The Jackson Herald
August 6, 2003
What its like to be 80: Part 2
That was the headline over my July 9th column. That piece was about a very good time: the party family and friends threw for me on June 11, my 80th birthday.
One month and five days later, July 16, was a very bad time for myself, my family, my friends. . . and for two families I do not know. It was the day my 91-year-old mother-in-law, Mamie Batson, died. She died of injuries sustained in an automobile accident that was my fault.
If I write about the good times, then I must write about the bad times.
There is a word for what we are doing down here. They call it living, and on this mysterious journey we experience highs and lows, joys and sorrows, happy times and sad times. I believe with all my heart that we dont know one unless we know the other. I know I am sad right now because I have known happiness. And yes, I have the faith to believe I will be happy again someday. Time Gods time is a wonderful healer.
It may be ironic that last weeks column, written before the accident, was all about time. In the last paragraph I mentioned the book of Ecclesiastes and suggested we begin reading at Chapter 3:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Verse 1.
A time to be born, and a time to die. Verse 2.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh. Verse 4.
I dont presume to understand the ways of God. His ways, His thoughts, are so far above my own.
I have written many times in this space that reality doesnt care if we accept it or not. It goes right on being reality.
The accident happened. It was my fault. It would be a ridiculous exercise in futility to beat around the bush, try to come up with some excuse, look outside myself for someone or some condition to blame. If I am ever charged, my only response will be guilty as charged.
But for the time being, it is a time to weep.
In the July 9th column about the birthday party, I wrote: My 91-year-old mother-in-law, Mamie Batson, had planned to be there, but unfortunately was in the hospital. She and I would have had a great time.
In the five and a half years I have been married to her beautiful daughter, I always introduced her as my favorite mother-in-law. Mamie always responded, and this is my favorite son-in-law. I will never forget how we danced at mine and Shirleys wedding celebration.
One time she went with us to Pigeon Forge to hear Charlie Pride in concert at the Governors Palace Theater. During just about every song, young and middle aged women rushed the stage to shake the hand of the country music star. You would have thought it was Elvis.
I asked Mamie if she wanted to go up there. She grabbed me by the arm, and we ran all over two ladies sitting on the aisle. She and Charlie held hands, and she said she wasnt ever going to wash hers again. She was 88 years old,
Mamie and I have been many other places since then. Mention go and she was ready. It was difficult for her to get out of her chair, and arthritis in her knees caused great pain. But we went: to the grocery store, the post office, the garden center, the paper recycling bin, to her home in Union Point, to Jefferson, and to nowhere in particular. She just loved to go.
One of her great joys was pushing the cart for me when we went grocery shopping. She would tag along behind. Oftentimes, I realized I had lost her. I would turn around, and there she was, at the far end of the aisle, reading the label on some product she had never seen or heard of before. She marveled at the changes she had seen in her long life.
Four or five months ago, Mamie reached the stage where she was no longer comfortable pushing the cart. So she would sit at a table in the deli section and wait for me. At the checkout counter she would hand me the items and I would place them on the conveyor belt. The thing she hated most was doing nothing. At 91 and counting, she wanted to be useful and helpful, and she was.
At about 2 oclock on Wednesday, July 16, I asked her if she wanted to go with me to get some more peaches. A smile broke out on her face. Of course she wanted to go. This would have been our third trip to the orchard this year. We didnt make it. We made it to St. Marys Hospital, and from there, home I to Morton Road, Mamie to heaven. For her, this trip was a time to die, and a time to live forever.
It is wonderfully amazing how people care for you, love you, at times like these. Family, friends, strangers, emergency medical technicians, doctors and nurses, ministers, insurance company representatives, State Troopers, accident investigators. Suddenly the whole world is at your bedside, and later at your door, with understanding, encouragement, compassion and love. And dont forget the cards, flowers and food.
I cannot count the number of times people told me that this was a part of Gods will and plan. Maybe it was. I dont know. If it was His plan, I am sorry that He chose me to help implement it. Many people told me that God doesnt make any mistakes. If that is true, please, God, dont let me feel guilty.
Today, three weeks after the accident, I still do not understand why Robert Gale May III and his passenger, Lauren Simpson two families I do not know had to suffer because of me. They were an innocent couple, just out for a ride. Thank God, their injuries were not life threatening.
Trooper First Class Kelvin Searcy, who investigated the accident, said they were not angry, just sad that my mother-in-law was killed.
I hope, Mr. May and Miss Simpson, that you know how very sorry I am. Please accept my sincere apologies.
A time to die, to weep, to mourn. Now, with help from on high and with help down here, a time to love, to live and move on closer than ever to family, friends and strangers. . .and to our Creator.
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.
By: Adam Fouche
The Jackson Herald
August 6, 2003
No wonder we dont like the doctor
Most of the guys that I know dont like going to the doctor. Im no different. Really and truly though, who can blame us?
First of all, going to the doctor requires dealing with insurance companies.
And dealing with insurance companies requires more patience than found in a room full of pre-K teachers.
Insurance companies will throw words at you like HMO and PPO. Theyll tell you that your preferred provider does not meet HIPPA requirements resulting in a termination of benefits and COBRA coverage during the grace period.
Then youll get a bill from the doctor where the insurance didnt pay, at which point youll spend two and a half days listening to some stupid lizard or whatever he is do commercials over the phone.
Even on a good day, only about three things can result from going to the doctor. One, he could diagnose you with some strange disease or mono. Two, the doctor might actually help your ailment. Or three, he could tell you to drop em.
Once you learn to look past the insurance companies, theres a high likelihood that the doctor might diagnose you with a strange disease.
We can say that if there were something wrong with us wed like to know. But deep down, knowing that your body doesnt work right would suck pretty badly.
And the doctor could easily diagnose you with one of those strange illnesses like monkey pox or politician.
The possibility does exist that the doctor could come up with the correct diagnosis and course of recovery after shaking his magic medical eight ball.
(Last time my doctor shook the eight ball and got, Ask again later. He sent me back into the waiting room for a while.)
And so hell scribble some hieroglyphics on a piece of paper that tell the pharmacist you have a strange birthmark on the back of your left thigh that resembles the caricature of a boy band.
You see, the prescription that you take to the pharmacist doesnt actually have any medicine orders on it. Actually, the pharmacist will shake his magic prescription eight ball to find out what to put in your bottle. Most of the time its sugar pills about the size of a large almond.
But none of that, not the diagnosis or the insurance companies or the prescriptions keep guys from going to the doctor. Its something worse.
Sometimes, the doctor will sit on his little stool and begin putting on rubber gloves midway through an exam. This is a sure sign that bad things will happen soon.
He might then say something like, Let me get you to go ahead and drop em.
Doctors never tell you to take off your pants. They tell you to drop em. The drop em scenario itself can only result in the doctor doing one of two things to you, neither of which is good, though one is better than the other.
Of course, the big thing here is modesty. Ive had some old people I know tell me that you lose that modesty when you get old. But you have too.
Things start breaking a lot, everywhere. And to get them fixed, doctors have to mess around in all kinds of places. Then nurses come in and mess around there too. And pretty soon, you get tired of feeling modest and you turn into one of those old guys who takes a little too much time putting clothes back on after taking a shower at the gym.
No sir. I dont like doctors. And as long as Im young and get by with it, Ill stay as far away from them as I can.
Because I know what happens when I turn my head and cough.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.