agoraphobia, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety, old couple, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Well, this week could have gone better, but I’ll take it. I stood up for myself concerning a particularly awful process I was expected to use at work that was inaccurate and basically unusable, and I feel like I was heard at least one step up the pecking order. Then I concentrated on what I could do. I got a lot done.

The weather is absolutely lovely and we spent a lot of time on the front porch yesterday evening. I cleaned out most of the junk in the Honda in preparation to clean the inside and shampoo the carpets. I took out at least 20 books. I also did some front garden clean up – pulled the “weeds” that the bees no longer need but left the dandelions, which I love. My favorite flowers are in bloom right now, and the yoshina cherry trees are bursting with light pink flowers. The peppermint that I shouldn’t have planted is spreading through the fieldstone path across to the other section of the garden, but it smells so good that I don’t mind (now). I planted it in several places in the hope that it would deter both mosquitoes and groundhogs.

Reading: Almost finished with “Good Harbor” by Anita Diamant, which I have mixed feelings about. At first I thought that I could relate to the characters, but instead I have found it pretty depressing. I liked her other novels much better, especially “The Last Days of Dogtown,” which was a recent read. Part of my problem with novels about women who struggle with children or fertility is that I feel no connection to motherhood. I have never felt the urge. The other character is having serious mental health issues revolving around cancer and death, maybe not the best reading choice for me right now. I’ll finish it, because I don’t have much farther to go and it is a short book.

It seems like I’m breaking out of the agoraphobic tendencies, although I am typing this in my bedroom, where I spend way too much time. On Thursday morning I drove Sandy to what we thought was going to be his muscle biopsy under local anesthesia at an outpatient surgical center in Burlington. Instead, it was a consultation with the surgeon and pretty much a waste of time other than him telling us that the biopsy would be done under real anesthesia in Greensboro, maybe at Wesley Long Hospital. He didn’t have Sandy’s lab work or records, and he was quizzing him to see if he really needed the biopsy. Once I told him about Sandy’s CK test results, those kind of questions stopped and he moved on.

It was frustrating, not only because we expected this to be behind us by now, but that the communication has been so bad. These days I know to be wary of any anesthesia that puts you all the way under – it can trip an older person into dementia and Sandy had a difficult time maintaining his oxygen levels under anesthesia during his oral surgery a couple of years ago. It definitely has cognitive effects. And the surgeon was not encouraging about it being scheduled right away, although he said that he was on duty at Wesley Long next week and would try to get it on his schedule.

This biopsy really has to be done soon. Sandy dreads it so much that I worry that he is going to back out. Yesterday he was feeling much better and started working on getting the Honda battery charged and the car aired out. He brought me lunch at work. I am very happy that he feels better and is trying to do more. However, he has a denial problem and I have my hands full trying to stop him from health self-destruction since he wants so badly to believe that all he needs to do is get back into shape. This has been the case for years, not just with this issue. I do not want to play the role of his mother or nurse and I want to treat his medical decisions with respect, but I also don’t want to be a widow in my early 60s. I love him and I want to grow old with him. He will be absolutely miserable if he doesn’t get better. His family history is full of disability, including his father who was quadriplegic and his brother and mother who had strokes affecting their ability to move. He also has a serious aversion to asking for the simplest help.

Anyway, the good aspect of this trip was that I drove to Burlington to an unknown location in heavy traffic and even drove around the area a bit without any anxiety or panic. So I haven’t descended into that agoraphobia hole. I feel better, knowing that.

And I feel better that I am officially fully vaccinated, having passed the two week mark yesterday. I haven’t heard from Lora about the residency in Ireland yet, but considering the problems that the EU is having with a third wave and getting the vaccinations out, it looks more and more unlikely. If I can’t go to Europe this year, we will pick a national park to visit. I wouldn’t mind a train trip, or going to Maine to Acadia NP. I’ve never been farther north than Connecticut.

We got a small tax refund back from the state but not either federal tax refund yet. That will be welcome money that we will probably use to hire local people to work on our house. I also try to donate to a lot of individual causes and charities that I see people advocate on Facebook. We are very lucky, despite what we are dealing with at the present time.

Coronavirus Chronicles, old couple

Wait, wait, wait

People who don’t know any better or don’t have friends who live in other countries often cite long waits for health care as a reason that they don’t want government sponsored health care for all. Yet, we have long waits for specialists in this country even with expensive insurance, so there’s yet another bullshit reason against socialized health care.

Really, as we wait for this rheumatology appointment, we are both feeling a bit desperate. Sandy tried to get a vaccination appointment at Walgreens and they turned him down because he filled out the form stating the he had health issues. Aren’t those the very people who need the vaccine the worst? So he called his GP office to ask their guidance and they said to wait until after he sees the rheumatologist on March 11. Still a week away.

In the meantime, his condition gets worse and we are worried, very, very worried. He wants to start swimming at the Y again because he thinks that would be good exercise for him right now. He does a couple of minutes of the video exercise, when before he got shingles he had gotten where he could do 15 minutes twice a day. We worry about the rapid acceleration of his muscle loss. He needs to be able to get out and about for his mental health. I think that he will need physical therapy.

I should be able to sign up for a vaccination early next week, according to an email I received from my workplace. A clinic is being set up for all the higher education workers in the area. Plus, FEMA is setting up a mega-site here in Greensboro at a closed Dillard’s store in Four Seasons Mall, with a drive-through lane.

We are treating each other with loving care these days – each of us trying to do our best under these circumstances.

But we have things that need to be attended to – like the plumbing problem. Like the Honda Fit that has been sitting with a dead battery for several months now. Like rebuilding the front steps, which involves getting permission from the Historic Commission. The possibility of having to put in a ramp. Like the pile of big chunks of dead silver maple that I had hired two different people to split for firewood for me last year. One stopped answering my texts. The other gave it a valiant try before he smashed his thumb and now he has a back injury. Since then, it’s become a termite incubator. So I’m calling a couple of landscapers today to see if I can get estimates on cleaning up the yard, then bi-monthly maintenance. That will be a start, and it would be good to get it done now before mosquito season begins.

That is likely where the Ireland/Portugal trip money is going to go.

However, the good thing is that we do have the lake retreat. I went for a walk with some of our friends on Sunday morning and we sat on an outside deck and chatted over coffee for a couple of hours. Hopefully by this summer we will all be vaccinated and go down to the lake for a weekend or so. One couple just sold their big truck rig and bought a huge RV. Maybe we will buy a small RV instead of moving to Portugal.

The biggest challenge for me in all of this is the possibility of a giant change in our lives. I have spent most of the pandemic, and really the last 15 years, relying on travel planning as my therapy. Finding the cheapest flights. The quirkiest old motels. The AirBNB rooms. Recently, planning to emigrate to Portugal. In a way, the emigration plans are the easiest to give up, since thinking about transporting the cats and what possessions we would ship over was sometimes overwhelming.

I have to find a new way to cope. I hope that my instincts are wrong about this, and Sandy will bounce back and we will still be able to travel to national and state parks and museums and walk on trails. But, if not, we’ve had a good run, and we are luckier than most people to have the memories. I am thankful that I documented our trips so well on this blog, and hopefully there will be many more. We haven’t checked off our bucket list yet, but we’ve knocked off a few major items like Cahokia, Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, Newgrange, Giant’s Causeway, Yellowstone, Glacier NP, an Alaskan cruise, Tuscany, Cornwall…pretty amazing when you list them all. There is a lot in this country we’ve yet to see.