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There are times when like ostriches, we may want to stick our heads deep in the sand and pretend that nothing can bother us. I have been told that is how an ostrich faces danger, thinking if it cannot see the predator, then the predator will most certainly NOT see the ostrich. I do not know if that is indeed true, having never raised an ostrich, but I do feel that people sometimes react to problems in the same manner. Another way to look at this is to assume the train of thought that if I just ignore it, it will go away but, that’s not gonna happen most of time!
I remember one time as a child when I was playing at the edge of our yard. I must have been about five-years-old, and I had a playhouse underneath a tree. I didn’t have a fancy building. I only had empty spice cans, some pots and pans headed to the trash, a container of water to make mud pies. I was always making mud pies it seems, and a blanket tossed over the tree limbs as my house. It was a mansion, but as I surveyed my handiwork, I noticed something, which did not belong in it. There was a foot long green slithering thing soaking up sun in my doorway, and it would not go away. So, what does a five-year-old do? “Mama!” (wait-wait-wait) “Mama!” (wait-wait-wait) “Mama!”
What did Mama do? She practiced that ignore her and she will go away thingy that all mothers have to resort to if they are going to get anything done in the house at all. Did I go away? Most assuredly NOT! Instead, I raised the volume of my screams, and I was ignored for the second time. Not to be outdone, and still keeping a steady eye on that vicious predator in my doorway, I placed my hands on my hips, threw out my chest, and ratcheted up the volume so that I could be heard all over Monteagle. My mother finally realized that something was drastically wrong, so she literally came running to save her baby. I’ll never forget her face when she looked over the situation to assess the threat level against her child, and with a look of utter consternation (a word I did NOT know, but somehow understood its meaning even at that tender age), she said, “Oh, Margaret! That is just a green snake. It’s harmless. It will not hurt you. JUST IGNORE IT AND IT WILL GO AWAY!” No kidding – she actually said that, and it is probably the first time I ever heard that phrase in my life, but not the last time I’d ever think about it.
One of the funniest times I remember is when my children were large enough to amuse themselves playing, and I was engrossed in a Robert Ludlum novel. Now, keep in mind that the book was a good two inches thick, and it was a wonderful read. I was so adept at reading that I could keep up with the conversations of my children (so I knew if I needed to intervene and stop a war among them), but I never missed out on the action in the story either. Well, my husband would walk through (as he still does) talking a mile a minute, expecting me to pay attention to his every syllable, drop everything, and run and fetch.
However, I’m NOT a dog, and I neither have a dog’s loyalty, nor am I as trainable as a dog. Of course I heard him -every syllable – but, I never let on that I knew he was in the room with me. I just kept my nose in the book turning page after page. I heard the exasperation in his voice. I just kept on reading. You know, IGNORE HIM AND HE WILL GO AWAY! Poor fella, he just could not get it, so one of the kids informed him that I didn’t even hear him because I was reading! I chuckled deep inside where all of the unheard laughs are kept in reserve. I still hear his feet as he stomped off to fetch whatever it was he had wanted me to go get.
One might react to the constant drip of a faucet in the same manner – IGNORE IT AND IT WILL GO AWAY. A hinge that needs oiling might elicit the same response. Garbage that needs to be carried out of the kitchen often gets that same look. Ah, if I ignore it, maybe someone else will take it off! Realistically, ignoring something does not make it go away, because the problem will just keep growing. Take a toothache for instance – ignore that, and you will wake up at two in the morning knowing that it may never go away -RIGHT?
I know that this past year my mind reached that plateau where it just shut down, and I sub-consciously tried to NOT think about anything that was not staring me in the eye directly. Have you ever reached that point? Have you reached a place where you just thought you could not handle one more question, problem, or crisis? Have you ever thought you were in fact walking around with a numb mind? I had convinced myself that with Kenneth’s cancer way behind us, and his health status as the result of his stroke being fairly good, although everyday there are constant reminders of things he can no longer do as well as he could previously; I muddled through each day only doing what I had to do, never planning for the next day as getting through the present one was a task in and of itself. I am a caregiver. That is my station in life presently, and though I by no means have a burden like someone who cares for a loved one who is incapacitated, I do constantly use my mind for two people and the sad thing is that I only have a little piece of a mind left!
Anyway, subconsciously I have thought, “O.K. all of the really, really bad stuff is behind us – CANCER, STROKE and now I can concentrate on recovering from the passing of my mother.” Well, at least that’s what I think I must have been thinking; because there was no way that I was considering that yet another sneaky snurk was lying in wait to attack. You see, I trusted that Kenneth could and did look after all of his day-to-day functions, most especially taking all of his medications! What is it I’ve been saying? IGNORE IT AND IT WILL GO AWAY? Well, Kenneth had been doing just that – he had been ignoring ALL of his medications unbeknownst to me, and I guess that I was just too preoccupied that I didn’t notice that he wasn’t checking his blood sugar, nor was he taking any insulin.
For three weeks the man had been complaining that his legs were cramping so badly that he could not sleep. I knew he was irritable, and I knew that he was awfully thirsty. Kenneth even talked to our son about his leg cramps, and my son told him that what he was describing to him were diabetic symptoms, and he asked his father if he was checking his sugar and taking his medicine. Kenneth assured his son that he indeed was doing just that. So, I took Kenneth to the South Pittsburg Physician Care walk-in clinic because he deemed it necessary to get a prescription for quinine, an old remedy for leg cramps. I might add here that Kenneth had sucked the bottom out of a mustard bottle because something told him the Turmeric in mustard was good for cramps, AND he was downing Tonic Water because there is quinine in it – all to no avail.
The sweet nurse practitioner on call did a basic blood test and called us the next day highly recommending a trip to the ER as his blood sugar level was 621! Don’t know if you’re familiar with a sugar level, but on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst possible number to draw at a poker game, Kenneth was holding a 27! We took ourselves off to the ER at St. Thomas in Nashville, and when he was admitted there, his level was +700. Now folks, that is GREATER THAN 700, which means his true number would not register on their machine. Do you have any idea what kind of looks an ER doctor gives you when he asks if you have been giving your husband pure KARO syrup as his food source, as if I hook him up to an IV every night and give him his daily infusion!
Do you know what kind of looks you get when you even mention mustard and Tonic Water in an ER? Let’s don’t even go there! Do you know how quickly you can feel like an utter failure when you realize that you have allowed your husband to almost add the diagnosis of “Diabetic Coma” on his resume of health achievements? I thought the world had dropped out from under me, and realized that I had to pull my head out of the sand and quit being an ostrich, because this is one time that the adage might just be true – IGNORE IT AND HE WILL GO AWAY!
You may wonder why I’m sharing all of this stuff with you. You may be saying to yourself, “Way too much personal information!” I definitely know my husband will be really put out with me for telling off on him, again, but I feel there is a valuable lesson in our fiasco that might just help someone else. You can ignore some things to the point of extinction – YOUR EXTINCTION! What if YOU have diabetes? What if YOU have HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE? What if YOU feel a lump in your breast? What if you know you don’t feel well, but you don’t want to go to a doctor to find out what is causing the problem? Folks, there are lots of things that you simply cannot ignore, because they won’t go away. I do believe that each of us must be cognizant of what our body is trying to tell us. There is a reason for mammograms. There is a reason for colonoscopies done by someone who is trained to take care of major issues should they arise. There is a reason you were given a lower dose of high blood pressure medicine – so that you won’t have to take a higher dose later when you have that heart attack! DUH! When you decide to ignore something and it will go away, you’d better think three times about what you are doing.
There are now three reasons why I have to pay closer attention to my husband and his medication. One reason is that he had a stroke and he does get flustered and forget stuff. The second reason is that ornery as he may be, I do love him, and if I don’t keep check on him, who will? The third reason is that my children will get me if I don’t do it! It is time to quit being an ostrich and pay attention, because obviously I did trust in his ability to look after himself too much. He’s a man for goodness sakes, what can I say? They need looking after; even the Bible says so. In Genesis 2:18, the scripture says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” I have never met a man yet that did not need a woman’s help to get anything done, have you? Now, some men right about now might remind me that Genesis 3:16 states, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Yes, I know. And my reply would be found in 1 Corinthians 14:33 which states, “God is not a God of confusion but of peace!”
I think there are a lot of people out there who are ignoring God and His will today. Maybe they think that if they ignore God He will go away, but I’m going to tell you that’s not going to happen! Our choir sings a song called “Somebody Prayed for Me” and it never fails to move me spiritually and emotionally. I am so thankful that I was not able to ignore the prayers, which brought me to Jesus Christ. Have you thought about who is praying for you? Do you ever get that little nagging feeling that you really ought to do something about your life? Do you ever feel that there’s something out there better than what you have? Are you looking for peace in your soul? Are you happy with yourself and the way you are today? Please don’t ignore those feelings thinking that it’s just indigestion and that it’ll go away. Ask yourself if the Lord is dealing with you, bringing you to Him and His love. God is powerful…He will not ignore you, and THANK THE LORD, HE WILL NOT GO AWAY!