Day 21 – Retirement!

Since I have retired, the positives in my life are ubiquitous! Today for the twenty-first day of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge, I have chosen to express my appreciation for this wonderful time of my life – RETIREMENT 🥳

Time to bloom. 💐

I appreciate that my retirement provides the time for doing what I please, when I please! I particularly appreciate this in the morning. I love having the time to enjoy my coffee, while reading my online newspaper and playing my morning internet game. 💝

My happy morning place.

I appreciate having time to take care of myself and run errands that I need to deal with. I never have to stress about making doctor or dentist or optometrist or hairdresser appointments – I am free – anytime! I can even take Kat to the vet or groomers any day of the week!

Going to the groomers on Thursday 🙂

I appreciate that in retirement the weather is always perfect! If it is warm and sunny, I can spend the day outside enjoying the beautiful day. If it is rainy, snowy, cold, or windy, I can stay inside and look out the window and appreciate what I have the option of avoiding!

Rain, shine, or in-between, every day is lovely!

I appreciate that I SAVE so much money that it is not terribly painful to take a significant drop in income since I retired . I save on taxes, on clothes, on vehicle expenses, on take-out food, and on spending money – just because it was my payday reward for working. 🤦

Money I haven’t spent! 😂

When the weather is lovely, I appreciate that I can spend my time outside – during the best parts of the day. I check up on my flowers and vegetables, do a bit of clean-up, water and take care of my plants. I have even been working on our front lawn this year. Still a ways to go, but at least it is green!

Mostly green 👍

I appreciate that shopping is so much easier! My husband has always, and still does, the bulk of our shopping. However, there are times when I go with him, or without him, for whatever reason. Shopping is so much easier mid-week, when most people are at work!

Wednesday afternoon shopping – far from the Saturday crowds 🤭

The biggest positive of retirement is the time I get to spend with my husband. Although he still works 24/7 shifts, at least when he has time off, I have time off! Time we can actually spend together! 👫

Spending time together, enjoying Dan’s yard projects. 💞

Whether you are working towards it, or already living yours, I hope you enjoy your retirement as much as I enjoy mine. 🤗

Twenty-one days down and only nine more to go! Thank you for dropping in today and I hope to see you tomorrow.

Annoyed!

I take pride in being capable of handling difficult situations in a calm and reasonable manner. Grace under pressure🙏 That is me – in a medical emergency, a project crisis, or a natural disaster. I suck it up and do what must be done. 👍

What I can take no pride in, is my absolute fail in the face of life’s ‘little’ snafus.

Struggling to tear off a section of plastic wrap, parchment paper, toilet paper – I come unhinged. Sticky tape and velcro are my nemesis. I hate paper cuts!!! I once got a staple stuck in the end of my finger and practically beat my boss with a phonebook because he was laughing too hard to pull it out. Rediculous of course, I know, but that is how I roll.

So here is the thing… In 2012 I was in hospital for a month with pneumonia and empyema. I was sent home none the worse for wear (I returned to work the day after I was released). Except for one thing. Since my time in hospital, my sinuses have been pooched. My nose has been plugged for nine years. 😢

This year, I have had one thing after another go wrong with my lungs – which aggravates my sinuses. Yay! I have used a neti pot, a steamer, and my specialist put me on a long-term steroid nasal spray. That helped for a couple of weeks before making matters worse.

For the past few weeks, my sinuses seem to deflate every time I close my mouth – which causes an immediate airlock in my head. I cannot eat, I cannot sleep, I exercise every day – it is more of a workout to breathe than it is to actually work out, and I cannot concentrate on anything except for the fact that I cannot breathe. I struggle to meditate. Virtually every meditation starts with “relax and breathe naturally”. Pffffttt! Like that is going to happen!

I decided to stop using the nasal spray but my husband thought I should run it by my doctor first. I called – he is on holidays for the next two weeks. I called my specialist’s office. His reception promised to run it past him and get back to me. (Still waiting…..) So… I tossed the spray. Things are quite a bit better, but – my sinuses are still stuffy to an annoying degree.

Thank you for reading through my rant and whine. All sympathy gratefully accepted. 😊

😟

Have a great day! 💞

It’s Go Time

The snow and ice has kept me housebound for a few months now and Dan has been laid off for a month. It is time for us to get active before we turn into Mr. & Mrs. Doughboy.

We have decided to start working out together. Having a workout partner will help to make it fun and hopefully keep us motivated. The plan is for us to take turns leading off on a few exercises for each session. This should afford us plenty of variety and split the struggle of coming up with workout routines.

The challenging part is that we are coming from two totally different places and working out for two totally different reasons. Dan has a long history of playing intense sports (hockey, baseball, racquetball) and working an extremely physical job in the steel industry. I on the other hand, have never even watched sports, much less participated! I have worked in administration and sales, most of the time being desk bound. While we both want to lose some weight, my health issues are respiratory, while Dan’s are circulatory. It is going to be fun, coming up with workout plans that work for both of us!

Day two, down and done!

Falling over tree pose – that’s a thing right?

Stay safe, keep active 🏋️

Meditation

With physical exercise becoming difficult to impossible since the snow and ice have moved into Saskatchewan, I have been spending more time working on my meditation. Mother always said “every cloud has a silver lining”. Meditation has become mine. 🌨️

I have tried meditation over the years. I even tried ‘walking meditation’ this past summer. My attempts were somewhat successful but, since I distract easily, the results have always been less than mind boggling.

Lately, I have been exploring different forms of meditation on You Tube. Most of them have peace and spiritual healing at heart, but I am amazed at the different methods I have come across.

I have come across Himalayan singing bowls, Native chanting and drums, and African voodoo beat (which is neither African nor voodoo). I find all of them deeply relaxing. I also find the pulse of these meditations very therapeutic for my heart and lungs – and even for soothing muscle cramps! 😳

I have found a number of guided meditations that I love. Most of them are infinitely relaxing and I find they do wonders at expanding my conciousness. These guided meditations have brought much healing, love, joy, and peace to my mind, heart, and soul.

This morning, I found a new line of guided meditations. I searched out meditations for long distance healing. I found one by Nicky Sutton called ‘Send Healing Energy Guided Meditation’. It is amazing – I think it is my new favourite. 💖 (If you get a sudden warm and fuzzy feeling, you are welcome – Merry Christmas 🎁)

I find that meditating with You Tube works better for me with ear phones. I am more focussed so the meditations are more effective. Dan ordered me a pair of Bluetooth ear buds for Christmas. They will be another step up in my meditating practice. I can’t wait to get them! 😊

Wishing all a peaceful day. If you need help creating yours – try You Tube meditation videos. A great investment in your health and well-being. 💞

The Ups and Downs of Aging

I have been retired for an entire eight months now, so it is time for another update of how things are going!

Finances – contrary to virtually every column I have ever read on retirement, we did not become destitute the day I retired. Granted, my husband is still working, but I am fairly confident that even when he does retire, we will not end up under a bridge. Maybe these dire warnings in finance columns are not meant for Canadians. We have Old Age Pension and Canada Pension, plus Dan will have a work pension. We have public Medicare and reduced costs for prescriptions, insurance and the like. Plus – working costs a lot of money that us retirees do not shell out. (Like restaurant meals, or take out meals or quick cooking meals, clothing, vehicle expense, aspirin and the like). 😊

Appearance – Inevitably, looks change as we get older. Some fortunate people actually get more attractive and distinguished looking as they age. Some of us get wrinkles, move all of our weight to our waistlines, and look like dandelions that have gone to seed on our bad hair days. I choose to avoid mirrors, wear stretch pants, and feel beautiful, anyway. ☺️

Health – Health can be challenging as we age. Apparently when you hit 65, your warranty runs out and parts start to go. That does not mean you have to believe every advertisement or meme out there. I still have my hearing and my sight is as good (or as bad) as it has ever been. I have only fallen down once and found I couldn’t get up. (That incident involved a bottle of tequila and a hot tub, so whatever🙄). I haven’t started to pee a little when I laugh (phew – that is a relief – cause I laugh quite often since I retired). My joints seem to be holding out – except I pulled something in my left knee the other day and that hurts like hell. Other than my sinuses, lungs, heart, and this knee thing, I think I am doing relatively well. 👍

All in all, retirement is still working for me. I am happier and more content than I have ever been. I love being able to live my life around Dan’s schedule and spend time with him. I love having time to rest and relax – it feels so decadent. 🤗 I love having time to remember the good times that I had in my life. This morning I was going through some Christmas pictures from when my kids were tots. They were so cute and sweet and precious. I miss my little ones, but I am happy that they are all grown up and have their own little ones now. It is funny, we enjoy the time when our kids are small, but we are so busy taking care of them that we do not fully appreciate that time until we have time to cherish our memories of it. Thank goodness for retirement!

Old lady, bad hair day🤣🤣🤣

Breathe Easy

I have spent a lifetime dealing with breathing issues. Asthma, allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia, empyema, COPD, and now bronchiectasis. Acute attacks of any, or all, of the above can be triggered by seasonal colds or flus, air pollutants, stress, or the weather. One condition can lead to another. It is all rather stressful and varies from annoying to totally debilitating at times.

I have found things that are helpful in avoiding flare ups and dealing with them when they inevitably happen. Hopefully, some of these can help someone else (even with a seasonal cold or flu) or if anyone else has any suggestions, I am always open to trying something new.

1. Get active – keep active. I generally find that the worst thing for me is to spend any amount of time laying down. There is almost always something I can do to keep active, especially now that I am retired and away from an 9 to 5 office job!

2. Dress accordingly. I wear loose tops, especially when I am dealing with a severe flare up. I have a lot of camisoles and sweaters – my go to wardrobe!

3. Relax. Different people have different ways to relax. I have a few things that generally help me, depending on the day and time. I will take a walk, meditate (recently I have been spending time listening to ‘singing bowls’ on You Tube and that definitely helps my meditating), read, have a warm bath, or have a glass of red wine. I wouldn’t recommend self medicating with alcohol for any purpose but it definitely helps once in a while. And it is wine 🙂

4. Laugh. Laughing helps a lot. I have a sister who sends me a humorous meme virtually every day. They generally involve flatulence 🤦 and they generally make me laugh. Thank you, Sis – way to keep me breathing.

5. Deep breathing. Recently I saw my specialist and he said while all physical exercise is good for the lungs, deep breathing exercises are particularly useful in maintaining lung function. He advised inhaling through my nose, pursing my lips and exhaling out of one side of my mouth. (This is helpful in releasing all of the air from the pockets in one’s lungs). So I tried it.

Breathe in..
Breathe out…

I showed my husband and he said I should alternate which side of my mouth I exhale out of. So I tried that…

The other side of my face doesn’t work. 🙄

6. Clean, fresh air. This one should be a given but, when you have bills to pay and your career takes you to office work in a construction company, that isn’t always a given. My advise here would be – if you are young, just starting out, and have vulnerable lungs – choose your career accordingly. A dusty, air conditioned office will eventually lead to serious problems.

7. Doctors, specialists, therapists, inhalers – whatever you need – get it and take it. The trick to respiratory conditions is to do everything in your power to control them and to avoid the acute flare-ups that cause permanent damage. On top of prescribed medications, I take a vitamin D supplement. Since I starting taking vitamin D, I seldom get a cold or flu, which is a good thing with my already compromised lungs.

8. When dealing with any health issues, what works for one person does not necessarily work for everyone. However, regardless of what health issues a person has, there are always things that one can do to make the situation better and things to avoid as they will make matters worse. Just keep trying until you figure out which is which for you.

Fresh air, sunshine and nature – breathe it in.

Bronchiectasis

I finally received all of my test results back and saw my specialist last week. Yea, I have bronchiectasis. (Because I couldn’t get something I can pronounce). 🤦

As diseases/conditions go, it isn’t the worst one to get. It is rather miserable since it makes it difficult to breathe, which is never fun (my bronchial tubes are swollen up from scar tissue and the like). It is chronic but can be managed with medication and exercise. I do have to go to the hospital for more testing and I am not thrilled about that. But, it is not fatal – so there is that. 😊

It is rather damp and chilly out today but I had better get out there and get walking. I have to work to get my lung function and blood oxygen level up. 🙄

Have a great day🌞

Lessons Learned

I Walk for Peace

This year, my focus has been on peace.  As things go, my choice of focus for this year has been spot on.  2020 has been a stressful year for many people and for my own reasons, it has definitely been challenging for myself as well.

Challenges aside, I have enjoyed my quest for peace and have learned a few things in the process.

1.  I have spent sixty-four years battling anxiety and one year focusing on peace.    I have learned that I  should have started focussing on peace sixty-five years ago. 🤦

2.  I have learned to make MY peace my priority.   For the better part of my life, my priority has been trying to maintain a peaceful, pleasant cushion around others to try to keep them happy and peaceful.  My reasoning being, if they were happy and peaceful, they were not making my life difficult and stressful.  In my defense,  I had a very high-strung mother.  My first husband was difficult (such an understatement🤣🤣🤣).  My current husband is a really good man but, after number one, complete trust in any man has been difficult for me.   My children were typical, difficult at times children.  Finally,  as an administrative assistant for the better part of my career, it was my job to keep things running smoothly in my work environment.  I drove myself to be the peacekeeper.  Except, my peace was way down the list of my priorities.    I have come to realize that to enable or encourage peace in any situation, one must first be at peace themselves. 🙄

3.  I have learned that peace makes all of  the best things in life possible.   Health and well-being is difficult to impossible when one is constantly stressed.  With peace, health and well-being come naturally.  Happiness is next to impossible when one is stressed and anxious.  With peace, happiness is natural.   Love is difficult to impossible when one is constantly stressed and anxious.  With peace, one is easily more loving and more loveable.  Relationships are healthier and easier.   Prosperity is possible when one is stressed out and anxious – feeling prosperous is difficult at best.  One never feels financially secure when one is anxious and stressed.  You feel you need more and you worry about losing what you have.  You develop poor financial habits or addictions that undermine your efforts to be financially secure.   Peace brings a feeling of security to all aspects of one’s life – including financially.   

4.  Peace is the gift that keeps on giving.  I could, and I intend to,  make my peace my priority going forward in my life.  I believe we are born into this world to evolve – to become better, stronger, and wiser –  as individuals and as a whole.  I  believe peace is the key to evolution – at least to my evolution. 

A Day In The Life Of

Yesterday was a day like any other day. Except, yesterday I went to get the report on my follow up x-rays. They showed no sign of pneumonia. Yay! They did however show signs of COPD. So, I am off for more tests, more doctor appointments, and more medication. The medication will have side effects. I am hopeful that the side effects will be soft manageable hair, improved eyesight, and stronger muscles. I am hopeful, but I am not delusional enough to actually expect such side effects. 🙄

Health Care

More Functional Than Pretty But These Curtains and Tracks are Supplied by
KM Burgess Agencies Ltd.  🙂

This week I made a trip down the rabbit hole into the world of emergency health care. Fortunately, my distress was caused by nothing more than a case of pneumonia and bronchial spasms. After ekg’s, x-rays, blood tests and a treatment of brochial-dilaters, I was on my way with a couple of effective prescriptions and orders to have follow up x-rays next week.

My husband and I are very fortunate that we seldom have any reason to visit our local hospitals. On those rare occasions when we do make one of these visits, it is such an eye opening experience that I decided to share.

1) Say what you will about public healthcare, we have always been really well treated. Our facilities are aged and definitely in need of upgrading, but for the most part, our doctors, nurses, technicians, lab techs and everyone else on staff are amazing. They make the best of anything they have to work with and do a great job keeping up with the tremendous workload that they have to deal with. I cannot imagine how we are blessed to get and keep such amazing people in our little backwoods city hospitals.

2) Regardless of the urgency of our visit (and we have made a few seriously urgent visits), I am overwhelmed by the other patients and their loved ones – especially the ones whose issues are obviously chronic, long term or terminal. We visit this world once every 5 to 10 years. For so many, this is a regular part of their life. These patients, who are in such dire straights are, for the most part,  so patient, kind and grateful. It is incredible to experience such grace under pressure.

3) I have spent a fair amount of time at hospitals with family members – parents, children, and grandchildren. (I am supposed to be there as support, not the main attraction🙄). It blows me away to see this part of life from their side – the side of pain and suffering. I do not think I will ever make a good patient. I am a trainwreck in those places. My previously last visit, I arrived by ambulance with a totally collapsed lung. Within fifteen minutes, I was like “Give me a shot of morphine and I am good to go. Just get me out of here”. Long story short, I went home a month later with nightmares for a year. I am pretty sure there were some staff members (if not all) who were glad to see me gone – especially the head of radiology. In my defence, I had really big bandages taped to my back to protect my drainage tubes and when he whipped them off it hurt – like hell. There are probably still claw mark straight up the wall. 🥺

4) How do hospitals, who are caring for such desperately ill and uncomfortable patients, find a way to destroy every bit of food that comes their way? I was at the hospital for about six hours on Tuesday and had not eaten anything before I got there. Three or four hours in, my husband asked if he could get me a sandwich from the onsite coffee shop as I was feeling pretty weak and shaky. The nurse said she would get me something. Which she did! With all she had to do, getting me something to eat became a priority. I should be grateful. I was grateful. But how the hell do you screw up jello? I realize I was only there for a few hours and was not going to starve with or without jello – but this was not an isolated incident. When I was in the hospital for a month, the only edible food came from the cafeteria or coffee shop. The kitchen sent me a quivering pile of yellow (pudding?) one time that was so hideous I still get nauseous every time I think of it. I may be wrong but it seems to me, sick people would heal faster with say homemade chicken soup. Alas, our hospital dieticians are trained to believe that the road to health is paved with ‘Fish Surprise’ , dry tasteless bread and yellow slime. 🤢.  It just seems so mean to feed that to sick, helpless patients.

5) Finally, hospitals are so strangely unreal with their total absense of real world time and order as we know it. Five minutes becomes five hours and hours become minutes. Orderlies whip in and out to take you places and bring you back, random lab techs pop in unexpectedly to take tubes full of your blood, nurses show up to take your vital signs or stick IV’s in you. There are ongoing announcements, bells and whistles, and random clattering and clanging.  It is so bizarre and far removed from any regular day in the life of.  It is definitely an out of life experience, if not an actual out of body experience.

I am so glad that we have the healthcare that we do in Canada.  I am grateful that we have such dedicated people working in our hospitals – doctors, nurses, administrators, facility management, technicians, volunteers – everyone who devotes their days and nights to operating these facilities and providing their capable and compassionate care.  Finally, I am so grateful that my husband and I seldom have to take advantage of the health care that is provided in these facilities.  We are so blessed to generally have a  reasonable level of health and well-being.   I cannot imagine anyone resenting paying taxes to support this care that  is available to all Canadians who require it.    Especially, those of us who seldom require it.