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 15, 2019

Who’s the Scary Cat Now!

The month of May might be known for bringing flowers but at my house it also brings the dog’s yearly vet appointment to get caught up on his shots/vaccines and to get the ‘diet talk’ about him needing to loss a pound or two. Doctors are all the same, aren’t they. In Levi’s case the vet talk usually goes something like this: “One pound will lead to two pounds and pretty soon it will start effecting his all over health.” Ya, doc, I know it. But have you ever lived with a stubborn schnauzer who wants his treat when he wants it? Walking him more sounds easy, doesn’t it, except Levi won’t go out in the rain and I won’t go out in snowy or icy weather. I used let him run in the back yard on a long clothesline but my back lot line neighbor acquired three pit bulls two years ago and only one is chained up---presumably the one that has already killed a cat and attacked another neighbor’s dog. But Levi didn’t get the ‘diet talk’ this year because he actually lost his two pounds and now I’m mad at the little bugger for not sharing his weight loss secret with me.

This routine appointment drained $452.43 out of my check book for all his shots/vaccines including two required for licensing, a canine flu shot, CBC blood work, fecal check, ear infection treatment, three months’ worth of flea, tick and heart worm meds and apoquel pills for itchiness when he needs it for a plugged saliva gland. On the good side, this was the first time in three years his teeth didn’t need cleaning but they aren’t going to let that money get away. They want to re-check his teeth in October and I will let them because he can’t afford to lose any more teeth to gum disease. And I'm taking bets on whether or not his CBC blood work will turn something up they'll want to treat. He's a senior citizen now and those years turns us all into cha-ching machines for the medical communities.

The month of May also brings my yearly eye doctor appointment. My eyes are tired and bother me from the minute I get up to the minute I go to bed but the doctor keeps telling me eyes are healthy and my sight hasn’t changed enough to bother getting a new prescription in three years. And my cataracts aren’t big enough---yet---for him to want to remove them. “Artificial tears,” he says, “use them up to 20 times a day.” I asked if they have a car service for cataract surgeries like the slick, new eye surgery ‘assembly line’ in town advertises. Not having any children who are obligated by love or guilt to help with transportation to and from cataract surgery is a huge concern for me. The eye doctor said there is a service in town that will pick you up, stay with you and bring you back home for any medical procedure. "Costs a royal fortunate," he said, "but it’s an option to file away in your back pocket." You can’t just call an Uber or Lyft for rides to medical procedures because they require that you have someone in the waiting room in case of emergencies. I guess having a total stranger you just met two hours ago qualities.

Have you warmed up to using Uber or Lyft? We spent our childhoods being warned about getting into cars with strangers and the only time I ever did it I got raped so now I’m supposed to unlearn all those warning that were drilled into us growing up? Granted, no one is going to want to do bodily harm to an pudgy old woman in sensible shoes…unless they're working as a ‘body procurer’ for a modern-day Leonardo da Vinci. Did you know he dissected bodies in the dead of night to learn human anatomy? He started out paying grave robbers to supply him but when they got caught taking a shortcut and helping a vagrant into the next world, his new 'body procurers' would get unclaimed bodies from the city until Leonardo finally worked his way up to getting a doctor at a hospital to give him access to cadavers. Anyway, back on topic. A few years ago I thought I was ready to try Uber when my arm was in a sling then an Uber driver in a town near-by killed six people and wounded two others and in between him shooting random people he was picking up Uber customers! At least with the medical patient courier service my eye doctor told me about I have to believe they go through a thorough screening. If not, don’t tell me. Let me live in blissful ignorance because the odds are good I may need their service someday.

I’ve turned into a quirky little creature, haven’t I. I’m afraid of my back yard, of dying in a car accident, of falling on the ice, of Italian Renaissance Era body snatchers and a hundred perfectly normal 21st century activities like wearing sleeveless blouses, roller coasters and people who dress up like zombies. Not that I was ever a fearless person in my prime. I never jumped off a dock head first, for example, without knowing how deep the water was. I refused to go sky diving in my 20s or to sit in the front row at the stock car races and I’m pretty sure my scary-cat persona was the reason the guy I was dating at the time broke up with me. But I’ll tell you what I’m not afraid of doing that most of my Gathering Girls pals won’t do. They won’t answer their front doors if someone rings their doorbell. Who’s the scary cat now?  ©

34 comments:

  1. I am afraid of cats and roads with no guard rails where one can plummet to their death. But why won't the GG's not answer their front door if someone rings? I don't get that one. BTW, I will never ever use Uber or Lyft. An old fashion taxi if necessary is my thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't like mountainous roads without guard rails either. Fear of strangers at their front doors why my friends won't answer their front doors. I don't get it either. We all live in good low crime neighborhoods. To me, it's more dangerous NOT to answer the door because if someone was planning to break in they'd be more likely to do it if no one answers. The only ones who come to my door are kids selling stuff or collect cans and bottles, AT&T people trying to get you to change cable service and occasionally a neighbor.

      Delete
    2. I've used Taxis and hope to never again. They're much too costly (compared to uber and lyft) and the drivers are either scary or speak little English or both. I've used uber and Lyft numerous times with no problems and saved a lot of money. A lot of my drivers were women, by the way. But to each his own. I do not like hilly/mountainous roads with no guard rail either. Actually, I don't like them with guard rails because of my vertigo that came along after I turned 40. But I've driven them when I've had to. You're so funny Jean! I love and look forward to your posts every Wed and Sat. I do wish you had a family member or very close friend nearby for emergencies. I'm in the same boat myself and trying to figure out how to rectify that.

      Delete
    3. The daughter of one of my Gathering Girls pals drives for lyft. She gave me her card and said if I called her before calling out she'd try to claim my request.

      I'm glad my off beat humor is not lost on you. That makes me happy.

      Delete
  2. I drove my SIL and her husband to their cataract surgeries, scheduled on the same day. I wondered if they considered it a date?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like a date to me. LOL For me, the longer the doctor puts it off the less people are in my poll of possible taxi services. Already, the in-law who I could count on to call for a ride to urgent care, who lived near-by, is moving to another county. I'm mourning that!

      Delete
  3. My eye doctor informed me that my left eye had cataracts but not that bad. He said that you won't need anything done for quite awhile.
    Levi seems to be taken care of quite nicely and you & I have to deal with problems with growing old, that's all. It's amazing to see the cost for taking care of a wonderful dog like Levi but he's part of the family right?
    As far as opening the door, with so many weird people out there, I'd be worried. I worry about my granddaughter whose going to be going to high school next year, I hope that she understands that there are crazy people all around us. There are so many scams going around us I hope she understands.
    Have a wonderful day Jean.

    Cruisin Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Levi IS well cared for. He goes to full service veterinary hospital. There are cheaper vets in town but if anything serious comes up he'd end up at the hospital anyway and it is literally within a mile of my house.

      I don't think children should open doors without an adult by their side. But I don't think we can live in fear either.

      Thanks, Paul.

      Delete
  4. Count me as another one in the "you have cataracts, but they're not bad enough for surgery" club. This year, I did get some "twilight" glasses (similar to sunglasses, but for night driving) to go over my regular glasses for night-time driving. They have a slight yellow tint -- not enough to reduce your vision but enough to filter out some of the bright blue light from on-coming cars. They haven't solved the night driving glare problem, but they have allowed me to do some after-dark driving (like to and from my evening singing rehearsals in winter) without feeling that I'm driving blind.
    I haven't used Uber or Lyft, but mostly because I don't use a smart phone (which I think is a prerequisite for using these services) and because I don't think they have much of a presence in my rural area. It never occurred to me not to answer the door -- but then I feel safe enough that I often forget to lock the doors! Mostly, I've made a conscious decision to opt for trust over fear whenever I can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should get some of those yell tint glasses. I stopped driving at night because I just don't feel safe enough doing it when my sight feels compromised even though the doctor says I'm legal.

      You do need a smart phone for the car services. I have a great-niece who lives in the boondocks and I was surprised that she can get both grocery deliveries and Lyft rides.

      I think my fears are reasonable, but I suppose everyone thinks that. LOL

      Delete
  5. OMG, Jean! Sorry to hear that you were raped. I had to read that twice as I didn't believe my eyes the first time! That is terrible.
    OTOH, glad to hear Levi's appointment did not result in another tooth cleaning - that would have doubled the wallet drain, if I remember correctly.

    Deb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His teeth cleaning would have more than doubled the wallet drain. Base price is $400 plus any teeth the need pulling or gum pockets that need treating.

      Delete
  6. I’m looking forward to getting cataracts removed! And I didn’t know someone has to stay with you! I just scheduled a colonoscopy and they specifically said Kate can go out and about, just reachable by phone.

    This service will also be provided by our WLLO Village volunteer drivers!!

    I don’t answer the door either. I prefer people who let me know they are coming.

    In Maui I had security cams. I’m just about ready to install one here. Just at night or when we are away!!

    Rape? How awful. Have you blogged about that previously? I’m wary taking cabs and others by myself .... I write their ID info on my arm for when they find my body ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cataracts is a very short surgery compared to a colonoscopy. When I had the latter they made my companion stay within the hospital.

      I would have loved to have a security camera the time the baby raccoon was at my front door, driving the dog nuts.

      No, I've never blogged about the rape nor will I in the future. Ancient history.

      Smart about writing cabbies information on your body. LOL

      Delete
  7. My grandson put on my phone everything I need to use Lyft. A half dozen time I have used the service to visit BIL and SIL who are in assisted living. Recently Lyft added a way to “share your information”. I am able to send name of driver, model and color of car, and license number to a family member who can follow my trip from pick up to destination in real time on their smart phone. Makes everyone more comfortable that this 83 yo granny is out and about. :-). Genie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to put the apt on my phone so it's there in case of an emergency while I'm out and about. Sounds like a great solution for you.

      Delete
  8. I've been doing all the doctor things too. So far I have been able to do my own driving but my daughter is going to have to take off work to sit while I get the left cataract removed. I feel really bad that I can't call an Uber - which I never have and so far have not been brave enough either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Young people think nothing of calling Uber or Lyft. I suppose---I hope---once I try it I will get over the fear. At least I know I'm not alone...

      Delete
  9. I love your sense of humor and look forward to your posts. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Levi's doctor is more thorough than my PC doc. I'm happy to hear that he's not overweight. That makes one of us.

    My cataracts are not bad enough to operate yet. Just waiting. H's are the same.

    That's scary stuff about Uber. We sold an air conditioner on Craig's List once. It felt a little creepy, but the guy turned out to be very nice. Didn't kill or maim us. Whew!

    I would never jump out of an airplane. That is the scariest thing to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just got the vet's follow up call on all his tests and Levi didn't have anything that needs treating which was a shock. He still shows has Lyme Disease but high like last year when he was treated for it.

      Craig's List is creepy! I sold my husband's electric wheelchair on it and it turned out great but got I 5-6 of those offers to pay more for it than I had listed if I'd cash their 3rd party check and send them the difference. It's a scam.

      I dated a Vietnam Vet who loved jumping out of planes every Saturday. I got so I couldn't even watch. It's so scary!

      Delete
  11. I wonder why your doctor didn't prescribe you something for dry eye, like Restasis or Xiidra? They work better than merely rewetting the eye 20X a day. (Although Restasis burns like hellfire.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably because he knows I'm don't even do the over-the-counter drops as often as he tells me. He probably thinks I'd do the same with a prescription because I have a hard time getting drops in so I get frustrated.

      Delete
  12. I giggled at your comment about Levi not sharing his diet secrets with you. If he ever does, be sure to pass them on to the rest of us.

    I don't want any part of Uber or Lyft. Maybe it's because of what you mentioned -- don't get into cars with strangers! When I was in Liberia, I never thought a thing about crawling into a taxi or money bus with just whoever, but since there were so few private cars, it just was the way it was. If you needed one of the vehicles, you signed up for it, and if someone was going to Monrovia, everyone who needed to go piled in.

    When I had my cataract surgery, I used the transportation provided by my eye clinic, and it was wonderful. There wasn't any requirement that someone stay with me, so it worked out just fine. Both of the drivers I had picked me up at my door, took me in to Houston, and reappeared after surgery. They knew when to come, because the nurse called them to say I was ready for release. Easy-peasy. At Houston eye clinic, I believe the drivers actually are employed by the clinic, which adds security.

    I can offer you some assurance that a car accident doesn't necessarily lead to death. A week ago last Monday, I was coming home from Kerrville and had to take a bit of evasive action to avoid an erratic driver. I ended up in a ditch, with the car nose down in the mud and the back wheels in the air. To make things even more fun, the car was canted to the right at a 45 degree angle. I got out without a scratch, and called 911. The dispatcher sent a lovely officer, who called a lovely tow company, and after this-and-that, they got me out and wired the front fenders up so I could drive home without them flapping in the breeze.

    Believe it or not, the damage was all cosmetic. There had been so much rain the ditch was soft mud, and it cushioned the blow. Even the headlights were fine. I drove home with no problem, and by Friday the car had been fixed up and I was back on the road.
    It was an experience, I'll say that. I got a fancy new RAV4 as a rental car and hated it. Too big, too heavy, too whatever. I'm glad to be back to my little Princess!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our new eye clinic services several counties and picks you up and brings you back, like your Houston eye clinic. Cataracts is all they do, which means they are highly experienced but don't know you like your own doctor does. Toss up on if one is better than they other.

      That sounds like a very scary accident! Glad you and your car made it out with little damage. You were lucky!

      I had to rent a car this week, too, but I told them I wanted a small, low tech car and I got one. Still didn't like driving someone else's car!

      Delete
  13. Vet care for pets has really escalated in services and cost sounds like. If I was younger and more agile on my feet i might be tempted to try jumping from a plane. Kinda ironic considering I climbed a fire tower one time, but when it was time to come down, because of those open-back steps I ended up having to scoot down on my bum. I recall reading about Leonardo anatomical dissections. We have city Sr. ride systems, one of which utilizes local area cab service, I think, but at a significant reduced rate minimum. I, too, have encountered medical procedures requiring someone be present before they’d let me leave so couldn’t just take a cab. Our local weekly newspaper had a services announcement advt for a Girl Friday, so I called her to see if she’d do that kind of thing. Coincidentally, I discovered she lived just a few blocks from me and had just taken her husband for the same procedure a couple weeks earlier. So, I took the low cost Sr. service called Get About to the hospital; paid her $20 an hour minimum to come in at end to pick me up. Hosp. people just needed to see a warm body I guess cause I didn’t know her from Adam and they didn’t ask. She just dropped me off at the house and I was on my own. I’ve not tried Uber or Lyft but know others who have and like the I’ve been getting promos for Go Go Grandparent but there are limits as to what they do and I haven’t talked to anyone who has used them. I had security screen doors installed — I can see out but they can’t see in. Think it’s wise to use caution if choose to open door.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are cheaper vets in town and a lot of the services he gets are optional. He's my kid and I go there because it's the closest place to where I live.

      Never heard of a screen like that. Sounds like a nice feature. I lived in this house five years without any kind of screen and it did feel safer when I finally got one.

      For a city as large as mine I'm shocked we don't have more options for senior rides. If you are really poor they have options but they are not available to everyone. The twenty bucks an hour for the Girl Friday is reasonable.

      Delete
  14. If you find Levi's secret, share it. I have a visiting vet and it's great. No more vet office visits with Herself, Queen Lizzie.

    I don't use Uber/Lyft because I don't have a cell phone. Otherwise, I'm still not sure about it. Others swear by it, but I haven't locked into that yet. And I think our eyes are on the same level. My appointment is in June. Meanwhile, drops... Ick! Happy weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, I do know Levi's secret. His after 7:00 treats are all vegetables. I am trying to follow his lead. LOL

      A visiting vet! That's great, never heard of that except for Pet Hospice.

      Delete
    2. Mobile vets are the thing here. There's one that has a large, RV-type vehicle that's outfitted even for minor surgery. It probably costs a good bit, but it's still a great service.

      Delete
    3. I wish we had those here!---well we do for farm animals but that's a different specialty than household pets and we have mobile units that neuter dogs and cats in poor areas of town for free.

      We do have mobile groomers but I've never used one.

      Delete
  15. So, first, holy shit, Jean. You just threw that rape thing in there with a light touch, eh? I see in a previous comment that it is ancient history. Yes, and...my heart hurts for you anyway. Or for the you who was you then.

    I worked at a vet clinic as a tech for a few years back in the 70's. All the things you describe for your visit were very familiar to me. I used to be the tooth cleaner too. Prices have gone up though!

    I've used Uber and Lyft with friends in Seattle, NYC, and with my husband in DC. I never felt afraid. But I've never used one alone. My son and future DIL use Uber all the time...just a fact of city life for them as an option for getting around and especially when they know they will be drinking more than two drinks at a party or concert or whatever. That is very responsible of them and they think nothing of it.

    I have an old fashioned little peep-door I can open to see who is ringing my bell. If I don't know the person I talk through that and often have sent them away without ever opening my deadbolted front door. The one time I ignored the bell, many years ago, the stranger thought I wasn't home and broke in through a basement window. He was making his way upstairs when he heard me call 911. He ran back out but was caught and I had to testify, etc etc. I got an alarm system right after that. I'm pretty locked down! And yes, I'm a scaredy cat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who I WAS back then is the key. It happened 50 years ago and I didn't tell a single person until last year when the Kavenaugh hearing was going on. Many/most woman have something they've never talked about and those senators who didn't believe a woman would keep something like that to herself were full of shit.

      That's the danger one faces when you don't answer the door. I'm glad your intruder was caught! That had to be scary.

      You sure have had a lot of interesting work experiences!

      Delete