April 19, 2013

Remember That Whole "Don't Fall" Thing?

Our 30-year-old Maytag dryer was on the blink for the first time ever. I was carrying a basket of damp laundry to the car so we could take it to the laundromat. On the bottom (four-inch-high) step to the garage, my foot rolled over the edge and I went down. The basket caught my fall so I didn't land hard on the concrete, but my ankle took the brunt of it. Abe says I barely missed hitting the car. Hairline fracture (maybe more), bad sprain, boot for at least three weeks. At 59 years of age, I have my very first broken bone.

Honestly, with the boot it's not so bad. Slows me down, but not a lot. I'm driving left-footed, which is an adventure. :D Want a ride?

Proof, I say, that laundry is dangerous and I should not be doing it.

April 10, 2013

Chemo: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

First, let me say that chemo saved my life. It has also changed my life, and the adjustment is harder than I thought it would be.

My "chemo brain" seems to be very slowly but at least improving. My husband tells me my memory is getting better, but I hate that I can't even tell one way or another. I can no longer trust my already less-than-stellar memory and I must rely on notes and alerts. Heaven help us all if I lose my iPhone.

I have mild neuropathy in my feet that apparently is not going to go away. The numbness is not a big deal, but I'm trying different strategies to minimize the burning feeling. Apparently this is what happens to people with advanced diabetes too. My sympathies to them.

I was adjusting to my new reality until today. I was just told I have "significant" osteoporosis. An acquaintance of mine, who went through the same therapy at the same time I did, broke her foot by pushing up to get in bed. That sent me to the imaging clinic to get a bone scan, and I'm in the same boat. This means medication, changing my diet and  starting weight-bearing exercise, and I've been told "Don't fall!" Okay then.

A few months ago I joked with my friends that my body is 80 years old. Turns out I was right. I'm sure this will eventually become a part of everyday life and just be a kind of background noise. But thanks for letting me vent.

April 1, 2013

Tales Of Whoa

Consider this a Public Service Announcement.

About a month ago, I pulled into my usual gas station to gas up. Just as I was about to pull away, a big black SUV pulled up next to me, and the driver motioned for me to roll down my window so we could talk. The young woman asked me if I was from around here. I said I was and she asked if I knew of any local agencies that might help her with gas money. Rather than give her money—the obvious next question—I told her to call 211, the county's help line, to be connected with the proper agency that might help her. I pulled out, wondering if I had done the right thing by not offering money. It really bothered me for a few days.

Fast forward to last Saturday. I was in the mall parking lot in the same neighborhood, and who should pull up next to me but the same big black SUV. Did I live in the area? Could I direct her to a local agency that helps people who need gas money? "You've asked me this before." "I have?" "Yes." She took off. Give me a break.

I thought my local friends should know about this scam, so when I came back from Trader Joe's—in a different but nearby lot—I sat down to make a Facebook post about it. Mid-story, a woman approached my open window. She was about 40 and bald. She started a sad story about having driven from Ft. Wayne to get chemo (on a Saturday? In Indy?) and on her way back she got a flat tire. She had WAY too many details, a common tell for lying, but I had to ask something. "You just had chemo?" Sad face. "Yes." "Honey, I've had chemo. There is no way on earth you could be driving right after chemo." She started to argue (!) and asked for "just a couple bucks." "No." Her bald head clearly had hair coming in all over. She actually shaved her head for this charade. How dare she use this terrible disease to scam people.

In the past couple of months I've been approached in a grocery store and Target—"Are you a Christian woman?" from a woman who held her young child still in front of her—in direct pleas for money. Do I have "SUCKER" floating over my head?

Here's how I've been told to handle further "tales of whoa:" if they ask for something besides money like gas or food, offer to have them follow you so you can purchase it for them. No one I know who has done that has ever had the offer accepted. If they ask outright for money, offer to use your phone to call 211 and connect them with the proper agency. (PS: don't offer them your phone! They might run faster than you can.)

I have never had this happen to me before recently. I hope you never get approached. But just in case...