I’ll keep my own

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
Some of you may have heard or read that I have undergone two eye surgeries in the past two weeks and have undertaken the recovery process. I have decided that this entire medical and surgical adventure is a direct result of my celebrating my 78th birthday at Christmas. I have honestly found that human things break, things that once worked way above average now break and refuse to cooperate. Our bodies reveal issues we never though we’d face.

Having been blessed with very good health for all of my days (well, until this past year), I was super shocked to discover that I am just an aging human being and decidedly that bodies change and some things just wear out or drastically decide they need help to keep working as intended.

Don’t be laughing if you are enjoying youth and vitality. I might have once scoffed at getting older, being tired, or having to lighten my load. Life is a funny teacher and often deals blows that are difficult for go getters to accept. My three children and most of my grandchildren do not know or accept that MaMa can no longer do what she once did without paying a price. My eldest still thinks I am 35 and tells me often.

I recently hosted nine of the grandest grands for a week for an engagement party for my namesake and his lovely bride to be. We stayed up way too late, ate too much (which I gladly cooked), cleaned often and kept the faithful washer and dryer going almost round the clock.

We visited favorite spots, lounged on our beautiful white sandy beaches, and played in the blue green water. The entire gang played our beloved and loudly contested Scrabble and gin rummy into the night, attended church together, and talked. My heart was quietly breaking as clothes and purchases were separated and packed, and the trips to the airport arranged. This house was way too quiet when the last door slammed shut.

My two daughters and four of the grands.
The first group had left when we thought to take a photo.

I wish with all my heart they were coming back in the morning because I would be heading to the grocery store today. My heart would be thrilled at the thought of picking them up, getting out the big air mattresses, sorting linens, and planning the visit.

What likely put me squarely on this train of thought was sitting in my physician’s, surgeon’s and hospital offices on the many required visits, listening to the explanations, discussing options, and committing to the procedures. Folks, if you haven’t been ill lately or had surgery, take my word for it – Things are different since the advent of COVID – 19 rules and regulations. I don’t care how brave, intelligent, or loud one is, being dumped at a hospital door, donning your mask, and entering completely alone, while your family member or transportation person drives away takes the wind out of your sails.

I kept wondering as I walked in, “Who is the surgeon going to talk to if there is a problem? What if something goes south? Just suppose they cannot reach one of my busy kids by phone?” And, knowing I would be repeating this adventure the very next week did not help me any. I might have even said some fairly ugly things into the safety of my aggravating mask.

But, when I got to the ever present waiting room where chairs were carefully distanced and no one could talk to their far away neighbor, I realized I was in a better place than many. Looking around the area, I soon saw many older, sadder looking, and much more frail faces. My fellow patients were not dressed in cool workout pants and shirts (left over from the last surgery for complete knee replacement or their daughter wasn’t present to tell them what comfortable clothes to wear).

Eyes were weak or simply dead looking. They seemed to stare, but not see. Some were literally wiping away the occasional tear that slipped out from under the mask, many jerked obviously each time the door opened for the nurse to call a patient.

The scene brought to my mind an old story where we were reminded by the writer that a group of folks were invited to lay their heavy burdens down in a big pile. Once we saw the depths of our friends’ sorrow, we would change our minds. He said that we would likely want to pick our own burdens back up and wiggle with them. We would realize that ours may not be as bad as we thought and that we were strong enough to handle them.

I certainly came to that conclusion on that day of the first eye surgery in the crowded hospital waiting room.

Pleased to report both surgeries appear to have been successful and I am seeing better than I have in many years – Without glasses. The litmus test was picking up the prescribed eyedrop bottle and being able to read every single word of the very small print.

I am so glad that God gives us strength as we need it for every step of these journeys we call life. He is always on time.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at 409 781 8788, or
[email protected]


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