Writing and anemia

digitalbrain.png I just read this article Anemia May Affect The Brain. No shit, Sherlock. Of course, if the red blood cells are low due to iron deficiency, medications, or other problems then of course the brain won’t work properly. The brain gets needed oxygen and fat from the blood.

The reason I am researching anemia is because the doctor finally named the reason I am feeling brain fog and fatigue. My hemoglobin seems to be in the low normal range, but my iron levels are deficient. She keeps asking me if I am bleeding internally. It can be extremely embarrassing to talk about the color of urine and fecal matter. It doesn’t point to internal bleeding. It does point to malabsorption.

Another article Linking Thyroid Problems, Anemia, Fatigue, and Loss of Cognitive Ability has convinced me that I need to get checked for iodine and selenium deficiencies as well.

I did feel better for about a week after I started to heal from the thyroid surgery. Then the boom lowered and I was back to fatigue. I know I am meandering a little. So my excuse for not writing this last week is because I am fatigued. The reason I am fatigued is because of anemia. The reason I have problems with thinking is once again caused by anemia.

I started iron pills this week. I’m hoping to see a difference in my cognitive abilities soon.

Revelations and music

8c96e-cynearly20 I hardly remember this period in my life. I was nearly twenty in this picture and I am holding my nephew. His sister wants to see the baby.

Nowadays when I see the two of them, they are full adults. I am the senior now, even though I still feel that uncertain new-adult feeling. It’s like a new car smell. It may go away, but you remember it forever. In this picture I was embarking on a new life–shoulder pads and all. In the old-fashioned hero’s journey, I was determined to leave Whiterocks and seek my fortune in music. I had no idea.

Sweet lord, I was so young and naive.

No boring allowed here so I won’t drone on about how it takes money and contacts to get into the music field. Plus I wanted to go to college too. That goal also takes money. Plus my family was not supportive. My dad came out and told me that I had a sweet voice as a child, but my voice was nothing special and some people made music and some people appreciated music. He made it a point to tell me that I was of the second kind.

As you can probably guess, the competition for the music spots in college were fierce. I wasn’t the best voice or even trained. I did have at least one opportunity to train with one of the professors during a summer term. If I could have pulled the finances together, I would have continued with this professor. At the time I was doing a full course load and working two part time jobs. I burned out.

It didn’t help that my father’s words rang in my head. I finally gave in and locked my music into a little box so that I wouldn’t feel the pain. I left college and started looking for a job. Eventually I went into the Navy.

So now it is more than thirty years later.IMG_0431

Recently I decided to go to a community event in my apartment complex. A resident was singing songs from the 50s and 60s. I kept getting invited. It’s rare to see the senior crowd so excited. The style of music, mostly country, wasn’t my thing, but it had been a long time since I had heard someone perform. I admit I was curious.

It was everything advertised. Chuck had been a performer before his stroke. He had fought back so that he could sing again. Plus it was fun. I named one of the fan grandmothers, the “Woo-woo girl” because she screamed, whooped, and hollered louder than a teenager.

Plus Chuck was letting the residents have a chance at the microphone. Only one lady took up the offer and she was loud, proud, and off-key. We didn’t care.

Then I asked Chuck if he did any Frank Sinatra. He put up the music and I started to hum. To my surprise, he handed me the microphone. “Keep it close to your mouth,” he said when I held it like the mike was going to bite me.

Then I sang, “I’ve got you under my skin.”

So now when I go over there to hear the music, I am told that all the singers “that includes you, Cynthia” are going to sing this afternoon.

I’m hoarse from the surgery, but thank you–whoever is listening to me–I can still sing. My voice is not pedestrian. I do have talent.

 

Wild parties and crazy nights

dog-2049033_1920

Free from Pixabay

If you think that you young’uns are party animals, then you haven’t partied with the 60-80 year old crowd. This group is not your grandparents. They were at the bar to enjoy themselves and listen to Chuck Rawlings.

I’ve been in the 55+ senior apartments now since November. I had just turned that age and I was not breathing too well in my last apartment.

Plus I am getting crotchety. It has a lot to do with joints starting to hurt, thyroid going wonky, and an insufficient kidney. Let’s just say that they make me tired and cranky. When I moved here, I was told about Bingo two times a week. If you want my personal opinion, (yes, you do cause you are here) Bingo is boring. I have more fun watching the participants than playing. So I passed on the Bingo.

There was supposed to be a craft group, but apparently when no one came, it was canceled. Anyway, I was hearing some good comments on Chuck’s music. I am not really into the old CW style. I grew up listening to the 60s and 70s music with classical and jazz mixed in. My mother really liked Frank Sinatra and his group of friends. When I listen to Sinatra now, I am still amazed at what he was doing with his voice.

So this resident was playing on Saturday at one of our lounge rooms. I decided to check it out. Here is where I found that decorum had left the building– with Elvis by the way. It was a riot. We had seniors swooning, dancing, and singing along with the music. I got called “baby” a lot.

I was invited to hear Chuck play at a local bar. The seniors had the entire bar singing along and also dancing. We just had a great time. It’s been so long since I’ve had so much fun. It was a wild party.

So if you think that getting old slows you down, well, you are right. But does it stop you from having fun and being the life of the party? Actually no– Of course everything has a price tag.

All those lovely residents at the bar weren’t moving too well the next morning.

Foxy and I

IMG_0393Every morning Foxy and I get dressed. She watches me put on my shoes. Sometimes I will stop and look at my feet.

She will bump my hand until I continue with the chore. By the time I am ready, she twirls around twice to show her happiness. Her tail starts to wag. We are going for a walk.

After we walk out the front door, I have to tell her to sit because she wants to run to the elevator. She knows that is the way to the outside. I have to tell her to quit pulling so I can lock the door. This little dog with little legs walks faster than I do. She pulls me into a fast walk.

I’ve watched other seniors in my community walk their dogs. It is a slow meandering pace from one patch of grass to another. They keep to the slow pace of their owners. Some of these folks walk with canes and others have the black walkers with wheels. I want one of those when I need support. It gives the senior enough stability that she can walk around the complex by herself.

My dog thinks that to enjoy a walk, we need to walk fast enough that I am just at the point of running. In fact if I didn’t pull just a little I would be running. No wonder I am tired after twenty minutes of this.

Foxy has found friends here. When I first rescued her in 2014, she was not socialized to other dogs. It took a long time before she trusted me and before she listened to me. It took a lot of treats and a lot of discipline.

I am happy that she has found friends. It means she trusts me enough to keep her safe.

When I first got her, she was an accomplished escape artist. Now I can keep the door open and she will sit on my recliner and watch the outside.

Today, I let her run to another Chihuahua mix named Chance. They raced toward each other and played. It was a lot of jumping, sniffing, and running. That little girl is a runner. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with her if she ran away, but she comes back.

When I am tired, we power walk back to the apartment. She sniffs for bunnies and I wait for the elevator.

So this is how my morning starts when I am feeling well.

 

Fire Alarms and writing

This weekend I was in the process of rewriting She Called It, Wolf, and whenever I got into the story, the entire building would screech like a wild thing. It is not only inside the building apartments, but the loudest alarms were outside the building.

My Foxy trembled and she didn’t know whether to hide or run to me. I snapped my fingers and had her jump on my recliner. Then I was able to get partially dressed, put a harness on her, and grab my purse. Even though I knew this was another “false alarm,” I decided long ago that I would treat each alarm as if it were real.

Besides I have more than myself to keep safe nowadays. I have heard so many stories of people leaving the house and then realizing that they left their children or their pets in harms way. I want Foxy to know that she must find me and we would leave together.

She trembled the entire time. I still have a headache from that last alarm.

Anyway, once we were out of the building, about ten minutes, I walked her to a small grassy area past the other buildings. We could still hear the alarm. Thankfully it was more muted.

It also means that my writing concentration was broken twice this weekend. I did notice one thing. Very few of the seniors left their apartments. Herein lies the problem– when there are so many false alarms, it becomes easier and easier to ignore the alarm. It nullifies its usefulness.

So just like when the “Boy Called Wolf,” the next time there is a real fire, the seniors will ignore that alarm too.

I decided to treat the alarm as real. Next time it happens I will walk to my car and leave with the dog.

Gratuitous Foxy picture

img_0584 Since this has been an interesting week as in the “Chinese” curse “May you live in interesting times.” I thought a doggy picture of my companion would be appropriate.

I finally lost my monitor. I knew I would lose it because there was a high squeal coming from the back. To my opinion as a former electronics tech, I was losing a cap in the power supply. Since it was a small monitor and buying parts would be more expensive than a new monitor, I used it until one day it wouldn’t turn on.

I think I might give it to an used electronics store– it is probably fixable. I just don’t have the time, energy, or money. Also I have room to write, but no room for electronics repair as a hobby.

The second thing that happened this week was the attitude of many of my doctors. I have been trying to get an appointment that leads to surgery because it is obvious to me that my thyroid is going to malfunction more and more until it dies and/or I have other problems. Because it is supposed to be a slow-moving cancer, many of the doctors do not have the urgency that I have about getting this problem fixed. One told me that getting the surgery now or in three months wouldn’t make any difference considering the kind of cancer I had.

I am learning once again that beating my head against the wall of medical “knowledge” will only give me a sore head– in more ways than one. So I am now cranky as well as exhausted with my body going through so many ups and downs this month– (cold then hot, happy then angry, and always in extremes).

I would like to go back to “balance.” I miss those days.

Today I went back to one of my novellas that I started last year. I want to get it written and then published. I also have started the third book in the Hilda’s Inn series called “Unlicensed Sorceress.”

The good news is that I have had enough energy to rearrange my writing room and clear out all the paper that was clogging my energy levels. More good news is that I am enjoying my new monitor. I find it easier to use for my writing.

Don’t forget that I do have a new book out– “Dragon Boy.” You can find it here at Amazon.com.

Grace under pressure

otto-tune
Since I was given my diagnosis of thyroid cancer (papillary thyroid carcinoma) on Tuesday, the stress has been building because I haven’t received any phone calls from the surgeon so that I can get an appointment. It blows my mind that the word “cancer” means something to me, but not to the doctors that should be treating me. Plus with the thyroid out-of-whack, the stress builds quicker and more forcefully.

I was thinking of how I should deal with the doctors when I remembered the few months we dealt with Otto’s diagnosis of cancer. At least in my case, we know where my cancer is located. I became more and more angry and he became more and more polite and kind to the nurses and doctors around him.

It was a scary time. I am now feeling some of the same pressures even though I have been assured by a couple of people including my primary care doctor that this is one of the most survivable cancers. It is also the easiest to treat. Except even with all this going for me, if I am not treated early, I end up like the five percent who don’t survive. What makes me anxious and ultimately angry is that I am seeing no forward momentum in eradicating this problem.

When I go to sleep at night, I feel this huge lump in my throat and I am now sleeping in a reclining position because I can’t swallow well while I am sleeping. Now that I know what is in that lump, I feel it every day. I felt it before, but I thought I could trust the doctors. If I hadn’t pitched a fit about not feeling good– and that I needed to be checked (I went to the ER, I had labs and fecal tests, and I had a sonogram). I would still have this thing in my neck, ready to spew cancer cells to other parts of my body.

It doesn’t help that my thyroid is releasing hormones erratically. It doesn’t help that I feel this lump whenever I swallow. It doesn’t help that I want to scream at someone–

So how did my late-husband stay kind under that kind of pressure. Part of it was that he really cared about my emotional state. He would diminish his pain a little so that I wouldn’t worry as much. Plus he was kind. He really was kind underneath.

I learned a lot of my coping skills from him. He used to tell me that I needed to hold a good memory close so that I could remember it when I was unhappy. Plus I needed to visualize it as clearly as I could. When he was close to dying and needed help to remember his good memory–I recreated the beach for him. I told him about the water washing up onto the sand. About the colorful fishes swimming around his feet. I described the women in bikinis walking hand in hand and splashing water.

I want to borrow his “grace.”