A New Life! Retirement at its Best 39

Back at the Mac!

I almost missed my promise to write again “next month”, but I am back at the Mac today! The surgery went very well and I found it interesting to hear afterwards what had taken place and how the surgery had been performed while I was sitting in a beach chair like position, totally unaware of what went on. Wearing the black sling afterwards was comfortable most of the time, especially in the beginning. I got used to the fact that everyone asked “what have you done to your shoulder?” and “did you break your shoulder?” and “did you fall?” And, being in a retirement community, most people asked the same questions again the next day, and then the next week. But that’s what you can expect of people in their eighties and nineties. A problem with the rotator cuff is a problem  everyone has heard about, but because there was much more wrong with my shoulder than a torn rotator cuff, I resorted in telling them that no, I had not fallen, I just had voluntary surgery.

Three weeks into PT treatments I thought I could work on the computer again, but writing two emails proved me wrong, and I had to put my arm back in the sling for a while. Last week I had an appointment with the surgeon, who was happy with my progress and set me up with a new 4-week PT protocol, and now I feel finally able to work on the Mac. Oh, and I have been driving again since both Mike and I were weeks past due for a haircut, ten days ago. So all is well.

In the meantime I have witnessed the expression Spring has sprung! In a matter of one week, flowers literally sprung forth everywhere. On bushes, trees, around our pond, in neighboring gardens, everywhere I looked. Many shades of green seemed to jump out of all the branches on the trees, and pine trees grew candles of over a foot long. The Magnolias opened their buds to show the whitest white flowers, and yellow day lilies and fragrant gardenia bushes are all around. It’s truly a beautiful world in which I live and walk.

In and around the pond are now three goose families, each with two goslings, born a month apart. They traverse through our back yard and the “divide”, cross a street in Wimbledon and walk across another lawn to the larger ponds that are there. It’s amazing how far and relatively fast they can walk. I read on Google that goose families stick together and take care of each other’s goslings, like people do in a creche. It is fun to watch them swim and primp, and sleep together, parents always on alert. Two days ago though, I discovered a large heap of feathers at the water’s edge. One of the adult geese had been savagely killed and probably eaten. What could have attacked her? A bird of prey, a snapping turtle from the pond? It’s the first time I heard of snapping turtles, but I think the one I saw in our back yard a few weeks ago was too small to attack an adult goose. 

We have been here exactly one year. Many activities are offered, many outings as well. I participated in a half day trip to a buffalo farm. Buffalo’s in North Carolina? You bet. We drove on a special vehicle drawn by a tractor to a pasture with one of the herds and saw them close up, including two one week old calves. Later on we had buffalo hamburgers for lunch. Hm. Do you know the difference between buffalo and bison? A buffalo is the animal you see in the field, bison is the meat you get to eat. Mike and I saw buffalo for the first time in Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota in 1962. From a distance of course, and it was interesting to see them close up, but I must say that I prefer watching them in their natural habitat.

There is a certain rhythm to the day to day schedule. There are hard boiled eggs every day except Wednesdays and Sundays. Mondays are donut days; Tuesdays there is trash pickup; Wednesdays are hot breakfast days: we can fill out a paper menu to inform the kitchen of our choice: eggs cooked to our preference, bacon or sausage, plain or blueberry pancakes. The servers pick up the menus and take them to the kitchen. But with one burner and one cook it often takes twenty or thirty minutes before we get our food, and those who hand in their forms first get their cooked breakfast first. Because breakfast starts at 8 and PT is at 8:30, I usually resort to the breakfast buffet items like cereal, yoghurt, fruit etc. There are plenty choices. After my surgery one of our lovely cottage neighbors brought us two large slices of carrot cake with 1/2″ thick icing from a bakery in town. A delicious treat, but at first we wondered when to eat them with all the pastries and desserts we already get every day! On Thursday afternoons there is live entertainment in the Café for an hour; on Friday afternoons we have Happy Hour with real wine! On Saturdays there is nothing special except for movies in the theatre, and on Sundays we have brunch.

Visits to the hospital are almost a daily occurrence. People go and come back, sometimes after a few days’ observation for this or that. Unless it is someone we know, like the people we usually have breakfast or dinner with, we hear it through the grapevine. Sometimes a person does not come back and a vase with flowers and a framed picture appears on the front desk, with an obituary on the bulletin board; sometimes the bus takes people to a Memorial Service, sometimes a service is held downstairs in the lovely garden room facing the courtyard with the two ponds, small putting green and flowers. Sometimes, too, people disappear to Assisted Living or to the Memory Care section of our building. At least we can still go and visit those friends. We are getting used to those things and also to the fact that we will get to know some of the Residents well, many on a friendly basis, and many not at all, people whose names we barely know.

A month ago a water pipe broke in Betsy’s kitchen in the middle of the night and flooded her apartment on the second floor, continuing down to Connie’s apartment below it on the first floor. Management provided other apartments for them to stay in while the damage was being repaired, but that took a long time, because first they needed approval from headquarters in Michigan, and insurance needed to be checked. The damage was extensive, both apartments were stripped after possessions were boxed up and taken out. Connie is back in her apartment now, but it will take a few more weeks before Betsy can say the same. Quite an ordeal for them.

And now I am going to a lecture about the Headhunters of the Orinoco, a presentation by one of our neighbors who has lived among them and came out alive.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,