Tag Archive | health

A Different Light

A few days ago, when 2018 was rapidly drawing to a close, the sun finally came out so I decided to take a break from the routine that we have settled into these past few months and go to the Chicago Botanic Garden for a much needed long walk and a breath of fresh air.

Usually, when I go to the Garden it’s early in the morning but on this particular day I wanted to catch the last of the Christmas lights so I waited until later in the afternoon which enabled me to see things in a slightly different light.

The air was crisp and clear but there was little or no wind which made pleasant conditions for walking. It’s been a while since I went around the garden in Winter and it was interesting to see the stark lines of the trees and shrubs and the exposed walls amid a light dusting of snow, especially in the English Garden.


Heading over towards the bridge that leads to the Japanese Garden, I passed some geese pecking away at the grass. I’m not quite sure what they were finding to eat there but evidently it was enough to hold their interest.

Two bridges, both leading to Evening Island, cast long shadows in the afternoon light, and the bells rang out clear from the Carillon Tower.

The sun caught the top of the new copper sheathing on the roof of the Regenstein Center and as it dipped below the trees, the Christmas lights began to appear. Not only was I seeing the Garden in a different light but life in general. Now that my mother-in-law is in hospice care at her house in Chicago I have come to realize how lucky I am to still be able to get about and visit places like this. To have the ability to come and go as I please is an extraordinary gift and one that I hope I never take for granted.

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The Silent Stalker

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Up until recently I have always enjoyed what I considered to be reasonably good health. Admittedly, the blood clots in 2009 threw me for a loop. I wasn’t expecting that, but once I had recovered I felt pretty good so when this year’s annual check-up revealed high calcium levels in the blood it came as something of a surprise to learn, after several blood tests and scans, that I had a silent stalker, namely significant osteoporosis and something called hyperparathyroidism.  Go figure!

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I had no idea that all this was going on inside me.  I felt fine!  So it was a difficult call to make. Should I go ahead and have the recommended surgery or leave well alone.  For better or worse, after much soul-searching and weighing up the pros and cons, I decided to go ahead and have the op on Tuesday.

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Things apparently went very well.  The surgeon seemed pleased with the results and if I hadn’t had rather an unpleasant reaction to the anesthetic I probably would have gone home the same day.  As it was, I languished in hospital overnight and was sent home the next day.

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Naturally there have been some severe restrictions on my activities for the past couple of days and taking short walks around the garden has me itching to get back to work, pulling weeds and tidying things up. No! Must not!

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So what do you do when you can’t get your hands dirty, get down on your knees and get in amongst the flowers?  Why, you take pictures of them, of course!  Hopefully in another week or so I’ll be back to somewhat normal.

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Time To Reflect – Alta

The first storm of the winter dumped several inches of snow on us last night and with temperatures due to plummet into the 20’s tomorrow it looks like hibernation time. I’m definitely not a cold weather person and have little interest in winter pursuits. I feel no strong urge to run outside and make snow angels or build a snowman. At least not these days. The older I get, the less I’m inclined to climb into cold-weather clothing and go hiking on snow-covered trails. I feel I have nothing to prove now. I’ll leave that to the younger generation.

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Instead I prefer to use this time to go through the photo files and reflect on all the things that we’ve seen and done in the past months. The highlight of the year was our trip to Utah and, going back over some of the images from that journey, I realize that I took a photo for almost every mile that we traveled, over 3,ooo miles in total.

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One of the side-trips we made while staying in Salt Lake City was to Alta and in particular the Albion Basin situated in Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains. Alta is known for its ski slopes but in early September it’s also a lovely place to go hiking.

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We had heard of a 1.6 mile trail leading up to Secret or Cecret Lake as it is sometimes spelt, and despite having a few misgivings regarding the altitude and the fact that I hadn’t done any really strenuous hiking in a long time, we decided to give it a try.

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The scenery was spectacular and even though autumn hadn’t really got going by then, there were already patches of brilliant color along the way.

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The trail started out nice and easy but after crossing over a little stream things got rather more steep and rocky. Naturally it was like a walk in the park for my daughter (who was wearing flip-flops) and her husband, but after we’d been going for just over 30 minutes I started to feel the pressure to keep up.

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We took a break to watch someone taking the hard way up then continued on, passing several people who had already made it to the top and were on their way back down. They all told us how lovely it was at the lake, that the view was well worth the effort and that “It’s not much further!” And they kept telling us that even after another 20 minutes of climbing.

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My daughter took this picture of me as I stayed close to her husband who was leading the way.

I should probably mention here that a few years ago I had a bit of a medical emergency involving blood clots in my lungs and legs and, although I have been quite active ever since, I wasn’t sure if this aging body was going to make it to the end of the trail, especially when we took a wrong turn along the way and found ourselves at rather an impasse, at least as far as I was concerned. I had just reached the point where I had to sit down and tell the others to go on without me when luckily someone coming back down the trail pointed us in the right direction and with supportive coaching from the kids and several stops along the way with orders to “take slow, deep breaths” we finally reached our goal.

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It wasn’t all that big, as lakes go, but it was a welcome sight nonetheless. Bathing is not permitted so we had to stifle the urge to jump into its clear waters and after sitting on the rocks for a while and taking a few pictures we started back down to the parking lot.

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I have since Googled the trail to Cecret Lake to find out more about it and came across a quote that said, “There is nothing difficult about this hike. It is suitable for small children and seniors. This is more of a stroll than a hike.” I beg to differ but then that’s just me. I felt a definite sense of achievement at having made it there without collapsing.