How to Overcome Mood Swings

 

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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!

 

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What is an Oxymoron?

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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

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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!

 

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“MADE IT!”

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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

Wild and Crazy Guy!

In a wild and crazy mood and since I have a bit of time to play around with words, I decided to put together a short story about a road trip with a stop at a restaurant for a bite to eat. However, to add some comedy to the scenario, I inserted movie quotes as the response to various scenes and/or questions. Hope those of you following my antics get a kick out of it!

But before I get into that, picture this which will get you ready for what is about to follow:

You are talking to your lover, wife, or even the clerk in the super market who is giving you a hassle and you have just about had it so you turn and look at her and say:

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”     (GONE WITH THE WIND)

See where I am going with this?

Have you ever been on a road trip and even though your GPS gave you directions that were to take you to where you wanted to go, upon arrival at the so-called designated location, it does not look or feel right, so you get out of your car, look at your mate and announce:

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!” (THE WIZARD OF OZ)

OK, you finally made it to the St. Augustine Lighthouse (you have been wanting to visit it for years) and since you promised yourself that you would climb all 219 steps that lead to the top, even though you are completely bushed by the time you get there – you still have enough strength to shout out at the top of your lungs:

“Made it, Ma! Top of the world!”  (WHITE HEAT)

Back to the road trip. You have made it to the restaurant and due to your companions’ response to something you said, when your waitress appears, you announce:

“I’ll have what she’s having.”  (WHEN HARRY MET SALLY)

Later, after enjoying your lunch – you are sitting conversing with the people at the table next to you and they ask you what you do for a living. You announce:

“We rob banks!”  (BONNIE AND CLYDE)

Your guests are flabbergasted with your comment and so you reply:

“Well, nobody’s perfect!”  – SOME LIKE IT HOT

Time to leave and before you can even hand your receipt to the cashier, she says:

“Show me the money!” (JERRY MAGUIRE)

You pay her but as you are both walking out the door, you find yourself looking back at the cashier and saying:

“I’ll be back!” – THE TERMINATOR

Until next time!

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Posted in Humor, Live for Today, Rants, Senior Moments, Writing | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Inner Peace

While I prefer to write wild and crazy stuff and material that will make people laugh – today I am taking a more serious approach to my writing (but, fear not, I am definitely not giving up attempting to elicit smiles and laughs from those of you that follow my antics).

Today’s post describes two words: “Inner Peace”

What is meant by “inner peace?” Some would say that ‘inner peace’ refers to “peace of mind” or referring to a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress. Being ‘at peace’ is considered by many to be healthy and the opposite of being stressed or anxious.

For whatever reason, when I woke this morning I decided to ‘go back’ to my old routine. By that I mean to take care of ‘me first’ before doing anything else. I have been somewhat lax in my daily routine and have been noticing changes – changes both in my mood; changes in the way my body feels; and well – just changes in my overall view of life – and by change, I mean both what has been and what may be with regards the future.

Some might think that this is a good thing. But……and therein lies the proverbial “but!”

In my situation, without going into a lot of unnecessary detail – the opposite was true. While on the outside, my mood appeared to be upbeat and great but deep down inside raged a small war – a war about what I should be doing versus what I am actually doing!  My body has been giving me signs that – how shall I put this – “all is not right with the world.”

Little things telling me something is not right – both physically and mentally. I have been taking what I would consider to be a ‘cavalier’ attitude of life. “Que sera sera” if you will. You know – the phrase that is used to describe the notion that fate will decide the outcome of a course of events, even if action is taken to try to alter it.

This morning though, call it an epiphany, or quite possibly in my case, a brain fart, I thought of a quote by Cheryl Strayed who said:

“You don’t have a right to the cards you should have been dealt. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding.”

Thinking about this I decided to get back on track and the first thing I did was get back to my meditation routine and after meditating for fifteen minutes I also resumed my early morning stretching routine. There was a time not too long ago when I did this routine religiously and loved every minute of it because once done – I was ready to face the world no matter what it might throw at me. Time to get back on that saddle!

So, with that thought in mind, once again I am back on track and thus into the reality of “playing the cards I am holding!”

pretendBut, like I said above, the wild and crazy stuff is still to come so hang in there and watch for my next post! 

Posted in Live for Today, Passions, Senior Moments, The Future, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Senior Citizens

Senior Citizen

“Inside every old person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened!”

The following is a spoof on being a senior citizen – do not put much stock in it as it was done in jest!

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Did you ever wonder what it is senior citizens do all day long? I am sure that many people think that, as senior citizens, all we do is sit in front of our television set, drinking beer or sipping a glass of wine, while munching on a bag of Cheetos, eating Hostess Twinkies and watching re-runs of shows like “Matlock,” “Rockford,” or “Perry Mason.”

I must confess, those are just a few of some of the “oldies but goodies” type shows we love to watch every now and then. But we must not forget shows like “All in The Family,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” “Hee – Haw,” “Laugh-In,” and “MASH”. Now they were classics. And they made you laugh.

We love to laugh because being seniors, one of the things we try to avoid is stress. Everyone knows stress is not good for senior citizens. How do we seniors handle stress in our lives – well for those of us that can still move, we are told to exercise. In our case (my honey and me or is it I), a lot of people think that all we do for exercise is line dancing. Not exactly true. We tried Zumba – too hard on our arms and joints. We joined “Silver Sneakers”.  But that didn’t work out either. Nope! Upon going to the gym, our trainer asked if we were flexible and when we said we couldn’t make it certain days of the week, he tore up our application.

Another fun thing we seniors look forward to is the “Open Enrollment Period – you know, that time between October 15th and December 7th of every year. That is the time frame allowed by good old Uncle Sam for us senior citizens to change medical programs. It is during this seven week period that we look forward to going to the mailbox in our Golf Carts (if we have them) or possibly borrow the wagon from the clubhouse closet so that we can bring home the myriad of mail advertisements sent to us by every Health Insurance Carrier in the USA, informing us why their programs are better than the competition.

It gets to be a game that we like to call: “The Who, What, or Where Game!” It becomes a game of deciding Who we can keep (meaning our doctor) and No, I am not talking about Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange, M.D., known as Doctor Strange the fictional superhero from Marvel Comics.  What we need in the way of coverage and co-payments and whether they provide the prescription drugs (Drugs – give me drugs) we need and at a price we can afford, and no I am not referring to medical marijuana.  Finally, Where, meaning where we are covered and what our boundaries are. (Sorry seniors, coverage does not extend to Bora Bora).

One of the things to keep in mind when choosing our physicians is that most of us want our primary care physician to be one that listens to us and does his or her best to abide by our decision regarding our health. For instance, if my doctor discovers something of a minor concern – chances are, my wish might be to not know about it and as such I might just tell him to refrain from telling me about it. Why would I do that? Well, remember that old saying ‘Out of sight – out of mind!’ – Same philosophy.” If he doesn’t tell me about it, I won’t know about it, and if I don’t know about it, I won’t worry about it. Didn’t you read the third paragraph above – you know – the one about stress and it not being good for us seniors? Duh!

We must be careful in this regard though because he might just take our decision too far. For instance, if he prescribes a medication, indicates that we will need to take it for the rest of our life, and then when you go to pick it up at your local pharmacy and you see it is for 30 days, one pill a day, NO REFILLS……Well, you get the picture.

Being over the age of 75 (does that mean I am a senior-senior citizen) has its advantages at the airports too. No longer do I have to remove my shoes and/or belt when going through the security lines. That is a relief because now I no longer worry that my socks have holes in them and I can wear those wrinkled old pants that are so comfy but need either a belt or suspenders to keep them up. You would be surprised how many women got mooned before I turned 75 every time I went through security due to having to remove my belt!

Let’s face it – being a senior citizen has its perks too!  We get to do many of the things we never had time to do when younger – you know like going to the movies when the kids are in school, going grocery shopping while everyone is at work, taking an afternoon nap should we get drowsy from all the work we don’t do, going to “early bird dinners” to avoid the lines later in the evening, and most of all, getting up and going to bed whenever we feel like it.

Being a senior citizen (or in my case, an old fart) is good. Time for a game of checkers!

Senior playing checkers

Until next time!

Posted in Medicare, Rants, Senior Moments, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged | 9 Comments

Are We Sick or Merely Getting Old?

old-woman-dying

As we age, we know our bodies go through various changes. Sleep habits might change. Some people begin sleeping more while others may begin to sleep less. Muscles ache, body aches, some individuals may even experience pins and needles in their feet or other parts of the body. Some may have problems with their brain (ideas just bouncing from one thought to another).

What does this all mean? Well, several questions come to mind: “What does old feel like?” or an even better question is: “What does sick feel like?”  How do we differentiate between the two?

If one looks up these two words either in the dictionary or on Wikipedia, they would be told the following:

Oldhaving lived for a long time or no longer young.

Sick – affected by physical or mental illness.

Which brings me back to my question – “What does old feel like?” I ask this question because it would appear to me that as far back as I can remember – once a person reached a certain age – or perhaps even looked the part, they were looked upon as being “old.”

And yet every now and then one will pick up a newspaper, see someone on the television, or notice something on the Internet that exclaims – oh look at this or that person do whatever it is they are doing and make the comment “Gee, I hope I either look like that or can do what they are doing when I reach that age.”

The problem with this scenario though brings up the question “At what age?” We all know that as we age, our bodies do tend to wear down some, if not completely, and as such need rest. For some – a nap may be in order – for others, perhaps just sitting down to take a break from whatever physical activity they were performing might be in order.

But, is this enough? How are we to tell if we are sick or merely tired? Okay, one day we may over-exert ourselves and do tire sooner but the question that still needs to be asked is – “Are we merely tired because of what we were just doing or is it because we are getting older?  The flip side to this question could also be that quite possibly we are tired because something else is happening to our bodies and we should not just be passing it off as “Oh, I’m getting older?”

Hopefully most of us visit our doctor, if not twice a year, at least annually. Let’s review that scene as to what happens when we do visit them: they draw blood the week before the visit so as to view same and make sure everything is within its normal range(s); they listen to our heart and lungs to make sure they are working properly; they take our blood pressure to be sure that is not “out of whack” so to speak; and sometimes they take your temperature to be sure you are not running a temperature. More often than not, they also weigh you to be sure you are not gaining or losing an inordinate amount of weight within a specific time period.

But, is that enough? Could something be lurking behind the scenes – something the doctor doesn’t see or know about. Most of us, at one time or another, has had the occasional flu or cold that has laid us up for a few days – you know – the one episode that has us coughing, and hacking, being feverish, quite possibly having the runs, and just that overall feeling that – hey, just let me lay around for a few days until I feel normal again, whatever normal is?

However, putting that scenario aside for a moment – and I don’t mean to sound like a broken record – but does anyone have a sound description for what “old” feels like? Why do I ask? Because, looking at life and old age in this fashion, is it any wonder why sometimes we may well wake up, not feel our usual selves, drag ourselves to the doctor – assuming of course we can get an appointment within a reasonable amount of time – only to find out that – lo and behold, the doctor informs you that you really are sick. Or, perhaps the doctor says something like – you should have this or that test or procedure done to rule out certain possibilities. What now, you think to yourself.

Over the past two years I have seen several close friends and relatives – some that were truly sick and others not sick at all, receive information that they have some dreaded disease or worse yet, that their time is short. Keeping that thought in mind, the fact is that today, more than ever, we need to become our own advocate when it comes to our health.  Only we know how we feel from one day to the next and whether that feeling is different than our normal (and I will let you be the judge of what normal is) selves.

Unfortunately, I do not have a solution to this dilemma but in thinking about it and knowing that as we age, our bodies go through various changes, it is logical that we will feel differently. Naturally, the question that results is – “How differently?” – old-old, or sick-old?” To coin an old cliché: “That my friends is the $64.000 question!”

senior-with-redwine

In the interim though, “Stay well! “

Until next time!

Posted in Live for Today, Senior Moments, The Future, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Where’s the Fun in That?

Where Does the Time Go?

time-flies

It was only a few days ago that we said goodbye to February of 2017 and hello to March 2017. At the time, I asked myself where did the time go. So I decided to look at the Monthly Planner I keep open in front of me at the breakfast table to see whether those two months were wasted months or if we actually had something to show for the past time.

Truth is that we were evidently busy and active doing many things which, when I stop and think about it, is one of the reasons my wife and I feel we have been able to stay as active and for the most part as healthy as we have been all these years (I turn 77 this year and she will turn 79).

senior-citizen-jpg

Glancing over what all was accomplished during the first 60 or so days of 2017, the first and happy event was that our son from California, visited with us for a few days.  We had a great visit and will go visit him later in the year. Plus, we will, in all probability be taking a road trip back north to PA and CT later this year to visit relatives and our oldest son who lives in CT.

We live in a small manufactured home community and as such there is a constant turnover of homes thus bringing into the community new residents. One of my wife’s pet projects is for us to host what we call a “Welcome Home” party designed to not only welcome returning “snow birds” but also those new owners (individuals that have chosen our park to spend/live their retirement years in). That event was held on January 7th 2017.

Our park is also big on group travel excursions and as such – once a year we go on an “overnight trip” where we take in dinner and a show. On the return trip we  stop, shop and/or visit a Casino. This past January we traveled to Fort Myers, Florida (a little better than 100 miles away) where we enjoyed a show similar to but not exactly like “The Phantom of the Opera,” entitled “The Phantom.” 

Another thing we do here within the community is have what we call “Casino Night” which is an event sponsored and put on by the Lions Club. If you haven’t already guessed it, you would be right if you were thinking – I bet Irwin and Dolly hosted it.  Yours truly agreed to be the host for that event and I am happy to say the evening was a great success and we raised a nice amount of money for the Lions Club. This too was in the month of January.

Casino Night Jan 2017

Towards the latter part of the month several of us went to Treasure Tavern in Orlando, Florida  (another dinner theater) where both the food and entertainment was fantastic. Well worth the money! Not to mention the fun we have with our friends and neighbors on the bus ride to and from the event.

Treasure Tavern - Orlando Jan 2017.jpg

Off course, throughout the entire month of January there was our daily line dance practice four days a week, and our normal Wednesday night game of “Mexican Train.” Plus, my wife, being the “keeper” and person responsible for maintaining, and updating our annual Park Residents Directory, had to get that put together and ready for press by the end of January so that we would have our new directories during the first week of February.

Directory a

That takes care of the month of January and shortly after the beginning of February, quite a few of us from the park went to Haiti, Jamaica, and Cozumel via Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s “Allure of the Seas.” Now that is one big ship – close to 6000 passengers and almost 2000 crew members. What can one say about such a cruise – 24/7 food and service. Great food, fantastic entertainment, wonderful company – just right for the perfect getaway every now and then.

Allure of the Seas Feb 5th

Okay once back home and with it being February, Dolly and I hosted the Valentine Day Dance here at our community park and fun was had by all in attendance which was close to 100 attendees. As is the case most months of the year, we also spend our time line dancing, playing Mexican Train, Social evenings once a week, pot luck supper every now and then, and several other events I am probably forgetting to mention. And oh yes, I cannot forget that I had to take a short break from all the fun and frivolities to do my taxes and get them off to the IRS.

Valentines Dance Feb 2017

Unfortunately, February was not all fun and games. Shortly after returning from the cruise, Dolly took sick with a viral infection (bronchitis or allergies or something) that laid her up for the better part of two weeks, but I am happy to say that she is better and was back in class just this morning teaching the “newbies” in our park – you know – those individuals that don’t know about line dancing but see how much fun it is and want to learn..

Cartoon Line Dancers

So, here we are in March and while it isn’t as busy a month, we are planning a short, and possibly overnight trip to see a cousin that comes to Florida to get away from the nasty northern winters.

What’s in store for us over the next few months? Well, we will continue teaching line dance (four or five days a week); will continue to go to Mexican Train Game night every Wednesday evening; attend our usual Saturday morning coffee and donuts to shoot the breeze, if you will with our friends and neighbors, more doctor appointments; a Saint Patty’s Day Dinner (and no, before you ask, we are not hosting this one); and finally, last minute odd jobs around the house so that it is in tip-top shape should we decide to run away and do who knows what over the summer! One never knows with us!

waterfall-in-the-forest

Until Next Time!

Posted in Live for Today, Routine, The Future, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Aging Process Then & Now!

ageing-gracefully

Have you noticed that once we reach a certain age, things tend to slow down? Even though I usually wake at the same hour and go to bed about the same time every night, for some reason or another I tire more easily these days. As a matter of fact, truth-be-told, I would have to say that I tire more easily now than I did during any other period of my life.

Problem is, I have never been one to take afternoon naps and usually if I get up and move around, the sleepiness tends to disappear. Or, if I occupy my brain by reading a book, or writing in my daily journal – anything to stimulate brain activity (take a walk or do a ten or fifteen minute task) will remove the thought of being tired. As such – no nap is necessary which is not to say that such a nap is bad for you. I personally have never followed such a routine.

Also, for as far back as I can think of, I have always been one of those individuals that is an “up and at ‘em type of guy” when that first alarm goes off first thing in the morning. I am always the first one up just chomping at the bit to see what the new day will bring.

Of course, being a list type of guy, I usually have most of my day already planned before I go to bed and that normally consists of whatever is left on the “To Do” list I did not complete the prior day in addition to items I think of that I want to complete before the new day is over.

But lately, I must admit there have been days that I would be just as happy to turn that alarm off, pull the bed spread up over my head and say “Forget it world, I’m just not ready for this day to begin.” I would just as easily hit that snooze button or in my case – merely change the time the alarm is set to go off to allow for another hour of sleep.

Is it because I have passed the ripe old age of 76 and am heading into becoming an octogenarian? Just the thought of that makes me think of a quote by Mark Twain who said “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.”  But now that I think of it – Nah, I think I will pass on that thought and just accept where and what I am right now.

I guess it is natural for one to have concerns about the changes we see happening, not only to our bodies as we get older, but to our brains as well. Take the daily “To-Do” list I usually prepare each morning. I can think of quite a few things I should place on that list – but knowing that I am not getting any younger – in reality, I place things on the list that I want to do.

Let’s face it, a lot of things require a bit more thinking these days as to not only what to do but whether or not it actually needs being done in the first place and if it does – the question also arises – but must it be done right now? I am the same way with various books I have laying around the house. Some I have started and never got back to – others I haven’t even started yet. At the time I obtained them, I am sure I had every intention of reading them and absorbing the knowledge contained therein. But now – well – the fad has passed. Now they are merely dust collectors.

Getting old can be a pain. One can be fortunate however, if what I briefly described above are the only concerns one has during this, the aging process. While I have had my problems some years back with certain health issues, for the most part I lead an active and fairly healthy  lifestyle. But even so, as one ages we do find that this “getting old” stuff can create changes in our lifestyle.

As we get older, things tend to take a little longer to do. You know, like getting up out of the recliner after sitting for an hour or two. Or going to the grocery store or mall and looking for your car once done shopping. Both our bodies and the old grey matter isn’t working as fast as we have become accustomed to in the past which seems like just a few short years ago!

Some things – our capability to rise from a chair like a normal person instead of a decrepit old fart that hasn’t exercised a day in his life or bending over to pick something up from the floor (bending down may not be such a problem but coming back up – whoa there big fella – now that is another story!) causes us to stop and pause and utter the words – when did I get old? Feeling the blood pulsing through the veins in my skull and listening to my heart rapidly pumping the blood through my veins upon becoming vertical once again isn’t the music I had intentions of hearing at this stage of my life.

Fact is – as we become older – we change as does our bodies. By acknowledging those changes, accepting them, and making allowances for same, one can continue to enjoy life.  Besides who would want to go back to any time in our past – remember in going back – at some point  we will also have to move forward once again and I am sure that there are some years during that interim that we wouldn’t want to relive all over again. I can think of a few myself.

Best thing to do is to accept whatever changes we may incur within our bodies and our minds as we grow older and accept those changes with the same viewpoint as we have done over our present life span. After all, we made it this far – why change a good thing!

retirees

Until next time.

 

Posted in Rants | Tagged , , | 1 Comment