How I Was, Once Upon a Time

… And What I Wish Could Still Be the Same

By Jeff Salter

This month, we’ve had some pretty deep topics here at 4F1H. On Aug. 8, I blogged on what I’ve learned about life so far. Today, our question is: What’s one significant thing you can no longer do because of strength, time or resources? Wow… heavy.

Having posted here on Hound Day since February of 2011 – today’s column is # 450 – I guess I’ve revealed quite a bit about myself. Well, today we get down to the real nitty-gritty.

When I began – on Monday – reading the posts of my Fox colleagues, my first thought was that I might focus on the general issues of aging, which have significantly affected my mobility, flexibility, and durability. Certainly, as I rapidly approach my sixty-ninth birthday, these are all waning dramatically.


But as I reflected further (yesterday, when I began drafting this), an issue even more “impactful” than my back pain, joint pain, and general age-related issues (like osteo-arthritis), is my stomach problem. This is not the venue for me to go into detail about symptoms or diagnoses, but suffice it to say that my stomach issues have prevented me from traveling (which I used to handle well), and from going to venues where there are no restrooms (or with facilities that are too limited, too primitive, or too nasty).

See? The very topic is unsavory to discuss in polite blogging.

The first question on everyone’s mind is usually, “Why don’t you see a doctor?”

Duh. I’ve seen doctors – generalists and specialists – and I’ve had ultrasounds and scopes (and tests for several things like crohn’s and celiac disease).

The next issue I often encounter is someone who also has stomach problems – whether or not they’re very similar to mine – who will swear by the particular prescription THEIR doctor has put THEM on. Well, Friend, I’m glad you’ve got your symptoms under control, but that does not necessarily mean it will work that exact miracle on me!

Sound defensive?

I’ve been battling this for nine years. Though some of these symptoms had appeared in earlier years, they were comparatively milder and much more isolated in frequency. Beginning in mid-2010, they were nearly constant.

I do NOT have crohn’s and I am NOT a celiac patient. My stomach specialist believes gluten is NOT the primary culprit… though he does state that he has many patients with similar symptoms who have improved their quality of life (and stomach symptoms) by eliminating gluten from their diets.

So I have. I have not knowingly ingested gluten since October of 2011, though occasionally I’ve eaten something I did not realize contained gluten… and have definitely suffered the consequences.

Then I encounter the folks who tell me that WHEAT – and products made from wheat – are NOT the cause of my stomach issues. And, technically, they may be correct. I’ve done a LOT of research on the matter, and I now know that America’s wheat has gradually – over a few decades – been so altered by genetic modification, other laboratory manipulation, and the poisons in herbicides… that it’s a distinctly different product than what I consumed growing up. Furthermore, I’ve learned that some places in Europe still grow and market the “original” (i.e., natural) wheat – without the poison herbicides – which supposedly does NOT have all the modifications that are likely the true culprit in many of my stomach issues… rather than wheat itself (or gluten itself).

Oh well.

I do everything I can to avoid consuming gluten… and thereby greatly miss eating some of my all-time favorites like REAL cinnamon rolls, donuts, brownies, cakes, pies, dinner rolls, muffins, waffles, pancakes, etc. Yeah, I know certain companies make gluten-free alternates of those using rice flour, or wallpaper paste, or some other core ingredient… but they often taste like recycled cardboard manufactured from creek sand. [In fact, last month, I had a G-F pizza which tasted precisely like that.] So, with great discipline, I’ve learned to lower my taste expectations and restrict my diet to cringe-worthy monotony.

Now, to directly answer my translation of the question posed for today: What do I wish could be the same as it once was?

My reply: MY STOMACH! I can no longer travel… and can no longer jump in my truck and go hither and thither to this event and that venue — without careful regard to where I’ll be, how long I’ll be there, what time of day it is (with respect to when I last ate something and what it was), and what facilities are readily available at that site.

And, yeah… that really STINKS.


Any particular limitations on your life that you which you could reverse?

[JLS # 450]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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15 Responses to How I Was, Once Upon a Time

  1. Jeff, I hear you. No one ever said growing old was for the weak. Don’t you just love it when younger people look at you like you’re some kind of hypochondriac if you even drop a hint that something “ails” you?

    Through the years, I’ve learned not to mention my health, health-related problems, etc. (unless I need prayer for something in particular that is effecting my writing) because no one really wants to hear about it. Unless the other person is going through the same thing. Not even the people closest to you want to hear about your aches and pains. Generally, I’ll take it to the Lord instead when I’m not feeling up to snuff. The stomach problem in particular.

    Welcome to the senior club. But you’re still a puppy. Wait until you reach 74. As Arnie reads this over my shoulder, he agrees. “He’s just a pup.” (Arnie is about to turn 76. LOL)

    And don’t you just love it when everyone has a cure for what ails you because it works for them? Actually, I appreciate the information as long as they don’t harp on it. Some of it I’ve tried (except for drugs. In my years in the clinical world, I’ve learned that most drugs lead to the patient taking more drugs to counteract the effects of the first drug. No thanks). Natural health remedies in particular, I will try.

    What I’ve also learned is where every restroom is in Houston. LOL Sorry for the unsavory topic, but it’s the truth. (You younger people, just wait.) I make sure I attend to business before I leave the house, but am always aware of where that comfort room is in any store or restaurant we visit.

    As far as foods go, my personal journey has taught me that moderation is the key to most food intake. I don’t deny myself the pleasure of eating something because my system no longer reacts to it in a favorable way. I just expect it. This way, I don’t feel like I’m losing out when I have a small portion of the offending food.

    Learning to live with growing older is what works for me. I may still feel like that twenty-something young woman on the inside, but I know better when it comes to the rest of me. And I look forward to the day when this old body will be replaced with a brand new one…a perfect one…in Glory.

    Chin up, Jeff. The best is yet to come. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      it’s a comfort — sincerely — to hear from someone who truly understands.
      As to the “miracle” cures, I had a friend & neighbor — long ago — who swore by a product called Osteo-BiFlex and said it had “cured” her fibro symptoms. She hounded me to try it. I tried it. I took that stuff for years, actually. Never noticed even a tiny blip in my symptoms.
      Folks, not everything works for everybody in exactly the same way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jbrayweber says:

    Ugh….so sorry about your stomach. I can empathize with you. Not my stomach or the need to eliminate gluten, but a mysterious itching condition. It’s been more than 10 years since it began with the pregnancy of my 2nd child. It can come in the form of hives, or rashes, but mostly it is invisible (which is the WORST). Like it’s coming from the inside of my body. I’ve been to the doctors and they are clueless, telling me it will go away with time. *snort*

    I think most people would love to regain their health. It’s a broad stroke, but without good health, everything else in our lives suffers. Like my ability and endurance when exercising. Injuries happen more often and derail me from it. Mental health is important, as well.

    Ooh…I’d like to get my patience back, too. And be more carefree like I used to be. *sigh*

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Janice Harshbarger says:

    Whatever our age and however many our ailments and challenges, it helps to think about what we can do, where we can go, and what we can eat rather than what we can’t. God is good, all the time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      exactly, which is a lesson I learned back in the mid 1990s. I rarely talk about my various “conditions”… except at times such as this when it appears as a blog topic.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, how I literally feel your pain in every aspect of your suffering. Besides having an endoscopy scheduled next month for my own stomach, I am now facing gluten-free experiments for my son. Yes, it has to be the GMO and possibly the pesticides as well. Too many people are having wheat/gluten problems and we are all sick that people are telling others that it is all in their heads.
    Then we have my many ongoing health problems, to which EVERYONE has some snake-oil cure-all up their sleeve, most of which, natural as they may be, most ‘boost your immune system’ which is exactly what I don’t need, since I have autoimmune problems.I have been knocked on my back several times. (Hemlock is natural, toadstools are natural, Brown Recluse venom is natural. you get the idea; ‘natural’ is not necessarily a good thing.) Doctors may be ignorant, even willfully so, but not all of them are out to keep you poisoned and sick, being in the pockets of Big Pharma.
    Sorry, People.
    PT, which helps many, could have killed me, paralyzed me at best, when no one realized how bad my neck and back were. So easy for others to tell me to go and get my knees replaced, (the great orthopedist here says he doesn’t know how I am functioning on them), but no one understands that without being able to tolerate opiod pain meds, (the ‘good stuff’), I can’t face it all. Bad enough the procedures which were necessary to stay alive where I had to bite the bullet. And no,I do not believe that it Tylenol is just as good, or calcium pills will do it (it doesn’), or that n matter HOW many lemons you squeeze into your water, it will not kill surgical pain.
    Only YOU know how you feel. Only you know what affects you. You have to be your own advocate and although sometimes, someone gives you some good info, most people don’t have a clue. Don’t get me started on Health Snobs! I hate to wish anyone harm, but most of these folks need to be knocked off their high horse, for their own souls’ sake.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      absolutely and AMEN. It’s bad enough to have to suffer the illnesses / conditions / symptoms — but when (mostly) well-meaning friends and relatives tend to over-simplify our often nightmarish existence with platitudes or “miracle” cures, it just adds salt to the open wounds.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I’m so sorry you’re suffering through all this, and I hope someday there will be an answer for you. In the meantime, you’ll just have to invite everyone to come and see you in Possum Trot!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m so sorry about your stomach issues. It is difficult being gluten free, especially when you want a decent slice of pizza. Since my youngest went gluten free last November due to IBS we’ve been doing a lot of baking from scratch. I’ve managed to find a few things so far that I can bake that nobody has been able to tell they were gluten free. Not everyone has the time to bake and as you said a lot of the store bought stuff tastes like cardboard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      my wife has been able to bake a few things that taste just about as good as the “real” thing. But it’s trial & error. Some recipes that promise to be super tasty are just yucky.


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