The Mom Photo Essay Project On Instagram: Four

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January 2013. University of Colorado Hospital, ER. I sometimes call my mom The Major: sometimes with a sense of pride and respect; other times it is with a sense of frustration. At times like these, when she's sick and helpless, she becomes The Major. In this image, she's 89. She's in the ER because she had some sort of stomach flu, with fluids flowing out of both ends of her body. On the best of days, she drinks 2-3 glasses of fluid. So, the loss of fluids quickly lead to her dehydration. An ambulance ride, a few bottles of IV fluid, and a few days in the hospital were in order. She hated every minute. Most of us don't enjoy being hospitalized, but for The Major it is especially taxing. She's forced to rely on others, forced to follow orders — remember, The Major has *always* been the one to give orders. Taking orders is not easy for her. However, I've learned in the past few years, as age has slowed her down, as she's had to limit the things she does, I cannot be the one to tell her, to restrict her: "You're not a doctor," or "When did you go to medical school," are two of her favorite things to say to me when I try to get her to do something she doesn't want to do, like: stop driving, eat a bit more, drink a bit more, test her blood sugar levels more. My mom's primary care doctor taught me the secret: Doctor Magic. Call the doctor, get a note from the doctor, or, better yet, have the doctor tell her what needs to be done. For The Major, the letters PhD have magical powers and can compel her in ways that, as her son, I would never be able to. Doctor Magic. I'm not always a fan of medicine and pills, but I have learned to trust the power of Doctor Magic when it comes to dealing with The Major. It's not a perfect magic: my mother still argues and fusses and resists. But then she hears the whisper of the Doctor Magic, and the arguments become a bit less firm, and she's (grudgingly) willing to do whatever it is that is needed. Doctor Magic. It may not be the most powerful force in the universe, but in my world, it has lifted a bit of the burden. I once was a skeptic. Now I'm willing to concede there is, indeed, some Doctor Magic working in my world.

A post shared by John Francis Nooney (@john_francis_nooney) on

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