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‘Worry is interest paid on a debt you may not owe’

Muriel Hip surgery in hospital, 2017

After surgery, in my lovely springtime robe

My oh-so-clever friend Sandy once said: ‘Worry is interest paid on a debt you may not owe.’ I like it. I know it by heart. However, if I have any talent, it is my great ability to worry — a lot. Worry is what I do best of all!

So, told I would have to go home just three days after hip-replacement surgery, I panicked — what else? — and worried! How would I manage? My leg muscles, after months of severe pain, were in miserable shape, more like wet noodles than muscles. How could I NOT worry?

I’m 80. My children live in the U.S. They care. They came. Susan was here for my surgery. She was terrific. Rafi came after I got home to help. He cooks such scrumptious food, I gained two pounds while he was here. Still, they need to go back to their own lives.

Another worry? I have a vestibular disorder, which causes imbalance and unpredictable dizziness, often brought on by stress. Surgery IS stressful and I had a terrible siege of dizziness after my knee surgery in 2011. It was a disaster.

Whadaya know. As Sandy’s wise saying indicates, my worrying WAS a waste of time and energy. After surgery at UBC Hospital, I learned about the Transitional Care Unit (TCU)  right at the Koerner Pavilion, and was able to go there for rehab and care until I was ready to go home.

How come I’d never known about this possibility? I wrote about things like this as a columnist, yet had no idea the unit existed. It was a perfect fit. True, my first night there I had a roommate with dementia who cried out all night in a language I didn’t recognize. The very next night, however, I was blessed with a well-read, clever and interesting roommate, Howard Greaves, who, thankfully, also has a great sense of humor. (A necessary trait to survive the couple of weeks he spent with me).

Howard Greaves.

With Howard Greaves, who survived two weeks as my roommate. Howard deserves a special award for putting up with me.

Another blessing with having my surgery and staying  at UBC was that my dear ‘daughter’ Amy works there.

IMG_0231

My beautiful Chinese ‘daughter’ Amy

Amy visited and checked on me whenever she arrived to work, at her lunch break, and on her way home. Bless her, she also helped me survive the hospital food by cooking my favorite Chinese dish and bringing it in for me. She also would buy and bring me tastier food from outside. Hospital food, after all, is hospital food.

At the TCU, I had much needed, supervised physio five days a week, was helped with my ability to walk, and taught how to get my operated leg up onto my bed — no small feat. The nurses and I were given clear instructions about what I could or could not do so my vestibular disorder wouldn’t cause a fall and create a disaster.

There was a reasonable fee, (I understand it can be discussed if it is a problem). Dr. Reinhold Bernat, in charge of my case, was present and accessible when I needed to talk to him, patient with my concerns, and obviously caring — I know I was lucky.

Yes, the TCU was a good match for me, but, you ask, was there anything I felt was not up to par? Yes! We were allowed only one shower a week. I wasn’t thrilled with that, but survived.

Should you or loved ones live in the area and require it one day, I want you to know about the UBC Transitional Care Unit. Or, if there is such a service where you live, try to inquire about it. I am truly grateful it was there for me. And yes, I’m doing well.

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Who, me worry?

Mom, look I'm telling you 2My friend Sandy once said and I quote: ‘Worry is interest paid on a debt you may not owe.’ I’ve repeated it so often to others and myself that I know it by heart. I worried about using it without acknowledging the clever soul who first came up with it, so I searched my ‘Oxford Dictionary of Quotations’ to find out — without success. I still worried about being sued, so I Googled it. They say Mark Twain said something like it. Mark Twain said lots of stuff worth quoting, so maybe that’s true. He’s dead. He probably won’t sue me. Whew!

Worry is on my mind right now because I’m worried about how hot and dry it has been. I live in a rain forest where it hasn’t rained for far too long. Outside the city, our forests are so dry, fires rage unabated. Our air is so unhealthy, they’ve warned the elderly and those with breathing disorders  to avoid going out. I’m worried. Am I considered elderly? I’m also worried that this is the future.

Besides, where I live the weather used to be considered temperate and many local eating spots are not air-conditioned. It wasn’t necessary. Does this new climate mean I will be limited to only restaurants that are artificially cooled? I don’t do heat well. I’m worried I’ll get bored with the few cafes I KNOW are air-conditioned. I’m also worried about getting cranky and mean because of the heat, which I so don’t like. I’d hate that to happen, but it may — and friends kind enough to put up with me now will all walk away. What splendid worry opportunities, it all terrifies me!

I've lost countless hours of sleep through the years worrying

I’ve lost countless hours of sleep through the years worrying

Worrying is something I’ve always been terrific at. If they had Worry Academy Awards, I’d win for sure, hands down. It’s something I’ve always excelled in. I could list hundreds of worries here

If they gave Academy Awards for worrying, I'd win, hands down

If they gave Academy Awards for worrying, I’d win, hands down

which I’ve lost sleep over through the years, but I’m worried you’d fall asleep before you finished reading all of them.

Maybe this ‘skill’ should be put to use. Perhaps my worrying can help others. Who knows, a new career path may open for me in which I can utilize my excellent worrying abilities. Should I worry about the taxes I’d have to pay on all the business I’d get since I’m such a heroic, wonderful worrier? No matter, since like all big businesses, you, dear reader, are important to me, I’ll take the plunge and worry about it later.

Do take advantage of my remarkable ability to anguish. Give me your worries and worry no more. I’ll do your worrying for you — for a fee of course. Whatever the subject, I can worry about it better than you.

Worried about the Stock Market? Worry no more.

Worried about the Stock Market? Worry no more.

Take your pick: Politics? Family? Stock Market? Jobs? Money? Taxes? Love life? Health? The Greek financial crisis? Aliens? Your car? Kids? Global warming? Environment? Dementia?

Whatever your worry, I’m worrying about it already anyway and have years of experience doing so, so you needn’t bother. I’ll do it for you. Maybe with all the money I’ll earn, I can stop worrying about my children’s lack of any possible inheritance.

The best part is that when I worry for you, you yourself can concentrate on finding clever solutions to all your worries. It’s a win-win situation. Satisfaction guaranteed!

Favorite sayings

Muriel2017

by my Chandra

It takes a village — to do a crossword. (my own)

If there is a heaven, there are bubble baths there. (my own)

The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we hold of ourselves with the appalling things other people think of us. (Quentin Crisp, 1908-1999, openly gay writer, actor.)

Quentin Crisp

Quintin Crisp

He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends. (Oscar Wilde)

young Oscar Wilde

Young Oscar Wilde

Some cause happiness where ‘er they go; others, whenever they go. (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, gay poet, playwright.)

Worry is interest paid on a debt you may not owe. (? told me by my friend Sandy)

The greatest delusion about communication is that it exists. (?)

How long a minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you are on.  (Zall)

The road of modern culture leads from humanitarianism via nationalism to bestiality. (Stefan Zweig, Austrian Jewish author, 1881-1942, committed suicide.)

Many amusing events occur in Egypt, but the laughter there can resemble crying. (great 10th century poet Al-Mutanabbi)

Go ahead, travel first class. Your heirs will. (Sign on a local travel agent’s wall)

I no longer have the time to be angry. (My wise friend Berta)

Everyone has a photographic memory — some of us just don’t have any film. (Steven Wright, comedian)

Creativity is our most precious gift. (my friend Ian Wallace)

Parents are the bones on which children sharpen their teeth. (actor Peter Ustinov)

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. (Native American Proverb)

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900, German philosopher)

Jan Struther

Jan Struther

If silence is golden, then speech is platinum. It spreads wisdom, dispels ignorance, ventilates grievances, stimulates curiosity, lightens the spirits and lessens the fundamental loneliness of the soul. (Jan Struther, 1901-1953, author)

A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun,. Enjoy the trip. (?)

You don’t have to believe everything you think. (?)

What your mother tells you now, in time you will come to know. (?)

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom. (Bertrand Russell)

Burtrand Russell

Bertrand Russell

The time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time. (Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970, controversial philosopher/mathematician/Nobel Prize winner for literature)

Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who will get the blame. (Bertrand Russell)

Thank you to all those who have passed on quotes I treasure. If you happen to know who wrote those I haven’t found the author of, please let me know. Enjoy!

From Susan Kauffmann: The obstacle is the path. (Zen Proverb)

From Bill Keuntje: I’ve learned not to play the notes with emotion, but to play the emotion with the notes. (Bill is a composer/musician)