I have sort of become “unblogged” this past week, mainly because my mind is preoccupied right now. My routine has been disrupted. Our ten-year-old king of the household, Bill the Dog, has been seriously ill. It does not look good at this point and I sense we may have to make that “big decision” perhaps as soon as today. Maybe we will get lucky and he will pull through. The Vet actually took him home with her so she could take care of him through the night…now there’s a Vet!
We have been through this before and, as reported on one of my recent postings, so too have my good friends, Ron and Donna, as they lost Jake suddenly a few weeks back when he collapsed after a routine walk.
Like Jake, Bill was just fine one moment and not the next. And now he’s fighting for his life. It always is a puzzlement to me how resilient life can be and, at the same time, how it can turn fragile with no warning.
Thirty-three years ago this week I was at a mall doing some Christmas shopping while, unbeknownst to me, my father was being transported in an ambulance to the hospital. For several years he had the most devastating asthma one could have and then one day the misfortune of getting the flu on top of it. While he was alive and alert when the trip to the hospital began, by the time he got there he was in a coma. And that’s how he stayed until after New Years when my mother, my brother and I had to make that same “big decision.” He was a young 66 whose brain had been starved of oxygen long enough to terminate all its brilliances.
Most of my peers have similar stories to tell by now. It’s all part of the process. It’s not easy because it’s always disruptive to the routine… and always an emotional disruption at that.
It seems the short-lived lesson often resulting from such circumstances is not to take things for granted, not to get trapped into the routine. Yesterday, I tackled a project I’ve been putting off for several months. I carried the dozen or so bags of mulch out of the garage, opened each, and distributed the contents around several trees and shrubs we have surrounding the house. Yes, this is South Florida and we can mulch in December or pretty much anytime we want since gardens and trees remain green year round.
Later in the evening when searching for the Aleve, I began to realize what was once a simple task for me has become more challenging and definitely leaves me in pain for a day or two. My wife reminded me of my body’s age and explained how it no longer considers mulching an acceptable routine. Being an active person who usually has to have something to do, I am constantly conjuring up projects that I build in my mind as one big to-do list. Then I get a sense of accomplishment as I check them off as “done.” It’s all routine to me and the thought of abandoning this mindset is anything but.
I at least can make the choice when it comes to doing things that may have become less healthy endeavors than in younger years. My problem is, I have to catch myself and not simply “dive in” without thinking about the consequences first. I often forget to do this because diving in has been my routine and routines are hard to change until some occurrence gets in your face and says, “STOP!
Well, Bill the Dog is in my face right now and it’s anything but routine. In dog years, he and I are the same age. Best that both of us take each day and consider it a prize we’ve been awarded and treat it accordingly….that’s what should be routine.