Tag Archives: aging

Grief And Gratitude

27 Feb

Two years ago we adopted Stela, a blind pug. I had never been around a pug and had a lot to learn about their quirky nature. One skill she has is to be asleep on the couch, snoring loudly and on her feet a moment later when someone says one of the magic words, outside, potty, snacks, or walk. She’s a zero to a hundred in the blink of an eye kind of gal. Sometimes life is like that too.

Stela loves her pillow.

Last weekend I was blissfully returning from kayaking on Lake Bacalar, Mexico,where we live. I was anticipating the week leading up to my seventieth birthday, and in one misstep, I was sailing off the dock, landing on a pile of rocks, and screaming for my life. No bones were broken but doctor’s orders has me off my feet for 2-4 weeks. Zero to a hundred, but not in a good way.

I fell to the left of the kayak.

On Tuesday, our housekeeper of six years announced that she is pregnant with baby number five and could no longer work for us. While we completely understand it is the loss of a relationship that we were totally unprepared for. As much as I think that the people who work for us are not friends, the flood of tears said something different.

The husband of a friend and former neighbor from Texas lost his battle with cancer on top of the loss of our dear friend Suze the week before (Death Knocks) also to cancer.

On Sunday Lisa went to a celebration of life for her dear poker buddy Steve who died suddenly from Hepatitis C two years ago. He was a good guy.

Steve, Lisa’s Bacalar poker buddy and our friend.

I guess the only way we can be prepared for loss is to live every day fully. Many people don’t make it to seventy. I have a feeling that sadness and gratitude are a part of the aging process no one much talks about. I think fondly of Delmy, Troy, Suze and Steve as I grieve their loss. As for me, I think youth is vastly overrated. My bruised body will heal. None of us will ever be younger than we are right this minute, so enjoy today, live life to the fullest and above all be grateful.

DOS TORTAS

AFTER YOU DIE
Just so you know
after you die
I will not wonder
why you didn’t do
your dishes or
how long it’s been
since you
cleaned your
oven or microwave or
mopped your floors
or why there were
dust bunnies under
the bed and
behind the door

After you’re gone
I will not wonder
how you could
have allowed the
piles of old mail to
accumulate or
why you saved so
many bits and pieces
of this and that or
why you weren’t
more goal-oriented and
well-organized or
why your refrigerator
contained so many
expired condiments

When you are
absent from all your
familiar places
I vow to avoid wondering
why you didn’t
eat less and
exercise more or
why you waited so
long to stop smoking
or drinking or
whatever else was
simultaneously
soothing and
deadly or
why you took
whatever risk may
seem to have hastened
your exit or why
you left so much unsaid
unfinished or
unresolved

I will only wonder
if you knew how much
you mattered to me
just as you are
as you were when we
met in our temporary
human disguises and
laughed in the
dressing room of the
world at how funkily
our skin suits fit
at times

I will wonder and
hope you knew
you were beloved

I will wonder when
we last hugged
and whether you
felt how our
heartbeats
converged
and our bellies
bumped like boats
and then we
both sighed

Marva Lee Weigelt


Just Don’t Look In The Mirror

13 Feb

Somewhere I read once about a woman who had no mirrors in her house. She felt like spending time looking at ourselves was especially hard on women who are pressured to look beautiful, young, thin, etc. I thought it would be a good idea when we built our house in the Mexican jungle, until my wife put the kibash on that idea. Sigh.

We have a mirror in each bathroom. They only reveal our upper torso. You can imagine my shock when going to the gym and seeing myself in a large floor to ceiling. My self image was completely shattered.

My gym outfit.

Looking down I look pretty damn good for almost 70. I’ve lost fifteen pounds (6.8k) since November. I’ve been working out at the gym and in less than two months I can already see definition in my arms. I got my bloodwork back today and I lowered my LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) by 45 points into the normal range. I raised my HDL by 20. My doctor is very pleased. I am thrilled.

While I’m never going to look like the sweet young things in the gym, I am having a wonderful time and I feel great. As long as I remember not to look in the mirror.

DOS TORTAS

What Exactly Is PRE Cancerous?

16 Jan

A week after noticing a flakey, fingerprint sized patch of dry skin on the bridge of my nose, I went to see the dermatologist. The area wasn’t healing and I suspected the worse.

It was diagnosed pre-cancerous and I was given a six week treatment with some kind of cream. Fingers crossed it works. I was also given a sunscreen with instructions to apply liberally every morning and to wear a brimmed hat any time I leave the house. I guess I no longer have to worry about styling my hair. As if I ever did.

My new chapeau bought when I was last in California.

When I lived in Texas I never left the house without a hat of some kind. I’m not sure why I got so lazy living in the Mexican tropics. The doctor assured me that no matter where we live, sunscreen and a hat is required to prevent skin cancer. So if you’re one of those people who “doesn’t do hats”, I recommend you get over it, or you too could be Googling PRE CANCEROUS. Just sayin.

DOS TORTAS

Self Image and Aging

25 Oct

This week I bit the bullet, so to speak and started taking blood pressure medication. This is after years of a vegan diet, daily meditation and an exercise regime. Both my parents had high blood pressure. Apparently one third of hypertension is hereditary. Getting older is definitely not for sissies.

Thanks for the genes Mom and Dad. My parents were married 50 years.

I’ve always had enviable numbers. Through the birth of three children my midwives were in awe of my low pressure. Health fairs and work related screenings evoked comments like, “wow, I wish my pressure were as good as yours.”

Keeping track this month.

During the last year or so of routine doctor’s visits, I’ve seen raised eyebrows and looks of concern. Don’t you just hate it? I’ve hunkered down on my eating but had to finally admit that this is as good as it gets. My battery operated home monitor won’t budge. I’ve even changed the batteries and had Lisa take her BP for comparison. No dice, the numbers aren’t good.

My doctor finally said something this week that clicked. He told me to take the medication and monitor how I FEEL. Hopefully my energy will improve. This is a trial for a month, at least I tell myself. Evidence says otherwise. We live too far from a hospital and a stroke is nothing I’d wish on anyone, least of all me.

Our doctor Oscar. Do you have your doctor’s cell phone number?

It’s going to take awhile for my heart to adjust to the medication. I woke the first morning feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. It may take even longer to change my self image.

DOS TORTAS

Self image can be a double edged sword.

As The World Turns

6 Jun

It has been over six months since I decided to take a hiatus from the Adventures Of Dos Tortas. Life seems to be full of a different sort of adventure from when I first started writing in 2013. At that time we were packing up our home in Austin, Texas to move to far south Mexico. We bought property on beautiful Laguna Bacalar and had plans for a home and simple life. As it is with life in general, a lot has changed. 

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Some weather heading our way.

The sleepy little village of Bacalar has exploded with hotels, restaurants and tourists. Exploded is a bit sensational, certainly not like Playa del Carmen or Tulum, but on its way. The Laguna is overrun with boat tours taking guests to “explore” the mangroves. The wildlife suffer as the jungle is cleared. It’s not any different from any part of the world where tourism is the primary industry. Locals are being bought out and little homes are being replaced with all-inclusives. We didn’t see it coming.

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The “pirate cove” ruins of a failed restaurant and popular boating destination.

While you might think that we are regretting our move to Mexico, we are not. Due to health challenges and family need, we have spent more than our fair share of time in the US over the past year, both in California (the birth of our granddaughters) and Texas (Lisa’s neck surgery). Both times we were missing our home and wanting to return to Bacalar. Life in the US is no cup of tea either.

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Hiking in Austin. Enjoying the weather.

When I lived in Mexico in the 70’s, it was the time of Watergate, Nixon’s impeachment and the Middle East oil crisis with its winding gas lines. I extended my student stay at that time and received a letter from my father (a first) asking me why I was “hiding out” in Mexico.  One of my teachers didn’t skip a beat and instantly replied, “tell him it’s one of the better places to hide out”.

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I will continue to hide out, paint, walk the dogs and watch the world turn. Times are uncertain for all of us but somehow writing helps me process. I make no promises to how often or what I’ll blog about. Stay tuned.

DOS TORTAS 

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Rocks In My Head

25 Jun

Writing a blog about life in Mexico seemed like a good idea when I started in 2012. As we near the end of our fourth year of living in Bacalar, I did not expect my time to be filled with dealing with my aging body. Two weeks ago was the first time I missed an entry due to illness. Having always been healthy, and I admit, judgmental of others’ aches and pains, I feel the need to tell the truth about what’s been going on. I’m a mess.

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Sunrise from my hammock.

I thank God for the healthcare system here in southern Mexico and the excellent doctors. My motto has always been that a doctor’s is a second opinion since mine is the first. Lately I’ve needed second, third and fourth opinions.

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Isn’t he a cutie? Our internist Oscar Rosaldo.

Back in February I had a sudden and severe headache that took me out. After a day in bed, it resolved itself and I went on my way. Several months later, as we were leaving for Texas, it hit again. Time for that second opinion.

My doctor Oscar sent me for a CT scan which he reviewed with a worried face. There were white spots on my brain that he said were calcium deposits and sent me to an arterial doctor. The arterial doctor did a sonogram of my carotid artery and declared it normal and sent me to a neurologist.

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Painting to stay awake.

The neurologist sent me for an EEG which was a most interesting experience. I had to stay awake all night before the 8:30 am test. It’s been many years since I stayed awake all night and I had concerns if I could do it. It turned out not to be terribly difficult after all.

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The test involved wires attached all over my head which read brain activity during waking, sleeping, lights flashing and numerous other instructions. It turns out that I actually do have rocks in my head and it’s thought that they’ve been there a long time and are not responsible for my headaches. Sigh.

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So I came away with a prescription for migraine medication, having eliminated a tumor and seizures as the cause of my headaches. That’s the way it is with headaches, process of elimination. Since then I’ve had a virus with fever followed by strep throat. I am now on antibiotics and coming out of it. At least I have a comfy hammock to recover in. Gratitude abounds. DOS TORTAS.

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