My sister likes to call me after her doctors’ appointment. I don’t mind. In fact, I try to do my best to focus on her aches and pains, so I know what’s coming down the pike.

She’s eight years ahead of me, so it’s to my advantage to listen to her describe body parts and functions which have gone haywire, since I’ll more than likely have the same mystery pain. Just the other day she called to say she keeps having a muscle spasm in her stomach. We couldn’t have been more relieved as I’d been dealing with the same thing and it would be highly unlikely we both were having an aneurism in our stomachs at the same time.

While taking care of Mom in her last months of life she carried on her weekly tradition of talking to her sister, who was also dealing with serious health issues. I’d listen to them have arguments of who was the most sick, who was going to die first and then love how they’d end the conversation with an inside joke, which would make them both giggle. It’s a sister thing.

Even though our aches and pains may be the same, my sister was very annoyed when my heart scan showed zero plaque buildup, and hers did. She was so sure I was lying, I had to request the scan results for proof. I have to admit I felt like I won that one.

We joke about who will get dementia first, realizing we could develop this terrible disease since we watched our dad’s memory and thought process slowly deteriorate before his time. Sometimes I think she’s losing it, although I know there are times she thinks the same about me. I console both of us with reminders we all forgot sometimes, and as we age, sometimes will become more frequent.

I’ve been working on pulling weeds from the 800-foot ditch in front of our property. We planted over 400 ivy plants and even though they’ve nearly taken over the area, there is still grass and weeds vying for that space.

I’ve developed a rash from the grass and weeds. (My sister reported her skin irritation with grass/weeds several years ago, so I’ m not sure why I was so surprised). It seems the rash would go away with some cortisone cream, so I continued pulling while purchasing more cream.

After another round of pulling weeds I couldn’t wait to hit the bed and halfheartedly went through my nightly ritual, until I brushed my teeth. It didn’t take long to realize what I had in my mouth was not toothpaste and quickly realized I had just brushed my teeth with the cortisone cream. In my defense, they are both in the same-shaped tubes.

After brushing my teeth vigorously with toothpaste I went to bed and worried I was going to have to label my bathroom items like I did Dad’s after he brushed his teeth with the VO5 gel he used on his hair.

I thought about telling my sister, but then she’d think I’d lost my mind first. She may not have brushed her teeth with cortisone cream, but the other day she couldn’t remember why she was calling me.

Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at