Among other things, Dad was (is) a rancher.
Society highly underestimates The Rancher's medical knowledge.
So if Dad couldn't diagnose us, we were taken to Grandpa. If Grandpa couldn't diagnose us, THEN we would go see a doctor.
When I was first married, I became sick. I didn't get over it. For months, I was in and out of doctor's offices. It was hell.
I felt like my husband was acting out because I couldn't "be there" for him when he "needed" me, and I was determined to have my body fixed.
Finally, a doctor prescribed me anti-depressants.
"I am depressed," I said to him, "I'm depressed because I'm sick."
I left his office in tears. My husband gently suggested taking the pills. I not-so-gently told him I would NOT. They were not what I needed, and I knew it. I could feel it in my gut.
Through my frustrated tears, I called my Dad.
I spouted off my symptoms to him and didn't bother censuring the descriptions in any sort of way.
"Female part this," I said, "And Female part THAT!"
When I finally stopped and took a breath, my Dad cleared his throat, "Um, you probably want to talk to your mother about this..."
"I DID, Dad! I DID! She doesn't know what's wrong... she's never been sick like this."
"Well, it sounds to me like you've got an infection that's trying to work it's way out of your system... at least, that's what happens to my cattle when they have an infection."
But guess what? Dad was right.
Dad's been frustrated lately.
He still owns his own business. He's still dealing with the insurance end of things, but now Mom is sick. No one can help Mom. Grandpa (who is still alive and sharp as ever) can't help Mom.
They've tried pills and supplements and rub and even shots. Nothing is helping Mom.
My mother gave birth to 4 of her 6 children at home. Her first born was breech. She birthed him at home, no pain meds. When I bring it up, she always waves her hand and modestly says, "Well... I took an Advil."
My mother is a rock of a woman. She's pure grit inside and soft pillow outside. She's determined and hilarious and introverted. She endured an abusive father, a near-death experience, and stayed at home to raise 6 kids. Every morning, she would walk about 2 miles and then come home to get breakfast on the table. We always ate breakfast together.
Now she can't even walk down her own stairs. To walk at all hurts her.
Dad's insurance finally came through... Mom went to the doctor.
They diagnosed her with extreme arthritis. Mom is only 53.
A few nights ago, Mom told Grandma about her Dr. visit and her diagnosis. We all sat around Grandma's table and ate beef tongue tacos (I wish I could say it weirded me out, but those tacos have nothing on Grandma's brains and eggs).
"The doctor looked at my x-rays and told me, 'You are in a lot of pain all of the time, aren't you?' and I was SO RELIEVED! I thought for sure I was just being a baby... that it wasn't that bad. That I just needed to get over it. But hearing those words come out of his mouth made all the difference. Even if the shots he gave me don't work, I feel better."
MOM UNDERSTANDS exactly how I feel.
Mom understands validation.
Sometimes I hear stories -he cheated, prostitutes, old girl friends, facebook chats, sexting -and I think, 'I'm just being a baby. This isn't all that bad. I just need to get over it.'
And just to hear someone say, "You're in a lot of pain all of the time, aren't you?" makes all the difference in the world.
Even though people who validate me can't fix me, I feel better.
There's a reason I couldn't function for 6 months of my life.
There's a reason I gained ten stress pounds that I can't shake.
It's not because I'm bad or crazy or not enough of a human to deal properly with LIFE... it's just that I was hurting at the time.
I used to think validation was a negative thing, but now I see it for what it is: it gives me clarity. It helps me to move on.
In Rhyll's book, she says that women who are married to lust addicts need three things: connection, advocacy, and validation.
How true that is for me!
Validation is a spring board for me.