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RANDOM UNFOCUSED

by CJ Flannery 2 months ago in family
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PART 4

An observation of life through the eyes of a senior citizen who may or may not be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but definitely has issues with memory, focus and crossing the thin line between reality and fiction. Said senior is also learning to speak her mind, no longer trying to please everyone, realizing her opinion counts too.

It’s been a year since I last posted. OK maybe not a complete year, but I do know the last time I sat down at the computer it was Autumn. Today is August 10 and I think we just had our first fall storm with thunder, lightning, and enough rain to fill the small seasonal pond in the yard. So close enough.

Anyway, what a year. When we last talked, we were hip deep in renovating the house to put it up for sale. Not sure if I told you about that, but we were. I had moved out of my bedroom (aka the den) and and into the living room. We painted the den, put in new floors and lights, decorated it, and my daughter moved into it. We then did the same to her bedroom and my granddaughter moved into that.

By then the holidays were upon us so we took a break intending to resume our efforts after the New Year.

Christmas evening I started feeling not so well, tummy upset, and fever, achy. No, not Covid, although that is what everyone thought. Turned out to be the annual holiday stomach flu; I was in bed for three days. Which meant a week or more to get my full strength back. I struggled through the first couple of days, do a chore and rest. Do another and sit down for a bit. Repeat. It’s like doing rehab every time I get sick; I just lose all strength and muscle tone.

One day during all this I took a step, right foot firmly planted on the ground, shifted my weight to it and started to swing my left foot forward and dislocated my knee. At least that is what it felt like. I have had the sensation before of the bones in the knee joint sliding apart and then back together, but this was a thousand times worse. I swear they slid apart, twisted and got stuck like that. It hurt. It hurt like hell, I may have screamed, I know I shed some tears. I couldn’t bear weight on my left leg, hell, I couldn’t even put my foot on the floor.

So there I stood, on the stairs from the kitchen to the garage, stuck, yelling for someone to help me. Finally my granddaughter heard and brought me my cane. I had to send her back for the old pair of crutches I insist on keeping around. “Just in case.” Now she knows why.

So I hobbled back into the house and dropped onto the couch, which pretty much became my world for the next 5 months. As I mentioned, I’ve had this happen before, though not as bad, and my knee always got better on its own within a few minutes, a few hours or a few days. So I waited.

I did force myself to get up once a day to feed and water all the animals. What a sight that must have been for the neighbors to see this fat, old lady hobbling around carrying a bucket of feed and fending off the hungry goats with a cane or a crutch.

A couple weeks passed, I occupied my time catching up on paperwork and “researching” home décor, renovation and homesteading by watching videos on the boob tube.

Instead of getting better, my knee was worse. There were days when getting to the bathroom on my own was a major and singular accomplishment. The kids took over the chores they could fit in around their own work schedules during those really bad days. But a lot fell by the wayside. The house was a mess, the yards and shelters were not cleaned, the animals got only basic care, but no grooming, no upgrades to their shelters. All work on the house renovation and plans for moving were halted.

Finally in February I gave in and called the doctor. First available appointment was in August, I took it.

I tried to find somewhere that could get me in sooner but it really didn’t matter. March 1 I started feeling unwell again. Fever, aches, chills, joint and muscle pain. Yes, this time it was Covid. For three weeks I stayed in bed (well on the couch because we never were able to get back to fixing up my room.) About a week in, my daughter got sick and then her daughter, too. Thank goodness for keeping a well-stocked pantry and home delivery services.

In April, my daughter, who had been dealing with an abscessed tooth, finally was able to put together time off work, the necessary money and a dentist who could see her in less than a month and made an appointment. While talking to their scheduling desk, she discovered they are part of a larger medical group and was able to get me an appointment for my knee in May.

So I have now seen the doctor, been to physical therapy, and am walking without a cane, granted its slowly, with some pain and only 3500 steps a day, but it is a huge improvement.

Along the way we have dealt with other issues, a cancer scare for one child (benign thank God,) a cancer scare for one of the dogs (sadly diagnosed with cancer, “take her home, make her comfortable”) trying to find a suitable home for a sibling with Alzheimer’s, another sibling diagnosed and entered a memory care facility.

We have also dealt with out of control inflation: I remember as a teen saying I would never, NEVER, pay a dollar for a gallon for gas or a loaf of bread. Now we are facing $6 a gallon for gas and I left a loaf of bread on the shelf because I couldn’t afford the $8 price tag. Remember when $5 would buy a nice pot roast big enough to feed a small family? I do. Yesterday I paid $7.99 for a pound of hamburger, and not the lean stuff either. I could go on but I suspect you all have similar stories.

We kept waiting for Spring and warmer weather to plant the garden. OK, my plan was to just toss seeds into the raised beds and hope something would grow as I am still not up to actually getting down in the dirt and planting. But in July we were still using the heater and wearing sweaters in the house. I did start some seeds inside; they sprouted and grew to a few inches then died. Still too cold to put them outside, and I suspect too cold even in the house. Even my established house plants are struggling.

Like I said, still wearing sweaters in the house, running the heaters in each room, sitting with afghans or quilts on our laps in the evenings at the end of July. And two days later we are under an extreme heat warning. We have the portable AC running, I’m outside hosing down the animal shelters trying to keep them from overheating. The AC unit we have is meant for just one room, so we usually use it in the living room for that one week in August when the temperature gets over 80 degrees. This year, it’s not enough. We buy 3 additional window units and survive by sitting in front of them all day. Too dang hot to plant the garden now.

A week later, this morning, my daughter woke me up with, “I think we have a thunderstorm coming in.” And we did. A real doozy. Her dog was in her room hiding under the bed. She is terrified of thunder. My granddaughter doesn’t like it either. She hid out in her room, might have been under her bed too.

I’m wearing my hoodie in the house again, closing up the doors and windows because it is too cold for the guinea pigs (and to be honest, for me too.) Who knows what tomorrow may bring weatherwise. I’m just going to leave the AC units in the windows and start shopping for firewood.

Anyhow…this long rant has been to say the reason I haven’t posted in so long is that my computer has been in storage while my room is being redone. I couldn’t wait anymore, the characters in my books have been demanding attention for weeks now, so I set my office up in the dining room and I am back to writing.

family

About the author

CJ Flannery

I have been writing for over 50 years, just now getting the nerve to share my work. Be gentle in your critiques.

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