Thursday, June 13, 2019

THE VILLAGE

Last night was the grand opening of WLLO Village (pronounced willow .. stands for West Linn and Lake Oswego cities).  It was a way bigger group than we were expecting!  More than half of the attendees were NOT volunteers or members ... just interested parties.  Despite my cold (I took two cold tablets so my nose would mind its manners), and the weather reaching 98 degrees, we pulled it altogether.

As a start-up nonprofit, it was decided to ask folks to bring appetizers and we would just pay to have wine and punch and little bottles of water.  We are an amazing group of cooks!  Beautiful, delicious and tasty tidbits of all kinds.  Puff pastry with gruyere and asparagus, cut into bite size tastes.  Cucumber sandwiches.  Sweet and sour meatballs.  Caprese skewers.  Amazing vegetable tray.  Homemade hummus with pita bread and vegetables for dipping.  Huge shrimp platter.  Just everything.  And a whole table of desserts ... chocolate dipped strawberries, mini cheesecakes, lemon bars ... and all of these in tiny one bites.  It was so wonderful that several guests asked who catered!



The Mayor sent a letter and a $1,000 donation/grant.  Several Board members of our "hub" said a few words, and the ribbon was cut!  We got our first "request for services" last week and I volunteered to drive Miss Rose to our local Adult Community Center.  She came to the festivities so I introduced myself.  The local paper had a reporter covering it and he wanted a picture of the both of us.  Then he interviewed each of us later in the evening.

We now have three drivers with two who are very close to the finish line.  Today we got a request for a ride to and from church every Sunday!

The Village concept, to me, is like how small towns in the midwest in the 1950's were.  My mother-in-law got to remain at home until the final moment!  Family, friends, neighbors, church friends all circled round to help her out with just about everything.  She hired a caregiver 3 days a week for bathing, setting up the weekly medicine box, light cleaning, etc.  Towards the end, she decided she needed a new winter coat (Indiana).  Her niece went and bought three different coats and let her choose in the comfort of her own home, then took back the other two.

I am a Village person.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

CRABBY with a COLD



Yep, a summer cold caught me.  Monday and Tuesday last week were HIGH pollen count days and since I now have seasonal allergies, they were very noticeable.  Nose and throat and eyes rolled those feelings over into a full on cold.  Trust me, I isolate myself immediately because I am very crabby when not feeling up to par.

I slept for two days while taking cold tablets and using more Flonase.  And lots of water.  On the third day I was feeling much better but kept myself in my room so I don’t spread it.  Little guy seems to be catching it so Momma let him in to snuggle and take a nap.   Darned good for both of us!  Although after 40 minutes, he was back to running and playing and dancing … I decided to do some slug style chores.  

First I cleaned my computer, inside and out.  Then I backed it up.  I filled out some forms and scanned and sent them.  It was the first time I’d used the document feeder (7 pages) so I also learned something new with my half brain.  



I gathered up magazines to donate to our Clubhouse Library and organized the command central shelves near my bed.  I was looking in my Address Book trying to find the email address of a blogger friend and thought I should pare that down a bit … especially all the Maui ones (not my friends, but businesses, neighbors, restaurants, etc.)  Then any names I no longer recognized!  

What an interesting project.  Doctors, masseuses, acupuncturist, pharmacy, Hospice help … all from Mr. Ralph’s care.  Parents of Kate’s grade school friends.  Some of Ralph’s business friends … although I kept a couple because we have emailed each other after he died.  The place we rented VHS tapes.  Friends who have passed on.

I made good use of my time without taxing my brain power!



Thursday, June 6, 2019

COMMON SENSE or COMMON CORE?

I’ve been following a FB page called Pseudoscience Quackery and Other Nonsense mainly because I love the name!!  And I usually find them funny.  Funny stuff on a wide range of topics.  I decided to google those two words while trying to think up a catchy title for this blog and learned that distinguishing between science and pseudoscience is problematic (which I didn’t know and I didn’t even understand the word or the definition) thus spent a few hours learning!

pseu·do·sci·ence
/ˌsodōˈəns/ 
noun
  1. a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method.
quack·er·y
/ˈkwak(ə)rē/
noun
  1. dishonest practices and claims to have special knowledge and skill in some field, typically medicine.
But I really wanted to just rant about the lack of common sense and how do senior adults manage to take the right dosage of the right medicine.  I feel like I need an advocate!

I was prescribed 500 mg ER Metformin for Type 2 diabetes.  After less than one month, Doc wanted to check blood levels again.  NO change, so he upped the dosage to 1,000 mg ER Metformin.  The copay on the two 30 tablet prescriptions was $10.07.  I had just refilled my prescription before Doc prescribed the higher dose, so he had me take 2 per day at dinner.

Our pharmacy has a dial in reorder system and it told me I wasn’t able to refill my prescription for two more weeks BUT if I press 2 they will call the Dr.  I called and talked to a human the next morning and explained that if they call the clinic office, the new higher dose medicine should be started.  Of course, I also called the nurse station to explain.  She assured me she would fax over the new one.

The next day, I was in Safeway and just popped over to the pharmacy.  No, they had not heard back from the clinic.  It was 4:30 pm and I asked him to CALL the doctor as I had only two days worth of medicine left.  I also called the clinic and explained the fax had not been received, would they CALL in the prescription.  The pharmacist called me late that evening to say yes, they had heard back from clinic but they do not stock that medicine and it would be here in two days.  

On the second day, I got the text “your prescription is ready and your copay is $431.70”.  WHAT??  Then would it be prudent to just take two 500 mg pills for maybe $20 a month?  AGAIN, I asked them to call the clinic and I did too.  Since the prescription wasn’t ready by 3pm, I called both the pharmacy (talked to a human) and the nurses station (talked to a human) but nothing happened before closing time.

The next day I got the text “your prescription is ready and your copay is $7.60”.



I picked up the largest prescription bottle I’ve ever seen, filled to the brim with 90 days worth of two 500mg pills per day.  For less than the cost of one pill per day for just 30 days.

Common core math?





Tuesday, June 4, 2019

TAKING A LUXURY CRUISE!

In the past, I have always wanted to take a cruise.  Mr. Ralph thought he would feel "trapped" and wouldn't enjoy himself although he eventually warmed up to an Alaska cruise.  Right before we booked (with two other couples), his cancer was at a very iffy stage and we couldn't predict how he would feel, so we had to say no.  Luckily we did cancel (and cancelled a Road Scholar scotch tasting trip with my sister and hubby as well).  His health was declining quicker than we expected.



After a few years after he passed, I thought maybe a Disney cruise for the five of us.  Kate feels like her Dad did but she would buck it up for the boys.  I set off onto my research.  And hour or so later, it sounded like $25,000 for a vacation.  Not in my budget!

In the meantime I've come to realize I live on a luxury cruise line.  My stateroom is a spacious 10x13 with a porthole.  Meals, entertainment, cleaning and laundry are all inclusive.  Often I can simply ask for a bottle of wine and someone will walk four blocks to acquire one for me.

The cruise line comes with no seasickness and daily adventure stops where I can get off and away and then return to my Queen bed.  Hugs and kisses each night.



Most people are incredulous at our lifestyle but when I explain about my stateroom on a luxury cruise liner, it seems like a lot more fun.  And it is!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

OLD BIDDY BIDET

As you all know by now, I've had a lot going on in the netherlands of myself. 

Lichen sclerosis for almost a year; which is under control with steroid ointment and coconut oil.  And an every 3 month check up.  After visiting a few "support" sights, gosh I am so lucky to have a mild case!  I unjoined a Facebook Group because of all the horrible stories.  I'll just be sure to be in that humiliating position every three months and hope for the best.

The UTI is STILL not completely gone.  Another Dr appointment tomorrow.  This time with my lady doctor.  I finish round two antibiotics today. Stay tuned on that challenge.  I'm trying to drink ONE GALLON of water a day ... that is sixteen 8 oz glasses!!!  My typical water glass is 16 ounces so ONLY eight of those per day.  I haven't met my four glasses and here it is almost noon.

With all the goings on down under, my kidults talked me into getting a bidet.  From Amazon and Jesse installed it (if you have to use a plumber it was a big job ... took him about four hours and two trips to the hardware store).  This device is amazing!!




It fits beneath the toilet seat and does not need electricity!  It does need to be attached to the hot water ... unless you want to be hard core (and those models are a lot less $$$)  The long lever you move to warmer or cooler (only takes a few uses to find the perfect temperature).  Pull it up and it turns on the water and determines the pressure.  There's a big range but I use very low pressure, so far.

The smaller round control in the back controls where the sprinklers will go. It is clearly marked for the feminine area and you can decide the pressure you want.  Turn further and it is for the rear attack.  You can even set it further but it feels (to me) like you might be reaming another opening!!!  When finished, push the lever down.  Set it to "self clean" and you don't have to be sitting for that chore to be finished.  (I also use self clean before I use it since I share the toilet with everyone ... and some people are just not good aims!)

So far, we are not sharing it with the boys.  No one else has tried it yet either but for me, it is a daily necessity.  Or luxury.  Depending on one's point of view.  Using flushable wipes was too harsh on my body.  Even toilet paper uses toxic chemicals in the production phase.  Although I didn't buy the "air dryer" version (needs electrical outlet), that would definitely be the ultimate.  Instead, I bought two dozen 100% cotton small wash clothes for dabbing dry.  I might just try my blow dryer on low.

Once this UTI is cleared up, I'm excited to see some healthy results!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

UFOs


I don't hear much about suspicious encounters with extraterrestrials any more.  No crop mazes that mysteriously appear.  Back when I watched the Twilight Zone, there was at least a monthly sighting!  Several TV shows (X-Files for one) kept making it more real for me.  Nowadays it seems like Roswell just disappeared.  No more exciting UFOs?  Well, the government doesn't even call them that any more ... now it's called "unexplained aerial phenomena".  But I digress ...


The real topic today is UTI.  I just was diagnosed with my first one.  A week after my down under exam.  At first, the urge to go pee seemed a little more frequent.  Another phase of growing older I thought.  Since it didn't seem normal for me, I called my Doc's office and asked if my lady doctor could just call in a prescription.  No ... of course not.  It was Friday afternoon and surely I could wait til Monday, I bravely told myself.

Phase II was not being able to control the urge.  We all love Dr. Google and I checked out some home remedies.  Drink more water, take cranberry extract (which I do daily, so I tripled the amount) and so on.  I felt a bit better but by Sunday, I started feeling overall ill.  My lower abdomen started being noticeable, not painful per se, just heavy feeling.  I made it til Monday morning (thank you, Depends) only to find out Weds was the first available appointment.  By appointment time, I had a full blown really bad UTI.  

It was a doctor I had never seen at my clinic and I really like her also!  She said if there is a next time, talk to the nurse about just coming in to pee in a cup and then they can call in the prescription.  We chatted for a while as my concern is my Mom used to get UTIs a lot and pretty bad.  They would cause her to hallucinate!  And I wondered if it was genetic.

Apparently UTIs are quite common in Senior Adults, not just my Mom,  although the symptoms are often very different.  One telltale symptom of UTIs in the elderly is often mistaken for the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's disease, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH). Indicators of infection in seniors include the following:
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Other unusual behavioral changes
  • Poor motor skills or loss of coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Falling
Often these are the only symptoms that present, so it is crucial to watch for these rather than the urgency or burning or whatever others get.  I was always surprised about how often she got them and how her Dr didn't pick up on any of these symptoms.

Mrs. New Doctor sent me on my way and called in a prescription for Bactrim.  Also (written down) a few items to help prevent ... drink MORE water, eat more probiotics, eat more cranberries, blueberries, vitamin C, and probiotics, wipe front to back (as always!), remember post coital voiding (not an issue but second time I've heard that word in a week!!) and take an over the counter supplement called D-mannose.

After two doses of Bactrim, the UTI was back to normal but I started feeling like a truck ran over me.  Twice.  Aches, pains, shivers, hot flashes ... like the flu.  I hate being a wimp, but I called the nurses station to be sure it wasn't some drug reaction.  The New Doctor called me back ... it WAS a drug reaction.  Sulfa!  She apologized (well, how could she know if I didn't even know) and called in a different antibiotic, nitrofurantoin.  

Stay tuned.  UTI still seems at bay but I still feel a slight case of the flu.  Small price to pay.  It's Saturday before Memorial day so I'll just laze about.


Thursday, May 23, 2019

AN AMAZING SENIOR ADULT

Everyone seems to be looking for a different "term" for people over 65.  Apparently Senior Citizen just doesn't cut it any more.  There are SO MANY terms for senior adults ... some with negative connotations.  Elderly.  Geriatric. Old person.  Golden Ager.  Old timer. Retiree. 



Lately sales people are calling me "Miss".  I kinda like that!  Well, whatever you want to call the Over 65 Bunch, my friend Joan is at the top of my list.  Her husband and my husband were next door neighbors  since birth, in a small town in Indiana.  Over the years they lost touch with each other but rekindled their friendship after Mr. Ralph's father died.  They came to Portland (they were living in an over-55 home community in Florida) when Bob was competing in quartet singing. I met Joan then and since women seem to be better at keeping in touch, we began our email and phone call friendship.  We visited them in Sun City.

Her husband died (on New Year's Eve) and a few years later, their two daughters convinced her to move closer to one of them (North Carolina or southern California).  That in itself is a LOT of work for an 80 year old.  She chose NC although that daughter is not the nurturing or compassionate type ... but Joan wanted the least costly cost of living.  She bought a HOUSE in a tiny town (West Jefferson NC, population 1,300) thirty minutes from daughter (population 1,300).  (Who in their right mind would encourage an 80 year old to buy a two level house?)  She had to find new doctors, hair salon, grocery stores and BRIDGE players.  In her old neighborhood, everything was walkable.  West Jefferson NC you have to drive everywhere.  Nothing was very convenient but she adapted just fine.  Except for having to wear a sweater all the time!

Needless to say, she saw Jayme once a month.  The house and yard work was too much and she was snowed in several times for days. The girls next talked her into a "senior living and retirement" center.  Over an hour and a half from NC daughter!  I talked with her a bit and her explanation was that she didn't see Jayme much anyway, she needed to retire from driving, loves the rural setting but needed the convenience.  Winston-Salem is bigger (doctors, hospitals, specialists, you know).  If I ever move from my cozy nest, it needs to be graduated care until the end ... no more moving for me!)


This place was month to month, no buy in.  I just felt a little bad that her girls are so far and now at 84 she has to start over, building friends and bridge partners.

I shouldn't have worried!  This independent community allowed her to spend the day, spend the night, eat at their dining room and leave around noon the next day.  EVERYONE was very welcoming.  Residents invited her into their apartments to see furniture arrangement, etc.  Most everyone there plays bridge.  She LOVED the food.

Practically everything is included for just $2,300 per month!




Her view is of the trees and creek.  And she has a balcony!

Now when I call, I have to leave a message and it takes days for her to call me back.  She is an Amazing Senior Adult.