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Posts Tagged ‘Death’

How healthy are you? How willing are you to do the things you need to do to be healthy? Let’s find out!

You are diabetic. It’s time for lunch. What do you eat?
a. A healthy meal featuring protein, fruits and vegetables.
b. Ice cream, baby!

But wait, you have a sore on your toe that won’t heal. The diabetes is obviously affecting your circulation. Now what do you eat for lunch?
a. A healthy meal featuring protein, fruits and vegetables, and then go for a brisk walk around the block.
b. Still ice cream. And also onion rings. (Get off your back!)

You go to the doctor for a routine visit, and he tells you that you are now permanently blind in your left eye. You are:
a. Dismayed. You just thought it was a side effect of one of your many medications.
b. Surprised. You had no idea you couldn’t see out of your left eye.

You have to go to the bathroom. You just had a mini stroke, so you need a little help. What do you do?
a. Wait until someone brings the pee jug to you.
b. Open up your gown and let it go like you are Manneken-Pis.

You are (clearly) having issues with your bladder. The doctor installs a catheter. When do you ask for it to be removed?
a. As soon as possible because CATHETER!
b. Never. It just makes peeing easier.

Your leg is wet. Your catheter tube has come unattached. Do you notice?
a. Yes. Um … pee!
b. No.

Despite physical therapy at the nursing home after your mini stroke, you can’t walk without assistance. To be honest, you have trouble doing anything without help. When do you ask to be released from the nursing home?
a. Not until you can walk and manage tasks on your own.
b. Immediately. Watching TV all day is better from the lift chair. Who cares about the risk of falling?

Once home, your physical therapist tells you not to use the lift chair to help sit and stand. You need to build strength in your legs. What do you do?
a. Listen to her. She knows what she is doing.
b. Tell everyone that she changed her mind. The lift chair is totally fine.

Scoring:
Mostly or all As: Congratulations! You are doing what you need to do to be as healthy as possible. Your family must be so happy!
Mostly Bs: You need to take better care of yourself. Think about how your health issues are affecting your family.
All Bs: Dad?

 

 

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danteDear Dante Alighieri:

First off, let me say that I love your work. My favorite isThe Divine Comedy,” with particular love for the “Inferno” part. I am an orderly person, so I gravitate to categories. The nine circles of Hell speak to me and my Type A personality.

I went on a work trip last week, and I’d like to add people to the circles, if I may.

Candidate: People who meander in the middle of the airport concourse, weaving side to side and making it difficult to walk around them
Circle of Hell: First circle — limbo (or maybe the vestibule — land of the indecisive)

Candidate: That guy in the bar who won’t let you have a drink in peace
Circle of Hell:
Second circle — lust

Candidate: People who stand in the middle of the moving sidewalk when they clearly should move to the right to allow people to pass
Circle of Hell: Third circle — gluttony

Candidate: People who take up the airplane arm rest immediately upon sitting
Circle of Hell: Fourth circle — greed

Candidate: People who take up seats with their bags in the airport gate area and look at you sullenly if you dare to ask to sit
Circle of Hell: Fifth circle — anger

Candidate: People who put their feet on their airplane tray tables
Circle of Hell: Sixth circle — heresy (because EWW!)

Candidate: People who are unaware of the circumference of their backpacks
Circle of Hell: Seventh circle — violence

Candidate: People who try to get on the plane when their zone has not been called yet
Circle of Hell: Eighth circle — fraud

Candidate: The pilot who wants to tell you too much about the flight when you just want to watch the movie
Circle of Hell: Ninth circle — treachery [Listen, Captain: You do your job (flying), and I’ll do mine (resting).]

Like I said, I appreciate order. I need these people to get it together or go to (their circles of) Hell.

Thank you, Mr. Alighieri, for considering my suggestions.

(Wait … What’s that? I’m a candidate for at least three circles, you say? No … )

Yours in boiling blood and fire,
Beth

danteinfernoninecircles

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IMG_2853Dear Maureen,

Only a true friend would give me a taxidermied raccoon arm/paw as a gift. You are a true friend. Even better, it was just a Tuesday — not my birthday, Christmas, or any other gift-giving occasion.

This critter appendage now likely is having more fun in death than its owner had in life. I know my family and I had fun taking photos with it (see gallery below). I even started an Instagram account.

Thank you from the bottom of my taxidermy-loving heart,
Beth

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img_car_fam03Dear Gary and Joy Lundberg,

I read your article, “5 ways adult children hurt their parents without realizing it.” It was a timely read as I visited my aging father over the weekend. Though you make some excellent points, I’d like to respond with points of my own.

Your Point 1: You don’t call them much

You note that adult children should “be sure to include some good news” when they call. They have to because if the children don’t include some good news, there won’t be any at all. Every time I call my father, or Eddie calls his mom, or my coworker Anita calls her father, etc., we hear about exploding spleens, the consistency of colon output, new affronts to personal world view, “that damn doctor,” or “these kids today.”

Adult children understand that parents have less control over their lives and that makes them scared and angry. Children also understand that parents are on many medications that alter their mood. But that behavior also makes visits seem like being held hostage by an angry badger. Would you repeatedly subject yourself to an angry badger? What if the badger was not only angry, but also complained when you didn’t allow yourself to be held hostage?

What’s worse is that children remember what their parents were like when they were growing up. They compare the new, cranky badger parent with the memory of the parent who raised them. Often those seem like two completely different people.

Aging isn’t fun; everyone knows that. Adult children know it too as they also are aging. People can either try to have a positive attitude or they can be angry badgers. Don’t be an angry badger.

Your Point 2: You ask them for money

Your comment, “You’re an adult and capable of providing for yourself and family,” is so true. So true! I know of many adult children who are still sucking off the teat. Their parents should stop allowing it, but parents love to be needed. Saving the day is a hard habit to break.

But what about when children have to take care of their parents plus their teat-sucking brethren? What about the families where there is one responsible adult child and the rest are deadbeats? What about adult children — part of the so-called “sandwich generation” — who  are worrying about paying for their parents’ assisted living plus their children’s college? In about five years, I likely will be touring residence halls for both my father and my son. That sounds delightful.

Your Point 3: You forget their birthdays

I’ve got no issue with that. Everyone should remember birthdays and holidays. And, if you have any relationship at all with your mother or father, then you should call them (at least) on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Even lazy folks can post a Facebook status. That’s where the older people are anyway, right?

Your Point 4: You don’t offer them your help

While it’s true that it is a good idea to offer specific suggestions (“Hey, can I clean out those gutters?”), what happens when parents are offended by offers to help? I know from personal experience that these offers can make parents angry and defensive. You say, “Can I clean your bathroom?” and they hear, “Good lord, Man! What happened in your bathroom? Who exploded? You can’t see that crime scene in there?” Many parents become outraged at offers of help or any suggestions.

Your point 5: You don’t include them in your family events

I agree with you: Children should invite parents to be part of special events. You also offer this advice, “If they invite you and your family over for dinner, accept the invitation and show up.” Shouldn’t the same be said to parents? Aging parents often live in different cities from their offspring. Sometimes parents are not as mobile as their children. But they should still want to be in their children’s and grandchildren’s lives. There’s always Skype.

Parents spend much of their lives yelling at their children to “Get a job!,” “Settle down!” and “Have some kids!” Then when their children get a job, settle down and have some kids, their parents want them to forget all that and spend more time with them. Adult children can’t win. They have responsibilities, are pulled in many different directions, and want to make everyone happy. It’s not possible.

ChastRoz0011398889741Your closing paragraph includes the sentence, “Look at how you are treating your parents and ask yourself if this is the way you want your children to treat you when they’re grown.” OK. There’s also this for adult children: “Look at how your parents are treating you and ask yourself if this is the way you want to treat your children when you are old.”

Even though Eddie tells our sons that he is going to take off his clothes, run around their house, and sit naked on their couch when he is old just like they do to us, we know he is just kidding. (Good God, I HOPE he is just kidding.) I’m learning what I will not do to my children.

A legacy is the memories a person leaves behind. I plan to make sure the good memories outweigh the bad.

Hope you see there’s another side,
Beth

for-all-the-love-you-ve-given-me-i-will-one-day-pay-your-nursing-home-bill-mih

 

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The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.
— Robert Frost

Dear Life:

I want to register a complaint: I’m not happy to be aging. Don’t get me wrong — It’s definitely better than the alternative of death. (I’m fully aware that the non-aging circumstance of Adaline only exists on screen.)

Just when I feel like I am mentally hitting my prime, my body begins to betray me. A list of complaints:

1. Wrinkles
When did this crow land on my face? What is happening to me? I went to see a plastic surgeon to discuss removing a weird vein on my leg. My leg! But he took one look at my face and said, “You need Botox. You probably should consider a forehead lift.” Gee, thanks.

2. Crepey skin
Whose zombie hands are these? I use sunscreen and plenty of potions to keep my paws supple.  Why do they look like this?

Peach3. Slower metabolism
There’s more of me than there should be. It would be easily remedied with regular visits to the gym. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So I’m on what I call my Cruise Diet. (So called because I did it last year in preparation for our summer cruise. I didn’t want anyone to see me on deck and try to throw me back in the water.) You may ask, “What is this diet?” Think of everything you like to eat and drink. Yeah, well, you can’t have any of it. No dairy, sugar, pasta, grains or alcoholic beverages. I’m reduced to eating grass clippings and palm fronds. It works, though.

4. Jacked-up joints
Last weekend, I was peacefully curled up on the couch enjoying a marathon of recorded episodes of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (’cause this gal can’t stay up that late). I stood up to get some unsweetened tea (the only thing I can drink besides water) and my hip gave out. That’s a WTF moment if I’ve ever had one. I had to laugh. It’s not funny, though. Not really.

5. Memories
Last week, I actually started a sentence with, “Back in my day.” Good GOD! What have I become? I remember a world without cable, remotes, computers and cellphones. Excuse me while I retrieve my walker.

I’m at that point where I know I’m too old for certain clothes (crop tops), certain activities (climbing on top of the dryer to reach something on the top shelf in the laundry room) and certain people (no Nathan Kress — yes, Freddie from iCarly — unless he hunts cougars).

The wisest are the most annoyed at the loss of time.
— Dante Alighieri

So thanks, Life. Thanks for giving me the wisdom to realize how good my 20s were.

Yours in dismay,
Granny Beth

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Choose benevolence over blame

Dear Fellow Humans,

I know it’s been a rough couple of days for Joshua Powell’s friends and family. I haven’t felt too great myself. I’ve been thinking about Joshua almost every minute. Images flash constantly in my mind: his black mesh backpack, the collar of his green school shirt, that math book, his pale wrists. I feel pain as acutely as if I were part of his family.

WTOC shared a photograph.

IMG_9043.JPG
Look at his sweet face. You know he had a great personality. I just can’t bear it that he’s gone.

I also can’t bear all the comments people have been posting on the stories about the accident: allotting blame to the driver, the bus company, the city and — worst of all — his parents.

This has to stop.

When did we become a society so quick to assign blame? Has this always been a standard reaction and I just never noticed?

It was an accident. A tragedy. A horrible mistake. No one did anything out of malice or ill will.

I get it: It’s easier to process if we can find someone at fault. We need a scapegoat. But we should be outraged that it happened, not outraged and finding someone to blame.

Yes, perhaps that area should be marked better for drivers to know that it is a school bus stop. Yes, kids need to look both ways before crossing the street. But I have two kids and I know sometimes they don’t think; they just do.

My boys have done some crazy things. I’m lucky something like this hasn’t happened to them.

What his family needs — what we all need as humans — is love and support. Save the rage and the holier-than-thou attitude.

Anger has not been the top emotion cycling through me for the past two days. Overwhelming sadness takes that spot.

I was a daily news reporter for many years, covering the cop and court beat. I saw many awful things. This beats everything, probably because now I’m a mom. It’s different now.

I feel cut open and raw. I can’t even imagine how his mom feels.

Even now, though, I can tell my mind is trying to pack this memory away — to compartmentalize it with the other painful memories of things that cannot be unseen. I’m reminded of the ending of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

But part of me wants to keep the box open, the wound fresh as a reminder to love, to connect, to support. And this is why I’m writing this post.

We humans must choose compassion over criticism. We are all in this life together. We must do this for Joshua, who is gone too soon.

This is my therapy. This is my call to arms. This is what I will teach my children.

Sorry (not sorry) for being preachy,
Beth

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Yes, mine is a 2008.

Yes, mine is a 2008.

Dear “Ross B.” at Volkswagen Customer Care:

Thank you so much for writing me and apologizing for my “negative feelings towards Volkswagen.”

Unfortunately, my negative feelings toward Volkswagen increased today. Why? These words: “I apologize we are unable to assist with the cost of repairs.”

I’m sure you are sincere when you write, “Even when we are unable to financially assist, it is important to me that you and your kids feel safe.”

Sure. You certainly do not want our deaths on your conscience.

Your solution? Sending me to another dealership and having the “Region Case Manager” follow up with the dealership. A follow-up. Gee, thanks. I feel so much better.

You know what has made me feel better? The support of my friends who say they are glad to know about my problems so that they don’t buy a Volkswagen.

After I published my last post, one of my friends immediately wrote me to say that she had the exact same problem with acceleration in her VW and the Macon dealership finally fixed her car.

What makes me feel worse is that VW knows that the problems with acceleration (and with the upholstery) exist but THEY WON’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT THEM.

Hasn’t Volkswagen learned anything from GM and Toyota?

I guess not.

Sorry, Ross B., but this isn’t over. I plan to be Volkswagen’s worst nightmare until my issues are resolved.

On a mission,
Beth

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