Followers of the blog know I had great plans for a good adventure on the road last summer. Only part of it worked out. The part that did was great. Visiting with family in North Carolina that included meeting grand nieces and nephews I’d never seen, and spending a week in New Jersey with friends. The soaring price of gasoline and the fact that I ended up putting THREE alternators into the old Mitsubishi were factors in scrubbing the complete voyage.
If you scroll down a few posts, here, you’ll find “Reconnections.” Since I wrote that the lady in the story and I have literally spent HOURS texting and talking on the phone. Last night I bought a ticket to Chicago and I’m going to spend my 80th Age Advancement Day with her. (You only have one BIRTHDAY, after all. The rest are just excuses for cake and candles.)
Eighty is one of what I call “Milestone Birthdays.” First comes 13. Now you’re a teenager. Sixteen is next. Now you can get a driver’s license. Then comes 18. You’re able to vote. On your 21st you rush out to buy your first legal alcoholic beverage. There’s really not another notable celebration until you turn 50. You’ve made it a HALF CENTURY! Another 25 years slip by, if you’re lucky, then you’ve packed 3/4 of a century under your belt. Eighty hits the mystic “Four Score.” Now you begin to wonder if you’ll be able to outlast the icon of old age, Keith Richards, even though he is younger than you.
I spent all, or part, of five years living in Chicago. The last time I was there was in 1977. So this is definitely going to be an adventure.
If someone says they’re Sicilian it would be hard to tell where they come from…New York or New Jersey would be first guess. But if someone said they’re Sicilian and POLISH, they’d HAVE TO be from Chicago.
Me? I’m pretty much pure white bread. Mostly English stock with a dash of Scot and Irish and a bit of French Huguenot thrown in from my mother’s side.
Once when I was in high school I was searching for something in my parent’s antique desk in our living room. I came across a genealogy from my mother’s English lineage that traced back to Banquo. Banquo was the Thane of Lochaber, a character in William Shakespeare‘s 1606 play Macbeth. In the play, he is at first an ally of Macbeth (both are generals in the King’s army) and they meet the Three Witches together. After prophesying that Macbeth will become king, the witches tell Banquo that he will not be king himself, but that his descendants will be. Later, Macbeth in his lust for power sees Banquo as a threat and has him murdered by three hired assassins. I put it back in its place and that’s all I remember of it.
One day, bored at work, I “Googled” myself to see what I could come up with. I’d written a lot of freelance magazine articles and thought I might find those. In my search I found the “Philbrick/Philbrook Family Association.” I thought that was interesting so I sent them an email saying I was Richard Philbrick and my father was James and HIS father was James, etc. A couple of days later I got a 32 page genealogy tracing the family back to the 1100s in England! Far effin’ out!!
I also discovered that the first Philbrick to hit these shores was Thomas Philbrick, a ship’s captain who arrived in Plymouth Colony in 1630 and settled in Watertown, just outside of Boston. He lived there for several years and then left and became one of the first settlers of coastal New Hampshire. Lots of Philbricks are to be found there today.
What’s really interesting, to me, is that the Eatons, my mom’s family, arrived in New England and settled in Watertown in 1635. Now, how large a population could Watertown have had in 1635 that the Philbricks and the Eatons wouldn’t have known each other? I bet they did, and 300 years later a descendant from each family would meet, fall in love and voilà, here I am.
A lot of people did a lot of work digging into the family history and for several years they published a quarterly newsletter. In that I learned that one of my ancestors was a captain in the Revolutionary Army and was with Ethan Allen at the capture of Fort Ticonderoga. Philbricks fought in the Civil War, and like in the Revolution, on the winning side. There were Philbricks who became Mormons and made the trek to the Great Salt Lake with Brigham Young.
Then I found the web site Phamous Philbricks…Discovering who some of my distant cousins are blew my mind. You’ll have to go there and find out for yourself…
Living on a small boat in The Swamp off the Saint Johns River in Central Florida, I am in close contact with gators on a daily basis…This six footer was about a foot away from the side of my boat. No matter how hot it is in the middle of the summer you DON’T go swimming here.
I saw this, this morning, when I went on line…https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/how-to-survive-alligator-attack/index.html
When I decided to take my epic road adventure last summer I changed my pharmacy from CVS to Wally World. I used CVS when I was anchored off of Anna Maria Island. It was on the free trolley route directly across the street from my dcoctor and next to the Publix supermarket. One stop does it all. There are lots of CVS pharmacies around, but Wally is EVERYWHERE.
The Wally World pharmacy near where I’m moored in The Swamp off the Saint Johns River in Central Florida has been an excellent place to get my prescriptions taken care of. I have gotten nothing but excellent service from the people there and checking pricing on line they beat CVS and Walgreens on almost everything. Sometimes it’s only pennies. Other times there are significant savings.
One thing they’re excellent about is text messaging me when it’s time to get a refill. BUT the one I received today was a bit vague. It said that my prescription for “BRE” was about to be filled. Problem is I have TWO COPD prescriptions that have the letters “BRE”…Breo Ellipta and Breztri. While I used the Breo for several years the Breztri seems to do slightly better in treating my symptoms. But talk about EXPENSIVE. The list price is $783!!! With my insurance, though, I only have to shell out $43. It’s all a rip!
I called the pharmacy and they’re going to fill the Breztri.
I think the last time I wore suspenders was in 1960 when I rented a tux for the senior prom. Since then it’s always been belts. But they’ve been a problem in the last few years.
Last week my most recent belt died. It was a nice, leather belt with dozens of holes along the center line so the size of my waist line wasn’t a problem. I could make it as tight as needed. After my bout in the hospital five years ago when I nearly expired because of complete renal shut down I lost a ton of weight. About 20 pounds. I’ve only regained about eight or nine of them in the past five years. As a result the waist bands of my pants don’t match the waist line of my svelte body. Yes, I STILL have a couple pair of jeans from back then. They were 34s. I’m now around a 32 on a fat day. The reason I still have those pants is because I absolutely detest clothes shopping and avoid it until I have nothing left to wear. So, when I cinch the belt all that extra material gets wadded under the belt. I wear my tees and guayaberas outside the trousers to hide that.
When I was at Wally World to get a new belt I saw a package of suspenders. Same price as the less expensive belts which is what I was going to buy and I thought, why not these, too, as well as the belt? I got the belt, but when back at the boat I attached the braces and…I like them. A LOT!
But they were just plain black and I wanted something a little nicer. I looked on line and ended up ordering something a little “showier” …
But I wish I’d seen these, first…
Since I rarely go out in the world these days even three pair of suspenders are probably two too many.
Don’t want Jews to feel left out on this Holy Weekend…
A lot of times there are things I’d like to say to people but they’re so inappropriate that I don’t.
Like there’s a cute older woman who works at the local Walmart neighborhood market where I do most of my grocery shopping. To me she falls into the category of “Once a hottie, still a hottie…” Helen Mirren and Jamie Lee Curtis fall in that category as clarification of what I mean. Anyway, sometimes when I see this lady at the store I’d like to say, “Listen, if I should collapse in some aisle here, I’d like you to be the one to give me mouth-to-mouth until the paramedics get here.” But I keep my mouth shut.
Down in Panama where I lived for eight years breast feeding openly is simply normal. Nobody thinks a thing about it unlike here in the Puritanical Great White North. The women of the Ngäbe-Buglé, the largest of the indigenous tribes, and who flourish in Bocas del Toro and Chiriqui provinces, wear a traditional dress called an “enagua” (pronounced nah wa).
Breastfeeding is so common that these dresses often have slits in the bodice which the women use to expose the breast for the child to suckle. Non-indigenous women in western clothes would simply unbutton their blouses to give the baby access to the breasts.
The buses in Panama are generally nice, air-conditioned, 30-seat Toyota Coasters instead of discarded U.S. school buses, though there are still a few of those around.
There was a narrow aisle down the center of the bus and seats on either side. These seats, of necessity, weren’t very wide and could barely hold two normally-sized people. No such thing as “social distancing” when you were riding on these buses. In the years that I rode them there were many times when a pretty, young mommy would board with her infant and sit in the empty spot beside me. Probably a half-dozen times when the infant got restless the girl would unbutton herself, whip out a boob and stick it in the kid’s mouth to calm it down. Well, naturally, we’re sitting there literally rubbing shoulders and it’s totally impossible NOT to see what’s going on. That’s when I sometimes thought of saying, “Listen, if you’re not using the OTHER ONE right now…” But I kept my mouth shut.
At my last visit to the pulmonologist I wasn’t able to complete the 6-minute walking test to check how my blood/oxygen level held up. I made it about half way through and I was gasping for breath. Of course, having to wear a mask wasn’t helping the situation at all. On top of that my nearly 80 year old hips were starting to hurt. So I stopped. My 02 level had dropped from 96% to 91%.
So, what should one’s blood oxygen level be? Official Answer. Between 88% and 92% is considered safe for someone with moderate to severe COPD. Oxygen levels below 88% become dangerous. If oxygen levels dip to 84% or below, go to the hospital. These readings are for a person at rest.
I’m bumbling along through life at 21% of lung capacity according to a recent full-function test. Curious about how my lungs are functioning with assimilating the oxygen I bought one of those meters the nurse puts on your finger when you check in at the doctor’s office.
I then made up a spreadsheet to keep track of things.
As you can see my levels drop into the 80% range when I do anything in the least bit strenuous. My heart rate jumps and I gasp for breath. But the oxygen levels rise back into the upper 90s generally in less than 30 seconds and my heart rate drops as well. But the gasping often takes several minutes to get back to what passes for “normal” these days. This isn’t a whole lot of fun. One of these days I’m sure I’m going to have to consider the whole oxygen concentrator equipment issue. Not looking forward to that at all.
In other health-related thoughts.
The other day I learned that a person I’ve known since they were about 10 years old when I was in college in the late 60s has brain cancer. The prognosis is he’s got 6 to 9 months left. That’s sad. What I find mystifying, though, is that he’s going to start radiation treatments. Why in the world would someone do that? Why would someone subject themselves to the pain and sickness and endless hours of vomiting when they’re going to cash it in in less than a year? I don’t understand. Nobody’s getting out of this thing alive. Are they so frightened of the inevitable that they’ll do anything for another day or two? Not me. That’s why I wear a medic alert tag around my neck saying “Do Not Resuscitate.” When it’s time to go it’s time to go. There’s no bargaining to be done. It’s over!