My Early Retirement Journey- #singlegirllife
Early Retirement Journey My week Season 1

My Week Ending May 4, 2018: Dementia, Remote Work, Health Numbers

Hi, there. Welcome back. So this is what happened this week in My Early Retirement Journey.

Monday – Week started off a little somber. I spoke to my aunt who raised me and she is misplacing her words. It was as if I were watching a television show except I was a part of the cast. We were trying to book her a trip to DC for one of my cousins’ graduation. Strange things happened. She asked when she was going to be in New York. And when she was going to be in Atlanta. But I could tell she thought she was saying DC. One time she just said a random number in place of a word. Most of the conversation was her baseline, but obviously there were some noticeable neurological misfires.

I looked up Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease because I couldn’t remember their pathophysiology.  According to Google doctor, Parkinson’s has more to do with memory retrieval difficulty and Alzheimer’s has more to do with difficulty storing new memories. I am thinking the issue is memory retrieval. Her symptoms are inconsistent and may likely be related to her chronic kidney disease which is conceivably turning into end stage renal disease as she has stopped taking her prescription medication and is not on dialysis. Aye!

I’ve had genetic testing done when I tried to donate my eggs in my 20s, so as far as I know I don’t carry any genetic disposition for dementia or any other disease for that matter.  That was just my selfish moment. I tried to remember the last time she was really her bubbly, outgoing self. I would say her last best self that I remember was 2011 or 2012 and has steadily declined since then.  In 2012, she turned 63. She had retired the year before at age 62.

My Early Retirement Journey - My WeekOf note, I also work in a telehealth call center, and I hear calls like this all the time where men and women in their 60s to 80s just have a hard time at life and misplace their thoughts. At this point it seems as though they’re just kind of wondering why they’re alive battling all these diseases. I’m reminded of that song from Dave Matthews Band “The Space Between.” For people that are living with chronic disease, especially the elderly, it seems to me they live their life in the space between doctor’s appointments or recovery from acute illness, not unlike my aunt. What’s the point. My Journey is both fueled and arrested at the same time. What really is the point?

I have these moments where I just want to escape my current life. I had one such moment last week   when I submitted a request to my manager to work remotely for 6 weeks. Initially I wanted out of my routine. I had in mind the idea of taking a road trip somewhere, but now I’m feeling more inclined to go on some road adventures with my aunt. I don’t know that she could handle a cross country trip; maybe I’ve watched too many movies and I’m romanticizing end of life.  She made sure my childhood was filled with adventure and I feel I need to do something. But what?

The sudden turn in my aunt’s health also got me thinking about my next 20 or 30 years.  I’ve pretty much accepted the rest of my 30s are going to be my grind years. I’ve pushed my budget enough to know this. But what of age 40 to 60? Will I make it there in good enough health to enjoy average health until my decline?, she asked into the void.

Tuesday – Worked day job. Then went to review session for my side gig, a faculty teaching job at the local community college.  Praise Jesus! My last class! Well I celebrated this last week as well. I celebrated last lecture! And last lab! It’s been a hectic 4 months at best. On the plus side, I have enjoyed the structure of my week. I woke up at the same time everyday just about and got home late everyday. I adjusted.

Wednesday – Day job for 9.5 hours. Manager told me my request to work remotely for 6 weeks was denied. That solves that mystery as far as what to do with my aunt. Well it eliminates one of the options: instead of thinking I would be able to go down to Florida, she’ll have to come here or go to one of my other aunts’ houses. Am I really ready to be someone’s primary caregiver? No. But was she ready to take me on when I sought asylum in the US? No. But she did it. And so must I. Right?

Thursday – Feeling productive today. I’m not sad as long as I don’t think about my aunt and how her life is likely ending as they say not with a bang but a whimper (“The Hollow Men”). One day she’ll be here, and one day she won’t. I pray that she knows no more suffering.

So I worked 6 hours at my day job. We had a biometrics screening as part of what they call Health Engagement credit. There are 3 tasks we have to complete to get get a discount on our health insurance premiums next year. With the biometrics and another survey of health activities I finished the last 2 tasks.  Since spending numbers are pretty far from my mind right now, I’ll share my health numbers, an oft overlooked aspect of FIRE.

  • BMI: 22 (normal range: 18.5 to 24.9)
  • Height: 5 feet 5 inches (I’m really 5 feet 4.5 inches, but they rounded up)
  • Weight: 130 lbs (likely due to recent constipation and side hustle taking up prime eating time, usually closer to 140 to 145 lbs)
  • Blood pressure: 97/67 (I’m pretty much sedated through much of the day and not easily excited; normal < 120/80)
  • Pulse: 73
  • Total cholesterol: 154  (normal range: 125 to 199)
  • HDL cholesterol: 67 (female normal range: ≥ 50)
  • Non-HDL cholesterol: 87 (normal range < 160)
  • Total Chol/HDL ratio: 2.3 (normal range: < 5.0)
  • Non-Fasting Glucose: 88 (normal range: < 140)

All within normal range trending ever so slightly away from normal compared to last year.

At side hustle, all students showed up for the final exam. Hallelujah, it’s over! A little anticlimactic since I’ve been having mini-celebrations for 2 weeks now 😊.  I was running out of time to get my car inspected so I went to a dealer by the college that was open late and got my car inspected in order to renew my registration for the year. It took a while and I was able to grade all the exams! Yay. No homework for me this weekend.

Friday  – Finally made it! Last day in a four month journey of 2 jobs! Thank you Jesus!! I have little else to say.  My spending is not at the top of my list. No mental tally of how much I spent this week. No space in my short term memory. Just a lot of lists.  Need to do piles of laundry. I’ve been going pantyless all week because I  should have done laundry 2 weeks ago. TMI? Probably, but who is reading this anyway? Got some jerk chicken and rice on the way home. Showered. Watched Life in Pieces. About to fall asleep.

TV shows this week (via streaming apps): Life in Pieces, Survivor, Alex, Inc, old episodes of New Girl
Takeout: Yes. Too tired to think what.

Until next time, thank you for stopping by My Early Retirement Journey.

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  1. I had to do a double take on the laundry issue. Then I worked out that maybe you were meaning tights not knickers!!!! The difference between UK English and American English.

    Sorry to hear about your Aunt. Memory problems are often masked in the early years and its only when it's become a significant deterioration that suddenly alarm bells are ringing. The other thing maybe to check is whether your Aunt has a water infection? These can cause dementia type symptoms in older people.

  2. Tuppenny! Greetings. Nope, you heard it right…knickers…panties. Eh. It's so hot here already, they were not missed. 🙂 What is a water infection?

  3. Wow, you is brave! Obviously not worried about being run over by a bus and having your panties on show (or not!).

    Sorry should have added an explanation. Water infection = urine infection. Older people get them very easily as they can forget to drink which causes the infection. Infection them makes them a little do-lally which means they don't drink. A simple course of antibiotics solves the problem. However if Aunt has been going downhill for sometime likely there is something else as well. Urine infection would just make it seem much worse.

    Hope Aunt is as ok as can be.

  4. You're right about that… UTIs (that's what they're called here) can cause altered mental status in the elderly. Worth looking into. Thanks!

    One day I just went without underwear…and nobody died. 🙂

  5. Sorry to hear about your aunt, hope she is getting the care she needs.

    And your pants story had me laughing out loud!

  6. Ms. Ziyou, thank you and thanks for stopping by!

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