Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Over 60 Vertigo ?

Some of us only learn the hard way and that is certainly true of my husband.  I've mentioned his dizziness which has occurred periodically every day for the last six weeks. Eventually, he took my advice and paid a visit to the Ear, Nose & Throat guy who checked him out and then asked if he had bumped his head just before he noticed the symptoms. He had indeed: I remember, because he almost knocked himself out and saw the proverbial stars (which should have given us a clue then, as cartoon-fashion, they go round in circles, don't they?)  Apparently, such a knock can dislodge particles in one or more of the semi-circular canals of the inner ear; such particles then float about and settle in the wrong place, creating dizziness whenever the person looks up or down or bends suddenly etc. The cure is miraculously simple in theory: the doctor manipulates the patient's head in various ways and in between taps sharply on the bony area behind the affected ear, allowing half a minute for the patient to recover from the dizziness every time. This is followed by a regime of exercises over a few days. My husband did not comply very well with these and in fact, under my strict supervision, felt constantly nauseous, after the first repetitions and refused to do more.  In the end, he went back to the doc and after an interrogation, admitted that over the week-end he had climbed a ladder and wielded a hedge-trimming machine in order to trim back our bougainvillea which, beautiful though it is, has a bad habit of setting off our burglar alarm in the middle of the night during our windy months.  As this involved him looking up most of the time, he had succeeded in undoing the doctor's good work. So it has been back to square one except that this time he is spared the nausea-inducing exercises and has been told to walk around as if he has a stiff neck and to prop himself up in bed so that on no account can he roll over onto his left side for a week. No easy task. In a similar vein, I have been unable to do any of my urgent sewing as when I plugged in my machine the stitch size was stuck on huge, and the reverse function wouldn't work. I had lent the thing to my daughter, who says that we probably went over a bump on the way home when we fetched it and upset the computer.  Very frustrating stuff.  So far I am trying to Google a cure.  It's a Husqvarna 500 Computer. Anyone any idea?

Monday, 21 January 2013

Keep Your Mouth Shut

Google image  (giggle)

It is always a good idea to prudently hold your tongue if in danger of putting your foot in it. My apologies - mixed metaphors, but you know what I mean. I should have known better than to comment adversely on the length of my husband's new shorts as he is notoriously sensitive re sartorial matters, having grown up in a large family in a small town where it mattered greatly what the neighbors said behind your back.  Consequently, instead of one pair of pants to shorten, I now have six. In the same vein, but with more serious potential consequences, I have managed a degree of self-control concerning rumors which are rampantly circulating the family like wild-fire (sorry again, not my day for language), re one of the in-laws.  I have stoutly refused to comment or judge the unfortunate individual who is blithely unaware of the subterranean talk, even though I was recently in a position to pass on the gossip and demand verification thereof face to face. Something made me hold my tongue, namely, the uncomfortable feeling that I would merely be stirring the pot and causing more unhappiness all round. I have decided to await the passing of time. Perhaps the real truth will never emerge. No matter. Let us all move on. I shall try to forget the whole sorry affair. Meanwhile, to the sewing machine! Let me mind my own business.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Unfulfillled Dreams


I have visitors this week, family, their 45-year-old son is, as we speak, undergoing a heart procedure for very irregular heart-beat.  I gather that his heart has to be painstakingly checked nerve by nerve for the culprit to be found and cauterized. Hence the lengthy operation - could be up to six hours. My sister and brother-in-law have travelled from the Karoo, a 7-hour trip by car, to be with him at this time. It got me thinking about life generally and more specifically, how we are inclined to examine our life's achievements as we head towards retirement. Do we harbor regrets?  Of course. There is always cloud-cuckoo land in which we fantasize about the great things we could have done but didn't. Should we agonize about decisions taken in the past which could have been different? I think not.  Hindsight is unhelpful. We did what we did at the time with the knowledge we had then.  If I have any unfulfilled dreams, to date, I have never tried to bring them to the surface of my life. I am doing that today, as I wait for my nephew to come out of the operating theatre. For many years, I tried to act to please my mother: when I was about 40, I gave up on that and tried just to be myself. I have been madly in love twice in my life.  In my twenties, I devoted three years to trying to change myself to fit the needs of my beloved. I couldn't live up to his expectations. It was devastating but the break-up taught us both what we should really be looking for in a partner for life. I was so lucky to find those qualities in my husband of 35 years, and so was my ex. I have often quailed at the thought of how I should survive should my beloved husband finally be taken from me by either age or disease. I make survival plans:  I should get a dog, I would join an amateur dramatic society. I would simply be as busy as I could possibly be to stave off the loneliness. Children and grandchildren wouldn't cut it: they have their own lives and loves. My ultimate ambition that would transport me to levels of extreme happiness, I now acknowledge, would have been to train my voice to the level that I could have been a professional member of an operatic chorus. That would have done it for me. However, when push comes to shove, my priority was to be absolutely and devotedly loved by the man in my life. Nothing comes close to that. And nothing can take that away from me.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Facing a Fear



I don't make New Year resolutions any more - so badly have I failed to keep them in the past.  I feel very badly about these failures because normally I am a person of my word. If I say something, I mean it and if I say I will do something, I am obliged to do it.  Thus you may imagine correctly, that I think very carefully before I speak.  That is until a slip of the tongue last week. I have had a driving phobia re highways or long, straight roads since our bad accident when I fell asleep at the wheel sixteen years ago and my daughter was badly injured. I went twice to a therapist for several sessions over a couple of years and although he helped me over my guilt and once (brave man) even rode in my car with me as I ventured out for about 300 yards on a dual carriageway. However, I have not repeated the experience alone and the phobia has remained. Over the Christmas period we have been up and down to our holiday house five times; it's about an hour's drive on a busy road house to house. My husband always drives. Lately, he's been suffering from vertigo in varying degrees but on a daily basis.  He is OK when driving and is just affected when bending or moving his head up or down. We are still trying to find the cause - there are so many when you are over sixty.  About 30% Americans suffer from dizziness periodically after this age. I guess it's like everything else, things wear out, even your inner ear. We've established that it's not low blood pressure. Anyway, we had to travel for the sixth time at my request - I wanted to do some gardening at the holiday house. My husband was reluctant to drive yet again, and I felt so sorry for him (his foot still gives trouble as well) that I heard myself say, "Would you like me to drive?"  His ecstatic response and look of relief was my reward and so, trying not to think about it, I took a deep breath and got behind the wheel.  I must have had a guardian angel that day: the road was quiet, not even one truck, and the car in front of me elected to drive almost half the way at only 60 m.p.h. so I stuck at a polite distance behind him until he turned off.  Many of our main roads are only single lanes in this country but you can pull over the yellow line to let things pass, so that's what I did. After that I was fine. Doesn't mean that I can yet drive on a swift National road. Baby steps. The down side is that I shall now be asked to drive that route often and that I have to say, will be a shocking waste of knitting time.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Missing Ball


(Don't look down, Sextant).  Actually, I am referring to those oversized, blue exercise balls you get at the gym or as a Christmas parcel from a concerned adult child.  Well, they are big, aren't they? (The ball, not the child).  You wouldn't think you could lose a blown-up one (again, ball not child)  in your own house. This happened to me. It was a dubious acquisition in the first place for an average-sized family home as it won't fit into a cupboard and therefore mostly stands around in the way when not in use. I looked for mine during the month of my toe op when I couldn't go to the gym.  It wasn't in the spare bedroom ...and then the phone rang and I forgot about it, thinking it was simply somewhere else. I looked for it several times more during November and more or less the same diversion happened until I finally forgot about it altogether. Until last week. My family was visiting for New Year and I threw out the question, "Has anyone seen my blue ball?"  (Don't snigger, Sextant). To my surprise, my daughter immediately confessed that my small grandson had punctured it while riding it down the passage when I was in the UK for my dad's funeral (last July). She had been meaning to replace it but her brother said his wife had one that she didn't use and I could have that.  However, that's as far as the offer got until they both forgot about it as I had made no comment myself. This led to a debate as to what one could expect of someone who breaks something in your home.  A glass? Please - no problem, an apology is graciously accepted. A glass is cheap, besides I don't put out my best ones. My husband, he of the elephant memory, brought up the time one of the toddlers got into his drinks cupboard and broke a treasured porcelain Delft bottle.  He (my husband) made such a fuss that my daughter finally tracked down an identical one in an antique shop in Cape Town and paid top dollar for it. I remember a time when my brother-in-law visited us when we lived in a communal house with a vinyl-lined swimming pool.  His two young sons went for a swim - with the brand-new diving knives and lo - after they left, we noticed that evening that the pool had lost most of its water and there were deep slashes in the vinyl.  My brother-in-law said it could not have been his boys - and my not-yet husband would not argue and to my annoyance paid for the damages himself. He has always maintained that he will not 'fall out' with anyone in his family. He would rather walk away.  There is some wisdom in this as he is still in frequent contact with his five remaining siblings.  His mother always used to say, "People are more important than things."  Personally, I am very careful with other people's possessions and if I break something I prefer to replace it no matter what they say.