Posts Tagged ‘aging’

The Movers

I’m sure everyone has had the experience of hearing people moving furniture and boxes and stuff around the room next door. In your house. In a hotel. In an office. In a school room. That sound of things bumping against each other and rubbing along the floor is so familiar. We all know when we hear those sounds that someone or something is on the move.

I hear it all the time. It’s not really unpleasant. I’m almost not aware of it until I realize that no one is around and that there can’t be anyone making those sounds. I’m used to it now. What is it? It’s in my head. No. Not going crazy, although that is probably also going on. It’s the sound I hear since my hearing has gone so bad that even screaming in my ear sounds like a whisper to me. It’s kind of ironic that I don’t hear sounds that are actually there but I do hear what isn’t.

It took me awhile to realize it was in my head. Years ago, like fifteen or more, I used to hear a kind of high pitched hum which I thought was the sound of the electricity going through the air. I started hearing it when I moved to Santa Rosa (California). It was withing a week of moving there so I equated it with the new location. I thought it was the power lines or something. Then I realized that no one else could hear it. Only me. It was in my ears. The specialist verified it. Tinnitus. Constant. And now it’s the moving sounds instead of the humming, although once in awhile the humming returns.

I’m not sure which I prefer. Humming or ringing. I don’t even have a choice. I get what my ears give me.

Well, the movers are getting louder right now so maybe I should try to distract myself. Ciao.

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Well, now what will I do?

As most of you know, I live about a two minute walk from three of my four grandchildren. I see them every day. My life pretty much revolves around what they need and their calls to take them to the park. Really, they call me. We both have Amazon Echo devices so they can call me very easily by asking Alexa to call their Nana. And they do call me to ask me to take them to the park or to the store or any number of places. I love seeing them every day. When they were gone for a week last month, I was depressed and didn’t know what to do with myself.

And now they’re moving. Moving away from me. At least it’s in the works. We aren’t sure when but it will, most likely be this summer, before school starts so the boys can start school when the school year begins. And that’s the other thing, I homeschool one of them so that means he’ll have to go back to regular school and I don’t think he’s ready for that. If my daughter’s plan works out they will be about forty minutes away from me. I know that’s not far and I’m glad they won’t be further but that means I won’t see them every day and it will be more difficult to see them because the time will have to be planned out to fit in with their schedule and traffic, which at times could make it more like an hour to drive over to see them.

I just found out less than twenty-four hours ago and I’m still in shock.

My daughter depends on me a lot. She calls me with no notice to go watch the kids for her or to go put Maya to sleep because I’m the only one that she’ll let put her to sleep when she is being cranky. And that little girl gets so excited when I go over. She sees me and throws her head back with a huge giggle. And she cries without consolation when I leave.

And I guess the other side is that I am comfortable with having them so close. When I fall, I can call them for help. When I’m sick and need soup or medicine from the store, I can call on them. When I need a ceiling height light bulb changed, I have to call them because I can’t get on the step ladder due to my knee. And of course, my health is now failing and I really have peace of mind knowing that they are so close. Now they won’t be.

I’m just kind of falling apart at the news. I know that in the end, we’ll all learn to live with it and it will be okay but I’m really having a tough time with it. I was just at the point where I was not going to renew my driver’s license because I’m having so much trouble with my eyes and physically, I can’t always sufficiently check for traffic when I’m driving. I scare myself at times when I realize how close I came to being in an accident. And if I do that, I won’t be able to drive to see them. I won’t be able to even get groceries. My daughter is the one that takes me to get groceries because I can’t stand or walk very long so she is there to grab things for me quickly and finish my shopping if I need to go sit for a rest.

Anyway, it will also mean fewer blog posts about my adorable grandchildren and what they say and do. I guess I will have to write about other things.

If we can all get used to it and get into different routines, it will be best for my daughter and the kids. It will mean a lot of changes (she’ll be permanently separating from her partner which is a good thing) for the kids and the changes will hit all at once. They will be moving physically, not living with their dad, not seeing me every day, not being around familiar surroundings. I’m scared for them.

Well, that’s my brain and heart dump for the day. 😦

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This week has been interesting, to say the least. It has left me unsettled in a number of angles. Let me tell you about it.

First, you may remember that I have had a number of falls. In the last eight weeks, I have fallen four times and have had five or six near falls where I either am able to grab onto something and not fallen all of the way or someone has been nearby and has caught me. That’s a lot of falls. I had my doctor’s appointment last week and she set me up with an eye doctor. Her feeling was that I might have a vision problem that was making me lose my balance. I kind of thought she was crazy. I thought it was my medication, but I did go to the specialist. Well, it seems my primary care physican was right. I have developed “significant” cataracts in both eyes and they are obscuring my vision. I need to have them removed surgically, sooner than later. Additionally, I have diabetic hemoraging in my eyes, which we expected. But the kicker is that they also found a cyst in my right retna. It appears to be rather significant and it needs to be addressed immediately. The most likely treatment will be surgical removal. Yay. Not. I go to the retna specialist on the 16th. Wish me luck! I’m really kind of unnerved by this because the cataracts were very minor in October when I last had my eyes dilated and examined. Now they are significant. And the October exam didn’t find the cyst. So I think it is progressing, or rather growing, quite quickly. And that explains why I have been having so much trouble reading. I have over 18,000 unread emails in my inbox because I can’t read more than one or two before I have to stop. So if you’ve sent me an email in the last six months, it’s probably still unread!

Then, on Thursday my niece posted a link to an article on Facebook that caught my eye. She said something like “it’s weird to think we’ve been living next to a murderer all these years!” Yup. It caught my eye and I read the article. It was about a murder suspect that shot and killed himself as sheriff’s were knocking on his door to serve a warrant. I think that pretty much confirms he was guilty of that murder. Then I read on and was shocked by the murder. It was a cold case that I was sort of involved in back in October of 1974, when I was a freshman at Stanford University. It was a brutal murder. A very shocking murder and I was outside the Church when it happened. I’ve written about it before and about how I have had nightmares since that murder. For the last forty-four years I’ve had a nightmare that I was in the Church alone and the killer was coming after me and I couldn’t get out as I was locked inside with him. They are terrifying nightmares that have me wake up breathless and with my heart pounding. So I’m still sort of unsettled about that. And the coincidence that he would end up living right next door to my niece! What are the odds?!

On the good side, my daughter leant me her laptop charger that works with mine. Mine has been lost for months so I haven’t been able to use my laptop. I’ve been using my phone for reading and for writing so it has been very difficult. Her laptop isn’t working so she said I could keep the charger untill she gets the laptop fixed, which might be never. Yay for me. Boo for her. In any case, it will make it easier to read and write and, hopefully, I will be able to really get back to blogging. However, please forgive typos as I can’t see them easily so I can’t correct them and this Chromebook doesn’t seem to catch them with spell check. Oh well!

So here’s to the end of my nightmares, to a positive outcome with the cataracts and the cyst, and to more blogging. Yay!

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My first school dance was in seventh grade. It was in the gym, right after school. We had a live band! Normally, it would have been just DJ type of entertainment but one of the teachers, Mr. Spitaleri (yeah, what a name!), had a teen son who was in a band and they came to play for our dance. They were pretty good. And of course, all of us girls were right up at the foot of the stage ogling the guys in the band. Yeah, even me. It was a lot of fun. In fact, it’s probably the best school dance I ever went to. There were no expectations. We didn’t have to get dressed up. No one had dates. It was just a fun time. My favorite song that they played that afternoon was Spinning Wheel (originally by Blood, Sweat, And Tears) which was climbing the charts at that time. They had one of those lights that has a color wheel turning which makes the room look different colors. I still remember those couple of hours so very well, even though it was fifty years ago!

Well, that’s what my life has felt like this past month…like I’m on a spinning wheel and I can’t get off. As soon as it slows down a bit and I think I am going to get a chance to catch my breath it starts up again at full speed. Let’s see, I guess I can tell you that I have fallen down four times in the last six weeks! I lose my balance, due to the medication I take for the pain from nerve damage. At least that’s what I think is causing it because it is a documented side effect.m But I will definitely discuss it with my doctor at my next appointment on the twentieth. And I am having a lot more problems with my eyes. Reading has become next to impossible and I am thinking that a lot of it has to do with my new glasses. I had so much trouble getting the prescription right. It took them four tries to get them to where I could see distance and read. But they aren’t perfect. I’m still dealing with very watery eyes when I try to read and having to close one eye so I can focus with just one. So I guess I should go back and see if there is anything they can do. Or go some place else. Not happy about that.

I do have one very good thing that has happened to share with you. You might recall that I also am deaf. Almost completely now. I had been using some “sound amplifiers” which look like hearing aids but are a fraction of the price. They didn’t work great but they helped me get through day to day living. Then one stopped working and about a month later I lost the other one. They didn’t fit right and I think it just fell out someplace. Well, you might also remember me telling you about Buy Nothing which is an international “gift economy group.” I am now an Admin for my local group and have met a lot of people. We do this “Big Ask, Small Ask” thing each month. Members list one big thing they need and one small thing then other members try to fulfill the needs. I had posted twice about needing hearing aids and asked if someone might have some from a relative that “no longer needed them.” Nothing. Then last week I got a message from a new member that said her mother had died and she was wondering if I could use her mom’s almost new top of the line hearing aids! I jumped at the opportunity so now I have new hearing aids. They need to have new molds of my ears made so they fit right but one is almost a perfect fit and the other is good enough as is until I can find someone to do that for me and save up some money. But I can hear now! They are amazing! They’ve brightened my days and my outlook.

In any case, that’s what is going on with me. Currently I am in bed and on pain pills because I have some kind of undiagnosed pain in my leg which is excruciating. I think I might end up seeing the doctor before my next appointment if this keeps up any longer. But we’ll deal with that.

What is up with you? I’ve missed blogging and hearing about everyone’s lives. Let me know how YOU are!

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.


The smile on Grandma’s face made Barbara cry. It had been so long since she had seen anything but a vacant look on her grandmother’s face. She had tried to get her room changed for many months. Finally, Mr. Adams’ room had been vacated and the Director had asked Barbara if it would be adequate. The window overlooked the playground in the lot behind the home and it was perfect. Grandma had been moved while Barbara pushed her wheelchair all over the home, marking time for her things to be moved. Barbara talked to her grandmother non stop as she pushed the chair.

Finally, arriving at her new room, Barbara placed her grandmother’s chair by the window where she could watch the children playing. At the moment, there were several children there, including two little girls who appeared to be sisters, playing with a woman old enough to be their grandmother. Barbara wondered if Grandma, somewhere in her mind, was remembering all the park days they had shared. There was a slight change in her eyes. Maybe Barbara was wrong. Maybe she was looking for hope where there was none. But she seemed to see a bit of a light starting to shine, way deep inside those clouded blue eyes.

As she left, Barbara looked back at her grandmother and although there were tears, she also had a smile. She knew changing rooms had been the right thing to do for Grandma.







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I Worry

I’m one of those people that worries about everyone else. For example, if I don’t see the regular checkers at the grocery store, I wonder if something happened to them, not if maybe they’re enjoying a day off.

I live in a mobile home park that, while an all ages park, has about sixty percent of the residents over the age of fifty-five. Most of these people have been here for a long time, even before I moved here almost ten years ago. I don’t know many of them but I know their faces and I know when they walk their dogs and where they live. I also know that, just like I am older now, so are they. Those sixty something people are now in their seventies.

Just before Thanksgiving I was telling my daughter that I was worried about this one man, I don’t even know his name, who always stopped to say hello to me when he was out walking his dogs in the morning and evening. I hadn’t seen him in a long time and I was afraid something had happened to him. She said someone would have said something but neither she nor I know many people here so we might not have heard. Then one morning shortly after that conversation, as I sat looking out the window, I saw him walk by with his dogs. I was so happy to see him. I texted my daughter to tell her. Then I didn’t see him again for a long time. I began to worry again because when I saw him that last time, I thought I detected a stoop and some slowness. I didn’t want to mention it to her because she might laugh at me again. This afternoon, I was coming home and I saw a truck coming down the street toward me and I was pretty sure it was his truck even though I’ve never seen him driving, only walking. It was going really slow, like maybe five miles an hour and I had plenty of time to pull into my driveway but I waited for the truck to pass so I could see if it was him. It was! And from a distance, I saw him smiling at me and waving. I rolled down my window and stuck my head out with a big hi!

I don’t know his name. He doesn’t know mine. I’m pretty sure he lives alone although there might be a relative there because I noticed a very new and very big SUV in his driveway for the past few weeks. I’m thinking a relative might be staying with him or perhaps caring for him. I figure this coming week I will try to find out more. It’s not like me to go knock on his door but I can ask Henry, the maintenance guy here, because he lives directly across the street from him and he knows everyone.

I have also noticed that Lori doesn’t go out much anymore and when she does, she is quite stooped and uses a walker. Even a year or two ago she walked nice and tall and used a cane. I think she’s probably close to eighty. And Irene across from me is rarely out anymore. She’s not much older than I. She loves gardening and reading and used to spend a lot of time reading outside in her front porch because she is also a chain smoker so she read outside. I haven’t seen her. I saw her husband today but he’s not very friendly and I’m not fast enough to run outside when I see one of the neighbors out the window. But I do want to make an effort to find out about Irene and Lori.

In fact, I want to talk to the property manager because I would like to see if we can start some kind of a program, like Neighborhood Watch, for older people and for those of us who live alone. We need to be checking on each other. When the weather is cold or snowy, or when it is very hot, we need to be checking on each other to see if we are okay. We also need to know if someone needs help getting their trash cans out to the curb or their mail picked up or grocery shopping. We need to do for each other and there are a lot of teens in the park that might be willing to do bring cans to the curb and back out each week, not because they’ll get paid for it but because it’s the decent thing to do.

I would like to make that a project this year.


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For years I have needed to dye my hair every three to four weeks. I use the box dye that I put in my hair myself. The salon is too expensive and they often don’t get it right. About four years ago, I went in on Senior Discount Day and got my hair cut and colored. I had taken a picture of what I wanted it to look similar to. The haircut was wrong and the color she gave me was not the deep brown with a touch of red. Instead, it was all red…like not hair red but crayon red! I had to cover it up when I went back the next day so they could fix it. Then three years ago I treated myself to a haircut and color treatment for my birthday (which is also Christmas and I wanted it to look nice when the family was together). It turned out great. I was quite pleased until she gave me the bill to pay. It wasn’t the price she had quoted. It was more than twice the price. I almost passed out right there in the mall. So no more salon jobs for me. I buy a box of color for $6 to $10, depending on whether it is on sale or not.

However, because money has been so scarce (and continues to be) I haven’t colored my hair since before Thanksgiving. It is now about fifty percent gray. It makes me look about ten years older than without the gray. At least ten years older. I almost didn’t care because this was also a time when I was depressed and just didn’t care what my hair looked like or what age I looked like. Then I started to feel better when my diabetes started to get better (the wonders of medication!) and all the gray started to bother me. I wanted to look my best. I have been really busy with doctor appointments and trips to the lab for tests, to the hospital, to the pharmacy, and all of those other busy-making things so I had not had the chance to dye it. It kept getting more and more gray and I kept noticing it more and more.

Then I got my diagnosis and although I’ve not been to the oncologist yet, I know it’s not going to be a walk in the park. The biopsy, while I don’t have results yet, showed that the tumor is not only in my gall bladder but in my liver, as well. So if we come up with a treatment plan, it’s not going to be fun.

That’s when I decided to dye my hair. I was not going to wait another minute. I went to the closet where I keep extra boxes of hair dye when I get them on sale. I didn’t have any. There was one box of black that I bought for my sister but black is too severe for me so I couldn’t find any dye in the house. Finally, I found a box I had bought at the Dollar Tree. Yup, hair dye for a dollar. I was reluctant to use it because it was a no name brand with poor spelling on the outside of the box and it was old. But I figured, what the heck. So that’s what I have in my hair now. And it isn’t bad. I didn’t get all the gray but that’s okay. It looks more natural that way.

Now I want a haircut but I’m thinking I might want to leave it long for as long as I can because it might not be too long from now that I won’t have any at all. So that’s the inner debate right now. Of course, I have no money for a haircut and I won’t do it myself, so that will probably be the deciding factor in the endless hair decisions.

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I Forgot…Then Remembered

Well, it’s after 10 at night and I just realized that I didn’t post today.  It has been that kind of a weekend.  First exhaustion from a late night of babysitting and too many piggy back rides.  Then I had a guest blog post to write for Tuesday over at Part Time Monster.  And two lessons and assignments for the copy editing class.  Then I had to find my research for another guest blog post…research from years ago that is on my hard drive, but when I went to look, I realized that my monitor isn’t working.  So I can’t look for the research until I get another monitor tomorrow, hopefully.

Yup, that kind of a day.  So here I am trying to decide if I want to chill out and watch a movie or go to bed and read for awhile.  Probably, by the time I decide, it will be too late to do either.

Anyway, I guess I came up with a post!

The sky tonight!

The sky tonight!

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My hearing is really bad.  It has been at least since my mid 30’s.  Maybe before and I just didn’t know it.  My mom’s hearing has been bad since she was about the same age so perhaps I got that from her.  When my kids were little, I would go visit my mom and the kids would stay with her while I went to get my nails done or went shopping with one of my sisters.  With two little ones it was hard for me to get out so when I made the weekly hour drive to see my mom, she watched the kids for me.  One day, she told me about crossing the street with my two kids.  She was holding their hand, on on each side of her.  As she stepped off the curb, someone grabbed her and the kids and pulled her back onto the sidewalk.  As she squeezed the kids’ hands tighter thinking that someone was going to kidnap them, she realized that there was a fire engine speeding by.  Had she not been pulled back, they would have been hit!  She had not heard the siren.  She was THAT deaf. It really scared me, as you can imagine.  That same day I looked into hearing aids for her.  Within a week, I had taken her to the audiologist near me and had her fitted for in ear hearing aids.  They were very costly but not as costly as losing a life, especially my own children’s.

Years later, I had not had that kind of a close call, however, it is very embarrassing always having to ask someone to repeat what they said.  Sometimes, I would just smile and pretend I heard and go on.  That made me look dumb because I would later find out that something I smiled at required an answer that I didn’t give.  Or sometimes it wasn’t something to smile about.  You get the idea.  It bothered me but hearing aids are very expensive and I no longer have the resources or the insurance to cover the cost.  Then a few things happened.  My first grandson was born and I sometimes couldn’t hear him crying when he was here with me at home.  When he spent the night, I wouldn’t sleep because I was afraid he would wake up and I wouldn’t hear him crying.  Then he learned to talk and unless I was right next to him, I couldn’t hear his beautiful sing-songy baby talk.  Then my son was getting married. I didn’t want to look like the dumb mother of the groom at the wedding.  I didn’t want to meet people there and not hear what they were saying to me.  I didn’t want my son to look bad because of me!  So I looked around and found some hearing aids that you don’t need to see an audiologist for.  You can order them online.  I knew they weren’t top of the line hearing aids but I figured they were better than nothing and they had a 45 day money back guarantee. While still pricey, they were affordable to me because it was very important to me that I hear better.  I ordered them and they arrived the week before the wedding. I was too busy running around trying to get everyone where they needed to be in time for the wedding in Seattle. Finally, it was the day before we left for the wedding and I got around to having my daughter’s boyfriend help me (the tubing had to be measured and cut and I couldn’t do it alone) set them up.  The difference was amazing!  I could hear!  I could hear things I had not been able to hear in ages, or ever.  The wedding was wonderful and I didn’t look like a fool or feel like I was missing what people were saying.  Yay!

I’ve since upgraded to a nicer, smaller pair and better quality pair (because I forgot the other ones were in my pocket and I put them in the washer and dryer…BIG no no!).  And what can I hear now?  Right now, as I type this, I can hear the rain outside the window.  I can hear the oscillating fan as it sweeps back and forth.  I can hear the ball bouncing as the neighbors’  kids ignore the gentle rain and play out in the street.  I just heard a bicycle.  I can hear the very soft tinkling of the wind chimes my son brought me after his first trip to Japan. I can hear the dishwasher as it cycles through the wash. The world is now full of sounds that were lost to me before I got my hearing aids.  Of course, I can also hear the neighbor’s yappy little dog yapping all night long and the other neighbor’s compressor when it goes on throughout the day and night.  Yes, there are some sounds I would rather not hear but that’s the price you pay when there is so much you do want to hear.  Then again, if I really don’t want to pay that price, I can just take out the hearing aids, or turn them off!

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Age, or rather birthdays, haven’t ever bothered me.  Not when I turned 30 or 40 or 50 or even 55.  In three weeks I will be 59.  My sister turned 60 yesterday which means my birthday is 20 days away.  We are a year and twenty-one days apart so the realization that she is 60 made me pause and realize that on Christmas day, I will be 364 days away from 60.  Wow.  I’m not sure if it really bothers me but this is the first time that my age or my coming age has made me stop and think and realize that I have a lot fewer years ahead of me than I do behind me.

I should make a bucket list but I don’t have enough time to complete all the things in the bucket so maybe I should make a “cup list” instead?!



It is what it is.

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