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

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Summer Heat and Bad Bones



While trying to research which animals on earth like heat as much as I do I got sidetracked reading about the Hippopotamus. Did you know their name comes from the Ancient Greek language and literally means ‘river horse’? Of course you do, you probably read Let’s Meet Mr. Hippo to your children or grandchildren. You probably also know they can run faster than humans, can hold their breath under water for five minutes and they spend most of their time in the water. Little old childless me missed all that trivia. At OneKindPlanet.org they also say that, “Hippos sunbathe on the banks of rivers and lakes to warm themselves when it’s cool out. They take skin care seriously though and secrete their own natural sunscreen to keep their skin moist and prevent it from drying out and cracking. The sunscreens pinkish-red color led people to believe that hippos sweat blood, but in reality, they don’t sweat at all.” I might not secrete my own moisturizer and sunscreen but I don’t sweat either....at least not until the temperature gets in the high-nineties. But it’s a good thing hippos have that secreting sunscreen super power. Can you image how much it would cost to cover a three-four ton hippo with Hawaiian Tropic AntiOxidant+ Sunscreen Lotion just to have it submerse itself under water and wash it all off?

This week was bone week for me. I had my old-lady required bone density test Wednesday and I've got the long awaited bone infusion of Reclast coming up tomorrow---that would be yesterday to blog readers who read posts on the first day they go live. Confused? All you really need to know is they aren’t supposed to be back-to-back like that but the pandemic has done crazy things with scheduling---or I should say to rescheduling. Which brings me to another question to ponder. Did you know that of all the vertebrates in the world the one with the fewest bones are sharks? Only their jaws are bone and everything else in their skeletons are made of cartilage. If my bones get any more porous I’m going to start living in a lake where I’m less likely to break a bone, assuming I can find a body of water without sharks or hippos. There’s something about their worldview that makes them both very aggressive which probably explains why mermaids are extinct. 

We all know about mermaids but I was shocked to learn that there was a male counterpart, a merman, who was first recorded in early Babylonia. When I was reading about mermen I thought about the Progressive Insurance TV commercial where they’ve photo-shopped the top half of a man to a motorcycle and a real man is asking him, “So what’s it’s like to be a Motour?” like he was a sub-species of Homo Sapiens. If everything on earth was destroyed by an asteroid but that commercial somehow survived and was discovered by explorers from another planet, they’d think the Motour was once a real life-form on earth.That leads me to believe that the artists from ancient Babylonia who first “photo shopped” mermaids on canvas with oils are laughing their heads off in eternity because people are still making money off their little mermaids. Today’s mermaid images, however, don’t have bare breasts. Ponder that one. Where do modern mermaids shop for bras, for example? And wrap your head around the fact that people a couple of centuries back could go to museums and view bare breasts around every corner but showing a woman’s ankles while getting out of a carriage was considered scandalous. Now, seeing ankles is benign but---gasp---don’t let a woman nurse a baby in public. Don’t get me started on that rant. I’ve got one.

Back to my bones: And back to the Greek Language. Did you know that ‘osteoporosis’ literally means “porous bone” and a bone density test is shorthand for a bone mineral density test? It measures the calcium and minerals deposits or lack thereof in our bones. My appointment was just to see the doctor’s x-ray technician and I have to go back on the 29th for him to talk to me about the six pictures she took. Actually, she took eight but she had to delete two because she forgot that I’m left-handed and the doctor wants hip shots on the non-dominate side of the body as part of his bone density set of scans. 

Surprisingly, the orthopedist’s office was the least Covid-19 careful place I’ve been to since our state started opening back up. That surprised me. Tomorrow I’ll spend the afternoon at the infusion center getting my bone infusion treatment, and judging by the ‘rules of engagement’ the infusion center outlined over the phone, they will be more careful that the orthopedist's office and slightly less care than my hair salon. Wish me luck but of course by the time you read this it will be pass time for your wishes to work. However, I can tell you one thing, I won’t turn down the heated blankets they offer you at the infusion center. It’s always cold in that place! ©
 
The Mermaid by John William Waterhouse
In 1842 Dr. J. Griffin, presented this dried specimen to the British Lyceum of Natural History as proof that mermaids were real, turned out to be the tail of a fish and the shriveled head and torso of a monkey. He and P.T. Barnum were both in the business of presenting oddities to the public for the price of a ticket.

36 comments:

  1. I knew hippos liked heat. I knew that there were mermen. But I didn't know that osteoporosis meant porous bone. I think the skeleton creature is creepy. And not a real thing, but creepy nonetheless.

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    1. I don't know how I got to be as old as I am and never heard about the mermen. Guess my education in mythology is lacking.

      That skeleton is creep but a good example of the lengths they went to fool the public to come to freak and human oddities shows.

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  2. I have had two medical appointments in July, both just general checkups. The one with a female doctor was far more stringent with regard to COVID protocols: no chairs in the waiting area; no other patient at my time slot; sanitizer everywhere.

    My male doctor (neurologist) was the opposite: a shared waiting space with two other male surgeons; waiting area full of chairs and magazines; one bottle of sanitizer at reception for the surgeons; three of us waiting at a time; no sanitizer for patients outgoing from reception.

    I'm seeing this male/female attitude holding true pretty much all over around here.

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    1. That's insane for doctor's offices to still have magazines in their waiting rooms. The only medical place I've been that didn't have every other chair turned to the wall or taken out of the room was at the male bone doctor's office. When I go back for my test results I am not going to ask him about it because if he turned out to be a supporter of the president I'd cry. He's a great surgeon!

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  3. Ha! I read your comment about not sweating until it hits the 90s and thought, "What kind of humidity are we talking here?" I don't know exactly where you are, so I just picked a couple of Michigan sites, and found a bit of an answer. The humidity there is between 65-70%, and right now it's 91% here. I start sweating the minute I open the front door!

    I've never heard of mermen, other than as a joke -- like 'merpersons.' As for that skeletong: well, we humans do like our curiosities, although I prefer the more natural ones, like doubled flowers.

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    1. Yup, that's the range of our humidity, even with our high temperatures right now...we're having a heat wave and everyone is complaining about it but me.

      I was really surprised by the mermen and found lots of ancient artwork of them. Glad someone, who I consider very well educated like you, also hadn't heard of them.

      For a time, traveling shows of oddities were common back in the 1800s. I'm sure Griffin's mermaid made him a bit of coin before it was outed by science.

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  4. Hard to believe a doctor's office would be so lax in protection.
    I agree it can be a male thing. My primary is a woman and she is great and appalled at the people who refuse to wear masks...

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    1. I was really quite annoyed that they were careless in the doctor's office. If my hair dresser is mandated by law to take my temperature and has removed magazines and complies to both a doctor could too.

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  5. Had no idea there were mermen but amused by the prospect.
    Your orthopedist's office lack of care would have bothered me. My PC finally got with the program and now all are masked in his office. We always were but the nurses and techs weren't before. Don't they keep up?
    That skeleton was down right scary looking. Glad Griffin was finally outed.

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    1. I kind of wonder if the lack of masks on their part is because they're around sick people all the time and just didn't take it seriously at first. It's not the norm, though, thank goodness.

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  6. Hippos are extremely agressive. and can be deadly and dangerous including to humans, I missed if you said that..and other animals have nothing on them. If there were maids there had to be men, right? I've yet to have an osteo test although I should. But I take piles of D3, eat lots of dairy and so far no issues. Knocking of course on wood.

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    1. Hippos are nothing to mess with, that's for sure.

      I've always eaten a LOT of dairy and other calcium rich foods from childhood on. But I've also taken hypothyroidism medications since I was 14 or 15 and those drugs leach the calcium out of your bones. Cures one thing, creates another.

      Most women find out they should have gotten a bone density test when they break their first bone which is sad. It should be a routine scan for women over a certain age and since most insurances will pay for them every two years, there is no reason to skip getting one other than doctors get careless with women's health.

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  7. EW! That would annoy me to be in any office who is not keeping up with the safety procedures. ESPECIALLY a doctor's office! Board of Health should get an anonymous letter to do a safety check on them.

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    1. Not my style to do anonymous reporting. I'm either annoyed enough to find another place to do business or I'll be up front about my complaints. I have a long list of places I boycott in my head. LOL

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  8. I think I knew all of that stuff about Hippos but I don't think I learned it from reading to my kids. I watch a lot of nature shows and probably learned it from one of them. Anyway, enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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  9. I have osteopenia in my hips, so I know what osteoporosis means. My doctor wants me to go on drugs for it, but so far I've said no. And my oral surgeon was happy to hear that. Good luck with your infusion! Do you have side effects for a while after it?

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    1. There are a few oral drugs I would not take either because they adversely effect your teeth, known side effect if you stay on them over five years. But I've had very good results with the infusion with my bone scans showing not only stopping bone lose but building them as well.

      The only side effect I've ever had---and this is my 3rd or 4th yearly treatment is I'm tired for a few days. Some people feel like they get the flu. The treatment helps your body lay down calcium inside your bones, especially in the first two week thus you have to be diligent with stuffing yourself with extra calcium rich foods then to get the max benefit. Oral medication for osteopenia and osteroporosis only helps with strengthening the outside of your bones is the way it was explained to me.

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  10. Love the Gaff in the last pix. Hippos are some of the most dangerous creatures on earth, and yet they appear so docile, don't they? Guess they kill more people than Crocodiles. Hope your Bone Test goes well, I'm considering cancellation of my follow-up with the Specialist since she isn't going to do anything but charge me to say what she said six weeks ago... so why take the risk of another Lab and her Waiting Room... both Petri Dishes for COVID.

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    1. Next blog will give more details on bone test but won't know the final results until the doctor can read them on the 29th.

      I knew you'd like that last picture. Reading your blog has built up my tolerance for looking at medical oddities and circus fakes like that. LOL

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  11. Love the monkey/mermaid. You sound as bad a me watching the Nature Channel or History Channel. I like odd facts. It gives you something to think about besides naked breasts or ankles.

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    1. I do like learning odd or amazing facts. A few years down the road they'll delight me all over again when I forget already knew such and such.

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  12. A fun post, I enjoyed that. Yes, I knew your Latin etc. allusions but that doesn’t make it less fun to have it in your inimitably offhand style. Talk about a Motour, have you seen the ancient Greek myth's Minotaur ?

    Most of the time - particularly right now with Covid19 - I am glad I don’t live in the US, but I envy you your regular bone density exams and treatments. True, we don’t pay for our medicals in any way, but for those who can afford it, the US system works. The German system is good, but I am now too old to swap countries again. Pity that old age makes you so dashed careful.

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    1. I love it when someone "gets" my offhanded writing style. Thanks for that.

      I just looked up the Minotaur you mentioned. Clearly my education in Greek Mythology is lacking. But I'll bet who ever created that Motour commercial had it in mind.

      I have good insurance and I'll only have to pay 20% of the cost of my bone tests and treatment. But not everyone here can say that. It actually costs me more to take the dog to his medical appointments than for me to go to mine.

      I am too old to even visit other countries, let alone move to one. I regret that I didn't do more world traveling when I was younger. My niece makes up for my lacking so I have lived vicariously through her trips aboard. And I love blogs like your that give me a window into what it's like living in another place.

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  13. One thing I noticed over the course of my career in science, is that people “in the biz” sometimes think the safety protocols are only for newbies and outsiders, not for them because they be EVER SO SMART AND EXPERIENCED. And by people I mean men, mostly. I’ve had to reprimand people (men) over and over again who told me with great condescension that they have been doing this job for XX years, girlie, and never had an accident/incident and who am I to tell them they have to wear personal protective equipment now?!
    I don’t think this is only in science professions either. I have heard of people (again, I mean men) bypassing safety protocols in other jobs - like construction and high-speed production facilities.
    They would rather be fingerless (or dead) than thought of as wimpy, for following the rules.

    And now we are seeing this attitude with respect to the pandemic and what the experts are suggesting (or mandating) as safety protocols to put in place. So I am not surprised to read from other commenters that things are lax in some health professionals’ offices.


    Deb

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    1. You are so right about men who skip safety protocols. It is a macho thing, I think.

      A day or two ago my state governor changed the mandate to wear masks in places where others are at to an order with a $500 fine if you don't. Businesses are supposed to refuse service to anyone not wearing them.

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  14. My two doc appointments have been very careful and same with lab and XR. My dentist even told me that while they were open, given my lung issues I should wait three more months. I appreciated that. Good luck with the appointment.

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    1. Our state has done a good job giving guidelines out to places so they are safe for opening up, has it. I have a dentist appointment this week and then I'm done with the medical community until late fall.

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  15. You are certainly a font of information in your post today! Quite a range of interesting topics! I have had a lot of doctor appointments in the last few months due to surgery I had at the beginning of June. All have been very careful about masks and waiting room space except for the eye doctor I saw. Their office was way too busy for my liking. I have osteoporosis also but only take lots of calcium and vitamin D. I used to take Boniva but then read so many bad things about it that I decided to stop. I do always worry about falling tho. The joys of growing older...

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    1. My mom used to break ribs just from riding in a snowmobile, had to give it up. And I've broke bones in my foot just from walking down steps and other bones in falls. I, too, take lots of calcium and vitamin D. The infusions don't have the same nasty side effects as the oral stuff.

      Ya, the joys of growing older ...LOL

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  16. Going to the dentist was an interesting experience. They have you call from your car, complete the normal update notes outside with the pens and forms provided outside their door. Then they check you in, they come and get you, take your temp and have you use hand sanitizer on the way in. The hygienist is dressed in full gear - mask, gloves, face shield, etc. They have their names on their face shields at forehead level, as they all look the same in this gear. And the dentist looks the same too. But the service was the same and my teeth were happy to be there. Next week I have a crown prep, so I'll be seeing them again. Ick. But it's that or lose my teeth, I guess. Soon I'll have more crowns than original equipment teeth. LOL.

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    1. I'm going to the dentist tomorrow. I hope they are as careful as yours. Speaking of your dental clinic, I think I'll be going there in the fall. My dentist announced he is retiring so tomorrow I'll have no ties to the place. (He was a personal friend before becoming a dentist and WAY south of town.) So I'm thinking I'll change to your clinic which will be within walking distance after I move. Might as well start learning the neighborhood I'm shocked that he's retiring young. Got his kids through college and wants to do something different.

      Crowns are better than toothless. LOL

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  17. I went in for one doc appt a couple weeks ago. Super careful. My husband had shoulder surgery last week. Super careful. I'm surprised by your clinic. Seems a bit irresponsible.

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    1. It was irresponsible. I just went to the dentist and their office was suited up better than asteroids. Even the woman answering the phone and booking new appointments.

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  18. All those medical places have their temperatures set to keep the machinery comfortable, not the patients. I went for my two-month delayed dentist appointment today -- just a routine cleaning. I waited in my car until the hygienist was ready for me, and I was quite happy that they were only using hand tools, none that would produce aerosols. It did seem strange to be indoors with another human being without my mask on -- the first time that has happened since March.

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    1. Now that makes sense. When I mention how cold it was at the infusion center the nurse hooking me up said, "It is? It seems hot in here to me." And yet all the patients sat under heated blankets.

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