Friday, December 1, 2006

Saint Betty

I appreciate the traditional commitment made during marriage vows: “for better or for worse.” I am bearing witness to the strength of that commitment now. After 51 years of marriage, ‘worse’ has arrived for my mother. Yesterday’s calcium drip took three hours, not the two predicted. And my father’s first round of chemotherapy a week and a half back took not the anticipated four but seven hours; two to calibrate dosages and five for administration. This was in addition to another hour spent waiting for and then seeing his oncologist. (For a total of eight hours.) And then my mom had to drive them home from Walnut Creek to Berkeley in nighttime heavy commute traffic. (She is now my father’s full–time chauffeur. He will never again sit behind the wheel of his car.) Today my dad will have a PET scan to examine his bone density. We were told it would take two hours. Understandably, I am skeptical.

Through all this and much more, including endless lifestyle adjustments, numerous other medical appointments (such as the 4.5 hour bronchoscopy), endless e-mails and phone calls, and just the day–to–day ministering to my father, my mother soldiers on with nary a complaint. And the demands upon her grow daily. Her life has been completely transmogrified by my father’s illness. She really no longer shares her life with him so much as gives her life to him. (Of course I do what I can.)

I hereby nominate my mother for sainthood.

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