Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just take the pill!

 "I'm NOT going to take that pill!"

Mother fell.  I was abruptly awakened from a deep sleep by a loud groaning.  When I realized she had fallen, I rushed to her room.  She was on her knees holding on to the foot of the bed. She couldn’t get up.  With all my might, I lifted her up and managed to help her get back in bed.  She couldn’t tell me how she fell, but I suspect she tripped and reached out for the nearest piece of furniture-which was the foot of her bed.

She's fallen other times.  But with each fall, God has miraculously spared her. This fall was different.  It cracked her sternum.  The doctor was shocked she was still alive.  “Someone is certainly watching over your mom.  A cracked sternum usually shatters".  He went on to explain that, for elderly people, a cracked sternum is not exactly easy to repair.  In fact, it's a condition my mother will now have to live with.   “I’m amazed it didn’t take her out, Carol."  He said someone up there must be watching over her (God) and He's not finished with her yet! He suggested I give her Tylenol every four hours - or as needed- for pain.

“Thanks”, I said, holding back the tears. All I could do was thank God for one more day.  She has been a blessing in my life.... It helps to laugh each day, even reminisce, about the funny things that have happened.  I remember one time she fell right on top of me!  I cushioned her fall.  She slowly landed on top of me...on the floor.  One time, I caught her going round and round in a circle.  That one would have been a YouTube sensation. The way she was twirling around, I told her she might enjoy ballroom dancing lessons. 

The morning after this particular fall, I looked for bruises, checked her eyes, her color and pulse.  I rushed in the kitchen, got a glass of water and one Tylenol.

Now I can’t explain why, but she has some kind of phobia about taking what she calls "drugs".  I have tried to explain that it’s okay to take pain medicine WHEN YOU’RE IN PAIN, but she still refuses. 

“Mother I want you to take this Tylenol”.  I held the bottle really close to her eyes so she could see the label.

“No!  I will NOT take drugs!” (big sigh)..

“Come on Mother”,  I pleaded.  “It’s going to help you.”


I actually tried just pushing it down her throat, but her mouth was closed tighter than Fort Knox.   

Exasperated, I walked out of the room. A few minutes later I came back in to check on her.

“How do you feel?”

“I’m okay”,  she said.  

"Do you feel like going to church?”

“YES!  I want to go to church.”

“Okay!”  That’s good, I thought. If she had broken anything she wouldn’t be getting out of the bed. 

I got her all dolled up for church.  As my friend says… “We girls must look stunning.”  I got ready, then proceeded to get her ready...(shower, shampoo, dentures, hair, make-up, clothes, flower on lapel, jewelry, breakfast.....and MEDS...) 

That's it!... I thought. That’s how I’ll get the Tylenol down her throat. It will be in the bowl with her other meds!  She doesn’t think twice about taking 10 pills.  Sometimes, she counts them.  But hopefully today she won’t count.  I slipped the little pill in the bowl and after her favorite breakfast (muffins with peaches) the pill went right down the hatch with the others. 

Mission accomplished.

That pill helped her through church.  In fact, it lasted all day. 

Then it was 7:00P that night.  She was in pain again. Uh oh.  What was I going to do?  Suddenly, I  remembered!!! I have a doctor on staff!  Faster than a speeding bullet, I got out my white coat, pinned my hair back, and walked into the room. Mother was groaning and holding her chest. 

“Hello Mrs. Dot, I’m Dr. Mom.  Carol tells me you’re having a lot of pain?"

“YES!  It’s right here!" She was looking at me with a skeptical stare.

“Where does it hurt?”

“Right here!” 

"I recommend you take one Tylenol, as needed, for pain and discomfort.  Feel free to call me in the morning if you need anything else, ok?"

Exit Dr. Mom.  Enter Carol.

“So what did the doctor say?”

“He said to take one of those pills.  But I’m NOT taking it!” 

Oh good grief.  I decided to call in the reinforcement... MY SISTER.

I quickly dialed my sister.  “Mother is refusing to take one Tylenol", I said.  I gave the phone to Mother.

"Mother, Ann wants to talk to you.” 

I put Ann on speaker phone and she said in a very loud voice,  "MOTHER, TAKE THAT BLASTED PILL RIGHT NOW!" 

I’m holding the pill in one hand and a glass of water in the other hand.

Horrified, I watched as my mother started to press her lips REALLY tight.  Fort Knox was on "lock down". 

“Mother, PLEASE take the pill!” (Why was she refusing something that could help her?)

At this point, Ann and I are chanting in unison, “TAKE THE PILL! TAKE THE PILL! TAKE THE PILL!"

“OKAY! OKAY!  I’ll take the pill!"  She took the pill in her trembling hand and slowly (and I mean very slowly) brought the pill up to her mouth.  With a HUGE grimace on her face and her eyes closed tightly, the two ton door at Fort Knox opened and the pill was "deposited into the treasury". 

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

"Forget it."  She wasn't talking to me. 

Later that night she said, “I don’t think you love me.”

"Mother, why would you say something like that?” 

“You made me take drugs.”

“I love you and everything I do is in your best interest!” 

Where have I heard that before?  God tells us the same thing.  He's always concerned with our best interest...even if we don't understand the master plan.  Sometimes, our human perceptions get in the way of our eternal perceptions.  Are you "choking down" the lessons God is teaching you?  Are you pursing your lips?  We all do.  As I watched my mother refuse that little helpful pill, I realized that in my own life, I need to uncross my arms and trust God more.   God has MY best interest in mind - even though I don't always understand what He's doing.

Tomorrow morning when Mother wakes up, I'll have to give her another Tylenol.  I'm sure she'll refuse.  We might even argue about it.  Who knows how I'll get her to take that pill?  But I know I'll be smiling the whole time.  Because I'll be glad just to have one more day with her.  

Maybe you’re asking that same question.  Why would God let this happen to my parent?  Just trust your loving heavenly Father with every detail.  God has a master plan.  He loves you with an everlasting love..just trust Him.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;” Jeremiah 31: 3


  1. This is beautifully written, Carol. I laughed when you said she was Fort Knox on lock down. Very funny!

    You are a wonderful daughter. Your devotion, love and respect are obvious as I feel what you are expressing here. You truly know what it means to honor your mother.

    Thank you for sharing.


  2. Crystal,
    Thank you SO much for your words of encouragement! I have to tell you that when Dottie suggested a blog, I kind of snickered. She immediately sat me down...took me to your blog..and proceeded to dissect it -just like a sentence. (She's pretty thorough, you know.)

    She was right. You definitely know what you're doing. She set right to work designing a blog for me...And here it is! Success! Thank you Crystal!

    I'm honored your reading it. :)