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I was waiting to be called in to see the doctor re BigFoot (now on the opposite foot!) Feeling sorry for myself too, out in public in the middle of a pandemic, masked among other anonymously masked people.

On top of the doom and gloom mood I was in, it was raining hard and I wasn’t feeling a bit cozy even though I was dry.

Then a beautifully dressed woman came in. She was maybe in her 60’s. And with her was a little stooped man, also impeccably dressed. He looked like an English magazine ad for what to wear to look prosperously elegant.

“What an interesting duo,” I thought.

They went to the reception counter where the little man was asked his birth date. Around here in Virginia’s medical communities we seem to be known more for our birthdates than for our names. Anyway, here was the little man’s answer:

“July 12, 1918 – I have been around for awhile.”

That makes him 102 years old!

And then he walked by me, looked down and said, “Good morning.” It was 2PM in the afternoon but so what? And I replied “Good morning to you.”

That encounter literally made my day, cheered me out of my doldrums and gave me hope. I have never met a 102 year old person, have you? What a wonder that was. And I could tell he must have been and probably still is great fun.

A people person. A man who lives for rainbows.

A man who is young at heart.

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Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

I am an expert at waiting:

  • Always the one who is dressed and ready to go first,
  • Always early to arrive for appointments,
  • Always flexible about time constraints,
  • I usually wait double time since I arrive early and others arrive late

Imagine all the waiting required over a lifetime – a half hour here, an hour there, etc.

Turns out even I (the expert at waiting) can be surprised stunned.

The general concensus among orthopedic experts is that I need a hip replacement. Yes, another complaint has emerged about one of two lower extremeties.

Yesterday I went to a highly recommended surgeon who, after double XRays, agreed that the hip on the opposite side of BigFoot needs replacing.

“You could get in for surgery soon with one of my partners. But I am booked through the summer of 2021,” he said.

What?

Did I hear that right?

A year?

2021?

I would have to wait a year?

In bewildered shock I answered, “It seems you are the best surgeon for this and of course I want the best. Maybe I could tough things out.”

The doc did not seem surprised as he outlined the plan. “My nurse will call you with a date,” said he. And then they gave me a folder on exercises to do post surgery as well as what to expect in the hospital.

Are they serious?

In a year there may be technological advances that would call for exercise instead of surgery!

In a year I might be DOA from Covid-19. Notice how I can talk in initials now?

In a year I may be too old for surgery.

In a year ANYTHING could happen.

I still cannot imagine WAITING A YEAR for a date with a surgeon can you?

On the other hand, I am an expert at waiting.

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I am one of those people with invisible veins.  I hate getting blood tests!  They leave me slightly nauseous, sometimes black and blue.

This leads me to my most recent blood letting encounter during the time of Covid-19.

First off, the sweet girl who first made my doctor’s appointment, said she would fax the blood test order to the lab.  In about a week I was mentally and emotionally sort of ready but had a funny feeling that nothing had been faxed, so I called to check.

Sure enough.  It had not been done.  But the next sweet girl who spotted the mistake said she would fax the order over immediately.  I took her at her word.

O.K.  I was again sort of ready.  It was early Friday morning and I had fasted for 12 hours, drove to the lab and then stood outside in the fresh air with mask on.  A sweet girl asked a series of questions regarding any possible virus exposure, then put a little squirt of hand sanitizer in my hand and said, “Sign in at the desk” and then sit in any chair with orange tape (the chairs were 6 feet apart to honor social distancing).  There were only one or two chairs left because the place was packed.

I was greatly impressed by all the protective measures, that is until following orders, I went to the desk to sign in.  There was a pencil on a string that loomed larger and larger in my imagination.

Who exactly had touched that pencil?

Where had their hands been until they reached the sign-in point?

Yes, I was given hand sanitizer but was it enough to make me sterile?

If I touched that pencil would I die?

Was it worth it?

I mean, to die following orders?

You can tell, I am a follower of orders AND a worrier.

But I did sign in using that contaminated, pestilence covered pencil!

And I made a note of the date to count off the days til I would come down with the virus!

But the story continues.

I waited and waited and waited.  I waited an hour.  And while I waited a young woman came to the door and was answering all the probing questions.  “Have you been around anyone who tested positive for the coronavirus?”  Her answer was, “Yes.”   (!!!!!!)

At that point, I left.  That was Friday.

On Monday I returned and the lab was again packed so I turned around and went to the doctor’s office to tell them I could not get a blood test in preparation for the appointment.  They changed the appointment to give me more time.

On the third try, I fasted from 10PM to 10AM and went to the lab again. This time I was the only person there!

The problem was they did not have an order from my doctor!  So, the second sweet girl forgot to fax the order over too.  This was beginning to literally be a comedy of errors!

Fortunately my blood-letter lady called the doctor’s office and they faxed it over while we sat and chatted.  Thankfully, I was the only patient in the place. And my blood-letter was an expert and got what she needed on the first try.

Now let’s hope the blood test shows everything normal and that I will not have to get another test for 6 months or a year.  And mostly, let’s hope I am mistaken about the Pandemic Laden Pencil used for sign-in at the lab!

 

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Many steps from house to pool.

Thirty years ago, when we built our little house in the country, we had an in-ground pool installed at the same time.

I insisted we live by water and Bill insisted on a woodstove instead of a fireplace.  It was a compromise.

The end result was a heavy-duty woodstove in the middle of the living room and a swimming pool!

As it turned out, that woodstove grew on me, maybe because it saved our lives through many a frigid winter.

And the pool meant happy memories with our son and the grandgirls, friends who visited, and our two golden retrievers who loved anything water.  Swimming in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia has always seemed to me to be the ultimate luxury.

Oh, and I forgot – there was once a horse in our pool, but that is another story.

But now (due to sheltering in place from Covid-19)  we are pretty much the only swimmers.  We invite Elsa-the-dog to join in but she is suspicious of so much water.

On July 3rd I was determined to get into the old pool and paddle around as a prelude to celebrating Independence Day 2020.  A swim would also be good for Old BigFoot.

But as enticing as it is, getting to the pool is now an enormous challenge.  Navigating all those steps is out of the question since there are many steps down, and the only other way (I thought) was walking down over uneven terrain.

Then there were the endless preparations… What to take…

  •  A water dish for Elsa.  Treats for Elsa.  A leash for Elsa.
  • Towells, walking stick (cane), suntan oil, bug repellent, sunglasses, first aid supplies.
  • How to get down there.  The pool is not far if you can walk.  May as well be to the moon for BigFoot.
  • Bill to the rescue!   “We will take the car!” said he.  And Elsa jumped into the backseat thinking it was another ride.
  • And off we went for a one minute drive around the house to wind up at the pool.

It was an unceremonious but successful arrival. 

Elsa would not even consider getting near the water.

Instead she began tentative explorations and found shady spots (to shelter in place).  In fact she found a cave under one of the big evergreen bushes where she was cool, hidden from danger, and could watch for bears in case the peeps needed protection.

BigFoot loved the swim and was already plotting how to get down there again without the mortification of being driven! 

The only concern is that Bruno-the-Bear or his sister would decide to join in, but there is always Elsa for protection.

Do you think she would emerge from her new private dog-cave-digs to scare off another bear? 

 

 

 

 

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photo of lightning

Photo by Philippe Donn on Pexels.com

An old friend called.  It has been years since we talked and odd that we were both complaining about the aches and pains that have beseiged us.  And that led my friend to share some of her remedies for success.

She started by recommending a book called “Quench,” a treatise on the value of staying hydrated for optimum health.  I never heard of it of course and I was intensely interested so immediately purchased that book.  It all made perfect sense and I began to implement the suggestions.

Quench, by Dana Cohen:

“Based on breakthrough new science in the field of hydration, Quench debunks many popular myths about “getting enough water” and offers a revolutionary five-day jump start plan that shows how better hydration can reduce or eliminate ailments like chronic headaches, weight gain, gut pain, and even autoimmune conditions.”

Another area my friend spoke of was a concept called “earthing” or “grounding”, both of which advocate so many minutes of the day going barefoot outside in the grass or on the ground such as at the beach.  That also made perfect sense.  I grew up going barefoot in Florida.

However, being older now and living in a mountain paradise instead of seaside:

  1. Earthing would expose one to tick bites and onward to Lyme Disease, which is a prevalent problem now in Virginia.
  2. We sometimes get serious snow and ice here too and going barefoot might result in frozen toes, gangrene, and possible amputation.
  3. Of course there is always an alternative and they do sell mats and things that can be plugged in to electrical outlets that would give you the grounding benefits and allow you to stay inside.
  4. On the other hand, being a worrier, I would fear electrocution!
  5. Or in the worst case, the only thing I would have to fear is fear itself, which would ground me so that I would be afraid to even leave the house (shades of Elsa-the-Dog).

As for Quenching:

  1. I think the hydration idea is good.  I actually tried it, but it did not work since I was i up all night with runs to the bathroom.  In the end I suppose the need for sleep became more important than the need for hydration.
  2. In reality, I still believe hydration is terribly important for good health, so I would not discount quenching as a positive therapy.  You can find the book, “Quench” on Amazon.

In my case, however, it became choices between Lyme Disease, amputation, and sleepless nights.

To be sure, I do not wish to make fun of my friend’s remedies.  They are really working for her and she is so excited about her discoveries, she wished to share.  And I love her for that.

Earthing is a concept that is still floating (forgive the pun) around in my head anyway and if I could get by the electrocution part, I might invest in one of those mats.

“… Throughout history, human beings have walked barefoot on the ground, releasing electrical tension naturally and preventing its accumulation. When the human being is in contact with the earth, either because he is barefoot or through any conductive object, whether it is a metal bar, a wire, a tree or a plant, this silent energy from the earth is transferred naturally…”   Author unknown.

 

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neon signage

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

I like to say I am growing old instead of already old.  It gives me a better feel for how to feel when the most vulnerable population to the Covid-19 virus is touted as 60+ or 80+ or somewhere inbetween.

In any case, there always seem to be new rules about coping with this virus.  I know you are dying to hear them…. forgive the pun.  The world is coping but there are consistently more confusing theories about how the virus is spread and regulations regulating how we should lead our lives in the midst of what I call Viral Confusion.

For instance:

When I was a kid, you did not go to a doctor unless you were sick – maybe even really sick.  That seems to be the case now too.

2020 Pandemic Rules

Do not go to a doctor unless you feel sick.  And even then, call first to see if he/she will let you in.  Will this eventually even lead to doctors making house calls again?  When our son developed a very high fever, panic set in and we called the doctor who came to our house in 20 minutes, but by that time, the fever was gone.  And I don’t think the doc even charged for the visit!

Ah for the good old days.

Do not go to a dentist unless you have a bad toothache.   Dentists are just now reopening in my neck of the woods and I think they can be called for more mundance things like cleaning.  Check to be sure where you live.

But in the good old days, Mom would give me a clove to suck on or an ice cube – anything but the dentist – to cope with pain.  She was deathly afraid of dentists but finally when I was 14 and had a bad toothache, she made an appointment.  The dentist found one cavity for every year I had lived and I spent the next 14 weeks getting cavities filled (minus Novocaine!).  In those days you raised your hand if the pain was too bad.

Did I say I was growing old or already old?  Is pre-Novocaine ancient or what?

Ah for the good old days.

The new scary deadly virus has made me re-evaluate the wonders of staying home.  But what about positive changes?  Take clearer water.  They say you can see the fish in Venice canals now. I would love to take a gondola ride again but this time in clear water.

And now that there is more testing going on, some say if you are blood type O, you have a better chance of not catching the virus or maybe even surviving it.  Maybe I can go out sans mask and celebrate shoulder to shoulder in a crowd since I am in the O category.

Or if your ring finger is shorter or longer than the rest, you may or may not be in trouble re the virus.  I keep forgetting to size my ring finger.

And how about the urge to flush the toilet without putting the lid down?  Do you know how volatile the spray can be as you flush?!

Screaming spreads more virus than talking.  Talking may be the New Nasty Culprit that spreads the damned thing.

Disinfecting every surface on earth is no longer advised but don’t stop washing your hands.  You may have touched something evil.

All this speculation makes me wonder what people did in the real good old days of The Plague and Cholera.  The more I hear or read, the more I ponder this pandemic and all its pros and cons.

Stay Safe is the new Farewell, especially in our emerging “New Normal.”

Stay Safe my friends.

Stay Safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rockbridge Aquatics Center

No, I am not the type of person who wants to run into an icey sea for any reason.

However, I continue to miss swimming in a warmer pool of water.  BigFoot has also been crying out for a bit more exercise.

About BigFoot:

For any newcomers to my blog, please know that BigFoot is the nickname for a problematical left foot that swells off and on.  There were nine different diagnoses. The latest concensus is a combination of arthritis and a damaged nerve.

Submersion in water seems to help the swelling.  But mostly there is the proud reaction I get from simply sinking into the water and hanging on a noodle.  If I kick my feet I feel like I’m exercising!

I suppose you can tell I have begun to visit our community indoor pool – our local Aquatics Center.  What a joy!

I have been there one time and ready for the second visit this week!

It is a dome covered pool.  It is also the largest pool I have ever seen except on t.v. for the summer Olympics.  There are eight very long lanes and at the time I went, I had two of them all to myself.

I think those open two lanes are reserved for un-serious lap swimmers, who simply dog paddle on a noodle from end to end.

Wait a minute!  Isn’t EXERCISE really a subjective term?

In my case it means BigFoot is engaged in gentle kicking.

On Day One I even abandoned the noodle for short periods of real swinning.  Now that is EXERCISE –  right?

Like I said, “subjective.”

Now please stay tuned for more excitement after my Day Two visit this week.

 

 

 

 

 

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adult alternative medicine care comfort

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The BigFoot story is not over – until it is over of course.

Big Foot has been somewhat reduced to a visibly normal size.  At the same time, it is still bigger than it should be.  Sometimes I can walk fast but still cannot run with abandon.

Today, on the way to PT (Physical Therapy), I was walking with my cane in front of a young couple.  They eventually passed me and the young man said, “You don’t need that cane.”  And I said, “Yes, it is only for balance.”  Wasn’t he the sweetest thing? He actually made my day and I am still grinning and thrilled that someone said I don’t really need that cane.

But this story is about today’s journey through PT (Physical Therapy).

PLAYING WITH ELSA-THE-DOG

“I want to get down on the floor to play with Elsa,” I said to Anne-Marie (my physical therapist) today.  “The problem is, once I get down, I am not sure I can get up.”

Anne-Marie is a very sweet and expert therapist who will work on whatever problem I present. She understood immediately and she promptly demonstrated her technique for gracefully lowering herself to the floor with one bent knee.

I explained my own technique for getting down there.

“It’s like this,” I said. “ At home I collapse face first and chest first onto an easy chair.

Then I push off in a pre-aimed sideways fall to get the rest of the way to the floor.”

“Uh, I don’t like the word collapse,” said Anne-Marie. “Don’t collapse on anything but remember stomach in and accomplish goals with slow determination.”

O.K.  I made it to the floor in front of my therapist and anyone else who was watching of course. I got there by holding a death grip on Anne-Marie’s wall mounted ballet rails and kind of hanging my way down.  There was nothing graceful in this.

NOW HOW TO GET BACK UP!

I explained to Anne-Marie that at home I arise from whatever position I fall in by

  •  hoisting my upper body onto the seat of the easy chair,
  • swinging BigFoot as far forward as it will go and pushing it a little further with my hand,
  • then not so gracefully heaving myself up to a somewhat wobbly standing position.

Do you have a mental image of this action?

IT IS NOT A PRETTY PICTURE!

Again, my lovely therapist urged me to use thoughtful, slow, determined movements to hold onto the chair but to bring that foot around and to lean on my own bent foot to rise with strength and grace.  I will be a picture of graceful moves.  Ha!

I did it there once again using the ballet rails and arm muscles instead of abs!

I think I can do it at home.

It will be a move in the direction of physical fitness.

Not today though.

Maybe tomorrow.

I will try not to collapse onto the chair, but to lower myself, abs in and with goal-oriented determination.  If you are young you have not read this far. Getting up is not a challenge.  If you are old, stick with me.

Lowering my body to the floor and then hoisting myself up from the floor was not the only goal today but it was the major one.  After all, this session was designed specifically for Elsa-the-dog so we can play face to face on her own level.

For more pretty pictures of Dor managing to live happily ever after with BigFoot, stay tuned.

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Elsa-the-Dog on Dehydration

My humans seem to think I am a crazy critter, especially when it comes to water.

The first odd thing they did was put two water dishes down.  One is in the kitchen next to my food dish.  And the other is in the bedroom in case I get thirsty at night.

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Water Dish Kitchen

I am afraid to drink from the kitchen water.  I will not touch it.  Never.  Ever.

As for the bedroom water, I only drink there when nobody is looking and I hold my thirst for a long time before I try to sneak back into the bedroom.

The Lady thinks I am getting dehydrated.

Water Dishes

Water Dish Bedroom

She also thinks there must have  been a  water trauma in my previous life. Maybe she is right.  What do you think?

One day I got something stuck in my throat and it made me cough and cough.  The Lady decided to put another water dish by the fireplace.  I like it there and it is my favorite place now.

She also put a water bowl out on the deck.  I like that too.

So now there are four water dishes in my home!

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Water Dish Deck

Water Dish2

I think the humans here are strange, don’t you?

But I have stopped coughing.

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Russell Terrier

Monday was PT Day.  Those are the initials for Physical Therapy of course.  I am trying hard to join the current initial-speaking generation whilst also re-learning how to walk.

Anyway, believe it or not (and I can’t believe it myself), I saw a wonderful thing when  entering the Physical Therapy center.

I saw a beautiful, sweet little DOG! 

A dog at PT?  Yup!

And although I didn’t have the nerve to take a photo, please

picture this:

  • A lady was lying on her back on the therapist’s table.
  • The therapist was seated at her head and manipulating the lady’s neck.
  • And on the patient’s abdomen was the most adorable little dog I have ever seen.

She (the dog) was stretched out on her Mistress’ stomach and looked up when I walked in (the dog – not the lady). Then she stared at me (the dog) and I stared at her until we both got tired of looking.  Actually I never tired of looking but while awaiting my turn with the therapist I pretended to read a magazine but kept sneaking looks at the amazing little creature.

At the end, they put the little dog down on the floor and she came right over to me for a greeting, an ear rub, and immediate love!

“Do you have another like her you want to get rid of?” I asked the lady.

“Funny you should ask,” was the answer. “Birdie just had puppies.  There are 3 left.  Someone is coming in two weeks to choose one of the 3.  The therapist wants another.  And there will be one left.  All 3 are calm like Birdie.”

Birdie is a Russell Terrier, a derivation of the Jack Russell.  These are  very active hunting dogs but the “Russell” (minus the Jack) is breeder-described as a couch potato!

Now I ask you, “Is this meant to be?”

I will know in about two weeks.

 

 

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