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Last week felt like something was in retrograde, as one day became more bizarre than the next. My sons had some good fortune with their business, so that was awesome. Went to my second caregiver support group, this for spouses only. Before leaving, I tried to explain what the word "spouse" meant to my questioning husband, but I couldn't get through to him. Arrived at the place a few minutes late, just in time to hear one of the two facilitators relay who wasn't coming because either the spouse had passed away or the spouse wasn't having a good day. Again, as the new person, I had to tell my story to seven people, only one male. Again, I was quite a bit younger than almost all of them. Since it is a confidential group, I won't share specifics, other than my own situation.

The rest of the women talked after I did, each giving updates or expressing frustration, handing along useful advice to me. The man never spoke until asked by one of the facilitators how his wife was doing. Veritable flood gate opened, he wept; we all wept. There was one woman who didn't share her story, but she peppered everyone with very direct, almost rude questions. When the 2 and 1/2 hours was over, I understood why they only meet four times a year. This stuff is brutal, depressing, like a ghost of the future showing what could be. I took a few more pamphlets, then was ambushed by rude-question-lady, who said she wasn't really a caregiver, but had put both of her parents in assisted living, so that she could have a life. Then she handed me one of her business cards, explaining she was a health coach, if I ever needed her services.

Because I was still processing everything I had heard in the meeting, I didn't immediately understand. SHE CAME TO THE SUPPORT GROUP TO FIND CLIENTS. Seriously. She was blabbing on about how she made sure she went for her daily walk, had a weekly pedicure, always had a girls' night out, which is when it clicked in my head. You bitch, I didn't say aloud, but put on my coat and declined a hug.

Next day my husband and I had doctor appointments, in the same vicinity. Raining and cold, so we didn't go in the Miata. His appointment was first, at the neurologist's, where he aced the memory test. The doctor said in his experience, this had never happened. He said to continue the meds, gain weight, and have a nice Thanksgiving. We left laughing. In the car, my husband told me he had cheated. I said, "Whatever, dude. Let's get lunch before my appointment."

I drove to a small strip mall near my doctor's; we had a quick lunch, my husband claiming he had never had a bagel with cream cheese before. Sigh. Had to wait half an hour at my appointment, but used the time to write down a laundry list of odd complaints, which I had been attributing to stress and fibromyalgia. None of the cardiac results had been forwarded, but I had a copy of my bloodwork, which I gave to the doctor, along with a verbal recitation of the list and cardiac results. His first assessment was it sounded like I was back in menopause (which I also had been thinking), then I told him that several of my family members recently came out of the thyroid closet.

That changed everything. He took more blood to do a thorough thyroid workup, forgot to give me a flu shot and I left. He called the next day to inform me I have antibodies which indicated Hashimoto's Disease. What-the-ever-loving-fuck?? I asked what I should do and he said, "Let's wait 6 months or so and re-do the bloodwork." I am not a good "let's wait and see" person, especially after I read up on Hashimoto's at the Mayo Clinic website. Called him back and said, "As much as I do not want to take another medication, I can't do the-wait-and-see approach. I've felt like crap for too long and I want to feel better. I need to sleep; I want energy." So he called in the prescription to the pharmacy.

I told both of my sons, before they headed off on their weekend adventures. I waited until much later to tell my husband, as we were going to see a documentary at our local library, called Chasing Ice, by environmental photographer James Balog. Our sons were originally going to come, but their plans change like the weather. No matter, we knew a few people in the audience; there were really good refreshments... pumpkin donuts and fresh cider, coffee and tea. I had my husband sit in the front row at the end so he could hear. The lights dimmed and we were mesmerized and moved by one man's mission to show evidence of the changing climate, by using time-lapse cameras recording glacier activity.

Afterwards, I picked up a few free books and we headed off to pick up English muffins and my new prescription. Day two of taking it, so far so good. None of the side effects that I can tell but I'm trying to be optimistic, and sometimes having a positive attitude can be more than half of the battle.

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