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, December 23, 2020

I Need a Nondisclosure Agreement with Myself

 I also need a volleyball named Wilson to talk to like Tom Hawks had in the Cast Away movie.  Thankfully, I have a dog even though he’s a boring conversationalist. “Give me a treat!” he barks then repeats: “I said give me a treat. Right. Now!” “Open the door!” “I said open the door. Right. Now!” Ya, Levi’s a demanding housemate who only think of himself. If I need a hug he’s not on board. If I need him to quit barking at the neighbor’s dog, he’ll give me that look. The one that says, “You’re not the boss of me.” But he IS a living organism that's keeping me sane during the pandemic so I put up with him mouthiness. A volleyball would be easier to live with though.

I’ve never thought of myself as a person who needed others around me to be happy. Having no children and working out of my home for the majority of my working years, I’ve spent a fair amount of time alone. But this pandemic is starting to make me feel disconnected from society and not in a good way. Sure, I’m connected through Facebook, e-mails, text messages and through listening to television playing in the background of my life, but the people on the other end of those various forms of communication are starting to not feel real. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like the world is becoming all digitized and robotic and all my social contacts are like Alexa or Siri---voices with no hug-able bodies attached, no eye contact to make them real.

Speaking of Alexa, aside from missing her old voice---they soften the voice to sound more real---I also miss her spelling words for me every morning. My Kindle quit charging and no amount of trouble shooting would bring it back to life. During the pandemic reading trashy books has become my lifeline and this past week I’ve been in reading withdrawn hell. That is until I discovered that my old Kindle 3 still works, after four years of inactivity. Thankfully, I didn’t get around to taking it to electronics recycling and now I won’t. Ever. But without a light-up screen it’s not as good for reading in bed like my Kindle Fire 8 was. I was planning to get a Fire 10 next summer anyway because it has a few features I wanted like Zoom and a better/louder speaker so I can listen to books and I figure the bigger screen will be better for watching movies, when I'm ready to do Netflix's. But I’ve been sitting on my fingers to keep me from ordering the new Fire because I’d just purchased a new computer chair (after my old one broke) and I wanted to pay the credit card off so I could use the points toward the Kindle. Finally the points did show up on my Amazon Card and the wait was worth $54.00. The Fire was also on sale for Christmas so for $100 and taxes a new Kindle is coming my way soon.

I’m not sure who I’ll Zoom but it would have come in handy for an e-Visit with the doctor’s office this week and that will probably be the main way I’ll use Zoom going forward. I’ve got one of those annoying UTI. I kept putting it off calling the doctor because I thought they’d make me come in to the office to leave a urine sample and with the Covid-19 raging in my state a medical office was the last place I wanted to go. I get an UTI every 4-5 years so I was pleasantly surprised that the doctor’s nursing assistant just called in a prescription. 

Aside from the usual annoying problems that an UTI causes I wanted the darn thing under control because I needed to make an appointment with the foot doctor. Across the top of my right arch is painful and by night-time the lower half of my foot swells and I could visualize it causing a blood clot if I let it go on too long. I called the office thinking it takes at least 2-4 weeks to get an appointment but they got me in two days later (today)….on the third day of my UTI medication and thankfully I got through the appointment without having to rush out of the exam room like a cheetah with its tail on fire in search of a bathroom.

I seem to be good at assuming the worst when I’m walking into a doctor’s office. I was sure I had broken a bone and would need to have surgery and/or a cast but the pain was getting too bad to ignore. Turns out the pain IS caused by a broken bone but ones I broke back in the ‘70s. The fracture lines are so full of arthritis that it’s pinching a nerve that is causing the pain, swelling, tingling and needles-and-pins feelings followed by numbness. The She Doctor doubled the dosage of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that I take for my arm pain, wants me to use ice for 15 minutes every night on the foot and she’s sending me to a specialty shoe store to get a pair of shoes that I’m to wear in the house. No more Crocs for me! Ever! And trust me, I hated the woman for that proclamation. In six weeks I’m to go back and if doing all this stuff hasn’t helped she’ll inject some gel along the fracture lines to get some space around the pinched nerve which is the same thing my bone doctor will be doing in my shoulder at my next appointment.

Sometimes we/I spill too much personal information in my posts especially since the pandemic has kept me at home with nothing but the four walls to write about. I mean do faceless Alexa and Siri-like people out in cyberspace really need to know about my UTI or the other innate thoughts rolling around inside my head? That’s a rhetorical question. You don’t need to answer. But I do think I need to sign a Nondisclosure Agreement with myself to set some limits on my what my loosey-goosey standards allows me to type into my blog. Maybe I need to put that down for my first New Year's Resolution. ©

 Photo Note: The cast up above is the actual cast I had on my foot when I broke my foot. I had that thing on for 12 long weeks. I broke several bones in my foot when I missed a step while running down a staircase.

32 comments:

  1. I think most of us have hit a wall regarding the limitations imposed by the pandemic. I know I’m trying to buck up, take a deep breath and find some new strategies for coping. Glad your health issues are being addressed well.

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    1. The pandemic is causing a lot of us to put off health issues, and that's not a good thing, but I'm glad I finally did. My foot and UTI are better already.

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  2. Ouch! I'm sorry for your pain, which sounds awful. Some good shoes with structure and support will help you quite a bit.

    I know this isolation has been really tough. I'm glad you are a prolific diarist. Think of all the people who just blob out in front of a TV all day. Your mind is definitely not going to waste.

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    1. I've been wearing real shoes since I saw the doctor and taking the meds and already my foot is less swollen at night. I do hate wearing shoes, though, but I don't have a choice.

      I hope my mind isn't going to waste. Blogging is the main thing I do to exercise it...which involves more than just writing.

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  3. I think.youll like the good shoes. Not sure where you're going but I get all mine from SAS. I live my fire 10 and amber screen. I think we're all spilling more info than usual during the pandemic.

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    1. I have good shoes for walking, for snow and a pair for going to weddings and funerals. But I don't like wearing them around the house. I was not impressed by the store the doctor (who was new to me since my old doctor retired) sent me to.

      I like my Fire 10 but the light seems to dim and brighten too often and I can't figure out how to get rid of the highlighted passages that other readers mark in books. I'm not the only one bugged by that according to Mr. Google and no one seems to a good solution for turning that feature off in the Fire 10.

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  4. Ouch!It always seems to me that the health issues come with others as if to say, "c'mon we're going to Jean's and they all follow. Uti, arthritis/feet follow me!" At least that is how it happens here.
    And I believe it was a volleyball named Wilson, not an orange basketball. I may be wrong - you'll have to ask Alexa. :-)

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    1. Ohmygod! I just googled it and I was certainly not the only one who wanted to know. You're right, it was a volleyball. So I'm going to edit my post. LOL

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  5. Oh, I am sorry about your medical issues and hope it all clears up soon. I think sharing all of your personal details is exactly what you need to do especially during COVID as it keeps ME sane! Reading blogs is my daily socialization so don't stop!
    Thanks so much! Feel better soon! Stay safe! Happy Holidays!

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    1. I honesty can't imagine how lonely I'd be feeling now during the pandemic if I didn't keep a blog.

      I'm feeling better already. Thanks!

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  6. OUCH! But lucky they just called in a prescription.

    When I moved back to Oregon, I needed slippers to spare me from stepping on Legos. I have slip on Vionic (arch protection!) house slippers that are fabulous. In Maui I wore Vionic flip flops. Support without looking too frumpy. And they are great for bunions (or preventing bunions). At Vionics, Amazon and Zappo. Spendy but worth it to me.

    Good luck with Kindle! You can add a Kindle app to your phone, put your phone in your pocket and listen while you roam about the house. Add Zoom to your computer and I will practice with you.

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    1. Thanks. I just put them on my Amazon wish list. I really need a good pair of slippers because I know myself well enough to know I'll slide out of the habit of wearing tie shoes in the house. We have another specialty shoe store south of town where I want to try...wear I usually go to get my shoes that is 100 times better when it came to service as the one I just went to. They didn't even have a way to measure my foot or have a shoe horn. When I go back to try the shoes they ordered I'm bringing my own.

      That's really interesting about listening to my Kindle app on my phone.

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  7. Hurray for blogging! Dealing with the pandemic has been a breeze here so far. I'm glad you're dealing with the foot and UTI. I stream videos for a couple of hours a day, but I always exercise when I do so my body is in great shape for my age. We always have to add that. :D One thing I stream is The Great Courses Plus, which is good for the mind too.

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    1. Ya, but you like to feed your brain good quality stuff while I like to put pop culture and junk in mind. LOL

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  8. I just want you to know that all your UTI discussions are safe with me.

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  9. UTIs can be pretty awful. Yet I feel every male doctor should experience one. Hear me out. I went to emerg once with a bad infection and asked if I could get the medication that deals with the infection and the pain at the same time (being a veteran of these things) - I had forgotten what it was called - flagyl maybe? Once I mentioned I wanted something for the pain the air changed and I was viewed as a junkie. OMG. Really? I said Doc, I hope you never get a bladder infection but if you do, I hope no one looks at you the way you just looked at me. Imagine feeling like someone is shoving a red hot knitting needle into your urinary tract every time you pee, and needing to pee constantly. Sheesh!

    Deb

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    1. What a perfect description on an UTI. I hope that ER doctor got the point. The pharmacist had to come out and give the "talk" to me. I'm always amazed at how quickly the infections can clear up with the right meds.

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  10. UTI's are a pain in more ways than one. Think I have scar tissue so symptoms limited now to frequency and quantity as only cues I get -- can make early detection a problem. Do want to minimize having them as they do mutate and can require stronger and stronger meds and can be fewer choices to do the job. Glad you've gotten your foot issue addressed as sure want to minimize mobility issues which have hampered my lifestyle.

    Imagine what life would be like without all our tech gadgets during this pandemic. FaceTime, email keep me going with few family and fewer friends still kicking; Zoom for bookclub. Blogging really has been an asset. Hugs limited to pillows! Talking aloud to myself to exercise my voice and don't end up living in my head.

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    1. I'm allergic to some antibiotics so they can't give me the ones that are common. Very scary when doctors can't use all the tools in their box to fix me.

      I do think of live without our gadgets and often think about what it was like to live in a sod house on the prairie back in the day and I ca see why so many people went crazy back then.

      I need to start talking to myself to exercise my voice. That's a good idea.

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  11. Seeing that cast scared me and I guess it's better than that -- but not great. (Sorry about the Crocs.) Add it to the "next thing" on the 2020 list. Let's hope everything eases up soon. It's especially hard during the holidays not to be able to see friends as we did. I get it. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas day in its own way. Different, yes, but still nice.

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    1. I got back from the shoe store the Baby She Doctor sent me to and ordered a pair of Crocs' professional shoes for people who are on their feet all day. I'll take them to my next appointment to see if she'll approve me wearing those for slippers. The Sacony's that the shoe store ordered for me will also need approving. I did throw out my old Croc's slippers because they were past due and I gave a pair to my niece that I hadn't worn but 1-2 times. I'll get around to purging more of my Croc's but I'm still in mourning over them so I won't do it right away and especially not my Jackson Pollock special editions. Those are not going anywhere. Ever.

      On Christmas day---tomorrow I plan on baking scones and making apple sauce. The CCC sales rep dropped off a fruit basket and a neigbhor brought over a bag of apples. I couldn't eat that many raw apples in a year. And I'm fixing a steak so it will be a good day. Hope you have a good one too. With all for decorations up how could you not be in a festive mood?

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  12. Sometimes I'm inclined to TMI too yet those of us who have few to talk to in The Flesh tend to just throw it out there in cyberspace and see if it makes a Connection I guess? *LOL* Online has been my Social Substitute for most of Caregiving Years so Pandemic really didn't Isolate us any more than we already were experiencing really. Perhaps that is why I've handled it better than most people I know who really feel Socially deprived because it's New to them to be. I don't like that I can't Hug people tho'... I'm a Legendary Hugger and people seem to need that all the more when times are difficult... and now they're being Denied even that! Glad you got all your Medical needs taken care of, I avoid Docs offices too as much as possible during Pandemic. I am getting the Oil Changed {complimentary} on my New Truck at the Dealership right after Christmas. We got the Grandchild's Dental done too, just a Cleaning, she had a clean slate, Yay, no problems even tho' she's not nearly Religious enough about Dental Hygiene and it's become a running joke between us when I ask DID YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH... and she Lies and says Yeah and I always know when she hasn't, so she is sure I'm Psychic. *winks*

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    1. Boy your grand daughter is the exact opposite I was at her age. I brushed my teeth so much my nick name was Bucky Beaver after a TV chimerical about tooth paste that used a cartoon beaver bushing his teeth. One year my brother's friend found a big 4 foot tooth paste in a taste bin and gave it to me. I was notorious for walking around the house with my tooth brush hanging from my mouth. I still occasionally like to brush my teeth while walking around. My mom used to yell at me that I was going to wear my teeth out. I think I wanted to be ready for that big first kiss. LOL

      Blogging while being a caregiver was my big lifeline, too. My real time social life was all involved in carting Don to his speech and physical therapies and medical appointments. What I miss is the lectures I used to go to monthly and the lunches with my Gathering Girl pals. I also miss just going out to lunch by myself and writing in the booth at the Guy Land cafeteria.

      Have a good Christmas, Dawn and everyone else reading this.

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  13. Happy to hear you are well. Well, well enough to chuckle over TMI. You know me - I've always preferred the TMI inner world to the TMI outer world. No boredom stalking us in either place! Wishing you a Merry Christmas. We'll all come out of this pandemic, God willing, with a different bucket list to savor.

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  14. So good to hear from you again. We've come a long ways since our early widowhood days, haven't we. And your right about that different kind of bucket list after the pandemic is over. Happy Holidays!

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    1. A very long way since our early widowhood days. lol

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    2. Are you still biking and still creating in your yard?

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  15. Just stopping by with some holiday greetings. I'm sure it's colder up there than it is here, but it's a gorgeous day here -- about 45 or so with blue skies and sun. We ought to begin warming tomorrow, and be back to 60 by sunday. Hoorah!

    My only medical chore in the next week will be setting up an appointment with a new eye doctor. My beloved Dr. is retiring at the end of December. I'm not surprised, since I've been seeing him for thirty years -- if I were him, I'd be ready to retire, too. He was so good, and we both enjoyed photography, so visits were fun. I'll stay with the same clinic, though, so that will eliminate problems with records and such.

    This has been such a good Christmas, for a variety of reasons. I hope yours has been, too!

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    1. My eye doctor retired since the pandemic too and I stayed with the same clinic too. He and I both enjoy painting so we talked art. My foot doctor retired, too, which did surprise me. He was too young but his heart was into Doctor's Without Borders and every chance he got to volunteer for a few weeks he was off overseas. Happy for him but his replacement looks like she's 12 years old.

      It's 20 degrees here now and the weather people say it feels like 9 degrees. I've been inside sorting photographs and slides all week so it was an interesting holiday week. (My next blog topic tomorrow.)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  16. Zoom has been a lifesaver for me. I love the fact that I can have conversations with other people where I can see their faces (no masks!). In September, I organized a Zoom memorial service for my friend who died in the summer. Last month, when it finally got too cold to meet outside, my book group met on Zoom. Tomorrow, I'm hosting my family's annual holiday party as a virtual party on Zoom. One of the things I did early on was to set up a time for a "virtual open house." I invited about a dozen friends to drop in during the "open house" time, and even got a chance to introduce some friends who hadn't previously met to one another. I'm happy to be your Zoom tutor if you want to try it out one day.

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    1. Your virtual Open House really sounds neat. Thanks for the offer. I might take you up on that someday. Right now, it's not a high priority for me but I do think it something I need explore and let into my life.

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