Tag Archives: health

Requiem for the Status Quo, on #LisaBurton Radio

“Hello, caller. You’re on the air with Lisa Burton. What can we do for you today?”

“I don’t think I’ve met you, Lisa, this is Patrick Quinn, can you please put my daughter, Colleen, on the phone?”

“Sorry, Patrick I think you’ve got the wrong number. I’m actually a radio talk-show host, Lisa the robot girl.”

“Robot girl? What can I do for you?”

“Well, Patrick, you called me and I’m glad you did. Now that we’re on the air, what would you like to talk about?”

“If I had my druthers, I’d like to talk about and to Connie. She’s my wife. She died a few years ago. Let me tell you about her … did you say your name is Laura?”

“Close, it’s Lisa.”

“Let me tell you, Lisa, that wife of mine was a firecracker, she sure kept me on my toes but a few years ago now, she got her wish to die in her sleep. Let me tell you, that’s a wish that I’m sorry came true.”

“I’m sorry about your wife’s passing, Patrick.”

“Me too, and you see, it used to be that I felt I could communicate with her, you know, even though she’s in whatever and wherever the afterlife has to offer, but I don’t seem to be able to reach her anymore.”

“You’re saying you can’t talk to her anymore? I’m sure she’s still there somewhere, Patrick, I bet she still hears you.”

“Well, that’s good to know, thanks for saying so. Just wish I could hear her. Ya’ see, it seems my brain isn’t exactly tuned in to her anymore. Colleen, did I tell you she’s my daughter? She understands all about that, she’s a darn good caregiver for her old man as well. The last thing I ever wanted was to be a burden to her, she deserves to have a life of her own, ya’ know.”

“Wait a minute, your daughter’s your caregiver, does this mean you’re not feeling well?”

“Nice of you to ask, Miss Laura, um Miss Lisa? Anyway, other than my prostate that’s acting up something fierce, I’m feeling fine, I just can’t remember things as well as I used to because of a dementia thing I’ve got. The Doc says it’s Alzheimer’s plus something else, I can’t remember the something else…well, I guess it’s no surprise I can’t remember. So when Colleen and I met with the Doc, now he’s a real smart guy, let me tell you, he’s a brain doctor so he’s gotta be…um, what was I saying?”

“You and your daughter met with a smart doctor.”

“Right, so the Doc, he says there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s so Colleen and I knew right away that wasn’t good news at all, which, let me tell you, didn’t sit at all well with either of us. I said to the doctor, I said, “Look Doc, there must be a pill or two I can take, isn’t there?” Then I said, “They’ve got a pill that can give a man a four-hour erection, can’t they give me a pill that’ll take care of my withered brain?” Get it, withered?”

“Um, yeah, that’s kind of funny.”

“I thought so too, but the doctor didn’t laugh, I guess he was supposed to be serious and all, but I thought the erection comment would lighten the mood.––”

Give me that Dad, who are you talking to? Hello, who is this?”

“I’m Lisa Burton, the robot girl. I was just having a pleasant conversation with Patrick. Who are you?”

“I’m his son, Jonathan, I have to apologize about my dad, he’s not exactly right in the head…”

“I don’t know, he made total sense to me.”

“He’s got Alzheimer’s so that would be a first, him making sense. It’s pretty difficult for everyone, I mean …”

“Well, Jonathan, I would imagine it must be more difficult for your wonderful, father, wouldn’t you say?”

“I know, you’re right, it’s just that Colleen, she’s my sister who I hope will be back soon from a support group meeting she attends, she’s the one who is more involved with him so I’m not used to when he asks the same question over and over again. And the other day, he was at my wife’s and my house for dinner, and even though my wife told him what type of soup we were eating several times, it was squash soup, he kept forgetting. It was pretty embarrassing, I know that sounds harsh, but I’m just being honest.

“Oh, and the other day, Dad walked to a restaurant near his house to meet up with some Korean war buddies of his and he got lost and he forgot to put his house keys in his pocket. Colleen had put a Contact list of people in his wallet, you know, her and me, so the police were able to get in touch with someone who had keys to help him get home. We thought he was still able to live on his own without getting into trouble but Colleen and I are going to have to figure something out, and soon.”

“Jonathan, do you ever attend the support meetings?”

“I don’t really need that kind of crutch, and besides, anything I need to learn about my dad’s disease I can find on the internet.”

“How’s that working out for you?”

“I only go to websites I know are professional so I get all the correct information.”

“What I meant was, how’s that working for you, not getting support from people going through the same thing as you are? Maybe hearing how others handle stuff related to their loved one’s illness would be good for you. Sometimes the textbook answers aren’t as good as the real-life ones. Maybe the medical journals don’t adequately address the person inside the diseased body, how they feel, what they need from a personal perspective. I don’t know, I guess what I’m saying is it couldn’t hurt, right?”

“I’ll think about it…just a sec, my dad’s saying something.”

“Jonathan, what happened to that nice lady who called me. Did you find out what she wanted?”

“Dad, I’m just saying goodbye now. Sorry, Lisa, I have to go, and, uh, thanks for listening.”

“How about it, listeners. Have any of you ever had to care for a family member or friend with dementia? My author, Craig lost a grandparent to this horrible disease, and while he wasn’t the caregiver, it was hard on his entire family.

“You can learn more about Patrick, Colleen, and Jonathan in the novel, Requiem for the Status Quo, by Irene Frances Olson. I’ll post all the purchase links and other pertinents on the website.

“For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton. Please use those sharing buttons to help Irene spread the word. The book is available today for the first time, so I’m honored to be part of Irene’s and Patrick’s release day events.”

***

Family caregivers are oftentimes ruthlessly challenged by uninvolved family members who are quick to condemn, but reticent to offer assistance. Such is the case for Colleen Strand, a widow who recently found her own footing who takes on the task of caring for her father, Patrick Quinn, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Her older brother, Jonathan, criticizes Colleen at every turn and verbally abuses the father when he has the gall to exhibit symptoms of his disease. In short, Jonathan travels down the road of denial, leaving Colleen to deal with all matters regarding their father’s care.

Connected tenuously to a father who barely remembers her and a brother who has become an enigma, Colleen faces the moving target that is Alzheimer’s disease, determined to clothe her father with the dignity he deserves, while struggling to squeeze every minute of time she can from him.

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon Barnes & Noble Black Rose Writing Books-A-Million Indiebound

Irene Frances Olson writes from passion and experience. She was her father’s caregiver during his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Having previously worked in memory care, she was not new to the disease, nor was her family immune. Irene hopes to make a difference in the lives of others by writing novels that encourage and support those who just might need another person in their corner.

***

You can also find Irene on the following social media sites:

Author website

Twitter: @Boomer98053

Facebook: @RedmondWriter

Instagram: irenefrancesolson

 

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Odd Job Girl, on Lisa Burton Radio

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl. What if you had to completely reboot your life? Maybe it’s not so bad in your twenties, it might even seem common. But what about someone in their fifties? In the studio with me today is Imogen Smythe, and she’s had to do exactly that. “Welcome to the show, Imogen.”

“Thank you very much for having me on the show today Lisa it is great to be here.”

“My bio says you were happily married, but apparently that happiness was one sided.”

“I did consider myself happily married Lisa, and thought that my husband Peter was too. Unfortunately I discovered that for the last two years he has been living a double life. We have three amazing children, two daughters and a son and during the last twenty-five years we have faced challenges but also had some good years. In fact we were planning a special trip to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary when Peter came home and broke the news that he was leaving me.”

“Imogen, our listeners will want to know why. Was it something illegal, substance abuse, or violence?”

“No that would not be Peter’s style as he is very conscious about appearances and how people perceive him, which is why being a philanderer is the last thing I expected from him. But, it would seem that looking bad in the eyes of his family and his business partners was the last thing on his mind when he fell for the charms of what I call a ‘fast-tracker’ called Stephanie. A young woman who feels that she would rather have a wealthy husband that someone else has loved and supported through the tough years, than go through it herself.”

Philanderer! God that’s such a good word. And I apologize if there is some residual love there, but what an asshole. Did you take him for everything he’s worth?”

“To be honest Lisa I was in total shock when he calmly announced that he was leaving. It took me several days to just process it and break it to our children. Who, I am ashamed to say had their suspicions for some time; whilst I missed the signs completely. After the shock wore off, I asked him why after managing to keep it a secret for two years, he had decided to leave now. It turns out that she had wanted him to leave me for some time but he said no. Suddenly she was pregnant and he said he wanted to do the right thing!

“Considering his lack of interest in our children when they were born and his insistence that we only have the three, made this even more surprising. As if this was not hurtful enough, he managed to twist the cause of his affair around to making it my fault. Apparently, I had not shown him enough attention after the children were born and I had become frumpy and boring to come home to each night. Hurtful though that was, one look in the mirror and I had to admit he was right. I had become very frumpy looking.

“I didn’t have the heart to fight the terms of our divorce. Peter being a banker had taken care of all our finances over the years and he wanted to keep the house, or rather his new wife wanted to keep the house. He bought me the small home I live in backing onto Epping Forest and I managed to salvage furniture and items that reminded me of happier times. Stephanie his new wife wanted to completely redecorate and outfit the house with new furnishings throughout. With the children grown and at university he also settled a monthly sum for me to cover expenses. I think my children did intercede on my behalf, otherwise I am not sure what I would have been left with.

“It took me several months to adjust and I afraid that I took solace in ice-cream and white wine and barely left the house. Instead of taking care of myself however, I did transform my new house which gradually brought me back to life. But I was now bored and restless. I had always been busy with volunteering, taking care of our children and home plus Peter’s entertainment commitments. I discovered that I missed my old life more than I missed the trappings that went with it. I knew that I had to get a grip and look for something to get me out of the house and back into the world.

“Getting a job at 50 is not easy for anyone and I knew that I had to get myself into better shape before attending interviews. I was living on the edge of the forest with fantastic walks so began a daily exercise routine. I then went into London and had a complete hair makeover which cost a fortune but made me feel a million dollars, and of course there was the little matter of retail therapy that resulted in a new wardrobe. At the end of six weeks I was a stone lighter and ready for the next step of finding a job.”

“Makeovers are awesome, aren’t they? I do a ton of them on myself, but I also get them when I make Craig’s promotional posters. Oh, and you look great, by the way.”

“Thank you that is always good to hear especially from someone as glamorous as you, Lisa. And yes, it boosted my self-esteem and I did begin to get some compliments which at first I felt very uncomfortable with. And something else that I now see was a sign things were not right with Peter. I realized it had been a long time since he had noticed what I was wearing or complimented me on a new hairstyle.

“As good as I now felt physically, I still worried that I had little to offer a new employer. It had been so long since my last job before we were married, and I didn’t think that my little bit of voluntary work would count. However, I thought if I at least wrote down all the jobs I had before, then with some description of my duties, it might give a prospective employer an idea of what I could be capable of. I actually found myself reliving the events and experiences and slowly as I did so I began to gain a little more confidence.”

“So with a shiny new résumé, you’re about to go searching for work. It’s kind of scary and exciting at the same time. Tell me-

“Wait, we have a caller. Hello, you’re on the air with Lisa and Imogen. Do you have a question for Imogen?”

“Yes, and thank you. I am actually a long time listener Lisa and you can imagine my surprise when I tuned in today to hear that your guest is my former wife. This is Peter Smythe and at first I was not going to call in because I find this rather embarrassing. I haven’t seen my wife for several months and hearing her talking about us so candidly has hit me quite hard. I am hoping Lisa that you might let me put my side to the story.”

“I am not sure about that Peter; from all accounts you put your side of the story when you left Imogen. Is there anything you disagree with from what Imogen has told us of the break-up?”

“Well no I can’t, and I wish that I could. I know that it appears that I behaved very badly but I would like to say something to Imogen about how I feel today about it.”

“To be honest Peter this is typical of you. I don’t hear from you for months and you insert yourself into my interview with Lisa. No doubt to try and convince those listening that I was in the wrong and you were the injured party.”

“No I promise Imogen that I just want to put the record straight. You lost all interest in me when the children came along and I was working long hours. How did you expect me to be there as a full-time father. That is why I didn’t want you to work as they needed you at home. And we had enough money for you to take care of yourself and there was no need to let yourself go as you did. I am sorry, but when Stephanie came along it was as if I was in my 20s again and having fun like we did before the children came along. But, I have some news. Things have not been going well in the last few months since the baby arrived and Stephanie and I have split up. I am living in a flat in town and I realize that I made a huge mistake in leaving you. Our children don’t want to speak to me either and I want to try and see if we can make another go of it as a family. Don’t you think we could make another go of it? What do you think Lisa?”

“Sorry, slick, not having it. Seems to me you made a promise, a special kind of promise called a vow, twenty-five years ago. You broke your word, and now you want poor Imogen to believe your word is good. Why should she?”

“I was a good provider for twenty-five years, Imogen didn’t have to do anything but bring up the children and run our home. If she had been more attentive then perhaps I would not have had to find another relationship outside. It takes two to keep a marriage happy and I did my part.”

“You know what Peter, I think that you have just summed up the reasons we split up very well and also why we could never get back together again. I am sorry that your relationship with Stephanie has broken down and I am sure that she will make sure that she keeps the house and is well provided for. But I hope you spend more time with this baby than you did ours. My advice is to try and patch things up and make it work for the sake of your child as I am most certainly not interested in patching things up. It has gone too far for that now.”

“Well then there is nothing more to be said is there. I thought that I would give you another chance but it seems you don’t appreciate what I am offering you. And I won’t be listening to this show again either.”

“I am really sorry that you and your listeners had to hear that, Lisa. When I came on this show it was to encourage men and women to find a way through a sudden change in their lives. I had no idea that it would become so personal.”

“Please don’t apologize. Our listeners will be happy to see you confident and on your game. I sincerely hope you can find a job first, and then build whatever kind of happiness you can. As they say, you do you. If that’s crazy cat lady, or a nice garden somewhere, so be it.”

“Actually, there is someone special. We met through the employment agency that is working with me to find a job.”

“Oooo, I like it. So do you think this could wind up going somewhere?”

“We shall see. It is early days yet but he is a really nice man who seems to think that I am fun to be with. I shall be taking things very slowly.”

“Well, I for one, wish you all the best. Any closing comments for our listeners today?”

“Thanks for having me, and I had no idea that it would turn into such a dramatic interview. But it has confirmed to me that I am now on the right path. I hope any man or woman listening, who feels alone and at a crossroads, can now see that there is a way forward to a new life.”

“You can read more about Imogen in the book, Odd Job Girl, by Sally Cronin. I’ll post all the deets on the website.

“You can help Imogen and Sally out by using the sharing buttons on your way out. I’m sure they will do it for you when your character appears on a future episode.

“Speaking of future episodes, I’m always looking for guests. If one of your characters would like to appear on Lisa Burton Radio, have your people contact my people at the following: Coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com.”

***

Imogen was fifty!

Life is unpredictable and will often throw you a curve ball that knocks you out of the park.

For Imogen this curve ball knocked her out of a twenty five year marriage and a lovingly renovated home into a single life at age 50. She had been a very contented wife and mother of two children, who for every one of those 25 years had thought her husband had been equally as happy. It was a shock to find out that she had been delusional and replaced so easily.

Her confidence was non-existent. She had forgotten any skills she possessed and was totally unprepared to enter the modern job market. Or so she thought.

When we find ourselves in a new place and time in our lives, it is not unusual to meet others who have experienced similar traumas and also those who understand how to help you pick up the pieces.

Surprising though these events had been, nothing prepared Imogen for the realisation that she still had what it took, both in the work environment and when it came to her heart.

It was a journey into the past to rediscover who she had always been and a step forward into the future and a new adventure in life.

Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Print & Ebook

After working in a number of industries for over 25 years, I decided that I wanted to pursue a completely different career, one that I had always been fascinated with. I began studying Nutrition and the human body twenty years ago and I opened my first diet advisory centre in Ireland in 1998. Over the last 18 years I have practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as written columns, articles and radio programmes on health and nutrition. I published my first book with a Canadian self-publisher in the late 90s and since then have republished that book and released nine others as part of our own self-publishing company. Apart from health I also enjoy writing fiction in the form of novels and short stories.

For the last four years I have been enjoying life as a blogger and post on a variety of subjects including Book and author promotions, health, short stories, poetry and humour. As a writer I love getting instant gratification and blogging is like chocolate… it does just that.

Sally would love to have you contact her at the following places:

Blog

LinkedIn

Twitter

Facebook

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Public Service Announcement

I'm going to invite everyone to re-blog, tweet, and otherwise share this post today. We all wish our posts got that much love, but this one is important. If you are a man, love a man, or maybe both, this post is important.

I debated long and hard about sharing this at all. It involves personal information, and I like to keep a bit of privacy. I had to weigh the fact that my mother reads this blog, along with at least two co-workers, against the possibility of helping someone else. Someone else won.

Popular rumor holds that a man should have certain things checked medically once he turns 50. In typical male fashion, I waited until I was 53 and 8 months to schedule my colonoscopy. This is a degrading procedure that involves shoving a camera into places that aren't visible by design. I thought it was degrading, but at least they have the courtesy to knock you out before taking their selfies and such.

The good news is there was nothing wrong. Well, almost nothing. They said my blood pressure was high, and I should get it checked out.

My wife is a phlebotomist, and told me to get it checked and to order some blood work while I was there. Apparently, they can learn all about me by testing my blood. They ran tests about diabetes, thyroid, metachlorians, and whatever else they could think up. They also started me on blood pressure medication.

It turns out I have a thyroid, some other glands, and even a heart. (Contrary to popular opinion.) I will also never become a Sith Master. However, “Mr. Boyack, your PSA is a little bit high.”

Yeah, the name of this post is a word joke. It's the only way I can remember what the issue is. I quizzed the doctor for a while. Turns out this is some chemical produced my prostate gland. I'm higher than normal. Score! Turns out that's a bad thing. This was doctor #2, who sent me to see a urologist, doctor #3.

A urologist can't be that bad, right? Even walking into something called the Tumor Institute puts a weight on your soul. Turns out where doctor #3 decided to stick his fingers had nothing to do with my winkie. (I'm all for keeping things in order, but it would be poetic if he was doctor #2. Just saying.) “Mr. Boyack, your prostate is enlarged, but I don't detect any lumps or tumors.” We decided to repeat the PSA test when I got my blood pressure checked again at doctor #2.

Months roll by, and at 54 years old I got my PSA checked again. It was even higher than before, and #2 insisted I return to #3 to have a biopsy taken. He insisted pretty strongly.

At this point, a funk came over me. It really has made a difference at my workplace, in my writing, and my blogging. Some of you will remember me taking a mulligan on one of my regular posting days. I made the appointment and took some leave from work.

Last week they did the procedure. Cute nurse A took me to a room and collected all my vitals. I was relieved when she left the room, but that wouldn't last. They made an attempt to cover the probe with a paper towel, but it wasn't hard to see. This thing is about the size and shape of my wife's curling iron. It was a wonderful Hitchcockian few moments seeing the probe, knowing where they were going to shove it, and waiting for it to be over. (Thank God it wasn't the size of my daughter's curling iron.)

Cute nurse B came into the room and told me to undress from the waist down. She told me I could leave my socks on. (Gosh thanks.) She stayed to make sure I was completely humiliated, and had me assume the fetal position on the bed. Then she squirted some kind of pain killer up my backside. (Didn't even kiss me first.)

Turns out the probe is kind of a high tech device. It's an ultrasound, but can also inject even more anesthetic, and collect the biopsy samples. #3 took his sweet time about it; maybe he wanted to savor the moment. He twisted toward my tailbone, then my front, left, right, deep, shallow. All the while, his probe made loud snaps that felt like a rubber band snap. This was the gathering of samples. I just stared at the wall and prayed for a massive stroke.

He took 12 samples in all and turned to leave. I had to stop him, and this bothers me a bit. I wanted to see the image, and know what he found. He had the decency to show me, and said there were no lumps or tumors. My prostate is enlarged though. I never do anything half assed (couldn't resist). Turns out my prostate is three times larger than normal for a man my age. Normal is like a walnut, mine's like a tangerine.

Cute nurse B stuck around to watch me get dressed, and to make sure I was properly mortified. I must not have done a good job, because she offered me a pad for my underwear. No thanks, I'd rather burn my clothes when I get home. If she'd offered me a lemon slice and a shot of hemlock right then, I'd have taken it.

I wanted nothing more than a hot bath. If you ever read fiction about a rape scene, and the victim spends hours in the shower afterward — believe it.

Waiting for the lab results was fun. You get to see blood pass from every orifice south of your belly button. It also takes a week and requires another office visit.

In this day of emails, FaceTime, Skype, etc. I still had to use more leave to physically walk under that Tumor Institute sign once more.

Today was the day. Would this be a life changing moment? Loss of the prostate gland means losses in lifestyle too. Sex would never be the same again. Various therapies are also life changing. Would my beard fall out? Would I turn white headed?

It turns out they did not discover cancer in any of the samples. Cancer is a bit like Bigfoot though. All they can guarantee is they didn't find it. They can't promise it isn't present at all. Doctor #3 talked to me about drugs that can reduce the size of my prostate. He also said it was a quality of life issue, and I have to decide when. It wasn't bothering me before my colonoscopy. He told me to check my PSA every year from now on, and that's the most recent update.

Part of me wonders if I'd gotten the colonoscopy in 2010, if I'd have missed out on the high blood pressure. This could be a bad thing. Without high blood pressure, I never would have had the blood work done. Things happen for a reason, and I have to accept that.

I want to go to Joe's Crab Shack now to celebrate my brush with cancer. Eating the zodiac symbol for cancer feels appropriate.

I've done all the research to write a smashing story about alien probing. I think I'll pass on that one.

I've let a bit of my grouchiness get on this page. The fact is prostate cancer is no joke, and people die from it. The whole process is embarrasing, and you'll have some strange thoughts about what your future holds. The cancerous alternative isn't funny at all. If you get it checked soon enough, you may live to publish that alien probing story.

I encourage all men to get things checked. It's kind of our way to wait until there is a problem, but by the time you have a problem it could be too late.

It's been a few hours since I wrote this. I'm struggling with whether I should hit publish or delete. I really am a private, introverted person. Still, it's worth it if it inspires one person to get things checked out before it's too late.

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