Archive for the ‘Aging’ Category

Last year I turned 66, and today I am 67. I’m on Medicare and Social Security. Guess I’m officially “old” by societal standards.

Now I have to try to be a “wise” resource for family and friends rather than a burden.

I’m partially disabled, so I could be considered a burden, but I’m still working (part-time from home), and I still have the same ADD mind I’ve always had. The kids always said they would never know if I developed dementia – because I’ve always been ADD and have always had memory problems for nouns – especially people’s names. I can’t help worrying about it, though. Seems like I’m having a few more problems than before. May have to do with my very sedentary life-style, however. Hard to be very active when you have AR and fibromyalgia, though.

I tend to be chronically cheerful, and optimistic, so I just think like that irritating Energizer Bunny and keep going-and going-and going…

May the Lord have mercy upon this sinner!


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Before momentous events, there often is a quiet time.

Before a thunderstorm there  is a quiet lull. The leaves hang listlessly, there is a vague yellowish-green to the sky and clouds. The air is heavy and slightly damp to the nose.

Before the “Big Game” there is a hush in the crowd.

Before a war there is a quiet – a silence as the foes keep their strategies from each other, and their plans for attack secret.

We are in that period. Social Security and Medicare are on the horizon. Sigh.

Getting the paperwork together is a pain. I thought I had it all, now I find I need to take in last year’s tax return. That’s another problem. I can’t remember where I put it, so I’ll have to call Bill-our-Tax-Guy and demonstrate to him – once again – that I’m a complete ditz – and ask him for a copy. Just Dang!!

The quiet before Social Security. Medicare. Sigh. Only a year late getting it all together for applying. Not bad for me. Sigh!!!

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All my life I’ve prided myself on taking care of my teeth. I couldn’t do anything to save my wisdom teeth, they were coming in sideways, and had to be pulled when I was 16. But since then I have worked sooooo hard to keep them in good condition.

Since becoming an adult I have seldom had a cavity. I floss, I brush, I use little “glide” brushes between my teeth at the gumline. I use mouthwash.

Then I had to have a tooth pulled a few months ago because, for some reason, I had developed an abscess under it! I didn’t understand! Apparently there was a fracture of it, and bacteria got down in below the root and set uphousekeeping. Yuck!

Fortunately, the dental surgeon was fabulous – absolutely fabulous! I felt almost nothing during the procedure.

Yesterday, as I was eating lunch (ham and cheese sandwich on my dear Ol’ Curmudgeon’s excellent homemade rye bread) I felt/heard a “snap / ping!” and pain seared through my jaw! The back tooth in the lower left jaw (the one next to the one previously removed) had split vertically down into the root! YIKES!

I called the dental surgeon, his wonderful office staff worked me in, and the Ol’ Curmudgeon came home from work in time to drive me to and from. This time it was a little less easy, but it wasn’t bad at all. Turns out there was an abscess again! I’m on antibiotics and pain pills (and anti-nausea pills). I “drank” my supper last night (chicken broth) and carefully had the noodles from it today. Also had one of my favorite “sick day” comfort foods – Milk Toast!

Milk Toast a la Gam

2 pieces of white bread (yeah, you can use wheat, but it isn’t as good)
1 1/2 c milk (not skim milk – whole milk)
2 Tbs butter + more to taste
Kosher salt to taste

Preheat oven to 250F. Best if it is a convection oven.

Put the bread in on a rack – not on a pan. set timer for 5-6 minutes

Put milk in a small sauce pan. Put butter in milk.

Slowly heat milk – stirring slowly and frequently – until it boils.

Turn the bread over and toast for another 5-6 minutes or so.

When the milk boils, turn off the heat immediately, sprinkle with Kosher salt, stir, and put a lid on it.

When the bread is nice and dried out, put it in a flat soup bowl (or whatever). Pour the milk over, and add more butter to taste. Let it cool some, and eat.

If you are really needing to put some higher protein nutrition into someone who is sick, beat up an egg into the milk before you heat it up, and heat it very, very gently, stirring constantly. It will thicken somewhat, and will thicken even more as it cools down. Like a pudding.

So here I sit, taking codeine for pain, and trying to drink enough water and other fluids and keep from tossing my cookies. But the pain is less, and will be even less tomorrow. And I’m sure all the sleep is doing me good.

SIGH! I wanted to go to my grave with all the teeth God gave me. Well, 6 down, 26 to go. I hope not.

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I love finding out the inner working of “things.” Anything – everything. I’m just naturally inquisitive. Call it “nosy.” I won’t be offended. I’m convinced that knowing more will save me time, effort and, maybe, save the lives of those around me.

Given that background, it is no wonder I was considered a “professional student,” and that my advisor gave me a cartoon (gotta find it, scan it and post it here!) showing a student sitting in a professor’s office with the professor saying, “You HAVE to graduate. We don’t grant tenure to students.” That was a real belly laugh for both of us, and got me off my tookus to finish my dissertation.

It’s no wonder I surf the net for information – not for just “doodly-squat,” but real information. Here’s one of my fun (can you hear my daughter rolling her eyes?) websites:

How Stuff Works – Learn how Everything Works!

It has a little of everything from “Animals” to “Travel.” At this point, I’m particularly interested in “How many words do dogs understand?” Not surprising because I’m trying to be prepared for getting a mobility service dog sometime in the next couple of years.

Now, none of the articles are particularly in depth, but they give me a beginning, and usually a number of additional links to find more in-depth information.

Since I work as a Legal Nurse Consultant, I am constantly surfing the internet, researching diseases, anatomy, medications, medication effects, surgery procedures and complications. The things you can find on the internet are amazing!

So, I am nosy, and I’m interested in how stuff works! I remember when I was a kid, my grandmother kept a dictionary and an almanac beside her chair. When a radio or TV newscaster said a word she questioned either the meaning or pronunciation of, she would reach for the dictionary. If they were talking about something new to her, she reached for the almanac. Pretty minimal considering our current resources, but she was “nosy,” too! She was nosy right up to the day she was taking out of her house and put in the nursing home with Momma. They shared a room, but she didn’t have her beloved dictionary and almanac. She sickened and died within a year! Now, I’m not saying she would have lived if she had not had her favorite books taken away from her, but these were the way she kept her mind active. Maybe, just maybe, her mind would have stayed active if we had thought to keep her two favorite books by her.  And maybe she would have been happier.

How stuff works – you can take my laptop and internet connection from me by prying them from my cold dead hands!! That is how I keep my mind active!! Finding out How Stuff Works!

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The Jitterbug!

Do you have a parent, grandparent, aging aunt or other relative who is having difficulty navigating the “cellphone scene?” Clark Howard recently was talking about this problem, and mentioned a company that decided to address this problem. I couldn’t remember the name of the product and went to his website. Well, I couldn’t find it there, either, so I searched for “senior cellphone.” And it came up!!

The Jitterbug is a very simple cellphone with larger-than-usual number keys on one of it’s 2 styles and NO keypad at all on it’s other style!! But more on that later. The whole point of Jitterbug is to make cellphones accessible to people – not just elderly – who have difficulty handling the small size and small keypads of the usual cellphone.

Jitterbug Dial Phone
This is the Jitterbug Dial Phone. Available in white and black.
The options are simple and both easy to use
and easy to understand.
Jitterbug One-Touch Phone
The One-Touch style only has three main buttons. One for the
Operator, one personalized for the user, and one
for 9-1-1 services.

I think this bears investigation by anyone who has a family member or friend who might benefit from such a device.

What are the drawbacks? Well, first of all, there is a limit of 50 people on the phone list. Now, for your typical retiree, this might not be a problem, but by the time you add up a bunch of family members and about 8 doctors plus a pharmacy or two, you may be pushing the limits.

Second, the costs can add up. There are only a few plans, they are very simple, and all extras are added on. HOWEVER – for the elderly person who really needs a cellphone – and there are many – this is a very viable option.

So you may want to check out the Jitterbug and see if it will help you, a family member or a friend. We are looking at it for one of our family members. I hope it helps – think it will.

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Bilbo’s Song

There is much to be said for J.R.R. Tolkein’s perceptions of life and death!

I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been;

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall ever see.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

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From the rock, I’ve been sleepily looking out at the Pond today. Can’t seem to wake up, can’t seem to drop off and go ahead to sleep. Weird bodily sensations. Not pain, except muscles and joints – they are as usual during flare.

Couldn’t decide what was wrong. Got to thinking – maybe I’m dying.

Don’t much care one way or the other. Not afraid of death, but not looking forward to the process. Should I die, I pray God will accept me, unworthy as I am.

Lord, have mercy.

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