Who the Hell Are You?

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I’ve tried hard to avoid politics on my blog, but I really need to work through some feelings that have to do with politics.

My husband and I supported Senator Bernie Sanders during the last two election cycles. We donated to his campaign, a first for both of us. We never felt a politician, before his candidacy, represented us, our values. We hadn’t really ever discussed politics with anyone other than our closest of friends.

My family never talked politics. I have no idea whether or not any of them even voted. My husband’s family seemed to be Republican, from what little they had to say, but again, it was never really discussed. Occasionally his mother would comment on a particular issue, usually something concerning seniors, but otherwise the subject wasn’t really brought up.

Being on Facebook, we reconnected with some distant family members, classmates, met some new people who were like-minded and shared our interests.

I have to say, the worst thing about social media and reconnecting is that you find out things about people you’d rather not know. I liked it much better when I didn’t know the political leanings of old friends, family members. I’ve really been stunned by the things some folks have revealed about themselves and their thought processes.

Throughout my childhood, growing up, I spent a great deal of time watching adults, family members, representing themselves in one way, but behaving in a way completely contrary to the facade they put forth.

As an adult, I’ve tried to be consistent in my values, behavior, I don’t always succeed, but I try hard. The environment I grew up in definitely shaped my values, though not to follow those of my family, but to strive to be more genuine, even if it’s not popular.

I would describe myself as a pacifist, not comfortable with conflict, violence. I try to be the mediator, to be diplomatic. I try to avoid name calling, personal attacks. I prefer to talk about things, listen to one another, rather than fighting and hurting feelings. I really do try to hear other people, learn from them. I’m anti-gun, anti-hunting, pro-life (as a personal choice but not to impose on others). I have strong opinions, as one might imagine. Never being allowed to have an opinion, or to express it, while growing up, made that a priority in figuring out who I am, who I want to be.

I’m not a religious person, having had bad experiences with religion and religious people. Too many contradictions, too much hypocrisy in the experiences I had.

This bring us to politics… I have family members, friends, former classmates, who feel the need to profess their religiosity on a regular basis. They claim their faith shapes who they are, their beliefs, the choices they make, their political stances.

I have a lot of friends and family who are Republicans, conservative, evangelical Christians. I don’t have a problem with that, people can believe what they want, everyone has their own reasons for their political leanings. Recently I learned that a lot of those friends and family members were/are Trump supporters. They believe all the misinformation that’s been promoted by the former President and other Republican politicians. They honestly believe that Democrats, liberals are all hateful people with one goal, to strip them of their rights, to gain power at any cost, to take their guns, to prevent them from practicing their religion, etc. Even though there is no actual evidence of any of those things. Even in the face of what the former President and his most vocal and ardent followers just did in trying to alter the election results, storming the capitol building to prevent the electoral college votes from being certified by congress, they refuse to see those things, to acknowledge the truth.

When Joe Biden, whom I’d not supported, signed an executive order ceasing the Keystone XL pipeline, (a decision I whole heartedly support) my cousins began posting that Christians should “pray for the pipeline.” They started to complain that it meant jobs would be lost, jobs we need, we as in Pennsylvanians. They didn’t even understand that the Keystone pipeline didn’t reference the “Keystone state”, they didn’t know where it was even located, just that if a Democrat wanted to end it it was an attack on working people. They didn’t relent even when people told them it runs through Montana and the Dakotas, on sacred Sioux lands, that it has leaked 21 times in 9 years, the most recent a 383,000 gallon leak in wetlands. There was justification for halting the project. To them, the jobs outweighed the environmental damage.

To these folks, Covid-19 is a hoax, a plot by Democrats to take over control of everything, to manipulate and control the populous, to make us dependent on the government. Anyone who is scared by the virus, who follows mitigation protocols is stupid, being a sheep, willingly being controlled. Those of us who’ve followed social distancing guidelines, wear masks, refuse to gather in groups, we’re destroying everything for everyone else. We destroyed thanksgiving, christmas, are preventing others from going out to eat, going to a bar, enjoying their lives. Even those of us they know have had Covid-19 are looked upon as just being scared by everything, living in fear, making a bigger deal of it than necessary. We are somehow complicit with the Democratic plot to destroy the country.

These same people profess to be pro-life, but don’t seem to value the lives of even their family members when it comes to Covid. I had one family member actually say they were not required to sacrifice anything for anyone else, not for me, for a friend, no one.

All the Christian posts, the memes about prayer, about God and country, but they can’t be asked to unite for their fellow human beings, for their family members, friends in a time of crisis?

One of my cousins has all but stopped talking to myself and our Aunt. They can’t be bothered to interact online, even when called, it’s like pulling teeth to have a conversation.

I don’t understand how one reconciles Christian beliefs with a lot of the things they’re supporting, positions they are taking. They don’t see the hypocrisy. They don’t see the contradictions. They don’t seem to feel any remorse at the loss of relationships with family members, friends, over political views.

Who are these people? I honestly don’t recognize them.

Life Is Throwing Curve Balls

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My husband is finally recovered from Covid related pneumonia, my son is feeling only the fatigue of Covid-19 as his other symptoms have subsided. My symptoms are still coming in waves, but much less intense each time.

Unfortunately, right after my husband came home from the hospital we had a huge snow storm. 24 inches of snow in about 12 hours. He was too weak and still dealing with pneumonia, so I had to take care of shoveling, making sure the deck and ramp were cleared, the front sidewalk was passable and dig out around the car in case we had an emergency. I fell in the snow, in our yard, on my butt, hard. Trying to get up I fell on my face. I ended up crawling to the swing where I’d cleared the snow so I could get up. Ever since then I’ve been having intense pain, first in my right hip, then both, now the left only. It’s nerve pain, like my sciatic is pinched, radiating pain through my butt cheek, in my hip, down my thigh and knee. I’ve been using a heating pad since the fall, so I could loosen it up enough to walk my dog a couple times a day, get around in my house.

My husband had an EMG test on his right arm, as he’d been having wrist pain and elbow pain for a while. Turns out he has a pinched nerve in his elbow and carpel tunnel in his wrist, both of which need operated on.

The hospital bills are just starting to come in from his 2 Emergency Room visits and his 5.5 days in the hospital. Who knows how much that will end up being.

He just found out, about a week ago, that his mother has been diagnosed with lung cancer, a cancerous spot on her liver and bone cancer in her coccyx bone. The cancer is why she’s had pain in her hip for months now. Her cancer is inoperable. She also was diagnosed with pneumonia, but tested negative for Covid-19.

His sister contacted him and caused us both an anxiety attack, as she broke the news about the cancer. She contacted him a few days later (his mother wanted to be home) asking him to call her and see if he could talk some sense into his mom as she wasn’t eating or taking her insulin. He tried to do so, but she was in so much pain, she could do little more than moan into the phone. He told his sister they needed to get her back to the hospital, she growled into the phone and handed it off to his mother’s friend “S”. S told him they were trying to get her up to see if she could walk to the car and he demanded they get an ambulance. If she’s in that much pain, don’t try to make her walk, for crying out loud. S used this opportunity to scold him about his lack of a relationship with his sister, told him it was “killing” his mom knowing they weren’t talking and he should put hurt feelings aside for her. Really?! Using his mother’s situation to try to manipulate and guilt him into letting his sister back into his life to abuse him some more?

She went to the hospital and her pain medication was regulated. She was doing much better and wanted to come home. He couldn’t see her while in the hospital because of Covid policies and his sister was designated her “support person” and each patient can only have one support person.

Hospice said they had to have a hospital bed, side table and bedside toilet in place before she could be released. Hospice nurses will visit 2 times a week. His sister is on leave of absense from work, having taken their mother to her doctor appointments and looking after her at home. S had also tried to play on his sympathy telling him his sister had been doing all this alone, was doing everything and was doing her best. Whose fault is that? Once again, they didn’t bring him into the loop, didn’t tell him how bad things were, didn’t reach out to him to ask for help. Even when he asked his mom if she had rides to appointments, she said yeah, she had it covered. His sister was “doing it all on her own” because she didn’t reach out to him, let him know what was going on, give him an opportunity to help.

The other day she texted him asking if he could come do some overnights with their mom, as since coming home she required around the clock supervision/care and his sister can have a break. She asked if they could do 3, 3 and 1. Meaning she would do 3 nights, my husband would do 3 nights and her youngest daughter would do 1 night. He agreed to that. He asked her what hours she was talking about, they agreed on 7pm – 7am. She was also interviewing a lady to come take some day time hours with their mom, someone who was a retired nurse.

She contacted him again asking if he could help pay this nurse. She was to make $10 an hour. He explained to her that was impossible, as he’s been on unemployment compensation for nearly 6 months, having had his hours cut to 20 per week, then been off work on medical with covid-19 and then pneumonia. He explained he has bills for 2 Emergency room visist and 5 days in the hospital with numerous tests and specialists starting to come in that we don’t know how we’re going to pay.

We asked if she was getting things underway with Medicaid and the Area Office of Aging, to get attendant care in place, she said that hospice was taking care of all of that.

Tonight was to be his first night at his mom’s. This morning his sister texted him asking if he could come a couple hours earlier as she really needed a break. He told her he would this time, but only because he wants to see his mom.

He’s been hesitant about getting involved, since his sister is power of attorney and had not included him in any of what was going on. He didn’t want her to think if he did this that they were going to have a relationship again, that everything was okay between them. He didn’t want there to be any arguing in front of their mother, didn’t want to be pressured about their relationship because the people who’ve criticized him for it have only had one side of the story and shut him down if he tried to explain why he didn’t want to allow her in his life anymore.

I understand his mom needs help right now, but not to sound petty or selfish, I’m in a very painful, debilitating situation with my back right now. I depend on him to take care of night walks with our dog, taking her out before bed. I feel safe with him being home with us at night, we’ll be stranded without a car should anything happen while he’s there, as we only have one vehicle. His sister didn’t bother to ask if I and our son were okay. She didn’t consider, at all, that he might be needed at home.

Had they been practical about the situation, his mother would have gone into hospice care through the hospital until attendant care was set up at home, then brought her home. The family can’t afford to pay this nurse to come in, as 10 hours a week would cost $100. None of us have that. 10 hours a week would hardly be worth the effort, as her friends in her building are looking in on her throughout the day.

He let me know he got there tonight and just texted me to tell me his sister already apologized for being late tomorrow morning. We knew she’d take advantage and do that when she grumbled about him only wanting to cover a 12 hour shift overnight.

It’s all such a shame, that things are like they are. His sister has lied and taken advantage of him so many times, only to play the victim with his mother, interfere in our relationships with his mother and our nieces. Obviously even her mother’s neighbor and friend has been told one side of the story and feels entitled to condemn him for the relationship.

He’s made the decision that he just wants to walk away once he loses his mother. He doesn’t want to be subject to his sister’s lies and nonsense any longer. The other night he was sitting here watching TV when he suddenly said, “you know, when my sister isn’t part of our lives things are so much more relaxed, we have so much less stress, drama and anxiety, but whenever she’s involved it’s nonstop problems, misunderstandings, accusations and nonsense.”

I’m really concerned about his emotional and mental well-being, having to be exposed to his sister like this. She’s got people around her mother convinced she’s been victimized by us, that we’ve been the bad guys, because we don’t allow her to be abusive to us or our son. He has a habit of going along with pressure from them, just to keep from rocking the boat. He is always all about just letting them treat him however they want just so he doesn’t get blamed for things, even though he always does anyway.

House Full of Covid

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Our household is recovering from Covid-19.

We followed all the protocols, wore masks when outside our home, hand washed/sanitized, social distanced in public places. We didn’t visit friends or family, were so very careful.

I initially had symptoms almost 2 weeks after an eye appointment, one where the doctor made me take my mask off because it was fogging up the lenses in his equipment. He fogged them up from his side so he also took his mask off. (I’ve since learned that a number of people became infected who’d visited that office.)

At first I had light headedness, some dizziness and initially thought it was a reaction to my new eye prescription. Sometimes when I get a new prescription I have trouble adjusting to the trifocals. One evening I had a light cough and I’d noticed when I was out walking I had trouble catching my breath. In bed, I couldn’t lie on my back because I couldn’t get a full lung full of air.

Within 3 days of the initial symptoms I was having chills, sweats, a scratchy throat, a severe headache and nausea. I never recorded a temperature. I began to have diarrhea and was so tired I could hardly do anything without lying down, closing my eyes. I never lost smell or taste, but did experience phantom smells. A Covid test was ordered, but my doctor told my husband she could almost guarantee I didn’t have Covid.

A couple days later, my husband started to have a cough. He was having more and more trouble catching his breath, and within 3 days he couldn’t speak 2 consecutive words without gasping for air, coughing violently. I sent him to the ER. He was given a rapid test and it was determined he was positive for Covid and had pneumonia. His blood oxygen saturation level was 71%. They admitted him and put him on oxygen.

At about the same time my husband was admitted to the hospital our son began to have a terrible sounding cough, a runny nose, scratchy throat and fatigue.

My husband had been in the hospital for 3 days when I got the call that my Covid test was positive. We asked to have our son tested and they denied that request, telling us tests are finite, it’s almost guaranteed he’s positive, living with two positive parents.

Once I’d had my test we’d quarantined me from the family, all wore masks in the house, my husband slept in a different bedroom and used a different bathroom, but those efforts were obviously too late.

My husband was in the hospital for five and a half days, on oxygen until the night of the fifth day, as they tried to see what his blood oxygen saturation level was on room air, without oxygen. He had 5 doses of Remdesivir, was on antibiotics, steroids and pearls. When he came home he had an emergency inhaler, steroids and was eventually given pearls for use at home.

My son and I were directed to take tylenol, drink lots of water, and if necessary use over the counter cough medicine for coughing. We were told if we started having trouble breathing to get to the ER, but otherwise, let it run it’s course.

Our family physician did a tele-visit and did the math with us recently, letting us know we are no longer contagious, but should continue to mask, wash our hands, and social distance when outside the home.

All 3 of us had different symptoms, different combinations of symptoms. Our son’s symptoms are nearly gone, my husband is doing breathing exercises at home to increase his lung capacity and prevent the pneumonia from settling in the back of his lungs, walking more to build up stamina so he can return to work in 2 weeks. My symptoms have come in waves, they are intense for 2-3 days, then subside for a few days, then return again. As time goes by they are less intense with each new wave, but I’m still dealing with dizziness, nausea, diarrhea. I’ve not escaped the fatigue yet, I’m hopeful that will come soon.

While I was sick, as my husband was in the hospital, I had to continue to keep the house running, cook the meals, figure out how to get groceries, pay bills, etc., while quarantined. I was pleased to discover that a lot of our neighbors and friends volunteered to help us out, deliver groceries, help us out.

When my husband came home, we had a huge snow storm. I couldn’t find anyone to shovel sidewalks or our parking area, so I did that over the course of two days. I seriously hurt my back. I’m suffering terribly still. I needed us to be able to get out, should my husband need to go back to the ER, should I need an ambulance to pick him up, etc. I really had no choice, but to push through the pain and do what I could to dig us out from under 24″ of snow.

We’ve got family, both my husband and I, who refuse to wear masks, who complain that their rights are being taken away, their freedoms stripped, who post things on Facebook about how if you think people who won’t wear masks don’t care about anyone but themselves, YOU are the one who doesn’t care about workers out of work, people struggling to pay bills and buy groceries, people who are at risk to lose their homes, etc.

My cousin had planned a family Christmas party and had a major melt down when family members expressed fear about gathering for a party. Two of her family members work in health care as nurses. She cancelled the party saying “I guess we’re cancelling Christmas this year, everyone is so scared of this Covid bullsh*t, I’m not scared.” Her CNA sister has since been diagnosed positive with Covid-19.

We know so many people who don’t believe Covid-19 is real, that it’s nothing but the flu, that it’s political, just to take our freedoms, it’s a democratic power grab. People say they don’t care if they get it.

I hope none of those people have to know their spouse or loved one is in the hospital, can’t breathe, and they can’t visit them. I hope they don’t ever know the fear that they could lose their loved one, while people they know are proclaiming the positivity numbers, the death numbers are inflated to manipulate people, that it’s nothing but a flu and the government is labeling every death, regardless of what it is, as Covid.

The city I live in is rated 19 out of top 20 highest positive test results in the country. Our doctor told us our county is at 48% positivity.

This has been a terribly frightening and draining time for my family. I sincerely hope that no one reading this, who has not been touched by Covid-19 has to experience this awful virus.

“Kids Will Be Kids”

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I’m sure people have been saying “kids will be kids” for decades. Somehow in recent years it’s become a way of dismissing some of the most disrespectful and dangerous behavior. It’s also become a way for adults to abdicate responsibility for parenting and disciplining their kids.

Recently, in a local online neighborhood watch group, a number of people posted about a group of teen boys going door to door asking people for hot dogs. One older lady was scared by them knocking on her door. When she answered they were holding her storm door open. She called the police because she didn’t understand what they wanted and felt scared. People in the watch group posted some of the most obnoxious comments. “Everyone did stuff like this;” “kids play pranks on people, lighten up;” “if someone is that afraid, then they shouldn’t open the door;” “why call the police and get these kids in trouble?;” “overreacting much?”

Kids were going through this community ringing doorbells and running away. Apparently doing so is called “ding dong ditch?” When I explained that this isn’t a game when you’re disabled or elderly and you hurry to get to your door, if you fall or get hurt, I got responses like “then don’t go to the door if you’re not expecting someone;” “no one is making you hurry to get to the door.”

There were reports of kids dumping people’s trash cans, rummaging through unlocked cars.

People really took offense to anyone calling the police on kids misbehaving in the neighborhood. “Why get these kids in trouble with the police?;” “Why blow it out of proportion?;” “The police have better things to do with their time than harassing kids.”

Just a week ago, in this same group, kids were reportedly throwing rocks off an overpass at cars passing below. People reminded their neighbors that people have died because of kids doing things like this, that it can cause injuries to vehicle occupants, can cause drivers to lose control, damage vehicles. Again, the comments were flooded with comments about all kids having done things like this, kids are just being kids, they’re just having fun, etc.

Whenever issues like this are discussed someone immediately says “cue all the perfect people, the perfect parents to comment how bad this is.”

I don’t know about anyone else, but as a kid I DID NOT do things like this. Damaging other people’s property, scaring people, was not considered “having fun” or “kids being kids.” I was taught to respect other people and their property. My parents knew where my sister and I were at all times, they knew who we were with and what we were doing. We had restrictions as to where we could go and who we could be with. We weren’t allowed to go into anyone else’s yard without permission, let alone going onto their porch.

When I was growing up, our neighborhoods and communities were different. Everyone in the neighborhood knew all the kids, knew their parents and kept an eye on everyone. Often our parents knew what we’d been doing before we got home because neighbors would have called them to let them know. Adults in the neighborhood felt a sense of responsibility for the children who lived there. Today people close their doors and windows, pull their blinds and don’t seem to want to know what’s going on around them, don’t want to get to know their neighbors, they simply don’t want to be bothered.

The idea that parents dismiss bad behavior, want to pretend that everyone is doing these things so why hold their kids to a different standard, that they “normalize” disrespectful and dangerous behavior, to my thinking, is the problem.

If you don’t want your child to be confronted by the police, perhaps you should teach them respect, responsibility and hold them accountable. They need to understand that in life there are consequences when you participate in activities that jeopardize the well-being of others.

It’s pretty clear that the parents who defend and normalize this behavior have little respect for others, or for the law, themselves. Kids will be the kids we raise them to be.

I Guess I Just Need to Stop Talking

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Over the years, I’ve recognized that whenever I’m dealing with increased depression, with increased chronic pain, with severe migraines, etc., people I love seem to take advantage of my weakness and make a point to criticize and highlight every mistake I make.

I’m struggling with pain, with feeling physically compromised, with depression and the emotional insecurities that come with that, it’s at times like these that people I love feel the need to point out every mistake I make, be it forgetting something we talked about, forgetting where I put something, correcting me in front of other people, arguing with everything I say.

I’m really starting to think I’ve lost it. I feel confused ALL THE TIME. Everything I say evokes a correction, a rush to defensiveness, the suggestion that I should know different or should remember I’ve already been told or known something many times over. Sometimes what I say inspires an argumentative response, even though the argument being made is in agreement with what I said.

Every time I try to relate a story about something that’s happened in my life, in front of a person I love, they feel the need to jump in and correct what I’m saying in front of the person I’m talking to.

When I had a heart attack a year ago, when people asked me about it and someone I love was with me, they contradicted whatever I tried to say. For instance, I didn’t think it was acquaintance’s business to know about my medication, or why I had the heart attack, so if they asked me about those things, I’d say I don’t know, but my loved one would jump in and say, “yes you do, you know why it happened…” then they would tell people.

People seem to get some sort of pleasure from making me look and feel foolish. I and my loved ones know that I have short term memory loss and the older I get, with menopause, it’s getting worse. I would think folks could cut me a break, maybe not feel the need to jump on every single thing I say.

I’m really to the point to where I just feel I should stop talking. I shouldn’t share my opinion, shouldn’t comment on anything happening around me, shouldn’t ask any questions, just keep my thoughts to myself.

I spend a lot of time crying because I get reminded constantly of how much I’m forgetting, how much of an inconvenience my memory loss is to my loved ones. I also cry because it feels as if loved ones enjoy being able to flex their muscles, so to speak, and feel superior, suggest that I’m inferior.

I would hope that loved ones would lift up someone close to them who is struggling, not see it as an opportunity to emphasize short comings, to remind them they are struggling.

Autumn has finally arrived!!!

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This Summer has been absolutely brutal. We’ve had hardly any rain, sustained temperatures in the 90’s for days, week after week with high humidity.

It’s been so hot and dry that the dirt in our yard has cracked, our grass is burnt off brown and crunches when you walk on it. We ran the AC non-stop since early June.

It was too hot in the afternoons to walk my dog, so we spent most of the Summer sitting in the backyard in the afternoons and evenings, braving the morning humidity just to get a single walk in daily.

Finally, about a week to a week and a half before the official start of Autumn, the temperatures began to drop, the humidity with it. It’s been so much more comfortable, we’ve had windows open almost constantly.

I finally got to decorate for Autumn and today will begin to decorate for Halloween.

Another Dog Attack

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When I had my last husky, Kodiak, he was attacked or charged at no less than 20 times by dogs in our neighborhood, loose dogs, dogs off leash with their owners.

Since getting Noni in March 2019 we’ve encountered a number of loose dogs, little dogs that have gotten right in her face with their owners with them.

Last Friday, September 25 we came home from grocery shopping and I got Noni ready to go for a walk. We only got 3 houses from our home when our neighbor’s visitors started oohing and awing over Noni and came out to the sidewalk to visit with her. We had a nice visit, talked about the breed, etc. Our neighbor’s bulldog, who always goes ballistic when we walk by, thankfully always tied to their side steps, was barking and growling. The visitors tried to put the bulldog in the house, as we turned to walk away. The screen door bounced when it shut and the bulldog charged out of the door and attacked Noni.

Noni was fierce, defending herself, defending me, as she maintained a face to face posture with the attacking dog. Noni had saliva all over her body where the bulldog had tried to bite her and at one point in the flurry of snapping jaws I saw that the bulldog was about to lunge at Noni’s neck.

I put my hand out, hoping to push the bulldog’s head back, but instead she clamped down on my had. I got my hand out of her mouth and the visitor came out to get the dog. Noni didn’t appear to be hurt, but quickly it was obvious I was, as blood ran down my hand, dripping off my fingers.

I hurried back home, calling out to my husband as we neared the front of the house. He came out and I told him what happened, asking him to get Noni inside and go over her body to be sure she wasn’t hurt.

I cleaned up my hand and discovered 6 wounds, one very deep between my knuckle and base of my ring finger. The side of the same finger had a big puncture wound and there were smaller once on the palm side of that finger and on my pinky finger.

The visitor that had accidentally let the dog out came to my house to check on me. He indicated he was a paramedic and brought super glue down to seal the wound to try to stop the bleeding. He told me if I needed medication, to see my doctor, anything, I should call him and let him know.

After he left, the super glue pulled up as I used my hand and I noticed part of my finger turning black and blue. A friend suggested checking with my doctor as to what I should do to keep it clean, prevent infection and that I might need antibiotics. I called my doctor’s office and they told me to go to the Urgent Care center to be looked at.

I did go. They cleaned the wounds out, wrapped them up, gave me a tetanus shot and a prescription for an antibiotic. They told me sealing the wound is the worst thing to do as infection from dog bites are common and I should be concerned about a joint infection. They gave me a series of symptoms to look for, that if any of them appear, I should get back to the center for further treatment.

Yesterday I noticed the second largest wound on the side of my finger was infected. I cleaned the pus out, used peroxide, anti-bacterial soap and triple antibiotic ointment. The finger is swollen, continues to bruise and a red line has appeared where my wedding rings were, which I can’t get back on my finger.

It’s gotten so we can’t safely walk in our own neighborhood. Recently we were confronted by two stray dogs wandering around together, 2 blocks from our house. I watched a rottweiler jump his fence and lunge at a man passing by on the sidewalk a half block from where we were. A neighbor’s little dog has charged at Noni barking in her face and lunging at her several times.

Two weeks ago, a man and his son walking their rottweiler behind us kept increasing their speed, closing the distance between us, even as I hurried her to keep moving. I turned off onto the bike path and didn’t he follow me, less than 6 feet from us. I pulled her off into the grass, trying to put space between us as his dog lunged at us multiple times.

I’m constantly looking for new routes to walk without threats to our safety. Walking with my dog has always been a sort of relaxing, zen time for me to quiet my mind, enjoy nature, but recently I’ve had to become hyper vigilant of our surroundings. I feel like I can’t let my guard down, not for a second.

I’m so tired of irresponsible pet owners. When we’re out walking and someone approaches us I shorten up her leash, put her in heel at my side and ask her to sit/stay until the person or people walk by. I don’t let her visit other dogs on leashes because we never know how they will react, if they’ll feel threatened and trapped by being on leash unable to get away if necessary.

So, once again I’m scoping out a safer way to walk, to avoid potential issues in the future. Don’t know yet if I’ll need more treatment for my bite, hoping not, but will do what I need to do.

A Cautionary Tale

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020 my best friend of 43 years passed away from a massive heart attack. She was 56 years old.

For years I’ve loved her like a sister, she lived with us a number of times before and after she had her son. She was there when I went through some of the most awful times of my life and some of the greatest times. She was someone I knew I could be brutally honest with, because we knew each other so well.

As much as I loved her, she frustrated the hell out of me. I’ve written about her before.

She was diagnosed as diabetic (type 2) probably between fifteen and twenty years ago. She absolutely refused to take the medications she was given the way they were prescribed. She always hated taking medication and was never able to swallow pills, she’d chew them up, even though some medications shouldn’t be chewed up and are time released.

Her doctors have tried to recommend diets, exercise, but she has refused to comply with them.

Over the years I’ve known her she’s tried nearly every fad diet that’s been advertised. She never completely followed through with them as directed, but she’d order every “kit” on the market.

In recent years she turned to the internet and had begun to follow a number of “doctors” online, some of whom had written books, some produced videos to watch. All of the ones she told me about advocated diets and treatments that were contradictory to everything her family doctors and specialists she’d seen had recommended.

A few years ago she’d had a lump come up on the side of her back. She’d shown her boss at work and asked her what she thought it might be. They felt it and determined it was mushy, it felt like fluid and encouraged her to get to a doctor. Since it was causing her some pain, she did seek treatment and found out her kidney had died. It was encapsulated in a sack of pus. She had to have it removed.

They recommended a renal health diet as well as a diabetic diet. They wanted her to follow up with a kidney specialist, but she told me she didn’t. When I asked her what she was going to do if she didn’t take care of herself and her only remaining kidney shut down. Her response was, “then I guess I’ll just go on dialysis.”

As well as refusing to listen to her doctors or take medication correctly, she was eating everything she wasn’t supposed to, nothing but starches, carbs such as rice, pasta, breads. She was ordering take out every single day and her portions were out of control, by her own admission.

Her doctor put her on cholesterol medication, blood pressure medication, new diabetes medication, but she wouldn’t take them appropriately. She refused fluid pills as her legs and feet started swelling.

She’d been complaining, for the last five years or so, that her legs felt funny. She said she didn’t have pain, per se, and not really numbness or tingling, but just heaviness and an unsteadiness when walking. She’d begun using a rollator after seeing mine.

She had a terrible time trying to describe her symptoms when something was bothering her. She tended to look them up online, then call her doctor and “self-diagnose” instead of communicating her symptoms. As a result, her doctor told her to her face she was a hypochondriac looking for attention. Often doctors and nurses would have a hard time understanding what she was experiencing and as a result simply dismiss her without actually treating her for anything.

I had a hard time understanding what she was feeling, as she’d say she knew how I feel, but if I asked her if she was having pain she’d say no, if I asked her what she was feeling she’d start telling me what she wasn’t feeling.

The last time we talked she’d told me her cholesterol and blood pressure were through the roof. At one point she’d told me her blood pressure was in or nearly the 200 range. She said she’d gained a lot of weight and was having trouble breathing. She dismissed her symptoms as something to do with the air conditioning in the house.

This blog isn’t meant to trash her, or gossip about her, but to help others understand just how important it is that you take care of yourself, if you’re taking medications take them as they are prescribed, try to eat sensibly, keep track of symptoms that are bothering you and relay them to your doctor in a clear and concise way. Please don’t try to self diagnose, or look up symptoms online and think you know what you’re dealing with.

She was adamant that doctors only schedule appointments, prescribe medication and order tests to make money, in her mind they were not interested in helping anyone and therefore she disregarded everything they said to her.

Please know, anyone reading this, that you need to take care of yourself, you need to act responsibly and remember that even if you don’t really care about your health, think nothing like that can happen to you, don’t worry about symptoms until they are impacting your life, that someone loves you, worries about you and will be devastated when they lose you.

I went today to see her ashes buried on her brother’s property, under a tree, as she’d requested, so that her ashes would feed and nurture the tree to maturity. I wish she’d have thought more about self care, sought therapy and treatment when she needed it, rather than what she did.

She thought that no one cared about her, that she didn’t make a difference, that the world wouldn’t miss her when she died. I don’t know about the world, but I do and will.

Nostalgic and Melancholy

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This time of year always brings a flood of memories and emotions with it, as the temperatures get cooler and the leaves begin to change. I love Autumn. Of all the seasons, Autumn is the most physically comfortable for me and the most uplifting with all the colors, cool breezes, early evenings and colorful sunsets. Autumn marks the beginning of the “holiday season.”

While it brings about some happy memories, images from childhood, it also reminds me of losses, changes, and aging.

I miss the revelry of jumping into piles of leaves, carving jack-o-lanterns, the smell throughout the neighborhood of burning leaves, the joy of seeing Halloween decorations appearing in neighbors’ windows and on their porches. I always enjoyed raking fallen leaves, the smells of the season, the overcast skies, wearing hoodies and jeans and the sound of crunching through leaves on a walk.

I enjoyed Autumn baking, making pies, cookies, breads and making homemade stews and roasts. I loved the scents of apple cinnamon and vanilla candles burning. I loved to bake and send goodies into work with my husband to share with his coworkers with coffee in the morning or dessert after lunch.

As a child, I looked forward to picking our a Halloween costume, getting dressed up and going around our neighborhood trick or treating. Every porch light was on, people greeted us happily, some of them dressed up themselves.

Thanksgiving brought its own joys. My grandmother on my mother’s side of the family hosted Thanksgiving dinners, with my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin eating dinner with us. Everything was homemade, from scratch, it smelled and tasted so good. It was special getting to share dinner with everyone.

As an adult so much has changed over the years. The older I get the more I see the simple joys of my childhood disappearing, being abandoned.

The familiar tell tale aroma of leaves burning in Autumn no longer exists, as open burning has been illegal for quite a long time. In the city where I live the city comes around a couple of times during Autumn and collects fallen leaves left in piles on the street. I can maybe count on one hand the number of times in the last 30 years that I saw kids playing in piles of leaves in their yards. One can’t even crunch through leaves on a walk through the park because they literally vacuum them up and remove them from the park.

Carving jack-o-lanterns is a waste of time and energy because kids will come right up on the porch and steal them, smashing them in the street somewhere on the block.

There is virtually no trick or treating anymore, as most people turn off their porch lights, don’t decorate and keep their houses dark so they don’t have to provide candy, complaining that kids trick or treating are beggars with their hands out, and many parents don’t trust their neighborhoods to provide safe treats, so they participate in a new trend, known as “trunk or treat,” where kids can get candy from the trunks of cars parked at strategic locations in the community, usually sponsored by schools or community groups.

People spend a lot of time complaining about the cooler temps, the earlier evenings and shorter days. They seem to have lost the ability to enjoy the simple things about life.

I don’t do as much baking these days because the cost of ingredients is so dear. The last few times I baked for my husband to take to his coworkers most of the goodies came home. Some people question the motivation behind baking for others.

Since I left home, family holidays ended. I tried to institute them with in-laws, friends, etc., but that ended as well. Our families are splintered into cliques, cliques that don’t associate with one another. Friends have fallen by the way side so even that avenue for gatherings has ended. Many family members are no longer with us, so all we have are memories of holidays past.

So much has changed. Trying to carry on traditions I grew up with sometimes invites ridicule. I’ve encountered people who chastised me for decorating the outside of my home, saying in these times when so many are struggling, it’s insensitive to decorate and signals that I have money to waste, or that I’m reminding others of what they don’t or can’t have.

People begin complaining about the holidays coming, about stores carrying holiday decorations, about the attitudes of people in public, the weather. It sometimes feels as if people can find nothing to enjoy, and if they can’t enjoy it they are hell bent on preventing anyone else from enjoying things.

Aging brings with it a whole new set of complications and changes to adjust to. It’s far more difficult than I ever imagined to see so many things coming to an end, changing, being lost to the past, having younger people not appreciate or understand the things that have meant so much to you. I find myself remembering the best of my youth and missing the carefree joy of those days. It makes this time of year a mixed bag of happiness and depression.

Can’t Get Motivated Again

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I’m really struggling this year. I have gained almost 40 lbs since October 2018 when I hit one of my weight loss goals, losing 200 lbs. I had a heart attack in December, got a new diagnosis for the bone disease in my lumbar back, was told to cut back on walking and recently got a diagnosis for the severe pain I’ve been experiencing since last Dec. in my right shoulder.

I want to get back on track, to get back to losing weight, but depression and emotional eating are preventing me from doing so. I just can’t get motivated. I feel like no matter what I do, how much effort I give, my body seems to be sabotaging me with one new issue after another.

I keep thinking what’s the use? I’m exhausted.

This Summer has been so hot and so humid that I walk my dog in the morning, but can’t take her for a walk in the afternoon or evening because it’s so hot we both mind it terribly, so we sit out in the backyard.

Trying to walk more is hindered by the pain I’m experiencing in my feet, the fact that my right knee has begun to grab and fold up as I’m walking, I’m still experiencing pain in my right shoulder though it’s lessened since the injection, the small of my back is aching terribly, particularly early in the morning.

I walk around daily feeling so exhausted. I don’t want to do anything. Some days I get a burst of energy and try to take advantage of it to get some housework done. Most days I’m just so achy, experiencing so much pain that I just want to sit and do nothing. I force myself to walk my dog, to sit outside with her.

I’m hoping that with the cooler Autumn weather that’s coming, I’ll be able to walk with my dog a little more, even if it’s short distances, maybe I can go more often, if the pain doesn’t increase due to the cooler temperatures, as cold affects my joints.

I put up my Autumn decorations inside the house this past weekend, trying to lift my spirits, to feel better emotionally. I’m excited to decorate outside when corn shocks and pumpkins are available, though with the pandemic causing a cut in my husband’s hours and wages, we don’t really know whether we will be able to afford them or not.

I hope I can get motivated again soon, as I don’t want my weight to get out of control. The last 30 or so pounds were the hardest to lose the first time, so I can imagine what it will be like this time, with more physical restrictions and increased pain.

Just had to purge these feelings….