My mind was on the moon

Mom and I just got home from grandma’s and I realized I left my best scarf there.


It is NOVEMBER in WISCONSIN and I left my warmest, coziest, burgundiest scarf AN HOUR AWAY FROM MY NECK.


My casserole was a hit tonight, because Duh: Who doesn’t love tuna casserole? Grandma and I both had two helpings. Mom, because she is a responsible adult, had only one.

After dinner grandma retired to her chair and mom and I took over the couch where the cat sleeps because I am allergic to cats and was in the mood to snot out a few more gallons before bed. There were bowls of “fun” size Butterfingers and Kit Kats by the couch- Bonus! – so the three of us snacked, chatted, and unmuted the TV for the occasional news update.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, by Pieter Brueghel the Elder

We were talking about Hurricane Sandy relief efforts when suddenly Grandma doubled over in pain in her chair, clutching her right leg just above her knee. Twitching in pain from whatever was happening, she gasped out that it was a nerve… it hurt so bad… it just happens sometimes… so sorry we have to see her this way…

Mom and I just looked on, helpless, as she waved us away and explained there was nothing we could do or get for her. Nothing we could move out of her way, nothing we could lift or prepare or pour. She shook four nerve pills out of a small bottle and tucked them into her cheek to swallow when she had the energy to refill her water bottle. (She didn’t want us to get it; said she wanted the walk to work out the pain.)

On her way back to her chair the pain flared up again, leaving her curled over the back of a dining room chair, wincing, shaking.

How do you watch somebody do that and not want to just fix it?

I went to her, put a hand on her arm and another on her back. Rub, rub, rub. I wanted to pray with her, but didn’t want her to feel stuck there in case she needed to sit down. Instead of simply praying in my head I argued back and forth with myself about the merits of praying out loud anyway, and whether she’d really feel “stuck” enough to stay and how I shouldn’t over think these things and how too often I under think these things and soon my mind was on the moon.


So instead I just kissed her shoulder and kept rubbing her back ’til she was ready to sit.

Sometimes I just want to find people who hurt and hold on to them really close, really tight, really true. But then, that’s the easy part. Loving them – sacrificially – every day is the hard part.

She took two (prescribed) morphine pills and explained how the doctor told her the only option was to have the nerve cauterized, which would cause her to lose control of the leg. She doesn’t want to not be able to walk, but the pain, she said, the pain comes on so strong and fast and unexpectedly and she can’t live like that, she said. She can’t live like that.

A head in 5 slices, courtesy of Genesis12

“We don’t want to take pills every day, but sometimes we have to. We don’t want to lose control, but sometimes the pain is so bad we have to.”

I came home, answered questions in a social networking help group, soaked in the tub, fed the ferrets, downloaded free books for my Kindle, and missed my scarf. I took no pills. Nothing hurt.

And save for a couple of grouchy sinuses, every single thing worked.