Monday, December 20, 2010

Ecce homo

I don't know how to describe waking up this morning without grossing you out.  And you know how much I hate grossing you out!

Yesterday was an improvement over its recent predecessors, and as I drifted off to sleep with the aid of a double dose of tizanidine and a few stray milligrams of amitriptyline, I enjoyed toying with the idea of that trend continuing indefinitely. I had visions of sugar-free "sugar" plums dancing in my poor head.

I slept way past my usual wake-up time. 

There's been a drastic change in my sleep hygiene practices. 

Yesterday, while practicing the technique portion of the Olympic Wheelchair Vaccuuming Competition, I sustained a training injury.  A deep puncture wound to my -- and if you know me, you guessed it! -- right big toe.  I did not feel it happen and it was only after growing perturbed at the strange red rasberries that seemed to be materializing behind me that I thought of blood. 

I was home alone -- sometimes, but not often, a great notion.  Thanks to the intersection of so many holidays, Fred and I negotiated an afternoon off for the Domestic Staff -- a benefit for spouses and offspring, too.  Their gratitude knew no bounds.  At least I think that's what they were saying to us as they sped over the speed bumps and down The Country Lane on the tandem bicycles Fred provided to lend their outing a cachet of Christmas cheer.

(Not to imply Christmas as the only source of holiday glee, you understand.)

You shoulda seen them peddle when Fred pulled up behind them in Ruby the Honda CR-V, giving the horn a healthy BEEPBEEP!  Oh, I love the holiday season!  It brings out the child in all of us.

The major issue with my right big toe turned out not to be pain (I felt nothing -- something a medical professional might argue is a negative, but really, you can't always rely on those over-educated ninnies) but the fact that the bleeding would not stop.  Eight hours later, even, if you removed pressure from the site, it bled on.  Dedicated l'il puncture wound.

I must have wrapped that toe in a whole roll of paper towels, then set out to sort through our eclectic supply of cleaning products.

At which point, I confess, the rites of every New Year started to become manifest and a massively long To Do List took form in my headachy head.  First item:  clear out the eclectic supply of cleaning products.

Fred is a sucker, a cute and kind sucker, but a sucker nonetheless.  He brings home some amazing concoctions, all bought from the same man.  You know, the guy who "swears this stuff works like magic."   That guy.  His products all seem to be sold from very mobile kiosks or from under counters.  Amazingly, his inventions are not required to list active ingredients on their labels, prompting him to claim that they are all non-toxic, "as safe for humans as they are safe for pets!" When they foam and smoke upon being applied to various stains and spills, well, I guess that is just unexpected entertainment -- an additional value!

Anyway, there I was, bleeding like a stuck pig all over the Haddock clan's priceless collection of oriental rugs, along with an occasional splatter flung onto the antique fabrics that upholster the Thomas Chippendale and George Hepplewhite collection housed in the 18th century Scottish Instruments Music Room.

My only hope is that some of the splatter on the gold-and-maroon striped, five-legged Hepplewhite Settee will sort of... blend in.

Photo courtesy of Southwood Furniture
Anyway, I did as much damage control as possible, then tended to the bleeding toe, which I washed and bandaged.  Pretty quickly, a new CRPS/RSD symptom presented itself.

I don't wear shoes or socks, ever.  When I go out, I sport a pair of Old Friends:

It's the best I can do. 

Still, immediately after sustaining this training injury, I began to want socks... heavy, thick, soft socks.  It was enlightening to find that, at some point in the last eight years, I had put all my socks in a red Crabtree and Evelyn shopping bag that I then stashed on the upper shelf of the closet in my office.  Right where you'd expect to find socks!

I could see the evolution of my disease, as well as my acceptance of that disease, by the assortment of socks, all of which were brand new and unworn -- except for the three pathetic pair to which I had taken a fierce pair of scissors!  Toes were cut away and any area with elastic binding had been split.  I took the largest, most forgiving-looking pairs and tried to put them on.

I could not even get past the toes on my left foot, and not anywhere near that far on the right, despite my growing need for warmth and protection.

When I sleep, I cover myself with a single layer of well-worn, much loved cotton quilt -- but my feet and lower legs are never covered because even the weight of the thinnest sheet can set off hours of pain and burning. with lower limbs instantly becoming a boiled-lobster's red.

So when Fred found me under two quilts and a heavy blanket, he about fell over in shock.  I put on some flannel pajamas, and a hooded jacket (which he did not find so surprising!). 

My teeth began to chatter, I felt such a sensation of cold.  Determined to perpetuate its reknown for paradox, my legs were that unique and weird bright red of CRPS, and they were putting out waves of... heat.

Still, the day was elevated out of the morass of former days.

Somewhere in there, Fred found organic Fuji apples on sale for a dollar and bought what can only be called a mess of them.  Fred was a Christmas baby and this year he has requested, in lieu of a birthday cake, an apple pie.  I plan on making several despite his contention that all apples taste the same when spiced for a pie, since we have three other varieties on hand, as well.

Christmas birthday pie!

After spending so much time on Manor Decor, showing our diversity and the Haddock commitment to inclusiveness by fêting every religious or spiritual tradition known (or suspected) to human kind, we decorated our wing in a pretty traditional, straightforward Christian-y sort of way.  Angels, potted rosemary plants shaped like aromatic trees, bits of holly and pine (the cones spray-painted a naturally distressed gold), hand blown ornaments gathered in pretty glass pieces, to catch the light.  Years ago, we bought what must be the world's smallest crèche, made of soapstone by Vietnamese artisans and contained in a tiny basket that doubles as the manger when stood up.

I know I should be ashamed, and keep this to myself, but whenever confronted with the scene, no matter the grandeur of the subject or the design, I always think:  Ecce homo.

But that is almost a whole other topic!

We have made good eats, and abundantly.  We have done what good works we can, and made private accusatory lists of all we did not do.  We are cognizant of the reasons for the season we purport to celebrate.  We laugh.  We ponder.

So, yes, things are looking up, even with hospital stays and surgeries, illnesses and handicaps.  Even with relatives gone missing, and relatives denied.  Our animals are safe and happy, our cars and house insured.

We have an abundance of apples and I am a whiz with a food processor.

The President and Congress dismantled DADT, and we are glad.  A child of the American military, I know how hard a step, and how considered a change, this is.  Change does not come easy to that way of life, even when mandated, but unmandated?  We'd be not asking and not telling forever.  The demise of DADT merits a celebration, too!

I briefly considered beginning a Gratitude Journal.

Then I woke up. 

I was up and down during the night, mostly because of Crud Remnants in the lungs.  Well, okay, once because of some delicious, thick (nonfat) yogurt that was calling my name very loudly.  And once more for one of the much ballyhooed apples.  (They are big and round, firm and perfumed, these amazing apples!)

I slept, for the second day in a row, much later and longer than usual.  It was 8:30 am when the pitter::patter of feline feet woke me.  Except that the feet appeared to be on my chest (again) and not on the more acoustic floor.

It wasn't exactly feet I was hearing, or their motion, but rather mouths and paws.  One mouth, really, and its accompanying two front paws.

Someone had eaten a mess of kibble.
And lost it.
On me.  On my quilts.  On my blanket.
And Dobby was eating it.

I decided, invoking the wisdom of Solomon, to close my eyes again, and wait for the end.  Surely there would be an end to the chewing-purring concert my cats were orchestrating? (Marmy Fluffy Butt, Dobby's mother, and Uncle Kitty Big Balls, his uncle, were both looking on with parental pride.)

If that isn't gross, I don't know what is.
Except maybe the time when, as a kitten, Sammy pooped on me. 
Different blanket, different bed, same phenomenon.
Fred almost busted a gut laughing because I grabbed "it" as I was waking up, and discovered myself holding what appeared to be some version of a Tootsie Roll.

Ecce homo, indeed.

*  I am NOT going to do any research among the numerous online cat resource sites.  Somehow, they will trace my computer address, they will know -- this is that woman who has been both vomitted on and pooped on by her cats.  This is where she lives.  This is what she is wearing today.  This is her phone number.

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