Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Warning: Major, Prolonged Whine.

 [images: my dining room, after Tom cleaned up some of the paperwork pertaining to his parents' finances.  And that's not even what I'm complaining about.]

Today air quality is "moderate," which translates to bad for people like me (elderly, and on immuno-suppressants).  Worse, weed pollen (ragweed, for example) is high and forecast to be VERY high the next two days, because it is not going to rain and tamp it down.  Mold activity outdoors is low, that's good, but it will soar if it rains.

What this means is that I can't go outside.  I can't sit on a porch or patio with a friend for half an hour.  I can't walk through the rose garden taking pictures, or go out in my own yard and mess around cleaning stuff up.  If I am outside in this weather, I get so much congestion that I develop the kind of ear ache that makes babies scream with pain.  Then I can't wear my right hearing aid, and have to use hot and cold compresses to get it to drain.  In case you're wondering, I hate that.  All of it.

I haven't meditated yet today - and I hate that.  But I got up late, and I hate that, but I hate waking up to alarm clocks, and I haven't been able to sleep until 2:00 a.m. for several days, despite the best pharmaceutical interventions.  And it's 3:00 pm now.  So I am going to stop this and, as we say in Zen, sit down and shut up.  I don't feel like doing that.   It takes discipline.

But before I go, I want to mention that I'm pushing water right now, meaning drinking down whole glasses, because I have to drink 4 liters a day to prevent bladder infections.  If you think that's nothing to whine about, do it for one day.  Go ahead.  And BTW, mine has to be room temperature water, not ice water, not water without ice from the ice water tap in the restaurant, which puts me into painful esophogeal spasms, just because I am old.  Go ahead, try to get simple room-temperature water in a restaurant.  You will learn, like me, that you just have to carry your own water.

However.  Water is one more thing to carry.  I have a torn rotator cuff on my right shoulder; the one on my left shoulder is relatively healed because I had to use it heavily when I broke my arm last fall in weather like this.  No, it does not have a good chance of being repaired, and PT was just making it too painful.

So if I am bringing in groceries and I carry a five-pound bag with each hand, and my purse with water in it, pain shoots down my right arm and up my neck on that side.  This is not my fault.  I have to carry stuff sometimes.  Tom is always willing to help, but he is handicapped.  He has to use a crutch to walk; that occupies his one good arm (he had polio).  He is not in a position to carry things.  So I carry what I think I can, or use my wheeled walker (from when I had bone edema in the left ankle, which still hurts every single moment of my life).

Before you offer me a solution, like get a neighbor to help carry groceries in, I want you to try it yourself.  Go ahead.  See what it takes to round up a neighbor, see how much time it takes.

If there's a point I'm making, it's that nobody knows the trouble I've seen, and therefore nobody should attempt to tell me how to solve the insoluble problems of old age.  Because, you know what?  I also have diminished capacity, because I'm old, and process slowly, and get tired, and can't figure things out.  And I'm in a bad mood right now because it's August, and this time of year I have depressed days that alternate with pissed-off days, because I am bipolar with SAD.  That's just my bad luck.  My good luck is that today I managed to shop and get in and out of Kroger's parking lot, which was all torn up, and not get in an accident. 

Contemplating chin lift while relaxing with a facial
Old age is one damn thing after another.  You are putting patches on a vehicle whose drive train is outmoded and whose transmission clanks and balks.  The tires are bald and can't be replaced, the hood is tied down with string, and at least one window doesn't work anymore.

In old age, a new problem doesn't mean an old problem got solved and went away.  It's just one more part going bad.  Oh, and yes:  Monday night I had what I am pretty sure was a gallbladder attack, characterized by intense pain and nausea.  I had one of these last year, and I've known a couple of people with gallbladder problems, so I recognize it.

You want me to go to the doctor about it, don't you?  You would.  But then, you might not be sick and tired of doctors who have nothing to suggest but one more surgery.  I hope you live long enough to have this tremendous growth opportunity.  If you do, all I can recommend is, cultivate your sense of humor.

Okay.  Now I'll meditate.
p.s.  I did, and it helped.


  1. What about trying a local chapter of laughter yoga? Or is driving there too difficult? If so rent the movie by Mira Niar, The Laughter Club of India.
    Here is a 7 min sample:

  2. Okay, okay--don't get mad at me because this is a scientifically curious question: what if you also drank a litre of cranberry juice as well as the gaggable room temp water?

    Okay, also is THAT why I'm so freaking grouchy and feel so blah and dull headache and tired? Because it's AUGUST and the sun is diminishing?! Sheesh.

    Anyhoo Jeanne, I don't think we can NOT offer solutions to problems. We're obedient little mice trying to find our way through the maze.

    1. Actually, if I did get mad at you it would be like a little cartoon mouse spitting. I come across strong on paper.

      I think that any liquid that's not caffeinated does count toward the water; but caffeine is a diuretic, so they tell you it doesn't count. Juice, milk, mint tea, etc. My stomach doesn't tolerate cranberry juice, but I do take capsules.

      I know - my own urge is to help people, to solve their problems. I have to bite my tongue not to offer suggestions. But sometimes I think that's an urge to escape the discomfort of empathy by going into the left brain.

  3. Hello,
    I have been reading your blog for a while because, well, damn, I am in the foothills of getting old, and there's not many trail maps for climbing that big mountain. Your blog at least is a faint path that shows me how to navigate.

    I'm sorry you've had such a miserable day. I hope today is better.


  4. I forgot to mention when I read this about how grotesque the gallbladder can be. If yours just made one or two big stones, supposedly that's okay, but if it makes lots of little stones like mine did, what I was told is that it "LIKES" making them then, and therein lies the trouble.