Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wonderfully Independent - another word for stubborn

One thing I definitely get from my mother & dad is a stubborn streak. I like to think it is persistence or determination, but I know it is also stubbornness.  Not that it is a bad thing sometimes to be stubborn. It has its place, and sometimes that is a very important place. Other times, well it just means you end up butting heads a lot with others that just can't seem to agree with you.
I wrote a bit about both my mom & dad in my last post about unsung heroes. I think what I described about each of them speaks to their determination and dedication. Maybe part of that was that they were born in the early 20's and lived through the Great Depression. I know that hearing stories about how they struggled to make ends meet, especially in the beginning of their marriage, it wasn't easy. But they did what they had to do.
I mentioned my mother's health is not good. She drives herself to the doctor, she drives herself to the hospital when she has to go for one of her periodic stays. She has friends who would gladly take her, but she hates to be a bother.  We were talking about it the other night on the phone. She'd had to have an endoscopy and had a friend from church take her.  Mainly because they wouldn't do it unless she had a ride. In any case, she says it all started back when I was born.  Figures it would be my fault - lol. The night before I was born, my dad ended up in the hospital with kidney stones.  He also ended up staying a day longer than mom - and claims his effort in passing the stone was much worse experience than childbirth, they agreed to disagree on that one.  In any case, mom was home alone with my brother who was almost 11 at the time when she realized she needed to head to the hospital.  She called her folks (who lived several hours away) to come stay with my brother so that they would be there in the morning when he woke up. She drove herself to the hospital during a snow storm, having to stop every few blocks to scrape the windshield. Later my brother would ask why she didn't wake him so that he could ride along and at least take care of the scraping, and she said it didn't occur to her.
A couple years ago during the winter, KY suffered a bad ice storm that took the power down through-out major portions of the state for several days.  I spoke to mom on the phone the first night of the storm and at that time she was fine and the power was still on. My brother tried to call while we were talking and then called me to see if I'd heard from her, when I indicated we were on the phone, he said ok he just wanted to make sure she was ok.  The next day the storm was still bad, and once again I get a call from my brother asking if I was on the phone with mom - no I wasn't this time.  I had thought I would try her shortly but hadn't got to it yet.  So we decided the power was out.  She has one phone that is an analog, so sometimes she can answer it even if the power is out, but we figured the phone lines were down as well.  I tried her cell, but could not get through, but had heard that the cell towers were also impacted by the storm.  My daughter was with me and she had the idea of contacting the police to see if we could find out anything.  I spoke to a dispatcher who was very nice and offered to send a car to check on her and to see if she wanted to come to a shelter they had set up, and to call back in an hour to see what they found out.  So I let my brother know and we waited an hour, then I called the dispatcher back, and was told that yes mom was fine, that she doesn't have power or water, or phones, but that she was doing ok, and that she refused to go to the shelter.  I got on the phone to let my brother know. We were both sure that this was another example of mom being stubborn and not wanting to be a bother. He was fussing about how he couldn't even call her on her cell to try to talk sense into her.  You see, if you ask mom how she is doing, her standard answer is that she is doing ok. or I'll be ok. She could be in great pain. Dealing with who knows what, and sometimes she would share what it is that is going on. But each time she would finish by saying "but I'm ok. I'll be ok. Don't worry" So the dispatcher telling me that she refused to go to the shelter when the police car went to check on her, and saying she was "ok" that fit. She was just being stubborn. It sounded so like her. We were worried. The temps were down below freezing. People were without power for most of the day and possibly the night before. I was worried that she couldn't open her garage door to leave in the car if she needed to do that to go someplace warm.  The garage opener of course wouldn't work without electricity. We decide we will follow up again in the morning to see if we can get someone to check on her and talk her into going somewhere.
The next morning I get a call from mom. Her analog phone is now working.  She wanted to tell me that she was "ok" and that my brother had already talked to her and that he was driving down (5.5 hr) to get her and wanted to let me know.  He was worried he would find any place for gas.  I called him and told him if he could get to mom's then they could drive her car back to his place.  It most likely would be sitting in the garage with a full tank of gas. I was right, it was. Good thing too. There also wasn't any gas stations open in that part of the state.
Later when we talked to her about the ordeal. She said the power had gone out that first night a couple hours after I talked to her.  The house slowly cooled off over night until it was down to the 40's the next day. She said she tried getting a hold of hotels in the area and was thinking of going there to wait out the storm but found out that they didn't have power or water either.  She didn't know about the shelter that was set up. she also said the police car that stopped by to check on her didn't offer to take her to one, so since she didn't know there was one, she didn't know to ask. She just figured she had to do the best she could. She said we were wrong about her refusing to go, that she was sooooo cold that she would have gone anywhere if it meant getting warm for a while.  She bundled up in several layers, even wore her gloves inside to try to keep warm.  She ended up with a light case of frost bite on the tips of her fingers. She said she kept having to take the gloves off and on to do anything.  One of her neighbors came by the one night and brought her some spaghetti he had made on his grill.  He was able to use it to cook and thought she might want something warm for a change.  She said that was nice of him and that it was nice to eat something hot. She mentioned other friends later spoke of having small kerosene or other sources of heat, or even wood stoves etc.  She didn't have anything.
My brother picked her up and they took her car back to Lexington and she stayed there the rest of the week until power was restored.  They said it looked like driving through a war zone driving across KY on the parkway. Many of the trees were sheered off from the storm, no lights, etc. No gas stations for miles and miles. I am so glad he was able to go get her. I think if she had to stay there at home another night it would have been too much for her. I can't imagine how cold she had to be.

1 comment:

Diane J Standiford said...

Sounds like my mom and aunt Vi. "Ok" or "I'll be ok." All my life. They trashed on anyone who complained. At least they walked the the talk. Having parents like that can be so frustrating. You KNOW all is NOT "ok" but what can you do? The worry seems to insult them. Yeah, I guess I got that stubborn streak too. I really want to balance it though with asking for help when I need it and not feeling the need to be so strong all the time. It is hard.