Chronic Kidney Disease

 

Dialysis Machine
Photo Credit – Fresenius Medical Care

 

 

Two years ago to the day, Feb. 1, 2016, my husband was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease. He was not feeling well for months and his doctors could not figure out why. He was so sick that day, that I insisted I take him to emergency.

Within half an hour after he was wheeled to emergency, I was told he had to go to ICU. All his numbers at all tests were out of whack. That’s how bad he was. Long story short, he has been on dialysis ever since. I opted for home dialysis because I could not take it going to the clinic three times a week. This way, I can hook him up to his machine at night for 12 hours straight and I can still have my day free.

There are five stages of chronic kidney disease and unfortunately, he has Stage 5 End Stage Renal Disease. It sounds terrible but it’s the fact. He has no kidney function whatsoever. Death is such a morbid topic but I’m realistic. I told him he cannot go yet. I’m not ready. I stay positive. We used to joke about it. He said he did not think this was part of the deal when we got married. Well, for better, or for worst, in sickness and in health. .  .

Here are some facts about Chronic Kidney Disease per the National Kidney Foundation:

  • 26 million American adults have CKD and millions of others are at increased risk.
  • Early detection can help prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.
  • Heart disease is the major cause of death for all people with CKD.
  • Hypertension causes CKD and CKD causes hypertension.
  • Persistent proteinuria (protein in the urine) means CKD is present.
  • High risk groups include those with diabetes, hypertension and family history of kidney failure.
  • African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Seniors are at increased risk.
  • Two simple tests can detect CKD: blood pressure, urine albumin and serum creatinine.

 

When we go to the clinic for his monthly check up, I’m amazed at how many people are undergoing treatment. Help us battle kidney disease. Many Americans know nothing about kidney disease until it is too late.

Stay healthy, eat the right food (stay away from salty food), exercise and have a positive mental attitude.

Until next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda

 

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NANOWRIMO, HERE I COME

NaNoWriMo Logo
NaNoWriMo Logo

As a follow up to my blog of Oct. 12 when I was on the fence whether to take the NaNoWriMo challenge this year or not, I came up with my decision at the last minute, last night at midnight.

With three newsletters to write, I didn’t think I could manage to finish them before Oct. 31. With my imposed deadline, I worked diligently and focused to make it happen.

I did.

I actually work better on a tight schedule. All the time. 

I finished the Carolina Rosarian, a 16-page quarterly newsletter for the Carolina District of the American Rose Society.

I followed that with The Charleston Rose, an 8-page monthly newsletter of the Charleston Lowcountry Rose Society which includes a revision to the Charleston Lowcountry Rose Society Constitution and ByLaws. 

Yesterday, I finished Whitney Lake Gazette, a 12-page quarterly newsletter full of useful information for residents of Whitney Lake in Johns Island. I sent it out at midnight last night to all Whitney Lake residents.

I am the editor of all three newsletters, President of the Charleston Lowcountry Rose Society and Board Member of Whitney Lake Homeowners Association.

There were other things I had to do and I managed to squeeze them with my tight schedule. 

So,

I’m back on my computer, typing away towards my 5th NaNoWriMo Challenge which journey I began in 2013.

Today, I did 2090 words so I’m on my way.

Again.

 

 Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer

 

How to Stay Debt Free While Living on Social Security and Stay Happy

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Are you one of those people who can’t seem to keep up with your expenses? Keeping up with the Joneses will put you in the poor house. We had, even while my husband and I were both gainfully employed at that time. I was making good money and more so than my husband. But in spite of that we could not keep up with the expenses. We didn’t live a lavish life, just comfortable. We were the typical suburbanites but living in Long Island, New York was expensive.

It was time to sit down and evaluate our finances. I have learned my lesson the hard way and don’t want to be in a financial quagmire again. I’m a seniors living on social security and if I am not careful, I’ll be back in the same quandary as before. Here is how I cope with living with a tight budget.

 

Credit Cards – For years, I was living in a rich community but using my credit cards to the hilt to keep up with the Joneses. I had to admit that I was in deep debt all the time. I had a whole bunch of credit cards. Name me a store in New York at that time and I could tell you I had that store’s credit card except Bloomingdale. I had no idea why I didn’t have Bloomingdale’s card, maybe because it was my husband’s ex favorite store. I even had Bergdorf Goodman’s credit card. At some point, I had a substantial balance on each of them.

Now, I only have three credit cards but I only use one card that gives me cash rewards.

 

Car Payments – I also had four car payments at some points in time. I used to own four cars. Before my kids turned 26, all four cars in my house were under my name and I paid all the car payments, insurance and maintenance on all of them. Finally, I told my husband to transfer the two cars’ title to my kids. I was afraid if the boys had an accident we could get sued and we ‘d lose our home. He finally agreed.

When my husband finally retired, we gave up the lease on his car. Since he was not going anywhere, we opted for one car. I was selling real estate at that time (finally retired from accounting) so we worked out a schedule that he could only use my car when I didn’t have to go to work. It worked fine. We used to drive two Volvos. He had S60 and I have XC70. My two boys had a Blazer and a Jeep Cherokee Laredo.

Now, we only have one car and save money on car payments, insurance, gas and maintenance and repairs.

 

Home Mortgage – I did not realize how bad the situation was until about ten years ago when my husband got sick and retired finally and at that time we owned two houses. One was a vacation home which we used four times a year for two weeks at a time. I was getting very nervous and no matter how I calculated it we would go broke soon. I was paying bills out of one pocket into the other pocket so to speak. The Home Equity loan we had was fully used up and I was afraid we would lose our primary home. It was very stressful.

We were debating on which house to sell. Since we could not tolerate the winter months anymore, we decided to sell the house in New York and moved permanently to our vacation home in the South instead. Also living in the South is cheaper than living in New York. I would also get more money selling the New York house since at the time, the real estate market was down. We had lived in our NY home for 32 years and had big equity on the house. Meanwhile, our vacation home was under the water and we did not want to lose money on it. We had since recovered and we are now above the water and building equity.

Moving costs drained our budget for a good amount. We moved in three stages. When we bought the vacation home, we moved some stuffs to furnish it. The following year, we moved more stuffs. Finally when we sold the New York house, we moved stuffs for the third time. On all these moves, we used a moving company. That cost an arm and a leg. We also hired 1-800-junk for the final move to dispose the stuffs we could not move and to clean up the house after the moving truck finish their job. They junked three dumpsters and cost me $550 per dumpster. In spite of the moving costs, moving south is worth it.

Now, we’re down to one mortgage and we own a beautiful home with 3 bedrooms and 3-1/2 baths on a lakefront property.

 

Property Taxes and Home Maintenance

Living in New York and living in the South are night and day. Living in our townhouse now is much less expensive than living in New York. New York taxes are prohibitive. My taxes at the time we sold our NY home was about $8,000 a year and by this time could have gone up to maybe $10,000 or more. Our current property taxes in the South is $570 a year. That is quite a difference. My utilities are also down quite a bit from an average of $1,200 a month to about $250 a month. Our home exterior maintenance is paid by us in New York. Now HOA takes care of all that. Our HOA of $1690 a year is not bad at all since it covers exterior building repairs and maintenance including roof replacements and maintenance of the common area. I spent about $3,000 a year in New York just on ground maintenance alone.

Now, downsizing to a townhouse in South Carolina saves us plenty of money for home maintenance and taxes.

 

Clothing – Since we have a very mild winter, we do not need those heavy winter clothes. Our winter is so short, we could stay in our summer clothes with a few sweaters to stay comfortable. Winter outfits could put a strain on seniors’ finances who are in a tight budget.

Now, with a few winter clothes saved when we moved south, I don’t have to invest on more heavy winter clothes.

 

Community Involvement – While we were in New York, I was very involved in the community where we were constantly invited to fund raising events. Since I was an officer or board member on some of them, we had to go. They were expensive and in December, there were plenty of them. I’m still involved in the community here but the group I belong to does not go for expensive parties like in New York. We still have lots of fun. I chaired the Social Committee of my community for four years and we had a lot of fun activities without breaking the bank.

Now, I don’t go to expensive parties. I changed my lifestyle.

 

Entertainment – A year and a half ago, my husband was diagnosed with end stage kidney disease. He has to be on dialysis every day so we don’t go on vacation anymore. My relaxation outlet is gardening and reading. I have acquired more roses this year than at any time in my gardening years and I have also acquired more books to read although I purchased my books at a bargain bookstore on line for less than $5.00 for hardcover books. I also foray at book sales around the area. My church sells a grocery bagful of books for $5.00. That is the biggest deal in town. I usually get about 7-8 books per bag and I always bring home 2 bags. I don’t go to movies anymore. I can’t find a good movie worth the money nowadays. Once in a while, I watch TCM movies. They had better actors/actresses years ago. I also don’t watch TV. I turn on the TV only to see the weather forecast if there is a storm. My indulgence was watching Downton Abbey while it was on. I do read a lot.

So now, I save money on entertainment by reading. Lots of it. It enriches my knowledge and broaden my horizon without spending a lot of money.

 

Food – We don’t skimp on food. Since my husband got diagnosed with end stage kidney disease, we don’t go out to dinner anymore. My husband is on a very strict diet – no salt, less potassium, less phosphate. I learn how to cook with no salt. Everything restaurants serve now are too salty for our taste so we avoid restaurant food. We watch the food we eat. I buy quality ingredients and cook nice meals for us. Once in a while, I indulge myself with a rich dessert which my husband can’t eat. Wine is only for special occasion which my husband is not allowed so I don’t stock wine anymore. I can only drink half a wine glass for the whole evening so it’s basically nothing.

Now, our food cost is down because we don’t eat at restaurants anymore.  

 

Barring illness, I need not worry about my finances. I pray I can stay healthy for a long time. I eat right and don’t drink or smoke. I don’t take medication because I don’t have health issues. I’m very healthy. Knock on woods.

Out of the proceeds of the house sale in New York, we paid all our debts. We paid all the credit cards. We paid the balance on the car payments so now we own the car with no more car payments to worry about every month. We only have 71,000 miles on my 12-year old Volvo. We don’t intend to buy a new car for the near future. I’m happy with my Volvo. Our debt is just the mortgage on our house.

We pay my mortgage on time. We have no debt except the mortgage which I accelerate my payment to shorten the term. I pay my credit card (yes, one card) in full except on months that I have to pay life insurance (semi-annual) and car insurance (annual) but I catch up quickly and be on schedule in no time.

I don’t consider myself poor nor am I rich. I’m debt free and happy and contented with what I have. I have plenty of books to entertain me for the rest of my life and visit other places by reading. My garden keeps me in shape. It’s my exercise without paying the gym fee and I get beautiful flowers to enjoy. I don’t think I’m deprived of anything. I have what I want. A lovely lakefront home with gorgeous sunset, a fully paid reliable car, a beautiful garden, a library with 3000 plus books, a wonderful family and a few volunteer works I enjoy. What else can I ask for? Life is good!

 

Until Next Time. Stop and Smell the Roses

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer

 

LOOKING FORWARD TO A GREAT 2017

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Happy New Year to my friends and followers!

I’m looking forward to a great year in 2017.

Last year, I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. I made all my goals and then some. I made my reading challenge for the year. I published another historical novel, “The Wentworth Legacy” and started a new project, a nonfiction book to be published in late fall this year.

This year, I’ll be more focusing on my marketing efforts. I have expanded my email lists to include all the people I know from all aspects of my life and that can mean over a thousand names. It’s a great way to start. When I was in real estate, I was taught “marketing is a number game”. This applies to anything you do. The more you reach out, the more you will be known.

I also started a quarterly newsletter, “Writer’s Musings & Reflections”. It’s not your typical marketing newsletter. It’s more about me, my thoughts and useful tips I want to share with my followers. To subscribe, email me at RosalindaRm@comcast.net. It’s a great way to build up your sphere of influence, a real estate lingo. I remember I used to send out 300 snail mail newsletters every month when I was in real estate. It’s expensive but it got my name out there and it paid off. I was one of the top producers in my office. With the internet, it is easier. With one click, they will be out there and will still leave me with more time to do my writing and other things.

I plan to stay active on social media. I’ll keep on blogging and tweaking my website to keep up with the trends.

I plan to keep on reading and learning new things. To be a good writer, you have to constantly educate yourself. I’m a self-taught writer but I love to read and I learn a lot just by reading. I have no time to go to seminar or conference since I am a full time caregiver of my husband who has acute kidney disease. I write at home and in solitude.

To break off from my writing, I garden. I tend to my 70 roses and other plants. Looking at those beautiful blooms and getting my hands dirty and taking care of God’s acre as I call it is the most satisfying and relaxing feeling of all. I recommend it highly.

Happy Reading and Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda, “The Rose Lady”

Author and Garden Writer

www.rosalindarmorgan.com

 

Motivational Monday – Dec. 26, 2016

 

Perhaps there is no more important component of character than steadfast resolution. The boy who is going to make a great man, or is going to count in any way in after life, must make up his mind not merely to overcome a thousand obstacles, but to win in spite of a thousand repulses and defeats.

 By Theodore Roosevelt

 

 Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda R. Morgan, The Rose Lady

Author and Garden Writer

My books in Kindle and paperbacks are available at Amazon.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Apple iBooks and Kobo can be found at Smashwords.

Sample or purchase my ebook at Smashwords.

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Motivational Monday – December 12, 2016

If we are ever to enjoy life, now is the time-not tomorrow, nor next year, nor in some future life after we have died. The best preparation for a better life next year is a full, complete, harmonious, joyous life this year. Our beliefs in a rich future life are of little importance unless we coin them into a rich present life. Today should always be our most wonderful day.

Thomas Dreier

 

 Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda R. Morgan, The Rose Lady

Author and Garden Writer

All my books are available at Amazon.

You can also find me on Smashwords.

Sample or purchase my ebook at Smashwords.

 

Motivational Monday – December 5, 2016

 

The chief thing you are seeking in this world is happiness; and happiness does not depend upon good health or money or fame, though good health is a large factor. It depends, however, principally on one thing only; your thoughts. If you can’t have what you want, be grateful for what you have. Keep thinking constantly of all the big things you have to be thankful for instead of complaining about the little things that annoy you.

Dale Carnegie

 

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, The Rose Lady

Rosalinda R. Morgan

Author and Garden Writer