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Wednesday, 16 February 2011


By Johna Ferguson

After writing about my three sons and their problems, health and otherwise, I thought, “Hey, what about my own problems?” Thus, the following story about my growing up and getting older. It may not be very interesting but it could have happened to you.

1. I was born, left unattended and then adopted by wonderful couple, a medical doctor and his wife. I had rickets but wore wooden braces on my legs when I slept until I was two to straighten my legs. What a great start, but it worked!

2. When in grade school, I couldn’t seem to learn to read. Luckily my mother read everything to me and I could memorize it and passed, all the way through with college degrees in spite of my dyslexia.

3. I fell while skiing in high school, broke my legs. I had strong bones and they healed nicely, but that ended my hopeful skiing or ballet dancing careers.

4. While a college sophomore, on a trip to New York City with my parents, I fell into a state of lethargy which slowly evolved into hepatitis. I turned the color of a ripe lemon, eyes and all, and had to stay bed-ridden the entire summer. How boring for a 19 year old.

5. As a college junior, my boyfriend and I decided we’d marry after we graduated; we’d been dating for seven years. But that summer he died suddenly from a ruptured appendix. Out the window flew those wonderful dreams.

6. After graduation, I married and had three boys when I received the news I had cancer. Luckily, after surgery, I’m a survivor.

7. I’d been, I thought, happily married for 33 years when my husband walked out one day to find a new mate. Just another of my bubbles burst.

8. Emotional stress takes it toll so I decided get away from it all and moved to China to teach at universities. I had a wonderful 15 years until I got eColi 157. I returned immediately to Seattle and after almost dying in the hospital, spent two weeks more there before eventually recovering and returning to China. University teaching was out of the question, so a retired Chinese doctor I had casually met got me a part-time teaching job in a private grade/middle school.

9. Soon afterwards, his wife died and we married, but after three years of our marriage and living in Seattle part-time, I developed PMR, an auto-immune disease and I was up and down for two years on heavy doses of cortisone.

10. Then I developed A-fib which kept getting more serious. I was tested in the ER for a new drug, but unfortunately I died from it and had to have CPR to resuscitate me. I decided then and there to have heart ablation (a type of heart surgery) and now rely completely on my pacemaker to keep my heart beating. If it stops, then I die. So far so good but I keep my fingers crossed.

11. Now almost 81, I’m happy, healthy and looking forward to another 10 years or more with my wonderful husband. He plays pickle ball three times a week and I go to my aerobic/weight lifting class three times a week. We both write some, try to go to a movie once a week and keep an eclectic group of friends around us to stimulate our outlook.

Life was not always easy, but one must make the best of what one is given even if it hurts now and then. Keep your mind active, your body in as good shape as possible and enjoy the companionship of family, a husband, a friend or a pet to keep you content and happy. And remember, SMILE!

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Wow Johna, what a life you have lived and are still living. Thanks for sharing it.

I have often wondered, while reading your stories, why you spend so much time in China.

Now I know. You have had a very interesting life and you seem to have made the most of it.

I suppose your last line sums up your attitude toward all that has happened to you.

Keep writing, I love your stories...

You're my kind of girl, Johna. Keep on truckin' and keep on telling us your adventures, please!

Living your life, writing about it and sharing it, I really admire and appreciate. Perhaps I love best of all the smile I see on your face.

Oh boy, and I thought I had a troubled life. You are my kind of gal, and the people who left you as a baby left their greatest treasure. Too bad they didn't know it. I think you will be around a long time, because you are soooo resourceful and inspirational.

Johna - What an amazing life (so far) story!

Other than the taste of silver polish on the spoon that was in my mouth at birth, my life pales by comparison to yours! - Sandy

Yup, smiling. Thanks to you!

Interesting life! One thing for sure, you are a survivor. And I'm thinking it's a good idea for you to have a Doc in the family.

I really admire your attitude and the way you have survived in spite of being dealt a bad hand at times. You are one courageous gal.

Wow Johna: What an inspiration for the rest of us!

We should ll live as fully as possible.


I always enjoy your pieces, but this was just wonderful on so many levels..So happy your life worked out 'cause you certainly didn't miss any of life's curve balls..yours are the lives I have drawn on during my life and hope to write the same as my years go rolling along..you should get some sort of ELDERSTORYTELLERS
"Oscar" for the line - I died..I am a big reader, but have never been so jolted like that line that I can recall...
Keep 'em coming, your words are elixirs from the gods...Thanks...Mary

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