Keeping up appearances

Regarding the weather, it rained again last night and the temperatures are now in the 80s.  August is so much nicer than July.  I know the papers are full of information about the abysmal heat and the water wars, but we continue to escape the worst of it around here.

I made a luscious chicken dish yesterday (Osso Buco) found in the Weight Watchers One Pot Cookbook.  I switched some of the ingredients (parsley and cilantro) and used a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, which gave the dish a great taste. Next time, I think I will add a couple of potatoes.  I’d post the recipe (shown on the cover of the book), but I would probably be violating a copyright of some kind.


Ever absent-minded, I have purchased a notebook/journal to keep track of what I do. I’m dividing the notebook into several sections:

1/ what I cooked and liked. I need this information for meal planning and grocery shopping.  David becomes annoyed with me if I toss something he “paid good money for;”

2/ what I planted and where in the garden (I also use photos), environmental conditions that affected the plant as well as actions I took to care for  it;

3/ what I have in my pantry, closet, etc. For most of my shopping (online), I can walk to this room or that room and see if I already have whatever. It means boxes on the doorstep, but fewer trips out to shop.

For years, I retained many things in my head. Friends and colleagues commented on my memory.  I didn’t use any of the mnemonic devices the self-help magazines describe, I simply had a good memory. 

All those thoughts and factoids are probably still in my head, but data retrieval is not as easy as it once was.  However, almost daily, a random thought escapes the disc and floats like space junk into my conscious mind. On these occasions, I think, “I had forgotten that.”  I’d give you an example, but I can’t remember any of them now.

David and I both have such a structured routine we often forget some little thing, such as did I put Spenda in his coffee? Did I pour his orange juice? Did he take his pills? Did I take my pills?  I can tell the day of the week by my pill-box, but did I take today’s pills? Whatever today is.  

I currently write “change the air conditioning filter, change the 3 Vornado air purification filters and the water filter; give the dogs their monthly pills, water daily, etc; on my calendar along with doctor, dentists, and other appointments.  I make the dog’s grooming appointment when I pick them up from their last gooming.  I make my hair appointment with their grooming dates.  When I remember to do a task I give myself a gold star. I have a packet of those little gold stars teachers use. I like gold stars. 


Friday, David finally hauled himself over to the hospital to visit his orthopedic surgeon. The X-ray showed no broken bones as of that visit. He promptly came home and tripped over a box of dog food on the front porch (delivered by the FedEx guy) and fell all the way to the bottom of the steps landing on the hard concrete surface. 

When he came in the house he was bleeding through his shirt. The Plavix has indeed made his almost 83-year old blood thin. He had busted both of the hematomas resulting from his fall the week before. His artificial hip is fine but the tissue around it as bruised as when he had surgery.  His thin arm and elbow were a mess, the loose skin hanging in a lump, full of fluid from the swelling tissue and blood.  The next morning, I asked him how he was, and he grumpily said, “Just Fine.” He then proceeded to fall down again.

He is angry. He had never taken many falls, even when he was drinking. Now 32 years sober, he is falling down a lot.  He says it is because he is “rushing.”  This leads to a discussion about why he is rushing.  I think it is a lifetime of rushing here and there.  He resents having to slow down “like an old man.” Both the pharmacist and the technician at the hospital told him he was tottering.  “Am I unstable?” He asks.  He wants me to tell him no, he’s just fine, and I do.  His PT told him to walk with a cane, but he resists.   


Our old dog requires much care and David treats her like a baby. I did too, until I fell down the stairs with her.  She whines in pain from arthritis and he medicates her. You probably saw the photo below on Facebook, but just in case I want you to know we are not the only people who care for an aging dog.  According to a report we heard on Fox News, the owner takes the dog into Lake Superior for her arthritis.  The dog is so soothed by the water she goes to sleep on his chest.




17 thoughts on “Keeping up appearances

  1. Good gosh! His falls are really scary. Because of your posts, Dianne, I suggested strongly to Art about putting up the hand railing on both sides of the stairs. It’s taking a lot of work. It’ll probably take about 2 weeks to do it, but we’re going to have some older people over here for the Cousins Party going upstairs to do the Skype so Art is trying to finish the railing by Saturday. Thank you for this good advice.


  2. I can feel David’s frustration with falling. I have a hiking stick that is literally a stick with a beautiful finish and a happy (to me) leather strap threaded to a hole drilled in the top. It is a lot more awkward getting it in and out of a vehicle than the one you mentioned, but I love it. It just makes me feel like I am on a hike someplace special. A cane, however, makes me feel handicapped.

    David may also be gradually losing sensation in the soles of his feet. That result of diabetes and other conditions affects balance. That is why so many of us elders touch a wall as we walk down a hall. It gives another sensory reference point for maintaining balance.


  3. While not yet quite as frail and aged as David, falling is always my number one concern.The only stairs we have in our new house is 3 short steps going from the kitchen to the backdoor entrance. The first thing I did was to install a handrail on them. You know the old saying “an ounce of prevention………”.

    You’ve probably said this to David yourself but just remind him that if he hates having to move around slowly with a cane, how would he feel if he was bed-ridden the rest of his life due to a fall that a cane would have prevented. Sorry, not really any of my business.


  4. What a lovely shot of the man and his dog. It’s made me all squishy inside. And sad that I can’t do anything for Benno now.

    Memory? What’s that; you are well organised. I have yet to start a to-do list, but I have an ongoing shopping list.

    About the Osso Buco : that’s actually veal shank, not chicken. Another hole in the memory?

    I also adored your comment on my post “today I agree with you”.


    • I thought about you and Benno when I saw the man and the dog.

      Thank you. I am working hard to keep the old brain functioning.

      This recipe for Osso Buco, perhaps wrongly named, uses chicken and that suits me who does not like to kill baby anything.

      You are welcome.


  5. Oh, please post it. If you like it, I’ll like it.

    Yes, that photos is dear, but I don’t have pets now because I hate putting them down. For one reason. I had a friend who couldn’t part with his pets even tho they could’t walk anymore. No, I can’t do that to an animal.

    Yes, David isn’t an animal, but he needs to stop in at his GP> The med may be good for his heart but it isn’t good for him. Poor guy.


  6. I feel so bad for David … sounds to me like he’s just plain angry at the world … not being able to do what he could before. Does he ever get to any AA meetings? I don’t mean to tell anyone else what to do but I couldn’t keep my serenity if I gave them up…it really helps with my perspective on life.


  7. Gee, he needs to do something to prevent future falls. Landing on his head might result in a coma or swelling of the brain, after which he could die. Awful thought!

    I am with you regarding being forgetful. Every day, I stick a post-it on my computer hutch and write what needs to be done today. And when each task is done, it is crossed off. If I don’t remind myself via the post-its, stuff never gets done.


  8. I started losing words a number of years back, while I was teaching. I thought I was getting dementia so checked it out with my doctor. She sent me for all kinds of tests. Turned out, I was over stressed and my brain could not work fast enough to keep up with my pace of living. It had always kept up just fine before but I guess it was getting tired. The loss of words has continued. I have to ask my husband to supply a word. This morning the word was “translate.” I couldn’t remember that word. I am no longer stressed so I’m not too sure what is going on with my brain.

    By the way, it’s very easy to leave a comment on your blog. My face and name are al=ready there when I click on comments.


    • Every now and then,in fact daily, I forget a word or a name. I think it is normal. My friend Sally who is older than me says if you know your own name, the day of the week and where you live, you are okay. I hope so.


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