Much to her irritation, Mama was told by her insurance company she needed to get a checkup.
She hates being told what to do, particularly by some stranger informing her she needed to get poked and prodded for blood work and to have her insides examined.
“I’m 70 something years old and I feel fine,” she argued to me one day. “I don’t want to go to the cussed doctor.”
Hey, I don’t blame her. I don’t like going myself.
She wasn’t complaining of anything other than the regular old people stuff.
But to the doctor she went.
The doctor was surprised Mama wasn’t on a bunch of medication and told her that.
“That’s easy, I stay away from doctors,” was Mama’s reasoning. “Best way to get on a bunch of prescriptions is to go to someone who will prescribe them.”
But the doctor wasn’t satisfied – how could this 70-something year old woman not be on a bunch of meds?
So she ordered some more tests.
“I can’t eat after midnight,” she complained one afternoon.
Nothing makes you want a sandwich at 11:58 p.m. like knowing you can’t have anything after midnight.
She just knew she was going to starve between midnight and 9 a.m. when she was scheduled to have blood work drawn.
The results were unnerving.
“The doctor said I am close to being a diabetic,” Mama announced.
“Oh,” I said.
“I don’t believe that,” she huffed. “I am fine.”
This is the woman who still insists the food pyramid she was taught over 60 years ago is accurate and chided me over giving my child organic yogurt and sunflower seeds as snacks as a toddler.
“Mama, you do eat too much sugar,” I said.
She snorted at me.
“I do no such of a thing! I’ve cut way back on my Pepsi so I am barely have any sugar at all.”
“Mama, sugar is in things other than soft drinks.”
She didn’t want to hear it.
According to her, she wasn’t eating anything that tasted good as it was – she wasn’t going to give up her occasional candy bar or milkshake.
“Do you think maybe it may be you eat too much protein? Or bread?” I suggested.
She scoffed at this notion.
“You can never eat too much protein.”
“Actually…you can,” I tried to tell her.
“No, you can’t. Your body needs meat. Are you going all vegetarian on me again?”
When I announced I wasn’t going to eat anything that gave birth at age 13, my mother rolled her eyes, fired up another Virginia Slim and told me that was the craziest thing she had ever heard and was terrible for my health.
“I have omitted red meat from my diet,” I explained.
“You’re going to get rickets,” she declared.
“No, I am not. I feel fine and we don’t need as much protein as you think. You are always in fear of not getting enough protein and having excess protein is just as bad as not having enough.”
“Your grandmother was nearly 93 years old when she died and she ate fatback and biscuits every day until she died,” was Mama’s argument.
Granny did eat fatback and biscuits. She also didn’t graze like Mama did or eat as much bread as Mama.
“If you think you will have some massive protein deficiency, maybe you should try limiting your bread. I think that is a contributing factor of a lot of your problems. Celiac is hereditary….”
Mama thought I was being ridiculous.
Similar to our conversations when she smoked years ago, she was not going to listen to any of my suggestions- no matter how valid they were.
The doctors were not done. She had more tests. This time, she was told she has three hernias and would need surgery.
“I don’t want surgery. I feel fine,” Mama insisted.
I didn’t know what to tell her. I worry about her, more than she worries about me now.
“Mama, I really think if you lost some weight, it would help this,” I said.
“Maybe,” she said. “I have lost 2 pounds since I went in December.”
“That’s good, Mama,” I said. “But, I think you may need to lose more than that.”
“I don’t think I eat that bad now,” she said forlornly.
“Would you consider doing what I suggest?”
Reluctantly, she agreed. She would try. But I better not expect a whole lot.
I sent her my copy of “Wheat Belly,” to give her some insight into the way the grains are different now and tell her how maybe her eczema and other skin issues were caused by the bread.
I also sent her a few other health books.
I have had her on aloe vera juice for over a year, but I was going to get her on some other supplements, too. Surely, surely, a better way of eating would help.
When she got the book, she read a few chapters before she called me.
“I’m kind of understanding some of this,” she said. “I admit, it does make sense. But it’s hard to give up bread.”
Yeah, I kind of knew about that.
I heard her chewing on something and asked what she was snacking on. “Oh, I got the best bread earlier – it’s a cinnamon raisin swirl bread, and I toasted it with some butter and jelly.”
“Mama,” I began.
“Oh. Yeah, well. But it’s good for me bread. It’s got raisins. That’s a fruit. It’s fruit bread. Right?”
It’s hard to make a lot of changes, especially when it comes to what we eat. But one day, she’d get it.