Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Blind’

My New Cult and my Aging Parents

It’s true.   I am a part of a cult.  It’s called Fit Bit.  Do you have a Fit Bit?  If you do, there’s a good chance you know what I mean.

I asked for a Fit Bit for Christmas.  Do you know what a Fit Bit is?  If you don’t, there’s a chance you just woke up from a ten year coma.  You might want to check with your doctor about that. Here’s what a Fit Bit looks like:


At first, Scott scoffed at me for wanting a Fit Bit.  He doesn’t get it.  He said, “I just can’t get you one of those.  It’s the principle of the thing.  If you want to work out, just work out.  You don’t need an expensive watch to motivate you.”

But, I do need an expensive watch to motivate me.

Exercising is literally Scott’s favorite thing to do.  He doesn’t do it to lose weight.  He doesn’t do it to impress people.  He does it because it brings him joy.  If Scott couldn’t exercise, he’d be a sad man.  I’m not braggin’ on him.  That’s just how God made him.  Lucky Scott.

I have always been somewhat interested in health and fitness, but always have to find new things to stay motivated.  That’s why I wanted a Fit Bit.  It’s a watch that grades my effort every day.  It tells me at 4pm that if I don’t get moving, I’m getting a C – for the day.  Then, I get off my butt.  Start moving, and bring home an A+.  You’re not literally graded.  They count your steps.  But, for me, it’s like a report card.

After Scott’s impassioned anti-Fit Bit speech, I really thought I wasn’t getting one.  But, guess what?  I have a 13-year-old daughter now, and she is my ally.  The way I heard it is that Olivia and Scott were out doing their Christmas shopping, and Olivia said this, “Dad.  I know you don’t want a Fit Bit, and you would never wear a Fit Bit.  But, this present isn’t for you.  Giving a gift means you are thinking about someone else.  You consider their needs and interests, and give them a gift you think they will enjoy.  It isn’t about what YOU want.”

Wow.  Having a daughter is AWESOME!!!

I love my Fit Bit.  I got off to a little bit of slow start, because I got the rotten lung over Christmas.  But, I did my best.  Now, I’m better, and this thing is keeping me moving.  I’m not sure if I’ll get sick of it, or not.  I hope I don’t.  I don’t really have a track record of getting tired of and/or discarding things we’ve spent our precious dollars to have.  We bought a treadmill before Eddie was born, and we wore that sucker down to nothin’.  It lasted 11 years.  I hope this Fit Bit does too.

I have two other sisters who have Fit Bits.  So we talked about Fit Bits a lot at Christmas.  We said we liked our Fit Bits.  We wanted to wear our Fit Bits.  We wondered if our Fit Bits were working.  We used the words Fit Bit many times.  Because, that’s what you do when you have a Fit Bit.  You say Fit Bit. A lot.

After listening to hours of Fit Bit talk, one of my non-Fit Bit wearing sisters eventually told us she’d really like to tell us where to put all of our Fit Bits.  I think she’s the one who said Fit Bit is a cult.  She might be right.

I was thinking about something besides Fit Bits over Christmas.  I was thinking about my parents, especially my Dad.  I think I told you that he only has a fraction of his sight left.  I enjoyed watching my sisters fuss over him. I really would like to know how to make sure my kids will fuss over me when I can’t do all the things I once did.  I think that’s a nice thing for families to do.

I tried to really give it some thought.  What is it about my Dad’s new vulnerability that brings out this fierce protectiveness in his daughters?  I was working that over in my head when I had a sudden flash of memory.  I remembered a pleasant drive I had with my Dad one Christmas.  I was in high school.  It was Christmas break, and I couldn’t get to my sister’s house in Green Bay when the rest of the family did, because I had basketball practice.  Everyone else went ahead, and my Dad stayed back with me.  By the time we could leave for Green Bay, the temperatures had dipped dangerously low.  We left anyway, and I wasn’t worried at all. I knew my Dad would take care of me.

It’s weird how I remember obscure things.  I don’t know why I remember that car ride, but I do.  I felt so happy and content to be driving with my Dad to see the rest of the family.  I actually remember feeling safe and protected.

And, I think that’s it.  I think THAT is the answer to my question.  When parents are in good working order,  they give their kids the luxury of feeling safe.  The luxury of not having to worry about how things are going to work out.  When it is going right,  kids take it for granted that their parents are strong, competent and ready to take on all the grown upish worries, so kids don’t have to.

I think that’s why seeing our parents at this end of their lives is making their daughters hover; wanting to make sure their parents’ every need is met.  Our safe place of strength is vulnerable now.  When my sisters and I were young, we wouldn’t have believed it could happen.  Now that it has, we know what to do.  We know how to protect, serve and offer safety to vulnerable people we love.  We know, because our parents taught us.

dad and heidikaty mom


How I almost Died

When I tell my family that I have a brain tumor, they say, “Are we out of milk?” Sometimes I start coughing. I’ll keep coughing so hard that I feel like I could pass out. So, I do, on the kitchen floor, in front of everyone. I gasp loudly and then I lay there, completely limp. My eyes stare at the ceiling. I think I look just like people who die on TV. My family walks around me.

I guess you can only claim fatal illnesses and fake your death so many times. Eventually your family becomes suspicious, and then they just stop believing you. I told my family that one of these days I’m going to really play the thing out, all the way to the funeral. I’ve always wanted to know how sad people would be if I died. I would sit in the back of the church in a disguise. No one would recognize me. I’d watch everybody weep. I would get really choked up just thinking about what a good person I was.

I’d also pay attention to who wasn’t there. I’d finally know who was just pretending to be my friend. When I decided to come back to life and tell everyone it was just a joke (People are going to laugh so hard. That’s really a good one), I would know who I didn’t have to be nice to any more.

Scott has told me that I have diagnosed myself with more fatal illnesses than anyone he knows. One time I was getting a migraine. Only I didn’t know it was a migraine. I’ve never had a migraine. I only knew that my Grandma and my Dad have lost part of their eye sight when they got older.

I was sitting on the couch with a slight headache. My vision started to blur. I just kept saying, “This is it. I knew this would happen. I’m going blind. It’s going. I’m losing my eyesight.” I tried to take in every detail of my family’s precious faces, knowing it would be my last chance before I was enveloped in complete darkness.

I was scared and convinced. So convinced that Scott started to worry a little about my impending blindness. The visual disturbances eventually passed. I said, “Oh, forget it. I’m not going blind. I guess it was a headache.” I don’t know why Scott gets so annoyed. You just have to get used to his moods.

I am lucky to have a boss that totally gets me. I may not get any sympathy at home, but at work it’s different. My boss and I know that we’re always just moments from getting terrible news, and we’re prepared. If my boss has a health issue, she comes to me. I look it up on line and tell her it could be one of three things. They’re all fatal. She says, “I knew it!” The Doctor told her it was nothing to worry about, and that’s why we both know you should never listen to Doctors.

A few years ago I had a bad eye infection. It spread across part of my face. Eventually I got a fever and the chills. I went to the emergency room by myself, thinking that I would get some antibiotics and come back home. The attending physician was kind of a silly guy. He was making jokes when I first sat down on the examining table. Then he quit laughing and he said, “This is serious. We may have to med flight you to another hospital.” I was ready for this.

I called Scott. I was crying and told him he had to come to the hospital right away. When he got there, I was alone in the examination room. I told him what the Doctor said. Scott patted me on the back. He gently suggested I hold off on panicking until we saw the test results.

Scott’s crazy. He wouldn’t recognize a life-and-death situation if he was standing in the middle of it. And, believe me, he was standing in the middle of it.

I insisted that while we waited Scott needed to take notes on my last words and wishes. I told him that marrying him was the best decision I ever made.

I said, “I want you to move on with your life. You have my blessing to remarry.”

He said, “I don’t think we…”

“Shhh, ” I said putting my finger to his lips. “You musn’t argue. You can’t let my memory get in the way of your happiness. I only ask that she love our children. And, please, make sure the children know how much I loved them.”

He wrote it down. At least I think he did. I packed years worth of wisdom and guidance for him to pass along to the children into those 15 minutes.

The Doctor interrupted my dictation when he came back in the room. He said, “false alarm”. It isn’t what I suspected. We’ll just keep you for the night and give you intravenous antibiotics. You’ll be fine to go home tomorrow.

I looked at Scott and I said, “Now THAT was a close call. There’s nothing like a near death experience to put things into perspective. Am I right? I can’t even imagine how good it must feel to have me back. ” He didn’t say anything.


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