Thoughts, quirky insights and experiences in my meandering life.

You don’t know what you’ve got…

til it’s temporarily gone. I have a broken down knee. There really is something about reaching my mid sixties. For most of my life my health has been good, very good really, when I think of what others have had to deal with. I enjoy cardio classes, aquafit, walking Tucker and all over town, Tai Chi, yoga. I eat well, or at least I think I do, and sleep, well poor sleep as we age is the big secret that we are never told about. And then, mid sixties, health irritations started to creep in. Besides my knee, mystery teeth pain, mystery sinus pain. Back, shoulder and arm pain. The last three are inevitable I think, for a massage therapist after a long career. But my health seemed to go from being good to being a pain in the neck, literally. I suppose I knew it would happen some day, but not yet. Mid sixties? The new 40’s?

Going up the Caen Flight at Devizes

The final straw for my knee happened during Tai Chi! The last place I would have expected it to happen. One second I was fine, then a ping and the pain was overwhelming. There was a paramedic in the class, Jim, that tied three bandages together so I could support my leg while sitting in a wheeled chair that was designed to help people into a swimming pool. The chair was driven by a respiratory therapist, Patty, who kept telling me to keep my arms in because I was frightened I would hit the door frame, or the elevator door, so was reaching out to stop that. She was a good chair driver but it was a beast to move. I got into the back of Dan’s car, a third volunteer. I had to bum my way back to rest my leg on the seat, I am glad they were all in class that day. And then off we went to the emergency department, where the security guard brought out a broken down wheelchair for me to get into. After a relatively short wait I saw a doctor. I was referred for an MRI, given pain meds and sent home with crutches and a brace. In two weeks I will see an orthopedic surgeon and hopefully a few months from now they will clean out the floating bodies and torn cartilage in my knee. I am being well taken care of by a medical system that is vastly overstretched and understaffed. BUT, what a difference having mobility issues makes. Argh. No driving for a bit, limited walking, no cardio. Everything takes longer, it’s tiring and a blasted nuisance. When I owned my own business and someone asked how I was the answer would be how the business was. Now, it is about the knee. Or not. I am really trying not to be the person you dread asking how they are because you will get a litany of their health woes, and now I understand why! I guess we are all a bit self obsessed.

View from the Tithe Barn in Bradford-on-Avon

It is not going to stop me going on the two trips I have planned. A short knitting cruise. Yes, you read that correctly. A Caribbean cruise with a group of knitters. I found out about it and persuaded my cousin Cathy to join me. My first cruise. Wonder if I will like it. We are going to be knitting a neck cowl on the blue Caribbean seas.

Going through Newbury

The second trip is three weeks back on a Narrowboat on the Kennet and Avon canal. My cousin Jim, who had been on Little Star with me for a week along with his wife Karen was all over it when I said I was getting itchy to go on another trip, so this May we are. Along with more friends and family rotating through. That is why there are photos of narrowboats on this blog. You don’t exactly want to see the inside of an emergency room, or a swollen knee!

Somewhere on the Kennet and Avon Canal. Love the view through the door.

So it was my knee that finally prompted me to finally write another blog. To follow up on my last one about getting my life in order in preparation for death. Or incapacity.

Reading, first night on the Kennet and Avon. Big city lights

The new Will is done, my doctor has the contact info for my POA (Power of Attorney) for health, and has my wishes for end of life care in my health records. My lawyer will be my executor as I didn’t want to put the burden of wrapping up my estate on family or friends. Being an executor is a heck of a lot of work. And you pay the lawyer the same as you would pay the executor and they have more experience with these things, so can do things faster. At least that is the hope. The lawyer also knows how to contact my POA’s for health and property, and vice versa. So it is nearly all done. What is left is disposal of my personal property and I am working on that. It is sad to know that my collected possessions will probably not be treasured by family, but they are mostly far away and have no sentimental attachment to any of it. I may try to force some family “treasures” on them, including some family jewellery, and they can do what they like with them. I am smiling as I write this. And why would my friends want it? They have enough stuff of their own. We are all trying to get rid of things. So it will be dispersed out in to the world by an estate sale or given to charity, and I guess some items chucked away. I will continue to enjoy them for the foreseeable future though.

Turf lock, Kennet and Avon Canal

Along with tangible possessions are the intangible. Email accounts, websites, social media accounts. I have just found out that gmail will delete your account after you have not signed in to it for 2 years. I was trying to figure out how to delete it but couldn’t get back into it because the cell phone number I had used for a verification code was no longer valid. After going around in circles for a while I did some searching and found the above info. So hopefully those gmail accounts that I no longer use will eventually go away. Facebook now has a system in place to delete accounts so will look into it. Two friends accounts are still around many years after their deaths. It is the last hurdle.

Filling the lock. Kennet and Avon Canal

It has taken well over a year to get to this point. And when I reflect on why the best reason I can come up with is because of all the decision making that has to be made. And all the thinking about it. Which is something that is easy to not do. Some of the sticking points were: Deciding who to choose as POA for health. Having a conversation with my POA for health about exactly what I wanted, not only when something drastic happens but going through a variety of scenarios where I may be incapacitated and unable to make decisions for myself. For my POA for property, writing down information so that they can easily step into my shoes to keep my life running financially. Not easy when so much is electronic now, and computers and phones are locked by a code. Thinking about what I want my estate divided, what percentage for each beneficiary and making sure that the lawyer has the correct contact information. Choosing a lawyer whose values align with my own, and choosing an executor. And how to dispose of my “stuff”. After helping friends with their family member’s possessions I don’t want to inflict that on anyone. Then of course how I want my body to be disposed of, green burial please. I am glad that it is almost done, and glad to know it is done.

A right angle bend in the canal to go over an aqueduct. Kennet and Avon Canal

I intended to write about this tidying up process in an ongoing way, and I haven’t. So sometime over the next little while I will write a blog about the specifics of what was involved hoping that it may be useful to you and others. I will include references to organizations and forms, check lists I developed etc. And if after that I still want to I may put a workshop together. Will wait and see on that. Don’t hold your breathe, there will probably be a knitting cruise blog and narrowboat trip blog before that.

Bath, of course.


Embracing life, preparing for the inevitable


I Went on a Knitting Cruise

1 Comment

  1. Brenda Rau

    You have been busy….sorry to hear about your knee and hope it gets sorted out quickly. Envious to hear about your trips, but hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends.
    Keep well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén