If had known I was going to live this long…I would have taken better care of myself. Author Unknown
Going to the doctor is a lesson in frustration at best these days. And you can’t even go to one doctor anymore. You have to pick yourself apart like Frankenstein’s assistant and go to 87 different doctors. My current list is: eyes, stomach, endocrine system (diabetes), neck, foot, allergist, skin, boobs, and ears. It’s positively gruesome! Going to the doctor is a full time job. How do people who are not retired fit this all into their schedule?
Did I retire just so I have the time to take care of my body parts? Sometimes I wonder…This is just downright ridiculous. Another thing that really REALLY chaps my grits is that when I do drag myself to one of to these doctors, they don’t even freaking listen to me.
Recently I went to the doctor because I suspect that I have post-menopausal sluggish thyroid, a common problem with women my age. My symptoms point to this pretty clearly. Tired all the damned time, extremely dry skin (I could slather myself with lard and it wouldn’t help), very low “normal” body temperature (97 on a good day,) feeling cold even on a day when it’s 100 degrees, and extremely high cholesterol. I have to run a fever to get up to a normal body temp.
I explained to the doctor that cholesterol meds make me feel like I’ve been dragged behind a truck after being run over by said truck several times. And I listed the above symptoms. He hummed and hawed, said “I see” and wrote me a prescription. I foolishly assumed that it would be something to help the thyroid situation. But NOOoOOoo.
I got to the car before looking at the paper work. Not only did he not give me anything for the thyroid symptoms, he wrote me a prescription for DOUBLE the amount the cholesterol meds that I had just explained was reducing my quality of life to that of a garden slug on a bad day. I was so outraged that I wanted to storm back in the office and declare that he was so stupid that he couldn’t poor water out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel of the boot. Instead I decided to fire him. He doesn’t know this and I don’t care.
So back to square one. I’m going to go back to how I used to take care of myself. Attempt to figure out attempt to treat myself and find a doctor or some sort of alternative health practitioner that listens to the patient, and not the numbers on a test recommended by drug companies.
I did, I really did and I also thought that I would do it much more gracefully than I have been so far. Oh magnanimous me. I was not going to be one of those people who go out to dinner and spend the entire evening talking about aches, pains, surgeries and medications. Well Ha! Don’t I just catch myself doing that all the time? Lately I’ve taken to doing the Mona Lisa smile routine. I am not going to monopolize an evening cataloguing my aches and pains. Unfortunately sometimes there is nothing else going on in my brain. I can’t think of anything else to say. So I say nothing.
I do love to babble on about painting. But, it hasn’t taken long to learn just enough technique and theory to where the eyes of the casual observer starts to glaze over and I know I’ve talked myself off into the weeds. So I yank myself back to earth and ask them about their day.
Recently, I’ve taken to asking people about their day and actually paid attention to their answer. Most talk about work which takes up the majority of a working person’s time, of course. Then they switch to some generic topic like the news, or what’s on prime time TV. Maybe I need to rephrase the question and ask “what went on in your head today?”
The painting class I’m taking is helping put this aging thing into perspective for me. I’m one of the babies in my class. It’s been great and encouraging to see these women in their 60s and 70s just rocking on having a great life. There is hope for me yet.
So I Went to my first art class ever yesterday. (Excluding kindergarten and inpatient treatment activity) It was loads of fun and more than a little humbling. I’ve never used oil paints except for house painting and tend to shy away from them because the house paint is messy and smelly. Also I found out that I really am starting at square one and don’t know a thing about it. It took a good ten minutes to decide whether I wanted the canvas to be landscape or portrait oriented. Then it occurred to me that I had not chosen a subject matter yet.
I was pleasantly surprised that the water-soluble paints are just that, water-soluble, meaning I can wash it right off with soap and water, and they don’t smell bad. A good thing because by the end of the class I had paint up to my elbows and on my face.
I learned how to do a wash, which is just creating a backdrop for the painting. A lot easier than it looks. I was technically painting during the class, I guess. But, mostly I was just trying to get a feel on how to use the paints. Too much turpentine and the paint gets soupy, not enough and it’s like trying to paint with cold cream cheese. The instructor gave me mercy compliments I’m sure. “oh, that’s beautiful, you’re doing great.” I thought to myself “yeah right, I bet you say that to all your newbies.” And a good thing she did too, because I needed encouragement, big time.
The 2 hours flew by and I stood back and looked at my effort so far. Then I cracked up laughing. It looked like I was holding the paint brush with my elbows or maybe standing with my back to the canvas, looking over my shoulder and holding the paintbrush with my toes. If I had been wearing a side arm I would have shot it dead, or chucked it in a bonfire. But you have to start at the beginning, I guess.
I found it interesting to note that the creativity section of my brain felt almost sprained or something. I was definitely in a different and extremely contemplative frame of mine. One the way home someone behind me honked and I looked at the speedometer and realized that I was floating along at 20 miles an hour in a 40 mile per hour zone. I usually zip along at or slightly above the speed limit. So anyway, next week I will go back and try again. I signed up for 10 classes and I’m going to need everyone them.
This picture is my rendition of Van Gogh’s The Almond Blossoms. It’s not quite finished; I still have to paint in some of the blossoms because the canvas is showing though.
Today I’m going to engage in what crafters refer to as S.E.X. Woo hoo! What it stands for is Stash EXpedition. I’ve finally narrowed down an art class that I’m going to enroll in. It feels like being back in the first grade. I have this list of paint brushes, paint colors, canvas, etc. so a shopping I will go. 🙂 One thing I learned while scrutinizing this supply list and my current collection of ratty paint brushes this morning is that the sizes are not standardized. One brand of size 8 brush is a different size than an 8 of another brand, for example.
Shame on them, I say. Why does it have to be so complicated? Now with knitting needles and crochet hooks the sizes are standard across brands, letters for hooks, and numbers for needles. What I will have to do is go in the art supply store, throw myself on their mercy and admit that I don’t know a thing about this stuff. All my previous attempts at art work I did on my own with whatever I could scrabble together.
So I’m really excited about this art class. It’s something I’ve wanted to do all my life, but just never got around to it. I know I have some talent at least because when I was in school, teachers and other students would approach me to make posters for them and I painted a few back drops for school plays.
But this skill has been lying dormant for 58 years. Hmm, I think it’s 58…I’ll have to ask the Hubman because I never can remember how old I am. I’ve always had a tendency to live life in the eternal now. Dates, ages, measurements and all kinds of numbery things just don’t compute. And to think my major in college was accounting. I understood the theory but the numbers gave me a headache. No wonder I dropped out. That’s what happens when you major in something that other people are telling you should do, instead of what speaks to your heart.
Being bipolar feels a lot like an extended family of gerbils moved into to your head, set up a condo and are having a non-stop party. There are some days that I can stay reasonable focused on one task at a time, but those days are few and far between. Most days I have the attention span of a gnat. “Oh look at the sky, I’m hungry, I want to go see X movie…right now, squirrel, need to do laundry, where did I leave my collection of paint brushes? And where the hell is that painting I’ve been working on? I have too many shoes again, where is that book I was just reading? Oh, the deposit slip I was using as a book mark is dated March 2011, so I guess I wasn’t just reading after all. I guess I’ll start over and read it from the beginning.
Get it? There is never ending bedlam going on in my head along with a running commentary on what I “should” be doing, or even what I should “want” to do. It takes practice and fortitude to come to grips with the fact that something I was absolutely obsessed with last week holds not even the slightest bit of interest to me today. I may go back to being obsessed with it next week or never be interested again, there’s just no telling how it’s going to play out.
I can go from crocheting granny squares for a blanket that will be complete in about 2025 to planning the rest of my life on an Excel spreadsheet in the blink of an eye. The good thing about both of these activities is that they are both works in progress and can sit and wait, happily ignored, for me to come back to them when I get around to it.
Sometimes I worry that living basically in the lap of luxury is one cause of my lack of focus. There is nothing that I must do or else…have no water to drink, no food, no shelter, children to care for, etc. Mr. Husband makes a decent living and pays the bills. I can pretty much do exactly as I please any time of the day or night. I found myself being rather embarrassed lately when a friend asked me how much our electricity was every month and I had to admit that I didn’t know. Hubman takes care of all that and I never even see the bills. He talks to me about the family business and seems to value my advice, so I’m sort of an impromptu consultant, but that is the extent of my participation
God Lord, am I living in my own private funny farm? That’s a scary thought. Will I end up sitting around all day weaving baskets and gluing macaroni to paper plates? Am I turning into some kind of sheltered old biddy who doesn’t even know how to gas up her own car? It’s something to think about.