No. 620



You no doubt have heard the saying, “Clothes don’t make the person.” This is certainly true, but I’m here to tell you that if you wear clothes that fit, are color coordinated and appropriate for the season, they can sure make you feel better.
Every once in a while I see a man who is really a sharp dresser, and from my years of experience being married to my wife Viola I have learned something. When you see a man who really looks sharp, and if he happens to be married, you can be reasonably sure that his wife is buying his clothes or at least picking them out. My wife Viola has had Parkinson’s for more than 10 years now, but she is still very particular about what she wears. And as a result, she is also very particular about what I wear, too.
However, we have worked out a suitable agreement, pardon the pun. She just dresses me from the waist up, and other than the belt, slacks, shoes and socks, I get to pick out most everything else. Around our house we have a very simple philosophy: It’s better to laugh than to cry, and with the battle that she is waging with Parkinson's we find ourselves using it more and more each day. One morning a few weeks ago we were getting dressed for church and from her bedroom, where she could not even see me, she hollered, “I’m wearing pink, if that helps.” It did. Enough said.
It’s been a while now since I have given you an update on her condition, and if you will allow me to do that I would like to fill you in on some recent developments. Please understand, my purpose here is not just to tell you what a super fantastic lady I am married to, but if you are facing a similar health issue or any other crisis in your life, seeing how she deals with her problems may be an encouragement to you. To be sure, she has slowed down a lot, but she still helps me some in the office, drives, goes to the grocery store, does the laundry, does light house work and fixes most of the meals.
However, in the past few weeks she developed a problem in her knees that had become very painful, more so than usual. When we go to church, rather than using her cane or stroller, I have pushed her in a wheelchair to help her traverse the several hundred feet from our Sunday school classroom to the main sanctuary. I might add, people have been so supportive. As the pain continued to increase, when she was just walking around the house she would have trouble making turns and sometimes her knees would pop, causing terrible pain.
Well, she got an appointment and went to see her doctor who took some X-rays. The word was that she had some bone spurs on the back side of her knee caps. A friend, who did not have Parkinson’s, had a similar problem, and minor surgery had given him quick relief. We thought this would also take care of Viola’s problem. Wrong. When we went to see a surgeon, he gave us the bad news. Both of her knees were shot and she has to have total knee replacement surgery on both knees. The surgeon will do them one at a time because of the length of rehab necessary to become mobile again. After the initial shock wore off, Viola has a great attitude and is facing this ordeal with a gentle spirit that can only be attributed to the deep faith she has in God.
One thing we are going to do that may be helpful if you ever face a similar situation is prepare a great number of delicious meals and put them in the freezer so we can just pop them in the microwave and not have to cook or do the dishes. As I said earlier, we have a philosophy around our house: It’s better to laugh than to cry. Here is a good example. Before we learned that Viola would have to have knee replacement surgery, we decided to get a whirlpool in the hopes that the hot water action would help her regain her mobility. We ordered a new whirlpool that I will hereafter call the tub and had it installed. Now, here’s the funny part. She had mentioned earlier that she wanted to wear her bathing suit when she got in the tub.
I said, “No, that’s not necessary. I will be here with you.” Well, the first time she got in, the tub was deep and it was not easy getting her down. If you thought that was hard, you should have seen us trying to get her out! She is not a big lady, but she does not have to carry rocks in her pocket in a wind storm, either. Most tubs are set in a nook and you can’t get any leverage. It took all her strength and all of mine pulling on both hands to finally get her up to a point where she could crawl over the side. At one point there I was wishing she had put on her bathing suit, because I thought I was going to have to go to our neighbors and get some help. It is better to laugh than to cry.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)