“Taking Turns,” April 16, 2018

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 hipdeep 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 bathroom. 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 lightbulb 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.


  1. Three columns I did not read. Today took the time off to read. Gave him kitchen to take turn. I do not work so all house chores are my job. But once a while I need a break. And he happily gives me. Hope you are doing good. All the best for you both !

  2. Annette Biltz says

    I read your columns for years,cut many out and saved them. Suddenly they were yin our paper anymore. This was after you moved to Vegas. Have been devastated. Cleaning out a cabinet,rereading your columns,BINGO,saw your web sight,pulled you up and here you are. I’m happy to see you again,you have been missed. ❤️ p

  3. Be Alberts says

    This is the first time I’ve read your column. Believe me it will not be my last. You have perfect timing in addition to your wealth of knowledge. We found out today my husband of 30 years has Stage 4 Brain Cancer. He has taken care of me through 9 minor surgeries and 2 big ones, now it is my turn. Like you, I am happy to do it and am already driving him, and myself, a bit crazy. So I took care of him and decided to keep busy mowing and weeding. It made both of us feel better. Thank you for your words of wisdom, they hit home.

  4. Sharon Starns says

    I’m staring at a couple of frogs right now. I’m renovating my kitchen…not by choice! A leaking pipe led to buckling floor and moldy cabinets. So, the kitchen is gutted right now, except for the original 1950’s upper cabinets and the new range hood. We (my daughter and I) plan to refinish the cabinets, then paint the kitchen before the new lower cabinets and floor go in. The cabinets are the big frog…five layers of paint and ancient hardware! Gonna close my eyes and start on that big frog tomorrow.

  5. Wayne Daugherty says

    Sharon Randall, I loved the whole article but I especially love what you said about when you pray for those that you love! WOW! Please keep on doing what you do and thanks and God Bless You and Your Family!

  6. Pamela Dailey says

    Love this you always make me feel good reading your column.

  7. Amen!

  8. Kate Sciacca says

    Thank you. Needed this one today. Our 5th son’s engagement just ended (we were mailing the invitations out this week) and I must pray for God’s Perfect Will for them and remember that I truly am blessed.

  9. Chris Hunefeld says

    Sharon, So glad to hear some news about you two! Hope Mark’s hip heals completely and quickly. Will he be 6 feet tall now? So where is 500 miles from Henderson? Closer to California, I hope! Great article and hopefully you know a great Realtor! Good Luck,

  10. Elaine Mccaffery says

    Sharon, once again; thank you thank you. Such great wisdom. I love reading every week. You have no idea how your words cut deep and make me think. You sure help people more than you know .

  11. Jeri Duncan says

    Love your column!! I can always identify with what you’re dealing with. It seems our lives run almost parallel. My husband also had his hip replaced. Doing good! Y’all will get there! ?

  12. Barb Fisher says

    Sharon –
    Once again you have spoken such truth! You bring out thoughts that I would want to say to someone but just cannot find the words. At 75 I have attempted to convey these thoughts but they just won’t come to the surface. Thank you!

    I pray for those I care about daily and you are on my list!

    Barb Fisher

  13. Beth Heeren says

    Sending this to my engaged daughter!

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