There is so much I could blog about. I might need to start doing an entry a day. How much of the world do we miss, for no better reason than we simply don’t notice? Or we think it’s normal.
Today (Tuesday) I had a strange moment. I’m reluctant to share – once a thing is on the web, it’s there forever, immortalized and immutable; there are no takebacks. And yet… there’s this little voice inside saying “Share it – it’s important.” So here we go.
First a bit of background. Jerry, my husband, has a condition called Marfan’s. ‘A genetic mutuation that causes a weakening of the connective tissue’ is the simplest way I’ve found to explain it.
I challenge you to find any part of the body that doesn’t contain connective tissue in some form. Even blood vessels; they’re built in layers which are joined by – you guessed it – connective tissue. Heart valves? Attached by chordae tendoneae – tendons. Which are connective tissue. Bones? (Surely there’s no connective tissue in bones!) Bones incorporate lamellae, which are concentric rings of mineral salts and collagen fibres. Guess what collagen fibres are. That’s right, they’re gelatin! (When boiled. Jello, anyone?) They’re also connective tissue.
Marfan’s has threatened Jerry’s life at least twice; as a child, when severe scoliosis and the caving in of his rib cage began crushing his internal organs, and as an adult, when his aorta dissected (the layers tore apart). There are also other, non-life threatening conditions. His hips, for example. He has the human version of hip displaysia, again caused by the Marfan’s. Recently it’s been getting more and more painful for him to stand, walk, do his job (he’s the head detailer at a local Ford dealership). So he finally – stubborn man that he is – went to talk to his doctor.
See, in January 2012 we went to Mayo Rochester (yes, the original Mayo Clinic here in Minnesota, and fortunate we are to have it!) for a full workup by doctors who know enough to specialize in Marfan’s; they discovered the abnormalities in his hips, which severely reduce Jerry’s range of motion in the joint. They told us then that he would eventually have to have the hips replaced, and Jerry swore he was never having another operation, ever again. Stoicism does have its limits, though.
Now we come to the strange part. My attitude toward all this has been one of relief at the desicion, and anticipation of Jerry’s physical renewal. Yes, there are risks to putting him under. I’m not worried about it; I’ve already decided the operation is going to be a complete success, and he’s going to enjoy life far more than he has in recent years, becoming physically pain-free just in time for him to retire and us to play for the rest of our lives.
My Dad phoned me today (Tuesday) to ask if he could come out and use the air compressor, and then he said in hushed tones better suited to a funeral home than a casual conversation, “And your mom and I, we’re so sorry to hear about Jerry’s hips. That’s a terrible thing to have happen.” It was as if he thought Jerry’s coming hip replacement was a tragedy.
I had to take a moment or three to process what he’d said. They were sorry to hear that Jerry is finally going to get his hips fixed? That’s a terrible thing to have happen, that he’s finally going to be able to stand and walk and maybe ride a horse (one of my favorite activities, that I don’t indulge in out of a desire not to leave him out) without pain?
Whoa. Mental reset. Dad was focused on the opposite side of the situation, the side that is afraid of surgery risks, that concentrates on why-do-bad-things-happen-to-good-people. For him, where his mind goes is to the worry, anticipating all the things that can go wrong, thinking of scarce funds and how can “the kids” possibly afford the surgery, a thought process that feels so alien to me now that none of the dire possibilites he was no doubt thinking even occurred to me. And for him, that’s normal. It’s rational. It’s realistic.
And I thought, This is one of the people who helped to shape my old blueprint.
Four weeks ago, would I have thought the same as he does? Would I have focused on the wrong things? And is there any way I can help him see that there is nothing to fear, that worry only makes happen what you worry about? How dark and confining that style of thought and living seems to me now!
Just when I was starting to wonder if I’d made any real progress yet.