Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Medical Doctors

On My Mother’s Table | Memories

Photo taken in 1948, before Mother came down with polio in 1949
Ruth, Elouise, Dad, Mother, and Grandpa Gury

I’m reposting this in honor of my mother, Eileen Gury Renich, born 12 July 1921.
I often wonder what she would have been like without polio or the pain of her childhood.
It colored everything that happened in my life.

A graceful old table
With fold-down wings
On each side and
Beautiful scrolling
Along the edges
Sits there in the kitchen
Small and old with just enough
Room to turn around

A small pantry hides beneath
stairs to the second floor
A window looks out
Above the small porcelain sink
With ridged sideboard

A small walk-through kitchen
With four doors
Impossible to miss stands
Ready and quick to reach

There on the table they sit
In their permanent space
Neatly arranged on a medium-size
Round tray never messy always tidy
Kept just next to the short wall
Out of the way not in your face
Part of the scenery
Normal things needed daily in
My Mother’s kitchen

Salt and pepper
A sugar bowl and bottle of creamer
Instant coffee and paper napkins
Or were they paper towels
I’m not quite sure
Vitamins and minerals
Aspirin and toothpicks
Small round Rx bottles neatly arranged
At least a dozen sometimes more
Coming and going as needed
New and old as prescribed
One on top of the other
For the latest pain or muscle discomfort
Carefully labeled and marked with her name
Mother’s name only not anyone else’s
Her cafeteria of pain-killers and relaxants
Old friends from polio days plus
New friends added to her
Growing collection of pills or
Were they drugs from
Multiple doctors with multiple solutions

A potent mix of ingredients
For multiple ailments in multiple periods
Of her pain-ridden sleep-deprived life
Sit neatly on the table
Ready at a moment’s notice
Would you please bring me
My phenobarbital and a cup of coffee?
Caffeine and barby doll her friends for life
But at what cost?
Drugs free from a friend’s prescription shop
But at what cost?

* * *

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 21 July 2015, edited and reposted 12 July 2021,
the anniversary of my Mother’s birth (12 July 1921 – 17 Feb. 1999)

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 12 July 2021
Tourist photo taken in 1948

My one-of-a-kind body

Dear Friends,

This past week was a blur. Not a horrible blur, but the kind that softens my outlook and strains my capacity to take things in. I knew it was coming, yet living through it physically and emotionally was more exhausting than I anticipated.

It’s all about my dear, one-of-a-kind body. The one I’m learning to treat tenderly–with special care, huge respect and growing gratitude. It’s easy for me to fall into a sense of despair when things don’t improve as quickly as I’d like.

And yet…the outcome of this week’s saga is positive. I now have four more lab tests to get through—three involve separate blood draws. The other is a 24-hour collection I won’t describe because you really don’t want to know.

I met my kidney doctor on Wednesday, and relaxed immediately. She had a welcoming, patient-centered approach and treated me as the adult woman I am. I was surprised to hear she wasn’t sure what’s going on in my body. The numbers are clear on my lab results for the last ten years.

At the same time, having seen me, she doesn’t consider me an ‘average’ 73-year-old woman. For example, I’m still physically active and don’t look that old. Hence the standard measurements don’t necessarily apply. So she wants to find out whether I’m at an earlier stage of kidney disease, or whether something else might be going on. I left with orders for further testing.

My exhaustion continues, as do other issues that have plagued me for the past year. Which brings me to yesterday’s appointment with my integrative doctor. She’s also totally patient-oriented, and is treating me for adrenal disorder (sometimes related to kidney problems).

Last December she told me it might take 2 full years to recover my energy. Along with more supplements and directions about diet, she gave me a list of changes to make in my lifestyle. I had to start putting myself first, cutting way back on things I didn’t need to do, meditating regularly, enjoying the outdoors, and I think you get the picture.

In short, I had to begin loving my body more than I loved pleasing or even being with other people. I had to treat my weary body as tenderly as I might treat a newborn baby. It’s no exaggeration to say I was a rank beginner at this, even though I thought I’d been treating myself well.

After reviewing how things were going in all parts of my health care, she wrote orders for follow-up blood work, gave me a big thumbs up, and sent me home to carry on!

The way ahead still feels heavy. My attitude, however, has changed. Each evening I make a short journal entry about how I’m feeling. Now, instead of dwelling on the challenges or discouragements of each day, I recall things that brought me joy and delight.

I’ve also decided I might like to live to be 100 after all! Not because I think the world is getting better each day, but because I’m finding ways to celebrate little things instead of focusing on stress-points in my life or in this world God loves so much.

With hope and gratitude,
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 June 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Tender 

Unwired!

Trader Joe's British Muffins

Dear Friends,

The wires are off my jaw, and the end is upon me! The end of Strictly Pureed Food, that is. Chewing (what is that, anyway?) is number one on the list of skills I need to relearn.

Granted, Read the rest of this entry »

I stepped from Plank to Plank

Night Sky and Pacific

For several weeks I’ve wondered about this poem by Emily Dickinson. What’s it all about? Do I get it yet? I’m not sure. I do, however, think it gets me right now.

I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my Feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch –
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

c. 1864

Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995

As usual, there’s precious little Read the rest of this entry »

Revisiting Sabbath Sloth

P1110687

Today I couldn’t help noticing that three people viewed my June 2015 post on Sabbath Sloth. That made me happy! So I checked it out, admired the sinfully relaxed sloth, and was struck by several things. Read the rest of this entry »

On My Mother’s Table | Memories

A graceful old table
With fold-down flaps
On each side
Beautiful scrolling
Along the edges
Sitting there in the kitchen Read the rest of this entry »

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