When I started Googling about hypothyroidism, I found my symptoms matched most of the ones listed online. I was incredibly tired all the time. I would stand at one end of the corridor in the hospital and will myself to walk to the other end. At night, I would be so exhausted, I’d fall into bed without even brushing my teeth, let alone floss. Medication slowly pulled me out of the worst of it but I still wasn’t feeling GOOD.
Getting more deeply into my research, I tried to find out what I should and shouldn’t be eating. I found lists of goitrogenic foods and horror of horrors! soy was at the top of each one. I had been buying soy products for years. I had been eating soy products for years. I had increased my intake of soy to try to get off hormones. I couldn’t help but believe I had eaten my way into hypothyroidism. My cabinets and freezer were stocked with fake steak and phony baloney. Not chicken was one of my favorite things to take to work for lunch. I loved broiled open face Tuno sandwiches oozing with cheese and mayonnaise, flavored with dill pickle relish and onion.
I knew it wasn’t going to do me any good to take medication if I were counteracting the effects by eating something that sabotaged me in the first place. I started getting rid of my stores of goods. DS1 and his family loved practically all of the stuff so I loaded up a case or two for them. A couple was burned out of their home and the church had a “pound” party. I contributed a case of fake steak. Someone said I should be selling it and not giving it away but I felt like I was slowly poisoning my friends and family with it so I wouldn’t charge them in the process. There were a few items that didn’t have an abundance of soy so I kept them. I also kept a few things in the cupboard for when I had company.
For years, I had been a label reader but it hadn’t occurred to me that soy was in almost every prepared food on the grocery shelves. It was a scary revelation. I needed to be more discerning when it came to buying groceries. I’d make sure the soy was ‘way down the list of ingredients. What I didn’t realize was that it can hide under lots of other names. I knew some of them but not all. EEEEEEEEK! This was going to be a nightmare! I had to go on with my life. After all, I was in a new place, literally and on more than one level.
Mother loved to see people’s houses and she couldn’t stand it until she could come see mine. At age 95, she was still able to get around pretty well except for stairs. Her “manufactured home” had a tiny front porch with steps leading to the sidewalk below but there was a sturdy handrail that she would hold onto to navigate. The steps were also not as many or as high as mine. There had to be a solution.
DS2 had several years under his belt as a carpenter so I enlisted his help. He came up one day while I was at work and built a long sloping ramp up to the top step. It was certainly sturdy but it was only about a foot wide. Mother would have to be convinced to try it. She would, for sure, have to have help, anyway.
The day came for The Tour. Mother had a talent for remembering even the smallest details about a house. She could go through once and, years later, tell me what color the drapes were in each room and the kind of carpet on the floors. Me, I go in somewhere new and I don’t notice much of anything. I’m there to see the people, not the living quarters. If something is pointed out to me, I notice it.
My sister and brother-in-law brought her from North Carolina. She oopsalootied (one of her words) about the outside and how LONG it was. Whenever she wanted to, she could lay it on thick and this time was no exception. Then she saw the ramp. I told her DS2 had built it especially for her so she wouldn’t have to go up the steps. She looked a little uncertain of the future. I tried to coax her onto it and she did start up but she chickened out before she got more than a couple of feet. Even with one of us holding her hand, she didn’t like the look or feel of it.
She backed back down, not even trusting herself to turn around. Now what? She couldn’t stay outside for the whole visit. That would defeat the purpose. She had come to see my house and we had to figure a way for her to do it. I could take Polaroids but that wouldn’t be too satisfying. We went over to the steps.
My brother-in-law got on one side and my neighbor on the other. She tentatively stepped up on the first step but she was shaky. Just about then, my neighbor took matters into his own hands. He grabbed her around the waist, lifted her up and set her inside. To say she was surprised would be the understatement of the year. For years after, she would say, “He just picked me up and set me down in the living room.” And that’s what he did. It was a high spot in her life.
Back on terra firma, she went from room to room, oopsalootying all the way. (Spell check suggests “sharpshooting” among other words for that one.) The carpet was beautiful (I didn’t think so). There were two things she didn’t approve of in a layout of a house. If you could see into either a bathroom or the kitchen from the living room, it was a no-no. You can’t see into either of the bathrooms but the kitchen is partially visable. She dismissed that with the fact it couldn’t ALL be seen.
She questioned my choice of black appliances, though. I told her I liked them and it didn’t cost any more for the fridge (I omitted the fact that it was extra for the washer and dryer) so she let it go. At least she did in my presence. If my ears were burning later that might have been part of the reason.
The house had been inspected and approved. Mother was satisfied that her Oodybiddy was safe and warm. No matter how old I got or she got, she was still the mother and I was still the child.