Wednesday, April 26, 2023

How to fit into shoes


I have reached an age that isn't quite retirement (dang it) but definitely qualifies for a smattering of 'senior citizen' discounts.While I have yet to take advantage of any of those discounts, because I don't go to the stores that offer them for someone my age I guess, I COULD save money on a cup of coffee at McDonald's if I wanted to.

Among the things that accompany the onset of aging is the realization that stuff just doesn't work in your body they way it used to.  Jump up out of a chair?  Nope, not now, not anymore, look for something to push up on. Tie that lush head of hair into an adorable messy bun?  Uh, no, as it gets crunchy and dry well before the bun-making length is achieved.  Live life free of medicines designed to keep you alive?  That's way in the past, darling, because the thyroid quit and the blood pressure started to rise, better get your pill-taking regimen established.

More particularly, FEET.

Sometime in the last couple of years my feet have been mounting an effort to expand well beyond what my shoes have been able to accommodate.  OK, my feet have always been a LITTLE bit swollen (like, since I was a young adult), and I think have a raging case of varicose veins (thanks Dad) have something to do with that, but lately this edematous state of being has become an issue, even beyond the feet.

My knees were in near-constant pain, as were the ankles.  One wrong move and I'd be hurtin' for certain. Living was starting to suck kind of badly, and I was beginning to worry about my future and the ability to move around.  Hobbling was becoming my mode of ambulation, and I was mad about it.

When Biff and I were at the beach a few weeks ago, and walking around quite a bit, you might have thought that the swelling would decrease by the end of the day, no?  All that movement and motion should have gotten stuff circulating, right?  Wrong.  By the end of the day when I took off my shoes, the tops of my feet looked like half-risen bread rolls, with an indent where the adjustable velcro strap cut across the instep.  Awful, and when accompanied by shooting pains in calf and thigh, made me very keenly aware that something needed to be fixed.

Cut to my doctor's office a couple of weeks later.  The PA is new-ish to me, and so naturally she is looking me over pretty carefully which of course I appreciate.  She gets to my feet and remarks 'Oh! You're very swollen here' and pushes a couple of divots into my shin with her thumbs to illustrate.  Yes, nicely pitting edema, thanks for the demonstration.  This normally indicates a kidney problem, but my eGFR is fantastic, thanks, so some other issue is keeping all this water in my system.  Whatever it is, she put me back on a diuretic (I'd been on HCTZ before but thought it might have been giving me the gout so we stopped it a couple of years ago).

OK, but it's not HCTZ this time.  It's LASIX, the big dog.  Furosemide, but the low dose.  Once daily.  Remember to stay hydrated. Go get 'em, tiger.

After just a week of dosing, I noticed a few things: my knees no longer hurt, my ankles no longer hurt, the bottoms of my feet no longer burned, my hips moved less stiffly when walking, and my feet fit into shoes.

Also, my ankles looked cute.  As in, I actually HAD ankles, not cankles, for the first time in a very very long time.  As in, those adjustable velcro straps on my 'regular' shoes aren't hanging on by a thread at the 'fattest' setting but instead wrap right over to the factory pre-set bend.  I can slip into my slippers (!) without having to tug.  I can get into sneakers that I gave up trying to get into 5 years ago.

I think the furosemide is working.

No matter that an hour after I take it I'd best be near a bathroom for a good bit (think about it), I feel better and my shoes fit.  That, to me, is plenty good enough.

Here's to better days ahead.

Tiff out.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Is it really about the meeting?


Like this, only in red.

 The venue was huge, Vegas huge.  There were giant fountains in lobbies, lush fake greenery around wagon-wheel light fixtures 10 feet wide, literal WALLS of color-shifting light that throbbed with whatever beat was bluetoothed to it, cavernous reception rooms, labyrinths of hallways, cacophonies of catering carts being pushed too fast by handsome young people who possessed a definitely practiced Jimmy Cagney flair.

And while it was certainly grand, it was also troublesome as I couldn't find the room I booked months ago.

I'd memorized the number and location and hardware assigned and the slides to be presented, but none of that was any good because it seemed like that particular brick-and-mortar location simply did not exist in this Gorgon of a meeting hall.  Walls moved, mirrors glinted with satisfaction of my confusion, bellhops ignored me, and the crowds of celebrating wedding guests from multiple receptions meant that getting to the concierge was impossible.

Madness, until I recognized someone from our team and tailed them to wherever they were going.  A brilliant idea.

Truly this person had a more intricate knowledge of the space than I (important to note that: I had never been there before but had studied the layout and specifics until I thought I knew what I was doing), as it took a snap to get to the room and then assemble the necessary presentations and seating to ensure a successful meeting.  

I was flustered, but ready. 

The team began arriving, animated and excited.  I couldn't tell why, as the scope of my work wasn't to be anything to make anyone act either of those ways.  But I couldn't get anyone to sit DOWN and therefore couldn't start the meeting as people were circulating around in small groups, chattering and tapping on tablets and showing one another so very many things.  Nobody spoke to me or listened to me; I, the leader, was invisible.

After a period of time I decided to simply move along, and began showing the initial presentation on the giant screen mounted in a corner of the hall.  Intro, agenda, topline messages, then chaos.  The screen detached from the wall and began to fall on the high-up muckety mucks on the dais, there was no help from tech to put it back on the wall and only the very most tenuous of connections that seemed to be structural, and yet, if I took a broom and pressed against the top to hold that part against hte wall, there could still be displays and presentations, only with me in the front of the room holding a broom while who-knows-who clicked through the slide decks.

Which, in the end, really didn't matter, because all the potential excitement and tablet-tapping of a few minutes before absolutely EXPLODED into general gasps and cheers as an announcement of some discovery of importance that directly affected OUR project was announced at some other venue that had been carefully tracked by everyone in the room (where I was supposed to make things happen, but that was all gone now in the thrill of the new thing).

It was obvious what needed to be done. I dropped the broom and walked out. 'Know when to say when,' my Dad used to tell me; it's a lesson to stitch on your pride.

So then I took a walk to a nearby park, forgot how to get back, my not-a-dog kept showing up, my husband was driving a four-in-hand to get people back to the venue because the bigwigs took the hired bus back to the venue and didn't tell any of the lesser mortals at the feste they were departing, once back at the meeting hall a small group of women were bidding on a dress  I'd brought with me for our 'formal night,' and yes this is all a part of the dreams I had this morning.

Also, it started to rain.

Tiff out.