Mom has had many things happen to her during the last five years; I will not list them. I am just going to say that through all of this, and it was a lot, she was wondrously upbeat and positive. I know that is part of why she is still going strong after it all…that and the Grace of God.
Mom always has an opinion
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22
Mom used to sing a song that had lyrics from this Bible verse, and she would always talk about how she thought it meant that worry and traumatic life experiences can give you a broken spirit. She said that everyone she knew with severe arthritis or cancer had had very hard things happen to them that “dried their bones.” She was saying that the inner spirit had a lot to do with your health. That is scientifically proven. ( I have friends who have successfully battling cancer who prove that this is true. )
She has also always thought vinegar and honey mixed together healed anything. Before I left for school in the morning as a child, I had to take the most bizarre range of things…kelp among them. Sometimes, she would want me to drink a little glass of vinegar water. If my stomach was unsettled, it was baking soda in water that she recommended. She went through one phase where she would pack little Tupperware things of wheat germ in my lunch box.
(Many mornings all through my school life, she would arrive mid-morning and inform the teacher that she could not find the tie to the bread wrapper and thought it might be in my sandwich. I still panic if I cannot find the tie to the bread bag.)
“HAIR! HAIR! Shoulder length or longer….”
My mom loves pretty hair. She is very particular with her hair, and sometimes it drives me crazy. She does not want the car window down to blow her hair, and my air conditioning does not work.
She made me absolutely bonkers when she was in the nursing home after the cancer and subsequent heart failure, bugging me about coloring her hair. Her gray was showing, and she hated it. We colored it at the nursing home, and it was not the color she liked, so she continued to drive me crazy.
I walked her several times a day, fighting and willing her to be independent and once again in her home. Each trip down the hall meant a discussion about her hair color as we passed each mirror on the wall!
She is now living at home, and she has finally gotten her hair like she wants it. Finally, she arrived at the perfect Revlon shade and application time! This last Sunday, she looked at her reflection in the car window and she said, “I love my hair. I thank God for it!” She was very serious. She felt better about herself, and she was expressing gratitude to God. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
From a shooting to “Just Shoot Me, Please”
The past few weeks, we have been battling a little health issue that required a trip to a specialist. The day of the appointment, I was in the middle of writing about a school shooting that happened in our area the day before. I stopped to go get Mom, missing the important news conference about the event.
Little did I know what was in store for me this day!
Who is that hairy man?
We went in the office, and I saw a man at a table in the back. I assumed he was not the doctor, because he had such odd-looking hair. I thought maybe he was the cleaning staff or something. His hair was long and puffy, as if he had had a homemade haircut. (Alternatively, I wondered if it was a very poorly fitted, cheap toupee.) He was the victim of a very poor dye job, which had rendered a few different colors. All the colors were cheap, unnatural and too dark…except the sideburns, which had been left gray. It was an odd black and Orange-brown color.
We did not have to wait long, and we were soon back there in the examining room. This pleased mom a lot and me more. She is not a good, patient patient about waiting. If you say her appointment is 1:30, she thinks the doctor is just standing her up if he is not there soon after. I HAVE THREATENED TO BRING CRAYONS AND COLORING BOOKS IF SHE DID NOT IMPROVE!
You know where this is going
The door opened, and guess who walked in? You know it! It was the Doctor, and he was the hair! I was trying not to look, and trying even harder not to laugh. Yet, like a train wreck, I kept trying to see if it was a toupee or just weird hair. When he looked my way, I tried to act as if I was not looking!
She will do it every single time
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not poking fun at old age, and frankly, this has nothing to do with old age. It may have made the likelihood of occurrence greater, but this is just MOM! She always must give someone a compliment.
My mom, the hair connoisseur, answers the doctor’s “How are we doing today?” “Just Fine,” she cheerfully said. So far, we are OK, and then she is off…
“You have the prettiest hair. It is so thick and full. It’s the prettiest color.” I kept looking down, hoping I did not pop a gusset. I worried that the doctor would think she is making fun of him. She just kept going on and on, and then I was somewhat relieved when I realized that Dr. Hair was almost taking bows as if he won the best of show!
Then…it gets worse.
She looked at me and said,” Barbie, doesn’t he have beautiful hair? Look at the color, and it’s so thick.”
I made every attempt to gain my composure. We were in this tiny room, and he was right up in my face, awaiting my answer. Oh, me! I do not remember what I said. It was surreal, and I literally do not remember what I said. I just remember his face looking at me, and worrying that he thought we were making fun of him. Then, finally, the exchange ended. I was perspiring profusely.
Ten minutes of tape
At some point in this tiny room, the nice, hairy doctor preceded to explain something that had to be done in mom’s treatment that involved some adhesives. He must have spent five or ten minutes elaborating in great detail about tape.
He had a little plastic chest of drawers containing nothing but tape, perched prominently right there beside his chair. As he got one after another out to show me, it reminded me of someone who collects something odd that nobody cares at all about. Collectors always want to show everyone each precious item, piece by piece.
He informed me that I could buy the one we needed at the desk because it was hard to find. OK, no problem.
Nice doctor, good report, good feelings—unknown noises!
Mom and I discussed how nice the Doctor had been as we gathered our stuff to leave. We were told to come back in three weeks, and we went to the desk to pay, get the tape, and schedule that appointment.
The stupid tape was $27.50! It was just a non-stick tape, and I could have gotten something that would work for a few bucks at CVS. My very frugal mother made a noise that I had never heard before.
I really did not know what to do. It takes forever to get in with a specialist, and that complicates things. I did not know if he was behind the counter, once again sitting at his janitor’s table or not. If so, he would be able to hear everything we say, and he obviously takes tape very seriously.
Maybe he was the janitor.
I always used to instruct my kids to be extra nice to the custodians at their schools. My son agreed, saying they were the most important relationships because they had keys to everything! In the hospital, some of the most helpful, caring people you will encounter are the housekeeping staff.
I do not know, but the medicine and treatment he prescribed is already working.