There are poinsettias on the mantle. A Christmas fern peeking out here or there. A tiny holly plant in a bursting out of a snow mans’ stop hat and a Christmas cactus just ready to bloom on the table.
Soon there will be touches of Crimson on the tables, and swatches of green here and there. Eventually tiny white lights will be added to a tiny tree with silver balls and crystal ornaments. And if he gets his way, somewhere in a door way Beloved will hang some silly piece of greenery to meet the tradition of mistletoe.
Birdseed will be sprinkled outdoors, and branches will be smushed lower into the ground because that’s something he has always done. Puddings and cookies will be planned and cooked. Presents will be wrapped, stockings stuffed and drinks mulled.
And I, well I shall not get too caught up in any of it. I never do. Some cookies I will bake. Decorating I will leave for him. I haven’t wrapped a present in years and won’t begin now. (Gift bags are a blessing for those with joint damage!) Instead I shall watch as the smile that starts to fill his face grows a little bigger with each task until he simply cannot contain it anymore. That’s when I shall out presents under the tree and watch his glee turn him back into a small child if only for a few moments. That’s when I know Christmas is here.
I’m not the type of girl to cry over a broken nail normally. Except today. When my nail broke down deep while visiting with my favorite vampires, also known as a blood draw. The poor woman getting set up to draw my blood bumped my hand and my nail broke down deep. It started to bleed and hurt like heck. So I cried out in pain and surprise.
To be honest the lady who bumped me with her cart resulting in the broken nail had more tears than I did. She kept apologizing and saying it was the worst time of year to have this happen, so close to all the parties as such. There aren’t really any fancy parties this year for me, not with my new medication routine and side effects.
The truth is, I’m breathing a small sigh of relief at not having to go to all the parties. Of not having to be all made up, hair done and nails just so. Let’s not even talk about the shoes and clothing that need donning. And all the energy into getting ready and then faking that I feel cheerful and healthy.
So I did cry out over a broken nail because of the pain and not because of the hardship it might bring. And truly if a broken nail brings hardship, life cannot be that bad.
When you hear hoof beats do you start looking for horses or zebras? My medical team seems to think in terms of zebras when it comes to my health, but honestly that isn’t their fault. I am not the easiest person to work with in general and with a messed up immune system to match a slightly sarcastic and cynical view-point it just gets harder. For all I know they may be better off looking for mythical or extinct creatures.
We are, to some degree, a sum of our experiences and dealing with my health issues lead me to believe that I’m a bit like a platypus. Sort of a mishmash of various pieces that don’t seem to go quiet right together and yet somehow it all works in some way. Of course, platypus do not make the sound of hoofbeats, but if you saw just the bill out of the water you’d think it was a large waterfowl, and if you saw their back in the water you might think it was a water mammal of sorts, such as a beaver.
To some degree we are all a zebra and a horse, it just depends upon the situation. Each one of us can be a beaver, a duck or a platypus to different people, we just can’t be a zebra and a platypus at the same time.
The four-footed one has decided that this may be the best time of year after all. The mailman keeps coming to the house as do other delivery people, so it has added variety to the people she sees and meets. And yes, being she is a dog, it has added a whole new dimension of greeting people.
As much as she has decided that this may be the best time of year, she has also decided it is the worst time of the year because it means she is put in her kennel more than normal. Or trapped in the bathroom with the door closed and all the fun (her idea not mine) is happening without her. The fun she is worried about, deliveries being signed for or brought into the house. She feels she is missing out and believe you me if she wasn’t so curious and prone to giving into her curiosity she would not be held away from the fun. I’d let her paw print for the parcels. And I’d let her show the delivery people where to place the heavy stuff. But she can’t be trusted with either of these.
It’s the best time of the year for her because she is getting more treats than normal from the various visitors in our house or when she comes with me on outings. And let’s face it, treats are always going to make things better, whether you are four-footed being or a two-footed one.
It’s the worst time of year for her because sometimes she isn’t allowed those treats that people are offering her. Hey if I let her, she’d eat twenty dog bones in one sitting and not care that she would be sick shortly thereafter. Someone has to watch out for that. And that someone just happens to be the same person who cleans the floor. And that person is me. I have no desire to be cleaning the floor as often as I would need to based on the treat offerings.
Mostly thought it is the best time of the year for her because Beloved is home and spends enormous amounts of time with her. Letting her play as she wants; taking her for long walks and then setting himself up in a char so that they two of them can nap as they need.
At a recent doctor’s appointment, I was invited to “kick off my shoes and stay awhile”. Now I don’t mind this doctor or his staff, however I’m not really wanting to get comfy in the doctor’s office for what should be a wee visit. I guess that’s a bit rude of me.
I didn’t kick off my shoes, but I knew I was going to be there awhile regardless of my shoe status. So I settled in for a long wait and a long visit. And true to form after a lengthy wait, the doc and I had a long visit. A long visit with lots of medical terms and numbers. Not exactly my idea of fun, but a requirement when you have a chronic illness like lupus.
And after my long visit, I went on a longish drive to empty my head. Because sometimes when you have a chronic illness like lupus, you need to just empty your head and simply enjoy your surroundings. A long visit with a four-footed friend is also ideal.
And I promise things will go back into your routine after one of those visits, because it does for me too. Until the next time I am invited in for a long visit without my shoes. Which is all part of chronic illness and life.
As he looked at my bluish fingers he shook his head and sighed. My specialist had called me in for a “meeting” after my last wee visit to the hospital. I am loath to go to the hospital and get a sinking feeling every time they tell me I get to “sleep over” because I’m just not that into hospitals. Except I am because I have a chronic illness that doesn’t want to behave.
After my last stay, a follow-up message was sent to my specialist indicating that I had some vascular issues in my hands. Lupus is one of those gifts that just keeps giving and one of the gifts it always provides me with is something known among my friends as corpse hands. To the medical community it is known as Raynaud’s. To me it’s just cold hands for the most part, occasionally brilliant red and sore fingers, but mostly purplish blue and cold fingers.
The doctor who wrote the follow-up message thought that perhaps if my specialist addressed my Raynaud’s (I guess we will move on to using formal words for proper addressing of said entities), I would not have been in the hospital as long while they tried to resolve my cold hands even though I told them that’s just the way things are.
When he looked up my specialist said, “sometimes you pick your battles and other times the battle picks you”. The cold hands aren’t in my head, there is a medical condition for this and there are things that can be done and are being done to try to keep it in check. However, not everything gets tidied up nice and neat at the end of the day. Lupus doesn’t play well with others and so we have to balance all things for the best outcome. Which for me may mean cold hands most of the time.
Apparently even my cough candies are in on the act of motivational quotes and speeches. Obviously, the universe is trying to tell me something, but honestly I’m not sure what to make of messages such as “Don’t try harder. Do harder” or “You’ve survived tougher” or even “you can do it and you know it.” I mean when did they put pep talks on wrappers of cough candies?
On top of asking when they did this, the other question is why. Why do we need to be surrounded with pep talks, motivational quotes and what have you? Are we not capable of motivating ourselves? And isn’t okay to be unmotivated once and a while, until you get your second wind or is this all passé now?
For the record, when I’m feeling under the weather the last thing I want is a motivational speech. I will gather up my strength and go out and “win one for the gipper” when I am darn good and ready, if I am so inclined. If I’m not inclined I simply will not do it and no amount of rah rah or motivational quotes will change my mind or give me energy to do something I’m not interested in.
Do motivational quotes work for you? Is it just a mind game or is there something to it?