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 17, 2021

One High, One Low and One Strike Out


Guess who I saw for lunch on Monday! Two of my old Gathering Girls pals. I’d tell you how that came about but then I’d have to swear you all to secrecy since it’s no longer my responsibility to organize anything. (Hint: I was looking for ways to fill up time while my house was listed.) Four of them RSVPed to go to a bar/restaurant where an indifferent waitress didn’t even ask us if we wanted to order drink. But at the last minute two ladies bailed out which only confirms what a few of them have been saying about “digestive issues” making the spur-of-the-moment invitations more desirable than the ones from ye olden days when we did fixed dates and times on a calendar. I accept this change and challenge of aging friendships, but don’t get me started on my wish-it-wasn’t-so-isms. I wanted us to be like the characters on The Big Bang Theory or Friends where re-runs would keep us forever together, fun and young and playing off each other’s humor twice a month like clockwork. Not going to happen so I'll take what I can get.

Tuesday I was supposed to have a full battery of screening tests: 1) to evaluate my stroke risk carotid artery plaque build up, 2) get a peripheral arterial disease profile, 3) an osteoporosis risk profile---already know this one but the bundle of tests is cheaper when you don’t pick and choose---4) an abdominal aortic abdominal aortic aneurysm screening and 5) an atrial fibrillation screening. They're not covered by insurance and you don’t need a doctor to order them through Life-Line Screening but for $150 it gives you piece of mind. It didn’t matter because Monday night I got a call wanting me to reschedule the tests to late September---the week before I move---because they were going to be understaffed. I got a little---read that a lot---upset. They threw me this curve ball a half hour before my realtor was due to present the offers I wrote about in my last post so my nerves were already flying higher than a kite in a thunderstorm. I apologized to the poor woman for reacting to her request like a whiny child but I didn't reschedule.

Five years ago when I got those same tests done I, of course, showed the results to my primary care doctor and I asked if they were a waste of money. He side-stepped the question by saying if we had any reason to suspect anything was wrong we could order these tests and insurance would cover them. But my husband had a football sized abdominal aortic aneurysm that was ready to burst any minute that they found while looking at his kidneys for something unrelated. They had him in an emergency, 10-11 hour surgery that same afternoon. People pay more than $150 for something they’ll wear less than dozen times before sending it off to Goodwill, so I reserve the right to get judgy with anyone who judges me for wanting to spend $150 this way when I really, REALLY need a new pair of shoes.

Wednesday I walked out of the Infusion Center after getting my IV bag full of Reclast for my brittle bones and I felt like a puddle of pudding. I sat in my car trying to get warm because they keep that place as cold as a meat locker and even though they give you a heated blanket to snuggle under its never enough to warm me up. Puddles of pudding are not safe to drive so I waited behind the steering wheel of my Trax, the summer sun beating down thru the windshield until I no longer felt like an elder in a tribe that sends their grandmothers off on icebergs to die. It was 11:00 when I left the parking lot and suddenly I was starving. An Atkins shake I had earlier was supposed to keep hunger away for four hours but it failed to live up to its promise. Had I not been driving I might have written the company a stern letter of complaint using lots of explanation points.

On the road my car knew that in my condition it needed to take me to the Guy Land Cafeteria which---surprise, surprised---was filled with old men hence my nickname for the place I will miss after I move. Some of those guys were racks of bones and looked like they should have been at the Infusion Center with me. Others looked like they were hiding bowling balls under their shirts. I ordered the super breakfast because it came with hash browns. Then I wondered if I might be pregnant because I haven’t wanted or ordered hash browns since the ‘70s.

I love people watching but frankly the old men at Guy Land that day were too bland looking with their ash white, paper thin skin and gray hair that matched their muted plaid shirts. (Or was my cataracts telling me that?) Either way, maybe I read too many romance books while my house was being shown because I tried to imagine what some of these old guys looked like in their primes. I got nothing. 

When three guys at the next table started talking about passing kidney stones through their penises I left before I was tempted to over share the woes of having urinary track infections. I’d much rather get my penis talk in fictional conversations in romance books, thank you very much. Although that word rarely comes up in contemporary "hot" romance books---no pun intended---and the euphemisms used in the last century when I started reading the genre are few and far between. Nope, now they go straight for the ‘C’ word and aren’t you glad you came by today to learn that bit of genre reading trivia.  ©

39 comments:

  1. Well, I have always been rather fascinated by the Names that Guys come up with for their package... not that Women aren't equally Creative about Names for ours. *winks* You are hilarious, I can never Imagine what Old Guys might have looked like in their Primes, tho' a scant few have held up quite well so they were probably quite Hot in their Day I would Imagine!? As for: I wanted us to be like the characters on The Big Bang Theory or Friends where re-runs would keep us forever together, fun and young and playing off each other’s humor twice a month like clockwork. Not going to happen so I'll take what I can get. Le Sigh, at least now I know I'm not the Lone Ranger in having those Fantasies... I think the vast majority of my Inner Circle are now Dead, so we'll just have to gather in the Afterlife some day I suppose. I'm to the place now where Casual Ties dominate the Social Circles I move in and it's just not the same as the Ride Or Die Friendships of Yesteryear. Getting to meet and know New People isn't that easy to go Deep relationally... since, when I meet someone New that clicks, they never live anywhere close by and I'll probably never see them again either... or at least not regularly, since I don't go out much anymore.

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    1. When I first got back into reading romances after not touching the genre for decades I was shocked by the crude language in the so-called hot romances. After reading a pandemic worth of them I'm kind of afraid I blurt out the "c" and "P" words somewhere inappropriate. Not that I'd never heard them in the bedroom before but--- My favorite male euphemism is "junk." Makes me laugh every time. LOL

      Changing friendships as we age and not being able to form new, deep ones is one of the hardest things to face about get older. My husband was my best friend. He and other close friends I have/had took decades to form and my peer age group doesn't have decades anymore to do that. No time for shared experiences that bond you. We can have fun together but when my peer age group needs support they turn to their families. And rightly so but it's still a part of aging the we do have to accept with a heavy dose of melancholy. I envy the closeness some of my friends have with daughters and granddaughters.

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    2. Jean, I sometimes envy the closeness some people have with all of their Family members. Our Family is far flung and there are some members not well enough to sustain close relationships due to their Mental Illness and/or substance abuse History. Princess T might be the one I might have a chance of being close to for a longer period, but you never know, when Kids grow up and get their own Lives, where they might end up deciding to live, travel to, invest their Time. As for Friendships, you're correct, we don't have the Time now to invest in Shared long-term History with new people, so it's not the same as those Lifelong Friendships. The Man is a Best Friend too, we've spent more time together now than I have with just about anyone else.

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  2. I'm reading this as I begin my Saturday morning. It's wonderful to begin the weekend with a laugh and also with a gladness that you've made it through the awful time with people in and out of your house. What a lot you've managed.

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    1. I don't think there is a single person on earth who hasn't managed a lot of things in their lives. Somehow when you write stuff down they take on a life of their once and seems like more. Still, when I look back I'm often amazed at all that I've done and I have never been a mom so there's a whole part of "normal life" paths that I've never been on that others have.

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  3. Of all the things I would have hated about selling a house, having to absent myself while it was being shown would have been near the top of the list. You certainly managed to fill up the time with productive or amusing pursuits -- but I can imagine how glad you are to have that over.

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    1. I did not like it at all! Having to be up and ready to roll out of the house with little notice was so hard. I didn't cook at home, didn't do anything that could make a mess. The fact that is was all over in 4 1/2 days instead of the 7 I'd been told to expect left me kind of shell shocked.

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  4. Wow...well, you can't say you don't have blog fodder lately. LOL. I commend you for listening to the old guys as long as you did. My DH plays golf with a band of them, and the stories are something, let me tell you. They all have something to share in the Organ Recital. /wink I also contend that the guys who were hot when they were young go on thinking they are as they age. (Hint: they're not.) And some (not all) of the guys who were goofy looking in their youth age really well. Such if life, I suppose.

    Keeping friends as we age is a challenge, isn't it? One of my besties recently moved to be closer to her kids. We still text and talk on the phone, but it's not like saying, "Let's meet for breakfast tomorrow."

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    1. I just mentioned in a comment above to Dawn about how as we age our peer age group draws closer to their families for the kinds of things we used to share as deep friends.

      Old guys who think they are still hot are really funny to watch and listen to. Where as old women who still think they've got it going in Queen-of-the-Prom department for some odd reason brings out the disgust in me. Not sure I liked them much when they were young either so there's that. LOL

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  5. Wow. That was a lot.

    Quite a contrast to your romance novel world, for sure.

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    1. A lot of what? LOL Non-sense? Too much blog fodder? I could teach a class about prostate problems from what I've learned while eavesdropping at the Guy Land.

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    2. Your comment about the men talking about passing kidney stones through their penises had me laughing out loud. Recently my daughter and granddaughter decided I should join a liberal Democrat dating site, so they signed me up and created a profile. I get up to 4 matches every Wednesday. So far, all the ones I've gotten are from men in their mid-seventies who're looking for "a sensuous, passionate soulmate." Come on, dudes! You know your equipment doesn't work anymore and mine is disinterested and has been out of commission since my hysterectomy 20 years ago. Get real!

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    3. Oh how funny! I'm petty sure we both know what "a sensuous, passionate soulmate" is. It was on a site like that where another blogger met an older guy who brought a 'penis pump' to their first date.

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    4. A penis pump on the first date??! I would get up and run out. Lol.

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    5. She sent him packing. Back in olden days of my dating hopeful guys would carry a condom in their wallets. Penis pumps are harder for hopeful guys to hide. LOL

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  6. OMG! I opened this over my morning coffee and have almost spewed it across the room laughing! Love this funny post! Also, I'd go for the scan too. I love scans. I feel like these days, when doctor's exams involve them not having me disrobe and not even touching me as they sit at computers and type in answers to questions, they do not have a great chance of catching anything wrong with me. LOOK AT ME! LOOK INSIDE OF ME! ORDER SOME LABS! I have the great good fortune to be pretty healthy, but I'm always sure something is in there that they are missing. They only react to symptoms and it might be too late by then! I'll miss the Guy Land Cafeteria reports from you. :)

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    1. Me too! I love any test where I don't have to take my clothes off. The dermatologist is the worst!

      There will be old men at the CCC where I'm moving but writing about people who could someday find out what you wrote would not be nearly as much fun.

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  7. P.S. I'm feeling sad your Gathering Girls get togethers have waned. I have been lamenting lately that all of my friends are my age or older, with lots of sadness and challenge in their lives, which I share of course since I'm also on the older side, but I am actively seeking the company of some younger women I know too. (Younger being 40's and 50's!) I want a variety of life experience, energy, interest in my social life. But as we age, it's easy to get "silo-ed" into the "senior" category and naturally the challenges we face as we grow older will manifest in loss, even the loss of a close group of friends. Hoping you will find new connections once you are moved to the new place!

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    1. I know I will find new connections but not necessarily close friends---not going to happen at my age. I'll be happy if I can connect with some people who get my sense of humor.

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  8. Hope you can get your gathering girls rolling again. Maybe a trip with them to Guy Land? Guy Land was such a hoot. I would probably get kicked out for giggling. Where did you say it was?:))

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    1. We used to go to the Guy Land Cafeteria all the time, but I recently learned some of them would rather skip around to a variety of places. I love that place not only for people watching but also because it's big enough that we could sit for 2 1/2 hours without feeling like you're making someone wait for a table or cutting a waitress out of their tips because there is no tipping in at Guy land. I go there alone to write.

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  9. You are on fire with this one, Jean! So enjoyed your slice of life musings about your recent outings and encounters...you have a gift, that's for sure. Thank you,

    Deb

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    1. Not sure about the gift part---it eels more like hard work and the brain exercise I get from writing, but thank you!

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  10. This post made me laugh and that felt good

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  11. This post was a hoot! I needed to switch gears and laugh. I agree about medical tests, 100%. Doctors do their best, but truth be told, most of them order the same routine blood tests year after year. There are some hidden disorders that can be detected by scans before it's too late. A little more peace of mind is priceless.

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    1. Yes, and what those tests pick up are important.

      Laughter is good.

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  12. I love your writing and I love your life.
    Your post has made my day.
    The meme was a killer too.
    Thank you.

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    1. I can say the same about your posts and writing. The meme you used today is one I've been saving in case I had a place to put it. I think our sense of humors are the same.

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  13. That's too bad about the scan. Andy gets the works every couple of years just in case. I'm just so glad the house selling is over. I would hate that.

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    1. If I had to do it over I would have let her reschedule me. The scans don't take long and they only come to our town twice a year.

      Me too on the selling the house. Now the moving part looks overwhelming. But I'm on the last day of my mini vacation so I'll start worrying about that tomorrow.

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  14. I've wondered about those tests. I know another person who had an issue and didn't have this but through a test for something else found a cancer issue in a nearby body part. My theory is the more distance they can cover, the better it is -- and you're right about the cost.

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    1. There are a lot of things that sneak up on you and by the time you have symptoms the treatments are really invasive and costly where if you catch them sooner you're much better off.

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  15. It's true, the last few romance reads that I read all used the "c" word instead of penis. I think that's just the thing to say now a days and I hadn't really noticed until now.

    If it makes you feel better to get the tests then you should do it.

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    1. The "C" and the "P" words are definitely a tread in genre fiction now but guys have talked that way for a lot of decades. Used to offend me to no end but now I'm desensitized. LOL

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  16. Medical tests, whether ordered by a doc or pursued on my own, make me cranky. All of them. They're looking for trouble and while I understand the value of it in theory, I don't know that I like the idea of intentionally looking for trouble. After all, if you want to find some, you will. Usually at my expense it would seem.

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    1. Interesting way to look at it, Ally. I prefer to see them as preventing minor issues before they become life threatening issues. The things they find are not going to go away on their own so I'd rather treat them before they become untreatable.

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  17. Medical facilities seem to keep their temperatures at optimum temperatures for expensive machinery, not human beings. I suppose the upside is that being cold burns calories -- thus your hunger afterward. My all-time favorite TV show, Northern Exposure, once did a hilarious episode about people counting calories -- trying to get as many as possible -- to bulk up for the Alaska winter.

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    1. I loved that show too! Even have a season on a DVR tape although I don't remember that episode you mention or any other. Mostly I remember the writing and humor as being smart.

      Keeping the temperatures cool for the machines makes a lot of sense.

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