B is for the birds

Why is it that everything I hear from doctors these days has the word “aging” attached to it?  I have had back problems all my life and today, I learned from my new orthopedic surgeon, that I have something called scoliosis. This means my spine curves to the side. He showed me the x-rays on his computer and there it was a my funny looking spine. “Don’t you love computers?” I asked him.  I am like that.  I look at my body parts disintegrating and am “dis-interested.” Or is that disassociated? I’m sure some shrink could make a meal of it.

According to Dr. Hughes I have had this condition all my life. “God made you that way,” he said.  On top of that, and associated with aging, I have Lumbar spinal stenosis LSS, a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back. Apparently, this too is age related. 

The scoliosis and stenosis have been made worse by arthritis. Like a pile of poorly stacked tinker toy joints, one of the disks looked as if it would pop loose at any moment. The misalignment causes me severe sciatica which is worse some days.

The stroke I had 7 years ago made the left side of my body weaker than my right side. After all these years, I still have a tendency to fall down stairs, trip over my feet and have my leg give way from time to time for no apparent reason. This falling down was the major reason I stopped wearing high heels.

Dr. Hughes asked me what kinds of cancer I had, and I told him skin cancer: Melanoma and Basal Cell.  In addition, my oncologist, Dr. Christie ran tests for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) all last year. The CML tests proved inconclusive, so for now I am not concerning myself with that problem.

Dr. Hughes told me that at some point I will face surgery, but in my twisted mind I thought, “Not if I die from something else before then.”  I almost said so, but did not want to make him laugh.  I don’t know that he would have laughed, but I liked him and don’t want to discover he had a sense of humor as warped as mine. 

The good news is that I can work in the garden as long as I can work in the garden. As I have placed four orders for garden stuff in the past few days, and Amelia says she will help me this summer. This is good news.

All the above, the heart attack I suffered in 1998, and Shingles a few years ago make me think I should not worry about today’s problems and just enjoy one day at a time. Today, the sun is shining.  


B is also for baked goods. David and I stopped for lunch at our favorite sandwich shop, Mancini’s.  Barbara Mancini wasn’t there, she was in Fort Lauderdale, returning today according to her manager. This was Barbara’s first vacation ever.  She is a swell lady entrepreneur who has worked night and day to make her little café survive. She can often be found in the back with her cook staff, but she will come out and say “Hi” to all her customers from time to time. When Connie and the girls lived closer, we used to celebrate birthdays there.  That was a lot of fun.  


English: Canada Geese (Branta canadensis), on ...

Image via Wikipedia

B is also for birds. On the way back from Dr. Hughes office, we passed the Northern Virginia Episcopal Seminary.  There on the school grounds was a huge flock of Canada Geese.  They were grazing on crab grass seeds on a hillock and basking in the sun. A happy gaggle of several hundred geese.  The Canada Geese once flew overhead in V-shaped flocks every fall, honking and flapping their wings, and heading south. Now they stop here and have become almost year-round residents. Why not. The geese have grown more numerous and formed bands of loud, fat, and dirty birds fouling school grounds, green spaces and everything in between.  They have adapted to urban living along with the other creatures who roam our urban streets: foxes, coyotes, and the raptors who pick off song birds at bird feeders.

“I can’t look,” said David.  That’s why I like it if he drives. That’s also why he likes to drive, I like to look and he hopes to live to age 90. One of my sociology professors told me we became sociologists because we are nosy, we like to look, we like to walk along streets and peer through windows, and imagine how others live.  David kindly says I am a noticing kind of person like Miss Marple.   

B is also for the bird seed I dropped all over my kitchen floor this morning. I had just filled a container, and half of it spilled out when I dropped it on the floor. Good grief. is this what is meant by dropsy?


B is for books…what I got to hit in what remains of this afternoon. but first I am going to step outside and check the bulbs.     

17 thoughts on “B is for the birds

  1. I forgot to mention that G and I Missed Texas and Montreal. We went to the two earlier conventions, and it was fascinating. Here in San Diego, the whole city ran out of coffee. They weren’t ready for that, and they had to ship coffee down from LA.

    BTW, big fuss yesterday about the Annie Liebowitz show opening at the Smithsonian. Are you going to see the show? Do we get a review?

    Voyeur. That’s me. Coming home from the Sunday night Speakers Meeting, he drives and I look in windows. It’s in a ritzy part of town so there are few bare walls, but I always notice several homes that have unique art on their walls. “Look at those paintings. They are all alike; the artist must live there. Oh, look at that, they have a giant TV on their walls….” etc. lol

    Thanks for your note. I always read and only have so much time to note. I must tell you tho that I am so sorry about the scoliosis. I wish there was an easier fix than surgery. Yes, garden your heart out. Take pictures of it too. 🙂


    • We missed the meeting in Seattle. Wonder if they ran out of coffee too.

      Liebowitz exhibit consists of photos with no people. She explained why on PBS newshour last night. You can probably catch it on their news site.

      I am going to garden my heart out. With luck when I drop dead, I will be in the garden.


  2. I remember my doctor telling me in college that my spine was crooked and I should be in pain. I wasn’t then and told him so. He said as I grew older, I would have back problems. So far… so good. I’ve been OK. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I hate it when doctors tell us to accept the fact that there’s nothing much that can be done because we’re older. It’s probably true. I just don’t like to hear it.


  3. I have the stenosis/arthritis issue as well, and find that stretching is the cure for me. I try to do 15 min. a day, usually while watching TV, and it keeps me (mostly) pain free.

    An alarming trend (re, your previous post): I read in the paper this morning that the centrist Blue Dog Democratic coalition in the House used to number 54 before 2010; now it’s down to 24. And we all know what happened to the old Rockefeller Republicans. So who represents the “thoughtful middle” in politics anymore?


    • Oh my that is a blow for democracy. Those Blue Dogs are wonderful. We still have them in Virginia. Both Senators, only Webb is leaving office. Our governor is a moderate “Rockefeller” Republican with an approval ratting in the 80s.

      Don’t know how the next election will go, but hopefully not all Blue Dogs will go the way of Stupak. Hope you are watching the Bill Moyers series to stay informed.


  4. Outside of not having scoliosis we have pretty similar backs. It is amazing the level of discomfort we now days accept as normal.
    I hate going to the dermatologist. Everything he finds he labels as “age related.” I wish they could think of a nice latin multisyllable word. That would sound so much better.


    • How could I get to age 70 and not know about this apparent birth defect? I have never had that part of my body X-rayed, that’s how. No, that’s not true. I saw a bone doctor ages ago but he said nothing, just mentioned arthritis. Duh!!

      As for age-related, would you prefer it fi they told you we were ossified or petrified. Good terms those.


  5. You are smart to say no to surgery. I have the same stenosis/arthritis of the lumbar and one of the many doctors I went to said “Don’t have surgery until you’re dragging your leg behind you.” That was 17 years ago and I am doing fine. Just bothers me occasionally.


  6. B is also for brain, and I am so glad you applied yours on this post before hitting the books. My own nosiness manifested in my enjoyment of my days as a newspaper reporter, feature writer and photographer. I just deleted a humongous ramble about my newspaper days. One of my (many) blogging weaknessers is pouncing mentally on some aspect of a fellow blogger’s post and going on and on and on. Oops, doing it again.

    Anyway, thanks, too, for the Garfield ‘toon. Tea works, too! Hope all those “s” word conditions ease off and allow lots of happy gardening.


  7. Operators of the golf course we lived on in Utah understandably didn’t appreciate the calling cards left by flocks of Canada geese who started hanging out there. They brought in a cannon to fire loud blank shots over the birds to scare them off. Did it cause the geese to take wing? Nah. But the artillery blasts sure riled up the neighbors.


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