Turning 60

I thought it would just be another birthday for a woman who really doesn’t pay much attention to her age and who is really not afraid of aging. But in the couple of weeks before the big day, I started having flashes of gold in my vision. What the heck?

My vision is important to me and absolutely something I want to keep for awhile so I went to see the eye doctor. Turns out the gold flashes were a sign that my eyes were going through a normal aging process, vitreous detachment. Ohh-kay. Happy birthday to me. However, if the vitreous tries to take the retina with it, then I had a chance of becoming partially or completely blind. Not ok.

Then my teeth decided to celebrate my birthday, too. I went to the dentist which I do routinely because I have a goal of keeping my natural teeth all my life. The bad habits of youth resurfacing as I age- a couple of my teeth that had some pretty large and very old fillings were beginning to crack. Great. Here come the crowns, three of them for an average cost of about a thousand bucks a piece. Happy birthday to me.

I am thankful that the eye thing resolved without any further problem and that I can afford the crowns. At this time I have medical and dental insurance. But it makes me realize that, as I plan to retire early and live on as little as possible, I do need to put some cash aside to cover health care costs that insurance won’t cover.

Truthfully, I was hoping, since I have been in very good health all of my life, with both parents in their 90’s and still living, that I could just neglect getting any insurance at all. I realize now, that if I do that, I have to increase the cash savings or forgo treatment.

Blind? Toothless? Not something I want. Some things are worth spending money on.

I wonder if some of the bloggers I follow who live on very little, retiring early but are still ‘young’, ever think about what their future might hold as far as health?




Budgeting for Your Health Care

One of the most difficult things, well, really two of the most difficult things in setting my monthly budget is

  1. Being able to predict the costs of the health expenses of my family for the month/year
  2. Not putting the right priority on including health care in my budget.

Both of these things together have resulted in getting blindsided every year with unexpected medical bills.

Perhaps blindsided isn’t the correct term. I actually kept my eyes closed to the possibility that someone in the family would need to go to the doctor/get sick or injured/have surgery. Then getting that bill after the insurance covered its bit was like having a cold washcloth slap me in the face when I am sound asleep. Not pleasant and it tends to piss me off.

It really pissed me off this year when my family’s medical/dental expenses were just below the allowed deductible and I ended up paying more for my federal income tax. How stupid is that.

All because I did not know how to plan.

After reading today’s post at Quinn’s Commentary, I realized he hit the nail on the head when it comes to planning for health care costs. Folks, it’s more than just paying for health insurance.

Here is that post….

I began managing health benefits in 1961. I have done everything from process claims, design and communicate health benefits, negotiate insurance and TPA contracts to serving on boards of directors of health plans and negotiating physician contracts. I am convinced of one thing with absolute certainty. From the perspective of virtually all Americans health care […]

via Any scheme we contrive will not make health care “affordable.” — QUINNSCOMMENTARY 😇 the facts about lots of stuff

The author links to this post INSURE AGAINST DISASTER, PAY FOR WANTS OUT OF POCKET, SAVE FOR THE END GAME which is another essential read, imho.

After reading these and the linked Forbes article, it is no wonder that unexpected costs of illness or injury leads too many of us to bankruptcy.

To avoid being caught unprepared this year,  I am including fully funding my HSA into my monthly expenses. And eating rice and beans all year.



Weighing In On The Scale

After Ma broke her hip, I needed to make the main bathroom easier for her to get around in so she wouldn’t break anything else. I took my scale off the floor to make room for the commode. There was no other place for the scale so I tucked it in on a closet shelf, telling myself that the experts recommend we not weigh ourselves daily anyway.
I had been weighing myself daily and tweaking my LCHF diet and my exercise to see that scale go down, down, down.
Thinking about what I want/need to take with me on the upcoming move and wanting to downsize to pretty much the essentials, I thought about the scale. Should I take it with me? I haven’t been weighing myself daily as I used to and I notice the effect. I do believe I have gained some weight.
Oh, hell, I KNOW I gained weight. How much? I don’t know. The scale is in the closet.
Why do the so-called experts say we shouldn’t weigh ourselves daily?
I think it has something to do with being disappointed if we don’t see a daily drop in our weight and this may cause us to give up on our diet or become obsessed with our weight. Apparently, I could become so focused on seeing that scale go down daily that I become bulimic or anorexic. Fat chance of that! I hate to vomit and I love to eat.
So, essentially, the experts think weighing myself daily will lead to a mental health issue.
Well, my brain is definitely a strong and powerful thing. I can pretty much convince myself of anything I want to.

I can convince myself that I am not putting on weight, despite a nightly date with Ben and Jerry and then be totally flabbergasted when my jeans don’t fit.
I must be convincing myself that I don’t weigh as much as I do because I always get shocked when I see myself in a full-length mirror. Who in the hell is that fat chick?
My favorite sister-in-law weighed close to 300 pounds and every time we went out to eat, she would complain that the restaurants were making the booths smaller. And she actually believed that.
In the case of weighing myself daily, I can allow myself to be disappointed and chuck it all, give up on my diet because the scale is telling me I suck at it. And I have done this many times over the many years.
OR- I can use it as a tool in seeing how well my diet is going. It really is a more accurate and faster tool than suddenly discovering my diet is not going well when my pants don’t fit.
When the scale goes up, I ask myself, why? Too much food? Not enough exercise?
If the scale stays the same, I tweak things a bit. If the scale goes down, I know I am on the right track.
Weighing myself daily is not unhealthy. To me, the scale is a tool. No different that checking my blood pressure or my blood sugar.
And one more thought, Dr. Psychologist Expert, if weighing myself daily isn’t healthy, then it can’t be healthy to track every morsel of food with My Fitness Pal or every calorie burned with the Fitbit.
Conclusion, I am gonna pack the scale and take it with me.

Cleaning Ourselves to Death

When we clean our house, do laundry and wash our hands, many of us use anti-bacterial soaps to kill those disease-causing germs and bacteria. Scrub it all away,  Mr.Clean and Lysol. We don’t want to catch a cold or the flu.

But are we cleaning ourselves to death. Are we weakening our natural immune system because we are disrupting our human microbiota? I think so.

Human microbiota
The human microbiota is the aggregate of microorganisms, a microbiome that resides on the surface and in deep layers of skin, in the saliva and oral mucosa, in the conjunctiva, and in the gastrointestinal tracts.Wikipedia
There is an increase in the auto-immune diseases and more of disease is found to be the result of a problem with our immune system.
Autoimmune disease
A disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells.
Most common types
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

    A chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints, including those in the hands and feet.
  • Lupus

    An inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues.
  • Celiac disease

    An immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
  • Sjögren’s syndrome

    An immune system disorder characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth.
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica

    An inflammatory disorder causing muscle pain and stiffness around the shoulders and hips.
  • Multiple sclerosis

    A disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis

    An inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and large joints.
  • Type 1 diabetes

    A chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
  • Alopecia areata

    Sudden hair loss that starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap.
  • Vasculitis

    An inflammation of the blood vessels that causes changes in the blood vessel walls.
  • Temporal arteritis

    An inflammation of blood vessels, called arteries, in and around the scalp.
We are disabling our immune system because we are too clean. We have become weak.
So now we take probiotics and spray our skin with microbiomes to replace the good bacteria that we wash away with the bad.
Ok, so let’s switch to baking soda and vinegar cleaners. Really? Do we really need anything other than water, cloth and elbow grease to clean our own homes?
I don’t think so. I am healthy, my germs are healthy and I am not going to mess with that.
I am not going to clean myself to death.

Try to Avoid

Try to avoid smoking.

Try to avoid sweets.

Avoid alcohol.

Try to avoid eating too much.

I don’t know about you but I see and hear the words ‘try to avoid’ and ‘avoid’ when doctors talk to patients and when the government issues advice on healthy living.

Whenever I hear these words, I immediately think, oh, ok, it’s ok to have some as long as I TRY to avoid it.

To me, AVOID does not mean DON’T DO IT.

Avoid is a euphemism and a euphemism is a weak way of saying what you really mean.

Don’t smoke.

Don’t eat sweets.

Don’t drink alcohol.

Don’t overeat.

Overeat? What does that mean? There is another euphemism!

Don’t be a pig.

some discomfort

Keeping it Keto

The hardest thing for me in getting and staying keto-adapted is cooking for three people in this house.

My mother is addicted to fruit and believes she needs copious amounts of it to stay healthy. She is also addicted to sweets- not too hard to believe because of her fruit addiction. And she believes she is lactose-intolerant.

My daughter is a wanna-be vegetarian addicted to junk food and snacking. She can’t stand ‘big chunks of meat’ as she calls a steak, chicken breast, fish filet or anything similar. She also loves chocolate.

So, cooking keto and not using dairy or much meat isn’t easy. I would be just fine with a portion of meat or fish and a side of low-carb vegetables with butter.

Between the three of us with differing dietary preferences, keeping it keto is a battle I am losing.

I think I will move out.

Staying Healthy is a Daily Decision

As a nurse case manager working with over 200 people a month to offer support and education in maximizing their health, I get reminded every day that I need to decide daily to choose health NOW to have health in the future.

I work with people who have chronic conditions- conditions like diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, kidney disease, etc. There are conditions that don’t go away BUT the condition can be controlled with smart management.

Sometimes the benefit of control is limited because the the condition has been around for years and has worsened due to various reasons, including poor management.

It is best to attack the problem when it is first diagnosed, manage it well from the get-go.

All too often, when I ask people how they manage their diabetes or heart disease or whatever, they tell me, “I take the medicine the doctor gives me.”

Sometimes, when I ask someone if they have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, they will tell me, “Not anymore. I take a pill for that.”

Sadly, this alone is not the best management. Depending on a pill and not making any change in your lifestyle will not lead to a healthier future. Whatever caused the condition to begin with is still there.

Lifestyle = diet, activity and stress management.

Make a daily decision to make the healthy choice in what you eat, staying active and controlling stress.

YOU are in control. Never forget that.