I've Landed!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Not Everybody Hates a Hypochondriac

     Ok.  So I will go ahead and admit it.  Not only am I old, I am divorced.
     My divorce, which happened so long ago it probably doesn't even count as history, was not a surprise because there were portents of things to come long before the Big Finale.  Of course I was oblivious.
     The first hint of the coming Big Finale actually came long before I met the man I married.  It came in the exasperated voice of my mother.  "For God's sake, Riverwatch!  Shut up!  A coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave man dies but once!"
     Later on my husband would echo that disdain.  "I'm going to tell you this:  if you don't quit examining yourself I am going to divorce you!!!"  and he did.   He was involved with another woman, but let's not get issues too mixed up. I was always under condemnation for my hypochondria!  Apparently he wanted someone who was REALLY sick!
     And then my former doc (I no longer go to him!) who always said, "My God!  It scares me to death every time you bring out that list!  Just tell me what your number one problem is."
     "My number one problem is I am going down globally!  Help me!"
     Doctors love money, and it wasn't that I didn't represent coins in this doc's coffer.......it just wasn't easy money.
     Nope, docs do not like me.
     "Let's get something easy in here for me to cure...say  like hemorrhagic fever."
     Nope, experienced physcians do not like to see me coming through the door.  My present doctor is truly kind as well as competent, but I am not sure she actually likes to see me show up.
At least she asks to keep my list of scary symptoms so I always type my list these days.  She  is kind.  Tolerant. Competent .

     But it is the charlatans and quacks who LOVE me!.
     They really do!
     "Going down globally?  What a pleasure to serve you!"  

                                              *
Can I just say one thing about charlatans and quacks?

CHARLATANS AND QUACKS ARE   K I N D !!

Kindness sells.

Call me a fool if you must.  I now think they have their contribution to make.  They sell kindness.

Kindness has a huge impact on the human spirit.....and thus upon the immune system.

Charlatans and Quacks sell kindness and caring.....or a good imitation of it.  
Business is booming.


I appreciate you,
Riverwatch, RN






Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"However, if you live long enough, you get the disease."



Who said that?  Not me.
I say if you live long enough, it means you escaped the disease!
It is possible to die from just old age.  Remember the "slowing down" that is a characteristic of aging?   Well, if we live long enough, we just get slower and slower until like a clock we stop.
No disease.  Just done.  Stick a fork in me.  Done.
                                 ****************
Do you want to never die?
Like, what would that be like?  All your family gone.  They had the good sense to finally shove off.   All your old friends gone.  They had the good sense to depart for somewhere else and have the door close behind them forever.  They aren't coming back to visit!
All your lovers gone?
Well, of course you can make new friends!  Maybe even new lovers!   And when they all depart you can start  over again.  Do you want to never die?!

Do you want to be the only person on earth who never dies?  What would that be like?
Well, scientists and other freaks are trying to arrange that.....transplant, clone, bio-engineer away genetic flaws, splice, manipulate, harvest organs from the abducted youth for those aging folks with enough money (and will to destroy selfishly)....make a brand new world and never die.
   
     Already I'm looking forward to shoving off ! ! ! ! !
    Not today, of course.  My goal is to live another day.
 That's what we are given .....one day at a time.

And frankly, I am not too worried about the scientists and other freaks.  So far they haven't been able to even get rid of ugly!!
  It isn't aging you have to worry about.  But you sure as *#*# better be on the lookout for ugly!  It is headed your way.  Unless it has already overtaken you.
     Last night I dreamed my 75 year old friend was getting remarried because SHE WAS 7 months PREGNANT!  She was a frightened bride.  (The groom was young.)
I don't think I'll tell her what I dreamed.  Would you?
Old  AND pregnant?  Emma Jean doesn't drink, I don't drink... but I think this calls for something besides Diet Coke!  Even just the thought of it calls for Xanex or something!
A bit rattled,  
Riverwatch

Monday, August 27, 2012

ALL IS VANITY

   



  Ok, I was going to write more about the universal effects of aging on us, but it will have to wait.

     I have something exciting to share with you.

     I found a blog by (surely!) an old person and if he is who I think he is, he is a Grandpa!
     Here is how it happened.  I awakened in the mid-winter of night, deeply discouraged, feeling What's the use?? 
     Throwing off my  CPAP, and even before I could walk as though I don't have a balance problem, I staggered into the Family Room, switched on the light, prayed for help and grabbed my Bible.
     I knew I needed help.
     My Bible opened to Ecclesiastes.  Ecclesiastes is a bit hard to find, usually, as it is a small book, only 12 short chapters, tucked into the Old Testament.
     I remember Ecclesiastes from the song "Turn, Turn, Turn" sung by the Byrds...and Judy Collins.....and quite a few singers during the Viet Nam War.  You know, "It's not too late for peace".
    Beautiful and haunting and popular.
    Of course I didn't read much more of Ecclesiastes back then, or if I did, it didn't speak to me much, except that one verse about remembering thy Creator in the days of thy youth.  I do remember that.
     But now, having read Ecclesiastes in the middle of the night while despairing, I think it was written by an old person!!  It is a Grandpa's Blog.  I kid you not.  
     I'm so glad I found it.
     "The day of death is better than the day of one's birth."   No young person could have written that!  "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity."  No young person would have written that!"
     Thousands of years ago an old man got up (probably at night) to blog about What's the use?   
     The blogger concludes:  "Fear God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
     There is so much in his blog of feelings we experience on this terrain of the twilight zone of aging.  Read it and weep. And find comfort.


Thank you for dropping by,
Riverwatch

Old Age Versus Disease







Old & Aging:          unstoppable
Disease:                   treatable

     She had trouble getting up from her desk at work.  Using the strength of her arms, she pushed herself upright .  Didn't scream once.  She looked up and saw me watching her.
     "Getting old," she said.  "Arthritis."

Arthritis and old age are not synonymous.  Every old person does not have arthritis.
     Arthritis is a disease.

Disease:      pathological.....abnormal....cluster of specific symptoms
                   of a particular state of dis-ease.

     As we experience the twilight lumpy landscape we are now upon, it is easy to get really mixed up about what is disease and conversely, what are the characteristics of being old.  After all, this is new terrain for us, and I don't know about you, but my grandmas and grandpas left me nothing about what they were experiencing.  Where are my grandmas when I need them!!!!  Why didn't they leave me a blog or something?!  
     And frankly, the characteristics of aging seem like symptoms to me!  But the characteristics of aging are not symptoms of disease.....they are NORMAL.

     If you long to know what aging does to a person, look at other old people.  All old people have to have the characteristic or it is NOT about being old.
     All old people don't go blind!  Blindness is caused by disease.
     All old people don't pee their pants!  Loss of bladder control is caused by disease.
     All old people don't have memory problems.  Memory problems is caused by disease.
     All old people don't give up sex.  Sexual dysfunction is caused by disease......(or maybe anger).

     So.........what does aging cause that we all experience?

#1.  We all slow down as we age.  Even those old people who make us so proud at the Senior Olympics will tell you they used to be faster.
     I heard O.J. Simpson being interviewed (when he was trying to regain lost status after his crimes).  Did he regret the swath he had cut?  Didn't seem like he did.  What he talked about regretting was that he couldn't run down the football field at lightening speed as he once did.
     We all slow down.
     Come to think of it, that might be a good thing.

#2.  Another thing we all experience is that our bodies go through two major metabolic changes as we become more and more "fuel efficient".  The first change comes about age 35 and decreases our need for calories by half!  If that isn't difficult enough, our bodies go through another metabolic change about age 70.  Now our need for calories is decreased by half again.
Look around you.  How many of us have made those switches at the dinner table?
     So the pounds pile on a lot of us.
     But before we write ourselves off as hopeless, let's remember our worth:  WE ARE THE MOST FUEL-EFFICIENT DANDIES IN THE HUMAN RACE.

     We are valuable.  We don't need much food, we don't need as much sleep and by now we have learned to live without any positive feedback whatsoever!  We are priceless.
   Yeh, you couldn't put a price tag on us low enough to get somebody to buy us as a slave, but put a price tag on our volunteer efforts....or even our suffering.....and you could better see our worth.
    I will speak to other normal changes of aging tomorrow.
   


Thank you for tuning in,
I appreciate the wave,
Riverwatch







Sunday, August 26, 2012

Focus

                             

Is my focus off?

My older sister said to me one day, "When I die, my first question is going to be 'Who shot Kennedy?'...and your first question is going to be, 'What did I die from?' "

Now that's a little bit funny!
But not to a hypochondriac!

I'm sorry.  I should never have been a nurse.



I appreciate your visit,

Riverwatch 












THE NEW NORMAL



    Health care workers....well, nurses....like to talk about permanent changes in health as "the new normal".
That makes sense for young people who break their necks , like Christopher Reeve did, and wake up to an altered world.  Stable, but permanently altered,  their new world calls for a new way of doing things, a way that must be learned if quality of life and influence, even power is to be restored to some degree.

Old age is nothing like that!!
There is no "new normal"!
One wakes up to a brand new world every day!  And if it isn't a new world that morning, it may be by twilight.

For this is the twilight zone of life where the great lesson is that Life Is Fluid.

There is no normal.  There is the Flow, and finally you realize that going with the flow, yielding to the larger stream IS life.  There is no going back, only going forward wherever the Stream takes us.


Hang on for the ride of your life!
It is an experience unlike any other era in our lives.

Thanks for hanging on with me,
Riverwatch












Saturday, August 25, 2012

"..........I miss my mind the most."

  



   Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most."





I know you won't believe this, but those words hung on a plaque in the  psychiatric unit of a local hospital.
I would go into that area from time to time to see how the staff were doing and I always gazed at that plaque.
I never ever saw any patient looking at that plaque!
But the staff seemed to enjoy the plaque and since some of the staff were sometimes patients, I concluded that the plaque was "ok".

Now that I am on this unearthly landscape where I have landed as an old person (having not died young after all), I think of that plaque a lot.

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.

This is a time in life of increased losses.  Yep, we've always had some losses to deal with, but just as earthquakes really have increased, so have our losses increased here in the twilight zone of life.

I do miss my young mind......brain, if you will.  It used to have such a good Servo-Mechanism in it that allowed me to have habits such as brushing my teeth without thinking, locking the doors, finding my way to Target without thinking, stopping for Red, going for Green, putting the milk back in the fridge, picking up little useless things I have dropped, knowing what time it is without looking at the clock, eating on schedule, turning on the curling iron after I have plugged it in, turning off the iron when I am done, ........oh just lots and lots and lots of "little housekeeping items of life" that a part of my brain took care of for me for decades and decades. That part of my brain seems to be on vacation now a lot of the time!  

Now I have to CONSCIOUSLY remember all the little things I need to do to run my life.  I can do it, but wow, does it take time and energy!   And sometimes I fall down on this job!  It is not that I think about locking the front door and then forget to....it is I don't even think about it at all.  No reminder sparking up from the old Servo-Mechanism.
                  ************************
Hope your Servo-Mechanism is still working well!




Thanks for checking on me,
Riverwatch        






















Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Frankly, It's a topic I'm not interested in."

      The news lately is full of self righteous men speaking un-supportively, self-importantly and ignorantly regarding crimes of power against women.
     In their book, rape is a poorly defined term that always needs clarification.  There is Legitimate Rape (Akin), and there is Forcible Rape (Ryan)  , and Invited Rape ("you asked for it!" raging talk on radio), and Invented Rape (non-legitimate) , and Incest (Not REALLY Rape because the child "participated") and Marital Relations (Unwilling does not make it Rape)  and then there is Sodomy which is not REALLY Rape, and  Attempted Rape.  Oh, the list goes on, but I am getting sick!
     If you listen carefully to such men, you will hear strange belief systems like "the unborn fetus has rights that supercede the rights of the (impregnated) woman...because #1. the man who helped make the fetus has more rights than the hormonal unbalanced woman and #2. the fetus has nobody to protect it but Society".........(you know, Society, who has no intention of protecting, loving and supporting the unwanted child once it arrives)!
     Such men go on to cry , "What was the alleged rape victim wearing?"
"How many lovers did she have relations with BEFORE the alleged rape?"  "Did the rape actually injure her?"

Rape is a crime of Power.
And so is the modern day stoning of the victim.
Crimes of Power.

     I asked one of my grown sons why men are so afraid of women that they have to try to hang onto power over women and their bodies.
He said, "Mom, this is a topic I am not even remotely interested in. It does not apply to the young men of my generation.  It is a generational thing.  Men like Romney, Ryan, Akin, Rush, Russo, Miner and other old men who stereotype women and put them in male-defined roles for women are fading slowly from the scene.  Young men of my generation do not view women the same way those old guys do.  It is a generational thing.  I just am not interested in this topic."

It is not that I disbelieve my son.  He speaks true.  It's just I am a woman and I know this thing is about Power.
Power raises its evil head again and again and again, generation after generation after generation.
                    But that's a blog for another day.


Thanks for your visit to this blog,
Riverwatch

Somebody's Angel

    

 What a joy!  Having received Lidocaine and Cortisone into my right leg,  I am out to walk in the Park. There is sunshine.  Birds singing.  Blue sky.

        Summer has not yet vanished............
but Charles has vanished.

        I didn't really know Charles.  He's just a faithful old man I met years ago on the trail we shared as we cheerfully pushed against gravity.  
We waved.  
We greeted.  
We smiled and exchanged pleasantries over several years.

When I first became aware of Charles, he  was a Brisk Walker.

        Then, oh, about 2 years ago Charles began sitting on a Park Bench to rest occasionally.  That's when I got to know him a bit.  I'm a nurse and anytime anyone bows out of an activity unexpectedly, I always pause to see what's up.  Charles revealed no details about his health (men don't, you know) and passed it off with a smile.  "Just slowing down", he said.  "Aren't we all?" I jousted.  

One day, many months or more ago, I became aware that Charles only sat on the Park Bench, never walking the trail.  He always recognized me and I was always happy to see him.

        Today  I realize that Charles has vanished.  It has been months now since I have seen him.
He has vanished!

        But Maizy has appeared ...this very morning.....on my walk!   Which is very odd since her funeral was less than a week ago.
        She was with three other walkers.  Her face lit up when she saw me.  Her smile was radiant!
        I almost staggered!  Sitting down on the next available bench, I contemplated whether I was going Mad!?!  Or was that woman a relative of Maizy's or something?
        Certainly I don't believe the dead walk the earth!

        As I sat there on the Park Bench resting, I recalled the time I "saw my mother"  twenty years AFTER she died.  She was in a hallway and I saw her from behind.  MOM!  I knew it couldn't possibly be her, nevertheless I ran after her.  She paused at the elevator and as she turned around to see who was following her so ardently, I could see with disappointment that she wasn't really my mom.
        Then she smiled at me.  My mom's exact same smile!
        I smiled back and walked away happy.

        These little kinds of big events we mostly keep to ourselves, lest the younger crowd think we really have gone 'round the bend.
     Yes, I am old.  Yes, I'm disappointingly unpretty when I gaze at myself in the mirror.  But in some ethereal ancient way, I'm everybody's mother, everybody's grandma, everybody's friend.  I must remember to smile more often because I may also, however briefly, be somebody's angel.

        But for now, I MUST get off this Park Bench!



Thanks for sitting here and resting awhile,
Riverwatch



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Senior Citizens are not Harmless!

     OK, so I know it isn't nice to speak ill of the dead....or the aged.
But since I am aged...and not yet dead....I feel I have not only a right, but a responsibility to write a bit about senior citizens.
     We aren't always the vulnerable victims!
     Some times we come right out and do criminal stuff ourselves.
     Unbelievable ?
     Think again.  We don't have centuries-old  legends about young witches.  Nor pictures of unwrinkled trolls.  My take on it all, now that I am old, is  those legends are rooted in reality.

     When I was young, I could not even imagine old folks committing crimes........... or having sex.
   Now I know, sex and crime are not reserved for the young and middle aged.
     Shocker.
     Didn't you just see where that 70 yr. old woman killed her husband with a coffee cup?  Police had been to the house for domestic disturbances a few times before the Big Event, but probably the cops were young and unlearned about the power still residing in the elderly citizenry.

     We are not talking petty crimes.  Or traffic violations.  We are talking Crimes.

     Our greatest help in covering for our crimes, should we decide to commit any, is that young people are reluctant to call us names or call us on our crap because we are old.   Yell at and blame a child unjustly and people try to understand, take a swing at a teenage probable delinquent and find yourself praised, but if a young person is mean to an old person, well...that young  person is  just a dirt bag that deserves to go to prison ! ! ! ! !
     Part of our arsenal is we can hide behind claims of memory problems....or dementia.....or side effects of our sack of pills...or unstable blood sugar....or pain that has driven us to despair and depravity.  We can become mute and "childlike" in a hurry and young people are fooled.  We can look hang-dog and dismal without even trying!  We can whine we are lonely.  "Loneliness made me do it."
   AND we seldom blow the whistle on other old people.  We know how hard it all is ...we cut each other slack here on the unearthly landscape we now trod....and we try not to cheer for the old criminals.
     Hit him in the head with a coffee mug?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ahh...so just what IS your goal ? ! ?


     I recall the first time I heard those words.  I was standing at the bedside of a profoundly old patient as her doctor was speaking to her, tightly clutched Medical Record in hand.  "Ahh...so just what is your goal?"
     The old woman laying in bed looked up at us helplessly and seemed tongue-tied.
     I had no sympathy for her.  I was 21 and frankly I couldn't believe she was still "hanging on"!  I was thinking what a blessing death would be for her and why didn't she just let go and go."

     I was so stupid.  Top of my nursing class, I was considered very smart.  I felt very smart.

     Her doctor continued, "Do you want me to do a $10,000.oo work-up on you so I can tell you what is causing your rash?  Or do you just want some ointment?  Calamine lotion might help you and you can get that over-the-counter."
     No answer.  Just helpless looks aimed at the doctor.
     "Well, what is it you are trying to achieve in life now?  Going on a cruise, ....or.....just what is your goal?  I have given you all the pain pills I can give you, and surgery in not an option in your physical condition."
     The old woman whimpered but there was no dialogue, no solution.  The doctor and I walked away without a backward glance, let alone a pat on her hand.
                          ******************
     I remember the first time those words were said to me, just recently!
"Ahh....so...just what is your goal, medically speaking?"
     I felt like I feel every time they shove that "Advanced Stuff Forms" in my face!    Defeated.
     I didn't whimper until I got home.
     Having now recovered from my "interface" with the Medical Community Guru's, I have some advice for other old patients.  First of all, NEVER EVER have these "discussions on your goals" when you're wrapped in swaddling clothes laying in a hospital manger  on your back without your bra and panties on.
     Put on your bra!
     Put on your panties!
     Put on your matching earrings!   (I cannot believe the power of matching earrings!)
     Grab hold of the manger side rails.
     Sit bolt upright in bed and declare, "My goal is to live another day!!"
     That will shut them up.  And make them nervous about their legal risk should they err by pretending they had no idea you wanted to live another day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

K






So, my communications skills are losing ground somewhat faster than my mouth.  Darn it!
But as Fina said, "Haven't you noticed all those old people sitting in the back pews saying nothing?!  It's because they have run out of thoughts.  Used to be I had so many thoughts I couldn't speak them fast enough.  Now, I sometimes run out of thoughts.  So don't worry about sitting there thinking nothing.  It's beginning to happen to me, too."

Well, let me tell you, we are still leagues ahead of this new rising generation who cannot write cursive, ("What is that?"), can't do dialogue worth a nickel, and have become "communicative efficient".
I texted my 37 year old son the other day:   coke?    Now that is odd in itself since I haven't had a coke in decades.  I deal only in DIET coke, but hey, I am slow at the tiny keyboard/numbers/letters thing......and I figure he gets what I mean.  
My grown son texts back:    K
Oh, the twilight zone I live in!   So I call him  .....miracle of miracles he answers.   "What do you mean, K?" I say in an irritated voice that fails to show my gratitude that he will be seen in public with me.
"K", he says, "is short for "OK"    

See  what I mean?   We are better going down than they are rising!!!!






Thank you for dropping in to visit,
Riverwatch

Monday, August 13, 2012

A W A K E !!

Yep, middle of the night and I am wide awake.
Woke up coughing from the old reflux problem.  When I was young, I would wake up easily and smartly anytime I coughed and then settle back down to sleep.
Now.....not so much.  I struggle to come to consciousness and when I finally am awake, I think how nice I finally woke up before choking to death.
No, I haven't "settled back down to sleep".  I am ....unnerved.
So I have been cruising the internet looking up all the symptoms of all the things that are or could be wrong in my body.
To worry or not to worry?  That is the question.
I am a nurse, and I can tell you there is a lot of stupid medical info out there on the internet.   I peruse it anyway.

OK, so I switched to watching YouTube like my grandchildren do.  That will take your mind off yourself in a hurry!
Gotta remember to keep my eyes on the Rising Generation.  They show you how to live!

No, old people don't show you how to live!  Young people show you how to live.  Old people show you how to back off, lay low, and die.  I am tremendously grateful for my old friends (even if some are new).

Only God shows you how to both live and die.  We live and die unto Him.  We did not call ourselves into existence.  We are His.  Whatever landscape we are upon, we can look to Him to know all about it.
I am glad  I have lived long enough to realize that He is not freaked out by my sins and failures.
I feel He is happy with my successes.  My successes are His successes because He made me.. allowed me...upheld me.

Obama did not make me, allow me or uphold me!  So smoke that in your pipe, Mr. President.

Riverwatch

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Unearthly Landing





Here it is.  A landscape I never imagined even in my wildest nightmares as a nurse.

I am old.

Don't we all think we are going to die young?
I did.  I thought I was going to die young.
Didn't die young.
So here I am.  On an unearthly landscape.  And strange as it seems, there are few markers, such little pools  (instead of big oceans) of conversation about what's it's like to "go down", what the ride really is like.
Nobody wants to talk about it!!!

Even the professionals tell you to "think positive"....errr, you know, don't think about it....
or as one nurse said about her age'd patients, "Reality therapy is NOT where it is at!"

But when I am flying in a plane and it is making its dangerous descent, I do not pull the shades and plug my ears into earphones. The way I look at it is this:  I am here for the experience.  I sit by the plane window and watch the descent.  If we crash I am going to also watch that as long as possible.

I do reserve the right to scream.

How I wish I had a blog from either one of my grandma's as they started their descent and struggled around on the unearthly landscape.
Even a blog from my one grandpa who got old would be interesting.
But there is nothing but little snipettes* and snatchets* of memories of unsmiling people who were glad to see me come and relieved to see me go.    (*Now don't go thinking I am demented because I use words that are not in the dictionary.  I have always figured if William Shakespeare could make up new words and add them to the dictionary, so can I .)  Are there any better words than snipettes and snatchets to describe faded memories?  If so, send them to me.

So this blog is for you, if you are interested.  And if you live long enough, something tells me you will be interested.

Track my progress as I descend.  It is the human experience.
In fact my dad used to say, "Riverwatch, for goodness sakes, be nice to people on the way up!  You may need them on the way back down."
Dad didn't bother to tell me I might outlive some  of my friends and need to make new ones when I am old and ugly and grumpy from pain..  No advice from him on that challenge!



Thanks for taking time to visit,
Riverwatch





I have landed in the twilight zone!






August 11, 2012




Saturday....always the hardest day of the week.

  
Now you can tell right off the bat that I am "not working", because Monday is NOT the hardest day of the week for me!  It is Saturday.  Saturday, when all the couples go out to play and shop and reaffirm to the world that they are "still together".

I go out Monday through Friday to reaffirm to myself that I am still kicking.


I avoid the together-forever couples on Saturday by staying away from the crowds.  I do not like staying home, but it is easier on my delusional wrap that protects me in this, the twilight zone.



Thank you for your interest in my blog.

Hoping to get to know you better,

Riverwatch