IF YOU HATE IT……MAKE IT FUN!

helen ekg

I hate going to doctors! Hate being poked, prodded and stuck with needles. Hate the smell of hospitals. But today, I forced myself to keep a 5-year overdue appointment with my cardiologist. I knew it would be ignominious so decided to make it fun.

First, I chatted up my fellow patients. Easy, cause this crowd is so old that no one was on their cell phone! I discovered that three of us were scheduled to see the SAME doctor at the SAME time. “Oh, goodie,” I said, “Let’s all go into the exam room together and scare the heck out of him!” They smiled politely and looked back at their magazines.

Finally, a very large, 20-something, male nurse called my name, walked me solemnly down the hall and had me step on the scale.

“Get on with me,” I impIored, “So we can put some real weight on it!”

He declined. So, I stood on it with one leg, held my arms out wide and pretended to be a flamingo. He looked askance, then said, “114 lbs.,” and ushered me straight into the examining room.

“Have you ever had any operations?” he asked.

“Hmm… Well, I’ve had 2 babies.”

“Well, were they C-sections?” he probed as if I were an idiot.

“Not exactly,” I replied, “but they felt like it . . . Oh! I had my tonsils out!”

“What year was that?”

“1902,” I replied confidently.

He typed “1902”. Stopped. Looked at me and finally laughed.

“We need to do an EKG now,” he said.

“I figured as much,” I replied. “So, I didn’t wear a bra.”

“Oh,” he said, “Well, that will make it easier.”      

He connected 8 leads from a little device and then hesitated.

“Well, these last two have to go up under your left breast.”

“No worries!” I laughed. “There’s nothing to go up under!”

I would tell you that he blushed, but given his dark skin it was hard to tell.

Finally, the doctor came in, (an hour and a half after my appointment), and asked: “So, are you feeling any palpitations, dizziness, out of breath episodes?”

“Well, yes” I said very seriously. “In the last hour and a half my heart has been racing, I felt a little woozy and when you walked in, my heart fluttered and actually skipped a beat.”

He grinned and said, “Well, I’ve never been told I have that effect on my patients but thank you.”

Worth the price of admission…almost.

 

 

 

UPSIDE DOWN

handstand

 Well go figure. Apparently I have been doing something good for my body and brain for the last 40 years and I didn’t even know it!! I guess you could say it started in my 20’s and I just sort of kept it up.  I do it at home and always when I’m travelling. You name it. Anywhere I find the space, I  simply just do it. Like how it feels. Love how it gives me a different perspective on things.

I’ve done it in SO many hotel rooms your head would spin.  I’ve done it in public, in private, under bright lights, in pitch dark, against fences, bathroom doors in shopping malls and smack on the beach in broad daylight.  What am I talking about??  You guessed it:  handstands.

Now, science says that what I have been doing several times a day for all these years has 5 beneficial results:

  1. Builds core strength.
  2. Makes the upper body strong.
  3. Increases balance
  4. Helps with bone health, circulation & breathing
  5. BOOSTS YOUR MOOD!!

Here’s the crazy thing: anyone can do them. It just takes a little practice, a little confidence and a nice strong wall to fly up against. Place your hands about a shoulder’s width apart; aim them about 12 inches from a nice, sturdy wall…and GO FOR IT. The worst that could happen is you chicken out half way up and come back down.

One word of caution: in the thousands and thousands of handstands I have done over the years, only once did I have a disastrous result. As I recall, I was staying in a rundown Motel 6 and there was no room to do one. So, I closed the bathroom door and did a handstand against it. Well, the door didn’t latch tightly.  So as my feet landed on it, I had the lovely sensation of going all the way over and both feet landed smack in the toilet. Thank God I was only 20 at the time.

Give it a try….it just might change your mood AND perspective on things. :)

P. S.  Yes, this was me this afternoon at the YMCA.

PATIENCE IS NO VIRTUE

sky waiting on the chair

Honestly, I could take a few lessons from my dog. Sure, some are obvious, like:

  1. When you first get up, always S-T-R-E-T-C-H.
  2. If someone enters your house unannounced, BARK!
  3. Snooze often and anywhere.
  4. Lick the hand that feeds you.
  5. If someone throws you a bone, FETCH it!

But others are subtler like, “Wait patiently.” She does. I do not. Nor have I ever been patient, particularly with myself. I am driven forward with an inner angst that has remained un-squelched for 62 years. What good has it done? Not much. Being impatient has cost me time, money and stress, whether in speeding tickets or simply making dumb, impulsive decisions.

You’d think at my age I would know better. You’d think I’d have figured out that of my 62 years, probably 60 of them have been spent WAITING: in the doctor’s office, the post office, the line at the restaurant or the bank.  Everything is a wait as if reality is just out of reach, put on hold by some operator who has yet to connect you.  Waiting…for the check to clear, the light to change, the pot to boil or the shoe to drop.  Probably the ONLY thing I have NOT been impatient for was the birth of my first child. Why? Because I knew exactly how long that wait would be!!!

sky waiting outside

But Skylar does not need to know such things. She waits patiently for me to get my coffee in the morning before we walk. Then, she waits for me to unload the dishwasher before I feed her. She sits patiently on the couch whenever I leave the house and jumps with excitement and a wag of her tail at my arrival. All her waiting is an act of simple grace and ease.  Not mine. I do not snooze when it suits me or distract myself chasing butterflies (though I probably should do more of both). At day’s end when hunger grips me, I do not merely nibble at a bone to appease the pangs but lunge instead for the icebox.

Patience is not a virtue. It is a necessity as crucial as breathing. Without it, we succumb, sometimes by our own hand.  We humans must work at it, but Skylar?  Just look at her: a thousand words worth waiting for.

waiting on the porch

THE SECRET OF LIFE

Originally posted on Agelessly Aging :

Image

Met an 18 year- old today who knows it. He was sitting in the lifeguard chair while I swam laps. Never seen him before. Here he was overlooking a pool full of old, white-haired ladies but he just seemed happy up there. He even gave me a big smile and a wave as I was leaving. So, I stopped to talk to him. Turns out he graduates from high school in a few months and has decided to go into the service. Figures it will give him some good training and then help pay for his college.

“Ah, to be young,” I said as I left.
“I really LIKE being young,” he replied.

I stopped for a moment and thought about that. I know a ton of kids his age right now who are scrounging around for phony ID’s and trying to be older than they are. I also know…

View original 123 more words

“…AND THAT’S THE TRUTH!!!”

mermaids

Every Tuesday and Thursday this gaggle of girlfriends suits up and hits our local pool. No, they don’t wear bikinis or flaunt tattoos or pierced navels. They don’t need to. All of their valuable assets lie inside and they’ve been hard won over time. By my calculation when class is full, there are almost 1,000 years between them.

mermaids1

Some shuffle slowly wearing knee braces. Canes, crutches and walkers aid others. A few arrive with caregivers. Gracefully, if not painfully, they bear together the weight of many lifetimes: husbands come and gone, children raised, grandchildren born, surgeries too numerous to mention and heartaches aplenty. One by one, they enter the water and then, as if by magic, they become effortlessly floating mermaids!

I am awed by the transformation that occurs before my eyes as I do my own laps. I cannot help but stop and listen to their laughter or pause to see them synchronized in a delicate ballet of swaying arms. They giggle like schoolgirls when someone tells a clever joke. I catch snippets of recipes, the death of a friend, the struggle with a husband’s Alzheimer’s and lots of bubbly chatter about the grandkids. Their skin is wrinkled, their bodies shrunken and bent over but they are SO beautiful I cannot take my eyes off of them.

I have imagined each of them as young once. I can see the shy debutante, the tough tomboy, the loner, the femme fatale and the crowd pleaser among them. Under their white hair and thin skin, I see blondes, brunettes, redheads, lithe bodies, big-eyed smiles and voluptuous lips. Age is an illusion we take far, too much on face value.

I contend that as a society we are now more tolerant of African-Americans, Hispanics, homosexuals, white-collar criminals, and drug addicts than we are our elderly! It should be Politically Correct to revere them, not scam, mistreat, ignore or abuse them.  They are the survivors and memory-keepers of a time gone by and they should be treasured—not honked at when they are too slow crossing the street.

Most of my mermaids are the same age as Lily Tomlin, 75, Jane Fonda, 77, and Gloria Steinem, 80; three women who figured prominently in my growing up years. Funny thing is, all three are forever etched in my mind as young. So, too, should we look upon our elders. As Edith Ann often said from her big, rocking chair on Laugh-In: “And that’s the truth!”

WHY I WOULD NOT WANT TO BE ’20 SOMETHING’ NOW

silent crowd at starbucks

Take a good look at this picture of a group of 20 somethings at Starbucks this morning.  I watched and photographed them for several minutes, during which time not one of them looked up or even acknowledged one another.  Welcome to 2015.  I would not want to be their age for anything right now.  Why?

1. I wouldn’t be able to talk to my friends as conversation now is done primarily via thumbs. (The last time I actually used mine was to hitchhike).

2.  I would never feel the heart-palpitating anticipation of waiting days for handwritten letters from someone I love.  (Instead, I could ‘hook-up’ or ‘break-up’ instantly via Facebook.)

3. I wouldn’t be able to get the 6 o’clock News in one, nicely, digestible, half hour. (It would bombard me 24/7 on Twitter.)

4. I couldn’t say the bill ‘got lost in the mail, ‘ as it would be sent directly to my Inbox.

5. I couldn’t have a wild time at that private party knowing it would stay private. (By morning, my hat dance routine would be viral on Instagram.)

6. My boredom tolerance would be zero, my curiosity likely non-existent and my sense of allegiance to country, place and home not even a memory.  (Now, thanks to politicians and lawyers, I can’t say the Pledge of Allegiance but can read Lolita– just not the Bible– in class.)

7. Most anything I say would be politically incorrect. (Now I would either have to pretend to like everybody– no matter how wacky– or simply remain mute.)

8. I would neither be able to remember nor mourn my innocence. (Thanks to the Internet it would never exist.)

9. My moral compass would be all screwed up. (Instead of making a bowl of popcorn for the movie, I might well, ‘smoke a bowl’ instead.)

10. I would likely still be living with my parents! (My college degree wouldn’t get me a job and even if it did I still couldn’t afford to live on my own.)

It seems that a sense of gratitude has now been replaced with a sense of entitlement.  Many of my friends say they wouldn’t want to be younger simply because they have, “Been there.  Done that.”  Truth is I haven’t been ‘there’ or ‘done that’ at all.  And I sure wouldn’t want to be there doing it NOW. 

HANDS DOWN!!!

Alberta Hands 6-2

My grandma used to say that you could tell a lot about a person just by looking at their hands. Once, she was asked to be the “palm reader” for our church group’s fundraising fair and was quite the hit. As a kid, I thought maybe she had magical powers. So, I asked her to teach me how to be a palm reader, too.

hands

Turns out there was no magic, she was just a good observer of people. She taught me the difference between weak and strong handshakes and how you could tell if someone worked hard or hardly worked. Long, lean fingers showed artistry. A thumb with a waistline indicated self-discipline. She even said that someone who walks with their thumbs inside their fist are, ”not their own person and feel controlled by others.”

hands1

By looking at the palm itself, she said you could discern even more. A strong, deep Heart line showed emotional expressiveness but a wavy, broken line might mean impulsiveness in love. One who made a living with their mind as opposed to their body would have a long, straight Head line. Lines that were weak, faint or broken could mean ill health, a change in career or move across country. Even the mounds at the base of the fingers had a story to tell. A puffy one under the ring finger might mean the person was given to depression. Pretty fascinating stuff when you’re a kid.

 hands4

Funny thing is, I still look at hands to see what I can learn about someone. And while palmistry is hardly an exact science, there are many clues the casual observer might miss. Are the nails short on one hand and long on the other? Guitar player! Are they bitten down and chewed to the quick? Nervous Nellie. Are they laden with jewels or tattooed on the knuckles? Draw your own conclusions.

hands3

Most of all, I try to make mine stay active because Granny also warned that, “Idle hands are the Devils’ tool.” So, whether playing scales, peeling vegetables, walking the dog, folding laundry, gardening or typing, these ten guys are most always on the move. Wouldn’t want to be a ‘tool’ for you know who. Above are some of the hands that I encountered today. What story do your hands tell?