Category Archives: general topics

So Long, Maxine

Maxine1                                     Saying good bye to Maxine is one of the hardest things I am having to do. For those of you who followed me in the beginning, Maxine lived across the street from me. Of course that is not her real name, but she acts so much and looks so much like the Maxine cartoon that I started calling her that.

She and her husband moved to a retirement community in early January. It is only about eleven miles down the road, but it may as well have been 100. I was feeling my worst and not doing much other than keeping doctors’ appointments and shopping for groceries. Driving that far if not medically necessary was too much of an effort.

Maxine is in her early 80s. Her husband is 93. He has been having health difficulties with his blood for many years. It affects his energy and his cognitive abilities. For a while he was doing quite well, but for the past couple of months he is once again going down hill. Maxine dotes on him like a mother hen. Such dedication among married couples is not exactly common.

They invited me to lunch about a week ago. It will probably be the last time I see them. They are now living in a lovely retirement community. Their’s is a two bedroom apartment on the first floor. I’m not sure what the age range is, but the diners all looked approximately the same age. I had looked into such communities within the last year, but I think I’ll wait about at least ten more years before I make that move.

Alice has intentionally lost about twenty pounds and is looking quite healthy. She seems more filled with energy now that she is not taking care of her big house. Of course with the energy she has, she has met and knows the name of almost everyone in the building. She introduced me to about twenty diners as her neighbor while I was there.

After lunch we went back to their apartment. Her husband was very tired so he excused himself to take a nap. She and I talked about ten minutes more before I headed down the road again. I never have felt at ease to talk in person. It is much easier for me to write.

I love Maxine and will miss her greatly. I never learned that to tell Maxine was to tell the entire neighborhood. She would just mention my affairs to a couple of her friends but she just knew they wouldn’t tell a soul!

I don’t remember being especially that much taller than she, but when I hugged her good bye, her head came to my breast. I have no idea when she started shrinking. She certainly hasn’t stopped talking.

I will always think God put me in this neighborhood for a reason. My son was six when my ex left. Next door we had Grandma Annie and Grandpa John. John died when my son was in the first grade. Grandma Annie passed away when he was in middle school. The couple across the street from them and their daughter all died in the following years. Maxine was always there whenever I needed some help. She’d cook too much and bring over supper pretty frequently. Now Maxine and her husband have moved. I once stayed in this house because I didn’t want to leave the village that was helping to raise my son. Now my son has no desire to return and the village people who meant everything to me has gone.

I wish a Maxine on everyone at some point in their lives. She says she wants to get an IPad but that hasn’t happened yet. She refuses to touch her husband’s computer. I will probably not handwrite letters and she will probably not handwrite answers even if I do. I’m hoping the IPad, if she gets it, will keep us in contact. She always asked me questions that were very personal, she gave me advice I didn’t want, she was able to get more information out of my son than I ever was. She was special. She is the sister I wish I had rather than the one I got. She gave me a gift that few have given to me. She cared. Namaste. Attic Annie

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The Battle Continues…

Thyroid 2

Two days ago I started to write about my experience with being treated, or not, for hypothyroidism. For some reason it didn’t publish.  Yesterday my blog was almost finished and in switching from one site to another, most of it disappeared. I’m definitely rusty at blogging the correct way.

Whether the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome were separate issues in themselves or were a manifestation of problems with my thyroid, I’ll never know. I only know doctors were throwing anti-depressants at me, giving me shots of testosterone, and cringing when I even mentioned what I thought was happening (this was the mid 1980s) was fibro and CFS. Those topics seemed taboo. Could it have been my thyroid? Nobody paid enough attention to even try to find out.

That has been my story for almost twenty five years  with fibromyalgia and CFS. It’s been almost sixty years with questionable thyroid treatment. I have had periods of being just “ok” to having major flare-ups.

Since the title of this blog is “The Battle of the Thyroid Docs” I’ll get back to the topic. A big brouhaha has been happening between the “synthetics” and the “naturals” ever since the middle 1950s when Synthroid was developed.Those of the synthetics think that T4 of such drugs as Synthroid  are the only way to treat hypothyroidism. That was the drug I was placed on in the mid ’60s and stayed on for so many years. There was never any attention paid to what I said about how I felt as long as the TSH level tests were “normal”.

With the advent of the internet, I started doing my own investigating. You know, I was the kind of patient who started asking questions based on my research. It was through that research that I found an alternative in “dessicated  thyroid” which comes from the thyroids of pigs. Those doctors I call the “naturals”. The “synthetics” call them “quacks“.

When I had to find another  yet another doctor due to constant insurance changes, I found one who finally was willing to prescribe the “natural” thyroid. I felt better but year by year I started slipping. When that doctor died I found an endocrinologist who reluctantly allowed me to stay on the Armour. He kept telling me I was “normal” because my TSH level was 4. It was ten years ago that the thyroid physicians decided the range of normal should be .3 to 3. He’s using an antiquated scale! I have just discovered all of this since my last visit. My alternative doctor talked to me about all the symptoms I have been having and told me my thyroid medicine was too low. He recommended increasing my dosage. My feelings of well-being over the past month have been a complete change but that is another day’s blog.

In researching this topic I have discovered there are hundreds of articles about thyroid on the internet. There are pages of comments from patients who fought to gain the freedom to use desiccated thyroid over synthetics. It’s a very interesting search. There are major controversies on both sides.

As for me, yes, I am feeling much better but there are still road blocks. Medicare will no longer pay for desiccated thyroid. On top of that, newer recommendations are saying that thyroid medications should not be prescribed for those over 65. I can’t now find that web site to reference but I will continue to look.

I have already researched doctors in my new place of residence and found one who uses Armour in his practice. I know nothing about him but plan to make him a top priority in finding new docs.

There are millions of women out there who have been along the same path I have had to follow. Out of every ten thyroid patients seven to eight are female. Approximately one in thirteen people in the US have diagnosed or undiagnosed thyroid problems. Synthroid is the third best selling prescription.  The company heavily funds endocrinologists. The makers of the synthetics are banking on women to blindly follow the instructions of these doctors. I can only say to other women, be true to yourselves. How do you actually feel? Are you ready to question? Namaste Attic Annie

 

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Learning All Over Again HELP!

I was halfway through writing yesterday when I had to stop. I saved the draft to finish when I could. Well, now I have the time again but I can’t find the draft to work on it.

I haven’t blogged since December of 2012. So much has changed with WordPress I can’t believe I have to start all over again relearning how to publish. I was proud of myself yesterday when I finally figured out how to add a picture and link sites using visual rather than HTML. I was even researching and using information correctly (I think) directly linking the sites in the material so I wouldn’t be caught plagiarizing.

I’m in the process of moving and can only do a little bit of packing and sorting at a time, so sitting down at my computer is my way of relaxing. It keeps my brain more active than just sitting in front of the TV. I do that as well. I remember when an acquaintance showed me how to originally set up my web page in 2009. My brain was much more able to absorb directions back then and, even though it was very frustrating,  by trial and error I learned how to do pretty much all that I wanted to.

Now I visit the WordPress site and find everything has changed. I click on all places I see, but my “saved draft” is playing hide and seek. My current status says “New Draft”. I know I used to be able to save several drafts so I have hopes that I haven’t permanently sent the old one into oblivion.

Maybe in the new town I will be able to find a WordPress guru who can become my advisor. That would be nice. Right now I’m pretty frustrated with all the blank white spaces and pale blue borders. It’s very soothing to look at but not helpful to my needs right now.

In the meantime, I just have to put yesterday’s draft on hold and hope I can find that lost “child”. Does anyone else who is blogging here have similar problems or am I just showing my age and mental status?

By the way, when I first started blogging I would find a picture that went along with my copy and insert it into my blog. I found a photo on IStock just now I was going to use but when I read the licensing information it says 1 credit is $12.00. Please help! I’m not going to be able to afford any pictures if I have to pay for every one. Where can I find complete guidelines as to what to do?

Namaste Attic Annie

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The Day After Christmas

Christmas Love

My bed was warm and cozy this morning. I managed to sleep until almost 8 a.m. I have made an executive decision that most of the day will be spent in my flannel pajamas and thick fluffy robe, tube socks, and slippers that are faux fleece lined. They look ridiculous because several years ago I covered them with green felt when I went to a Red Hat sleep over. I wore a huge sleep shirt with a picture of a gigantic frog perched on a lily pad. The slippers were converted to frog feet. There were toes at one time but I had made them too long. I kept stepping on them and almost falling so they now have a toe-ectomy. Since no one will see them, I continue to wear them because they are the most comfortable and warmest in my closet.

I’m staying in this attire because it is the warmest and coziest outfit I can think of. I have given up trying to stay warm in my house when the thermostat is set on 68. As the years go by, I have made staying warm more of a priority. It is now set on 70 and the furnace is running almost constantly since it is in single digits outside. My home is as insulated as I can make it, but there is still a slight chill. I give thanks for warmth on cold winter days.

Every once in a while I am given the gift of realizing that I feel really well…not just physically but also spiritually. Today is one of those days. Even though Christmases are a little hard for me, I found comfort in this one.

A birthday buddy I found about seven years ago has included me as part of her family. She has reunited with her estranged father and so she hosts a dinner for him and his wife. After so many years there seems to be a bond forming between them again. I kind of envy that since there was never enough time for me to experience that with my own father.

After the dinner the two of us went to the candlelight service at church. It is the same every year, but this year I felt a solace that I don’t usually sense. Ill feelings about Christmas go all the way back to childhood. It was a little sad when she confided to me on the way home that she is thinking of changing churches. There has been much conflict the last couple of years in our congregation and we split almost in half. She stayed as I did but she is thinking of moving on.

Yesterday I was invited to the gathering at another friend’s home across the street. She cooks a huge pot of tortilla soup, tamales, beans, and makes wonderful chip dip. They buy a honey baked ham which gives me my pork fix for the year. Her family and friends arrive whenever. I walked across the street around one and had a nice visit while all was calm. It was very nice visiting with her and watching huge snow flakes fall outside. As the day went on, her two daughters and their families appeared, and a short while later two more relatives and their families arrived. The house was getting crowded so I decided to come home, full of her delicious food.

Her home is a little more drafty than mine so I had wisely chosen to put on another layer of underwear. By the time all those people had gathered, I was getting a little toasty. My introversion kicked in and I realized it was time to move on. I weary after four hours with any group.

Before I went to bed, another friend called to share her success about hosting her family for Christmas. She has so many best friends I can’t count them all, but she has chosen to add me to her “club”. It is one of those rare honors one is given in life to find a friend like her.

Back in 1968 I was dating a young Marine. He surprised me at Christmas and came home on leave. It was during that time we got engaged. Since he was in officer’s school and knew he would be heading to Viet Nam, I had no idea what to give him as a present. I decided to borrow a negligee gown and wrap from my aunt, (which had remained unworn in her drawer for several years), wrap a ribbon sash around me and sit under the tree with a gift of a big smile. It was a wonderful Christmas. I believed I had been given the gift of love. Things didn’t work out with him, but if I concentrate, I can connect with the good feelings of those few days.

I woke up this morning realizing I had been dreaming about him. I realized that the dream was probably because of “King of the Hill”. John reminds me very much of Hank Hill.  If I wake during the early morning around 4, that show is usually on. I guess I was hearing it in my sleep and started thinking of my love. After all these years I accepted the fact after fighting it for almost fifty years that for a number of reasons there will always be a part of me that loves him, but I realized today that I am setting myself free. Maybe the memories will now fade and I will recognize that that relationship also had its toxic moments that I have too long suppressed and all worked out for the greater good.

Whatever the cause of my feelings of joy today, I am grateful and will relish every minute. It is a new feeling to associate with Christmas and I will hold onto it as long as possible. I hope your days were as blessed as mine. Namaste. Attic Annie

holly

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It Should Pain ALL of Us

Syria-Kid-Close-up-Face-Paint-Girl-English1

http://www.democracychronicles.com/hillary-clinton-attending-meeting-about-syria/

Hillary Clinton says “It pains me.”

She was talking about her feelings concerning the “plight of women in male-dominated societies.”  The little Syrian girl in the picture above is expressing a viewpoint about desiring freedom and peace in her country. It would be very common to assume that she could also be demonstrating a feeling about being a girl if she is old enough to know what it means to be a second class citizen.

If one takes time to view the status of women in the world, it is easy to find examples of what it really means to be born female. Female babies in China are found abandoned or thrown out with the trash reported as recently as July, 2012.  In an effort to stem population growth, China instituted a one child policy in 1978. Although in cities females are more likely to be abandoned, in the rural countryside they are often just killed. If the couple is allowed only one child, they prefer that child to be a boy. The girls who are allowed to grow up are often called worthless and are frequently treated as servants to the parents.

It is dangerous for girls to speak out in these countries. Just think of the Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban just for expressing her desire for an education.

On February 14, One Billion Rising is sponsoring a protest against rape and violence against women around the world. Knowing that to protest is to invite beatings, jail, or even death, women are still willing to rise against inequality and violence. A UN report stated that 250,000 women in sixty-five countries reported rape. That is LESS than 1/3 of all countries in the world and less than half to one fourth of all rapes that occur. Even if the case is reported, more than 97% of the men who rape never spend time in jail. One Billion Rising protests these dismal statistics.

Women in the US can not even today say that they live in equality with men. Discrimination and exploitation are still rampant. Things are improving, albeit extremely slowly. Just one example is how long it took for American women to achieve the right to vote and the treatment of those who spoke up for that right.  These were the stories that were never taught in history classes.

This is still a country where women can parade in ads on TV wearing the skimpiest Victoria Secret lingerie and well covered women breast feeding their babies are kicked out of establishments.

Yes, Hillary Clinton is pained. We should ALL be pained for all women all over the world. The sad part is for every ten men who openly abuse, limit rights, and feel superior to women there are probably at least five women who condone their behavior and accept it as part of life. Many of those who “stand by their man” are in comfortable positions with their husbands and are afraid to rock the boat.  They prefer inequality for others over freedom and personal responsibility for themselves. Just look at the number of women who opposed the Equal Rights Amendment in the ’70s.

I often wonder why men have to feel superior to women. Is it something genetic? It certainly is something culturally engrained around the world. Women are slowly rising in status. Perhaps there is hope in the world that by doing so, the world may come to be a safer more peaceful place. It will not happen in my life, and probably not in my granddaughter’s life, but hopefully seven generations from now we may see progress. Namaste Attic Annie

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YOU KILLED JESUS!!!!???? Say WHAT?

 

youkilledjesus

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, falalalala la la la la

Tis the season to be a radical bigoted hate filled idiot. falalalala la la la la

I do not understand why this unreasonable hatred still rears its despicable head, especially when this is the season when we are supposedly spreading good will to all. I don’t think that action is to be restricted to just Christians. Isn’t it supposed to be to ALL?

Last weekend in Miami Beach, Florida a publicly constructed menorah and dreidel were erected to commemorate the upcoming holiday of Chanukah which starts this Saturday, December 8  and lasts for one week. The menorah, which has been vandalized on previous occasions, was once again desecrated. In front of the display the words “You killed Jesus” were written on the concrete in big black letters.

Whoever felt compelled to do this deed obviously has not done much study of the governmental structure in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. Jesus, a Jew himself, was crucified as was the custom of the Roman authority, not stoned according to Jewish law. Yet, you don’t see desecration  of cathedrals where the majority of the communicants are Italian. Evidently, the Italians have been forgiven for their historic part in this event, perhaps because the country became Christianized  under the emperor Constantine three hundred years after the time of Christ.

The roles of the Jews in this action are still being debated. Even the Mother Church has stated an opinion:

The official position of the Catholic Church on this matter was clearly stated in Vatican II’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (1965): “Even though the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ (cf. Jn 19:16), neither all Jews indiscrimately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion” (#4).

This news was published in 1965! I guess news doesn’t travel very fast these days when it’s as important as this is. The Jews have been pardoned in the case of the death of Jesus, especially Jews living today, 2000 years later.

Yet there are those who insist on unreasonable hatred of an entire religious group because of what they believe, without any study, happened to THEIR Jesus. Is there any other group of people in the entire world that has held on to such vile beliefs about another group for 2000 years?

The Jesus that I know came to show us the way to a better life. He told us to love one another, to have compassion, to seek the God who is within us all. He told us we could do everything that he did and do it better if we only believed. He told us to share. He told us to have faith and live lives simply without greed, envy, jealousy, and HATE. Some people just aren’t getting that message.

“You killed Jesus” makes no sense. I wouldn’t want to be blamed for something my grandfather did a hundred years ago let alone any relative who lived twenty centuries ago.

Time has come for all people of faith to have an opportunity to express that faith openly without fear. So many are fighting to keep Christ in Christmas. Isn’t it time to keep Christ within us? This country is supposed to be a country of religious freedom for all. It’s about time we started acting that way.

Namaste. Attic Annie

miamibeachmenorah

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Why Did I Have To Be Different?

world_tallest_woman

Yesterday I saw the news that in November the world’s tallest woman died at the age of 39. Yao Defen, from China, was 7 feet 7 inches. She lived a very sad life for the most part in a country where adult women average 5 feet. By the time she was 15, she was 6 feet 7 inches and of course was playing basketball. Tallness is revered in basketball but not off the court, especially if one is a young girl.

Medically, her height was as a result of a pituitary tumor. Being poor in rural China, she had no recourse to medical evaluation until she was finally noticed as a teenager. She couldn’t understand why she had to be so different.  All she probably ever wanted was to fit in.

 “I am very unhappy. Why am I this tall?” she said from her bed. “If I were not this tall, others would not look at me like this.”
 
I am 5 feet 7 inches. Even though I am in my mid ’60s, I haven’t yet started to shrink. I realize  that my height is not all that unusual, but in a country where the average is 5’4″ for women, I can still look easily above the heads of most of my friends my age. I reached this height in seventh grade. Except for a couple of boys, my friend and I were the two tallest people in seventh grade. My friend developed a knock out body in high school and started dating the basketball players. For me, it was not that easy. Add to that  I was overweight and you have the picture of an excluded girl who was marginalized for most of her school life.I can’t begin to know all the problems Yao Defen had in her life, being confined to her bed for much of it. I do know what it is like to be known as “different”. In the minds of young women, “different” is the last thing one wishes to be. In many cases, those who don’t have strong parental encouragement develop egos that tank in the toilet by the time they reach high school.In high school I was never really “in” one group. I was allowed to float on the edge of three different groups until I finally gave up my senior year and more or less stayed by myself. By that time I had “ballooned” to a tight size 16 while most of the other girls were in their single digit clothes. Most of the boys by that time were either my height or taller but my weight still kept me on the outs.

I have never understood the importance of being “normal”. I’m sure it happens all over the world but here in America being anything but cute and petite at least through high school, is a recipe (at least it was in the 50s and 60s) for loneliness.

With the number of obese girls skyrocketing in America, it is even more prestigious to be in the petite group. Girls are dying of anorexia to maintain their membership in that exclusive club. Those that are proportional but taller don’t have the means to do anything at all about their heights. Americans are still holding their heads in the clouds and maintaining the extreme importance of being “normal” in size.

A friend of mine is 5’9″. We talked about being tall. In her words as she was growing up, “It SUCKED!” Yes, being anything but “normal” does suck.

I’m certain the life of Yao Defen sucked. Although there are no answers, for those that are kept on the  outside for whatever reason, life sucks. It is being an outsider that creates so often the destructive behaviors that are not “normal”. Living on the edge for many hurts.

We are entering the season of “good will to men (and women)”. During this season many people seem to be kinder and more welcoming to everyone. Wouldn’t it be great if the season of good will lasted all year long? Wouldn’t it be great to live where there is no normal, where everyone fits in and there are no exclusive clubs anywhere? It ain’t going to happen, but wouldn’t it be great? Namaste. Attic Annie

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