This is my Mom. I tell people she's 72, looks 42, has the patience of Job (Staying married to my Dad for over 50 years is proof enough. Throw in putting up with me growing up along side 3 sisters and a brother and keeping my kids on a weekly basis and she's on the short list to replace Mother Theresa.) and can work circles around the average person.
Back in 2007 she was diagnosed with cancer, calmly decided she wasn't going to let it get her down or impede her daily life in any way, then promptly went out and beat it. I ate more salt and fat last week than she's ate in the last 10 years, she's walked 5 miles a day for over 30 years now and I'll guarantee you the words "I'll take a cheese dog with chili and onions" have never left her mouth.
On the flip side of this is me, her son. Avoids the doctor like the plague, thinks Mt Dew should be given it's own postage stamp, and has developed a strange urge for Tabasco flavored Slim Jims over the past few months. Add on my moderately high blood pressure and my "No Exercise Plan Until the rights of bull frogs are recognized" campaign and I'd have bet you $20 I'd have some doctor telling me that I'd need a pacemaker before her.
I'd also be out $20 bucks. Seems like for the past few months Mom's been getting dizzy and light headed and her blood pressure and heart rate AFTER walking 4 miles resembled that of a man in a medically induced coma: 97/48 with a heart rate of 47.
Turns out her heart was taking a break, sometimes for as long as 7 seconds according the the people at that mysterious clinic nobody has ever seen yet they still can scare the beejeezus out of you when they tell you to get to the ER asap and sorry, I can't tell you why. According to her surgeon, who I'm pretty sure played Opie on The Andy Griffith Show (Seriously. If this guy would have said "Paw" I would have asked him for his autograph) the next step would have been her lying on the floor trying to remember how she got there.
I realize putting a pace maker in is now the medical equivalent of getting your oil changed, but when it's your Mom you sort of lose sight of that. Throw in the fact I spent years watching "ER" and "Chicago Hope" and I was running every imaginable bad scenario around in my head most of the day. I'll forever be grateful to her regular doc who actually took the time to care about his patients and caught this early before it was too late, but I gotta admit I was ready to stomp into his office and drag him out by the earlobe for letting this happen. Yes, I realize he did a fantastic job and yes I realize it really wasn't his fault, but when it comes to my Mom about as rational as one of those ding bat "Tea Party" people at tax increase rally.
At least until Opie came out, told us everything went well, and Mom could come home tomorrow. My Dad was elated, my sister was relieved, Ange was happy, and I was trying to just hold it together and not cry.
Because my Mom was going to be OK? You bet. But mostly because of what she asked the doc before they took her in for surgery. She didn't ask how long it would last for or how much longer it would give her or even about odds and all that stuff.
She calmly looked ol' Ope in the eye and asked "When can I hold my grand babies again?"
If you still have your Mom around, pick up the phone or send her an email and tell her you love her. 'Cause you never know when you won't be able to again.
BTW, I'm taking all this a sign from above that this October will be a very, very good month.
Building for Keeps
1 week ago