Love and Grape Juice

I bet you never thought that choosing a Welch’s Grape Juice from grocery store shelves with your Mom could be a heartwarming experience. But I’m here to tell you that it can be. At 79, my mother is an extraordinarily active person. She loves to drive, travel, go to museums, socialize, and experience new things. Whenever I tease her with “old lady” jokes she’s not amused 😆 So when Mom, a few weeks ago, was afflicted with a case of the shingles, her active lifestyle and normally robust health was temporarily sidetracked.

Mom’s shingles have fortunately cleared up, but now she’s struggling with nerve pain, a common aftereffect of shingles, and it’s causing her a great deal of sadness and discomfort. One minute she’s fine, and the next minute the neuropathy flares up, causing excruciating pain. Even though it passes quickly, the constant imminent threat of a nerve attack is an unsettling way to live, especially for someone like my Mom who can’t bear the idea of being “disabled” in any way. Having her independence taken from her is Mom’s worst nightmare.

A pastel drawing by Edgar Degas:

DegasCombing

Shingles is the virus that causes chicken pox when it erupts again after lying dormant in the body for decades. I had chicken pox as a child and recall that it sucked. Shingles also sucks. But my mother is having a much harder time with the neuralgia than the shingles.

With Mom now on a steady regimen of B-Vitamins, Omega-3 oils, alpha-lipoic acid (and ibuprofen when she needs it), she’s on the path to recovery. But like the doctor said, each individual is different. For some the neuropathy goes away in four weeks, for others four months. We have no way of predicting. Mom just has to take it one day at a time.

Another pastel by Degas, Rest:

DegasRest

Mom has avoided driving alone which is understandable, so I’ve been doing her grocery shopping for her. With the exception of me picking her up and taking her to a couple of doctor’s appointments she’s been fearful of going out in public or even leaving the house. Not to the beauty parlor, not to the bank, not even to a friend’s house in the neighborhood. This is all so contrary to her nature. I’ve tried to persuade her to come with me for a little shopping, or lunch, or just running errands, but she’s consistently been saying no. Until today.

After a doctor’s appointment this morning she agreed to let me take her to Fairway Market. There we were, strolling through the aisles, Mom totally relaxed, cheerful, and leisurely pushing our shopping cart as we collected our goodies; I tossed in a box of quinoa, some swiss chard, and a one pound bag of freshly ground coffee, Mom put in some cucumbers (her favorite) and two bagels. With great happiness I watched her as she selected a piece of salmon from the fish counter, and took three small yogurts from the dairy section. And then came the moment of Welch’s Grape Juice! Remember when there was only regular Welch’s Grape Juice, for years? Today we have options; fortified with calcium, fortified with Vitamin C, organic, “Farmer’s Pick”, blended with black cherry. As I knelt down and read the choices aloud to Mom we shared a warm, lighthearted moment and were reminded of our old Armenian relative, Aunt Araxi, who lived to be 100 and attributed her longevity to, yes, a daily glass of Welch’s Grape Juice. That was her theory and she stuck with it! Hey why not? And Mom, by the way, ended up choosing the plain old Welch’s “Original”.

DegasTorso

A visit to the market doesn’t usually make for a watershed moment in a person’s life, but if you knew how tormented my mother has been lately due to pain, anxiety, and depression, you would understand the indescribable joy I felt at the sight her smiling, talking to people, and carrying out a routine activity for the first time in weeks. Mom’s comeback is underway. Oh yes it is 🙂

All artworks in this post have been pastels because it’s Mom’s favorite medium, and Degas because he’s Mom’s favorite artist.

14 thoughts on “Love and Grape Juice

  1. Fingers crossed it’s only four weeks for your mother; Shingles and the aftermath can be terrifically painful. And good on you for trying to keep her active. Worst thing is for someone who’s ill to sit around and get depressed. The trip to the market sounds like just what she needed.

    (BTW, when I was a kid, there was a local woman, German immigrant, who lived to 100 (so I was told). Her secret: one cigar every day. 🙂 )

    And I love pastels. Lately it’s been my favorite medium.

    • artmodel says:

      Phineas,

      Yes, pastels are wonderful. Gorgeous pigments. And difficult to master. Not easy to get to Degas-level of skill.

      I love the cigar-smoking German immigrant! I’ve heard of so many “secrets to longevity”. Honestly I think much of it depends on genetics which are out of our control. I had another old relative, a distant cousin, who smoked four packs of cigarettes a day. Lived to his 90s. Crazy!

      Thanks so much for your all your comments, especially your kind words about Mom and her recovery. She’s a strong woman and is doing better every day. Can’t wait for her to get to back to 100% 🙂

      Claudia

  2. artmodelandrew says:

    Sounds like your mom could use a shot of Ouzo.

  3. Peta says:

    First and foremost I can relate to health issues My dad has his own health issues pof his own like cancer and is having back surgery.and give your mum my regards and to get well. I nope to see her future works in the future.

    Dad is doing fine and will be in the hospital for one week. Let’s stay stronger for our parents. He told me that he can’t wait to be back and paint.
    Let’s be positive for them and with the mighty gpod almighty and the support from us they will overcome and my regards to your mum and I hope to see her do her creative work as I do for dad.

    • artmodel says:

      Peta,

      Amen to your comments. I know your Dad deals with a lot of health issues but it never seems to affect his attitude and positive outlook. Both he and my Mom will back to their art and activities very soon! And yes we absolutely must be strong for them. They’ve done it for us their whole lives.

      Thanks for your comments! So nice to hear from you 🙂

      Claudia

  4. Jennifer says:

    I can well understand how momentous that trip to the supermarket felt, for both you and your mum, that her recovery is within grasp. Hopefully the pain will soon be a forgotten memory and your mum will be back to normal and painting. We get Welch’s grape juice over here, so I’ll have to look out for it, and its health-giving properties!

    Loved the pastels!
    Jennifer

    • artmodel says:

      Jennifer,

      I think I’m going to try the Welch’s grape juice “treatment” too! It is full of nutrients. I drink cranberry juice a lot because it’s good for women and our urinary tract health. So maybe I’ll make a cranberry/grape juice blend!

      Thanks very much for your comments and good wishes for Mom. Hopefully the pain will be all gone soon. And glad you liked the pastels!

      Great to hear from you.

      Claudia

  5. Dave says:

    I hope your mom’s pain disappears soon. My mother had shingles when I was a kid and I still remember how miserable she was.

    Your mom has great taste in artists. Those Degas pieces are fabulous. But I sure don’t share her taste in beverages–I hate grape juice. Yuck!

    • artmodel says:

      Dave,

      Degas was so great. He is widely admired by art lovers. I especially like “Rest” in this post.

      As for grape juice, I hear you! I’m not crazy about the taste myself but mixed with other juices it’s more tolerable.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Claudia

  6. Elaine Hajian says:

    Thank you to all for your show of support during my illness. I think the pain has finally lessened. My special thanks to my wonderful
    daughter who has been by my side the whole time. Our shopping trip to Fairway helped me experience some normalcy. As far as the tale of Welch’s Grape juice, whether it has healing properties or not, was told to me by my aunt Araxi, who drank it every day. She lived to over
    100. That’s good enough for me. Claudia’s choice of Degas’
    pastels showed the progression of my mood during the last few weeks.
    Great choice. Again thank you to all for your comments.

    • artmodel says:

      Mom,

      You’re doing great! See how much better you’ve gotten in the past few days? So happy for you. Our little trip to Fairway was fun. Chobani! 😆

      Everyone who reads Museworthy knows how much I love you and what a wonderful person you are.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Claudia

  7. Ron says:

    Claudia,
    I feel for your mom, the pain is debilitating, as several of my friends and family can attest. I am glad to hear that she is feeling better.
    Singles, as I have found out, is a very dangerous illness. It can travel through the nervous system and attack different areas in your body. Two of my friends developed shingles, in my one friend it traveled to his auditory canal and he is now deaf in his left ear. With my other friend it traveled to her left eye. She is now blind in that eye.
    I know many people are opposed to vaccinations of any kind, but they do have a vaccine for shingles that is available for anyone over the age of 60. It is something to consider for anyone that had chicken pox.
    Thank you for museworthy! I enjoy your insights into art, life and music.
    Ron

    • artmodel says:

      Ron,

      Shingles is indeed a serious condition. Mom’s case created a concern for her eye but we got her to the doctor very quickly and, fortunately, her vision is unaffected. I’ve heard stories like those of your friends. And I agree that the shingles vaccine should be considered for those over 60. Some of Mom’s friends and relatives close to her age told her that they got the shingles vaccine. Mom did not, obviously. I just thank god that she’s recovering well.

      Thanks Ron for your comments! And I’m so glad you’re enjoying Museworthy! I hope you continue to visit.

      Claudia

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