MamaDog Woofs

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanks for the Giving

Like many families, we have the tradition of choosing the one thing we're most thankful for around the dinner table today. Unfortunately I'm far away from two parts of my own family this holiday.....Zoe and Paula are at her house in Indiana, and Mom and Jim are at theirs in another area of Indiana as well. Too far away for holiday hugs. :-( Technology to the rescue! I can share my thoughts here and that'll just have to do.

This year we have so many things to be thankful for. The damage to Robert's eyes was stopped and he seems to be healing now. The fire in Kristen's home was stopped with relatively minimal damage and no lasting injury to any of them. Connor came through his surgery very well and has an excellent prognosis for a long, wonderful future. Mom is retiring-- soon she'll be able to travel, and hopefully in my direction! Paula is finishing vet school and will very soon be a short drive away in TN. So many wonderful things.

One thing has really changed my life in a broad way this year though, and it's probably what I'm most thankful for right now. It's the gifts that have been given to my life by the special women in it.

Kristen, my dearest old buddy, has been there for most of my life. She brings with her the gift of knowing that someone out there is in it for the long haul. Our lives have taken us far away from each other and many times I haven't been the best friend that she was. (My memory is AWFUL!!) Somehow she never gave up on me.

My mother and I have really connected in past years in a very special way. Acceptance, love, and real communication with that most connected person in our lives is a true miracle. Every year we blossom a little more together, I think, and it's nothing that can be forced. It just happens, and thank all the powers in the universe that we've connected in a truly spiritual way.

Paula, my most beloved FAVORITE sister, has brought into my life a closeness that now makes me understand how people through history have described that relationship. I love my brothers very much, but it's different with a sister! She has given me so much love and understanding, and I'm so grateful that we've connected in our adult lives.

Zoe is the constant force that is a gift unto itself. She'll answer that question about cooking or sewing matter how many times you ask it. Her door and heart are always open, even when you're calling to say she's having emergency company in an hour. There is much to be said for being straight, and true, and constant.

Cynthia and Emily, they come as a pair! I have always been so grateful for the wonderful relathionship I have with Cynthia, but when Emily was born it took on a new layer that is priceless. There's no way I can explain in words what it means for Emily to ask for ME when she's sick. Mothers everywhere understand that but it's something I'll never have with my own children. Cynthia somehow understood that from the beginning and has brought into my life a way for me to be like that with hers.

Susan, no list would be complete without you. In life, your gift is grace in all the times of pain that come, in the times of work that present themselves, in the times where there really is nothing to do or say but BE graceful. You have taught your incredible daughters the same thing in the only way that works for a teacher-- by doing it. Only a mother can show her daughters, and her friends, and her family, and even her dogs that gift.

And so many others like the amazing, generous ladies who sustain Greyhound Crossroads every single day! All of them bring a different gift to my life as we all work together toward the goal.

I have to close this and move on with my day but if any of my family reads it in the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. To the women in my life, you are all incredible people and I'm very grateful for the gifts you have brought to me. I hope that someday you'll feel rewarded with love in kind.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

It all comes down to this......

Several years ago, my amazing sister Paula began a journey that might end tomorrow. It comes down to this....she's sitting her vet licensing Boards in the morning! I can't imagine what she's thinking right now, but there are some things I DO know.

Paula, my most beloved, favorite sister, you are strong. You are strong enough to walk in there tomorrow, dig DEEP, and listen to your instincts. You KNOW what they want to know. It's all right there, ready for you to call it up when you need it. It will all be there when you ask for it.

You may be strong, but you're also hard headed. (winking) Only you could have pushed through the pain to learn the skills of a surgeon with the difficulties you had. You walked into a foreign country on St. Kitts, later than your classmates, and made it. You pushed your way through our mutual loss, through the hard times, and pretty much through everything else because it was what you wanted. Use that. Put that hard head to work, don't let yourself be freaked out by the attempt to freak you out (winking again) and PUSH tomorrow.

You may be strong, and hard headed, but you also have a core of calmness. Only you could have remained quiet and controlled when being kicked in the face by a horse. You are the one that calmed me down when I lost my beloved Angel, combining the information I needed from a vet with the love and support I needed from a sister. Put that calmness to work tomorrow and let the six hours and pressure wash right over you. Be calm tomorrow and know that through the calmness, your instincts and training will shine straight through like a light to your future.

You can do it. You WILL do it. I have absolutely no doubt, any more than I doubt the love we have as sisters. You will do it with strength, grace, and the sureness that you've done the very best you can possibly do. And that will be enough....I have no doubt.

Lots of Kimmee Love and Hugs

Monday, November 13, 2006

Weathering the storm of life

Sometimes, events seem to stack up on us a bit. Every have one of those months? It feels like you just stop sliding on the ice and get your feet under you....and then you feel one of them sliding sideways again. I have images in my head of that poor burglar in "Home Alone" that slips and slips and slips on the ice at the doorway.

This is the first day in about a month that things have been 'normal'. Robert's back at work, Connor is doing well, and I'm home on my very own computer. I just looked at my calendar and realized we missed three birthdays, one anniversary, several other major appointments, and never even carved the pumpkin with Emily that we so carefully picked out as a family. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

A couple years ago, Robert had a cataract removed from his left eye in a quick, relatively simple procedure. He healed well, immediately had perfect vision restored on that side, and life returned to normal. About a month ago, he realized that he was seeing 'flashes' on the right side. A couple days of no improvement sent him to the eye doctor on Friday. About 11am I answered my office phone and was surprised to hear them saying "GOOD, she answered!" Robert's eye was in trouble and they were rushing him to a specialist in Greenville, and hour away, 'as quickly as I could get there without getting hurt'. His OTHER eye, on the right side, had developed a tear in the retina requiring immediate repair. Several hours later (and a bill I didn't even want to think about) they'd done an in-office laser repair that would hopefully stop the tear from progressing into a full retina tear and displacement. That was a really uncomfortable, scary thing for him but he did really well and the doctor felt like that would hopefully take care of the problem. A followup procedure on Monday show good improvement.

Friday morning he says his field of vision 'looks strange' so back to the doctor he went. This time I get an even more frantic call, this time from the SECOND doctor they'd sent him to on the same morning. This time it was a major tear in the left retina. It was detached, had fluid behind it, and now we had more tears in the right eye as well. We fly back to Greenville where they've had to call in a surgeon for him. They do emergency repairs on both eyes involving some fairly invasive, painful treatments that include removing fluid from the eye. That made room for a gas bubble that was inserted to gently press onto the retina and hold it in place as it heals.

For the next five days we stayed in with Zoe to comply with the doctor's orders. Robert couldn't walk up and down stairs (impossible to get into our house!) and was required to stay in bed or sitting all but 10 minutes every three hours. He was given very specific angles and positions we had to put his body into that would place that air bubble in exactly the proper place to keep it in the right spot.

We made it through til Tuesday, one more good progress report, and he was allowed to return to sitting normally. That was followed by another laser treatment last Friday. He goes back again this Friday again-- hopefully nothing has moved or torn again.

THEN, we launched into Connor's surgery. On Wed morning, our grandson Connor received necessary procedures to relieve pressure on his brain. His skull plates have fused too early (sorry, can't remember the name) causing his growing brain to be squeezed harder and harder instead of expanding normally. Obviously this must be relieved surgically in a truly miraculous set of surgeries that involves cutting the bone into plates and repairing the scalp by a plastic surgeon. Robert has just returned this evening from staying with him in Charleston so I'll post more about that after we've had a chance to catch up on more details. The reports are good though-- Connor is in a regular room, eating, and most importantly....laughing again.

While all of this was going on, our lives somehow slipped right past us. Kristen Cynthia, and Stacey, I've missed all of your birthdays! I beg your forgiveness. I even had posts written out to blog for you which still sit here on my computer and feels pretty lame now. I'm so very sorry, that's a pretty slack birthday present, but please know that I was thinking about you. This all happened so fast that we never even carved the pumpkin Emily picked out with us. Cynthia, I hope you got rid of it by now. (laughing) I honestly just thought about it as I started writing this post.

Hopefully things will stay calmed down and I can get caught up. Quiet never felt so good!