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, May 1, 2019

Just Shoot me the Next Time This Happens


I’m not good at being sick. It doesn’t happen often so I don’t have a lot of practice at suffering in silence while hacking up my lungs, coughing so hard I peed my pants an embarrassing number of times. I thought I’d broken some ribs in the process like my mom did once. I was so worried about what was trying to come up from my lungs that I got out the pink ‘vomit dishes’---left over from various hospital stays---and staged them all over the house. I felt nauseated, too, but I never upchucked and while the cough was the wickedly deep, hacking and rumbling kind it never brought up bowels of the devil like I thought it would. Still, my rib cage hurt like it was on fire and I couldn’t take a deep breath without pain. Luckily I still had my winter cold and flu supplies on hand and I put on so much medicated chest rub that I smelled like a camphor factory. Then I took a Coricidin Chest Congestion and Cough Liqui Gel and went to bed at 7:00 Thursday night, thinking in the morning I’d go to the med center. By morning, my temperature was 99.9. Better, so I nixed the med center idea.

Spoiled Levi, no matter what happens to me he doesn’t have a sympathetic bone in his body. As sick as I was over the weekend he still demanded that I feed and water him, get him treats and let him outside and back in again---all on his schedule. Even begging him to leave me alone didn’t help. At one point he wanted me in the kitchen. It was his emergency-don’t-ignore-me bark. Did I leave the stove on and the place was on fire? No, I wasn’t eating or cooking. Was Timmy down in a well again and needed help? Finally I threw off the two blankets that weren’t keeping me warm. Go Lassie, lead the way! It was pretty clear Levi had been having a good time without me. His first-tier toys were strewed all over the house and his second-tier toys had been tossed in a pile like rib bones at a barbecue. In the kitchen, Levi sat down by his food dish and barked, “Look at this disgusting mess!” I did. Twice before I figured out the problem. His kibble had been invaded by black ants the size of pepper grains. How did they do that, get all the way inside the house to find his dinner? It’s such a long trip you’d think they’d die of old age before getting there. 

I’ve never lived without a dog in my life and Levi is the first one who wouldn’t cuddle with whoever was sick in the house, staying in bed with them or nearby on the floor, for as long as it took to get them well again. That page was missing in Levi’s handbook on how to be a good dog. Maybe that’s because he came into the family after Don’s stroke and Don needed a lot of naps. Maybe Levi took one look at that situation and thought, Five minutes of sympathy is all I’m giving him a day. Having a ‘sick human’ was his norm and for an active, twelve week old puppy when he was adopted, five minutes was a long time to be in healing-the-sick mode. At least Don got five minutes. I have to bribe Levi with Milk-Bonz Trail Mix mini bones to get him to sit next to me for three minutes. Yes, my nose is out of joint. When you’re sick you want a little canine sympathy. Or is it just me?

Friday and Saturday I rarely left the bedroom. By Sunday night I got out of bed, still wearing the nightgown I’d been wearing since Thursday to sit in the living room to watch American Idol. That’s when Levi decided to vomit next to my chair. I cleaned it up and no more than sat back down when he upchucked again. A total of four times before he was finished and then he put himself to bed for the rest of the evening. I guessed his stomach didn’t like the chicken soup I mixed with his kibble or maybe it was the germs he got from shredding Kleenex that he stole out of my bathrobe pockets or maybe he ate some of the ants before he saw the “pepper” was moving around. At least he hung his head in shame after parking his vomit at my feet and I told him that it was okay. No sense having two in the house who wanted and didn’t get any sympathy. 

Monday I was hoping I was well enough to go to my dentist appointment but I canceled because I wouldn’t want to stick my fingers into a mouth that was sure to still have a bunch of yucky germs inside and I wasn’t positive I could even keep my mouth open a whole hour or drive as far as I’d have to drive in the rain to get there without falling asleep at the wheel. I did, however, pronounce myself past the contagious stage. I still had a cough but most of the rib cage pain was gone and my temperature was 98.0. But that morning I woke up with my nightgown soaked in sweat---where did that come from?---so I took a shower in case Prince Charming should show up on my doorstep. I filled an ice cube tray up with canned pumpkin puree for Levi’s tummy and did a thorough cleaning of the ant area. By one o'clock I needed a nap and do you know what that twit of a dog did? Without so much as an invitation or the bribe it usually takes he crawled up in bed and took a nap at my feet. ©

36 comments:

  1. Molly is not a cuddler either but they do surprise you at times. I hope you're back to 100% soon.

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    1. Really? I wonder if cuddling is breed specific! Levi is the first schnauzer I've ever had. Both Molly and Levi are in the terrier class.

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  2. I'm so sorry to hear you've been sick. Do you think it was the flu? Is it too late in the flu season for that? Mr. Levi has an empathy deficit. LOL The ant infestation put this whole incident into Exorcist-style territory. What a horrible experience. I hope you and Levi are on the road to good health now. Fingers crossed.

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    1. I don't know what to call it. I wish it would go away. I'm better but still not well enough to accomplish anything accept hold a chair down, and 'yucky' is still the best way to describe how I still feel. Tomorrow it will be a week since it took me down. I know several people who had similar symptoms and they say it takes several weeks to completely go away. Anything that effects my lungs scare me.

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  3. Being sick is awful. I'm glad you're better, and glad you finally got some sympathy from Levi. Even Dixie Rose, who most assuredly was no lap kitty, would notice when 'unwell' showed up, and stick closer, just to keep an eye on things.

    Ants drive me crazy. Even though I'm two stories up from ground level, I'll get them if we have a lot of rain -- a LOT, as in hurricane or flood level. They climb up the inside of the building, trying to get away from the water. I can't say I blame them, but they have to go somewhere else now. I made a project of finding where they were getting in (mostly in cracks around the baseboards) and caulked them up. Voila! No more ants. Or, at least, no more in my place. My neighbors are on their own.

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    1. Ants are smart, aren't they. There is no way I could caulk all the baseboards in this house. We just to have a cat who'd play with them, bat them around with her paw but those ants were bigger than these. They'll be completely gone until I put Levi's dish down and out they come again.

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  4. Oh, what an ordeal! So terribly sorry you had such a bout of illness. That's when you really feel alone, isn't it? But it sounds like you made it through the worst, despite no help at all from Levi, who had the nerve to feel ill at the same time. Certainly you earned some Golden Points toward your Saintly Reward after all that.

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    1. Boy, you hit the nail on the head about feeling alone when you're sick. Most of the time being alone doesn't bother me but it sure does when I worry I could die and no one find me for a month.

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  5. Being sick is a pain in the a$$. You just want to get rid of it ASAP. Drink a lot of fluids my friend and you tell Levi to get off of his butt and help you. LOL Get better soon Jean.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. Thanks, Paul. I was lucky to have plenty of stuff in the house---juices, soups, etc.

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  6. OH Jean, I'm so sorry you are sick. Hope here being Wednesday you are feeling far better. My dog isn't snuggley either when I'm sick and that is just when I want her to be. "they" say that female dogs are less affectionate but Levi sounds like a boy to me. The stinker!

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    1. Tomorrow it will be a week and I do feel better but I think this cough will be with me for a while. Everyone around here whose had it, says it takes time to get your energy back. And here I thought I'd gotten through the winter just fine.

      I've had a lot of female dogs who were very affectionate. Levi has a very quirky personality and upchucks more than any dog I've ever had.

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  7. Only you can make me laugh out loud while reading about a horrific bout of illness...and an ungrateful pooch! My Lucy wasn't a cuddler either...except for the infrequent times SHE needed it, and then she actually became a hugger, if you can believe it. I have never been hugged by a dog before or since but I swear she would climb on my lap, place her front paws around my shoulders and rest her head into the crook of my neck. Made up for all the times she kept her distance, let me tell you!
    Anyways, I hope you are feeling much better Jean! Keep laughing and keep writing!

    Deb

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    1. I'm so glad to know that Levi isn't the only unsympathetic dog in the hood. Lucy's hug was so sweet, that would melt my heart.

      I've been dressed and on my feet all morning...that's real progress.

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  8. Jean
    hope you feel better soon, we all need sympathy when we are sick isn't it. & you feel acutely alone when you don't get that from your family. my husband is realist, he will do everything wihout touching me when I am sick, after 28 years I have learned to see his love through his actions & not through his sympathy.

    Asha




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    1. Your husband is a standup, honorable guy. In general, guys are not great nurses. My husband hated having anyone give him any sympathy. I think he equated 'sympathy' with feeling sorry for him he never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him.

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  9. Oh gosh! Horrible germs. I think cleaning up after Levi would cause me to reach for the pink bowls! Sending positive vibes ... and a hug!

    I think you should switch Levi to raw food. It works miracles!!!

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    1. Levi's vomit is mostly undigested food and not as yucky as it could be. It's the time involved in treating the stain that gets me. It's a 3 day process to make sure it doesn't show up on light gray carpet.

      I bought some of that Raw Food for dogs and he upchucked it within ten minutes of eating it. I tried it a second time just to be sure it was the food and he upchucked it again. He's got a touchy stomach, made worse because he can't chew every well.

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  10. Ok, that was one horrid experience but darn you girl, you told it so funny that I lost it giggling at Levi's vomiting. I have so been there, in fact I am nursing uncomfortable sciatic pain now and my cat decides it is time to empty her stomach of all her stored hairballs and not just in one spot which would have been nice. Pets really have great timing don't they?
    I sure hope you are over that nasty crud though, few things can make us feel so miserable.

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    1. Sciatic pain is the worst! Don't you just love the sound of a cat vomiting a hairball! (not) That's what I felt like I was trying to do.

      I'm not 100% yet but at least I'm back to caring if I live to see another day.



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  11. If you didn't care if you didn't see another day it was definitely the flu. I picked up something this week, but so far I don't feel terrible so it's likely just an unwelcome spring cold.

    Don't you have someone you talk to every day or so? I think that's a must for older people living alone.....and being truly kind and nice to your friends so they care!

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  12. I'm sorry, but your writing was so good I did laugh. I had something similar to your cough/sickness a couple of months ago, including the peeing my pants when I coughed. Say what?!! That never happened before!

    For me it wasn't my ribs that hurt, it was my upper abs, so I figured I was at least getting some exercise. It eventually went away, and I hope yours does soon. Fingers crossed!

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    1. The peeing while cough is new to me too. This crud has been going around. I guess the cough will last a few weeks.

      Laughing is good. I like it when I can make someone do that.

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  13. Hope your cold find its course soon! I've already lost a week but Hope to get out on Saturday.

    No, there is no one I talk to anymore often than every couple of weeks. I do wear an emergency dialer that can connect me the outside world. I wish I someone...

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  14. You should still have the Dr check you out, maybe prescribe steroids to strengthen your lungs. If your lungs are weakened by whatever you had (have), you'll pick up every respiratory infection from here on. Take it from one who knows.😷

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    1. Thanks for the advice. Respiratory stuff scare the deal out of me.

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  15. Glad you’re back among the living. Living alone is no fun when you’re sick. I wonder if your dog’s breed is typically the cuddly type? I think like people, some are more empathetic than others.

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    1. Thanks, I do feel a lot better today.

      I'm guessing Levi breed makes a huge difference. I've always had poodles and collies before and they are known to be affectionate. Schnauzers are a German breed and were bred for a purpose, a working dog to kill rats. And boy can you see that instinct to chase anything small that moves.

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  16. Oh Jean, feeling as awful as you do, I'm amazed you could get up a post! It sounds just grim. I can relate to Levi being little help. Lizzie isn't the world's greatest gift to therapy cat. And all you needed was an extra blanket and cuddle. (Well, maybe a bit more than that!) I hope by now you are much improved and will soon be back in gear.

    Thanks for checking in on my Southern Exposure post. I hope you get back this spring!

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    1. It took me four days to write what I usually can do in a few hours. I wanted it posted while I was still feeling so yucky so I switched it with what was in my scheduler, gave me a reason to get up. I'm making good progress though. Finally stripped the bedding but what a pain since it's only been a few weeks that I put the new mattress pad on the bed. Blankets too.

      Get well yourself! I guess the flu hit Michigan late this year, assuming that's what we've got.

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  17. I'm glad you're feeling better. My wonderful primary care physician assistant has drummed it into me that, at this stage of life, I should call and check in if I'm sick for more than a couple of days or have a fever that's more than a little elevated. Almost always, she'll ask me to come in. As she tells her staff, "If Jean actually feels bad enough to call, we have to make room for her in the schedule."

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    1. I wish I had that kind of relationship with my office. But wouldn't have been able to drive in anyway.

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  18. sorry you were so sick! We are getting over food poisoning or stomach flu or something here. This weekend has not been fun. p.s., I'm back to blogging at my old blogger site: https://agentlebreeeze.blogspot.com/

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    1. Welcome back! I'll be over to check your new blog entries.

      Food poisoning or the stomach flu are the worst!

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  19. Back from our trip and catching up .... you are long well again since you wrote this, but still I am sorry to hear you were so sick! And that Levi! What a guy! LOL

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    1. I still have the hacking cough! Everyone is complaining about how long it hangs on. Six weeks is what those who've been to the doctor say I can expect.

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