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July 11, 2008 by 8junebugs

My mother is allergic to this fruit, but now resembles one.

I would post a picture, but she would light me on fire.

She is healing well from the hernia surgery and her rib(s), broken from all the initial coughing, are not causing her any more pain. While I was up there, she was able to sleep in her bed once or twice — she has been sleeping propped up or in a recliner since this started because of the rib(s) and the coughing.

This, we think, may also be because her mother “died in her sleep.” Technically, she was awake when she died, but woke because she couldn’t breathe.

As far as I know, anyway. I was playing house in my first apartment, 3,000 miles away.

Her bloodwork continues to be encouraging and her doctor has said at some point that he thinks she’ll make it to Christmas. Although this isn’t happy news, she does love Christmas…

My role this time around was Perspective Shifter. I needed to convince Mom that there are other things to do with one’s time than work and think about work and get ready for work.

I am not necessarily the best person to teach this lesson, but that’s beside the point.

Mom has worked since she could walk, in one way or another. That’s what happens when you grow up on a farm — you have chores from Day 1. She’s owned her own business for at least 20 years, and that takes a lot of focus and work and ambition. And an object in motion takes offense at being expected to stop before it is damn good and ready.

If she had lost an arm instead of some hair, I think it would be easier for her to see that her capacity is diminshed. A physical pain or injury is something even a farmer’s daughter can’t ignore for too long. But as it is, she says she’s not in any real pain, so why can’t she work?

Because she has to drag a laundry basket across the floor — she can’t pick it up.
Because she sits down every 15-20 minutes at work.
Because she needs to use the motorized cart at the store.

She may still have all her limbs, but her body is telling her that it’s time to rest and adapt to a less driven lifestyle. (She’s not listening to her body any more than she’s listening to me — we’re a stubborn breed.)

She had not thought about what kinds of things she would do if she didn’t have to work. There’s gardening and memory-book-making and correspondence. I’m sure there are other things that will wind up on her list, but she’d forgotten about all those other things she’s “always wanted to do.”

And although she had come to terms with selling the house, she hadn’t thought about how that could change her financial options. We did some math and she now realizes it doesn’t all have to go into our inheritance — even just a piece of it can support her for however long she needs.

All of this is starting to take a toll on me. I am feeling worn out and wiped out, and I am not sleeping well. There isn’t much I can do to change what’s stressful in my life — what’s happening is primarily out of my control.

But I can mitigate its effects on me.

* Now that I’m home again, my fitness center beckons. I don’t much care what the scale says, but I feel and sleep better when I’m making good use of the elliptical machine.

* I’ve got a renewed interest in cooking, for which I have two people to thank:

  1. Alicia, who generously shares with her friends the chard and other excess items from her CSA share (tonight I shall use chard and the farm-fresh eggs in a frittata — triumph!).
  2. Doug, the vegetarian I met during Mom’s chemo. He gave me a recipe for a portobello casserole that sounds so good and clean and fresh that I feel like going back to my vegetarian-but-not routine. (After college, it took a while to realize that I could afford meat.)

* I will soon schedule a massage. My chiropractor has expanded her practice to include that, acupressure, and acupuncture, so yay!


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