Tag Archives: worrying

Only Child on dreading the day

Dreading the day or night? That can be a sign of having an anxiety disorder. High anxiety has followed me through most of my life from the early teens. It is my black dog and no matter what I do or don’t do, it hovers and often strikes. The difference may be just that some of the anxieties have changed since I turned senior.Sharon CLB mid 1990s

Well, it turns out that up to 15% and counting of seniors suffer from anxiety. Medical experts, research and the like didn’t cotton on to that for some time and instead focused more on seniors’ physical ailments, dementia and depression. See information from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Now they are taking note.

That 15% figure comes from the NCBI  PubMed. And they are saying that a lot of us seniors with anxiety disorders got them first earlier in life (with some exceptions such as acrophobia). Research is also finding that the anxiety is chronic. They got that one right. I have a few other ideas of my own here. For example, today many seniors, especially women, live alone, so don’t have someone to support them emotionally. Not that all duos are supportive, but often you get some opposites in there, someone who will listen and offer some suggestions, hopefully in a non-judgemental, friendly way.

And I can hear the “pie in the sky” and “when cows come home on roller skates” skeptics reverberating in the background. I know that the above supportive scenario is the ideal situation rather than the norm. And I don’t know what the solution or solutions are to decrease this menace. Certainly less big problems popping up so often in people’s lives would help. And I’m not going to even go into how confusing, complicated and over-busy our world is today. Just think too much technology, to many things to -do and of course dealing with our weather around the world. Enough said about that here.

I will be looking into some more information on anxiety in older adults with some ideas on possible help (I don’t say solutions; the only solution may be to get the hell out of Dodge, but we will all be doing that at sometime. High anxiety can  make that happen sooner as it can lead to heart attacks, strokes and cognitive disorders. It’s that last one that bothers me.)

For now I would like your comments on anxiety – and it doesn’t matter if you are a senior or not. Anxiety really doesn’t belong to any age.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Anxiety, Health, Health Seniors, Help and Support, Life demands, Living alone, Only child, Seniors, Stress, Worrying

Only Child says my health ate my life

Only Child's garden waiting for her attention

Only Child’s garden waiting for her attention

With apologies to a writing colleague for the twist on the title. Elizabeth Verwy’s book is a self-help book for workaholic entrepreneurs and is called My Business Ate My Life.

With me it’s my health that is interfering with the rest of my life. The health issues keep increasing, but when they are caused by someone else or something else, then I get very angry.

When I was a child back in the 1950s, like many children I fell a lot and scraped my knees. One such fall was a comedy of terrors. My friend Mare and I were chasing after a large rubber ball that went off into the air and landed on the road right by the sidewalk. As we arrived at the side of the road we both grabbed for the ball at the same time and we both fell with Mare landing on top of me. I don’t know about scraped knees – this time I got a deep wound in my head. But Mom took care of me.

Fast forward to last Thursday evening when I was touring the garden of a member of my garden club. No, I didn’t trip in the garden – it was on the way going off the property. I was following the concrete walkway from her house to the sidewalk, got near the sidewalk, stepped out and went flying head first, crashing on my knees. I let out a horrible scream and other gardeners (including the homeowner) came running to help. I was given gauze and baby wipes to clean it somewhat and a couple drove me home (a 10-minute walk) where I thoroughly cleaned the wound, put two kinds of disinfectant – Tea Tree Oil and Hydrogen Peroxide on it, then Polysporin. Then I covered it with the gauze and bandaids to supposedly hold the gauze in place. I hobbled to the drug store for more gauze and bandaids.

This is  an accident that should never have happened. Unknown to me beforehand (I had never been to this place before and when I arrived I walked onto the property from the lawn – well it was a garden tour), there was a steep step at the end of this property walkway. After the fall one of the other gardeners (not the homeowner) pointed out this very steep step. It is twice the size of a curb “step” and there is a big space between it and the only other step. This other step is very tiny. And no railing on either side.

In other words unless you are familiar with the property you wouldn’t know of this accident hazard.

Since then I’ve wasted time, energy and money to wash, disinfect, pile on an anti-bacterial cream  and  re-bandage the deep cut twice daily. And worry, worry if it was getting infected. It appeared maybe on the weekend. The medical walk-in clinic near me I go to is closed Sundays during the summer so I didn’t get there until yesterday. The doctor said it wasn’t infected. Apparently the liquid coming out is something natural that sometimes happens with scrapes and cuts. But he gave me more instructions (and gauze) to take care of it including signs of infection.

I still have the worry until it is better. And this homeowner isn’t getting off scott-free for her negligence. I’m not the only senior who was there that evening or who probably would visit her place. And it is not just seniors who could trip and fall.

So, I’ve decided as long as the cut doesn’t become infected, I won’t sic the city by-law officers on her. But I will give her a strong talk about her homeowner responsibility here –  she really should do something to rectify the situation – at least get railings in so people will know there is a step there. The health experts keep saying we seniors should hang onto the railing when going up and down steps. And I do – when there is a railing.

And just to make this ironic. In the plaza where the medical centre I go to is, there is now a medical supplies store. The steps outside this supplies store are those not close together and they are much smaller than where I fell. But, there is no railing on either side of the steps.

Now, excuse me, while I attend to more of my health issues. I take supplements and put the eyedrops in my eyes when I get to it. That seems to be my motto. And I still have the damn bandage change to do this morning.

My health issues are eating my life. No wonder I’m behind in spending time with family and friends, my writing and my gardening.

I’m too damn busy dealing with health issues.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Health, Health Seniors, Life demands, Only child, Responsibility, Seniors and falls

Only Child declares war on Empire Life Insurance

Only child prepares to battle more human screwups

Only child prepares to battle more human screwups

Mother’s Day was good. My son Martin and his girlfriend Juni took me out for brunch and afterwards he came with me back to my house to do a few odd jobs and talk computer and other stuff with me. He removed the cover from the air-conditioner (the jury is out if and when the a/c will be used this year with the cold weather still) and put in the heavy top part of the patio umbrella. He didn’t have to hammer the nails back into the patio table as the arborist did come through and fix their damage. (See my added comment from last week’s post). Martin also helped me save and include old newspaper photos into Power Point (from the Toronto dailies online through the Toronto Public Library research connections). These are  for the memoir writing course I’m teaching next month.

I walked with him to the bus stop and after he boarded the bus I went to the nearby Home Depot to buy some bone meal. Because the weather included sporadic short showers I didn’t do any gardening and accepted that. Spent time reading newspapers and a book. Okay will all that.

Then yesterday – Monday – arrived and all the shit that brought. Again due to other people’s bad judgement/stupidity. Sheesh! I can get into enough trouble on my own without all this outside stuff.

First I got through five (yes, five) issues – some health-related but most connected to snafus with the house, city services and a utility. So, I phoned the dentist’s office to book an appointment but couldn’t get one until next Monday, did follow-up phone calls on the windows manufacturer coming to fix a problem with a window (under warranty but appointment has been postponed several times partly because of weather and partly they only will come when their techs are in the area), the city for follow-up on my complaints about garbage not being picked up two weeks ago – only one on the block, Rogers for a falling-down cable outside in the back, and my house insurance company for something else (this one was not a screw-up – I just didn’t understand the info mailed to me).

The other item in the mail is one of the big problems now.

Empire Life Insurance where I have my life insurance – they picked up my policy from a company they absorbed a few years back – are up to their old tricks. In a nutshell, they increase your premiums annually if you are a senior and don’t have any extra saved in your premium fund. So, they send a threatening letter (worded politely) if you don’t send X number of dollars – basically one quarterly premium payment increased – they will cancel your policy.

Is this right? Sounds like they are taking advantage of us seniors.

They have done this before and I have waged war and called them on it. Two years ago, after several angry phone calls to their call centre, I was connected to someone who could do something. We talked and she said that she would arrange it that I would no longer get these letters and that the increase would automatically be applied. She followed up with a letter.

Last year, thats is what happened. This year? Empire Life Insurance is back to their old tricks. I have the threatening letter now, when the fiscal year for the premiums isn’t until August. I have the current May bill to pay (with 30 days grace – I’m waiting for my government pension later this month or the deposit from the new editing client after the Victoria Day weekend when she is back from holidays – then I can pay).

So I am on the warpath again. I will collect all my information from the last time and phone to try to get it straightened out – AGAIN. I am also going to try to sic CARP (I’m a member) on them. Two years ago I tried the Insurance Bureau of Canada complaint department but they weren’t helpful. If this isn’t solved I will have to cancel my policy and have no life insurance unless I can find something else suitable that I can afford (I’ll ask CARP) so my son can pay my funeral costs and debts without using his own funds. Life Insurance is paid out before any will is processed.

Empire Life Insurance will also get bad PR from me.

You know the old saying about life being a bowl of cherries with the pits. I seem to be living it against my will.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under CARP, Consumer action, Family, finances, Health Seniors, Life Insurance, Only child, Problems, Worrying

Bad luck comes in fours, good luck in threes

Only child ponders luck and health

Only child ponders luck and health

Both good luck and bad luck are said to come in groups of three. I find that is true of good luck. However, in my personal experience and what I see happening “out there,” four is the word for bad luck.

Although I think it is not right, the latter makes sense. The word “four” has four letters. I know three doesn’t have three letters; but good luck seems to be so evasive, so hit and miss, so what do you expect?

On a personal level, I’ve noticed for years that whatever category of bad that is happening, it always seems to come in fours. If it is house problems, I get four at a time. (Note: by at a time, I don’t necessarily mean one right after, as in the same day, but withing a week or two).

My latest group of the bad four is in the health area. I have four major health issued to deal with – all at once apparently. Some of them have many tentacles and some people may consider each tentacle a different health issue, which would make the bad even worse.

I have been trying to juggle around all  these health problems. After the latter half of last year trying to deal with all health problems as they hit  me, I decided that was too much. So, I am trying to deal with one a month.

The health issues and medical professionals have other ideas. But I’m trying to stay my ground.

January was supposed to be get my bad eyesight tested – the annual. February is supposed to be the last dental appointment in the string of appointments for the fallout from last December’s dental emergency. March was supposed to be allergy testing.

Well, the eye exam and the optometrist just screwed that one up. But I am trying to stick to my resolutions here. I found that dealing with too many health issues at a time raises my anxiety level beyond high and sends my mind into a frenzy. Friday at the eye exam I got into a discussion with the optometrist – first he wanted to know why I didn’t come back last year for another check so he could send me to a specialist for some pressure in my left eye.

Huh? I wanted to wait until I got my new glasses and then afterwards I got busy with other important stuff and just forgot. However, if he or his receptionist had bothered to phone me and remind me – even a couple of months later, I might have made an appointment with him – as long as it was before late June when all hell broke loose with the big sinus/ear health problem.

When he asked me on Friday, then I remembered – but he had said nothing at the previous annual eye exam about sending me to a specialist. It was only maybe eye drops. Now he wanted me to go this week to the specialist.

I informed him I had a book to finish to publisher’s deadline by the end of this month. Because of the multiple health issues the last half of last year, I lost some writing time on the book. (I had given him a short litany of all the health issues. His reply? “Yikes.”) He kept pushing. So I asked him, “can’t you prescribe the eye drops.” (Yes, optometrists can prescribe medication). He had no answer.

I said I could go in March but needed to see a calendar. Had to look at his wall calendar as I had left my small calendar at home. So, there we were rhyming off dates in March when I could go. He phoned the specialist I had seen before but got a recording – closed until Monday. So, he left a voice mail message.

His secretary called yesterday morning. She had a booking for March 8 but asked me if I could come in yesterday. Well, no. I didn’t say why.

It wasn’t just rewriting the novel. One of my other big four medical issues had just returned – the sinus/gland issue. And it seems to be affecting my fourth issue – digestive system problems.

Sheesh. Somebody out there or up there doesn’t like me.

Since Friday, I had also remembered that I have to go to the dentist this month.  Book and dentist are enough for this month. Doing too much just makes me sicker, more anxious, and more cranky. And we all know that is just a “great” recipe for life (said sarcastically).

So, who knows when I’ll get to book allergy tests, let alone have the tests.

That should be my first priority because I suspect they are a big factor in the sinus, etc. issues.

But because bad fallout can happen (and has happened) from medical visits, doing the multiple thing is too scary.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again with an addition. Getting old is no fun. And more and more from not just my experience, but from what I see in my friends and elsewhere, quality of life may be more important than quantity. I have seen too many people who live to a “ripe old age” with so many health issues, what’s the point? Yes, there are exceptions and those are the ones enjoying life still – probably because they have the good quality.

And on a personal level, both my parents died at a “young” age – Dad at 66, and Mom at 63 – both had serious illnesses and were compromised in living because of them. Dad died of brain cancer and Mom of a brain aneurysm caused by a fall because of her arthritis.

Food for thought anyway. What do you think?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Anxiety, Balance, Good and Bad Luck, Health, Health Seniors, Life Balance, Life demands, Only child, Prioritizing, Stress

Only Child has hearing problem terror

Only child ponders new disability

Only child ponders new disability

I have another big medical problem – I am now hearing impaired, particularly in my right ear, my better ear. Had been having a few intermittent problems with the left ear with my respiratory problems. Now the right ear has joined in the whole bad occurrence.

I have been back and forth to my doctor’s. He has flushed out my ears (which helped some) and he gave me a prescription for ear drops and will do more flushing on my next visit there later this week. May have to see an ENT specialist, an audiologist and get allergy tests as that might be at least part of the problem. This medical clinic has an allergy testing clinic and the clinic is about 10 to 15 minutes walk from my house.

The big scare came Saturday morning when I woke up and could barely hear out of my right ear. I couldn’t hear people speak (in person) unless they faced me and shouted. I couldn’t hear a lot of peripheral noises and felt congested. Strangely I had (and still have as of this posting) no problem hearing people when talking on the phone and I can hear myself speak. It was strangely eerie and very scary walking through No Frills to get some groceries and I could hear nothing except a couple of guys yelling at each other.

Since then some of my hearing has returned in my right ear, thanks to the ear drops and not sleeping on my right side. I can now hear hear people speak as long as they face me and don’t speak in low soft tones. And I can hear others speak on the buses. But I don’t know if my hearing will ever return to what was normal for me. Some of it may be also due to age and what I have to say to that is – if your health deteriorates too much with age is there any point in people living really long? From what I see around me, with few exceptions, most people who live long do so with a lot of medical problems.

Still, I will keep on writing (and gardening in the spring, summer and fall). My saving grace perhaps.  Another saving grace is that both my son and my ex are going to help pay for hearing devices – the balance of what an Ontario program doesn’t cover.

And yes, one of my terrors from last week’s posting happened – some water did get in my basement from all that rain – started coming in just before I had to leave for my East End Writers’ Group 15th anniversary presentation, so I was scrambling around the neighbourhood to beg someone to please check on my basement a couple of times during the evening. I found someone although not the usual person.

On this note I will leave you with a link to info about seniors and hearing loss. Heck anyone and hearing loss. http://www.chs.ca/facts-and-figures

Getting old is a pain – in the ears apparently.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Family, Health, Health Seniors, Healthcare coverage, Helping Others, Life demands, Only child, Problems, Seniors, Uncategorized

Only Child terrified of heavy rain and wind storm starting Wednesday

01910012As if dealing with the snafus connected with the preparations for my East End Writers’ Group’s 15th anniversary presentation for Wednesday evening weren’t more than enough, there is a big storm coming our way the same day. It’s the remnants of Hurricane Patricia plus a clipper from western Canada. And I am terrified.

Terrified of too much rain and floods and high winds. Terrified of the potential damage to property. I worry about water getting in the basement, especially as for some of the time the winds are from the east, and if so how much water and the cleanup. I worry about eaves trough issues – eaves troughs have been cleaned twice so far this year but the leaves keep falling. Problem is walnut trees hanging over from the neighbours’ property. I’ve been keeping an eye on the situation and early this morning noticed some leaves and small branches (that’s how it falls) sticking over the eaves troughs. So immediately I called Gerry who cleans the eaves troughs but he can’t come today as he has to work at his main job (usually he works nights). He suggested tomorrow morning AFTER I had told him about the big rain and wind storm coming Wednesday.  He is coming Friday morning to clean out what the wind sends down during the storm. So I climbed up on a chair and started tying to remove the leaves with a rake. Not high enough to see what’s going on, but I have vertigo and was getting dizzy. I got a hold of Mike who hopefully will come today and clean out the eaves troughs – it will cost me more, but if he can do it today during daylight, that will be a big help.

Terrified of roof, tree, etc. damage and the consequences.

Terrified of power outages and the consequences.

My nerves are so much on edge that my respiratory infection which was showing signs of getting better, is now in a bit of a relapse. It’s all this stress that keeps coming at me – in spades. I noticed that over the weekend when I had little stress the healing had progressed. But from early this morning, no.

I had been sticking to natural remedies because of my allergic reactions to most anti-biotics. And I had decided to see a medical doctor to check out my tinnitus but now he will have to check out the respiratory infection and I’m terrified here – of both the diagnosis and the treatment. My trust in medical doctors is very low because of past experience, which is fodder for another post. I would really like to go to a naturopath but they aren’t covered by our provincial health insurance so I can’t afford the cost. After paying some bills today and taking out money for cash expenses, my bank accounts are almost depleted.

Seniors day as I call it when the old age pensions and the like arrive, isn’t until tomorrow.

Sometimes I think life is too much of a struggle. It is no fun not having a partner, or whatever you call a significant other.

As for the weather, which is at the heart of all the current problems, I can only say what the lady in the bus back in May said.

“God controls the weather.”

I hope he gives us all a reprieve with a much less severe storm. I have my wishes here and am presenting them to him. I hope he listens to me and does the right thing.

It’s not just me involved here – there are all the others connected with the East End Writers’ Group presentation Wednesday and on a much broader scale all of us living in southern Ontario.

If you want to read more about the storm (and get terrified), go to The Weather Network http://www.theweathernetwork.com/ and enter “Toronto” in the Find Your Forecast box.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Anxiety, East End Writers' Group, Extreme Weather, God, Health, Life demands, Living alone, Old Age pensions, Only child, Power Outages, Trees and Shrubs, Uncertainty, Weather

Only Child on confusion and uncertainty

Garden front of houseI hate confusion and uncertainty. One seems to breed the other. Both lead to worry and anxiety and that is not good for your health.

When I was a little girl I had a re-occurring dream. I would lie on my tummy in my bed and be aware of falling asleep and seeing inside all of the house. What I saw was fire and sometimes floods and Mom, Dad and I trying to collect what we could of our belongings and get out. I always woke up before so never knew how it all ended.

This uncertainty and confusion has carried right through my life. Yes, there have been floods – big and small in the basement of the house I now live in. Perhaps that has something to do with my morbid fascination with the weather. But I think a lot of it has to do with self-preservation. When a threat hits me I go into the fight or flight mode. We know what that does to us, as usually it isn’t some predator (human or animal) after us, although in our bad bad world, it sometimes is. We are usually confronted with a big problem. It could be financial, house-related (besides fire and floods), family and health.

Health is the big one, because this fight or flight mode will get the adrenalin pumping up and raise the cortisol level in our bodies.

Not good.

I am the first to admit that I am a big worry wart. But I come by it honestly, firmly believing I inherited it from my parents, particularly my mother. Mom could win the prize for Worry Wart incarnate. I’m not blaming her, just stating a fact.

This past summer has been extremely bad for health and house problems for me, as well as getting my holidays organized (the three big bad H’s?). Outside factors (read people and situations) are at least 90 percent to blame. Because of a couple of other medical conditions I have a compromised immune system and prolonged and/or heavy worrying effects your immune system. Off and on all summer I’ve been battling sinusitis which spreads into my neck and face glands. It would start improving and be on the road to gone, when poof – it is back again in intensity.

Each time that happens I can link it with some big stress situation caused by somebody or something outside me and my resultant worrying.

Lesson? Several come to mind. I need more sleep (sleep heals) and less stress.

So, I am now swearing on my laptop (I’m not religious, remember, so no Bibles) that I will have less stress in my life. And anyone who causes me stress and grief better watch out.

No, I’m not going to wield the proverbial axe. I’m picking my battles carefully. Sometimes I will go the consumer advocacy route because chances are if I’m experiencing bad rude service, for example, so are others. Other times I’ll just curse the person responsible. And yes, that latter makes me feel better inside.

I am also saying no to requests to do extra jobs and the like. Yesterday I just said “no” to one of those and that was the right thing to do for me now.

And I will continue to spend time in my garden, not just weeding (but naming weeds after the stressors as I yank them out helps) but also sitting out in my garden. Been doing more of that lately. Also writing – nothing like getting the creative juices working to soothe the soul – and transport you into another world. And finding time to meditate and doing so – maybe while in the garden.

How do you deal with stress? Or do you?

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Hostas late spring/early summer

Hostas late spring/early summer

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Filed under Anxiety, Dad, Gardening and depression, Gardening health benefits, Life Balance, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Only child, Problems, Stress, Uncertainty, Weather, Worrying, Writing