CHAPTER 15 Human Beings For Parents

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copyright 2017 Chris Smith  All rights reserved.

"The dirt road before me

gravel making my step uneven

the falling sun casting its last rays

I forget everything

except the path before me

the cooler air of fall

wraps around me."

@RantingsOfaGirl


We spent a few hours visiting Mom at the Hospital. She was out of it a little from the drugs. We were there when they delivered her meal. It was salmon, rice, and broccoli, an Ensure drink, a grape juice popsicle, and a piece of chocolate cake.

Mom had been drinking the Ensures. If nothing else, it was giving her some level of nutrition. When I picked up a bottle and read the label, I rolled my eyes. The drink was full of sugar. 18-22 g of sugar (2). Not a prime example of health in my mind. Call me crazy but I don't sit down at meals and have 18 g of sugar. It wasn't how I rolled. And certainly not when I was dealing with health issues. One didn't have to be an M.D. to know sugar was fuel to the fire by feeding bad micro-organisms.

Also, some of the other ingredients listed on the label weren't exactly my idea of optimum health with corn products, artificial flavoring, and a bunch of other stuff I could barely decipher.


"Supplemental nutrition shakes contain more than just healthy ingredients. 'You may be getting more sugar than any of the other ingredients,' says Stacey Nelson, a dietitian from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. 'But if you can't eat and that's the only food that's palatable, it's better to get the calories.' Dr. Salamon agrees. 'In that case, substituting one meal a day with a drink won't hurt.' Both experts warn that people who can still eat may be risking too many extra calories by consuming the drinks. That can lead to weight gain and a list of complications associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure and diabetes."

Health.harvard.edu


You couldn't pay me to give anyone such a shitty example of a nutritious meal.

Now, the real dinner was great, but Mom still wasn't eating much. So, the drinks were the easiest, in the Hospital's mind, to get nutrition into her body. I understood the desire to get nutrition into her. I wasn't impressed with their choice. I didn't care that it was "#1 Doctor recommended" (2). That didn't mean anything to me, in fact I'd say it made me more suspicious of it.

This drink was chocolate, and she loved chocolate. But of all the choices on her tray, her hands went straight for the popsicle. I wasn't surprised. We'd found she had in insatiable appetite for sugar. So much so we'd had to remove or hide all the candy or sweets in the house. I mean, everything had to go. She was a monster for ice cream. Dad became the "Ice Cream Man" when he loaded up all our Baskin-Robbins and headed over to the neighbor's for a one-time delivery.

Now I ask you, whose neighbors come to your door with ice cream?

The booze had been the first to be ejected out of our house.

Mom would say, "I only drink a glass of wine in the evening."

One glass turned into two, which turned into half a bottle and so on. It was a "FIRE SALE on booze. Every bottle of mine still packed away from the foreclosure had to be removed. Then it was the diet coke because it wasn't helping Mom's health. Energetically, muscle test wise, diet coke dropped Mom like a rock. It had a nasty ingredient in it that doesn't support brain health. Once we removed all the booze and diet drinks, Mom naturally went for the cane sugar to feed the endless cravings. It's common for people who get off the booze to increase sugar consumption. She ate two plastic shopping bags full of Halloween candy in weeks. So, sugar was the last to leave our house.

I couldn't express to you in enough detail, how angry Mom was when Dad and I removed not only the alcohol, but the diet drinks and cane sugar from the house. She had major withdrawals from all of it and would lash out at us about it at every chance she could. But we weren't messing around with Mom's health.

Of course the Hospital wasn't coming from our mindset. So giving a patient a popsicle, chocolate cake, or handing them an Ensure was normal and perfectly in line with their methodology. But if she were home, she wouldn't have gotten any of the gobs of sugar they were dead-set to shovel down her throat.

If the Ensure was 18-20 grams of sugar, I bet the popsicle was at 15 g of sugar. Finish it off with a piece of chocolate cake at 20-30+ grams of sugar. For a whopping total of 53 grams of sugar intake at one meal. Served up at a hospital no less.

Dad was friendly with all the staff that came into Mom's room. He knew everyone and everyone knew him, right down to the guy in charge of delivering the meals. Dad was an incredible networker, no matter where he was. I always thought he was the type guy who could have fun at an insurance convention.

People always say to me, "Your Dad is so amazing."

I'd smile and nod. But they didn't have to live or work with him. They didn't know the dark side of him. The one who'd been beaten down so much, he had a vicious bite to him.

I loved my Parents. We'd been through the shit together. We'd worked and lived together even. But they weren't perfect. Or Gods. I never understood people's mentality when they said they had the "Perfect Dad" or "Perfect Mom". My Parents were human. My Parents fucked up. Sometimes, considerably and I had the emotional scars to prove it. I admired them but I'd never put them up on pedestal because I didn't believe in perfect human beings. I'd never put anyone on a pedestal.

Dad tried to get Mom to eat as much as he could. But Mom wasn't all that interested in the food. After a while, Dad resigned himself that he wasn't going to get her to eat the salmon. It looked good though.

We left the trays of uneaten food there for the delivery guy to pick up. Dad did grab the chocolate cake though. Shocking. Mom had hooked Dad onto chocolate, like an addict.

It was time for us to head home. We said goodbye to her and made our way back down the long maze of corridors and stairs. The sun had nearly set and the parking lot was shaded. We were all tired.

We picked up dinner on the way home. It was late and no one wanted to cook. I was exhausted but relieved to have seen her. The reality of seeing her in a Hospital was upsetting. It meant things weren't okay.

How could I be okay with Mom not okay?

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