Keep Smiling…Two steps forward…


By Rosie Preston

It occurred to me the other night that I don’t get anywhere fast, so I knew that it was time to start re-thinking my plans. I may go two steps forward and one step back, which was happening quite often lately.

The ability to live as I had in the past – with better health being taken for granted – was changing. For example, in my rush to get to bed the other night, I had both arms full holding two ice packs, a cell phone, an ice water container, a chocolate milk container and a pill bottle that I was holding with my teeth. It did not occur to me that I do not have a third arm. How I thought for even a second that I could hold all these things and open the door, I will never understand.

I reached down with my right hand to take hold of the doorknob, and that’s when I spilled the chocolate milk all over my gown, my body and the floor. I found myself rushing to find a towel (no time to be choosy) to wipe the floor. I then got in the shower and asked myself, of all the things I was carrying, why did it have to be sticky chocolate milk that spilled?

As I write this column, I’m wondering if one of the local dollar stores will sell me one of their plastic carry carts so I could load up everything in it.

Speaking of stores, not too long ago I squatted to retrieve something off a bottom rack in a retail store and I didn’t have the strength to stand up! It was very embarrassing to ask a stranger to give me a hand.

My back was examined after a fall, and my neurosurgeon gave me the results of an MRI. His diagnosis of degenerative disc disease, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and scoliosis can no longer be ignored. I had cried all the way home last year from Birmingham because he told me how my life was about to change.

“You should not lift over 15 pounds and you must reduce your exercise program to accommodate the fact that you do not have the strength you once had.”

“Oh no,” I cried. “My grandbabies weigh more than that and you are telling me I could break my back or any bone in my body?”

Not wanting to believe the good doctor, I went back to the local YMCA and did what I thought was a gentle workout as he instructed me to do. But I didn’t stop there. On another day, I went shopping and tripped over my feet, fell head first onto the floor and fractured three vertebrae in my spine.

I found myself crying a lot during the past year, because this does not physically feel like ‘me.’ Instead of getting better, I’m going to do as much as I possibly can to hold on to what I’ve got (Isn’t that the words to an old popular song?).

I often share my wisdom with the younger generation and the strangers I meet in line at a store where I’m checking out. I’m finding out that most young people can’t relate. Neither could I when my daddy used to tell me that he felt like he just woke up one day and he was an old man! I looked at him, flabbergasted, because I could see it was true. He had gone from being a very strong, muscular man laying bricks and blocks for years until one day in his late 60s he came home and said, “That’s it! I can’t work anymore with this shoulder killing me.” And he didn’t. After that, it seemed that I was taking my dad, my mother and my aunt to so many doctor appointments and ER visits that I knew many hospital employees on a first name basis.

There were times we would be there for hours before we were released or admitted.

Would that be considered multi-tasking? Yes, especially if you are involved with raising a granddaughter, spending time with your children, and grandchildren and trying to maintain a clean home, doing laundry, preparing meals and paying bills.

Blessings are bestowed on us every day if we just accept them. I can still enjoy my life! There is a new sunrise every day. The fact that I have six great-grandchildren – all little girls whom I love to watch as they are enjoying playing and the hugs they give – is priceless. So, my time just seems more valuable and reminds me of the following verse:

The Bible verse Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 American Standard Version (ASV): “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: 2) a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3) a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4) a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5) a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6) a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7) a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8) a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Keep Smiling, Rosie

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