Crabby Old Lady Has Three Things to Say Today
Interesting Stuff – 28 April 2018

Missing Here on Wednesday

Mage Bailey of Postcards blog left a note on Monday's post about where I might have been when no story appeared here as is usually routine on Wednesday.

Gilda Radner's Roseanne Roseannadanna character used to say in the early days of Saturday Night Live, "It's always something" and maybe Ms. Radner didn't live long enough (she died in 1989 at age 42) to learn that that is especially true of old people. I was in the hospital again. Another internal bleed. Lots of excellent care and a new skill: I now know how to give myself an injection.

I arrived home last night too late to pull together a proper post but I'm typing this early Friday morning so not to alarm anyone with another extended absence. I am fine, no worries please and maybe let's use today's comments section below as an open forum - we've never done that before. So, anything you'd like to say about anything related - even vaguely so - to growing old.

And I'll be back here on Monday with a further explanation, some of what I learned over my four-day hospital stay that also relates to what it's really like to get old.



Comments

Cheers to your continued "getting old". The world needs our crabby old ladyness. Blessings.

Author: Fritz Kreisler
THE OLD REFRAIN
I often think of home Dee-ol-ee-ay
When I am all alone and far away;
I sing an old refrain, dee-ol-ee-ay
For it recalls to me a bygone day
It takes me back again to meadows fair
Where sunlight's golden rays beam everywhere

My childhood joys again come back to me
My mother's face in fancy too I see
It was my mother taught me how to sing
And to that memory my heart will cling
I'm never sad and alone while on my way
As long as I can sing Dee-ol-ee-ay

Though years have passed and gone, dee-ol-ee-ay
And though my heart is young my head is grey.
Yet still the echoes ring, dee-ol-ee-ay
And dear old memories forever stay.
This song will bring me visions full of light
And sweetest dreams throughout the darkest night

Of all that life can give, that song is best
I'll take it with me when I go to rest
And when at last my journey here is o'er
'Twill ring more joyfully than e'er before
For up to heavens I will take my lay
The angels, too, will sing dee-ol-ee-ay

Thanks, Ronni, for the update. *Sigh* of relief.

Getting older and trying to slim down the possessions or "stuff," as well as myself a bit (forcing myself up and out the door for a walk in the mornings helps with whittling away some pounds and providing the day with some needed energy - to deal with all this...stuff).

Sorry you were in the hospital, but that beats the morgue! Here’s to continued life, even with the trials and tribulations of aging. There is joy in it too!

Good friends and laughter are a wellspring of life!!! Make sure you have them both!

If it isn't one thing, it's another!

Glad you are back, Ronni, and even more pleased
that you have such good medical resources nearby.

Responding to your open forum day:

If there's one thing I have learned in old age, is that
it is necessary to adapt!

Adapt is my new favorite word, and mantra.

I'm glad you are ok. <3

I am relieved to hear that you are okay, but I do hope this is the last internal bleed you have to go through. I am sure it is not the piece of cake you make it out to be.

My daughter had to give herself injections in the abdomen and she had to grit her teeth before plunging the needle in. I hope your injections are easier to do.

I was also missing for a couple of days, but it was for a nice time. I had a pleasant visitor over the weekend and, much to my surprise, I felt better then than when I am alone. Is there a message there? I find that I have more energy when I am doing something enjoyable.

Take care and eat your liver and onions if you like that dish. No more bleeds, please.

Have you seen the most recent movies/series that use elders as the stars? Have you seen: "Last Tango in Halifax," "Grace and Frankie," or "Our Souls at Night?" I'd love to see a blog about your reactions. I loved "Lat Tango.." and wonder if you did too. "G and F" had some moments I questioned, but overall, I was glad to see it. "Our Souls..." had its moments at well. If you haven't seen these, I wonder if yo would like to. It is restful to watch something well done (without violence and hatred.

Judy

I am a newcomer here and so thankful to have found you, Ronnie, and all of your 'responders'.
What is helpful as we age? Since you ask....now that I have a new 'touchy-feely' relationship with a very helpful walker I know that it is only 3rd in my real list of what has helped the most as I have shuffled into the 80s when one's body seems to take on a life of its own without even consulting me.

Primary for me are only two. Attitude and a sense of humor, and even those two change positions periodically. They are more important than appearances or what other people think or do. Remarkably, I have a choice every day what that attitude will be. I cannot change the past nor the inevitable, so I attempt to play my tune on the one string I have, my own attitude. 'Most' of the time it will change the quality of the new day for me, regardless of new bends in the road.

Thank you all for the generous sharing of insight and information you offer. I truly value it. Charlene

Still: old age is worth waiting for.

Wishing you a healing weekend, and glad to see there are friends posting to you, and that we have you to share our lives. I so enjoy the video of you and your ex. shmoozing, and that I got to see you speak as well as just write. I googled Terry Gross, and listened to her as well as got to see her, and that was interesting, she sounds different when you see her for some reason.

First, glad to see you back on line, Ronni. It’s not easy, dealing with all of this.
My latest rant is most of the conversations among my peers are about their grandchildren and/or their pets. I have neither and no grands on the horizon. I suppose this is my payback for bragging about my children when they were young. But really, expecting people to watch a 10-minute phone video of your grandchild’s recital or detailing the misbehavior of your cat/dog is not that interesting. Political discussions are just frustrating. I find I prefer being home with a good book and always enjoy TGB. I need to be a better person.

I loved Charlene's post--she is a welcome addition. I wish I had time to respond every day--I do in my mind, but, at 85 I still keep up a busy schedule of singing (4-5 open mics a month, plus weekly rehearsals & concerts with a choral group), and 2 writing groups, 1 of which I lead. Then there are the daily photo forays to post daily on FB. Everything takes longer and tires me more to do, but it also energizes me. I could do without the 4-5 doc appointments a month, but maybe that's why I'm still here, having outlived all but one of my ancestors, and, sadly, many of my friends. And of those left, many now have dementia. I count my blessings every day. Good luck, Ronnie--I gave myself injections daily for many years--it will become routine and easy.

It takes me a minute or two (!) to remember how old I am, is it 73 or 74 and does it matter particularly? Possibly, because either I don't care anymore or I'm in denial. I love my world, my life, and I love being retired. I have three really good friends, one to enjoy Happy Hour and Guardian crossword puzzles with, another to reminisce with and the third to go wine tasting with.

Although I'm close by to my eldest son/wife/g'daughter, (little house behind the big house) we are not in "each other's pockets." My granddaughter rushes in and out at will, my son and d-i-l knock and come in.

I have COPD and trail around my house with 25 feet of oxygen tubing following me around. So far, I haven't hanged the cat, or got my feet tangled. For the past year or so I've been in subconscious denial and just KNEW this would go away! Until finally it has sunk in that it will NOT go anywhere and I really do need to do as I am told by the therapists if I want to add some more years to my life. I want to see my son with his teenage daughter, she is 9 and he thinks he is in control. Hah.

Well, folks, there's my elder life. I hope many if not all of you are as content with life as I (usually) am.
o/

Ronni, I'm so sorry you went through this, but also happy to hear you're okay and home.

I'd like to hear about elders and exhaustion. Over the past year, sleep has become very elusive, and despite good advice from herbalists and docs, meditation, lots of exercise, no screens before bed, ETC, the situation persists. For now a coping strategy is to take a nap each day, whenever possible. Not only is my capability to function impaired by the tiredness, it's also more difficult to keep a positive attitude. Would love to hear how others deal with this.

Thanks for keeping us informed.

Ronni; Looking forward to seeing you at our next ACC Discussion Group. I have a new worry related to my aging: I have come to really enjoy my volunteer activities in City Natural Areas by working with our Watershed Council and our neighborhood Friends Group (Friends of Hallinan Woods). As this work has branched out and expanded I have found that being in my 70s also means that I just don’t have the energy and stamina to do everything I want and I worry that I may not live long enough to achieve everything I care about. It’s a new, nagging feeling, and one I try to dismiss. But it reoccurs when my hip and back ache or I get too tired to endure City council meetings that drone on for hours, etc. I want my youthful body and energy back I guess. Thank goodness and thank you that I know I have a place to share my feelings and know I am not alone.
Jim

I'm appreciating all the comments. This week I've been dealing with a very sick and very loved dog, a friend who is suffering, and other disappointments. I swing back and forth between believing I should keep a positive attitude and thinking maybe it's best to actually experience the pain so I can then move through it.
Ronni - Thanks for your posts, sending all good thoughts your way.
Patricia

Dear Ronni, I'm 82 now and this morning, as I tried to stick to some sort of routine so as to complete my Morning Pages, blog, walk two times around the block, and work on my novel during the rest of the day, I realized that all my life I've been trying to establish a routine. All my life, I've been kicking against the goad of my own personality, which doesn't really like having to do certain things at certain times.

As detailed in my recent convent memoir--"Prayer Wasn't Enough"--I managed to follow a schedule for 8 1/2 years but then the life just fall apart for me and never since have I worked out a schedule that I followed--for even one day.

It's time to accept who I am!!! Peace.

Charlene, Welcome to this fun group that our fearless leader, Ronnie has created. You are a good addition and yes, attitude gives us perhaps sometimes the only power we can have as we head down the path of aging. It is not easy and that is a British understatement. Hard for me is not only the management of my own ills but how hard and sad it is to see those I love struggling with serious health problems, on the magnitude of what you have faced, Ronnie. Keeping compassionate and at the same time keeping my attitude upbeat is my challenge and the best way I can help my dear friends. Again, not easy at all and who said that life is? Cheers to all and Ronnie, take your pause and recoup.

One insight I've come to is that as you go through life you are different versions of yourself. Shakespeare said it before me: "All the world's a stage..." Yes, but people misinterpret that. Today we have this notion that there is one platonic perfect ideal of yourself that you are supposed to grow into through childhood and adolescence. Then as your body ages (including your brain) you are tragically, bit by bit, forced to fall away from that healthy perfect self.

That's nonsense. Pernicious nonsense. Every stage of life has its own worries, its own miseries, its own challenges, its own comforts, its own triumphs. And at every stage of life, you are still YOU.

My mother died at 85. I grieved about losing her for a long time before that because she had Alzheimers. For some years before the end she couldn't remember names or recognize faces. As I get older, myself, I am starting to feel that maybe I was wrong. She wasn't gone. There was still a 'her' inside, experiencing life, though different from the mother I remembered. Would I have felt sad if I could have interacted with her as a toddler who had not yet learned to talk? No, of course not. I would have accepted baby-Mum's limitations as part of a natural stage of life.

I don't know what's ahead for me. If I get to choose, I'd surely rather stay sharp to the end. But something's going to get me. I am trying to teach my two children this lesson, so that whatever I am like when nearing the end of my days, they'll be able to be happy for who I am then, rather than only mourning the loss of who I used to be.

Re: Self administered injections--sense of humor dept.
When the Dr. told me 40 years ago I could come in and his fine nurse would do the IM B12 I would need every week due to pernicious anemia for a mere $25. We were building our own house $25 at time and I decided I could do it myself. The young man's comment makes me smile still..."Well, you're a better man than me!!"
Just think of the shear time you save doing it at home, Ronnie. Our time is clearly finite coinage at this end of the pike and I want to be careful how I spend it.

One of the best books on aging I've read is Helen M. Luke's "Old Age" in which she uses literature (King Lear, the Odyssey, etc) to illustrate the point that one cannot continue to do and be the same person one was in midlife. She says old age is about something other than being and doing big things. It is about assimilation and reflection and reconciliation, it is a more internal process.

I understand this. Or I thought I did. Yesterday I was out in the yard loading small rocks into the wheelbarrow to relocate them and I did something to my left ankle, probably tore a bit of tendon. It was nothing obvious, I didn't move quickly or anything that I can recall. But there was this sudden feeling of Uh Oh, that hurt, and that was the end of me working. Today I am sitting here with my ankle elevated and I am reflecting on the need to figure out new ways to get things done. Hiring someone comes to mind! Also I am thinking that all the things I've read, and Helen Luke's admonitions are foremost, are telling me I haven't come to terms with the limitations of age as well as I think I have. I still have the same ideas about accomplishing things, and it is painfully clear to me those ideas need to change. So...I will let this ankle heal, I will watch my intake of vegetables and protein, and I will stretch before I do anything out in the yard.
Sigh. It's always something, as Gilda said. But also the crab apple tree is in beautiful bloom, and the sun is shining, and I am ultimately grateful.
Hope you all have a good day and Ronni, I'm thinking of you with love and light.

So glad you are ok Ronni. I suspected trouble with the bleeding.

Last night, I dreamed an old friend who has Alzheimer's called me and was herself again. It's the same dream I used to have about my mother, who'd had a disabling stroke. Tomorrow, I'm driving down to Olympia (about an hour from Seattle) with two friends to visit a friend who's dying.

In some ways, I'm able to settle into being an old woman and enjoy a relaxation of demands on myself. I don't know how to elaborate on this except to say I've stopped excoriating myself for not being as disciplined as I think I should be. Dammit! I get tired. Having just turned 78, maybe I should accept this and live at the tempo I can manage. I have to say I do have some survivor guilt these days, not only because of what's happening to friends, but also watching news stories of ruined cities in Syria, of Rohinga women in Bangladesh. I find myself wondering how I get to hang on peacefully in this world.

I am blown away by the wisdom and inspiration here. I need to read through these responses every day, like a meditation. I have nothing so wise to add.

Thinking of you, Ronni. As I do always.

Love.

Hey, just because I sometimes have trouble remembering what day it is doesn't mean you weren't missed. It just means ... umm ... I'm getting older too. Sorry to hear you are getting so well acquainted with the inside of that hospital. Tell that plumber of yours that further leaks are not acceptable.

Glad you're ok again, Ronni! I sure enjoy these conversations with elders...not many are ranting or griping, showing that the years have taught us something about attitudes at least. I spend much of my retired life writing up stories about ancestors, and it's a real pleasure to hear of a reader who enjoyed them. I introduce my fascination with this by saying we elders used to be keepers of wisdom, to tell the stories to the younger generations. And stories used to be told by the fire, where we'd maybe learn something, and laugh at something. Time Goes By is the fire by which I sit many a day now. Be well.

Being 71 and still in good health and also a widow of 5 years, I find I'm really enjoying getting older and being free to do as I please when I please. I feel I have, after all these years, finally become "me." I keep busy, mostly doing my favorite three things-

Eating out with friends with wine, of course-gardening (landscaping) in my little patch of ground- and reading books, articles, blogs...food for the mind.

I feel at peace even though there are times I get a little lonely. I have no children, but do have a kitty I share with my SIL.

enjoy each day because you never know when it can turn in an instance.

PS..another great tv show that features an older woman is "Vera" about an older women detective. It's great!

Ronni, admire your perserverence in sticking as much as possible to your blog schedule. A harsh reality for me was knowing when to quit. I stopped the last of my own life-long journalistic activities when I realized I could no longer meet deadline, thanks to health issues. Selfishly, I hope you continue your efforts for as long as you feel up to it

Thanks, Ronni for being so open with all of us. Glad you are upbeat about the tribulations of this week.

Have recently been trying to come to grips with pain issues, old and new. After today's appointment I have agreed to try some new meds. I need to do something, but mostly I am angry that I may be having to settle with limitations I am just not ready to accept. Times like these I always have to remind myself that I can look not far at all to know others have it so much worse. With it all I am so very fortunate.

So on we go and look for something funny. I recently sent a friend recovering from surgery the link to images of old Gary Larsen cartoons. Out of respect to your request not to include links, it is easy to find simply by Googling "Images of Gary Larsen cartoons." His humor can be odd, but he gets me laughing out loud now and then.

Cheers and take care.

Yay! Your home again. And I am relieved once more for you and selfishly for me too.

I understand Anne's comment about survivor guilt. AT 76, I've lost friends, three of my younger cousins (I'm the oldest) have died recently and sadly the last couple of years many friends who were the parent's of my sons' school friends. All younger than I, we started our family later than most. Aside from the deaths there is also a loss of some of what made me myself and where I came from. I have one younger sister who remembers me as child and our family life at that time, and one aunt and uncle who have made it together into their 90's. No one else. It's like we came from a culture that disappeared. Ancient history. I guess I am my own artifact.

For sure, your new skill does not sound like the proverbial "piece of cake" but I'm glad you're home with Ollie the Cat. Not sure I could master self-injections but hope I could if I had to. I've always been a bit squeamish about medical procedures, which is probably not a good thing for an old person.

As far as old age is concerned, it is what it is, but one thing I can say at least for myself: 81 is absolutely NOT the new 61! There's a world of difference between physical functioning at 61--even 71--and now. Longevity is definitely a mixed bag.

Norma, I can absolutely relate to pain issues and trying to accept limitations that I haven't had before and do not want to have! Good luck with the new meds. It's hard to find help these days for ongoing pain.

I expect you would agree that it isn't so bad growing old except for that treacherous body that keeps reminding you that you are no longer 40, or whatever your peak age was! Glad you have won that battle so far and hope you continue to prevail for some time to come.

At 75, I find I can do most of what I want just in shorter bursts. No longer possible to get into berserker mode and work until it is done. Not if I want to move the next day! And since I still have an endless bucket list, that can create anxiety. When that happens, I remember the words of my beloved and very wise grandfather who said, when asked what it was like to know you are going to die in the immediate future (He had been diagnosed with terminal, metastasized cancer), that he had known, being in his 80s that he would die sooner rather than later but knowing sooner gave him the opportunity to prepare. And then he said the words that changed my life: "You know, I've had the opportunity to do many things in my life and I still have some left over. I think that's a good place to leave it!" A much better place than the sad, old people sitting around limiting themselves by definition and waiting what could be a good, long while to die!

So much good stuff here. I do have a drum to beat though. The matter of choice as you age. The choice to end life.

I'm now among the oldest of the old and still fairly healthy. But something's bound to give soon - either the body or the mind and I want the legal power to leave. You can linger for years with a crippled mind. Why shouldn't I be able to leave when I see it coming on?

Ahhh, it all sounds so familiar. At 78 I too have had to hire someone to weed my big yard full of lovely drought tolerant plants because the weeds like to keep joining the party.
I do find though when I bend and stoop to pull weeds the next day my arthritis is much in the background, not painful like when I sit around. I am not supposed to kneel after repair for torn meniscus last year so I have a little kids' chair I carry with me to weed when bending won't work.

I do love to cut bouquets of roses, and also to plant things, and give away cuttings to my friends....I feel grateful for my many blessings: my husband, and the good health we both enjoy, and just enough , small house, sufficient income .

Three years ago I started taking art classes and it has been wonderful to exercise that creative part of me. The teacher comes along when we need the lesson, right ? But we have to sign up and show up .

Yes, attitude is everything....rest and get better Ronni.
P.S. I gave my diabetic cat insulin injections morning and night for 3 years before I lost him....it was easy after the first few practise ones.

Ronni- You remind us to do all of these --

Take time to work, it is the price of success.
Take time to think, it is the source of power.
Take time to play, it is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to read, it is the foundation of wisdom.
Take time to be friendly, it is the road to happiness.
Take time to dream, it is hitching your wagon to a star.
Take time to love and be loved, it is the privilege of the gods.
Take time to look around, it is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to laugh, it is the music of the soul.
-- Unknown author

When you didn’t post, given your dedicated self-prescribed schedule here, I figured you must have had another medical adventure. Anticipated we’d hear sooner or later about this latest escapade. Glad the event could be short-lived. When I think of all the inner connections, some of minute size, it’s not surprising leaks might occur here or there after repairs, especially once we begin to subject our new revised mechanical system to the rigors of our lifestyles. I can’t speak to the rigors of self-administering injections, but expect we do what we have to do and that just begins to be incorporated into our daily life activities.

I think one of the most challenging aging aspects for me has been pacing. I seem must less able to count on what or how much I can accomplish from one day to the next. I may plan certain tasks but have reconciled myself to not always completing them, or sometimes unpredictably even being able to undertake them. C’est le vie! becomes my mantra on such occasions and I don’t feel guilty or adversely stressed over these thwarted best laid plans ala Robert Burns “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.”

It's amazing how "In touch" we get with our bodies as we age. Sometimes too in touch.
I don't know if it's better to know everything that's going on or to be blissfully ignorant until the end.

Glad to see you back.
Old? The big lesson of the week is to keep moving even if you don't do it well. I can't walk very far on land, but I can go a good distance in the water. After a hiatus, I'm back in the water again here knowing each haitus has to be a short one.

Thinking about you and hope you're feeling much better now!

Three cheers for the cheerleaders among us. Much of the time, I'm still on board. But sometimes my (formerly highly disciplined) self just is no longer motivated to "keep moving". I've reached the point at 81 where the ability (and/or money) to do many of the activities I once enjoyed are in dwindling supply. I used to enjoy my job, also gardening, decorating and shopping, among other things. I was able to donate to causes I support, political and otherwise. Now? Not so much.

I was employed up until 3+ years ago when I became involuntarily retired. I still volunteer and try to walk daily. I do household chores, grocery shopping and cat care, but turning 80 was a BIG change for me--and not in a direction I find reason to celebrate. Guess I'm the UN-Pollyanna old person of the week!

Having been tied up with driving many hours back and forth to the regional VA hospital the past couple of weeks, as my husband has been going through various tests, cataract surgery and other eye issues, plus other diabetes and age-related things, I've not been as timely in keeping up with reading comments here. I have stayed current with checking the posts, hoping each day that the scheduled one would be there, signifying that all was right with Ronni's world (or at least reasonably so). After reading your post today (Monday), I've scrolled back through all the comments here from last Friday and found them as thoughtful, poignant, witty, humorous and honest as always.

Last Thursday, I took time to catch up with an old friend who, following her partner's death, had recently returned to the area. We worked together for a few years back in the 1980's, and enjoyed each other's company, especially sharing lunch times talking about our lives outside of work. These conversations were mostly about our children, who ran the gamut from pre-school to early college. My friend is a few years older than me, and it was interesting listening to what I knew I would probably be experiencing in the near future with my own children.

Talking with my friend last week felt just like it did decades ago, only, at our current ages of 67 and 74, many of the stories were now focused on aging and death, Anyone in the restaurant where we sat for hours, overhearing our conversation, might have thought how grim and sad it was, but it was such a comfort to be able to share from the depths of our hearts and experiences. Human beings need this and I have never found a really satisfying substitute for these heart-to-hearts, but venues like TGB and its comment section come close.

Thank you , Ronni, for your devotion to maintaining this blog, especially under the conditions that have challenged that this past year. And thank you to everyone who shares their insightful, honest and articulate thoughts here. I find these moments of reflection and contemplation edifying, comforting and stimulating.

I'd like to heartily second Cathy's thanks. I really appreciate having a source of wisdom about growing older.

Me, too (in this context). Thanks! There's not a whole lot of room for us UN-Pollyanna types on TGB, but at least we aren't censored out which, in today's world, is something to celebrate. Thanks for that, too.

The best thing , for me, about being older is the freedom to use my time.
I'm still healthy (72), I have family and friends, I have the means to live a confortable life, I can do mostly as I please, when I please, within my financial means.
I often tell my younger gerontologist colleagues that older people are just like them, only older. We are , hopefully, able to separate the important things from trivia because we've lived miles of life. But deep down we don't change that much
Retirement has proved to be even better than I thought. I loved my work and career, but I love the freedom to choose what I do every day or week, or month.
Thank you Ronni for this forum. Keep getting better!

As you can see, my native tongue is not English :-)

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