Why I spark...
Thursday, May 28, 2009
My mother-in-law is the reason I spark.
Unfortunately not because she is the image of health, she is rather, the example of putting yourself on the back burner, and denying the need to take care of oneself.
Like most women in her age group, she grew up surrounded by others hurting from the Great Depression, TB and war. And in the small Southern town she lived her entire life in, there was always someone else that needed more than she did. So she counted her blessings and raised her family.
Then her only daughter died at 16 from an aneurysm.
Less than 10 years later her husband, the only man she ever kissed, died following years of heart problems and open-heart surgery.
Then her mother fell and fractured her hip.
My MIL quit her job and moved in with her to become a caretaker. During that time her sadness grew and her weight along with it. She was diagnosed with diabetes the year her mother had to be placed in a nursing home because she was too much for my now 200 lb, 5'4" MIL to manage.
She continued to see the same doctor she and her mother had seen most of their lives. Under his care, she developed leg wounds that weep constantly and need to be debreeded three times a week. She has had two eye surgeries, and still is almost legally blind. She was hospitalized three months ago for a near fatal drug interaction following a kidney infection, and it now turns out she is in the beginning of renal failure.
The old doc, that told her to check her blood sugar every morning as soon as she woke, had a severe stroke nine days after we transferred her to another doctor's care.
We moved her to an apartment two miles down the street from us, arranged for a home nurse to visit her twice a week and for her to receive at-home OT and PT. For the first time ever, she took a blood sugar reading after a meal and she learned that she spikes over 200! She never met with a dietician under the old doc's care and now is receiving nutritional advice. Today we will take her for her monthly kidney check.
She never wanted to question the authority of her doctor, never wanted anyone to make a fuss over her, and always tried to put others' needs first. And now these days, when she should be enjoying seeing her three sons grown and successful and revelling in her grandchildren, are spent in pain and at doctor's offices.
She never learned you HAVE to take care of yourself so you CAN take care of others!