Memaw relished the opportunity to talk about her ailments. A retired nurse, she never shied from adjusting her clothing to display a scar or bruise.
Years after the surgeries, her knee replacement and appendectomy remained favorite topics for conversation. Her social circle and any unfortunate stranger who found themselves within reach of her voice knew, within minutes, all the bloody, painful details of her long lifetime of illness and injury.
Every Thanksgiving, whenever conversation slowed, Memaw would look at the de-fleshed ham bone resting on its Blue Willow platter and launch her knee replacement story. After dessert, she enjoyed a round of show-and-tell. An enormous bruise on her hip, we’ve seen it. Ditto the appendix scar. We somehow escaped the sight of her long-bemoaned hemorrhoids, probably due to the enormous effort it would’ve taken to wriggle out of her girdle.
I love that girdle.
Memaw has been gone quite a few years, but the scent of boiled cabbage always brings her right back. I’m glad she didn’t live to see me fall apart a few years ago. She cherished her own health issues, but would’ve suffered at the sight of her grand-daughter’s “withered arm.”
I understand that as a person ages their world’s blueprint shrinks a bit, and sometimes the ups and downs of health are the only variations in every-day life.
My life’s blueprint continues to expand.
Not long ago a friend fussed at me for neglecting my stroke-recovery blog, said they missed reading my rambles. Unlike Memaw, the topic of my calamitous health scare has grown tiresome. I’ve moved on. I no longer think of myself as “recovering.”
I’m too busy living.