Sunday, January 15, 2006


My grandmother is lamenting her generation. In the last four months, she has lost two of her best friends. She seems to be preoccupied with death at the moment, but it's more of a casual preoccupation than a morbid one. She's at that age when death is just a part of life, I suppose. Her husband has been deceased for twenty-six years (I never met him but supposedly I look just like him) and she's had six or seven hundred knee replacement surgeries (I am of course exaggerating). Anyway, it's somewhat of a bummer for my wife, who's father is going in for surgery this week to correct two pinched nerves, one at the base of his spine and the other near the top.

For the past several years, my father-in-law has been battling Parkinsons-like symptoms. These symptoms have worsened in the past two years, to the point where standing has become a pain and walking has become an ordeal. He's in his early sixties, and a school teacher for the past forty years. He teaches on the third floor of an old building, no elevators and the trudge up the stairs has been taking a toll. To top it off, the entire family is chemically sensitive. The pesticides used in the school do a number on the girls in my wife's family, and it's been proven that pesticides can irritate and sometimes bring on Parkinsons. The medication, exercise programs and other such things have not been working to correct his symptoms, so this fall he went to a neurologist for a sleep apnea test because things were getting so bad.

"It could be a pinched nerve, but there's no evidence of Parkinsons," this person said. Two and a half years of crying, praying, and dilly-dallying with the idea of legal action against the school for using harmful pesticides, and in one night, it is given to my wife's family that they may regain their father. And so, it has been concluded, he does have two pinched nerves. But he is far from out of the woods now. The particular nerves that are pinched are dangerous; if he takes a tumble, he could do irreparable damage to himself. It could be fatal. So eggshells have been walked upon these last few weeks, and this week he goes in for surgery. Then, two weeks of recovery. We're all hoping. For once, I am actually praying for somebody. This is somebody I didn't even know three and a half years ago, had no idea he even existed. Now, because I love his daughter and love his family, and because I love him, I am praying.

Anyway, my wife is reading Tuesdays With Morrie on the couch, because she doesn't want to listen to my grandma talk about death. I wish I could whisk her to Nebraska to say "I Love You" to her father's face.

Discussed in this post:

No comments: