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

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Two Days into a Busy Week



Time moves fast when you’re busy. Only two days into the week and already I’ve done more than I usually do. It’s the season. Fall means extra work and more appointments. Take Monday, for example. My bi-annual appointment with my internist was in the morning and when I got home I spray painted one of my deck chairs which turned into another job. I had saved the cardboard box my sleeper chair came in last winter to use as a “paint booth” but it wasn’t quite as big as I thought it was and I ended up with a fog of bright blue paint on my gray deck, outlining one edge of the box. I’ve made a lot of cardboard paint booths over the years and never had that happen before. The over spray looked god-awful! Thankfully, using a grease and oil cleaner, a scrub brush and a lot of manual labor I was able to get the fog off. 

And did I mention that in between doctor and the chair disaster the dog upchucked on the library floor---a foot from the place he threw up just after the carpet cleaners left last week? I’ve never had a dog who vomits as much as Levi. Recently I bought him some Science Diet food for sensitive stomachs, hoping that would help but he’ll pick around those kibbles and won’t eat them until everything else in the dish is gone and its midnight in the old corral. 

I like my doctor but he actually takes too much time with his patients. He's always running 30-45 minutes late but when he’s in the room with you he’ll never rush you even when you’d like to tell him, “Let’s move this along, time's a wasting.” He’s nice guy, easy to talk with and he’s always got a student doctor tagging along after him who occasionally gets invited to weigh in with opinions. This time the student looked just like Pee Wee Herman. You’d think when a guy looks like a convicted pervert someone would tell him not to wear a Pee Wee classic bow tie and his slicked down black hair style. I hate to judge a person’s entire future by his or her looks but I can’t imagine going to a Pee Wee Herman look-a-like for a doctor. But then again, perverts might be "in" now, if our election cycle is any indication.

I asked my internist what kind of doctor I’d see for my thumb and toe joints that get stuck and he ended up using his vibrating tool and stick pin on my legs and feet and feeling up the bones in my thumbs. More osteoarthritis damage. If my joints get stuck in place too often for too long, I’ll have to see a hand specialist to get shots in the joints. But he told me not to stop knitting or using my computer mouse, which is when I’m bothered the most. "Use those joints!" Yes, sir! You don’t have to tell me twice. He also ordered some blood work to check on my thyroid and vitamin B-12 levels as possible causes for the needles-and-pins feelings I get in my foot at bedtime and my fingers being cold all the time. For a septuagenarian, I don’t have a lot of health issues other than bad bones and joints, and even though I was dreading getting weighed-in at this appointment I only gained two pounds since last April. “Surprise, surprise!” as Gomer Pyle would say. 

Tuesday I got up at the crack of dawn again, to go to the blood lab and to my third ‘Matter of Balance’ class. Every one of these classes has had some drama involved. Last week it was the car that tried to join us in the classroom. This week the facilitator couldn’t get the movie to play right and we ended up in a dark room starring at a blue screen for 20 minutes while listening to old people on the video talking about the importance of making time for exercise. I’m almost sure it was better without the visuals. The videos for this government sponsored class were made so long ago that the old people/actors’ clothing and home decor remind me of Aunt Bee and her friends from Andy Griffith’s Mayberry. 

The rest of our two hour class was actually helpful. We learned how to do a series of exercises and the facilitator said the most important one in the entire workbook was “foot circles” to strengthen the ankles. Regaining balance in a trip comes mostly from the strength in our ankles, she says. The book describes the exercise like this: “Sit with both feet on floor. Raise one foot and gently circle (rotate) your foot in a clockwise direction five times. Change directions and repeat. Switch to other foot and repeat.” Of the twenty-five exercises we learned, for homework we were told to pick one to commit to doing every day and next week we have to report on how we incorporated it into our routines. It annoys the heck out of me that this class moves so slowly. One exercise out of twenty-five? Why not five or ten? Let’s get this show on the road! But I’ll keep going because I really want to get to week six when a therapist from the hospital will come in to teach us how to get up after a fall, and maybe by week eight I will lose my strange, resentful attitude regarding the class. Where is that coming from? I can’t figure it out. ©

22 comments:

  1. The chair looks nice ...
    I don't think this was a case of 'having to make a mess to clean up a worse one.'
    I need to go to the doctor, just have to find one - mine quit the clinic she was using. I haven't been in ages, has been over a year ...
    When I am down, I crawl and pull myself up like a baby just learning to stand. I haven't fallen, but I have hit a few walls ...

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    1. I should find a new doctor closer to home, but it's a hard thing to do isn't it. I have two fake knee joints and one fake elbow joint and I can't crawl. I have butt walked myself to the bathroom to use my grab bars. Where works!

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  2. Good job on painting the deck chair.

    I bet you appreciate the stay-at-home days after a few busy days like. you've had.

    I'm guessing they're doing only one exercise/week to ensure that everyone follows it, and does it properly. A bit like the class teacher targeting her lesson at the slowest children. Unfortunately, it leaves the brighter kids bored. But, I'm guessing that, as in life, there will be some exercises where you appreciate the slow pace. I know in gym class, there are some that I can do easily (and others can't), and vice versa. ~ Libby

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    1. "Targeting her lesson at the slowest children." That made me laugh out loud because that's exactly what it feels like.

      I love that deck chair. It has a mess back and seat and never gets hot plus I've never seen another one like it.

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  3. Oh, that overspray. When they last painted our building, I washed my slilding glass doors for a month before I realized the problem wasn't dirt, but the finest paint spray imaginable. Luckily, that was glass, and a razor blade took care of the problem fairly easily.

    I just laughed out loud at your suggestion that the malfunctioning video might have been better with only the audio. Given what you said about the Mayberry vibe, I'm sure of it. That's interesting about the ankles, though. That helps to explain why weight loss can be so important. It's not a question of leg bones supporting the body, but the ankles. My poor ankles would be happy if I could give them a little less to support.

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    1. One time when I had my deck sprayed and the over-spray got my windows, too. Can you imagine what it does to our lungs while spraying? The inside of my nose was blue. I wore safety glasses because I remembered the last time getting my glasses messed up but I forgot the a face mask.

      I was surprised by the ankle statement too, but it makes sense.

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  4. They have these exercises on-line and I have been doing "ankle circles" for months. They do help.
    What's with these pets of ours? My Buddy cat never hacks up a furball, until two days after my new carpet was installed. I've cleaned and cleaned the spot, but sometimes, I still think I can see a greenish hint of color. EGAD!!! I like my Primary doc too. He's not one to rush to order tests or meds. He tells me I am healthy as a 55 year old, which makes me feel good, and with arthritis, he tells me there isn't much we can do about our aching joints. As for the over-spray? I always spray paint items in my back yard. The grass catches the over spray and eventually grows and gets mowed off. LOL.

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    1. I haven't looked yet but I've been hoping I could find a video of the Matter of Balance exercises. I need the visual ques.

      Resolve makes a special pet stain remover that works pretty good.

      I can't drag or carry my furniture down the steps to paint them in the back yard. I need to hold onto a railing to do steps safely. Small things I have done in the grass. Paint booths are great in the winter when you want to paint in the garage.

      I'm curious about the results of my B-12 blood test. My mom had to take B-12 shots.

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  5. Your blue chair is very pretty. Now what do I remember about dog throw up. Our chihuahua had a sensitive stomach. I remember our vet hated Science Diet products. Never recommended them.

    Finding a new doctor can be challenging these days. Doctors in private practice do not have to accept Medicare patients, though some will if your co-insurance is very good. Hospital owned clinics are required to accept Medicare patients.

    Sounds like you have a serious issue with your joints. Wonder if you would benefit from seeing a rheumatologist?

    I'm off to take a walk with my new walking stick.

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    1. My vet has never bad mouthed Science Diet but they would love to sell me their own brand that you can't buy anywhere else. It's very pricey so I've resisted.

      I have good co-insurance and I could find a general GP doctor near-by but so far I haven't found an internist who takes new patients. I have a bone doctor, foot doctor, internist, dermatologist, allergist and dentist so I need the internist to act like central station. I really don't want to add another specialist but I'm guess a rheumatologist will be next. Come to think about I did see one a few years ago when it was determined I'm allergic to myself. LOL

      Hope you show off your walking stick in your blog.

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  6. I don't know how you manage to get a post out like clockwork, with all these things going on in your life. How do you work it in? Is it "If it's Friday, it must be story time" kind of thing? O.K. I admit I have posting envy.

    I love this blue chair. Really love it! Will it live on your deck all winter, peeking out from under the snow?

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    1. I love that chair, too. It's really comfortable and cool as well. I stack and cover my deck furniture on my deck. I'd have room in my garage but all my furniture is heavy, old metal and I'd have to haul them 40 feet.

      I pretty much have a blog going in Word at all times and each one goes through about three drafts---the first one is just disjointed ideas I might write about next. The second draft is fleshing out ideas to see which one might inspire roughly 900 words, and the last draft I work on is the nuts and bolts of writing---wording, spelling, readability. Editing stuff out to make make my writing tighter is the hardest part. Once in awhile I'll write a blog in one sitting but usually it's a done over several days, fifteen minutes here, a few minutes there.

      Now, all I have in a rough draft for Sunday's blog is a sentence on each of these topics: Infusion center, Book club, Friday field trip, Trim painting---I can't write more until I do these things over the next few days. I try to write every day at bedtime, diary style about that day. I do it for the discipline of writing and because all the great writers like Stephen King say there is no other way to learn to write than to just do on a daily basis whether you feel inspired or not.

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    2. That chair has a lot of character. Be nice to sit there with a hot cup of cider.

      Thanks for explaining your writing process so clearly. This explains why your posts knit together so nicely. Very helpful approach. hmmm... Having no aspirations to be a writer, I get to fly free of daily discipline. Ugh. Discipline smacks of work, and for no paycheck, I don't work a deadline. Can't tell you how sick of deadlines I got as an illustrator.

      I could warm up to the dilettante's style, doodling an idea or two as the spirit moves, then assembling something later. Might make me more 'regular'. I've always just started writing and not gotten up until the post is done and published. Which means I sit in the same darn place for five hours...two on a good day. Thanks again for the tips!

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  7. I don't know, but I was resentful at my last doctor's visit when I was asked/told to do something I didn't want to do. I don't even think I was being all that reasonable, but I felt a little pushed around and became obstinate. I'm not in love with my primary care doc.... however, I'm in love with my cardiologist, Dr. Heartthrob. Your doctor sounds very much like him. He spends too much time with his patients, but he's wonderful when you're in the room with him. His nurse even told me on my first visit to plan for a long wait because he spends so much time with his patients. I plan to listen to my audible book on my phone. I'm so lucky to have him.

    Overspray! Ug!

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    1. Obstinate! That's the word I needed to describe how I feel about the classes. My mom even called me when I was a kids. LOL

      Have you (or anyone else) noticed that in doctor's waiting rooms they don't have magazines anymore? I've noticed that and the fact that everyone has their noses in their phones.

      I'm am so glad you found a cardiologist who has helped you so much. Life is going to change for you...

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  8. Is that really true that you should continue to us the joints even though they get painful? I have mostly given up playing piano because the joints in my smallest fingers are painful and the stretch on the piano seems to exacerbate it. I don't want to lose the ability to practice my flute which so far hasn't suffered too much from arthritic fingers (the fingers don't stretch as much on the flute).
    And I was amused by Gowithflo commenting about your routine of writing. I agree with her, that keeping to a schedule to get some writing done, is something that I would find tedious. I do not write much anymore. In fact, writing short comments on your blog and occasional emails are the only writing I do! But I am devoted to practicing my flute and there is no tedium in that at all. It is done purely from delight and passion!
    That is a very nice color for a chair!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. That's my doctor's opinion about using joints. He said to take Tylenol Extra Strength before starting something that brings pain. And I already take Aleve at night for inflammation, when needed.

      I don't find a writing schedule tedious at all. I guess it's because I have a life-long habit of diary writing and blogging is just a public form of that for me. Now, I view it as exercising my brain. They say as we age we should all do ten minutes of the following things every day for our brains: write, do math, sing and test our recall by making a list. I think you're right about your flute being a passion for you like writing is for me.

      Thank you on the chair. It's a Rust-oleum color.

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  9. I joined a "senior strength and stretch" class and it was mostly seated and really easy. I swore I'd continue to go, increasing my weights if I needed more challenge, but I've started to play hooky because it doesn't' seem satisfying. Maybe that's your issue with the balance class. I'm like you....let's get this show on the road! One exercise out of 25 seems really paltry to me too. I'm not a competitor in any way, but I do want my efforts to mean something. Anyhow, be careful what you wish for....the class instructor invited me to semi-private strength class for older adults and I jumped at it, but damn! It kicks my butt! So there is a challenge out there; just gotta meet it when we find it, I guess. LOL

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    1. Ya, I alternate between thinking I'm too young for this class and thinking I'm in denial. I think I'm going to look for a CD of exercises to do at home, if I can find one that targets the same exercises to prevent falls.

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  10. I love the color of your chair! It looks great.

    LOL, I'm sure no one would object if you picked 5 exercises to work into your routine this week, instead of just 1. ;-)

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    1. Two people reported they did them all every day, two people reported they didn't do any. People were all over the map. I did two faithfully every day. :)

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