Saturday, October 22, 2011
Most of the time, I amble through life not thinking about danger or mean people. I believe that we're better off if we don't continually dwell on bad things. And, too, just being an average retiree, I don't get much drama in my life now, but I've had my moments at other times.
My dad was a lawyer in West Texas, and he represented a lot of rough characters. Some of them were guilty of their crimes, but there were also several who were charged unfairly just because of their race or because they were from the wrong side of the tracks. Daddy had one client who was in some kind of trouble all the time. I don't know how many times that Daddy had to go to the courthouse and get him out of jail. The man had a wonderful, long-suffering wife who tried so hard to straighten him out, but it seemed that crime was his destiny.
One night, this guy called my dad at home. We lived way out on the outskirts of town, so I know that Daddy was hoping he wouldn't have to make the long trip into town to get him bailed out. The guy was drunk and told my dad that he was going to kill his wife. Of course, Daddy begged and pleaded for him not to kill her. We all had met her before and knew what a kind and gracious woman she was, so we were terrified for her. Daddy called the Sheriff and told him about the guy's plans. In about 15 minutes, the Sheriff called back and said that they found a dead woman at the address he provided. The Sheriff's office needed Daddy to confirm her identity, so he went into town to view her body. When he came home that evening, my mother asked him if she was dead, and my dad just shook his head and said, "She's dead as a door nail." Oh well, he called it as he saw it. Then the phone rang again, and it was the guy again, who said he had killed her and now he was coming over to our house! Oh no! Now I was afraid.
My brother and sister were out on dates, so it was just my parents and me at home. My dad didn't like guns, so he had gotten rid of his handgun. We were defenseless. All we had was my cap pistol to scare him away. I can remember my dad sitting there in his chair with that cap pistol as if he really had us covered.
The guy kept calling, and Daddy told him every time not to come over to our house. Finally, the sheriff called to say they had caught up with the murderer all huddled up in the floorboard of a car that was driven by one of his fellow criminals. He went to prison and we heard later that he died of a heart attack while serving his sentence.
Another time, I was driving home from work through a very affluent town. Suddenly, the car directly behind me and the one in front of me stopped, and guys jumped out and had a shoot-out with some guy. It was a drug bust, and the police were undercover. Needless to say, when I saw the guns and heard the pops, I hit the floor of the car and scrunched down as far as I could go. Finally, the police came and told me I could get up. They had not wanted to involve any citizens in the standoff, but somehow, I had passed one of the undercover police cars and was caught between the two. I can't remember if I wet my pants or not, but I'm sure I did! I don't need that kind of drama.
I think we go through life with a false sense of security. Life really is more fragile than we think. When I was a child, I thought that my very obese father, sitting in his chair with a cap gun, would save us if the murderer came to our house. He had us covered, I thought. Now I know that he really didn't. I guess his only defense was to knock the guy down and sit on him. What are my defenses now? What are yours? Could I hustle enough to carry my grandkids to safety in an emergency? Am I stealthy enough to hide myself from an intruder?
Would my phone be with me or would it still be in the charger? Could I run away? I can tell you no on all of these and every one of them is weight related except for the phone.
It's something to think about anyway.
Friday, October 21, 2011
I never thought I would live to see the day that I would experience some of the things that you hear on the news about the poor and the elder poor. I grew up in a single parent home after my dad died, and my mom and I lived pretty much on the edge all the time. This isn't a sob story, but if my toothbrush was broken or got really dirty (like it fell in the toilet,) I couldn't get a new one until Christmas! We used baking soda on our teeth before they made it into toothpaste. Yuk! Most of my friends didn't know things were that tight, but they did realize that I rarely had change to chip in for gas. Sometimes I borrowed 50 cents, but I would pay it back before long. Yes, 50 cents was enough in those days. This was in the '60's. There were a lot of gracious people who helped get me through school by passing down clothes and giving me opportunities to work for them.
Now I'm in the senior citizen ranks, and I've known feast and famine. There have been times when my husband and I took our more expensive medicines every other day, hoping to make them last longer. I know that's not good medicine, but it's reality. I went for a whole year without any insurance, but since then, I've learned that lots of people my age who are not quite old enough for Medicare do not have insurance. It's scary. But that happens, especially in this economy. My husband and I are fortunate to even have insurance in our retirement years, but we pay dearly for it, and the coverage is only so-so. This year, he experienced some pain in his left arm and we called 9-1-1. The paramedics said he checked out ok as far as they could go with the tests they have at their disposal. In order to be sure, we decided to go ahead to the ER for a more thorough check up. It costs us $100. to get in, and much to our dismay, there was a temp doctor who insisted on CT scans, and they ended up costing another $600. Knowing that, we'll have to really think before we go to the ER again. We're still paying off that hospital bill along with all the scans I have to get for my oncology check-ups.
When is the deciding moment? I have to tell you that I no longer know. I've learned that my fibromyalgia causes a lot of symptoms that can be confused with very serious illnesses, so I don't run to the doctor with every ache and pain I have. I go enough as it is! This brings me to early this morning. My husband's alarm went off at 3:15 a.m., and of course, it woke me too. I guess it startled me a little, and as I nestled down to try to get back to sleep, I began to have a chest pain very esophageal, like I was trying to swallow a golf ball. I wondered, "Is this a heart attack?" Then, the more I worried about it, the worse the symptoms got.
I imagined that it went up into my jaw, but was I sure? Then I had to weigh my options. 1) We couldn't afford to write a check for a hundred bucks. 2) I despise calling the paramedics, because they come with a fire engine too. I hate all that attention being drawn to us! 3) I didn't want my husband to have to miss work because he just took off last week to go with me for the colonoscopy! So I made a very personal decision to relax, drink a little water, and try to go back to sleep. I was a little worried that I wouldn't wake up, but it was my decision to make. I woke up feeling fine, but I know it was a gamble.
If I thought it was getting worse and I became sure that it was my heart, I could always call 911 even after my husband left for work. He goes by train, so once he's at work, it's a long commute home again anyway. I'm the type of person who doesn't like a fuss, so it wouldn't be like me to ask him to come home unless I was really on my last leg, and even then.
A lot of people won't understand that making life and death decisions is never easy, but in this economy, sometimes we have to rely on a wing and a prayer. It's not a given that we can err on the side of caution. And there are plenty of folks out there who know just what I'm talking about. All I can say is that it underlines the importance of eating right and taking care of the things we can to try to keep healthy. I can get behind that kind of thinking.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
This was my first day that was unencumbered by any appointments or anything that required me to leave the house. I tried to sleep in, but my husband's alarm clock, once again, woke me up at 9:00 a.m. which is normally a good time for me to get up, but I got up at 3:15 when he got ready for work, and I read for about an hour and then went to sleep again until the alarm went off. My back was pretty sore from the injections yesterday, and I was feeling out of sorts. Don't you just hate to feel that way? Life is too precious to waste it with the blahs.
So I woke up and actually did smell the coffee! We bought a neat two cup coffee maker that is just perfect for me, and it starts at 9:30 which gives me time to dress and go outside for the newspaper. I have found that my day goes lots better if I get up, and get dressed for the day rather than slopping around in my housecoat, a bad habit that was hard to break. I learned this from Fly Lady. Do you know about her? She's a lady who is dedicated to helping people to keep clutter at bay, get rid of stuff we don't use, and keep the kitchen sink clean and polished. It really makes a difference, and although I haven't mastered her suggestions, I'm going in the right direction.
Getting oriented to the day without my dog here with me is a little strange. She's back in boarding school for some remedial work since she bit me last week. She's not a bad girl, but she is young and still learning. We treat her like a baby, and have allowed her to get away with taking advantage of us. She is a dog! I've got to keep remembering that. I look forward to her coming home on Saturday so we can get back into our routine.
After lunch, I decided to go lie down for a while and do my reading. I'm reading a real book, not my Kindle, and it's going to be due before long. I got quite a bit of reading done, and I felt a little sleepy, so I let myself drift off. I felt like I had just shut my eyes when my husband woke me up. I couldn't believe I had slept for over an hour! After working hard for over 25 years, I feel decadent sleeping in the afternoon! I thought I owed it to myself after going through all the procedures, etc., of the past two weeks. I hope I sleep tonight after all this napping and sleeping late!
My food for the day was healthy and included whole grains and vegetables. Our evening meal was not the healthiest, but we only eat this kind of food once a week. I'm still going for eating several fruits and vegetables daily and eliminating chips and salty crackers, etc., from my diet. This is a wonderful time of year for apples, squash, pumpkin, and all that good stuff. Yum! Cozy food.
I wish everyone could take a lazy day when they feel like it, but I know that's not an option for everyone. When I was still working, I would close my eyes, take a deep breath, and think of peace. It was a little oasis in the midst of craziness, and it helped me in those days. I'm blessed to have lots of time to do nothing if I want to, but that will end when the Dalmatian comes back home. Then I may have to go back to closing my eyes and breathing through the more chaotic times of dog ownership! One thing I know is, it's all good.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
If you're like me, you've had a couple of weeks like I've had recently going from clinic to hospital to doctor to the toilet and back to the doctor! I'm happy to say (knock on wood) that I'm through with it for now. I have one more hurdle to jump.
It began with scans two or three weeks ago. These are yearly scans of my torso that tracks cancer cells. I'm so grateful that I didn't have any, so that's one . Next came a visit to the oncologist for my routine Pap test, and that came back all good today. That's another one I can cross off the list. Then I was scheduled for a colonoscopy, so I had to spend a couple of days on a liquid diet, and one late afternoon, I was on the toilet more than anywhere else in the house. Then I had the colonoscopy, and that was definitely the easy part! Today capped it off with spinal injections of cortisteroids, lower back. My spine is collapsing on itself, and man that hurts. I'm happy to say that the injections weren't really all that bad. The anesthetic shots sting and you don't feel the other injections except for the pressure of them going in. I'm glad it's over so I can relax.
So that's what's been going on with me. I've hardly had a chance to sit and think about all this testing and patching and shots and anesthetic and running to the toilet. It's like it's just another day. I forgot to include that I had a dog bite somewhere in there too.
Now I'm ready for some peace. I think I'll watch "The Biggest Loser!"
Monday, October 10, 2011
Some of the nutrition experts are saying that the artificial sweeteners that we use to replace sugar in our drinks may be just as bad for us as sugar. They say that the sweet taste tricks us, and the body proceeds to deal with it just like they would sugar. I should have known that all along, because I've had tons of it in my tea and in diet sodas, and it never helped much with weight reduction.
At the risk of sounding a little indelicate, I must tell you that Splenda is a wonderful artificial sweetener that you'll find in many drinks, chocolate bars, etc., these days. They make a chocolate turtle that tastes exactly like it's sugared cousin. For a while, I was delighted with how good these chocolates tasted, but they had a built in consequence for eating more than one serving.
That consequence is gas, gas, and more gas. This is gas that you can't hide from, either. It follows you wherever you go! I didn't make the connection until I noticed that I was blown up like a balloon after eating a WW dessert at Applebees when they still had those on the menu. I would get back to work and spend the next four hours trying to keep from embarrassing myself in front of my students. It was miserable. I finally tied it to the sweetener in the dessert.
I told one of my colleagues to be careful about ordering one at lunch, and she already experienced an afternoon of trying to control it. She said she would take off to trot to the restroom, and she sounded like an Evinrude as she walked along. You get the idea. So be careful if you use it to replace sugar unless you are staying home.
I have to confess that I get a kick out of bathroom humor. Long ago when I was still in school, I used to argue the merits of funny bathroom jokes that nearly drove one of my professors to distraction. Fortunately, one of her colleagues liked it like I did, so she was outnumbered. That was over 25 years ago, and it still cracks me up! I guess that bathroom humor is so funny for me is because my dad told a joke about two guys sitting next to each other in the restroom stalls at the train station.... Oh well, I'll save that for another day.
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