Of a certain age
|Our Christmas Cheer|
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.