Weekends

It is time for my weekly contribution to Word Press and I decided to share with you an article I wrote for our community newsletter. Hope you enjoy it!

What is it About Weekends?

Why is it that about seven o’clock every Friday night our world – as we know it – falls apart.

Think about that statement for a moment. Usually around seven or eight p.m. there is one tooth in our mouth that decides to send a message by causing thumping pains in your jaw saying: “I told you to see your dentist about me – but noooo – you thought it would be OK and now here it is eight p.m. and the dentist’s office is closed. Guess what? I am going to bother you all weekend now!” Oh, and come Monday morning the pain goes away and your mouth feels perfectly healthy once again.

old-doctor-dentist-signs-1510321

Later in the evening (still Friday) you sit down to watch your favorite television show and yup – you seen this one coming – didn’t you – the TV cable goes out. Now you must spend more of your valuable weekend time on the telephone and chances are you will either listen to a recording or you will be unable to understand the person at the other end of the phone because they are in some foreign country and not even your seven-year old could understand what it is they are trying to tell you.  Or ………there is one last option – you know – the other great response they provide you with – the response telling you to call back Monday during their weekday office hours.

Another Friday night scene is that someone in the house will come down with some mysterious malady – remember the movie “Saturday Night Fever” – well seeing that it is the beginning of the weekend – let’s nickname it “Friday Night Fever.” You know what I am talking about. It is when your temperature is not high enough for the emergency room but not normal enough for you to ignore. The number is just enough to make you think if you don’t act, you will suffer this way for the balance of your life which you are thinking could be a matter of hours.

We all know that while it is true, there are quite a few weekend services available to people – services that may cost you an arm and a leg – or if we were much younger – your first-born child, it is amazing how some things sense when you can be brought to your knees – times that we are most vulnerable.

Take bill paying for instance – some people like to pay with cash while others use checks to pay their bills. Being a check-writing person, when would I run out of checks – Friday night! Here is another thought – when we didn’t travel as we do today, we used to own a dog. Speaking from experience though, while our dog didn’t get lost often, when it did get lost – you got it – it was between Friday evening and Sunday – you know – the time when the word “Help” falls on deaf ears. If the refrigerator/freezer breaks down – when will it be – you got it, Friday evening just before you are ready to go to bed. And I might add it will probably be immediately after you filled it up with food for that upcoming party you were planning.

Oh, and here is another biggie that can occur at any age – it is Friday evening around ten p.m. and you go to take your prescription drug – you know the one I mean – the pill that keeps your blood pressure under control. Yup, you got it – you are out of that prescription medicine and upon reading the bottle, you seen that the last time you filled the prescription was the last time it could be done without your doctor’s OK.  Isn’t that always the way? You never needed a doctor’s OK on any other day except Saturday and Sunday. Is that your blood pressure I see rising?

medical-prescription-1539455

Let us talk for a moment about those wonderful inventions – the automobile. You know, those marvelous machines built back in the late 1800’s. Some might consider them lifeless hunks of metal that have no brains and are incapable of thinking. Not true… they know that during the week, they get used very little and given the chance – now that it is the weekend – you are going to drive the devil out of them. So, what do they do? They refuse to start just when you are ready to go flea-marketing Saturday morning. 

Another weekend nightmare is the house. Why does our house decide it needs to call it quits on the weekend? You know what I am talking about – first thing is that the toilet overflows – then the dishwasher decides to stop working in the middle of the cycle – you go to get the laundry out of the washer and notice that the water never drained completely out of the machine so you must wring it all out by hand and when you place it in the dryer – yup – you got it – the dryer doesn’t start. But, you are not done being surprised. If all that wasn’t enough, it is late and you say to yourself – a nice relaxing bath might just soothe your aching body and calm your mind. You go to the bathroom – turn on the spigot – what do you get? Just a trickle! No water pressure, nothing, fini, fertig! By now you are saying “Why me?”

bathtub

Remember the good old days when we used to chant “Thank God It’s Friday” well those of us now retired live in fear of those TGIF days every day of the week because when retired, any day can be a Saturday or a Sunday when all the things we depend on decide to break down, quit, or say ‘adios amigo’.

Knowing how much we love to travel and be away from our humble abode, I can truthfully only think of one saying that is befitting of all that I have just described. I refer you to the catchphrase from the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day, where the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) says to John Connor (Edward Furlong): “Hasta la vista, baby.”

Time to saddle up the horses and mosey on down the road. Tomorrow is another day – baby steps – one day at a time.

horses-at-the-hitching-post-1630695

Until next time!

Advertisements
Posted in Humor, Rants, Senior Moments, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , | 3 Comments

A Day Late and A Dollar Short!

Day Late

 

 

 

the-almighty-dollar-1239259

Here I am again late with my weekly post. Made me think of the idiom shown as the caption of this piece: A Day Late and A Dollar Short – or in other words:

Action that was taken too late and is too feeble to be of any use! Well, so much for that definition – I am not so sure that my post is too feeble to be of any use. The fact that I am posting something within eight days of my last posting has got to be worth something (I am going to get on a weekly schedule sooner or later – perseverance is the key and I will overcome my tardiness).

Last month we decided to become the reverse of snow birds. Snow birds, if you will recall, are individuals with homes up north who come to the south for the winter. We are going to be North birds – our home is in the south, but we will be coming north for the summer.

It was a good weekend because I got to spend it with my kid brothers, sisters, nephews and a cousin we hadn’t seen in a while. Now that I am getting older, I always feel so much better when I get the chance to spend some time with relatives. One thing I must say – catching up with their latest happenings, humbles you as it makes one realize how good we have it. Some of the things they have been through within the last year is a reminder that things aren’t always greener on the other side of the fence, and the fact we aren’t getting any younger doesn’t help either.

Another nice part about this adventure we recently embarked upon – is that we will now be able to see everyone more often cause instead of being 1100 miles away we are less than 150 miles away even if it is only for four or five months out of the year.  The change of scenery and social activity may be good for our souls as well.

Well, that sums up this post – let’s see if I can prepare for my next post in less than one week.

Until next time!

Posted in Contentment, Live for Today, The Future, Travel, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

How to Plan for a Good Retirement

retirement

Having been retired now for 20 plus years, reading articles about how to prepare for retirement (other than the usual financial aspect of retirement) often amuse me.

Most of us go through life concentrating on our jobs, family, day-to-day projects that come up whether good or bad, planned or unplanned. By the end of the day, the only thing on our mind tends to be – an hour or two of relaxation before retiring for the evening knowing we will be doing it all over again tomorrow.

While I do not dispute what is being said in these retirement articles, I must admit, due in part to the way my retirement came about – none of the things that I supposedly should have considered ahead of time came to mind, leastways not in a “pre-planned retirement sort of way.”

For instance, one thing we all should think about prior to retiring is deciding where we want to retire to. In our situation, first thought – due to being unemployed/retired was where to move because the house as well as the size of the mortgage payment was okay if we wanted to stay there and be “house poor” (meaning we would not be able to travel or do much else as all our funds would be spent maintaining our house). As a result, we decided to take the same approach as my company did – down-size. We purchased something smaller and less expensive so that we could do more than just live in our house. By down-sizing ourselves we have been able to enjoy our retirement as well as do some of the things we wanted to do in retirement.

Another thing people refer to when discussing retirement is that they should put together a “Bucket List” – you know – a list of those things you want to do before leaving this earth. This one has me stumped – mainly because I guess I am too simple a type of guy. For the life of me, I cannot think of one thing I must do before I die and so I do not have a “Bucket List” of sorts.

Another biggie on most pre-retirement lists is: Continue being sociable. This is one activity I would not have included when preparing for retirement but I must admit we are more sociable now that we are retired than we ever were in all our married lives even when my wife was President of the PTA and I was President of the Dad’s Club back in Jacksonville, Florida.

I would be remiss not to mention exercise as s pre-retirement thought. Why, because one cannot be active during his or her working life and then just sit around eating donuts and drinking coffee once we are no longer working. In our case, while we remained active once retired, eight years into retirement, line dancing entered our lifestyle and to this day our exercise is done in the form of line dancing both teaching and doing. By the way, there is a completely different story that could be told regarding how line dancing came into our lives – but that is for another day.

Both of us are quite wary of how one’s health changes as we age and so we eat appropriately, paying attention to what is good and what is not good for both of us. But that is not to say that we will not have the occasional donut (Saturday mornings you will usually find us socializing with friends within our community eating donuts and drinking coffee. Besides we would not want to avoid our social responsibilities – now would we?

Another item on the pre-retiree list of things to do once retired is learning new things. Learn a foreign language, begin painting or some other hobby that used to excite you but took a back seat to your family and career, become involved with puzzles or some other activity to engage your brain. We need to keep both the body and brain active if we are going to live in retirement as many years as we were employed.

Other lists I’ve read talk about volunteering and getting a part-time job. While I cannot speak to the volunteering activity – I can discuss part-time jobs. Shortly after we retired we needed additional income to cover that span of time between our retirement date and the date Social Security payments kicked in. We went to a job fair held by Busch Gardens and through some great negotiating, landed a job for both of us with scheduling to match – meaning we worked the same hours and the same days – the only catch was that we could not work in the same shop. It was a great three years and we learned new skills – how to operate a cash register.

There you have it – bottom line – whether you plan for retirement or do some fancy finagling should it sneak up on you when you least expect it – putting your heads together and taking into considering some of the topics just mentioned – you will be in for a great adventure. Hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

Until next time!

Posted in Contentment, Live for Today, Senior Moments, The Future, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged | 11 Comments

“See the Glass as Already Broken (and Everything Else Too)”

broken-glass

What does this Buddhist teaching tell us – that all of life is in a constant state of change – something I have been writing about for quite some time now. We all know – just as in our daily days which have a beginning and an ending – everything has a beginning and everything has an end, Think about it!  Where do trees come from – they start with a seed and eventually become a tree subsequently dying and transforming back into earth.

Let’s venture out west to a place like the Grand Canyon – just as in the above example about trees – every rock formed in the Grand Canyon will eventually vanish – what will take its place is anyone’s guess but the fact is – there will be change. Does our air conditioner last forever? What about our cars? No, eventually everything will wear out and fade away. As is the case with the human body, we are born and subsequently we die.

What does this teaching tell us – well, one thing that could be learned and I guess the most important lesson is that expecting something to break (even if we wish it wouldn’t and could go on forever) enables us to deal with the loss when and if it does happen. Hopefully we will look at the change as something that was expected but also that we thoroughly enjoyed the item while we had it. Remember, enjoy what you have now in the moment and do not think about what you could have had.

Such an experience was had recently. We had to remove items from the top of our cabinets so that the vibration from having a new roof put on our house would not cause them to fall accidentally. While removing the items, we decided to wash them as they had been atop of the cabinets for a rather long time. Upon placing them back in their original positions atop of the cabinets after they were clean and the roof was done, a favorite “baby” dish was broken. While we saved the pieces with the hope of gluing it back together, I am trying to maintain that while it served its purpose, it lasted fifty-two years and as everything on this earth does, its time had run its course. Nothing lasts forever.

Did I want the dish to break – no. But, the reality of the situation is that one learns to make peace with the way things are. Instead of getting angry and saying or doing things one may regret – another way of handling the situation is to say: And there it goes! One might even add a touch of levity to the situation by saying “And another one bites the dust!” The whole purpose behind this philosophy though is to keep one’s cool allowing us to appreciate life as never before.

One day at a time – one day at a time!   

 

Posted in Live for Today, The Future, Writing | 5 Comments

Eating!

breakfast-of-bacon-and-eggs

What is it about reaching a certain age and the need to worry about what it is we are going to eat? My personal opinion is we stay away from or only eat in moderation those foods we know can mess with our metabolism and make it a point to eat at regularly scheduled times. The schedule that seems to work well for us is to eat at 7, 11:30 or 12:00 and then around 5 or 5:30 with possibly a snack in between to carry us through.

Now when I say snack though I am talking about a healthy snack – such as a half of a banana and in some instances some peanut butter to go with as our morning snack. The afternoon snack – well that changes from time to time and can range from some trail mix to a piece of dark chocolate. And then there is the evening snack which is usually six ounces of yogurt.

My educated guess, knowing pretty much what we eat and when we eat it, is not the food we eat but is more with the fact that we do not exercise enough to burn off the unwanted calories that come with eating what we eat. Some might say – I cannot exercise – I don’t have the room. Poppycock! If you can walk – you can exercise. Take a walk around the block for ten or fifteen minutes every day. At least you are not being sedentary which is one of the things we should avoid.

Our biggest problem is when we are away on vacation and spending time with relatives especially if they are providing quarters for you to sleep, bathe, and so forth. But, then again – this is where good old Yankee Ingenuity comes into play. Here’s the thing, I constantly write that we are the masters of our own destiny. Just because a relative is putting you up doesn’t mean you give up daily exercising.

Take my stretching routine for instance. I only need a small space at the end of the bed I am sleeping in and I can do my fifteen minutes of stretching every morning when I wake. Now taking my fifteen or so minute walk every day – well – that is another story because one must also consider the environment around us. At present, we are in, as I like to put it, “the boonies” and we must be careful walking on the road in front of the house as it is a well-traveled road and some of the drivers do travel faster than the required speed limit.

But, I take into consideration the fact that I am not as active when visiting relatives as I am at home or on a two-week vacation staying at a time-share where we can be as active or inactive as we want to be. I compensate by watching what I eat and trying my best not to constantly sit around doing nothing. True, it isn’t the best way to stay in shape, but under the circumstances, it will have to do.     

Until next time!

Posted in Live for Today, Routine, Travel, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

“It Ain’t Over Til the Fat Lady Sings!”

flea-market

Do we ever truly know what it is that will make us happy. It seems as though the older I get, the less I know what I want to do when I grow up. Interesting dilemma, isn’t it? But then, looking at it another way, that is what makes each day I wake – interesting!

What fun is it in life to wake up doing the same thing day in and day out. We used to be told when we were kids, that variety is the spice of life. I guess that is why we have tried our best not to get into a “rut”, if you will, as to how each day will go.

True, there is our line dance practice and we know that is something we do on a regular basis, four days a week. But that is also our way of exercising to stay in good physical shape and so we do not consider that to be part of a rut. Staying physically fit allows us to continue doing things that just pop into our head on the spur of the moment.

I know that many people, when they reach our age, settle in and follow the same routine day in and day out and that is fine if that is what serves their purpose. But we wake up each morning saying to ourselves “What can we do that is interesting today.” It is that attitude that has carried us through seven plus decades and reminds me of an old adage I eluded to in a different post recently which stated:

It ain’t over till (or until) the fat lady sings.”

If one will recall, this saying, according to Wikipedia, is a colloquialism which means that one should not presume to know the outcome of an event which is still in progress. More specifically, the phrase is used when a situation is (or appears to be) nearing its conclusion. It cautions against assuming that the current state of an event is irreversible and clearly determines how or when the event will end.

Having said that, today we will seek out new adventures. There is a gigantic “yard” sale going on in the neighborhood we are presently visiting and as such, we are going to see if another old adage is true. The one that says: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!” Wish us luck.

Until next time!

 

 

Posted in Humor, Live for Today, Passions, Routine, Senior Moments, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

How to Overcome Mood Swings

 

a-fox.jpg

Did you ever find yourself slipping into, how shall I say it, a less than happy mood. Every now and then one of us has such a – let’s call it – “Bad Hair Day!” Fortunately, being together as many years as we have been (54 this month), usually when she is up, I am down and vice-versa. So, when she is down, I bring her back up and when I am down, she brings me back up. And the good news is that it usually only lasts a few hours. Today started out that way.

One of the things we have missed on this latest adventure is our line dancing and so today we decided that we would play some line dancing music we have on our computers. Nothing works better as we both love country music and it doesn’t take long for us to get our feet tapping and before we know it, we are line dancing doing some of our favorite line dances.

While we do not follow what many might consider a hectic pace, you know, rushing around doing a bunch of things all at once, our lives aren’t sedentary either. When we “relax” you might find us in front of the television, our computers, or doing a hobby (I write, she makes jewelry or some type of craft work).

I used to consider myself a “multi-tasker” but lately I am finding that I prefer to do one thing at a time. True, there are times one might see me watching TV while reading a book or have my nose in my Smart Phone. Fact is, I am not multi-tasking – I am in the company of others that are watching something on TV that I am not particularly fond of and so, they are doing their thing while I am doing mine – it is just that we are in the same room.

Besides, lately it has been proven that multitasking doesn’t necessarily reduce stress but increases it. Increased stress is a sure-fire way to cause our brains to deteriorate. The older I get the more I realize that I need to stop and pause every now and then and take in what we could call “ordinary moments.”

For instance, one of the daily routines I follow (when I am home) is to stretch as soon as I get out of bed, then I write in my journal, post a quip or two on Facebook, have my breakfast, and then on many days, go to our line dance practice. While away, I have done some (not the line dancing) of these daily routines although I must admit I have not been consistent.   And believe me, such a routine requires me to be consistent to feel good about myself. Also, when one enjoys line dancing and the music that accompanies it as much as we do, it doesn’t take long to feel lost without it.

So, on my daily list of “to-do’s” we plan on doing today, first thing was to make sure that when my computer is on, line dancing music is playing in the background. I am sure, that even though our intentions are to catch up on some computer work, we will be taking line dancing breaks today.

Another thing I have been attempting to do the older I get is to practice mindfulness (you know being in the present moment and appreciating whatever is happening around us right now). As a result, one of the things on my ‘list of to-do’s’ today is to take a ten or fifteen minute walk (assuming the weather will cooperate as we have been having rain) so that we can take in our environment and sense what is happening around us as we walk.

Personally, I love to walk and it has been recommended as a great form of exercise. However, the type walk I am contemplating is a “mindfulness walk.” My wife cannot walk as fast as I do and so, such a walk will be good for the two of us. I say this because this type of walk is one in which we can notice how we might just smell the rain in the air, picture the colors around us be it the color of the various trees or flowering shrubs, how some grass may be growing rather well while other spots appear brown and dying, and who knows we may even hear the birds singing.

All this takes us out of the condo and into a different environment. In doing so, we have an opportunity of becoming one with nature, even if only for ten or fifteen minutes. Such a change improves ones’ mood and wakes us up to all there is to be thankful for.

If we recall our working years, we probably remember that being on the “fast track” as one way of stating it, only caused more stress and if let to run its’ course was a sure way to a heart attack not to mention all the other diseases that might be attributed to stress. Being mindful at our age (and any age for that matter) is one way to eliminate much of the stress in our lives.

So, if one would prepare a list of things to do to assist with removing some of the stress in our lives, such a list might include such things as:

Take a walk either alone or with your significant other at least fifteen minutes each day.

On this walk, rid your mind of everything except what you see and hear while you are walking.

Don’t look for anything in particular – that way when you see a bird, a squirrel, a chip monk, other people walking and talking, or what have you – you will be surprised which adds to the joy of taking the walk.

Know that by doing this small ritual once a day, you are taking care of you. And this is important because as you well know, there are many others in your position that do not have such an opportunity to take a walk every day.

Doing this daily may also provide you with five things:

By opening your mind as you walk to what is around you, hopefully you will feel more peaceful and as a result see things more clearly than what you did before your walk.  Result – peace of mind due to opening your mind.

Leaving the confines of your home, apartment, condo or what have you to walk in nature’s environment, may just give you a better appreciation of nature.

Smelling the rain, taking in the fragrance of the various flowers and all that mother nature has to offer also gives you the opportunity to have a chance to breathe deeply, something I know I do not do often enough.

While on this walk do your best to only take in what you see and smell during this short walk. Once the walk is over, your mind should be clear.  A clear mind is one that should see things in a different light and thus may provide you with some problem-solving moments.

Being with ourselves taking in all that is around us while not thinking of anything else should also provide us with a sense of gratitude. Gratitude for all that we have versus thinking about what we don’t have.

I started this piece to overcome a feeling of moodiness and it served its purpose so much so that I thought I may as well use it for my weekly post to my rants and raves on this site.  Hope you enjoy!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

What is an Oxymoron?

playground-warning-pesticide-oxymoron

Recently I came across an article on “oxymorons” and decided to write a post about them. For those of you unfamiliar with the term – as was pointed out in the article, the rhetorical term oxymoron is made up of two Greek words which mean sharp and dull and that in and of itself is oxymoronic.

You may recall from your high school English class, an oxymoron is a compressed paradox: a figure of speech wherein seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side.  Allow me to provide you with an example: “Jumbo Fried Shrimp.”

Seeing that I do not sleep much, I wondered if there was an oxymoron associated with the word insomnia. Sure enough, a comedian from long ago – W.C.Fields used an oxymoron when describing a cure for insomnia. His statement was: “The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep!”

If there is one thing we writers know – it is that oxymorons are part of our everyday speech. Think about it – take a look back in history as well as what is happening in many other countries in the world today. What is going on in them – Civil wars!

Did you ever find yourself in a conversation with say a colleague or it might have even been a relative and during the course of the conversation, the other party said to you: “You clearly misunderstood me.”

Or here is one, you are sitting on the couch watching an action movie when the pilot of the plane in the movie looks back at the passengers (back in the days when the passengers could see the pilot in the cockpit) and says: Prepare yourselves for a Crash landing! Let me take this scenario one step further – when the movie is over – you look at your partner and exclaim, That movie was awful good!”

And then there are some oxymorons that just blow my mind – like exactly what is a Devout atheist? Or you need some work done on your house and the contractor that comes by to provide you with a quote to do the work says: “This is an Exact estimate!” What’s with that – is it exact or an estimate?

Or you pick up your newspaper and the headlines reads: Seven-year old child was found missing this morning.  Was he or she found or is he or she still missing?

Well, hopefully with my Shrewd dumbness you found this post seriously funny. Should you care to comment on this weekly attempt to make even just one of you smile or laugh, I would welcome your unbiased opinion!

Until next time!

irony-in-the-rain

Posted in Humor, Senior Moments, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged | 4 Comments

Morning Rituals

fresh-coffee-brewing-1635443

Morning Rituals 

One of the things I have found to get me up and motivated each day is to have what some might call morning rituals. Developing these ‘rituals’ and following through with each of them every morning sort of sets the tone for how well the day is going to go.

Do I do all of them every morning – probably not. Do I do most of them – most definitely. Let’s face it, if I do all five, it will be a fantastic day, three – probably a good day, and less than three – well, how did that old saying once go “You get what you pay for?” Fact is that I try to do all five whenever possible because in doing so, I feel in control of my morning and if you are in control of your morning, well – you are probably in control of your entire day. It’s a win-win situation.

Some of the five rituals may seem somewhat dumb but – hey, as the saying goes: “Whatever works” and once we pass a certain age – believe me when I say, we are always looking for what works.

  1. I Make My Bed

 

It may seem trivial and some may say that it is not the man’s job to make the bed, but it is hard for me to not make the bed once I am out of it for the day. Call it what you will but following this strategy enables me to execute what becomes my first task of the day. And once the tone is set, hopefully the rest of the day will be met with a similar strategy and continue to provide me with a sense of control over my life.

We all have our good days and our bad days – but come on, how long does it take to make your bed?  Performing this simple task gives one the feeling that, no matter how devastating the day may become, I will have proven to myself that I am still in control. I haven’t fallen into the abyss yet – I still am in control of my actions and what may lie ahead.

Another way to look at this routine is that at the end of the evening, while getting ready for bed, having to “turn down the bed” as they say in the movies reminds me that I was in control from the very beginning of the day which should enable me to go to sleep knowing that the day was not a total loss.

  1. I Meditate

I was not always into mindfulness practice (meditating in this case) and being truthful here, like step number one, I may not do it every day, but for the most part, I do try to spend at least 10 to 12 minutes every morning meditating. I have a program on my telephone that enables me to turn the world off so to speak and just sit there in the quiet listening to absolutely nothing (nothing other than the sound of the gong in the background). This focusing on nothing enables me to focus better later in the day when I may be involved in another project or in a conversation with my wife.

  1. I Exercise

While our main form of exercise is line dancing four days a week, another ritual I make it a point to do every morning is exercise and by exercise, I mean stretching exercises. I do a minimum of ten repetitions of various stretching exercises that takes anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes every morning. I do not mean workout type exercises. I merely am trying to wake up all parts of my body from my head to my toes. This type exercise enables me to wake me up and put me in touch with my body.  You would be amazed how, getting into one’s body, even for only a few minutes, helps set the mood for the day and causes one to quiet whatever mental chatter there may be going on at the time immediately preceding the start of the routine.

  1. I Drink Coffee or Sometime Tea

Something is to be said for sitting alone drinking one’s cup of coffee or tea mindfully every morning. Doing so enables me to be present in the moment just sitting there giving all my attention to the act of drinking coffee or tea. While I like and drink some other beverages, my favorite beverages are French Vanilla or Hazelnut coffee and Vanilla Chai tea.

  1. I Journal and Create “To-Do” Lists

I sit and do two kinds of writing first thing in the morning:

One is for keeping track of what all we have done, how we feel physically, talks about the weather, some of the crazy things happening in the world today and whatever our plans for the day might be. The other is a list of things I hope or plan to accomplish before day’s end. So, one might say that the journal is to keep a record of what we do in our daily lives while the other is prioritizing things that need to be accomplished so that we can continue to enjoy all that our lives have to offer.

Some people create a gratitude journal and while I have tried to do this in the past, there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful for how far we have come in these, our twilight years, the accomplishments we have achieved, and the places we have been to and seen. Life is good!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

“MADE IT!”

ekg

It is time for me to post once again (I am trying my best to post weekly). Thinking about what to share with you, my followers – (sometimes it is funny – other times it is informational for senior citizens), I decided to share an experience I went through this past Thursday. While I have been through this process in the past, events leading up to the day of the test, in addition to the test itself, got me smiling, if only to counteract the “Stress” that could have built up had I allowed it to.

Let me start out my small story by saying that back on the 23rd of March I had a normal scheduled visit with my heart doctor (something I have been doing now since 2004 after going through 4-way by-pass surgery). The visit was good but upon looking at my chart, it was discovered that it had been two years since my last “Stress Test” and so one was scheduled for the 10th of April. Knowing that we had travel plans later in the year, this date was acceptable and so as is the case with our medical system today, a referral and authorization was needed but we were told it was being taken care of.

On the 7th of April I received a telephone call from my heart doctor’s office informing me that they had not yet received authorization for my April 10th visit and unless received within the next day or so, they would have to cancel my appointment and re-schedule. I informed them that I would call my PCP and find out what the delay was as it was of great importance to me that the test be performed before the end of the month.

However, before I could call my PCP, they (my PCP) called me. The purpose of their call was to inform me that they noticed I was scheduled for a “Stress Test” with my heart doctor. Well, duh, they were supposed to be handling the referral and authorization. They went on to say that such a test could be performed in their office and would like to set up an appointment with them. No wonder the heart doctor never received the referral and authorization. Seeing that I did not want to change heart doctors – I informed them I would have to think about it and get back to them.

Problem was though that I did not want to postpone the test as it might be some time before it could be scheduled again and since we had vacation plans set up, didn’t want the re-scheduling to cause us to change upcoming vacation plans.

Fast forward to the 11th of April when my heart doctor called to reschedule my test assuming of course that they could get the necessary authorization. I informed them of the call from my PCP and they (heart doctor) said it was my decision to make. Should I decline to have the test performed at my PCP’s office, call back and reschedule. No problem. Before I go any further here – several things one has to know about me – (1) I hate indecision; (2) I try my best to avoid stressful situations; (3) I despise complication.

Tick tock, tick tock, the clock is running!

Seeing that a decision had to be made, I called my PCP and asked them when could they perform the stress test.  April 27, 2017!    Not good as it interfered with some vacation plans. Okay, how about April 20, 2017? Works for me! And so the saga begins.

Now my PCP has two offices and naturally the office that would be doing the stress test was not the one we normally frequent. But we knew where it was and left the house in enough time to arrive prior to the appointment time. As a matter of fact, we arrived fifteen minutes early – only to be told, we are running behind as it may be awhile – the nuclear material has not arrived yet. By now I bet you are thinking – “nuclear” – what is with that? Apparently once we reach a certain age, supposedly such a test is easier on senior citizens than the actual treadmill test.

And oh, by the way, the whole procedure takes about four hours – hold that thought cause I will come back to it later. Okay, while waiting for the nuclear medicine to arrive, they insert an IV port into my arm so they can proceed without further delay once the material is onsite. Back to the waiting room.

By the way, keep in mind I had to fast for this – nothing after midnight and it is now 9:30 AM. ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?

Yay, nuclear material arrives – time for me to go “ballistic, or should I say glowing!” Not really – just thought I would put that in there for effect. The technician injects me and then tells me that I need to go back to the waiting room and oh, by the way, the material will go through your system quicker and allow us to get great pictures if, while in the waiting room, you drink not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 glasses of water. Yippee – and me with an incontinence problem due to prostate surgery back in 2004. But, what the hell, seeing that the operation removed not only my prostate but the cancer as well and I have been cancer free now for the past thirteen years, what’s the problem with running to the bathroom every 15 – 30 minutes! Yay……..lucky me!

Okay, with four glasses of water in me, minus the amount I got rid of via several trips to the bathroom, waiting time is over – time for the picture taking episode of this marvelous adventure. Allow me to give you a picture of the chair I had to sit in. Picture the chair you sit in while at your eye doctor, now picture a wide strap of adhesive around your waist and middle that holds you back in the chair so that you are sitting perfectly upright. Oh one other thing, remember the chair you sit in at a lab when they take blood, well, picture that swinging arm rest you place your arm on for them to draw blood. Got it, well, picture that arm rest in front of you for you to rest both your arms folded one over the other in front of you……… at shoulder height. Can’t have your arms dropping and messing up the picture taking. Finally, but before he starts the camera rolling, he drops the second bomb on me – breathe normally – but ……DO NOT MOVE!  And by the way, this portion of the test will only take twenty minutes.

Do you know how stressful it is for a senior citizen who has just been told to drink 4 glasses of water in succession (who also has an incontinence problem) to sit twenty minutes without moving. Here is a thought for you – upon making it through the twenty-minute ordeal such as that involving my particular set of circumstances – once it is over, he should be saying to me: “Congratulations, you passed the Stress Test! But, I bet he don’t!

Twenty minutes later, I am released from my bindings and make a beeline to the bathroom – Has anyone out there seen the play “Menopause” – if you did – you know the scene I am referring to – the one where the one gal runs to the bathroom and yells at the top of her lungs “Made It!” Well, that is how I felt once I made it to the bathroom…..”Made It!” And, by the way, no congratulations were provided.

Pictures taken, it is now back to the waiting room. Fifteen or so minutes later they call me back and now it is time to wire me for sound so that they can perform the “Chemical” stress test portion of this procedure. For those of you not familiar with this procedure, they hook you up like they would for an EKG and then inject more material (not nuclear) into the IV. This material is to cause your heart to experience what is similar to how it would feel were you walking on a treadmill.

By the way, you are also told prior to injecting this particular substance into your veins that the fluid being injected is not something you should worry about unless of course you start getting chest pains, feel like you are going to pass out or anything else unusual.  Then, they will give you the antidote which, by the way, they will also give you after the test whether you had problems or not. “Oh Goody – Something else to look forward to!”

Okay, actual stress test over – no problems – didn’t have any chest pains, feel like I was going to pass out or anything out of the ordinary. They remove all but four of the little “whatchamacallits” that they use to wire you up and send you back to the waiting room. The four whatchamacallits left on your body will be utilized when you are called back in for – you guessed it – more pictures.  Knowing that there were going to be more pictures taken, I once again made several trips to the bathroom before being called back into the room. One thing I can say about the whole procedure is that I did become familiar with where their bathrooms were.

Here he comes again into the waiting room to gather me up so he can take more pictures. Strapped in and wired up – the tech reminds you – don’t forget – breathe normally and most important – DO NOT MOVE – while it was important on the first set of pictures – it is more important during this set of pictures. And oh yes, it will be for not ten, not fifteen, but once again, you will be required to sit here and not move breathing normally for twenty minutes.

Finally, test is over – they unplug me, remove the whatchamacallits, unbind me and inform me that I am free to go. You know what is coming now – don’t you….Yup, I made another mad dash to the restroom, MADE IT!  At this point I could go into another long dissertation about the conversation I had with the staff regarding when and who would get the results but that would take – well – ANOTHER TWENTY MINUTES!

So, I will end the story here and just say that I am glad it is over. If I had any concerns about this entire process though – it would be concern for others not in as good a shape as I am as to how they cope with the entire process. While it may be a “stress test” to see how well our heart is performing, in my humble opinion, there is also a form of mental stress we go through as we make our way through the process.

Good news though – and that is – when I do receive the results – and hopefully they will be favorable results – I may not need to do this again for another two years.

Until next time!

 

Posted in Humor, Live for Today, Rants, Senior Moments, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments