Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. 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. (Just remember I'm looking through my prism which may or may not be the full story.) Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, February 4, 2023

The Homecoming!


The first time I walked into the cafe for lunch after my time away I got a standing ovation. I don’t know if I was truly missed or if they were just anxious to hear some tales from the future care level here at the continuum care complex. I’m the first of our ‘inaugural class’ so to speak whose had a health issue and was able to come back after Respite Care. One lady had gone there but ended up having to move permanently in the assisted living level, a few have died and three or four were able to just have the nursing services---a nurse plus an OP and PT come to their apartments as I will have through out February. There is still a danger of getting pneumonia if I don’t keep moving. Even if I wanted to laying around that isn’t an option because it still hurts too much, like I’m wearing a bra that is four sizes too small. They tell me that you can’t inflate your lungs all the way when you lay down with broken ribs.

I know one thing. The next time someone here gets ill or is recovering from something I’m going to be more responsive---beyond just dropping a card in a basket that always appears in our mail room when someone gets sick. I’ve offered to walk my neighbor’s dog when she was sick but that little stinker won’t walk with just anyone. He sits on his butt and won’t leave her apartment with anyone who’s tried. Her daughter had to come over ever day and walk him. I guess that makes him steal proof unless the would-be dog napper was into body building. Robbie is not a dainty little Scottish terrier weighting in at 35 pounds. When he’s out walking and he doesn’t want to go back home he does the sit-and-stay thing too, so his mom has to wait until he’s good and ready to go.

Things people have done since getting home (and before) include delivering boxes from the mail-room to my door, checking in with text messages, emails and phone calls, bringing me desserts from the main dining room, offering to deliver me take-out dinners and help with anything I might need around the apartment like making my bed. I refused all help but I did tell them next week I want someone to go down to cage storage with me just so I’m not down there all alone. It’s a series of hallways with sound proofed walls because of the boiler room near the storage. I accumulated stuff since breaking my ribs that I’ll no longer need and I want that stuff out of sight. I’m realistic, though, and know the odds are good I might need those medical aids again so I’m not donating much now. But I am a little ticked off at the OT who had me order so many things that I really didn’t need more than a week including a toilet seat riser that never even made it out of the box. I probably spent over $250 I didn’t need to spend. I guess everyone has to be mad about something after a health scare. So it might as well be her. The nurse did the same thing ordering me wound care products that I had here at home. Civil war could break out and I could now supply enough to turn me into the Clara Barton of the 21th century.

Speaking of the Red Cross (by way of Clara Baron who, as you probably know, founded the organization). While I was away a total of eighteen days you would not believe how many times the Red Cross and other charities and political groups have sent pitches for donations. Normally I’d use one of those ink rollers to block out my name and address on junk mail like that before tossing them in the recycling bin but the pile was overwhelming so I just torn all the envelopes in half and filled up two entire, plastic grocery store bags. Why I felt compelled to tear them in half I don’t know, it’s not as if someone is going to grab one of those pleas for money and send in a donation in my name. Political surveys, yes, I can understand the need to destroy those. Wouldn’t want a Ultra Trump fan weighing in on the coming agenda for the Democrats via way of those surveys which are just a pretend reason to ask for another donation.

Speaking of politics, one of the first things the kitchen manager asked me when I got back is if I wanted to sign up for the Valentine’s Day dinner, she was holding a place for me. She’s seating the Tuesday group formally known as the Liberal Ladies together at one big table because she needs the smaller individual tables for couples and families. I couldn’t be happier about that. The kitchen manager also visited me while I was in Respite Care and brought a Blue Bell ice cream bar. And did I mention that the very first person to call me after getting into Respite was the woman who caused us to drop the Liberal Ladies Secret Society name and split up into smaller, less obvious tables? I might not be entirely ready to kiss and make up but she acts like she didn’t have a hissy-fit that shook us up and caused us to essentially hide in plain sight. People are a fascinating collection of contradictions and foibles, aren’t we. © 

47 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you're back home and that people are willing to help if you need it. Congratulations and I hope you heal fast. Cheerful Monk

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    1. I'm doing everything I suppose to do to get stronger again. PT thinks I can wean off the walker in a week of so.

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  2. You were missed! And your people cared! That's what life is all about isn't it; knowing that someone gives a damn about us and how we are doing.

    The rib fractures present a real challenge in recovery. With every breath, we are reminded that we hurt, and that we are vulnerable. So glad that you are on the mend; enjoy, absorb the love you are feeling from those around you. It sure will make the recovery process a little bit easier.

    Carole

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    1. I hope so. Sleeping is still a major problem. But last night I took a sleeping pill and actually slept without being woke up by pain or bathroom breaks.

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  3. Of course you would get a standing ovation! Your friends and neighbours at the campus must have missed you terribly. They are not lucky enough to get posts from you a couple of times a week. But I am! šŸ˜

    People are a collection of things, all right! No one is completely good or bad. We are all various shades of gray.

    Deb

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    1. Ah, but what makes us really interesting is that most people don't know they are neither all good or all bad. Self-image takes a life time to prefect and isn't always accurate.

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  4. "People are a fascinating collection of contradictions and foibles, aren’t we." Amen sister. And your experiences in the last few weeks have proved that. I'm glad to know that you're back in the swing of things. Stay healthy, okay?

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  5. What a warm welcome for you, Jean. It really does sound like you're surrounded by a group of caring people. Human beings can be a strange lot, that's for sure, but it's just so doggone nice to hear that the woman who went bonkers over your small group, just happened to be your first visitor in Respite. Ya never know what makes a person tick.

    So happy for your ongoing recovery. When you said you feel like you're wearing a bra 4 sizes too small, I began to understand the discomfort. You must feel every single breath. Just keep on keeping on, Jean.

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    1. I haven't even had the heart to have a real bra on, just a sleep bra. It's a weird sensation to want to rip your bra off so you can breathe only to realize you're not wearing one. Can you imagine what those corsets felt like they worn in Victorian times? No wonder they had to have fainting couches.

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  6. Welcome back home -- what an adventure! I think helping people helps us feel better about ourselves. Everyone benefits! So, say yes now and then! I'm glad you liberal ladies will have your own table. That was kind of the un-lib to visit you. Who knows? Maybe you'll be odd friends. (And smart not to go to the bins alone for awhile.)

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    1. After being back nearly a whole week I'm sick of answering questions.Being the center of attention is not my happy place. But it did seem nice to be missed.

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  7. Oh, how wonderful to be greeted so enthusiastically and warmly! That is healing in its own way, certainly. As will being back in your home among friends. Things are looking up, and you're making good choices to speed your recovery. So many positives!

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  8. Well, just as I sat down to comment, the dudes with the spray guns showed up. They're painting our buildings, and one of the things we were asked to do was clear our patios of everything. So, my plants have been shoved here and there, and so on. Now that they're getting to my patio, I'll be able to move everything back outside. I'm glad I was here when they did mine. The buildings have been LaQuinta yellow/orange. Now, they're going to be dove gray and a dusky blue, with deep blue shutters and doors and white trim. So, there's my excitement!

    I'm thrilled that you're back home. I understand the "enough, already" response to being the center of attention, but you're a sign to the whole community that survival is possible. Carry on!

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    1. I love the color scheme you're getting.

      I know. I figured the over the top greeting was as much for the idea that we CAN return from down the line as it was for me.

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  9. Glad you are back in your own apartment and hope recovery continues quickly and smoothly! Can you return some of the unopened products you didn't use?

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    1. Already asked and was told medical stuff can't be returnee. i WISH!

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  10. Your rant about buying medical stuff reminded me of my similar experience with a physical therapist a few years ago. Mostly I resisted her insistence that I buy the various aids that I thought I would use either one or zero times. Her suggestions (including a major house renovation... she "knows a guy who"...) were so annoying that I told her agency not to send her back. I thought there were creative ways to accomplish the same function for the short term using stuff that I already owned. Buying something was the easy way out for her.

    An idea: now that you and likely others in your ccc have this stuff... could you create a "lending library" for residents who have a short term need of a medical assistance device? I realize there are problems associated... cleaning... storing... tracking... retrieving... just an idea.

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  11. Your people missed you! :-) Glad you're settling back in and hope the sleeping and pain get better quickly. That dog sounds bull headed...like our lab. LOL.

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  12. With your standing ovation, it's like you're a soldier coming home from the war when others didn't make it. I'm glad you got that recognition and that you're safely back in your apartment.

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    1. I am the first to go down the care level and come back up, so there is some truth in the fact that the standing ovation was in part for that nugget of hope for all of us.

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  13. I'm not surprised the lady who complained about the Lib Ladies table was one to contact you, because you've indicated she's been caring in other situations, but it reinforces the need to be very general when anything political comes up with anyone whose leanings are unknown. It makes me sad.
    You're healing well and doing great considering that you're aware of every. single. breath. That makes me happy. See how emotionally variable I am?

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    1. You should see how emotionally variable I am. Tonight I lost the heat in my apartment and it's in the teens outside. Lived with it for two hours before it dawned on my to call the security guard to see if he had an emergency number to call. He did and not more than 10 minutes later I had heat again. I cried.

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    2. Well sure you did! You're vulnerable physically AND emotionally when you're recovering. I probably would have too.

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  14. So thankful you are back home for the remainder of your recovery. I bet you are tired of answering all the questions! Put a small recap up on the bulletin board and have a standard email response to copy and paste. I never even thought about all the mail! Happy Homecoming to the Queen!

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    1. We don't have a bulletin board but the concierge put a short message (I wrote) thanking everyone on TV station that crawls on screens in all the main areas of the buildings.

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  15. Sounds like you have been missed and home is place we feel most relaxed

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  16. I'm very happy you are home. I know you're still hurting but sometimes being home makes it hurt a teeny tiny bit less.

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    1. At least at home you can walk around in your ratty bathrobe and not feel bad about it.

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  17. Things are looking up,you,,survived and come out deternined to continue being your self, no matter what. Watch the woman who is all concerned and empathetic. They are not all they seem. Friko

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    1. I know what you mean. People who run hot and cold rarely ever earn my trust again. Unless they are a menopausal woman or a teenage girl and they apologize. I can be friendly again but never friends again in situations like she caused.

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  18. Jean, I've missed so much during my hiatus. I've heard broken ribs are very painful. I'm going to catch up and see how this happened. Take care in the meantime.

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    1. They are painful and I think I've tried to wean myself off the pain meds too soon.

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  19. I'm glad my PT hasn't expected me to buy anything Special. It's good that there at the CCC people seem to rally around anyone whose recovering and assist in any ways they are able. Accept some Help Jean, I'm bad about declining offers too and really, sometimes it's Okay to let someone do something for us when the offer is sincere. Glad you're Home again and a Happy Ending Story, since so many aren't that it must frighten everyone else when few, if any, return after an incident.

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    1. So far I'm the only one of our who moved in together to go to respite and return. And now the billing department started billing me as if I've moved permanently.

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    2. Hope you get the incorrect billing settled... I have my old Diabetic Specialist trying to bill me for Service... I haven't seen her in over a year!!! WTF?! She's the one who refused to renew my Diabetic meds when I was in flux with Medicare kicking in so I dumped her...I could have died without insulin and she knew that...all about the money and I think she could be defrauding Trecate for a Patient she no longer has and trying to get money I don't owe... Dawn the Bohemian

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    3. What a mess, Dawn! Hope you report her to someone. I went to the bank today to stop them from auto withdrawing the money from my A/C and was told I couldn't do it, only they could. Others who've had trouble with them over billing don't get their money returned, they just give you credits for thousands of over charges. The banker told me I could close my account then transfer the money to A new account which I did, didn't trust the CCC to stop the auto withdraw even though I sent them a formal request to do it. I was also promised a corrected statement two days ago and I'm still waiting.

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  20. I'm impressed by how responsive some people have been at your CCC. Maybe because helping someone in need is the christian message and people take it seriously. You've not been a ghost there and a lot of people feel close, or entertained when you're around. An amazing community, liberal ladies and all. Thank God you are seated together soon. Maybe you could make the hissy-fit lady an honorary member?!? So very happy you are up and about!

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    1. Not sure why but I'm lucky to be here. Not a shortage of people who offer help.

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  21. Welcome Home! I'm applauding you too! Your CCC sounds like a perfect place. I am so very happy you found it and that you are held in caring community there (in spite of the occasional "mean girl" -- and guy -- stuff. LOL) And it's wonderful to hear you are on the mend. You are unstoppable!

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    1. I don't know about the unstoppable part. Wait until you hear what I did to embarrass myself in my next post.

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  22. Of course people are delighted to have you back; you're interesting, fun, and entertaining!

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