It does take a village | Sprinkled with Humor

  • Monday, January 22, 2018 9:00am
  • Opinion
Millie Vierra

Millie Vierra

In summarizing a year when Queen Elizabeth II felt her monarchy had been under siege, she tagged it her “annum horrible.”

I now know how she felt.

Following a year-and-a-half of whirlwind planning and celebrating our daughter’s wedding, I was besieged by a mind-blowing 2017 filled with back-to-back illnesses. Without the resilience of youth, I wondered if, not when, things would ever get better. Aging gracefully is full-time work. Pile on depression, strep throat, back-to-back bouts of a disabling virus, sciatica, a torn meniscus requiring surgery, old age was the least of my worries.

Just when I thought life couldn’t get any harder than trying to maintain quality of life as a senior, I was reminded that I’m still open to everything that affects folks younger than me. Getting older didn’t exempt me. I didn’t get a “free pass” from all the other stuff just because I was now into my golden years.

What’s helped me wend my way back from the brink of complete insanity is my support system of caretakers. Folks with whom I’ve commiserated about my well-being, including my doctor, psychotherapist, naturopaths, chiropractor, acupuncturist, orthopedist, physical therapists, massage therapist, and myofascia specialist.

Heading into the New Year, I’m beginning to feel as though 2017 was just a blip, an inconvenience. I’m regaining my zest, my get-up-and-go. It helps that I’m beginning to walk like a normal person. There were times when I watched folks going about their business, and wondered if I’d ever return to walking like them. No hesitation. No restful pauses. No thinking about walking; just doing it.

Climbing up and down steps was tricky. At first, my bum leg “hitched a ride” with its healthy counterpart. Doing so long term, however, would’ve compromised the integrity of my whole body.

Luckily, repairing my torn meniscus and doing physical therapy had me daydreaming that someday soon, I might be able to climb Mt. Rainier. Although, even more thrilling is the reality that any day now I’ll be walking, unencumbered, around my neighborhood once again; my husband trying to keep up with me.

It’s not that I’m out of the woods, health-wise. The latest mystery my “village” and I are trying to decipher is shortness of breath.

In addition to my regulars, I sought the professional input of an otolaryngologist and my dentist. Next week I’ll see a pulmonologist. So far, the prevailing theory is that I’m not breathing deeply. Something to do with oxygen in, carbon dioxide out.

Short of walking around with a brown paper bag covering my mouth, I’m doing breathing exercises suggested by a couple of my health practitioners. The release of dopamine is a positive by-product. It keeps my stress level grounded.

I tend to self-diagnose; with Google’s assist, of course. However, self-diagnosing can be cyclical, non-productive and highly stressful. I believe its singular benefit is in motivating us to seek professional help. Only the experts can work through safe options with us.

It takes a Village.

Millie Vierra lives in Issaquah.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Let’s clear the air on wildfires, climate change

Agreement and commitment is needed to address the causes of wildfires and climate change.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact
Republican’s write-in campaign highlights post-primary intrigue | Roegner

Can former Bothell mayor beat two Democrats for lieutenant governor post?

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact
What does it mean to violate the Hatch Act? | Roegner

The federal law was established in 1939.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Editorial: State lawmakers shouldn’t wait to start budget work

Making tough choices on cuts and revenue can’t wait until next year and hopes for better news.

Rico Thomas, left, has been a clerk in the Fuel Center/Mini Mart at Safeway in Federal Way for the past 5 years. Kyong Barry, right, has been with Albertsons for 18 years and is a front end supervisor in Auburn. Both are active members of UFCW 21. Courtesy photos
Grocery store workers deserve respect and hazard pay | Guest column

As grocery store workers in King County, we experience the hard, cold… Continue reading

Face masks save lives and jobs across Washington

Wearing a mask saves lives and saves jobs. And all across the… Continue reading

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Reopen schools in fall, but do it safely

Don’t bully schools into reopening. Protect our students.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Stopping COVID is now up to each of us

With a resurgence threatening, we need to take greater responsibility to keep the virus in check.

Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at parade participants on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Wear your face-hugging, ever-loving mask | Editorial

“Don’t make me come down there.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo,… Continue reading

Back to the wild — a whole new outdoor recreation world | Guest editorial

When enjoying the great outdoors, continue to socially distance and be aware of how else COVID-19 has changed our world.

KCLS is stepping up its commitment to patrons

KCLS has expanding its online resources so patrons can continue to learn, build skills, stay entertained and remain mentally and physically active amid the pandemic.

The true meaning of community | Guest editorial

LWTech president Dr. Amy Morrison reflects on how the COVID-19 outbreak has brought the community together.