title explained

Onward and upward! something that you say in order to encourage someone to forget an unpleasant experience or failure and to think about the future instead and move forward.

My e-mail: jjmiller6213@comcast.net

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood----

...except Pearl didn't have enough strength to even get out of bed on Saturday, Merle called the ambulance and they took her to the little hospital up the road from us.  Being a weekend, complicated getting tests done and the results back.  We found out Monday, she was dehydrated, plus her none-ability to walk, left her completely helpless.

Today, she is being transferred to a nursing home/rehab center and their prescription is for,"intensive/extensive physical therapy!!

Boy-Oh-Boy, she isn't going to like that!!!

Three years ago, I took her to physical therapy a couple of times.  I'd sit in the waiting area and watch her.  If they had her do 10 leg lifts, she'd do 3 and stop.  "That hurts too much."  If they had her on the bike for 10 minutes, she'd do maybe 3 minutes and refuse to do more.  It was like that with every exercise.  She'd do a couple of repetitions and stop.  Refuse to do more, because "it hurt".

I don't know if any of you have been to physical therapy, but it DOES hurt.  Week after week, it hurts and then...it starts to get better.  

I kept telling her that she had to "push yourself a bit".  Her answer was always, "Why?  It isn't going to cure me."

"Not cure you, but help you get stronger so you can at least walk, go shopping and out to eat!"

Oh she is a stubborn old Swede!!

I don't know how long she will be in rehab there, but I'll bet when they let her come home, she will have a couple more months of PT.

I'll go visit her.  She's in the newest place around here, just one mile from us, and a place I have always wanted to check-out.  An assisted living, nursing, rehab center.  I'll visit Pearl, and get a brochure and check-out the lay of the land--in case I ever need it.

After I got done talking with Merle yesterday, I walked across the street to visit Dar.  I haven't seen her in over a month.

Her shoulder surgery was so extensive, that after two month of PT, she has to have another round of it.  Plus, her herpes has come back in her left eye.  Plus, her car insurance now wants her to have more MRI's, X-ray's and tests to make sure her problems stem from the car accident--that happened 2 years ago!!  They still haven't paid any of her medical bills, even though the accident wasn't her fault.

Plus, over the last month, she purchased all new beds, 3 recliners, a rocking chair and a love seat and....the bed bugs still aren't gone.  There was an exterminator truck there last Friday.  This makes the 4th time they have exterminated her house.

Her psychologist--yes, she is finally in treatment, told her that these last few weeks, she has regressed.  She was becoming relaxed and happy and now she's right back in her scattered thoughts, anxiety, fear mode.

Plus, her Dad fell and bruised 3 ribs so she has been having to take him to doctor's appointments.

Yesterday, she was speaking in broken sentences and couldn't remember words or keep thoughts going very well.
So, after I left there, I walked across Dar's lawn to visit Jackie.  I have noticed she has had a lot of visitor's, but I haven't seen her leave to go to her swim aerobics or church.

Jackie was visiting her son a week ago, no hand rail on the front porch, she slipped, fell backwards onto the cement and has a concussion and broken left arm.

Her visitor's have been visiting nurses and physical therapists.

We chatted for almost an hour, then I got Jackie a cup of tea and walked out to get her mail to take back in to her.

Having been feeling a little dumpy and depressed last week and weekend, as I left Jackie's to walk home across the street, I realized how warm the sun was, how the trees are starting to bud out, my Crocus are blooming, and I scolded myself.  Compared to the neighbor's, I'm on top of the World!!!!!

Friday, March 16, 2018


To the Doc's yesterday afternoon for my yearly Medicare Wellness Check.  

New government guidelines---if you have EVER smoked in your life, Medicare now requires you to take a breathing test.  Even though I had one three weeks ago at the pulmonologist's, I had to do another one--passed.

IF you are on any kind of opioid pain med OR anxiety med--I take Ativan--occasionally--you have to have a urinalysis.  To make sure you are taking it, but not taking too much.  To make sure you are taking it and not selling it!!!
I wonder how much I could sell it for?  My script reads, "take 3 daily", I only take 1.  Think of the $$$ I could make!!

Oh yes, and by the way--I asked the doctor if it was all right, when my shoulder hurts so much I can't sleep, if I could take half a Percocet at bedtime?

"Where did you get Percocet?"

"You gave me a prescription two years ago when I was still having pain from my hip surgery.  I have 10 left."

"No--it won't hurt you, but I won't give you anymore."

"Okay.  I don't want anymore.  I have 10 left...at one-half every three to six months, I should be okay.  I just wondered...because I am on a blood thinner, if it would hurt me."

"Percocet is addictive.  If I wrote prescriptions for it, the government could put me out of business."

"Why the heck would it matter if an old person became addicted to a pain med...if it eased their pain?"
I'm thinking about Pearl who is addicted to Tramadol, that this same doc gives her, but at least she finds some relief.

"The government would only see how many prescriptions I write for it and that could cause ME a problem."

"Okay.  So, if in the future, I need an opioid pain med, I'd have to go to a pain specialist?"

"Yep.  That is their speciality.  I'm just a primary care doctor....anything out of the ordinary, and I am required to refer you to a specialist."

Two pages of questions to answer--in the last 4 weeks, have you fallen?  Do you eat a good diet?  On and on.

My heart is good, nice and steady.  Lungs are good, nice and clear..no wheezes or rales.  Carotid arteries are good.  Blood work--fantastic.  Gained 2# since last year, but height is the same: 5'9 3/4".  

There is one test that Medicare should include--a memory loss/retention test, as...................

I requested a prescription refill on a med....

That prescription was filled and picked-up by me on March 2nd!  I have no memory of that!

See--good blood work means nothing to the way a person is aging.


Thursday, March 15, 2018


Here we go again--the dreaded Ides of March.

My Mother died 48 years ago today!  How can it be so long since I've seen her?  How have I managed to live this long without her?  How can it be that long ago and yet, the pain sometimes comes like it happened just yesterday.  

She was so vibrant and always smiling and then some mysterious disease took her so quickly.  A disease that was only firmly diagnosed three years ago.

There was and still is no cure for this rare blood disease, which I suppose makes me feel better--nothing could have been done to save her, but at only 54 years old?  

It broke our family--traces of her death still show up in our still broken family.  God didn't bring that disease, but He did take her at her last breath and that gives me knowledge that one day, I will see her again.
Trying to make the Ides of March a better memory day, I moved in here 15 years ago.  I could have moved in weeks earlier, but I chose this day on purpose.  How can it be that long ago?  Sometimes I still don't feel settled in.  I still yearn to move "back home."
Today, I purposefully made an appointment for my yearly "Medicare Wellness Check-Up."  If I am going to get bad news, this is the perfect day for it.

I got my blood draw done on Tuesday, so the Doc will have the results today.  I took a sneak peak at my Patient Portal yesterday morning to see the test results, because you know, I don't like surprises and want to know the results BEFORE I see the Doc.

The blood results are better than they were 8 months ago, when he told me I had the blood work of a 50 year old.  That's all well and good, but.......you  know what?

Good blood tests do not give the whole picture of how a body is wearing out.  The painful joints.  The heartburn that comes for no reason.  The memory dysfunction.  The skipped or rapid heart beat, the shooting knife-like pain in the back of the neck.

The weird thoughts, anxiety, sometimes almost crippling fear I have to talk myself out of.

So the Doc will enter the little exam room, tell me how healthy I am and "come back in six months" and send me on my way.

I suppose on this historically awful day, that alone should make me feel light hearted.

Too bad it won't.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Reporting in.....

Old Coot called late yesterday afternoon.  He was very chipper.  I asked how he was doing and he said, "Doing great!  You know, I was her caregiver for a year and a half and it was very tiring for me.  It's a difficult job...to be a caregiver."

"I'm sure it wasn't too easy on her either. Having to go through those horrible treatments and knowing that she was dying and all."

"Yes, but you know the old saying, 'let the death bury the dead'"

"Yes, I know that saying.  It comes from the Bible.  Do you know the rest of the saying?"


"Jesus said,'but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.'

"Oh.  I haven't done that, unless you count looking out at nature and proclaiming how beautiful it is." 
As per usual, it is all about him.
We chatted more.  He had convinced her to take out a Reverse Mortgage on the home/property, so he gets to live there until he dies.

"I'm surprised she didn't leave it to her children."

"Why?  It's none of their business."
Per usual come between wife and her kids.

"There were still mortgage payments and we couldn't live very easily with them.  So we got the reverse mortgage."

"Did that work out well?  I have wondered about reserve mortgages."
No I haven't.

"Yes.  I put a new deck on the front and back, built a workshop for me...put in new walkway."

"Oh.  You didn't put the money in an annuity to live on?"

"No, but with no mortgage payments, that helped with the monthly bills.  You know I live in the present.  No worries about the past or the future."
I see he got just what he wanted out of it.
I said, "I was surprised...really surprised, when I read that she was so involved in her church.  She was a Baptist...you're an Atheist...how did that work out?"

"I went to church with her....a couple of times.  She went every Sunday and while she was gone, I puttered in my work shop.  She didn't preach to me or try and convert me...she knew that wouldn't have worked.  ha ha"
Then the interesting part of the conversation began...

He said, "I was wondering...ah...I have a test for you...ah..just how young your mind still is.  I thought it would be fun if we got together for a visit."


"I could drive down, we could go to a nice restaurant...not a fancy, expensive one...just a nice one...with good food.  We could talk, then go back to your place and talk some more."


"Here's the test...to see how young your mind is...I could spend the night."

"Why?  Can't you drive after dark?"

"Yes, I can drive perfectly fine."

"Well, I have no place for you to sleep."

"You don't have a bed?"

"Of course I have a bed.  A lovely bed, with a four inch memory foam topper....that I share with no one but my two cats."

"I see.  So you are like the "old cat lady"?"
I see what he is trying to do.  Challenge me by inferring I am old and not open to new things.

"I'm eight years younger than you and just happen to have two cats."

"Oh.  I just thought you were still young at heart and mind to be open to a shared bed.  I wasn't proposing anything...well, you know...anything...just to sleep next to each other and listen to each other breathing."
oh, good grief!  Does this mean that his "anything" still works?  At 87 years old?  UGH!

"Well, I am young at heart and young in mind, but...I am a lot smarter than you remember.  Sharing a bed with ANYONE other than my cats, sounds like...not only a weird idea, but a stupid one.  Something that would really mess up my content and stable life."

So that idea squelched, we chatted a bit more.  Then he said, "Look at the time!  We've talked for over an hour.  It's six o'clock!"

"It's seven o'clock."

"Seven...no..I'm looking at the clock on the stove and it says six."

"We had a time change this morning.  Daylight Saving time kicked in."

"It did?  Why am I unaware of that?"

"I don't know...perhaps your mind isn't young enough to remember?"
Went right over his head.

"Do you realize how many clocks there are in this house.  It's going to take me an hour to change them all!"

"Well, you better get to it."

"Yeah--we'll talk later...goodbye."
So--my psychological experiment continues.  I think I have him hooked into thinking I am interested in his life and concerned about him.

Don't worry.  I can handle Old Coot.  Ten years ago, just hearing his voice would have sent me into a panic attack.  Now...there is going to be some reckoning.  Some more remembering to see, the what and why.  

....because I don't have anything better to do and this is beginning to be fun..........

Friday, March 9, 2018

Well, well, well...

The "Old Coot" sent a note requesting a phone call, so Tuesday afternoon, feeling adventurous, I called him.  I think he was napping as it took him awhile to realize who it was.

I used a sympathetic tone and asked how he was doing.  Did he feel "foggy brained".  Could he concentrate.  All those things we who have lost loved ones go through.

No--none of those.  He was feeling fine.  "You know, I have gone through so many losses and disconnections, that this is just another one."


His voice is still strong.  He is still healthy--no prescriptions.  AT 87?

Still disconnected from his 5 children and all his siblings, who he "thinks" have all died, but isn't sure.

Wait.  What?  His younger brother lived on the property next to him.  I had heard that Old Coot had erected a "spite" fence between the properties, when he moved in with his last wife.

There are a lot of things that are strange.  I did not ask about them, but am wondering.

He is still living on his dead wife's property and home.  Why didn't that go to her children?  Does he have a life lease?

The funeral bulletin he sent me, has a photo of him and her and his one son, but no photos of her and her children.  She was married for 40 years to her first husband.  If there are going to be photos, why isn't there one of her and her children?

She was in Hospice for the last two months of her life, or so the obituary stated.  Did he spend each day with her?  I rather doubt it.  I think most probably, when she first got sick, he detached himself emotionally.

He referred to his family as "dysfunctional", which he never admitted to when we were married.  I doubt he realizes that HE is the dysfunctional one.  I always thought his siblings and kids were lovely people.

I think Old Coot is incapable of that kind of "bedrock" love that exists in (some) marriages.  He "loves" intensely at the start of a relationship.  There isn't anything he wouldn't do for his partner.  So considerate, kind and sweet.

But the second there is the tiniest, most minute conflict, he goes into control mode.  It then becomes all about him.  This is probably an old habit to protect his feelings?

After all, he has been optimistic enough to marry 7 times and 6 of those didn't work out the way he first perceived.  I do believe he put these women on a "perfect" pedestal and the second a chip of that pedestal fell, he didn't want to put the effort into fixing, what he perceived as damaged.  He just wanted to smash it and go on with his life.
I don't know if I want to meet him in person for a visit.  I certainly am not going to go to visit at his wife's home.  I would rather meet him on my turf.

Phone calls are easy.  We shall see, what we shall see.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

What is this?

My sister came down.  My microwave had died and she had one she wasn't using, so she brought it down for me.  Her hubs Chuck is recovering from double hernia surgery, but Susan and I managed to get the heavy thing in the house, and my dead one in the back of the pick-up truck so she can take it back for their spring recycling thingie.

She said, "It's like I woke up one morning and every thing was different than the day before.  I look different, I feel different, everything I have to do, seems to be such a big effort!"

I told her that I had experienced the same thing, but I found it happens about every five years with me.

At 60, I noticed that my body was changing its shape.  I hadn't gained or lost weight, but was becoming thicker in the middle.  My backside was flattening out.  My skin losing tone and becoming crepey.  My bust getting larger.

Something changed when I hit 65.  All of a sudden, I couldn't work in the gardens, as hard as I had the year before.  All of a sudden, my hips went out.  All of a sudden--it seemed.

Then, those things stayed that way for about 5 years.

Then at 70, all of a sudden I couldn't walk as far as I used too.  My back hurt all the time.

Then 75 and I found I had lost the strength in my arms.  I couldn't lift or carry heavy things anymore.  I tended to walk "crooked", my balance was off.  I had to walk up steps, one step at a time.  I was getting age spots on my hands and the thick skin thingies (Keratinitis) all over my back. 

Now, I am going through changes again...and it hasn't even been five years.  I look in the mirror and I look much older than I did even last summer.  My "apron", that roll of skin under my stomach that wants to lay on the tops of my thighs, seem to have gotten bigger. I notice when I walk, my left foot tends to turn out.  I haven't gained weight, but I had to buy a new bra--one size larger.

Emotionally, every thing is an effort.  I don't want to go anywhere--even family functions are an effort to get ready for, drive too and participate in.  Too noisy.  Too tiring.  I am sooooo dreading my grandson's wedding this summer.   A year ago, I had no problem with getting all dressed, with heels and the whole thing to attend my great granddaughter's christening.  I had a great time.

My sister will turn 66 in two weeks.  I told her, "The changes are going to continue.  Plus all the changes you are feeling right now aren't going to go away.  They just stay with you and in a few years, more changes are going to pile on top of them!  It just keeps piling on until you are so tired you won't want to get outta your chair!"

I wondered if any of you have noticed this?  One day you wake up and things are different than the day before.  You get it figured out and go along with less things you can do and then, in a few years you wake up one morning and notice, there are new changes.

The good thing, we usually can adjust our lives to these changes.  It just shocks me when the new ones pile on.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

March wind doth blow and we shall have snow and what will poor Robin do then, poor thing.

Craziest winter we have ever had.

We got 8" of snow here and yet my sister, who lives 20 miles north, only got 1".  My cousin who lives 15 miles west, got 2".  We must have been in one of those "snow" bands.   Sunny yesterday and today, but when I went out to get the mail, I noticed the heavy snow had broken off two, fairly large Lilac bush branches.

At least we don't have Nor'Easters.  High tidal water and flooding can be as devastating as fire.  Both of them tear down houses.  I wouldn't care for those strong winds battering at me for a long time either.  

I went down to visit Pearl, as it was her 82nd birthday.  She kept trying to tell me she is 83, but I finally convinced her that she was born on March 1, 1936.  "Then what year did I get married?"

"1955.  You and Merle eloped to Angola, Indiana."

The conversation continued like that for awhile.  She asking me how old her kids were and was I sure she was born in 1936.

She has been diagnosed with early Stage II diabetes, as if we all didn't know that was coming on.  She only had to take a pill, not injections.  Then she said something that sort of stunned me.

"You know...this is my won fault."

"What's that?"

"The reason I can't walk.  When my legs started paining, I quit walking.  Every one told me I had to keep walking, but I just sat down and quit.  The more I sat, the worse the pain got.  They were all right.  The less I walked, the less I could and now look at me."

I didn't give her the "I told you so", what good would that do?  They had a ramp built from their back door down to their driveway.  It's 2 years old.  Pearl has never used it.  She's afraid of it.  So afraid, that if she does go out to get in the car, she still has to have Merle and her daughter take her down the 3 front steps--which is far more hazardous than the ramp.
I haven't seen Dar in a coon's age.  Almost a month.  I have no idea what is going on over there and should probably walk on over for a visit.  She is still in PT, as I see her leave twice a week, before 9:00.  She's was always a walking fanatic, but I never see her out walking either.

Which reminds me--I never see myself out walking either.  I count my weekly trips to Walmart, walking the length of the store as my exercise, but---another resolution to walk every day, once spring arrives.  
This genealogy I am trying to finish up--the one for my friend, is tough.  They don't have e-mail, so every time I have a question I have to call or write.

I called twice--apparently her husband didn't recognize my name--although he does know who I am, and hung up the phone.  So, I called back and when he answered, I quickly said, "May I speak to Liz."

I had two questions.  The call lasted an hour!  Every time I asked about a certain ancestor, that brought on a dissertation about their lives or their cousin's life, or maybe that Indian lady he had a child with.

"Was it that grandpa Richard, or the other one?  Judy needs to know."

Liz is one of our School Gal Pals that comes to our luncheons, and usually dominates the conversation.  She hasn't attended the last two, which has been kind of nice as we can all talk to each other.

She's mad at us now because we canceled our December lunch because of a big snow storm...one of the girls called Liz and told her and that we would not have another luncheon until January.

Well, wouldn't you know it, Liz went the next week and couldn't find us.  Then she went the first Thursday in January--we meet on the second Thursday, and once again couldn't find us, SO..she thinks we are meeting in private and won't tell her where.  Last week I sent her a note, with genealogy questions, but also the place we are meeting, next Thursday, directions, a map and a photo of what the place looks like.  One of the other girls is going to call her the day before for another reminder.
It's hard to see one friend's going downhill.  I don't mean forgetful, not being able to come up with a certain word--that is happening to all of us, but I mean really----sliding down that slippery slope faster than I can keep up.

Now I feel the road falling away under my feet, at times too.  New shows are coming on TV and if I don't write down the day/time/channel I will forget to watch.  When I have to go into town, I write down my "map"--bank, post office, grocery store, Michael's.  Not only do I do that so I won't forget, but I figure out where I have to go, the easiest route and no left turns.  LOL
I am filling up my March calendar.  Hair cut on Monday.  Lunch on Thursday.

Blood draw and doctor's appointment the next week.  Yes and other places I need to stop on the days I go.  I can't be wasting gas or my time.  LOL

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Just a Note

Yesterday, sunny and 65 degrees.  Window and screen door open.  Raked my front lawn.

Today, 7" of snow, so far.

This is Pure Michigan.

March coming in like a Lion