Sunday, May 12, 2013

40 and Beyond

Yesterday was my fortieth birthday.  I can not believe that I am actually 40.  Not because 40 is really old, but because time is going by SO FAST.  Wasn't I just 25?!  I still feel like I am 25. I guess it is good to feel young, even if the body isn't quite on board.  It was a great day.  I got the above banjo from the family. I have been wanting to learn to play it for so long, that I could barely put it down.  My goal is that by 45, I will be good enough/brave enough to join the Sunday bluegrass jam session at a local restaurant. 

I have also been thinking about how I want to handle to 40s.  A top priority is to take better care of my health; both physically and mentally.  I have a long family history of diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, etc.  I don't want to go down that road. I figure it is about time I start taking these things seriously and try to avoid them - especially since a lot of them are lifestyle related.

I also want to make sure I utilize my time in ways that are productive and fulfilling.  As the kids are getting older and I only have more more class to take, my schedule is starting to open up.  I am really reflecting on how I want to spend it.  How can I make a difference? What sort of work do I want to pursue? Where do I want to put my volunteer time? I feel blessed that our family is strong and I want to make sure those bonds stay that way.

Any advice for the new decade?  I am very much looking forward to what it brings!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Medical Records

Husband was recently cleaning out some old paperwork.  He came across my childhood Navy medical records.  My father was a navigator for airplanes in the Navy, and we spent my early childhood moving around.  He later transferred to the Reserves and we settled in Iowa for good.  Anyway, I have often asserted that I did have the small pox vaccine.  People kept telling me that it was impossible, because they had phased them out by 1974.  I kept insisting they were wrong.  Well, it appears we are both right.  I DID have the vaccine, but we were living on a Naval base in Spain when I got it.  I am guessing that while they were phased out in the US, military personnel and families (especially overseas) were still being vaccinated. 

The second discovery was the proof that I am, indeed, allergic to tincture of benzoin.  I can not tell you how many times that I have written this down on medical forms to have doctors look at my like I am crazy.  It is only used in very specific circumstance.  For instance, if you have had an epidural, they sprayed your back with it to help the adhesive work better.  It is interesting to note, in the records, those doctors also thought it was something else until they realized it was an actual allergy.  I was around five and remember this very vividly.  I had had surgery on my neck and it completely swelled up. It was awful and not something I ever want to happen again.

Recently, I had to have a mammogram and ultrasound for a suspicious mass.  Everything is fine.  The technician, though, asked me a bunch of questions regarding any previous issues.  In fact, I have had earlier issues including ultrasounds.  She asked me when.  I completely blanked out.  This is something I should know.  She told me that she advises patients to keep a running journal of all their procedures and major medical issues.  It is amazing what you think will remember, but how much you actually forget. So true.  Moral of the story?  Write it down. You are your best advocate and historian.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


How do you define friendship? Do you put certain parameters and rules on it? Are there expectations that must be met?  I have been thinking about this for awhile.  This year has seen so many losses, I feel a bit adrift.  When I was headed to my friend's memorial service and feeling particularly down and needing to talk, I reached out to a friend who lives an ocean away.  I particularly hate to cry in front of people. It is mortifying for this introvert.  But, I knew F. was the one person who could hear my tears and it would be ok.  And he did, and it was ok. I realized that it doesn't matter if he is in Italy.  Friends don't have to live next door to be there for you.  A friend is there when you need someone to listen and to care.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


I am surprised at how hard I am taking my friend's suicide.  I keep thinking of his daughters who never got to know the awesome person that he was.  Instead they will only know of a father who was distant and estranged and who left them. The memorial service was so hard.  It was hard to see how he had isolated himself, it was hard to see his daughters devastated, and it was hard to know that so many people tried to help and it wasn't enough. Death is so final and it didn't have to end this way.