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 29, 2014

The Morbid and the Sublime

I had a terrible time sleeping last night. I woke up at 2:00 AM and didn’t have a prayer of falling back to asleep and it was too late to take a sleeping pill and still get up at 7:30. I hate nights like that! My brain wouldn’t turn off. It drifted from one topic to another but mostly I obsessed about my upcoming surgery. Is it really a necessity? Could it have waited until spring? Will the pain and time involved to rehab my shoulder afterward be worth it all in the end? The cortisone shot the doctor put in the joint makes it hard to remember how miserable I was last summer---all the sleepless nights because every time I’d roll over on my side I’d get a shooting pain, the trips to the chiropractor that only gave me relief for a week or so, and the shooting pain I’d get every time I’d push myself up from a chair. I felt like I was 105 years old before the orthopedist gave me the cortisone with a prednisone pack for a chaser. I wish you could live on that stuff, but you can’t without deteriorating your bones and the doctor says labrum tears can't get better on their own.

My youngest niece’s daughter-in-law is having the same labrum tear surgery on the same day as mine, at the same place and my niece is bringing her in. The DIL will be coming out of surgery as I am going in. My other niece will be with me and I’m glad the two sisters will be able to keep each other company for at least a few hours in the waiting area. I hear this surgical center has the best waiting area in town with La-Z-Boy chairs and even a movie theater. I’ll never know. My days of taking people to surgical centers is over now that Don and my dad are gone. Now, I’m on the receiving end and that is a bittersweet place to be. Sweet because someone is willing to do that for me but bitter because I need the help. As we age, aren’t we all afraid of situations like this where we can’t be self-sufficient? I suppose people with children worry less about these things than those of us without.

My ducks are all in a row. I’ve tried to anticipate everything I’ll need over the winter that is up high or down the basement and I brought them to where I’ll be able to get at them. I’ve bought birdseed for the entire winter. Driveway salt and dog food, too, so I won't have to wrest large bags one-handed. My kitchen counter is cluttered with appliances that are usually stored when not in use---toaster, blender, coffee maker and crock pot. I've practiced putting my bra on one-hand. And I've ordered three pair of elastic, no tie shoelaces. The outside work is done. I’ll even have daffodils in the spring. About the only thing I won't be able to with my arm in a sling is get safely on my exercise bike. That and the snow shoveling issue is not resolved. I'll work on that next week, but I've got my little electric snow blower working as a plan B.

Like I said, my ducks were all lined up. Then I got a call from the surgical center asking me to bring a copy of my Living Will with me the day of surgery. Damn it, I don’t plan on dying on an out patient surgery table! Why did they have to bring me down! And what the heck did the medical community do with the three copies they’ve gotten in the past? Supposedly, all the doctors and hospitals in town can share patient information via computers these days. But I played their game and scanned all eight pages of the document, trying not to read the details of my worst case scenario should things go terribly wrong.

Just so you know, I'm not giving away my body or any of its parts after I’m dead. At my age, my body would probably end up laying out in a field for weeks on end so CSI students could study the different types of bugs that crawl all over rotting flesh in different time frames. Bugs help date the death of crime victims. You do know places like that exist, don’t you? They’re call Body Farms. Nope. All medical donations don't end up leading to a cure for some dreaded disease or give would-be surgeons practice time. And that old dog you had as a kid didn't ended up on a farm where he could chase butterflies in the fields either. So this paragraph is the ‘morbid’ in the title of this post...and the sublime? That would be the love of both of my nieces who were both willing to babysit me on surgery day and considering how far away they live this is no small gift of time offered and deeply appreciated.

See you all on the other side of my 'little' event. ©


  1. My mother was fiercely independent and dreaded any form of incapacitation; she rarely asked for help with anything. That's why I think it took me so long to understand that her memory issues were not just fleeting and out of the ordinary, but the first stages of creeping dementia. I just say this to remind myself that being vulnerable, asking for help, and allowing others the gift of being helpful are not bad things -- they are necessary for having an honest and reciprocal relationship. Does that sound preachy? I don't mean to…I just want you to sleep better at night. When is the date of your surgery? I'll light a candle for you and chant your name in my morning mediation. That should bring you all kinds of comfort. Ha.

  2. I wish you well. I hope this works far better than you are imagining. I had a shoulder issues last winter and physical therapy took care of it. Hurt. That was an understatement.

    Have a blessed day. ☺

  3. Well, that last paragraph made me glad I decided not to donate my body to science. What a word picture that was.

    You are so resourceful. I thought I was a planner and preparer, but you are really something. Good for you. I know you don't want to bother anyone for anything that you can do yourself. I'm glad your niece will be there for you. From that last sentence, I take it that you will not post again until after your surgery. All good luck to you. Thinking of you.

  4. I have kids, but they work with no time to "baby-sit" me, so after hip surgery and short hospital stay, I went to a rehab place and spent another week. It was great and I didn't feel selfish about expecting my kids to help me--which they should, but....you know. Then my neighbor came down every morning for 6 weeks to feed the cats, clean their potty box--because with hip surgery, you cannot bend over for 6 weeks. It is damn hard having to go through this all alone, but...it is possible! You'll be fine! Oh--by the way, although I always go to the same hospital system, I have to take in my Medical Directive every single time!! I know it's in their computer, but they want to see it in hard copy, for some unknown reason.

  5. Good luck and best wishes.
    We will be waiting!
    Regards, Leze

  6. It is scary to be on the receiving end of assistance! Independent to the bitter end. At least you have a few younglings to call upon. I need to maintain a few friendships with the 30-somethings!!

    At least it is outpatient. Is someone going to stay with you for a day or two? Maybe we bloggers should stick together! Want me to fly over??? And just think ... you couldn't get away from me and all my jabbering!!!

  7. Best wishes for your surgery, Jean. Sounds like you're prepared. Meet you on the other side!