It Could Be Worse


My Mom is an inspiration.

She is 91 years old, and increasingly frail. She is experiencing dementia. She has been widowed for more than a dozen years.

But in spite of her increasing discomfort and confusion, her frequent comment is “Could be worse!”

It’s kind of funny, and definitely sweet.

And it’s been my mantra for the past few weeks….months….well, you know, about a year and half. I keep trying to hold onto that thought, as each new stressor comes rolling along.

Covid appeared and life came to a crashing halt.

“Could be worse.” I held on, and we kinda got through it.

The election got pretty heated up, and I had the joyful experience of watching the vicious attack on the Capital as it played out on national TV.

“Could be worse.” I might have had to mutter it under my breath a few times, but it got me through.

Scary times, but after all, it wasn’t the worst.

As time rolled by, and the summer of 2021 came along, I realized there were a couple of small medical issues going on in this old body. So I slowly, agonizingly, weaned off of a pain-reducing anti-depressant that I’d been on for years.

Hahahahaha! So. Many. Tears. So. Much. Irritability.

But, I knew that it “Could be worse.” I didn’t lose my mind totally.

Yay, me!

Then came the news that I have a very early, very treatable breast cancer. “Could be worse.” Truly. Could be a LOT worse!

But the biopsy and surgery have both be hugely complicated by an unexplained lack of platelets in my blood. My stress level, unaided by the missing anti-depressant, kicked up a few notches. There’ve been blood infusions, blood tests, arguments with a soon-to-be-replaced hematologist, warnings about surgery risks and a huge, honking hematoma.

I have taken in enough deep breaths to inflate a good sized hot-air balloon. I have whispered “Could be worse” at least 1000 times.

I hung on, more or less, if you don’t count the moment when I almost slammed a carving knife into my new granite counter. I hung on, clutching my yummy gummies and my glass of wine.

It’s all good.

Sorta.

Because the last two weeks, up to and including this very moment, are really, really stretching my ability to be as serene as my Momma.

Here’s the scenario, OK?

Covid 19 is RAGING again. Schools are about to reopen, and more and more kids are getting sick. My beautiful little granddaughter is about to start first grade. There is no state mask mandate. My daughter is a teacher. I have a good friend who is sick with a break through infection, and he is both fully vaxxed and super careful.

“Could be worse.”

I guess.

But humans are acting as if it’s the year 550 AD. Like science has never happened. They are screaming in rage about being offered a free vaccine. They are physically fighting over being asked to wear a 2 ounce piece of cloth while they’re shopping. They won’t give up their “freedom” to get sick, to use up all the ICU beds and to spread the joy to the rest of us.

So the virus just keeps on mutating, and it seems like only a matter of weeks before a more deadly, more contagious version rears its ugly little spikey head.

My stress re: Covid is right back to where it was in February of 2020. I’m more than a little worried that increased cases at our local hospital will push my surgery back or postpone it indefinitely.

Of course, there are all the wider, more chronic world issues adding to our sense of doom, too. Wildfires are sweeping the world, including the Western US. Climate change is accelerating just about to the point of no return. The Afghan government just collapsed and violence and terrorism are once again threatening us.

“Could be worse.”

By now my teeth are clenched as I repeat these words. It. Could. Be. Worse.

Sigh.

My serenity is being tested. Big time.

I’m also on week two of a pretty high prednisone dose, which means that I have slept approximately 2.2 hours in the past week. My eyes hurt, my heart won’t stop pounding, I feel like I’m have the big one all day every day.

And the mood swings. Oi, vey!

By “swings”, what I actually mean is that for two weeks I have been “swinging” between rage and RAGE. With the occasional moment of helpless sobbing thrown in just for fun.

Good times.

“Could be worse.”

So I’m sitting here today, worried that my surgery won’t happen. Worried that I’ll never sleep again. Worried that the human race is too stupid to survive. Worried about school reopening. Worrying about Mom’s increasing frailty.

And watching a hurricane as it barrels up the East Coast of the US and heads right at us. And right at the place where my son and his fiance are planning to be married next weekend.

At a lovely outdoor wedding that was already postponed for a year by stupid Covid.

“Could be worse.”

I guess.

And it might be worse.

Cuz the power might go out and might not come back in time for the wedding. The roads might wash out, like they did in Hurricane Irene. The farm venue might be damaged, the hotels might be damaged.

“Could be worse.”

Seriously?

This is kind of feeling a bit apocalyptic, to be honest.

Maybe I should go outside and double check for murder hornets, huh?