Monday, March 9, 2009

Mother's Influence

A big part of my molding was watching mother.

She seemed extreme to most when she refused replacements for her osteoporosis-annihilated hip joints. But she wasn't the type to refuse things just because they weren't totally natural. She tried Motrin-containing medication, for example. One of her reasons for seeking another path was that she felt severely arthritic all through her body, not just in what used to be her hip joints. She prayed and she felt her way.

She was the only one who totally and vocally believed she would be healed - except maybe the patriarch who blessed her so. But he wasn't around. Dad kept his tongue so I don't really know what he thought. Family members can correct me on this.

Family members can correct me on this too, but as I recall, she eventually made it out of bed and used to get around by locking her knees and feet together and swinging them forward on crutches. When she would negotiate herself back to bed, she would put her back to the edge and grasp the tops of the crutches in her hands and let herself down gently into a sitting position. As she let herself down, there were loud popping and grinding noises coming from her hips that you could hear throughout our one-bedroom house. Her joints were gone; it was porous bone on porous bone, I guess.

She went like that for years. Her moaning and crying lessened as time went on, but she sure didn't look like she was ever going to walk again. She used to have dreams in which she would be running through a meadow or something. She would wake up and exclaim how wonderful it would be to do such a thing again.

She would do the dishes and cook and everything - in later years when the pain wasn't as bad. Finally one day out of the blue she stood up without her crutches. The noises had ceased. Within a week or so, she was walking again. From all I could tell, she was all better.

It didn't last long. For two reasons. First, she and dad and I drove down to Lake Powell and did some camping and swimming. Per our traditional family custom, we often went down to the sandstone cliffs and went jumping and swimming. One day we were going into the water where the sandstone sloped gently to the water's edge. It was mossy. I had gone first and warned her. I told her to stoop down and crab walk because it was so slick. Too late. Dad was next to her when he slipped and fell, knocking her down. Her femur broke. We put her into the station wagon and drove her straight to Salt Lake City. As they operated on her shattered leg, they saw that her hip socket had filled with some sort of gristle. That had been what enabled her to walk normally again. The whole process took about 10 years from the time she first experienced pain, which was 1977.

So the first reason was that she broke her leg and it set her back. Secondly, as I said, she had to keep up her strict regimen to keep the inflammation away. Like me, she wasn't always perfect and she suffered. It wasn't long after this that she began to prepare to cross the bar and have her general health start to go.

Boy, but you should have seen her in her swim suit, jumping off the sandstone into the lake. She was about 70 at the time.

She taught me faith and prayer and to find my own right way. Watching her faith heal herself and others led me dare to think maybe anything could be fixed.