I once heard Joel Osteen talk about hitting the “Delete” button whenever you received bad news that you didn’t want to accept. He suggested that doctors’ tests are just one measure of how you are doing and maybe God has a better plan.
I listened carefully to his words because I already had some considerable experience with this concept and I had seen some amazing results. While Mother never read the books “It’s Your Time” or “Your Best Life Now,” she certainly managed to understand the concepts very well.
Mother exhibited many interesting and (we hope) unique personality traits throughout her life. However, the fact of the matter is that she did not let medical tests or their results influence her life. Ever.
It is true that Mother was difficult and unpredictable all of her life. You never knew what or who was going to set her off. And Mother could take the smallest thing and blow it up into World War III. Nevertheless, when it came to her health, she was quite the eternal optimist.
A doctor would say:
You have emphysema.
and she would reply:
No, I do not.
Another doctor would prescribe oxygen around the clock. The medical supply company would come with the oxygen tanks and hoses and she would yell that they could just take their machine back because she was not using it. The oxygen people insisted that she was making a huge mistake and they simply could not be responsible. None of their arguments went anywhere with Mother.
They insisted she sign a paper stating that she was going against her doctor’s orders. She signed and said, “Good riddance” to the oxygen. Finally, her doctor in Southern Indiana told my sister and me that Mother would need a wheelchair full-time in the next six months.
I don’t need a wheelchair. I can walk just fine.
she told us.
As all of these dire predictions went in one ear and out the other with Mother. But guess what? She didn’t use the oxygen and her oxygen levels remained high, and she refused to use a wheelchair and was able to walk by herself until the last year of her life—ten years after the doctor said she would be using a chair!
My sister and I puzzled and pondered about this aspect of Mother’s life. She never accepted any health problems, and in the last week of her life, she was looking for a newspaper so that she could rent an apartment and get a job. She did say during that time that she would have a hard time finding a job…but not due to her health! It was “this horrible economy” that Mother viewed as the major hurdle for her job hunt.
When you asked her how she was, she always said:
I’m just fine.
She never complained about any of her many maladies. Perhaps she was saving up all her negative energy to make life miserable for her family, but whatever the reason, she denied any serious health problems and as a result lived until age 89 believing that she was “just fine, thank you.”