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Archive for the ‘On Aging’ Category

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on CovidPexels.com

Have you noticed there is an in-between method of dealing with the medical world that comes short of Emergency Room visits and even eliminates in-person appointments?

It began for me with BigFoot. Remember him/her? About the time I was really getting plagued by pain and questions, that is when Covid hit.

Being in the Senior Set I was doing everything possible to isolate and that meant biting my nails over meeting MDs in their own offices, clinics or hospitals.

I began cancelling appointments.

Until one doctor suggested Tele-Visits.

We had 3 of those over a few months and in some ways our conversations were even more educating than if we had met in person.

And although I was and am still hesitant to bare my soul to a relative stranger, the comfort of distance is making it easier to loosen my tongue. Those were my first TeleVisits and I found them enjoyable, particularly if I placed the phone on my right ear (the one with more acute hearing).

I went from talking to an orthopedic doctor on the phone to working next with a would-be Health Coach. Ever hear of that?

My Sweet Health Coach needed people to practice on until she could get accredited. The work was all done by phone and computer.

I think it was a Zoom meeting.

Being part of the resistant Senior Set, I have steadfastly resisted understanding anything about Zooming.

Zooming is what my little dog, Elsa does when she is happy. She gets the Zoomies and runs through the house in wild abandon.

Anyway, I worked with my would-be Health Coach (on the phone) and it was probably similar to psychiatric sessions with Sigmund Freud. I never met Sigmund but I imagine he must have been a good listener.

So, I bared my soul and my Coach would nod verbally as if she really understood my problems. Oddly enough the calls helped. Maybe I just needed to talk.

Finally when Covid slowed down a little I made an appointment with a Dietician to see if I could get guidance on healthy eating. The last book I read on nutrition was Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit by Adelle Davis, written in 1954. I still love that book even though whole chapters should be ignored.

But I learned a lot at my first meeting with the nutritionist and made an appointment #2 but then Covid came back and we arranged a TeleVisit.

And once again I am baring my soul over the phone lines and I am sure everything I say and my inner most secrets are even being recorded!

It seems to me the whole world has now fallen into a no-touch medical environment that promotes talking, talking and more talking and the value of touchy feely connections is getting lost (or is already gone missing) in a computer connected society.

I do highly recommend TeleVisits though. It is a place where you can at least bare your soul.

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About two weeks ago I looked in the un-masked morning mirror and discovered something alien in one of my two used-to-be-perfect nostrils. No pain there. No redness. Just something that looked like and felt like a skin tag.

“Thank goodness for masks,” I said to myself. “At least I have semi exotic hazel colored eyes, and with a mask to hide this nose imperfection I am good to go – if I ever want to go that is.”

On the other hand, maybe the alien thing was really something wildly dangerous? Maybe I should see my PCP (Primary Care Physician). And so I did and so he did refer me to an ENT (Ear, Nose, nd Throat man).

Notice I am writing in modern day initials again? Could this be a sign of regression to an earlier stage of life?

Anyway, I went to the ENT who said not to worry because it wasn’t the big C (Cancer) but that it would require cutting and stitches and he needed more time to dig around and get it all. We made an appointment for about a month later.

Now, to make a long story shorter, I had a next day pre-set appointment with a new, never seen before Dermatologist. Thanks to the Covid virus, I had not visited one of those physicians in over two years.

The new skin guy took a look at my nose (he couldn’t miss it of course) and offered to remove it on the spot (the tag – not the nose) with cauterization instead of stitches. The whole thing took about 10 minutes!

Nose Status Now

With a mask, I remain a mystery woman with hazel eyes.

Without a mask I can boast a perfect nose open to public view and occasional sneezing.

Sometimes life can be transformed in the space of 10 minutes!

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I never expected to be skipping along or roller skating or even running from a potential bear attack after hip replacement surgery. I did hope however

  • to be more mobile
  • to be able to carry laundry from the hamper to the washing machine
  • to get down on the floor to play with Elsa-the-Dog
  • to stand long enough to peel six cucumbers for cucumber salad and not feel exhausted
  • to walk without a limp or a gimp
  • to wear pretty little shoes to accentuate my pretty little feet.
  • And more.

Such is life however, that after a total right hip replacement done July 16th none of those wishes came true.

Oh, the right hip is pain-free! Let me tell you, it is a miracle of modern medicine. I consider it my “good leg” now! Kudos to my cute young surgeon who did an exemplary job.

I LOVE my right hip now. And I LOVE my cute young surgeon even though I wouldn’t recognize him on the street.

The problem though is my LEFT leg! The BigFoot leg. The one that had been causing problems since 2015.

Maybe in the process of preparing for the right hip replacement surgery, I forgot about BigFoot?

And now that the right hip is happy, my brain needed to send out reminders that all is not well on the other side.

At any rate, I am still gimpy.

The family doc said he is thrilled at my progress “considering your age and underlying factors.” Not flattering but probably true.

Why didn’t anyone warn me about the great bowl of perilous problems that arrive uninvited with the onslaught of age?

Ah well. “Such is life,” said my once aging Mom who transferred all her wisdom to me except her secrets for aging with a smile.

I will see my cute young surgeon for the last time this month. I met him once before surgery when we talked for about 20 minutes. Then I saw him through a haze as I was awakening from the operation. The extent of our conversation at that time was him saying, ‘You have a brand new hip.” He had a mask on so I am not sure it was really him.

“HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR SURGEON?” MY FAMILY DOCTOR ONCE ASKED. “I DON’T KNOW”, I SAID. “HOW WOULD I KNOW IN JUST 20 MINUTES?”

The next and last visit (unless I get knee surgery on BigFoot) will be an opportunity for another 20 minute conversation. WilI I then recognize my cute young surgeon on the street? Doubtful.

But the goal now is to walk normally. Bill went out and bought me a full length mirror to lean on a door at the end of a long hall. I can see myself coming if not going and try to correct my gait.

“Practice makes perfect” but Bill says ,”You still walk like a duck!”

Such is life and the miracles of modern medicine.

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Hospitals are for other people.

Hospitals are o.k. if you are young and strong.

But now in a golden year and facing a hospital visit soon, I am grinning and bearing the notion that I am now one of those others.

Putting my right hip in for removal and replacement sounds easy peazy these days but the preparations and advance appointments are daunting, especially when a “post-op appointment” is scheduled for 3 days before the surgery.

Good thing my golden year left me with a golden eye that is able to catch errors!

Then there were two sets of lab work (in better words – “blood letting”.)

The first blood tests went well.

The second was conducted by a novice who, in an effort to collect seven vials, left my left arm a rainbow of black, blue, yellow and red bruises as evidence of cruel and unusual punishment.

My tests are clear though.

The Dentist says I am good to go.

The General Practitioner says so too. And after he proclaimed a clean bill of health he actually gave me a big hug and wished me luck. This had the dual effect of making me smile in the knowledge my doctor of over 20 years really cares and/or making me worry that he is secretly afraid he will never see me again.

Speaking of never seeing me again, I happened to be scanning Google stuff on surgeries and came across the little known fact that more people die in surgeries performed on Fridays! Wouldn’t you know it? I am scheduled on a Friday!

But, going on the premise that I will be the standout survivor of a Friday massacre,

I am practicing breathing into a gadget, doing simple exercises, trying to walk, and

the pre-op appointments that were scheduled correctly are now almost over.

Note: BigFoot is still affecting the Left extremity but sends regards. I keep mentioning to the orthopedic experts how BigFoot started over on the left ankle, swelled, moved around and is still capricious. But no one in the medical establishment pays a bit of attention. Evidently surgeons specialize in only one thing at a time and BigFoot will just have to wait.

Well the day is drawing near!

Please wish me luck my friends in the blog-us-fear.

There will surely be stories to tell when this is all over.

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Sixty plus years of marriage is a lot to celebrate, but once again Bill and I are recalling the “I Do’s” spoken to a justice of the peace so long ago. We wanted to elope but Mom said that would break my father’s heart, so we stayed in town and Dad cried anyway as he predicted Bill would leave me as soon as he graduated from college.

Dad is the one in the background of our wedding picture, hands on hips, predicting doom.

Dad was so wrong.

Because here we are, still together.

And even through self-quarantining for over a year trying to avoid Covid-19, we have still not run out of conversation.

And even through my BigFoot and now arthritic hip, we are still a dedicated pair.

Life has thrown us some curve balls but we stuck together anyway and we still celebrate

the good times and the growing family and the good friends, those who still linger and those who are gone.

It was a day in a lifetime, our wedding day, but it was only

a preface to a long story.

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Peace and quiet are what I yearn for,

even more so in the golden years.

Instead the phone is ringing “off the hook”

with fake people scams and phishing,

so who has time to read a book?

Yesterday FedX and UPS came twice,

and sent the dog into a fit of barking

calculated to excite.

And others came to dig a trench and add a cable

for high speed internet to bring us up-to-date

that sent the dog a-running and a-barking

and the phone kept a-ringing

so peace and quiet have to wait.

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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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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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Kit the Wit

My oldest best friend’s birthday is coming up tomorrow.

She is an old lady now.

But, I suppose I am too.

Still, every year about this time she is older than I am and that lasts until November.

Kit and I were little children when we first met.  She was older than me then too.

She was 12 years old and I was 11.

She wanted to ride my brand new bike and I said, “NO.”  Then I changed my mind and we have been best friends forever ever since!  That means we went through all the joys of childhood, then all the hopes, dreams and traumas of the teen years, first jobs, dating and marriage, parenthood, and now, finally, the ups, downs and mysteries of aging.

Way back then Kit gave us nicknames.  She would be Kit the Wit from that point on and we shortened that to just “Wit.”

And I was Dort the Snort.  Not too glamorous but “Snort” stuck (I have a wonderful sense of humor you know!  In fact I have other friends who call me “Dork” – imagine?).

People do stare when Wit calls out in a store, “Hey Snort, come and look at this!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WIT!  I am more grateful than ever to have you as my oldest best friend forever.  Let’s ignore old age and the pandemic and all the other things that might get in the way and plan to spend the night (just one more night) like we did so long ago.

 

 

 

 

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wedding-day

Dor and Bill Wed

 

Today is our Anniversary!

Would you believe 61 years?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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