Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Scary October


October is a month of witches, ghosts, nightmares, and scary movies on TV. Make believe scary though doesn’t hold a black candle to real October.

You don’t have to believe in ghosts to be visited by one, and you don’t have to believe in witches to think that you have personally met one. There’s no way around the fact that strange things happen in this world.

October is the month when weird things just can’t help but happen. I can take my dog out at midnight any other month of the year, and enjoy the starry sky, a gentle breeze, a brilliant moon, and even a gentle falling snow.

On the other hand, go out at midnight in October and expect to hear coyotes howling, dark racing clouds obscuring the moon, the wind causing mysterious bangs and clangs, and the feeling that someone is watching…and waiting.

If you want to “see something really scary” (As they said the movie Twilight Zone) read the possible side effects of the medicine that you take every day. If that doesn’t make the hair on your head stand up, a ghost or goblin doesn’t stand a chance.

Don’t you just love the commercials on TV that tell you all the benefits of a medicine and show happy, tanned, and beautiful people enjoying life. Then in the last half minute talk at warp speed about the horrible things the medicine can do to a person.

 It seems that the scarier the disease, the more frightening the treatment. Makes you wonder which is going to get you first. We made the decision to try a study drug on Jim for his dementia. Knowing Jim’s personality before the disease, we knew that he would be the first in line for an experimental drug for a disease that had no cure. Unfortunately, the drug didn’t help him, but we had to stop it because of the side effects. It was a small study, but when we dropped out of the program, we found out that all participants had stopped the drug.

Jim showed a slight cognitive improvement with Exelon. As the dosage increased, Jim had to be taken to the emergency room because of the side effects. Before the drug cleared his system, he became agitated and was kicked out of the nursing home for behavior.

While Jim was in regenerations, an antipsychotic medication made him so aggressive that he was like a different, scary person. Eric and I took him out of the hospital for a few hours, and he tried to open the van door and mumbled obscenities.

After arguing with the physician, we insisted they take Jim off the medication. Within a few days, he was his old self again.

Prescription drugs are a part of everyday life for those of us who reach a certain age. In the U.S. around 16,000 people die each year from prescription drugs. More than 100,000 people in the U.S. die each year because they can’t afford the drugs they need.

There’s no doubt about it, real life is much scarier than make believe spookiness.            


Copyright © Oct 2023 by L.S. Fisher


Saturday, October 14, 2023

Running out of gas

The last time I drove to my brother’s house to practice music, I noticed that the gas gauge on my car was slowly sinking toward the big E. I didn’t want to go through town to fill up my tank, so I made the decision to head home. I knew that my next trip would have to be to the gas station.

I sometimes feel as if the big E is permanently attached to my body. I’m often exhausted, and regardless of all the tasks I should be working on, I make my way to the recliner to watch TV, code for “take a nap.” When I take a nap, it does help make up for my lack of sleep at night.

My alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. to have quiet time before the day starts. The problem with getting up early is that most nights, I stay up until the witching hour. Then, I feed and walk the dog, fix the coffee pot for the next morning, fill our water containers to put at our bedsides, take my medicine and make sure Harold has taken his. Finally, I put on my pj’s (if I’m not already wearing them), brush my teeth and use my Water Pik. The timeframe that all this preparation for bed is often determined by how long the dog takes. Once I’m in bed, I read until I’m sleepy enough that I can shut my eyes and drift away.

My short nights are a carryover from my caregiving days. Jim would only sleep about four hours a night, and that meant I slept about four hours each night. I didn’t often have the luxury of a nap since I worked fulltime. At work, I coffeed and went through the days like a buzz saw. At home, I ran on empty on a regular basis and zombied my way through the weekends and evenings.

Life can be exhausting at times and it takes all the energy I can muster, and more. It’s staying at a task for one more hour, complete one more project, push it to the limit, and cross another item off the To-Do List.

Lately, as if there isn’t enough to do, we are completely renovating our rental house. Daily decisions have to be made until my head is spinning from the effort. We are flooded with bids, bills, and various contractors. By default, one trustworthy contractor makes sure that the other contractors do what they are supposed to do. We’re nearing the goal line on the inside, now for the outside. I will be so thankful when the house is finished and rented.

The main difference between the rental and the house that Jim and I built is that we did almost all the work ourselves. It took us a lot longer since we tried to pay as we went. We finally broke down and made a small loan to finish the inside. Every spare moment was spend building on the house, but when we looked at what we had accomplished it was amazing.

The thing about running on empty—when you fill the tank, you can go for miles and miles before the gauge shows the big E again.    


Copyright © Oct 2023 by L.S. Fisher