Of a certain age

Our Christmas Cheer
My birthday is in December and while I generally look forward to maturity, wisdom, and all of those other gems that are supposed to come with the gray hair and wrinkles, I won’t deny that I’ve begun to feel the creep of middle age.  In youth, you take your health (and others’) for granted.  You fall off a horse and get right back up again.  You run a half marathon without training for one.  You plan on your parents living forever, ageless and reliable as they’ve always been. 

This fall has been fraught with puppy colds and lame horses.  My mailbox is filled to the brim with vet bills, which we have more of than Christmas cards.  Also, a few weeks before Thanksgiving my mom had an attack of Bell’s Palsy.  Initially, she thought it was a minor stroke so we were all very grateful that it ended up not being that, quite appropriate for Thanksgiving.  The right side of her face is still paralyzed, but it has had no other lasting detrimental impact to her health except for the temporary paralysis, which will slowly dissipate with time.  After the initial relief of a non-stroke diagnosis, frustration has now become the main emotion we’re all feeling.  My sister is frustrated that my parents are aging and she lives far away.  My mom has her vanity - as you would at any age - and having a half frozen visage makes her extremely self conscious.  The ironic thing is that this August, she had another heart procedure to replace a wire in her pacemaker, and much less was made of that more serious operation than of this recent diagnosis.  Health-wise, my dad has always been more fortunate but this last week, he’s been uncomfortably fighting through a case of shingles.  The pain has been keeping him up at night, which is probably the absolute worst.  Fortunately, he’s been to a doctor, received treatment, and is getting better but a belt of blisters is likely one of the rings of hellish torment. 

For our family and I’m sure others, the majority of health issues we encounter tend to crop up during the changing of the seasons.  The rain (oh the rain, we all lament) and the unseasonably cooler weather in Texas the last few months have contributed to the colds and physical stress that are typically magnified by the year-end emotional stress that comes with the holiday season.

So as I am soon to sit firmly in middle age, I’m putting a larger emphasis on maintenance, not only for myself but for all those around me including you.  You all know the drill by now: regular exercise, eat your vegetables, drink enough liquids.  For the winter months, I’ll append the following instructions: stay warm and keep your head and feet dry.  Drink warm things - tea, coffee, hot chocolate, mulled wine.  Get your loved ones those hats and socks for Christmas and they’ll thank you when they have to take the dog for a three mile slog in the freezing rain or hack a frisky horse in the mud.

Take care of yourselves this holiday (and birthday) season and your loved ones will appreciate it more than anything else you can possibly give them.


Comments

  1. oh i get the aging parent thing ugh. My mom died (of cancer) in 2014 and my dad (they were married 60 years!!) is still hanging in there but slowing down to a crawl mostly. Plus when things go wrong at his house my sister (Who lives near him and is 10 years older than me) resorts to calling me and texting me at all hours of the night and day (I am 900 miles away now) My brother lives 50 minutes from the area they live in. CALL HIM. Also....last night at 130 EST (1230) our time the phone rang it was my dad and my heart stopped and i answered it to find out he had spilled his water and hit the phone by mistake which called me. OKAY no reason to panic but i literally laid there for an hour after saying goodbye unable to sleep due to my stress reactors in full overblown drive. UGH. SO hard....

    And I am sore all the time (i am a lot older than you:)) and feel beat up and exhausted. SO am not feeling the holidays at all this year....my dad hasnt celebrated xmas since my mom died. it is just so hard.

    ANYWAY, i am sorry about all the vet bills. I hope your mom paralysis gets better sooner than expected and hope your dad's shingles resolve (I am sure the stress from your mom issues brought them on, vicious circle isnt it?) Happy birthday to you and happy holidays. Hug your parents as often as you can and the dog too and the horse too :) I am a firm believer that love can heal a lot :) and know the animals definitely help to manage stress ;)!


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    1. I understand being the "reliable" one and it must be so tough living that far from your dad but still having to be the one who is on-call 24/7. My sister moved away when I moved back to Dallas (almost like we traded who would not be close) and she feels extreme guilt, particularly as my mom's had rather bad luck with it all the last 5 years.
      Thanks for sharing and you bet I'll be hugging everyone close (and not only because it's cold). It's raining again here so I'm sure y'all will be getting it soon. Stay dry and stay well!

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  2. (((HUGS)))Rooth, I totally understand what you're going through. I'm so sorry for all the stuff happening this year with Mae and Bowie and for all the vet bills. Ugh! And sorry as well for what happened to your mom.:( The good thing is that it's not permanent, but I would honestly probably feel the same way as her. I'm telling....I just can't wait for this year to be over. I don't talk much in my blog about really personal stuff but 2018 has not been easy. I really do pray 2019 will be a better year for all of us.

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    1. PS You guys are too cute in that pic above:)

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    2. Thinking about you Emmy. I try to stay grounded in realism on this blog, so it's not all bad things. Health is one of those things that you take for granted until you don't have it anymore. Stay well this holiday season and best wishes for 2019!

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    3. Just dropping by to say Belated Happy New Year, Ruth:)Here's hoping 2019 will be a good year for all of us. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well:) XOXO

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  3. I can relate and it’s definitely rough. Wishing you, your family, and animals healthy 2019.

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  4. Ugh yeah my best friend had some bell's palsy after getting a brain tumor removed it's mostly gone now (I'd say most people don't notice the little bit that's left except her and I). I've found for me that once the seasons change I have to add an extra blanket right away to the bed otherwise it's the night cold that does me in.

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    1. That is super rough. I hope your friend had a smooth recovery otherwise

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  5. I'm sorry you're going through all this. I hope your parents will be feeling better soon and able to enjoy Christmas.

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