My Husband and I have Matching Compression Socks!!

There’s togetherness as a couple matures into their sunset years, like a well worn and broken in pair of shoes. Compression hose and the need for them was never something I thought we’d share. Varicose veins do not discriminate. They appear when you least expect them and men get them as well as women. Women are at a higher risk (naturally!) because of pregnancy and other factors, but heredity plays a big part. Thanks mom and dad, grandma, great grand ma. My husband’s mother had them as well as her mother before her so our adult children are doomed!!

What really pisses me off is that I had sclerotherapy years ago and that very same varicose vein that was removed came back in the same exact spot two years later. Lets face it, varicose veins are ugly as are spider veins. The difference is varicose can be dangerous. They can lead to far more serious health issues, i.e. thrombosis, ulcers or sores on your legs, chronic inflammation. So, this is no longer a question of vanity or cosmetics. I was never going to be a swim suit model at this age anyway! Sports Illustrated never called!!!

Go seek out medical attention. Don’t blow it off. A good vascular surgeon will diagnose the blood flow. I was super impressed here in Mexico with one such doctor, recommended by a friend who suffers from the same issue. An ultrasound of my leg was taken on an I Pad. It showed the valves not working properly, kind of like a door that doesn’t open and close the way it should anymore. Since the blood flow goes from your legs to your heart, this is pretty important. The doctor drew me a picture of what normal veins in your leg do and what mine were doing. He labelled this a disease, Chronic Venous Disease. (CVD, not to be confused with CVS!) WOW! I had not expected this. I also am passed the sclerotherapy route and now need surgery. He said it so cavalierly, but in my book, surgery is surgery!! It means anesthesia, a recovery period, leg wrapped in ACE bandages, ugh! My husband’s legs are worse than mine, but being a man who never wears shorts and rarely a bathing suit, he didn’t think anything of it. Now, I will make him see a vascular surgeon as well when we return to the U.S. We are leaving our Mexico home in a couple of days and so are out of time.

I immediately ordered 6 pairs of compression socks. Not the fuddy duddy ones that are beige and look like Orthodox women wear, but cool funky ones that even a young person might don. My very smart Millennial daughter wears them religiously on flights. She knows that early care of her legs is important with a DNA profile that will surely result in these varicosities at some point in her life. Thank goodness someone had the foresight to improve upon the look of these things!

Bottom line is, as we age, all kinds of new issues will crop up, ones we never thought about at a younger age. Who had the time?!! We will sag, we will crease, fine line, deep line, creak, ache, have joint pain, veiny hands, etc.

Who said these were the “Golden Years”?!!!

Listen to your body, as we said in an earlier post, I mean really listen! You know it the best. Advocate for yourself and get annuals, even if you think it’s a waste of time because you feel great.

Aging is one of those things that until you go through it yourself, you don’t know what to expect. It’s kind of like parenting in that way.

So, togetherness can mean many different things to a couple that has been married for 43 years. Right now, it’s matching compression socks!

Today’s Takeaway:

Good health truly is everything. Never ever take it for granted! Without it, nothing else matters. Ask anyone who has suffered with disease.

Every day you wake up to a new day is a gift. Cherish it.

As always, enjoy the ride.

x0x Barclay& Joy

P.S. Barclay and I will take a break from writing for the remainder of August. We have hit our mark of 175 posts! Amazing! Like our role model, Maria Shriver, who takes off every August to recharge and reset, we will be contemplating new musings as we aim for a new goal of 200 posts!

Thank you one and all for reading and following www.revisionistretirement.com

Choosing Forgiveness

In my younger years I was a grudge-holding expert and prone to my own brand of tantrums. On one occasion, as a twenty-something, I remember getting ready for a Christmas party, slipping into a blue suede strapless dress that I had ordered from Victoria’s Secret. I gazed at the bedroom mirror with indulgent admiration. But when I proceeded down the stairs trying not to trip in my stiletto heals, I did not hear the expected response from my husband (Wow, you look amazing!!) Instead, he looked at his watch and said we needed to leave right away. I was fuming. He asked if I was okay and naturally I could not appear vain and admit that I had been expecting a compliment. (How shallow would that be??) So of course, I said flatly, “Nothing!” – leaving him clueless and unsettled. Well, a few glasses of wine later, my righteous indignation peaked and I picked an argument with him on the way home — and when our car stopped at an intersection, I opened the passenger door and stormed onto Racine Avenue. At midnight. In a blue strapless dress. Wearing heels. In snow.

It was much like Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde indignantly marching home while her boyfriend tries to cajole her back in the car, lest her designer shoes be ruined.

Of course, like Reese, I did get back into our car, rather sheepishly, having realized that I could freeze to death.

Now that I am older and one hopes a tad wiser, I have no time for such theatrics. Holding onto a grudge causes wrinkles, chest pain, indigestion, and a host of other unwelcome ailments to my delicate constitution! I love how realistic and low-bar-ish the Bible is on this subject, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

At this juncture, who has time for spitefulness or a lack of forgiveness? We need to move forward, creating boundaries if necessary, but striving for peace with everyone. If our mother wronged us, perhaps she did the best she could with what she was dealing with at the time. If a teacher shamed us, or a friend betrayed us, retirement is the time to unpack our bag and travel lighter.

The Wall Street Journal has this to say in a 2016 piece written by Diane Cole.

To forgive, or not to forgive? It is a question that we ask ourselves more, and that becomes more salient, as years pass. As we grow older, it is “very, very common to review your life,” says Berit Ingersoll-Dayton, professor and director of the joint doctoral program in social work and social science at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. It’s a process that inevitably will bring up “things that we feel good about—and that we don’t.”

In the absence of forgiveness, an offense that was committed against us, or some pain that we caused others, can replay in our minds, causing continuing anger or remorse that is often a recipe for bitterness and bad health. A wealth of research has linked the isolation and loneliness that can result to increased health problems and higher mortality. Forgiveness, by contrast, allows one to focus on more positive thoughts and relationships. “It allows you to free up the real estate in your brain” taken up by negative thinking, Dr. Sood says.

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So, as far as it depends on us, if possible, let’s choose to forgive, and resist the urge to jump out of cars in self-righteous indignation. We could break a hip!!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

Love More and Shop for Hearing Aids

We are at that age where our hands have become our mother’s hands. We are raising the volume of the TV, and we are struggling to find the simplest of words. We might address our daughter by the dog’s name, and we are for sure eating dinner no later than six, in order to watch Wheel of Fortune which begins promptly at six-thirty followed by Jeopardy at seven. (Good for your brain..well, Jeopardy at least!)

When you hit your mid-sixties, the aging process seems to accelerate. It has been likened to the unrolling of toilet paper and we are heading faster and faster toward the last strip. Last week our next door neighbor, a single man in his early 60s, came to his last strip. He was found unresponsive, apparently the result of unchecked heart disease. His passing came without warning – leaving his family and friends overwhelmed by grief and if-only’s. If only he had gone to the doctor sooner, if only he had had his cholesterol tested regularly, if only he had known his roll was growing smaller.

But then, even if he had been more proactive with his health, something totally outside his control could have claimed his life. The fact remains that we all irrationally believe that death will never come to us. We look at our thinning and wrinkled skin with amazement, and think, how on earth did that happen??? (see our earlier post on bat wings!)

As Joy and I grow older, we are reflecting on choices we can make now that will support our mental, spiritual, and physical health. The bottom line is that when our own rolls diminish, we will have led lives characterized by love and humility. We don’t want to have regrets.

CNBC published an article in 2019 citing regrets shared by those in their 90s. Let’s listen and take heed. (Click here for the article, written by Lydia Sohn)

  • They regretted not cultivating closer relationships with their children.
  • They regretted not putting their children on the right path in life.
  • They regretted not taking risks to be more loving, such as being more open about their feelings for new people or more affectionate with those already in their lives.
  • They regretted not being better listeners; they wish they had been more empathetic and considerate.
  • They regretted not spending enough time with the people they loved.

One man was asked if he wished he had accomplished more. “No,” he responded. “I wish I had loved more.”

That’s it, isn’t it? To love more. To choose to love even when we have been wronged. Yes, it’s a high bar and perhaps a naive one. But each morning we have choices. We can smile at someone, write an encouraging email, overlook a harsh word, or marvel at the architecture of a spider web, a nest, an anthill even.

And yes, at the same time, we can and should address our cholesterol, our cataracts, and our clumsiness. And start shopping for hearing aids.

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Joy here. I always knew cataracts were going to be an issue for me. Everyone in my family has had them so they are a rite of passage into old age. I was told I had them in both eyes about 15 years ago but thankfully they have taken their sweet time to develop. (You kind of think that day is never going to come. It seems so far away when you are younger.) Recently, however, they have re-announced themselves and darkness is not my friend when driving. My night vision issues were quite apparent last summer when I very calmly told my passenger daughter that I couldn’t see that well and that the oncoming headlights were super bright (very calming for this passenger who probably thought I was about to drive into these bright headlights!)

So, now at long last I am seeking opinions on whether I can wait another month or two or do I rush to get them removed. After a very thorough ophthalmologic exam here in Mexico, I was relieved to find out I don’t have glaucoma or macular degeneration or need to rush to remove my two cataracts. It does need to happen, but it can wait until I get home. My wonderful cousin, Fran Lisa, has offered to do all the night driving on an upcoming trip to San Francisco (phew!) so I don’t jeopardize anybody’s life with my driving! Not a small matter. I didn’t like driving in the dark with better vision, so I certainly don’t feel comfortable now. One of my many idiosyncrasies!

The advent of cataracts hits you in the face with a splash of cold water – you are old! The good news is that the technology is fantastic. This is not the cataract surgery our parents had. Your vision can actually be restored to near perfect with no need for glasses.The basic fix is an IOL (intra-ocular lens). A host of options are possible and your ophthalmologist will advise as to what is best for your needs. It’s an amazing surgery which allows you to return to seeing again within a short period of recuperation.

Nevertheless, with vision and hearing loss, and flapping bat wings, we are aging before our very eyes. That person staring back at you in the mirror is the same one she was at eight years old, but carrying wisdom, experience, battle scars, wonderful memories, and the desire to stay healthy as long as possible.

Today’s Takeaways:

-Take each new reminder of the aging process little by little. What we can prevent through good diet, exercise, mental attitude, we should go for and be diligent in doing so.

-You don’t have to look old. That’s what injectables are for! There are also mini face lifts, neck lifts, threading, LED wands, creams and moisturizers. Do your research and do what you can afford that makes you feel good about your appearance. Some women and men don’t care about wrinkles and grey hair. Each of us is an individual and makes these choices.

At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying the ride!

And befriending the bat wings… which are here to stay!

xox Barclay & Joy