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. Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Jean

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Tipsy Typing, Wine Tastings and my Medical Report

Every 4 or 5 weeks they have a food or beverage tasting or cooking lessons here on my Continuum Care Campus---well, at least here in the independent living building. I shouldn’t be starting a new post now since I just returned from a wine tasting which I did on a practically empty stomach. All I had to eat today was a bowl of cream of chicken soup at lunch time---and the tasting was a 3:00---and I feel a little tipsy. You would not believe all the spelling errors I’m making and I just got started. I’m not going to show them to you because I’m vain about my writing. ‘Self-conscious’ might be a better word/s than ‘vain’ but at the moment I don’t care enough to cipher out the difference. 

We tasted five red wines today and I could feel myself talking louder and sharing more freely than I usually do. I didn’t do that with the white wine or beer tastings or the ice cream tasting and certainly not at the salsa or tea tastings or the pickling demonstration. Ya, I know. Why would they teach a class on pickling veggies to a group of elderly women who probably all did some canning if not a lot of canning in their younger years include me, the Queen of Never Cook When You Can Eat Out. We all asked that same question and I came up with they just want to let us get to know the chef better. One time he taught us how to make a flaming banana dessert. It tasted fabulous but half the women living here won't use their stoves for fear of setting off our super sensitive fire alarms which brings the fire department to our doorsteps, so the idea of us using a blowtorch in our kitchens is laughable.

Anyway, back to Red wine. Red wine and I go back a long time. My mom and dad gave my brother and me a shot glass full of Mogen David Red wine on special occasions starting at age ten. I still have the shot glass that was mine. (Can I hear an "awe, isn't that sweet?") My dad was the son of Italian immigrants and in his formative years he lived surrounded by Italian immigrants in a coal mining community. Even after moving to Michigan before his teens he was tight with his Italian uncles and aunts who also moved here for better jobs in the furniture factories. I barely remember them, except for the stories my dad told, since most of them died before I old enough to pay attention to great aunts and uncles. Hey! Maybe that’s why I’m so obsessed about leaving something behind for my great nieces and nephews to remember me by?

I did this wine taste on an empty stomach because I'm running out of money in my food allowance and I only have $4 to last from now to the end of the month which is three days away as I type this. Don’t feel bad for me, though. I do have TV dinners in my freezer, cereal and soup and sardines in my pantry and if I really wanted to, I could go over my allotted $320 food allowance and they’ll bill my overage on my monthly service fee statement. I could even let it be known that I ran out of money and someone would invite me to dinner if their food allowance was more than they can use up before the 31th. It’s just a point of pride and discipline that I try to stay on a budget so I can break even at the end of the month. That’s getting harder and harder to do because food prices have gone up but not our allowance. My budget allows me two, half price happy hour drinks ($7) and one dessert ($5) per month and I may have to stop that soon.

Most people here either go wildly over or woefully under budget. The ones who have nightly drinks and/or desserts with dinner are in the former group---They don’t care what they spend. The people who don’t like eating on campus are always flush with food allowance money this time of the month. Over the next few days they’ll come down and raid the cafe of all its soft drinks, chips and ice cream bars. Or they’ll make reservations for their entire family and blow all their food allowance at one time.

A few days later: After re-reading the above paragraphs I was pleased that I can still use them in my blog and I only had to make a dozen corrections. Tipsy typing was actually fun. I should do it more often. 

Enough silliness: I’ve been using the search feature on my blog, trying to find out if I’ve written a ‘health report’ recently. I was using the search words ultrasound, ultra-sound and full bladder. The first two brought up old posts and the ‘full bladder’ search brought up a surprising number of posts where I was writing about urinary tract issues. But nothing turned up about the pelvic ultrasound I had recently where they looked at my bladder then stuck a camera up inside me to look for cancer in my female parts. Nope, don’t have any. They thought if I did that might explain why my leg has been swelling up since the Fourth of July. I did find it interesting that I can hold 32 ounces of water in my bladder for two hours. I practiced for three days before the test just to make sure I could do it. As a result I’m now on a medication to suppress bladder urges at night and I’ve gone from getting up 6 to 10 times a night to 3-4 times. I can live with that, but they say you don’t get the full effect of the medication for a couple of months so it could improve even more.

The search for why one of my legs is swelling up started, as I said, on the Fourth of July when I got an ultrasound on my leg looking for a blood clot at ER but that was only the beginning. A followup appointment at my primary doctor’s office with one of his associates put me in a line up of tests like I am a Domino ready to take down the rest of the tiles. Blood tests, urine tests and the pelvis ultrasound are done and coming up this fall is an electrocardiogram, a colonoscopy and endoscopy. The doctor doesn’t think the heart thing will turn anything up but with the later two tests they’ll be looking for something that has been causing the mild anemia I've had for the past three years. I know they’ll find something with the endoscopy but I haven’t confessed that to my doctor, yet. I’ve had some mild swallowing issues for a couple of years now that have gotten worse in the past few weeks. I self-diagnosed that I had a TIA at one point in time and why have an endoscopy and brain scan just to confirm that when there is no treatment other than, "Go forth and eat slower."

The frosting on the cake is that I have a wide-spread rash that gets red and itchy on the leg that swells up. I have to see a dermatologist about since the standard cream my primary gave me isn’t working. It’s the same leg where I had the Mohl surgery for skin cancer. I can’t help thinking that the swelling, the rash and my skin cancer are connected but the four doctors I've seen---ones at UC and ER and two at my primary doc's office---all say words to the effect, “Nope, put your medical license back in the Cracker Jack box where your found it.” Do you hate these medical 'fishing trips' as much as I do? 

Oh, and have I mentioned the dentist wants to replace two of my crowns because the rent on his boat slip is probably due? I told him I have bigger fish to fry right now. He wants a $1,000 above what insurance pays and the crowns I have aren't that old. I miss my old dentist who was a personal friend and never over-sold us stuff we didn't need. Covid caused him to retire early as did my eye doctor and they've both been replaced by kid-doctors who don't look old enough to buy beer.

Until Next Wednesday…. ©

38 comments:

  1. Good luck! I'm sorry about the inflation and the health problems. šŸ™

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    1. Dealing with inflation is something we all are doing. It's not that I can't afford the increases, it's more a point of pride to stick to a budget. I feel pretty good. It's just that I haven't had the medical community go on so many fishing trips in one year.

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  2. OH geeze. That comment goes with the dentist issues. My last dentist kept finding things to do that cost me too much money and now I have just given up going to the dentist. I figure I have enough teeth left I can afford to lose a few. I do hope they figure out the leg swelling.
    I love tipsy typing! That should be a thing. I haven't been able to drink ANY thing since I was on a new med. But we have given up on it and I am good to go! Maybe I will try it later this week. I'm not really a wine taster. I went to a wine tasting fundraiser with friends. We bought strips of tickets and I found a table I liked so went back. Turned out it was sissy flavored beers (apple beer, peach beer). This did not embarass me like my friends thought it might.

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    1. I've been to beer tastings too----both here and off campus. I don't like any of them. But hard cider is my drink of choice of those with alcohol in them. Never thought of them as sissy drinks but the term probably fits them. I much prefer thinking I'm connecting with my Colonial ancestors when I'm drink it.

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  3. You might be interested in Medical Secrets on You Tube. The doctor talks about gaslighting by physicians. Something to watch out for.

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    1. I just looked up gaslighting in the medical community and I didn't even know it was a thing. Actually, I take that back. I did know some doctors tend to not listen to elderly women and poor people, etc. I just didn't know it had a term to cover it. Learn something new every day. My doctors are pretty good at listening to me. But the dentist---dentists in general---I don't trust.

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  4. Hey, tipsy typing works just fine! And I loved picturing the whole blowtorch cooking classes for seniors. Gotta give your Activity Director credit for being creative!

    I'm sorry you're going through so many medical tests. That can begin to wear on a person. Sure hope your doctors figure out what's going on with the swelling in your leg. I think you were wise to tell your dentist to back off on replacing your crowns, especially if you're not having any trouble with them. I miss our old dentist, too! I have crowns that are over 30 years old and my husband has a 25 year old bridge. I wish I knew why the newer crowns don't hold up as well.

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    1. Last year my new dentist replaced two crowns on the other side of my mouth, neither one bothering me and it seems odd that now he wants to replace two more that aren't bothering me. The place is withing walking distance and so a lot of us switched to go there. It seems like we are all getting new caps. I just don't trust them.

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    2. Oh dear. I would bet money I know which dentist you are talking about. He replaced my long time dentist who retired, and after two visits (and many suggestions of things I didn't want/need at my age), DH and I both changed to the woman dentist there. We love her. Just an FYI. I thought it would be uncomfortable, but it was a breeze...just called the office and asked to be changed over. Of course, I don't know if you need crowns replaced or not...my DH did on a few older ones. But we were both convinced this younger guy had a new mortgage. LOL.

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    3. Was he left handed? If so I will do the same thing you did. I think there is only one at that place who is left handed, and my crowns aren't old enough to need changing in my opinion.

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  5. Hope you get relief for the swollen leg trouble.

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    1. I take a pill to control it now but it would be better to find the cause, although we might not ever find it.

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  6. Sigh. I have a long-running antipathy toward dentists in general. That's all I'm going to say on that.

    But your leg is concerning, especially now with it developing a rash. I certainly hope it gets figured out very soon. Please tell me you had the rash BEFORE you tasted wine. Being allergic to wine would be too, too cruel! LOL

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    1. The rash started the same week the hole closed up on my Mohl surgery. Just seems to much of a coincidence to me and it took over a year for that surgery site to cover over with skin. Mysterious skin rashes were a common thing for me in the first half of my life, though.

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  7. We had a wine tasting when I first moved in. One of many fun activities we had before the complex was sold to this current management group. I don't drink, so of course I got tipsy but enjoyed the wine. As for your tipsy typing, I ran across one you missed in the clean up ... "Forth of July". LOL.

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    1. I wonder if we where bought out by the same management group that your complex was sold to. They seem to want to take over the world of senior living places. I liked it better when we had local control. Now everything as to go up to corporate. For example we used to have a microwave in our cafe area that we could walk up to and warm our food it it came out too cold from the kitchen or we was talking too much and it got cold. Corporate inspectors came along an removed it because "it sends the wrong message." What message? That they cared enough about us before the partnership to listen to what the residents wanted?

      Thanks for the opportunity to make the corrections. That was from sober typing, though. LOL

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  8. Hey Jean! Maybe you should drink and type more often šŸ˜‰. I enjoyed this post.

    I used to say that my (now ex-) dentist needed to replace the tires on his sports car, after getting a list of the things he wanted to do to my teeth. And let's not talk about what Dr. McCreepy Cop-a-Feel wanted to do with the rest of me... My next dentist was not much better - at least he didn't feel me up but when I asked him about braces he flat out told me I was too old (!!!!) and what about getting veneers instead? I did end up getting Invisalign treatment several years ago and it was worth every penny! Take that, Dr. vanderAge-is-just-a-number.

    One dessert a month?!? I suppose that's good for our physical health, but what about our mental health? šŸ¤£

    Deb

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    1. Oh, I didn't mean to imply I only eat one dessert a month. I have stuff in my apartment for that. I just can't see paying for their high priced and skimpy portioned stuff. hehehehe

      Next time I run out of ideas for a post, I'll crack open the wine.

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  9. "Tipsy typing was actually fun." You inspire me to want to try that. I don't think I'll do a wine tasting beforehand though. That stuff kind of makes me numb. But maybe after a beer? Because I am definitely old enough to have one, unlike many of your young doctors. I know exactly what you're talking about. Who are these children pretending to be doctors?!!

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    1. You and your unique sense of humor will like tipsy typing.

      I can't get used to how young doctors are these days!!!! One of the best of them came into my room where sky-high heels and a white coat and she looked like she was playing dress up since the coat was too big for her. I almost laughed but cause myself.

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  10. I think you mean "Mogen David" wine. "David Morgue" sounds kind of ghoulish to me. lol

    I was a dental hygienist and my husband was a dentist (for almost 30 years). There are unscrupulous dentists out there who push unnecessary work on people, but he wasn't one of them. If your dentist doesn't have a good explanation for what he's suggesting, then for sure you don't have to do it. It's too bad because, like Miss Merry in the comments above, people will just quit going, to their own detriment. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard "I hate dentists" or "I hate hygienists." But we just kept smiling and working....

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    1. Oh, my gosh, that cracks me up. I've read this post a dozen times looking for errors and never noticed the wine name screw up. (Which has been correct if someone is reading this and was going back to see what I did.)

      I've never not liked going to the dentist and the hygienist. The current one did explain I have cavity in one of the two teeth but he needs to redo them both to get at the one with a cavity at the root line. I think dentists see unused dental insurance as their money being wasted. When I go back in October I'm going to pin him down on why he can't just to the crown with the cavity and leave the other one alone.

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  11. Mogen David? Wow that is a flash from the past. Do you have kitchens in your unit. You always mention eating in a group so I assumed you did not. Cool to have both. As for your leg, a relative had that and his was called venous stasis dermatitis. Yeah that's a mouth full. But I didn't google it and I'm no medical professional. I hope they find the answer soon. And I too hate dentist. I had a great one and now they are always telling me to remove my old fillings etc. They aren't causing me any issue so to remove them for porcelain is only good to the dentist and his pockets, not mine. I know dental health is extremely important for your overall health but that is what I call unnecessary. And nothing wrong with tipsy writing, I think I may have to try it. :-)

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    1. Yup, we have full kitchens. I actually have more cupboard space here than I've had anywhere else I've lived. And our appliances are full size. I try to cook or bake once a week but often don't need to

      I just googled venous stasis dermatitis and scared myself with some links between the rash and rare skin cancer so I quit looking and am glad I have an appointment with the dermatologist.

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  12. Health problems come with life very few can be alive without health problems, I have enough of them as well as teeth that are falling apart with holes and cracks.
    My dad really liked red wine over white wine

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    1. I used to like red wine but for some reason that's changed in the last ten years. Now the only alcoholic drinks I get are the fancy ones when they are half off or hard cider or hard root beer.

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  13. The Kid Docs need to Party and thus they oversell all their Services to pay for their Raves. *Winks* I don't drink, but I remember when I used to Host Wine and Cheese Parties, everyone brought a Bottle of their Fav Wine and a Fav Cheese that they might think none of us had tried before, it was such Fun. I don't like the taste of most Wine but I like Moscato, Rosato and a nice Port Wine... doesn't have to be spendy, but Olive Garden does Sell a rather spendy Brand that is excellent and my Favorite if I'm gonna have a rare Glass of Wine. I get tipsy easily and am not a good Drunk, so am careful anytime I indulge in the Fire Water. *winks* I prefer eating out to cooking, but admire those who are Culinary Jedis, some Bloggers are and it's impressive what they come up with or share Recipes of. I have so many Cookbooks one would think I Cook, but, I like the Pixs and having the Recipes... which I know, is Crazy Person Territory, but, I never claimed to be a Well Woman. *Smiles* I don't know how I'd do with a Food Allowance, I'd probably be Moderate and not one to overdo it or have excess left over to hurry up and use or lose.

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    1. You're an expert at finding great ethic places to eat. The food food porn on your blog is the best. One of our fellow bloggers--Jeanie below---belongs to a wine tasting group and their parties look like so much fun. They all seem to know their stuff when it comes to wine.

      I, too, have a lot of cook books. I like knowing how things work, I just don't like doing the kitchen thing.

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  14. I'm really concerned about your leg and hope all that gets worked out and soon. That has to be concerning. Believe me, I know that waiting is so frustrating. I'm big on good teeth but unless those crowns are going to go, it sure seems like a lot, age and such considered.

    Your tipsy typing is pretty darned good -- and a fun post. I did Cork Poppers once without adequate hydration between wine and food before. It wasn't my best decision, either!

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    1. Unfortunately, my next tests are in November! Once they got all the serious and most likely things rule out I didn't get prioritized to the top of the list for the electrocardiogram, a colonoscopy and endoscopy. My dermatologist appointment is at the end of the month and I'll breath easier once a doctor who knows my Mohl surgery history tells me there is no connection, assuming the other doctors are right on that.

      I didn't know you should drink water in between the tastings. They gave a lot of wine with each pour too. Obviously not real 'wine' people doing our tasting.

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  15. Tipsy typing seems to work out well for you. ;-) I find myself more wordy and the ideas free flowing when I've had some wine. But alas, my cardiologist has taken me off any alcohol for the foreseeable future. And I hear you on the wait for tests. I am going through some heart evaluations and everything seems to take forever. I'm glad you have a dermatologist appt lined up. That leg needs attention.

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    1. I will feel better if my dermatologist says there is no connection to the Mohl surgery as the others have said. I've had a lot of mystery rashes over my life time---to fabrics, to products etc, so nothing would surprise me.

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  16. So much interesting to comment on! The Mogen David sure was a blast from the past. My grandparents kept a bottle in the fridge, and every night my grandfather would have about a shot glass full. The father of a friend was a country doc in Arkansas. Occasionally he'd get a patient who clearly wasn't ill, but needed some attention. He'd tell her (always a her) to go to the town's pharmacy and get a bottle of the exlixir he'd have the pharmacist mix up for her. Yep: Mogen David, in an unlabeled bottle. It's way too sweet for me, but I gave up on red wine years ago anyway, because of the headaches it gives me.

    Our food budgets are almost exactly the same. I try and keep the food to $75/week, or $300/month. Of course I sometimes spend more than that at the store, particularly when it's time for laundry detergent or something like coffee's on significant sale. Still, as you say, it's good discipline.

    As for your leg, I have a "you never can tell" story for you, and I'll try to keep it short. About the first of May, I began developing symptoms of liver failure: chills, nausea, easy bruising, extremely dark urine, extreme fatigue, and so on. I went to my primary care doc, who did blood work and said, "Yep. Your liver enzymes etc. are high." So, off to the liver specialist. (Actually it was the second specialist, since I became irritated with the first hospital system and changed.)

    Anyway: the specialist turned out to be great. There were more (and more and more) blood tests. Two ultrasounds. A CT scan. Nothing was wrong. Every danged organ in my body was just fine: liver, pancreas, gall bladder, kidneys, bile ducts. All of the blood tests came back fine. The liver enzymes were still a little high, but down. Finally, the doc asked: "Have you had any antibiotics?" And I remembered. In mid-April, my neighbor's dog bit me, and I went on a ten-day course of Augmentin, which is an amoxicillin combo. It turns out that not often, but rarely, that drug can produce -- toxic liver syndrome. Over the course of the three months, all of my tests turned out negative because the drug was washing out of my system.

    So -- don't be afraid to press your docs, or to ask them to consider odd things that might be happening. You just never know -- but you know your body better than they do!

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    1. That's a funny story about the unlabeled Mogen David and interesting story about the amoxicillin. Glad you issue turned out not to be liver failure but to go through all that to get to the bottom of it! Wow! Glad you had a tenacious doctor.

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  17. I love all the cool things you get to experience at your CCC. My life is boring in comparison. As for medical rabbit holes....I've been in great shape, but recently (like for a year-ish), I've been struggling with hip pain (PT, personal trainer, yoga...all good, not curative) and now some IBS issues so cutting out gluten and dairy to see if that helps. Also a change in BP meds so monitoring twice/daily. My migraines are always an issue. I need (?) a crown replaced too. This is all a full time job!

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    1. It does seem like a full time job, doesn't it. So many people are being diagnosed with IBS you have to wonder if it is something in the food chain. Be sure to check all the medications you take for side effects.

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  18. I just saw you stop by my blog and it reminded me that I'd forgotten to mention something that made me laugh. My great techie achievement yesterday was figuring out how to eliminate the 'shorts' from my YouTube pages. Every time I logged on, there they were, cluttering up the page. I remembered that you like them, and thought, "See there? People can have differences and still get along!"

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    1. Yes, we can! And you are wise not to get bitten by the "short reels" bug. They eat up a lot of time... but make me laugh at lot too.

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