Sharon Randall: Taking turns

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 21, 2018

By Sharon Randall

I’ve been a little ditzy lately. Even ditzier than my usual.

My husband had surgery to replace his hip a few weeks ago and it’s proving to be a learning experience for us both.

He is learning to walk again, God bless him, and to do things he used to do like putting on his socks and shoes and picking stuff up. But now he has to do them without bending over.

And I’ve been learning to do things he can’t do for himself — like putting on his socks and shoes and picking stuff up. I also drive him to appointments and, at times, out of his mind.

It’s called marriage. We take turns taking care of each other. He took great care of me two years ago after I slipped on spilled coffee and broke my ankle. Now it’s my turn, and my pleasure, to take care of him.

At the same time, I’ve been hip-deep in efforts to get our house ready to sell. It’s a lot easier to type those words than say them. Somehow, saying “sell our house” out loud makes me sound like Daffy Duck.

Our plan is to list the house soon, sell it fast, and move 500 miles to be closer to our family. It’s a good plan, don’t you think? Assuming I survive it.

This morning, as I downed two Advil, wishing it were four, I said to my husband, “You know what I’ve just learned?”

He was doing exercises to loosen his new hip and gave me a look that seemed to say, “OK, this should be good.”

“I’ve learned it helps to swish pills in your mouth with water before you swallow them, and they’ll go down a lot easier.”

He nodded and said, “Hmm.”

Whatever. It was just one of the things I’ve learned lately. Here are some of the others:

• Doctor’s offices are called “waiting rooms” for a reason. Take something to read. And if you don’t want to hear at length about somebody’s surgery, don’t make eye contact.

• Never pass up a chance to go to the restroom. Even if you just went. You never know when you’ll get another chance. Same goes for saying “I love you.”

• People aren’t perfect. Give them a break. They put up with a lot, especially from you, and sometimes they are hurting.

• If you have to swallow a frog, don’t look at it too long before you put it in your mouth; and if you have to swallow two frogs, go for the big one first. I learned that long ago, but it’s making new sense to me lately.

• That thing you want to put off until tomorrow? Do it now. And tomorrow, when you think of it, say, “Hah! I did it yesterday!” Then curl up and take a nap.

• When you’re about to finish something — say, changing a light bulb or losing an argument — you might be tempted to give it one more twist or make one final, unnecessary, scathing remark. Don’t do it. Just let it go. You can thank me later.

• Practice saying “please,” “thank you,” “I’m sorry,” “how are you?” and most of all, “I need help.” Say them like you mean them. And never follow “I’m sorry” with “but …”

• When contemplating marriage, ask not only what sort of spouse and parent your intended will be but what kind of grandparent and caregiver and patient and friend you’re about to spend your life with? You’d be amazed at all the hats you can wear in a marriage. It’s wise to marry someone who will wear them all well.

• Tell the truth, but always with love. Truth without love can be a slap in the face. But it’s still usually better than a lie.

• Pray for those you love, not for them to change, but for their best. Don’t presume to know what’s best for them. Leave that to God. And remember, prayer doesn’t change the one who’s prayed for so much as it changes the one who prays.

• Every day, in every possible way, think good thoughts. Say kind things. Laugh and sing and dance to the music in your soul.

Hips heal, houses sell, all in due time. We take turns caring and being cared for. And we swish before we swallow. Life is good. And we are blessed.

Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson, NV 89077 or