Usually, when you hear of people retiring to Florida, within three years they move back to their original location citing that they couldn’t sustain the Florida heat. Fast forward to today and I’m seriously considering the 32F degrees that have been greeting me each morning here in Florida as a game changer. One of the main reasons why I moved to Florida, and why I especially spend my winters here is because I ALWAYS get sick as soon as the weather turns chilly. Needless to say, I’m seriously ill. Again!
What the heck is going on?
It has snowed in Florida three times already this year; the first time that has ever happened here. Measurable snow in the Florida panhandle usually happens once every 17 years. The snow had to pick its 17th year now while I’m here? Snow, sleet and ice has hit Florida from Tallahassee to Jacksonville. This has caused power outages, multiple vehicle accidents and closed roads.
I’ve been getting up early (to walk my dog) only to be greeted outside with wind chill temps as low as 25F degrees. WTF? Needless to say, I am not prepared for this. Each time I feel the cold I get sicker and sicker. Florida homes do not have great heating systems. Most have forced hot air systems whose warm air dissipates as soon as the boiler shuts down. Florida homes are NOT insulated well to protect against the cold. Only to keep in the air conditioning. The dry forced hot air has caused damage to my sinuses which in turn has led to some awful, disgusting, horrendous dual nose bleeds (the blood pours out of both my nostrils, down my throat thus causing me to choke)! My doctor has advised me that if I get one more nose bleed, my nose has to be cauterised. In the mean time, I have stopped all medications (aspirin, decongestants…as they dry up the membranes) and have placed a humidifier in my bedroom and living room.
Oh, and did I mention I have the flu? Am near pneumonia yet again?
Where is my hubby in all of this? He had a cardiologist appointment in January, back in frigid New York of all places. Despite my repeated insistence that he postpone his appointment till March (because no one should travel IMHO into the cold weather in January or February but hey! WTF do I know, right?) At first, we were both going to drive back but the thought of being in our car for two days, 27 hours driving time, with a stopover at a hotel (which usually are shitty hotels because we have a dog…….once we saw bed bugs in our hotel bed!!!!) I declined. So, Nick said he would leave me here in Florida and take the car. No friggin’ way was I going to be left alone, sick and disabled, without my car!
So, while Nick was sleeping I booked a round trip ticket for him (using his points) and coordinated my BIL to drive him to the airport and one of his friends to pick him up on the other end. If Nick insists he has to go to New York to see his cardiologist, despite all the factors against it, why should I jeopardize MY health too? I’ll get to the end of this ridiculous story by saying that Nick, already weakened by my own sickness, fell horribly ill after the plane ride. No fooling? Really? Who would have thunk? Our caretaker also had the flu and couldn’t help him. Neither one of my two daughters nor SILs would go to our house to help Nick. They said they didn’t want to get sick also. Nice people, eh? So, Nick had to shovel the steps and driveway by himself. Not good for a man suffering from an aorta aneurism, right?
Anyway, Nick braved the 7F degrees and went to his cardiologist and got his six month heart evaluation. (Really, folks, this could have been done in December or March without much difference). Everything checked out fine BUT Nick will need open heart surgery in at least five years because of the growth timeline of his aneurism. Needless to say, because Nick went to a doctor’s office, he got sicker. He needs now to either go to the ER or Urgent Care. With no one to take care of him or help him out, he drove himself back to his doctor’s office which also has an Urgent Care extension. (Please note: doc’s office 1.5 hours each way travel time)
Nick has the flu. He had to go to CVS and get his own meds. He had to go back to our NY home and take care of himself. Alone. He has to cook for himself, shop for himself etc. without the help of anyone. Nice, right? I cancelled his flight back home since it was apparent Nick wasn’t going to be well enough to travel.
What a mess. I really think that Nick doesn’t have the good sense to adequately make decisions for his own well-being. And I’m not much help either because my first instincts are to take care of myself. I’ve been to our local Urgent Care twice and I am still on antibiotics. I’m petrified I’m going to get pneumonia again, which will make for five years in a row!
This cold weather has NOT been helping either one of us.
As you can see despite owning our beautiful NY home for 17 years, we still do NOT have a good, working network of friends or family around us. The home is very rural and there are no services. No home delivery, no medical or food deliveries. Not even take-out. For 16 years I lived in that home, alone. I tried everything in the book to build a network but to no avail. Not even my children could come to help me should I have needed them.
That is why I was so adamant about buying our home here in Sarasota, Florida. I have my sister and my brother living within 12 miles of me AND both my brother and his wife are doctors! My SIL has been instrumental in advising Nick about the proper treatment and coordinated care he needs to control his heart condition. Plus, our condo is in a building with 30 other families AND both my neighbors, on either side of me, are middle-aged, single women who told me they are available 100% of the time should I ever need any help. The last time I had a severe nose bleed, I knew if I couldn’t stop the hemorrhaging, I could bang on my neighbor’s front door and help would be on the way! These are very important things to think about as we all get older!
My brother and SIL spend every January in the Caribbean. I used to criticize them for this but NOW I understand why they do it. They are enjoying 90F degrees of sheer bliss while I am back in the states shivering. Live and learn. Guess where I will be next January?
Ever since Christmas Day I have been seriously re-evaluating my life. I’ve been thinking long and hard about what my purpose in life is. It’s apparent that I don’t have a good relationship with my two daughters nor my two granddaughters. Nick doesn’t really care about me nor has the good sense to properly care for himself. From the moment he gets up in the morning till the time he falls asleep, all he does is complain. I can’t stand the constant negativity. I’m trying to survive here. I’m trying to make the best of my life and enjoy whatever time I have left.
I’m very happy here in my little condo in Sarasota, Florida. I finally have friends and family around me. I finally have things to do every day. There’s so much to see and do in Florida. I just wish I had come here sooner. Nick keeps insisting he likes New York better. Perhaps these last two weeks he has endured there will change his mind. He already had to buy 200 gallons of very expensive propane. And yes, he complains about the New York filth (he’s just noticing that the local Aldi’s there is a shithole!) the traffic, the car accidents and all the people there in New York. Just like all the same exact complaints he mutters about Florida.
If we sell the NY home I’m prepared to split the money with him and part ways. Or, Nick can take out a loan, pay me my half of the home’s worth and he can stay in his precious New York crap. He’s NOT entitled to any ownership in the Florida condo because that’s been purchased with my remaining inheritance money. I’ve also thought of a Plan B for myself, which is, if for whatever reason I can’t afford to live in my Florida condo, I’ll take in a boarder. The unit is set up in such a way that the 2nd bedroom has its own full bath cut off from the main living space. I’m sure there is another elder out there who would appreciate living here with me. The NY Times wrote a whole new article about this up and coming trend for senior citizens. Click here to read the article ‘Getting A RoomMate In Your Golden Years.’
As I said, I’m into survival mode now. All I care about is: ME.