I've always plunged full-tilt into the pre-holiday preparations for Christmas. But with each passing year and another yuletide clearing the pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving stuffing off the table to make way for fat red candles surrounded by holly wreaths and gold ribbons, I'm finding it more of an effort to plug in those twinkly lights inside my head and sparkle for the remainder of the month.
This year health problems have gone beyond hampering the final bed down of the garden and brought things outside to a grinding halt. Unplanted perennials, still in pots have at least been plunged into thick piles of freshly-shredded leaf mulch or are sharing residence in the finished, other compost pile. Pain and depression over said pain has broken through a normally strong demeanor and kept me hunkered down, fairly immobile inside for spells. When I have regained some energy, positive attitude and the pain lessens, I've ventured outside usually to cut back as many tall, unsightly annuals as I can and letting them lie for the birds to feast on. Or arranging them as a pseudo-ground cover for what would otherwise be bare beds because of my inability to spread my usual layers of shredded leaves. On even better days, I managed to rake some of the larger, wetter leaves from the perennial beds and my husband scattered some of the aforementioned shredded leaves and grass clippings around the more tender specimens. But, for the most part, as was the case two seasons ago when my father passed away, the garden is on its own. What comes back...comes back. What doesn't....well...
And now my two little ones - my cats, Tyler (to the left) and Sandy (right) - have been spending more time at the vet's office and the specialty veterinary hospital about 25 miles from here than even I've been spending at my own doctors' offices! Adrenalin is a strange body chemical, and it never ceases to amaze me how it can mask whatever debilitating pains you may have at the time, so you can accomplish what would otherwise be impossible - if you thought about it too long. When it's come to emergency duty and round-the-clock watching over of my little ones, that adrenalin pumps out those needed endorphins like those that washed over the woman who was able to lift the car off her injured boy. (I'm sure we've all heard that story, and I don't doubt its voracity for a moment!)
Whether it's lugging heavy cat carriers, sometimes two at a time into and out of the car; tackling frightened felines to med them; staying up all night to watch over them; who eats what, when and who leaves "deposits" and how much and keeping charts; relearning intravenous and intra-muscular injections and even with the help of my husband as a "handler" when trying to administer subcutaneous fluids till that 100mls. drip out of the bag ...that only reveals the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what I'd do for them.
Then there's the inevitable bad communication between doctors. Only this time it's animal doctors. There's only one difference between animal doctors and human doctors especially when it comes to your asking questions, being aggressive, doing your own research, double checking their staff is administering proper meds and doses during hospital stays...and that single difference is this: One deals with two legged patients and the other deals with quadruped. In other words, they and the frustration they engender are identical. Oh, sure, you can luck into the occasional great sympathizer or compassionate caregiver, but that doesn't mean they're competent. So sometimes you have to sacrifice communication for competency. And that doesn't necessarily mean your (or your animals') treatment still won't get screwed.
I'm sure we've all had the feeling at one time or another when dealing with a human or animal doctor, that your name has been circled in red in their "secret little charts" and filed away under: "Difficult Patient" or "Difficult Patient-Owner". I suspect there's an internet site out there only privy to be logged onto by physicians where patients they consider to have attitudes are shared. "Attitudes" in doctor-speak translates to: "One Who Asks Too Many Questions". In my opinion, however, the unspoken (doctor-eye's only) full definition is "One Who Asks Too Many Questions For Which I As The Person Who Went To Medical School For Umpteen Years Should Know The Answer...But Don't And I'm Too Proud Or Conceited Or Egocentric To Let Her Know That, So That Makes Her A Patient With An Attitude Who Just Asks Too Many Questions". WHEW! Talk about off-gardening topics!
So the garden as well as the holidays take on a different priority this year. The survival of one and The Glory of the other will each do fine without my usual hoopla and hustle. One is up to Nature and the other is The Creator of that Nature. I respect and honor both. Right now, I trust the garden to Nature's quite capable hands and I hope I'm kept in the hands of The Creator to keep me going strong enough to keep my little ones in my care. Of course a little care direct from Him to my little kitts wouldn't be refused either. As long as I can keep that adrenaline flowing and those endorphins kicking in when they're needed. Painkillers don't help half as much as the desire to help them and that's a pretty damn strong desire.