.

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  4. I was very interested reading about your Reclast infusion. I'm still a little confused on what it's all about. After reading your blog, I'll Google it to read more about it.
    I'm now reading a book called " Sully ". My daughter went to see the movie about it and she said that it was fantastic. I'm also reading about " Star Trek " I am a trekkie.
    I was calm when I was reading most of your blog but when I read that you told us about the comment that the bus driver said, I nearly blew up. I'm shocked that the bus driver was stupid enough to say that. Trump is unbelievable and I'm surprised that there are still many people willing to vote for him, especially the women. I'm shocked. I'm happy that I'm a Canadian but if I was an American, I would vote for Hillary even though she's carrying baggage also but not as the stuff that Trump has. Every time I read what he says, he just puts his mouth into the garbage can. He's a stupid individual and so was that bus driver. I was taught by my mother and especially my father to respect women. The mouth that Trump has is pathetic.
    That's enough about Trump. If I continue I might have my blood pressure go nuts. I have to see my doctor this week about it.
    That's it for now Jean. See ya my friend.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. It's nice to have a guy confirm that the bus driver was out of line with that "joke"/comment. I'm shocked, too, that so many people are going to vote for him. I'm honestly worried about our country, that so many people can be fooled by that charlatan. The way he's egging them on to not accept the results of the election if he loses in alarming. We've always had a peaceful transfer of power and he's setting us up to break that tradition.

      Take care of your blood pressure! Oh, and I saw the Sully movie and liked it a lot.

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  5. The bus driver's comment would have annoyed me too - good for you to set him straight. While I may not have had the courage to comment, I certainly would have piped up in agreement after you spoke up. But I've been in group situations where I've commented like you did, and no one else speaks up - the group thinks its "good manners" while I think its cowardice. "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for men of good conscience to remain silent.”

    I so envy you the senior centre and its tours! I am forced to organise my one-woman tours - plus side is its to places, and at times, that are *my* choice.

    I know I have osteopenia (and low Vit D levels) and should take calcium/Vit D supplements - get the stuff but forget to take it. I should organise my next test. ~ Libby

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    1. I'm thinking the others who overheard the exchange either didn't really understand it or were shocked by it. So many people are now saying they don't listen to the news or political stuff anymore and if they didn't hear Trump and Billy Bush's video they wouldn't get the driver and my exchange.

      If you know you have osteopenia you really should take your calcium and Vit-D supplements seriously. Broken bones is the number one reason why older women end up in nursing homes and if not in a home, at least in casts and having to have friends help out.

      I am lucky to have a senior center that is so active. It's all due to one women with a passion for enriching the lives of older people.

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  6. I'm still in that "don't make waves" phase of life. I think I would be better off just saying one sentence with conviction and not keep it bottled up. Harassment IS everywhere and we all need to step up and say something.

    Like Anonymous (above) ... I better start taking my supplements! Thanks for that health reminder!

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    1. I just plain didn't think about it first, the words just came popping out and I was too mad to be embarrassed.

      I'm quite religious about taking my supplements.

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  7. Good for you for speaking up, Jean! Like you, I find it infuriating that he thinks and speaks abut women the way he does and that his surrogates support him. Did you watch John Oliver go after after Billy Bush? He said f**k you Billy Bush! I agree, He ticked me off almost as much Trump.

    Like you, I'm angry that this type of mysogency is still accepted in this country. It will only stop when women like you and Michelle Obama say enough!

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    1. Wasn't Michelle's speech great! I saw a historian comment on it and he said it was the kind of speech that will still be studied in 100 years.

      I did see John Oliver take down Billy Bush. I love him and Trevor Noah. At first I wasn't as disgusted with Billy as I was by Trump. But then the second time I saw the tape and saw Billy tell the woman they'd just been joking about in such crude terms to "give Donald a hug" it ticked me off too. He was being Trump's wing man! I can see why they are firing him, he wasn't protecting or respecting a fellow staff member.

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    2. Michelle's speech was awesome. That and her convention speech have been the best of all the election speechs. It was so inspiring when she talked about her daughters waking up each morning in a house built by slaves.

      Peggy

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    3. I will be sad to see Barack and Michelle leave the White House. They are a classy couple who have always taken the high road with all the obstacles put in front of them.

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  8. Hallelujah for your spit and venom with that bus driver! How clueless he was, at best. After your retort, he may think before opening his mouth and zip his lip. Hah! Another woman might jump out of her skin and attack him! Ah, Jean, you have made our world a safer place.

    I looked up Vanessa Diffenbaugh's Language of Love and just found The Language of Flowers. Is this the book you mean? Anyway... glad the quality of novels in your book group will rise. Did you have a hand in selecting them?

    About the only time I read fiction is on planes. I love the fact that when the plane lands, I will enter another culture's stories. I read stories of that culture on route, to switch my cultural mindset from USA to wherever I'm going.

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    1. Yes, thanks for the correction on the book title. Book choices: we were given a list of 50 books with a few lines about each on and we voted on them. Any book that had a strong showing of hands went on our list to reserve. That particular book was the only one we could get on such short notice because we only had a month before needing it. Most clubs, we're told, have their reservations in a year ahead.

      Very cool way to pick your reading material. Do you travel abroad often? I know you used to but do you still?

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    2. No, haven't traveled abroad for three years. New Zealand's on my bucket list. Iceland, too :-)

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    3. They have a shortage of men in Iceland. Other than that it would be a fascinating place to visit. New Zealand looks interesting as well.

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  9. Good on you for your comment to the bus driver. I'm sure that Trump's behavior and language have spurred some interesting conversations around this country and beyond. Only a few weeks left, but I'm afraid he will not go away.

    I read a number of books that I did not particularly like when I was in a book club.

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    1. We got the same driver for our color tour and he wasn't making the same joke nor did I give him my hand to get off the bus. Jerk! I have one niece-in-law I doubt I'll ever call again based on her Trump-nasty-ass postings on Facebook. This election cycle has been terrible for the country.

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  10. Your Reclast treatments sound like my chemotherapy treatments in the late 1990s -- a big room full of recliner chairs, each with a person hooked up to their own IV. Good that you could work on your book club reading while you were strengthening your bones -- but not good that you ended up reading a book you hated. I confess that somewhere in my 50s, I switched from feeling committed to finishing any book I started to deciding that life was too short to waste on books I didn't find interesting or that were poorly researched or poorly written.
    And good for you for calling the bus driver on his inappropriate remarks! -Jean

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    1. That's the dichotomy that comes with being in a book club....you end up reading things you might not like, but on the other hand you stretch yourself out of your comfort zone.

      I wish I could take credit for being strong when speaking up to he bus driver, but the words just came out without forethought because I was so mad.

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