Twelve days with almost NO obligations. It will be a lovely break, and would be even better if the weather will be warm and sunny, as it looks to be today, the last day of March.
I have talked to a few farmer friends who tell me this is going to be a hard season, maybe even a few seasons, depending on what next year’s rainy season brings. There are fields and orchards and vineyards that will be untenable for a year or more. This will be felt around the world with fewer foodstuffs with higher prices. My heart breaks for the farmworkers who have brought us all this plenteous food at low prices. Their livelihood has been wiped out. Their homes covered in water and mud or swept away.
March has been a long hard month due to the unseasonable weather and what seems to be a stream of sad news. Terry and I took a break on Thursday, and to celebrate the end of the month, and went to dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant in Fresno, Jimy Wen’s. I discovered this lovely little place, family-owned and operated when a writeup appeared in our local paper. A culinary design class at Fresno State University had redesigned the space as a class project. This has been a decade or more ago, and we still believe this is the best and most beautiful Asian restaurant in all of Fresno. Service, surroundings, and food are all exceptional.
I was so glad we had gone there for dinner as it helped ease the pain I would later feel. When coming out and seeing an email from a relative of a blogging friend, my heart sank. I knew it was going to be sad news. Carol Westover, who wrote the blog, Tehachapi, has died. Her niece had seen a post from me on Carol’s blog, after Carol had written about their packing and moving to San Diego to a longterm care facility that would care for her husband should anything happen to her. She was his caregiver and with his dementia worsening, she knew she had to find a place to care for him as her health had quickly deteriorated.
Although saddened by her death, I was grateful for her niece’s email to let me know about her fall at the new place and quick demise from that event. Falls are terrible things for older folk. I can only imagine how easy it was to fall when Carol was new to her surroundings and not sure of her steps. I am also grateful that her last act was to make sure her husband would have a safe place to live out his days.
Tomorrow is a new month, and I am hopeful it will bring a better, brighter season. A season of longer, warmer days, with lots of sunshine so I can be outdoors. I will have six days at Columbia in April. I will present two children’s messages at church. There will be a Ladies Who Lunch in there. At the end of the month I will see my doctor for my checkup which will be almost two years since the last one. I am very grateful for good health and energy to do the things I love. I have begun telling my younger friends to really value and enjoy their youth and vitality, to make the most of each day and event. Someday, you will be older.
I gave in to aging after my mother died, or maybe even during the years she was fading. And then I woke up and reconsidered what I was still capable of doing. I lost weight—giving in to weight gain was part of my giving in—and found that a lighter me could still run. I am slowing, true, but I work up a sweat and feel good all day after a run, after pushing myself a bit. In the not-too-distant future I will give up running again, but my goal is not to underestimate my abilities again.
Oh, I have never given in to the aging thing, it has just happened, and is highly annoying. I talk to myself a lot about what I am doing and feeling, and that is probably the main reason my doctor has not seen me. Going to medical providers when one isn’t sick is part of that aging thing (Medicare-required checkups) that I refuse to get wrapped up in. Too many of my older friends spend way too much time with medical appointments because their doctors keep sending them. Of course they do! It’s a money-maker for them.
“Medicare-required”? I am not aware they are required. I have not seen a doctor in years. I am well and I did not trust my doctor. The dentist, well that’s another matter. My teeth are not well and needed the appointment this week.
Perhaps required is not quite right, but recommended and since the doctors easily get their fees for that appointment they are fairly insistent. We have so much good insurance that doctors tend to test for every thing they can think of. They know it will all be paid for.
The last time I visited my former doctor was for that yearly exam. I was given a list of what could be covered and warned that any health issues or questions not on the list would require another appointment. She spent most of her twenty minutes with me detailing how to fill out the DNR forms (which she did not have) even though I told her I was very familiar with them, having filled them out with my mom—several times because each time she went into the hospital during her last year, they wanted those forms and could not find them (“They must have sent them to the warehouse; here, fill them out again.”). That’s why I have not been back.
I love that you celebrated the end of the month and now tomorrow you can celebrate the beginning of a month. So sorry about the death of your friend. Each day brings a reminder, it seems, to live now as fully as we can.
I was saddened to hear the news of Carol’s death. Somehow I knew in my heart she was gone as her writings ceased. She was a dear soul and, as you mentioned, did the utmost to assist her husband with his dementia. Even to having him in a place where he is cared for now she is gone. Blessings and condolences to her family, she will be missed.
Yes, as I’ve mentioned before, there’s a pretty big difference between being 76 and 86–at least for me. (My durable spouse is 93, and I don’t even want to contemplate reaching that age!) I look back 10 years and miss the things I was able to do then that I can’t now. But I can still do “the basics” (grocery shopping, laundry, light cleaning, cat care) and hope that will continue to be the case for a while longer. Not many “fun” things anymore but being FUNctional is more to the point.
Although I’ve begun to have “health challenges”, I want to avoid getting caught up in the Medical Industrial Complex to the extent possible. Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s important or necessary and what my HMO is doing to be sure their tush is covered. We have good insurance, too (thank goodness!) but that could have a downside.
Ah, yes, the “Medical Industrial Complex”! How did we get to this point?
I think the MIC (Medical Industrial Complex) is related to profit centered healthcare, but I could be wrong. We aren’t patients anymore, we’re reimbursement codes! $$
Enjoy your extended Spring Break.
Thank you for relating the sad news of Carol’s death. I’m echoing Rosemary’s words that the one main thing in her life was the care and safety of Robert. I think we all feared the worst when her writings stopped at the time they both moved into residential care. RIP Carol – yes she will be missed
I didn’t follow Carol, but I also mourn the loss of a fellow blogger. The world I know through these posts from all over the world are priceless. And yes, our health is not to be taken for granted, but we all must be prepared for the inevitable. Now that I am a newly minted octogenarian, the world certain looks different to me. My End of Life forms are all filled out and with my doctor. I am so glad to know you are taking care of yourself, Delaine, as you are an essential element in my own wellbeing. 🙂
I hope you have a wonderful spring break. My grandsons spring break was last week. The weather was awful and the youngest was sick with a virus most of the week! It was a complete bust!
Much as I didn’t like to read it, thank you for letting us know about Carol. I had only started reading her blog sometime this past year, but will miss her writings. Grateful her husband is where he will be well cared for.
I followed Carol as well, and I think the last post was about “moving day” – at least she managed to create the care facility for her husband. But I guess he will be lost without her…even though he didn’t always seem to be too aware
I’ve just enrolled in a new clinic and have my first “let’s get to know you Catherine” in a week or so, double a regular appointment but not with the double consult $-amount..seems very sensible. I don’t recall that ever happening before…