• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Thursday, July 22, 2010

20/20 SEQUEL

Dad making wisecracks to mom during pictures 
My youngest son, age 24, called the other day.  He is staying with his grandparents (in Canada) while working this summer.  “Mom,” he said, “did you ever think about how wonderful fingernails are? I am so glad I have no problems with fingernails  - or toenails.”

Random!  I hadn’t even written 20/20 yet but it was on my mind.  His remarks that day clinched my need to make an attempt to record my feelings and thoughts.

He can be a bit random at times. His favorite answer to any question is ‘7’.  Just ‘7’ – it makes me laugh.  He likes to help people laugh – and he thinks – the thinking is what makes him seem a bit random, I think. His thought process can be explained and is very logical, but at times it leaves others in the dust like RoadRunner and Coyote.

My son also told me how grateful he is for his teeth, and his eyes.  Then he expounded at length about the ability to walk and work.  He was preaching to the choir here!

My daughter captured this candid moment
of mom and dad on a swing
during their granddaughter's wedding reception
He also spoke in awe of the love my parents share. They have been married more than 60 years. He is trying to find someone to share an eternal relationship with.  He is amazed at their faith and good cheer.

Yesterday I spent quite a while visiting with my mother on the phone.

My mother is a living breathing miracle – she is like that bunny battery commercial – she just keeps on going through it all:  she gets a priesthood blessing often and sees doctors as needed.

She has endured the birth and rearing of 10 children (with Rh negative factor) on a small farm - in a 3 bedroom no-indoor-bathroom-until-I-was-approximately-15 house, lived 40 + years past a brain tumour (after being told she had 6 months or less to live), multiple major surgeries and broken bones, severe high blood pressure, adult onset diabetes, debilitating migraines and a stroke a few years ago that left her with only a small amount of movement in one limb. Anyone that saw her at that time can scarcely believe that she is now able to walk and function independently.

Despite being robbed of many hobbies and talents (for example she is no longer able to paint) by the tremors of Parkinson’s Disease she remains cheerful and involved in life and living. Instead of worrying about all the things she can’t do she focuses on the things she can do.

Three years ago she was able to come to a reunion of most of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in a wheelchair and on oxygen.  I left thinking I would never see my mother alive again. How silly of me! She is now more healthy than she has been for many, many years. She attends the nearby temple 2 times a day, 4 days a week!

 The other day when my son drove up from work they were outside painting the bottom half of the shed.  (Of course he promptly got the ladder and painted the top half - I suspect that was a set up.)

Recently mother and dad had cataracts removed from their eyes. After that, surgery for undiagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome on first one arthritic hand and then the other relieved some severe pain she had been experiencing for many years. Sadly some permanent damage has taken place.

As I visited with mom I enquired about her health and dad’s health.   My father has been mom's caregiver during her most serious health problems.  The light of understanding dawned – my son is with them daily and assists with many home or yard maintenance tasks they are not able to do themselves. He sees the fumbling knobby fingers and shuffling gaits, the filling of weekly pill counters and the carefully planned and eaten meals. His heart yearns to relieve every struggle and he notices acutely his physical health and ability to do service for them the way they have served their family and others for so long.

Dad has his own issues.  He is breathing with more difficulty, becoming unsteady and tires easily. At age 75 he was still working construction. I used to mock my hard-working husband because he would tell me that my father could work circles around any man he had ever seen do construction – and that was a lot of men.  I mocked because I know my father considered himself a slacker compared to his own father. Hmmm – where did that hyperactive gene come from …

Now as my dad nears 85 he worries he can’t keep up with mom.  He has to take some meds for seizure prevention and heart disease.  They interfere with the circulation in his legs and feet and cause a lot of numbness and pain.

She tells me that when they walk together arm in arm they are not sure who is holding up whom. She mentions that her last surgery took almost 8 weeks to heal – I adjust my own expectations for my own much larger and more complicated surgery accordingly – sheesh – why did I think this would only take a few weeks?

Mom talks about dad’s eyes.  One of them is blurry and no longer focusing properly. They have to go see the eye surgeon again. As we chat mom mentions a problem she is having with a fingernail. It is in the awful process of regrowth and shedding the remnants of an infected hangnail. Gout at times causes her big toe to be gargantuan and hot red; this month it is much better.

I ask about her blood sugar.  It is well controlled this week but her false teeth are not fitting properly and without her realizing it they had rubbed some serious sores onto her gums in several places.  Those are healing now since the dentist has made some adjustments. For now she only wears the teeth to eat or while in public.

My son expressed sincere gratitude for a wonderful and healthy body. He expressed even greater gratitude for grandparents that are so healthy spiritually - grandparents that see eternity with perfect vision. 

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