I have to go visit my mom. She called me this week to let me know the results of the medical tests she had the week before. She has congestive heart failure. She asked me to look up some info on the web for her, which I was happy to do.
Congestive heart failure, by the way, doesn’t mean that the heart has stopped. It does mean it isn’t functioning efficiently. That results in complications that make life more difficult.
I dread this visit. Visiting my mom, like talking to her on the phone, can be a day long affair. An hour or so of visiting, whether in person or on the phone, is plenty for me. I just find it exhausting after a while. Part of that is fibromyalgia, too. She has no comfortable chairs – at least for my body. She will keep me on the phone for hours, which really causes the fibromyalgia to flare up in my neck and upper back due to leaning in to the phone. Sometimes I don’t have a chance to get my headphone on – then I really pay.
I don’t dread it because of the topic. I dread it because my mother, being who she is, talks in circles around a topic until it’s beaten to death. She reads a lot, so she feels she knows what works better than her doctor does. She’s as stubborn as a mule and won’t follow doctor’s recommendations if she doesn’t think she wants to. It’s great to be involved in decisions about your health care. But she takes it to the extreme. She probably would be dead already if we hadn’t convinced her finally to have the aortic value replaced a few years ago.
My mom is an odd combination of a fatalistic woman who believes she is optimistic and a positive thinker. Yet she worries about everything – except what she should, of course. You can see why that will make for a fun visit.
I have lots of fun planned for today. In addition to the visit to mom, I have to go out and try to find something to wear to a wedding in two weeks. I thought I had something I could use in the closet, until I tried it on. I know I’m not going to look like a fashion model but there has to be something better than what I have. I’m not much of a dress up person as it is – much prefer comfort over style. But this is my husband’s nephew/godson, so I need to be a little bit stylish, I guess.
What’s worse than wearing dress up clothes – shopping for them! When you have the SFG thing going (that’s Short Fat Girl for the uninformed), finding stylish clothes that fit is often an effort in futility. You pick up things that look great, put them on, get depressed, take them off and start all over again. Then you neck and shoulders start to cramp up, if you have fibromyalgia, because they don’t like all the motion you need to put the clothes on and take them off. Your back doesn’t like walking/standing in stores all morning. The depression, of course, is that clothes don’t make the woman and you still look like that SFG no matter what you try on.
So the plan will be:
- Go clothes shopping – increase pain and increase “the blues”
- Have our main meal of the day – soothe the pain mentally at least
- Take pain medicine and put on a heat pack – with food in my stomach, I’ll be able to tolerate the meds (though it won’t help SFG issues)
- Go visit my mom – with the hot pack on, she’ll have visual evidence of my pain and won’t have hurt feelings when I say I need to go in an hour or two
- Go home and take muscle relaxants; go to bed early since I’m scheduled to serve at church tomorrow morning
- Hope I can wake up tomorrow morning after taking the meds to sleep and get rid of some pain; the after effects can leave me a bit “foggy” the next day – just what you need when the fibromyalgia has already drained your energy.
Things could be worse. I could be like my mother – optomistic and positive only in my own mind and not in actions. I know it sounds like that might be a possibility when you read my plan. But the plan is made with a lot of humor underpinning it. If I took my life too seriously, I would go crazy. So I spend my life skating along the surface of the pond, like a water spider, and only dipping in all the way when it’s absolutely necessary. I take care of business when I have to and let the rest of the world take care of itself.
A friend of mine (one of the good friends who moved away) once gave me what she intended to be a compliment. She told me I lived a “12-step” life without ever having been to a 12-step program. She knows what a 12-step life is supposed to be since she is a recovering alcoholic (about 15 years) and has been to AA for a long time. I’ve never read any materials or gone to any meetings. The book that impacted me most in life was “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale, which I read when I was 12. But over the years I’ve learned to live in the present. I try not to hold on to the past and I don’t worry about things that haven’t happened yet. I try to be kind, honest, true to myself and compassionate with others. So if that results in a “12-step life” then I guess I’ve got that. I look at it as a God-based life with Biblical underpinnings. I don’t take the Bible literally, as many conservatives do, but look at what the meaning is in the New Testament. I find that there are a couple a points that I use a lot:
- Speak the truth in all gentleness
- “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will sustain me”
- There are many gifts but one Spirit and the gifts are given to all as the Spirit wills for the common good
- If you have 2 cloaks and someone has none, give him one of yours
So if I make it through this day – and I don’t doubt that I will, I’m just not sure what condition I’ll be in – I’ll let you know how things went. Maybe I’ll “get lucky” and mom won’t be home. Actually, I hope that doesn’t happen – it only prolongs the pain.