Driving down Geddes Avenue was like the country for me. It was about a 30-minute drive from our suburb to Ann Arbor. She always took the scenic route. She sort of new her way around Ann Arbor. My mom's first husband was a medical student at the University of Michigan. She put him through school while waiting tables. That was a long time ago. She divorced him because he didn't want to have kids. She wanted nothing more.

Having kids isn't always easy. I had my share of health problems. I can't count the hours we spent in that huge hospital complex. I always liked the drive in. Fields and farmhouses lined the streets. The trees grew close to the road. During the summer there were always these enormous webs hanging in the branches. My arachnophobic mother would wax poetic about the spiders living up there. I know now they were just tent caterpillars.

She would never know that I worked for U of M. Not in the hospital, but my father seemed to think so. When my father would question me about my work, he seemed to only think one could be a doctor or a professor at a University. My mom would have understood that one could also be a sociological researcher ,or a janitor, or a secretary. I didn't have a job until after she died. I should have, but she let me think I was taking care of her.

I was in that very same hospital yesterday with my husband. I remembered the feel of the halls and the chairs. I remember leaning over the top level of the parking garage with her. We were both afraid of heights. I remember leaning on her while wearing a thin dressing gown waiting eternities for some one to usher me to another test. It took us a while to cleverly use 2 gowns: one as a robe. The receptionist today handed 2 to Anthony automatically.

I had almost forgotten how quiet those waiting areas felt. How every other patient always seemed far worse off than me. I felt like I didn't belong. Sometimes the doctors agreed. They were always these arrogant men who would try to minimize my pain by telling me to lose weight and get a better bra. The back is hard to analyze. Certainly weight loss would help, but there were mornings I couldn't move. Weeks when I would be paralyzed with pain. Sitting in wooden desks all day was sheer torture. This was something a better bra would not solve. My mother knew that. The doctors did not have to deal with my pleading to not go to school today. They wrote a note excusing me from gym, and from time to time would prescribe Tylenol 3. I saved my tears until they left the room. My mother held nothing back. She would yell and scream at them. She would beg for other options or even stronger drugs to dull the pain. They excused her as an overprotective script druggie. They would tell me they don't know what that spot on my x rays were.

Being back in radiology with my husband I know what it's like to be helpless to help. I pray they will have some miracle solution to make his leg better. I doubt they will. It took 10 years before they offered me surgery. They fused those problematic vertebrae together about 3 months after my mom died. It was the answer she dreamt of for so long, and she never got to see come to fruition. I called for her as I was coming out of my anesthisized daze. The nurse said she would go get her. I wish she could have.

I wish there was some way my mother could know that I'm OK now. I could still use a better bra, and should drop a few more pounds, but it never hurts anymore like it used to. I wish she could know I'm married, and if she could put in a word for my husband's leg, I sure could use her strength.