Thursday, February 19, 2009

Inherited Worry

Though my dad and mother were fine, dedicated Christians, they both had a tendency to worry. Mother worried about almost everything, but Dad’s worries centered mostly about his health. In fact, when Mother didn’t have anything to worry about, it seemed like that worried her.

Dad did have some physical problems that caused him to worry. One was a cancer on the right side of his chin. It became an awful looking thing, and appeared to spread. I don’t know what his Physician said about it, but some friends (I don’t remember who) suggested he go see an unusual doctor in Columbus. I don’t for sure remember his name, but I don’t think I would list it if I did.

He visited that “Doctor”, and he gave him a can of black “salve”, as I remember it. He told him to keep the sore covered with that. He did so, and after awhile, the sore seemed to change into a black like substance, and dried up and fell off. More kept coming and falling off. I don’t remember how long he did that, but he said sometimes it felt like it was “drawing” from clear down in his throat. After some months, the sore seemed healed, and except for a natural scar, there was no evidence of the “cancer”.

In addition, Dad had some internal organ problems, but none seemed life threatening. After all, he lived to age 92! When he worried, his bald head broke out in a sweat.

Mother was one of those who “religiously”, as we say, read the Reader’s Digest. When they sold their home, there were “Digests” in the attic dated from 1938. In one of them, Mother read that some person (I don’t remember who), had accumulated several million dollars. She looked up and said, “That’s what’s wrong with America. Too many millionaires!” I was sitting there in the living room and couldn’t let that pass, so I said, “What’s the matter with accumulating wealth?” Jean said, “Forget it, Dad”, talking to me. Mother worried about things like that.

Though I don’t remember knowing of “worrying” that my sister did, but I have worried. Mostly about MY health - like Dad.

I worry more after a test of some sort that COULD reveal a serious physical problem. I just KNOW the results will be “dire”. The strange thing is, after all these years of worrying about some serious illness, looking back, none of these worries came to pass. Oh, I’ve had physical problems: blood where there should be none; appendix removed; back surgery when I could not stand up straight; upset or nauseous stomach (an antacid generally helped that); and two days ago, a TB test that I was JUST SURE was positive. (It wasn’t)

I had the “TB Test”, called a “PPD”, whatever that means, because I‘m moving in two days back to the Assisted Living Facility Jean and I lived at before moving in with John and Tonya. They require several medical tests. Here’s that story:

Right after Jean’s Memorial Service in Springfield last October 26, both of my sisters-in-law (Ruth and Doris), said the same thing to me - independently:

“Well, Myron, what are you going to do now?”

I was somewhat taken aback by both of them, and I gave them the same answer, maybe 5 minutes apart:

“I don’t know. I don’t have any other plans that I know of. We have lived with John and Tonya for over a year, and I don’t know of any reason to change.”

I mentioned this to John, and wondered if I were being presumptuous in my answer. He said, unequivocably, that they had no plans for any changes. That was comforting, and exactly what I expected from him.

Over the following 3 ½ months, the subject would come up in my mind occasionally, but until maybe a month ago, I never gave it much thought.

I remembered that we came to John and Tonya’s because of Jean’s condition - Alzheimer’s and decreased physical ability. So far, I don’t have any of those conditions or symptoms. Was there no longer a need, then, for me to take up their time, expense and living space?

Some months ago, John was asked to take on a new responsibility as President and CEO of the joint ministry of theirs, and another one in California. As John and Tonya have done for over 4 years with their own ministry, they work right here out of their home. They have become increasingly busy in the time Jean and I have been here.

From the beginning, John had an office in one of their upstairs bedrooms, in addition to another office-setting in their den.

When the new position opened up for John, he then required another office. With no other space readily available, John took up space in THEIR upstairs bedroom. The VERY FIRST thought I had then was: “John should have my bedroom for his office.”

John, however, would not hear of it! “That’s not an option, Dad”!

Back again came the previous wonderment if it were now time for me to go back on my own, thank John and Tonya for their year and a half’s hospitality, and move back to Springfield.

I mentioned my thinking to John and Tonya. They listened very patiently to what I had to say, and seemed to somewhat understand where I was coming from. They assured me that that was not necessary, and that I may stay “for the duration”, as we say.

Where would I live if I moved to Ohio? The Grand Court, the Assisted Living facility where we were before coming here, was the obvious choice. It provides complete housing, food, utilities, laundry and housekeeping services.

I will miss the added benefit of the families of two of our grandchildren and their families. They have all “taken me in” as, of course, one of the family. I shall miss them tremendously! They hugged me and prayed for me tonight!

So, since I had applied to enter The Grand Court again, I had to have this TB test, along with other health reports from my doctor, in order to be re-accepted.

The test was applied at 11 AM on Tuesday, with the result available in 48+ hours. The Nurse just inserted a needle in my left lower fore arm, and injected a fluid. She said to come back at noon on Thursday for the results.


During the day Wednesday, I noticed a “red spot” on my left lower fore arm, where she had "shot"me. I looked up Tuberculosis on WebMd on the Internet, and it mentioned this “PPD” test, and said a positive result would result in a “red spot” on my arm.

Worrier that I am, what do you suppose I thought? I was convinced I had, or once had, or was about to have, TB. If the Facility would not accept me, where would I go, since all my things are packed up at John and Tonya's?

Though I had some things to do Wednesday afternoon to prepare for my move on Saturday, my stomach began churning, and I skipped half of lunch, and ALL of dinner.

Wednesday night, I attended the Bible Class that I have been going to steadily since last July, and seemed to feel fine. They “laid hands on me and prayed for my future.”

I arrived home at about 8:30PM amid a heavy snow storm. I greeted John and Tonya, then went to bed. I slept fitfully, waking up several times. I went to the bathroom twice.

On Thursday mornings I’ve been going to Molly’s to help with “Home Schooling”. I read to the two oldest children, and “Play Barbies” with 4 year old Mary. This time, my stomach was uneasy, and I ate only one of my fried eggs for breakfast. I called Molly and told her that I didn’t feel “up” to coming over. She understood. We planned a get together tonight before I leave.

At 11:45 - actually while Tonya was preparing lunch - I excused myself and told them I was going to the Lab. “For tests, or results?”, Tonya said. “Well, I’m going for results, and it doesn’t look good.” I showed them the red spot on my arm. John said, “Dad, I think it’s unlikely that you have Tuberculosis.” I agreed with him.

I got to the Lab 4 minutes late, and as soon as the Nurse saw me, I lifted up my sweater so she could see my arm and said, “Did you ever see something like this?” She nonchalantly said, “Oh…you’re good to go. Come on in and sign some Medicare papers.” “You mean this is normal?” “Sure. If it was positive, the spot would be swollen and look bad.”

Did I praise the Lord? You bet! But, I was ashamed that I was worried.

We’ve always said that instead of worrying, we should pray. I do both! “Why not just trust the Lord, Mike?” Well, I do, but I’m worried that His Answer might not be what I want - like NOT moving in to The Grand Court. Juvenile, right?

When our “kids” were in primary and junior Sunday School classes, they sang, and we along with them:

“Why worry, when you can pray?
Trust Jesus, He knows the way.

“Don’t be a doubting Thomas.
Rest fully on His Promise.

“Don’t worry, worry, worry, worry,
When you can pray!”


“But my God will supply all of your needs.” Phil. 4:19

Thank God!

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