Monday, April 10, 2006

The Week That Was

I don't know who decided that it would be a good idea to give the kids a week off from school just when they're starting to get Spring Fever, but they sure put a cramp in my style.

My mom visited last week during the kids' spring break.

When my mom visits without my father in tow, it is a completely different experience. I've realized that most of my problems with my mother stem from her stressing about my father's mood, opinions, and childish behavior. My husband get along pretty well with my mother when my father isn't around to bug him. But the kids pretty much turn spoiled as soon as that woman walks off the plane. It's a conditioned response.

My mother and I went to the gym together every morning. I learned that she's been doing pilates, yoga, step, and spinning classes. I'm in shock. This is my mother. I hadn't ever really thought about it before, but when she sets her mind to something, she is pretty damned determined.

And now she is determined to live long enough to see my daughter get married.

She brought good news and bad news with her on this trip. The good news is that her biopsy came back negative. She's only having hormonal problems that they will be able to treat. The bad news is that my father has emphysema. Both of his parents died of emphysema.

When I was a kid, my father smoked six packs a day. I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this before. When I went into the hospital with a childhood disease (that would later be discovered to be linked with second hand smoke) and his father went into the hospital with emphysema (yet continued smoking in his hospital bed) in the very same week, he quit cold turkey.

He went from six packs a day to nothing.

He quit smoking thirty years ago.

And now after struggling to breathe for a few years and being misdiagnosed with asthma, he has finally been diagnosed with emphysema.

There's nothing they can do to make it better. They suggest that he try to lose weight, only to be more comfortable. He's trying. My mother is more-or-less supervising him. But the way she explained it to me is, "He's not long for this world."

With all of his medical problems, from diabetes and high blood pressure, to skin cancer and obesity and a whole lot more, he's going to die from cigarettes.

Cigarettes he gave up thirty years ago.

He's always telling the kids that people die from smoking. I dread the day he proves it to them.

All of my parents' medical woes lead to some interesting discussions with my new doctor last Friday. For a doctor who I had to see because she was the only one accepting new patients with my crappy military insurance, I love her. She's a military wife herself.

She sat and listened to me list my parents' health problems on and on and on. She didn't try to rush me. She asked me about my concerns and never made me feel stupid.

And she called me back this week to tell me that every single one of my lab tests came back normal. Every single one. I'm very healthy. (Tell that to my scale, Lady.)

I've never felt so free. I really did expect her to call and give me a list of the things that were wrong with me. But it's not too late. I haven't done irreparable damage. I can keep on the course I've chosen with the gym and my new eating habits and I can continue to be healthy.

I haven't written like this in a while. I haven't just sat down and let things flow in such a long time. There is always a strive to be interesting, dramatic, or funny.

But I am none of those things. Not really. At heart I am just a person who loves hard and takes thing personally. I worry, a lot, about the people I love. I'm just a woman who is concerned about my parents, and my kids, and my husband, and my friends.

I'm just a woman who is a little bit scared that things will change more than I can handle.

But I'm also a woman who is happy to know that my body hasn't betrayed me. And the people who love me won't either, when it comes time for that change.

What more could I ask for?

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