A conversion with my bathroom scales
For the past five years or so I’ve been dealing with congestive heart failure, a disease that has certain issues to be dealt with. The short version of what to expect is multiple hospitalizations, extreme fatigue, irregular heart function, swelling and difficulty breathing.
Basically, the heart’s ability to pump the blood is significantly diminished.
It’s a hoot.
I write for the Ella Bunting Open Arms newsletter for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. I can say that treatment for CHF or cancer tends to drag with it a baggage-cart packed full of other medical issues like an unfriendly dragon’s tail.
The first thing they tell you when they diagnose CHF is to ditch the salt. That was fine. I’m not a huge salt fan to begin with. Next they tell you to hop on the scales every morning. Weigh yourself every day.
Whose dumb-bunny idea was this?
Fluid buildup is dangerous, they say. It makes the heart work harder.
The first morning, I walked innocently up to the bathroom scales, stepped on and looked down to the numbers. Yikes!
Me: I don’t think these scales are working, I announce to absolutely no one. Just imagine my shock when the scales spoke to me. OK, I know, but it’s my story and I’m claiming a bit of poetic license here.
Scales: Just push the other person off. This isn’t an industrial scale you know. I am only designed to weigh one person at a time.
This pronouncement immediately reminds me of the wooden plaque on the wall of my friend Peggy’s beauty shop. It’s of a blurry eyed, short, pudgy woman in a bathrobe, standing on the scales and pointing a gun at the numbers. I love that!
Scales: You know…you can think standing on the floor. Get off!
Me: We are not going to be friends, you and I.
Scales: Give me a second to digest my utter disappointment.
Me: Where’s my gun?
Scales: Calm down tubby. I was only joking. Can’t you take a joke? Come on now, waddle back over here and let’s try this whole numbers game again.
Whoa! Jump back off. My springs are snapping.
Scales: Don’t kill the messenger. I’m just like the government. I’m here to help you. Now let me help. Let’s start with that full-on blitz on the refrigerator last night.
Me: I was hungry and besides it was only a mini cupcake.
Scales: MINI!? Maybe in Jack and the Giant Beanstalk Land. A cake 9 inches in diameter, slathered with frosting and topped with whipped cream and sprinkles does not scream mini anything. Can we say celery?
Me: For your information Mr. Smarty Pants, I love celery.
Scales: You do realize that celery doesn’t count as diet fare when you stuff it with peanut butter and dip it in chocolate sauce.
Me: Peanut butter is good protein and I only dipped it in the sauce once.
Me: I’m getting the gun.
Scales: Idle threat. You don’t have a gun. Calories in. Calories out. Why are you looking at me with that glare in your eye?
Me: I’ll tell you what I do have. I have a hammer, a screw driver and a wooden baseball bat. Scales: Violence is never the answer. Now let’s just take a second and all calm down. Breathe in. Hold it. Breathe out. After all, they’re only numbers. Now then, lumber back over here and step up again and we’ll see if we can’t come up with some better numbers. What’s that you’ve got in your hands?
Me: A screwdriver, a hammer and a baseball bat. Relax. I’m just like the government and I’m here to help you.
Scales: (Whistle). Hel-lo gorgeous! What’s your name? Do you come here often?
Me: Too little. Too late.
Scales: Whoa! Danger! Red alert! Red alert! Step away from the scales! System failure. Me: There now. I feel better. What? No pithy response?
A bathroom scale, dismantled into hundreds of itsy-bitsy pieces and stuffed into a cardboard box is a beautiful thing. OK. I don’t have talking scales. I do keep my hammer, screwdriver and baseball bat handy, just in case of emergencies. You never know.
I do believe that God must have a sense of humor. The Bible tells us that there is no experience we can have that God doesn’t already know and understand. I believe He gave us laughter and humor to help us through those times when the sorrow simply gets too deep and thick to wade through anymore. He gives it to us for those times when our faith is shaken until its very foundations groan.
It is in and during those times when God whispers, “I am here. My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”
Each of us deals with our own demons in our own ways, those things that just annoy the fire out of us on a regular basis. In the grander scheme of things, the whole scales scenario is small potatoes. But it is one of my ongoing battles.
I could sit and cry about it. But then what would be the point of that? I chose to laugh through it, not because I see it as unimportant. But because I realize my own imperfections and I have come to accept myself warts and all. And the laughter at myself gets me through the rough spots. We all have others look at us from time to time and say, “That’s not the way to go about that.”
Ignore those people. They are busybodies. They travel the planet attempting to make the rest of us as miserable as they are. We all grieve at our own pace, in our own time and in our own way. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. It is a process, a journey. Life is short. Have some fun with it along the way.
I’m not saying we should ignore the more serious issues. Give them their due attention. But, punctuate the serious with participating in the joy life affords us each day, followed by random fits of laughter along the way. Laughter. pass it on.
Father, In all things, may we truly be thankful.