Mom had the deepest respect for doctors, and almost always took any medication prescribed to her. She also saw fit to stop any medication she thought she didn’t need without consulting her doctor. Often, she would say, “There were no more refills,” or “It does nothing to help.”
One such time I could remember was when mom visited California a few months after she started medication for hypertension. She came without refills since the doctor in New York didn’t tell her to refill it. Two weeks into her visit, I came home to mom standing alone in the garage, holding a towel to her nose. Bleeding, she cried, “I don’t want to get your floor full of blood.” Panicked, we rushed to Mission Hospital, where the doctor packed her nose with gauze after waiting a few hours, then sent her home with several refills of medication for high blood pressure. The caring doctor made her promise to continue the medication, probably for the rest of her life. She said, “I promise.” And to this day, still takes it.
Years ago, her doctor strongly recommended the addition of calcium. Mom thought she didn’t need it. “I drink plenty of milk, eat cheese, and get sunshine,” was her retort after I sent her bottles of various brands of calcium to try. I get it–back then the tablets were huge and hard to swallow. Begging her to take the calcium fell on deaf ears. Adamantly, she’d say, “I don’t like it.”
Three weeks ago, mom bumped into a doorjamb in her home after loosing her footing. At 92, she is frail. In the past two or three years, she has fallen several times and had to spend some time in rehab to learn how to regain her balance. This bump in the doorjamb found her with a broken clavicle, scapula and tenth rib. On top of that, she has an unproductive cough and it’s hard to avoid pain when she “gets that tickle.”
So, when she asks me, “Why me?” I find myself thinking about all the pleading I did, to remind her to take the calcium I sent.
Now, I have my mom’s genes and many of the same ailments. Diagnosed with Osteopenia a few years ago, I also poo-poo’d the power of calcium. I also have difficulty swallowing pills, but found the gummy calcium are to my liking. Having not taken them ‘religiously’ yet, I will now, for I’m in New York this week visiting mom, and see how frail she has become. She needs help with everyday tasks, and lifting her, I feel her bones cracking as if they’ll turn to dust.
Ladies, please: If you are at the age where menopause is beginning, and estrogen levels start to deplete, run out and get your calcium if your physician says to. I now see how important it is, and no amount of milk or cheese is going to replace bones that soften.
Let’s try never to ask, “Why me?”