Friday, July 22, 2016

Another birthday milestone--and some interesting thoughts

One year ago today, on my 77th birthday, I embarked on a project of using this blog to chronicle my year. After a year I planned to review the year, reassess, and perhaps publish the blogs. I wrote that I was striding confidently into my 78th year, in good health, with the blessings of family, home, career, wonderful dog. Little did I imagine how much would change in a year nor how I would be tested.

Notable in my mind is the fact that I can no longer claim to be in good health. I am officially disabled and taking advantage of Medicare’s home health services. Long story short: I fell in early May and ended up, through my own stubbornness, with an ankle that a trauma surgeon declared beyond surgical repair—a mixed blessing.

I have been non-weight-bearing on my right foot for five weeks, with no idea when things will change. I wear an orthopedic boot night and day. At first this threw me into a great depression, and I decided this would be the year that I aged. Pulled myself out, with the help of medication, because I knew I didn’t want to live that way.

To complicate matters, I have had troublesome stomach issues for about five weeks—far too long, and a physician’s assistant has ordered overdue tests. I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of this and correct it. I recognize that though my ankle/leg may get better, I may never walk gracefully and there may be canes, walkers, even wheelchairs in my future. That’s okay, better than a lot of alternatives.

My children have been really supportive. Jordan and her family will be moving into my house in late summer, but she has effectively moved her dogs and herself in already, my oldest son came and got me and took me to his house for a week to give Jordan a break, and this past week my oldest daughter has been here doing yeoman’s work, filling in for those chores I can’t do for myself as I scoot about the house riding on a walker. My younger son will spend a few days with me in August when Jordan goes out of town.

Some good things have happened: I published The Gilded Cage, a book that may be the pinnacle of my career. My chili book is a finalist in the cookbook category of the Will Rogers Medallion Award. Construction of a cottage for me—converting garage apartment—is nearing completion, and I hope to move in September.

Most of all I have had the loving support of a wide variety of people. Many have called me courageous, which is not a trait I’d assign to myself. I’d never, for instance, ride a roller coaster. Going down the ramp in a wheelchair is enough adventure for me. But there are different kinds of courage, and if people see my upbeat spirit as courage, good . It gives me a goal to meet.

My son-in-law said tonight I’ve been tested by my journey and come out of it a stronger person. I’d like to think that’s true.

Birthday grins from two adorable grandsons
I no longer make predictions about the coming year. Lord knows what it will bring, but I hope I’ll be ready to continue the journey in good spirits.

Publish my blogs of the past year? It looks like a lot of work. Maybe only if I can hire an assistant.

Thanks to each of you for love and support.



Carina Sebastine said...

Judy, I do hope I am not much too late in wishing you a Happy Birthday!!
What lovely looking family you have, your daughters and grandsons - in the nicest possible way I do envy you.
I hope you will stay well enough to continue your beautiful writing and all, oh maybe some, of the other things you plan to do :)
Greetings from South India, Carina

Judy Alter said...

Thanks, Carina. I plant to be in improved health in the coming year. And to keep writing. And, yes, I am blessed with family.