Just Drink Up

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We’ve known for quite a while that cough medicines don’t work. Sure, they soothe your throat as they’re going down but doctors have always told us they are not a cure for a cough or a sore throat. It’s one of those annoying things that just has to ‘run its course.’

It’s really amazing the number of things consumers are willing to try… just because. We’re in such a rush, all the time, that we can’t even let the most natural occurrence just happen in real time. We convince ourselves that any number of ‘over-the-counter’ miracle cures will lessen our suffering.

So, if you’re one of the millions of people who would rather risk ruining your teeth or ingesting Red #40 (personally, I’ve just always loved the taste of Robitussin) then by all means, just drink up!

Do What Now?

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I took my Mom to the doctor the other day. When she checked in, they gave her a tablet and asked her to check that the info on it was correct.

1) My Mom does NOT know how to use a tablet. She doesn’t even own a cell phone. Or a computer. So how was she supposed to operate this devise without my help?

2) The writing was so small and light she wouldn’t have been able to see it even if she understood how to ‘click’ and ‘swipe.’

3) I know it’s 2016 (and, believe me, I’ve tried to get her to up her ‘tech’-nique) but Mom still uses a wall phone, asks for a written-out appointment card and even needs help filling out (paper) medical forms.

Is this what I have to look forward to now? After driving my parents to their doctors appointments, answering their medical questionnaires to ‘100% completion’ and picking up their meds will I, at some point, be asked to ‘go to the doctor for them’ as well?

Ladies Speaking Out

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There are no calories:

  • In foods you are only tasting
  • In snacks toddlers leave behind
  • In anything containing fruit

If men had men-o-pause:

  • They would celebrate with a ticker tape parade
  • There would be a pill for it (like Viagara)
  • Billions of tax dollars would be set aside to research fighting discomfort

Age really is a state of mind:

  • Don’t worry about how many good years you have left… Live in the present
  • Treat each new decade as a beginning not an end
  • Just because you may not ‘look great for your age’ doesn’t mean you can’t ‘feel great’

Wrinkles actually mean:

  • A life well lived
  • A life full of laughter and joy
  • A life lived without caring what others think

Safe And Healthy

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Notice I didn’t say safe and ‘sound.’ That was deliberate because, at almost 86, my Dad isn’t quite as sharp as he used to be. He knows it, we all know it – we just don’t put a label on it.

What constitutes being ‘sound’ really?

Ask a person, who has lived a long hard life, how they feel and they’re just as likely to answer, “fine,” as they are to actually attempt to describe how difficult their day was beginning with getting out of bed to completing a few everyday tasks. Or, as my Dad often answers the doctor when asked that question, “how much time do you have?”

Mom, on the other hand, seldom leaves her place at the breakfast table because even the slightest exertion gets her winded. She watches her programs, she reads, she does her crossword puzzles and she organizes my Dad’s meals and meds. Mom (who’s deaf in one ear and has perfected the art of ‘selective hearing’) has a unique way of filtering sound. When she sleeps, it’s on her ‘good’ ear so she doesn’t get bothered by outside noise.

Dad, like myself, not only hears every annoying beep and bang but involuntarily waits for the next one to disturb him. And, with nothing but time on his hands, that’s a lot of disturbance.  As musicians, Dad and I are literally victims of the very sounds that we’ve spent our lives crafting for others’ enjoyment.

Is it healthier to face your demons head on or to ignore them in hopes that they’ll eventually go away? I guess that’s for each of us to discover!

You’re Old If…

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You’re old if…

  • Everything hurts and, what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work anyway.
  • You get winded playing chess.
  • Your children begin to look middle aged.
  • You sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going.
  • Your knees buckle but your belt won’t.
  • Dialing long distance wears you out.
  • Your back goes out more than you do.
  • You answer automatically when someone addresses you as “Old Timer.”
  • You burn your midnight oil at 8pm.
  • You sink your teeth into a steak and they stay there.
  • Your pacemaker makes the garage door go up when you see a pretty girl walk by.
  • You have too much room in the house and not enough in the medicine cabinet.
  • The best part of your day is over when the alarm clock goes off.

Every Second Counts

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This statement can be taken in two completely different ways:

Don’t waste a ‘second’ of the time you have left.
Castoffs and reduced price ‘seconds’ never go out of style.

Some people get hung up on labels. They won’t take generic pills or eat store brand foods or wear anything but designer clothing. What a waste of your hard earned money.

Time and time again we’re seeing that you don’t always get what you paid for. I saw an interesting report this morning about sunglasses. Several pairs (from high-priced name brands to dollar store rip offs) were put to a test. All reportedly gave the consumer 100% UV protection. So why would anyone buy the pricier brand?

Medicines are so expensive that we’ve grown accustomed to the generic brands that the pharmacies dispense. We don’t even question it anymore. We’re just happy to pay less for the same exact thing.

If you’re vain enough or it’s imperative that you show off to your friends and family, then continue paying outrageous prices for the same items that the rest of us happily engage discounts. At the end of the day, those ‘seconds’ will have saved us enough money for a second pair!

High Blood Pressure

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Few things in life naturally lower our blood pressure – but plenty can raise it. Between worrying about our health, our families, our pets, our friends, our careers, our finances… there’s little time left over to just ‘chill.’

There are numerous drugs on the market that will help keep BP at an even keel. Doctors tell us to give up almost all of the things that give us the most pleasure. “Everything in moderation,” they tell us. Yeah, and we’re also told to ‘just say no’ and ‘you can’t eat just one…’

But these are, literally, words to live by.

We should eat right, exercise, do yoga and/or meditate and all our troubles will magically disappear. Really? Just like that? Yet we continue to abuse our bodies – putting chemicals and additives and artificial coloring and preservatives into our system on a daily basis. We have little if no self control and, when we feel poorly, we blame everyone else but ourselves.

I, for one, do not have high blood pressure. I’m as stressed as the next person but I don’t keep things bottled up inside. I yell, I complain and… you know what? I feel better.

So, do what your doctor tells you and take meds if they’re recommended but the rest is up to you. Find something that calms you – I knit and I color. It relaxes me at the end of a long and stressful day. So does drinking a cup of hot tea and eating a whole lotta chocolate!

The New Normal

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There’s nothing wrong with getting older. It’s almost as if the ‘over 65’ crowd is ‘the new normal.’ Aches and pains aside, more people than ever before are living into their eighties, their nineties and even living long enough to hear Willard Scott read their names (not as part of a memoriam but) on a Smuckers jar.

One noble aspect about aging is that it doesn’t discriminate – all races and genders, if they’re lucky, can be members of this inclusive club. The only rule is that you do it right… the living, that is, not the dying.

Old people are constantly portrayed as those suffering from incontinence, heart disease, arthritis and memory loss. They’re seen as cranky, unattractive, frail and forgetful. The fact of the matter is, today’s elders are actually computer literate, taking classes, starting new jobs and finding ways to improve their lives.

It’s no longer enough to just sit back and enjoy your retirement. You must keep an open mind and not be afraid to fail. You have to be open to discovery and appreciate life – especially knowing that your time may be limited.

Always remember this… You don’t get to choose how you’ll die but you sure can choose how you’ll live!

The Ultimate Lesson

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I never thought it would happen but it did… I got sick. Normally that wouldn’t be a catastrophic event except for the fact that I am currently my parents’ caretaker and I’m not supposed to get sick.

Who’s gonna take care of ME now?

Of course, all throughout my illness, my Mom kept asking if there was anything she could do for me but the last thing I wanted was for either of them to get sick, too. So, that’s my dilemma.

Mom was always my caretaker. Even after I left for college, she would tell me to come home if I got sick so that she could take care of me (like that was ever going to happen). And when I eventually got married and had a husband to take care of me, she still insisted on being there for me if at all possible.

I understand that feeling all too well because I hate it when my kids get sick. All I want to do is take the pain and misery away. It’s a mother’s curse. So, as I continue to avoid my parents while trying to prevent them from catching my germs, I learn the ultimate lesson… “Once you sign on to be a mother, that’s the only shift they offer.”*

*Jodi Picoult: My Sister’s Keeper

ABC’s Of Aging

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(author unknown)

A is for arthritis
B is for bad back
C is for the chest pains – corned beef?cardiac?
D is for dental decay and decline
E is for eyesight – can’t read that top line
F is for fissures and fluid retention
G is for gas  (which I’d rather not mention – and not to forget other gastrointestinal glitches)
H is high blood pressure
I is for itches and lots of incisions
J is for joints, that now fail to flex
L is libido – what happened to sex?
Wait! I forgot about K!
K is for my knees – that crack all the time
(But forgive me, I get a few lapses in my
Memory from time to time)
N is for nerve (pinched) and neck (stiff)
and neurosis
O is for osteo – for all the bones that crack
P is for prescriptions, that cost a small fortune
Q is for queasiness. Fatal or just the flu?
Give me another pill and I’ll be good as new!
R is for reflux – one meal turns into two
S is for sleepless nights (counting fears on how to pay my medical bills)
T is for tinnitus – I hear bells in my ears
And the word ‘terminal’ also rings too near
U is for urinary and the difficulties that flow (or not)
V is for vertigo, as life spins by
W is worry, for pains yet unfound
X is for x-ray and what one might find
Y is for year (another one, I’m still alive)
Z is for zest

For surviving the symptoms my body’s deployed
And keeping 26 doctors gainfully employed