Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. 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. (Just remember I'm looking through my prism which may or may not be the full story.) Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Friday, August 30, 2013

Treatments and Plans

 “Women my age don’t have babies because we’d put them down
and forget where we left them.”
author unknown 

Breaking a bone in my elbow last spring was probably a blessing in disguise because it caused my orthopedic doctor to set a fire under my internist to start osteoporosis treatment again. A year ago I ended a five year round of Flomax---the maximum length of time you can stay on that drug---but a recent bone density test proved it didn’t do much good. I’ve lost 27% of my bone mass, three and a half inches in height and have had broken three bones since menopause. I’m a hip or back fracture waiting to happen.

It took an entire month for the insurance company to look for a reason to disapprove the new treatment plan but they couldn’t find one. So this week I had to take a class at the hospital to learn the ends and out of injecting my self on a daily basis with Forteo. Let me tell you, I was nervous about doing my first shot. I’ve had allergic reactions to drugs in the past so I was worried this drug would kick start my chronic hives again. The last time I had them they lasted nineteen months without a break but that’s a story for the People Who Scratch Themselves to Death Gazette.  I left the injection class hive free so now I’m looking forward to making a pin cushion out of my stomach. Forteo is supposed to be the best drug on the market for building bone mass and strength and the nurse teaching the class says many people actually feel better in four short months. Wouldn’t that be nice. Give me a year and I’ll be leaping over tall buildings in a single bound. Forteo is just another name for Kryptonite, so says the rumor I’m starting here and now.

I’ve got a long, boring and lonely holiday weekend lined up but after that my September calendar has twenty scheduled social events mixed in with hum-drum appointments starting next week with my first Red Hat Society meeting in ten years. It’s going to feel like going back to school. I’ve unpacked my box of red and purple hats, scarves and other bling. I’ve purchased a new red notebook, pen and shoes. And I’ve got enough red and purple clothing already in my closet that I won’t have trouble pulling some outfits together. All I need to buy is a fancy, garden party dress come next spring. If you remember what it was like to play dress-up when you were a little kid you’ll understand the thrill of wearing the Red Hat Society garb. Ya, you might feel silly when you go out in public the first few times you do it. But that’s the whole point, isn’t it, to be reminded that we can grow older without losing our playful spirit. As their website says, “Red Hatters refuse to passively sit back and allow life to slowly lose its fizz. We prop open the doors to our minds, determined to explore, learn, and find ways to infuse play into our lives.” Wearing the Red Hat ‘garb’ is the only hard and fast rule that all chapters have to follow. It's like putting on your play clothes knowing you're going to the park to play on the swing set and monkey bars. 

To balance out the Red Hat silliness I’ll spend plenty of time working at the new museum in September. I’m a fish out of water with all the retired teachers and city fathers volunteering there but so far they are very accepting of me, the new kid on the block. But donating stuff to their auction isn't going so well. Two of the three pieces I donated to the fundraiser are going in the museum for display instead. Nothing makes you feel old like knowing your prize possessions belong in a museum. I'm just kidding about that. Don would be tickled pink to know these things will be forever preserved in his hometown museum. I was actually hoping for the reaction they received. 

I’ve never had to work so hard at finding a new place for myself in this big, lonely world. Well, that’s not entirely true. I remember back in the late sixties I wrote a letter to Ann Lander’s advice column on this very topic and I actually got a reply. She told me to get out in the world doing things that I enjoy and the rest will follow naturally. “You can’t meet people sitting at home every night.” So I immersed myself in leisure time classes, sports, a service sorority and assorted activities in an effort to meet people. It worked. I met Don and the rest is history. Widowhood has brought me full circle; here I am again forty-four years later doing the same things for the same reasons. Well, not quite the same. I’m not looking for a soul mate this time. I’m just looking for a gaggle of gal pals I can call my own. ©.


  1. Jean :

    I wished you lived closer to me. I feel other than my family I am still looking to make good girlfriends who I can talk to without any judgements or competition between our kids. wish you lived closer than I would have real life girlfriend too


  2. Gosh, I know we could we have fun, Asha, if we did live closer. We've bonded by the fire of going through the stroke maze and now it's time to find some meaningful play dates. Your son must be old enough for college by now?

  3. Dear Super Lady ~ Thanks for this blog. It's good to know there is life after Flomax. I do hope it STOPS the progress of this disease.

    I haven't quite talked myself into the Red Hats, although I love to be silly. Maybe I would be more socially acceptable if I were a member?!

    Maybe we should all have a virtual Labor Day BBQ ... I've got Skyp!

  4. Having a virtual BBQ for widows is an interesting idea. I'll bet if anyone has one over the holiday it would be at Widowed Village. Maybe in their chat room? I'll have Skype on my new computer that due to be delivered next week but with all the other new stuff I'll need to learn that is will be on the bottom of the list. I need to get up and running for eBay again.

    Do you know how the Red Hat Society got started? It was inspired by this poem by Jenny Joseph:

    When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
    With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
    And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
    And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
    I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
    And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
    And run my stick along the public railings
    And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
    I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
    And pick flowers in other people's gardens
    And learn to spit.

  5. I have always loved that poem. I know quite a few of the women in the Red Hat Society in my hometown--which I could join, as it isn't that far away. UNFORTUNATELY--none of them are silly or fun!!! They were the ones looking down their noses at me when I went through my divorce, 100 years ago. I have tried to organize a Hermit's group, but no one wants to come out of their huts to a meeting. :-(

  6. A Hermit's Club? You are too funny, Judy. That's too bad about your local Red Hat Society. I was at the very first organizational meeting of the group I'm re-joining. It's really not so hard to get a new chapter off the ground and it has been in the back of my head to do just that if I couldn't find one taking new members. I just hope they haven't changed much since I had to drop out. Eleven out of the 35 in the chapter are women I used to know back then.

  7. I am getting to the stage when I will soon be ready to venture out into that bigger world again. It was Father's Day today in Australia, it will be the first year without Ray on his birthday on the 8th and the anniversary of his death on the 19th. After that all the "firsts" will be over and I will try to move on...well maybe not "out" but at least with my feet on the doorstep. Following your blog means hopefully one day following your example.

  8. Sue, you've been through so much between your mom and Ray passing so close together and Ray's stroke before that. I hope getting through the first year of firsts is a turning point for you.

  9. Happy September! Maybe I should aspire to acquire a gaggle of gal pals. I could be missing out on something. Do keep us posted on September's activities. Hopefully a soul mate and gal pal will come wrapped in one.

  10. Thank you! Happy September to you as well. I will keep you all posted. If I didn't write, I wouldn't be me.

  11. This sounds like the ticket for you. Those gals look like they have so much fun. I saw a fabulous trio of Red Hat ladies in Occoquan, Va. one day, and they let me take their picture.

    "It took an entire month for the insurance company to look for a reason to disapprove the new treatment plan..."

    Can you believe those insurance companies? They are of my pet peeves. I was in the hospital four times last winter and my ins. co. wouldn't leave me alone once I came home. Calling, questions, calling, questions... Then the mail... asking over and over if I'd been in an accident and could it have been the fault of the other driver... hoping to shift some of the expense. I can't imagine what it's like for the very elderly (where we're headed) if they don't have an advocate.

  12. Thanks for the comment, Bella Rum. That's what bothers me the most about growing older...not having an advocate close at hand. My nieces will have my power of attorney and be my patient advocate but they both live far away and as a former caregiver I know the stress that will put on them should I get to the point where I need "oversight." I just have to learn to relax and not worry about the what-ifs and concentrate on having fun while I can.


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