“I don’t understand why you don’t blah-blah-blah, and you can’t blah-blah-blah, and …. why you can’t ever seem to fix the blah blah blah….”I’m slouched in the driver’s seat, 43 going on 17. She’s criticizing every part of my life that she views up close as a household member, because her body is too broken down to much of anything but observe and criticize. I can’t confront her; I never could. I can’t defend myself. And it hurts. Literally.
|Mom and I in happier times, with happier lymph nodes.|
“Are you eating right? You look like you’re gaining weight.”This lymph node is now so angry, it’s swelled to twice its normal size and is threatening to jump out onto the sidewalk outside Mom’s dermatologist’s office. I drop Mom off to go park, and by the time I follow her up to the office, the pain is impacting my vision. I wait until they take Mom back out of earshot, before I quietly alert the nurse that I need help. I tell them not to tell my Mom.
Which is their signal to immediately tell my Mom, using soft, soothing words like: “WE NEED TO GET HER TO THE ER NOW BECAUSE THAT MUCH SUDDEN PAIN SO CLOSE TO HER BRAIN IS DANGERGOUS.” Who does this to an elderly widow when her only daughter is lying on a gurney? The enraged lymph node is stabbing me as if it's my fault. Maybe it is.
It took The Advanced Breeder and his son 20 minutes to arrive on the scene, and Jim immediately triaged the situation. He says to Alex, “Get her mom in the car to go home. NOW” He didn’t know what was going on, but as he said later, “Having your Mom there was not going to help anything.”
Which isn’t quite true. She was, after all, the only one on the scene who knew enough to call out as they wheeled me away, “Tell them you've already had the mumps!”
It wasn’t mumps. It wasn’t a brain tumor or an aneurysm. Five hours and five figures in medical bills later, the rebel lymph node had been lulled into a morphine-induced happy place and the ER doctor asks if I’ve been under stress. Might have been cheaper if we'd started there.
No one tells you that your aging parents go through periods as they start to transition where they aren’t the parents you’ve always known. They get really mean and nasty, not entirely unlike the moods and compromised brains of adolescents during their transition.
Yet very much unlike adolescence, there no upside on aging. It’s going to suck and then they are going to die. That’s enraging if you’re living it. There’s a reason that honoring our father and our mother is on the Big 10 to get into heaven, because we go through it with them.
Personalize it to your own determent.
The next lymph node to go nuclear may be your own.