Monthly Archives: October 2021

Back to my hippie roots

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It’s been a few years since I thought about them. I was raised in the Woodstock era, with a lot of free love, peace and brothers in harmony. I always admired them a little, those free thinkers who lived in communes, eschewed things like clothes and allowed others to refer to them as “hippies” (even then I was sensitive about my anatomy).

I respected a lot of what they stood for without ever wanting to be one of them. Oh, I wore those shirts that were psychedelic in design and I wore lots of beads and bell-bottom pants, but the one thing I could never come to terms with was the use of drugs. And let me be clear when I say that I know not everyone who identified with the “brotherhood of man” group used drugs and certainly, plenty of folk from the rest of society did use drugs. But I always thought of peace-loving hippies and marijuana use as somehow connected, I just didn’t want to join the crowd.

I’m sure most people by now know that I have been struggling for the last year with a painful spine issue in my neck. I know people are aware of this because I have whined to everyone who would listen and a great many who probably would rather not have had to hear me. Because of this pain, I have tried everything from over the counter painkillers (which didn’t work), to topical applications (which also didn’t work) to essential oils (which had some effect) to massage (which is painful but helps in the long run).

Doctors have spent the year rubbing their heads and trying to find an effective medical solution, but two things they would like to avoid are opioids and surgery. I am fully on board with their concerns and have endured a year of feeling like a I have burning ball on the back of my neck and a feeling like an abscessed tooth in my shoulder and arm, because I, too, would like a less drastic solution.

Slowly, inexorably, I am drawing nearer to surgery, but as I go, I look more and more frantically for a different solution that will end the pain. Today, I had someone finally make a suggestion that I will admit, left me a little flabbergasted.

And that brings me back to my hippie roots. Because the solution he had was the possibility of medical cannabis, known among my 60s buddies as “weed”, “wacky tobaccy”, “maryjane” or just plain old marijuana. When I was young, I was proud that I avoided smoking the “good shit,” so it takes me a little aback that in my aging body and mind, I am considering this avenue–when it becomes available, obviously!

Of course, there are caveats on this. I wouldn’t be able to use it except at bedtime, because it wouldn’t be a good idea to show up for my job in the daytime and then get toasted on a high grade marijuana cigarette. Even so, the idea that I might be able to get a good night’s sleep is attractive enough for me to consider this rather bizarre solution.

Since I had this conversation, I have been busy envisioning myself in a pair of bell-bottomed pants, a fringed jacket brushing up against the flowers in my hair as I sat cross-legged on the floor and lit up a joint. Of course, in order to get me into bell-bottomed pants, cross-legged on the floor would take drugs far more powerful than marijuana. I don’t think the medications that would require are very good for me either! In addition, I am pretty sure I’m too old to learn to smoke, so there’s another problem.

Needless to say, I haven’t made any decisions on this issue and until it is cleared for use, I won’t have to decide. But in doing research on the issue, one of the warnings about it gave me pause: even if we have it in this state, it is not legal everywhere. So before I pack up my innovative pain solution and light out (no pun intended) for other locales, I’d better check on the local weed laws or I might make headlines for infamous reasons and I’m too old for that as well! Groovy man!

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There’s a reason I’m not a doctor

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Today, I sat in my doctor’s office (for the hundredth time) to discuss why it is that my arm, shoulder and neck keep reacting like they are a runaway abscessed tooth with no regard for treatment. Medical personnel are always very sympathetic, but they will persist in treating me as if I were a woman of reasonable medical knowledge. This is a waste of their time.

The worst thing they do is show me x-rays that are supposedly images of what is inside of me. “Now, if you will look between the 5th and 6th (word I did not understand), you will see that there is (another word I didn’t understand.)” the doctor said, pointing to his little slide on its cool light-up screen.

I find the screen very neat and I would like to borrow it sometime to watch the light go through my fingers (I have strange habits), but as for showing me the x-ray image, it might have been my neck or it might have been the secret plans to blow up some poor third world country; it was all the same to me.

“Is that what is causing me to be in so much pain?” I ask, holding onto my offending neck. He nodded, looking slightly deflated that I didn’t respond in some medical-eze. “Well,” I said, trying to look intelligent, “could we just maybe scribble out that white part with your ink pen and erase the problem?” I’ve never actually been thrown out of a medical office, but I am pretty sure he thought about it!

It’s not just x-rays of my neck that cause me to sound uneducated in medical things. I have never had the remotest talent for them and what’s more, I have no curiosity. I have never googled a disease, symptom or rash, because I will either not understand it at all or I will understand it well enough to have it scare the heck out of me.

Other people are so much better informed. “I have a righteous curvature of the scoliosis,” my friend informed me one day. “I looked it up and it said on the Internet that I will be too crippled to walk before I’m 60.” Dr. Internet aside, it concerned me that she sounded so happy about it. I guess knowledge is power, but I’d rather be medically ignorant. This is what we have doctors for.

Medical professionals are proud of their images. I remember looking at an ultrasound of a baby and thinking, “Oh, isn’t that cute, she’s got her thumb in her mouth.”

“Oh no,” the expectant mother told me, “the doctor says that is her little foot tucked under her butt.”

“Ah, I see it now,” I said, nearly standing on my head and lying like a rug all at the same time. All I really saw was a grayish blob that may have been the baby, or a stack of buttermilk pancakes—with the thumb in their mouth!

I look at dental x-rays and don’t see the teeth, let alone the cavities. I saw an ultrasound of my thyroid, and nothing about it suggested that this odd-looking thing was in my throat, but the doctor assured me it was. I woke up from a colonoscopy to a nurse holding up photos and chirping, “Guess what this is?”

“The cave where Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher got lost? That is really dark, those poor things,” I replied. Yes, I knew it was the inside of my colon, but unlike her, I didn’t find the photos they took something I might post on Facebook.

Let’s face it, I am not looking for medical knowledge. Tell me in plain English what the heck is wrong and what I can do about it. I’ll believe the doctor, he doesn’t need photographic evidence that he can read, but I can’t. Give me the pill, the therapy or the surgery that your photos suggest, but for goodness sake, don’t SHOW ME and talk about it!

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I’ve got a spray for that!

I admit that I am a lazy housecleaner. If the dust bunnies aren’t choking me and the bathroom odor doesn’t grab me by the throat when I enter the room, I have a tendency to let sleeping dogs (or dirt) lie. And if I can’t figure out a way around it, I simply grab a Clorox wipe to cover any deficiencies.

This working relationship was rudely disrupted by a little thing called the Covid-19 pandemic. Among the first things to disappear from store shelves were all of the Clorox supplies intended to last for the next five years. I had only a small supply of bleach wipes in the house–how would I possibly clean and kill all of the Covid germs with that?

I came home from an unsuccessful store run and assessed my cleaning assets. I had enough toilet paper, enough dish soap and even enough shampoo. But none of these would guarantee that I was killing those little Covid devils!

It was time to do something drastic…and so I did. I cleaned out the cabinets under my sink in the kitchen and the sink in the bathroom. And you know what I discovered? I discovered that I’m a true hoarder and that was long before it was the fashion in a toilet paper shortage!

Crammed at the back of the cupboard were three or four bottles of spray cleaners, but the one that really stood out was the one with those magic words, “Kills 99.9% of bacteria and germs,” written on the label. Forget those bleach towelettes, I had SPRAY!

I loaded up on this, as of the time, unknown little gem and I sprayed everything. My husband complained that the whole house smelled like bleach. He pointed to the little rivulets of bleach running down the wall under the light switches and doorknobs. He protested when I sprayed down the laundry baskets and hangers (I did lose a few nice clothes to bleach there) and he accused me of spraying his toothbrush with bleach (I washed it afterward). But I didn’t care: I was fighting Covid, and I was doing it without bleach wipes!

Since then, even when the bleach wipes made their reappearance, I remained loyal to the spray. It has served me well in hard times and I will stay with it for good. It beats the wipes with its quick draw and wide shot.

I’m not sure Roy agrees with me, however. The other day, he came into the living room holding his good watch. “I think there may some dirt trapped here under the face…” he began.

“Say no more,” I answered, quick as a wink. “I can take care of any dirt.” And I grabbed my spray bottle of bleach cleaner and went to work. He looked at me for a moment, then looked at his own hand, dripping with spray and holding a watch thoroughly soaked. Then he simply turned and walked away.

I don’t what made him so upset, though. I’m sure the watch will work again once it has dried out…and you can be sure there’s no Covid in there!

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Lady of the Flies

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It happens every year. And I complain about it every year and every year, it does me no good to whine. This is the time of the year when the flies make their presence known in all of the most unpleasant ways.

During the height of the summer, they are less noisome. They fly fast–so fast that I could not hit them if I wanted to. However, they also don’t annoy when they are flying fast and ignoring my presence. It’s the fall, when they suddenly slow down and begin to make a murderer out of me.

I can hit flies at the speed they are flying now. They fly along at old lady pace and land in places where I can finish them off with one good crack of the flyswatter. The real problem is that they are suddenly so many in numbers that I wonder if they have organized a family reunion in which they have invited every one of their many thousands of relatives, all of whom are gathering in the Fauth household.

While I can hit them at this stage, there are so many that after a few rounds with the flyswatter, my kitchen floor looks like a fly killing field. Not to mention the mess to be cleaned off every surface in the house. It is a sad little fly blood bath and never makes me feel good. At least one of them got his revenge, however. I was drinking a nice cup of coffee with a plastic cover which contained only a small hole to drink from. I drank from it all morning, enjoying my daily coffee fix until I poured out the dregs and discovered a drowned fly carcass was in that liquid. I don’t know when or how it crawled in there, but I’m pretty sure I had enjoyed a lot of fly-flavored coffee that morning; a just revenge for all the flies I killed, I suppose, but definitely not the way I want to get my protein!

If it was just the common housefly that had invaded, that would be bad enough, but because of my inattention to a banana slow death on my counter, I have now had an invasion of fruit flies. These little devils make the common housefly a pleasure to deal with. They multiply faster than rabbits in season and they are MUCH faster and more elusive than a housefly.

I was up to the challenge, however. After an afternoon of killing houseflies, my blood was up and when I went to the kitchen sink to wash my hands, a cloud of fruit flies rose from the accommodating pipes of my sink. It was the last straw.

Without devising much of a plan, I snatched the Clorox spray from the counter and, screaming a war cry worthy of Braveheart, I began spraying bleach everywhere, on the sink, in the pipes, over the stove, along the counters, on the floor and even into the kitchen curtains. Fruit fly corpses littered the counters and the floor and the colors in my curtains turned white from fear (or bleach, whatever). It had been an ugly battle, but I emerged victorious.

Feeling mighty and terrible, I put away the bleach spray and the flyswatters and settled down in my favorite comfortable chair to relax. Just as I had begun to read my book, something went buzzing past my nose. Impossible! I had killed every fly for ten miles and besides, none of them was flying that fast. I jumped from the chair, and followed the trajectory of the unidentified flying insect. Crawling triumphantly across my living room windows was a boxelder bug! So excuse me, ladies in gentlemen, while I get my spray and my swatter for round three of the Insect Wars!

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