Please (Don’t) Change the Subject

As I was doing uplifting research on the joys of peripheral neuropathy, of which I’ve had the joy of being diagnosed with, the thought hit me that I’m just one of the many freak-show contestants on this freak-game show of life who have acquired an illness that brings me into the fold of older folks who have something wrong with them that a generation before me hasn’t an inkling of – for the most part. There are always exceptions.

Giving the news to my 86 year old mother was met with a deft changing of the subject that many are met with when telling another of an illness/disease they probably haven’t heard of.  The subject was changed to how her dad suffered so much from rheumatoid arthritis during his life.  Hmmm, thanks Mum.  I already knew that one.

I wasn’t expecting dear old Mum to rattle off a list of remedies used back when she was a young one for an illness that, back then, they didn’t have a name for – but I was hoping for some type of question and answer period, i.e., what is it, what causes it, how is it treated, I haven’t heard of that on Fox News, etc.  Instead, a bit of family history was provided. Ah yes…family!

But it’s not just dear old Mum who changes the subject line whenever presented with a topic they don’t understand (or really don’t want to know about) I would say it’s probably 95% of us who do the same thing.

Everything from being told, hearing a tidbit, stumbling upon a non-approved website outside the mainstream media, or the government making a clerical error and telling us the real truth of their nefarious activities – whenever presented with stuff we really don’t know about or want to know about – the line, “that reminds me of” or “I have a friend who has the same thing” or the ultimate head-swiveler, “that can’t be true”,will bring an abrupt end to your news to be replanted with their news – news that really has nothing to do with your news but is comforting to them because they believe they’re providing comfort to YOU, which in reality, is only providing comfort to them because the subject has been changed.

Now, Mum gets total (almost) immunity from this rant, as she’s in her late 80’s, has undergone a series of back surgeries, along with suffering through other surgeries, illnesses, never-ending migraines and more – and also, because she’s my mum.

But as the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaches, and someone at the dinner table starts in about something you might just not be in the mood to listen to, take a few deep breaths and try to remember that there are so many of our fellow brethren who won’t have a roof over their heads this holiday, won’t be enjoying a feast with family and friends because they haven’t the funds, are sick, are aged and alone in hospitals and assisted living facilities, or just alone at home. Take a couple of deep breaths and listen – it just might make digesting the turkey, gravy and pumpkin pie all the more joyous, as you provided something which few in this modern day nuttiness are willing to give to their brethren…their ear and attentiveness – if only for a few moments.


Tonight’s musical offering:

Vince Guaraldi ~ “Skating”

Photo credit:




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