Happy new year! 8 days in already. How's it been so far for you? Between shifts at different times and family get togethers and pet issues, the whole Christmas/New Year season has been rather swirly and emotional and exhausting for me.
This morning I drove Dad and Sandy to the airport at 4:30 for their 3 month stay in Florida. I offered weeks ago but Sandy talked me out of it, worried about how early it was for me to be up then on Sunday evening, at the family au revoir dinner, I discovered that Dad really wanted me to drive them but was also concerned about the time.
"I really don't mind about the time," I reassured them, "but I don't do airports. Especially goodbyes at airports. I've had too many of those. I'll just be kicking you out at the curb."
With that established, off we set in the early morning darkness, along quiet snowy roads, to the airport and as promised I kicked them out at the curb. Well, I did physically stop the car and help with the cases. Dad kept wanting to hug me or hold my hand or something. Finally I realised he was trying to push a wad of cash into my hand.
"I know you didn't need to do this," he said as we pushed the money back and forth between us, "but I needed you to. I needed to see you this morning. Take this. Please take this and have dinner with Rob on me." His eyes welled with tears. Sandy stood in the doors with her cases. We exchanged a head shake as if to say What can you do?
I flapped my hands at Dad. "Go, just go. You'll have me crying in a minute. Watch the ice. Go and have fun."
I stood by the car, watched him take one step, two, through the doors, pulling his sea-green suitcase, then he stopped, turned and we waved as the doors closed. And I got a little teary on the drive home. For the past several years, Dad and I have been in the same city except for maybe a 2 week spell here and there. It has been an adjustment, overall a pleasant one, having Sandy absorb so much of his time and focus. This will be the biggest adjustment, especially for Dad in a hot place he really doesn't want to be in but with a person he loves. I feel relieved that he's actually there now (Nathalie, Sandy's daughter-in-law who works at Westjet, messaged me to say they had safely arrived in Florida) because I know he had tons of trepidation about the trip. Trying to reassure him and support him had been emotionally exhausting at a time when lots of other things were going on. All I can hope is that he settles well. I'm in charge of the house now but Dad, true to his protective nature, has done everything he can to ease that for me.
At the end of last week, I took my oldest cat, Kaden (the grey male) to the vets where he was diagnosed with diabetes and a urine infection. The next day, at a another vet appointment, I learned how to give him insulin injections which he needs every 12 hours and learned that I need to regulate his food and that I have to orally give him antibiotics. Since this second trip, he's barely eaten. Warned that it's more dangerous to give him too much insulin rather than too little, I've administered hardly any insulin. The antibiotics are a struggle and more than once I'm convinced he's swallowed them only to find a little pink pill stuck to a cushion. The insulin, apart from guessing at the amount, is much easier to give him. But when he was first diagnosed, I felt quite overwhelmed, more about the food regulation as I've always had dry food readily available for all the pets and they happily all eat from each other's bowls and now that had to change, as well as trying to regulate the times of the pills and insulin as sometimes I don't have 12 hours at home inbetween shifts (which I didn't when starting this, going from an evening shift ending at 9 to a morning starting at 7).
In the middle of my stressing, I had to remind myself to put on my own oxygen mask first. I talked to Kaden about it. "Oxygen before insulin," I'd say. In his own sweet way he probably thought, "Everything first before those bloody pills." I love the reminder of the oxygen mask as it puts things into perspective for me and lets me off the hook about things that I really can't control anyway...like how much Kaden eats at any one time.
One of my stranger oxygen masks during this time became killing aphids on some of my shamrocks. The shamrocks reminded me that I can nurse things back to health (sort of. They're still infected but nowhere near as badly and are thriving now, producing flowers again) I don't usually kill things (mosquitoes being an exception) but I found finding and squishing aphids to be surprisingly meditative and satisfying.
Added to all this was a new twist to call-ins from work which started in the new year. Instead of simply being notified by texts, phone calls and emails about our own project, we had to be notified about shifts available at the other five sites too. Other sites have much more of a problem with people calling in sick than our office does! My oxygen mask first: I cancelled all texts from on call and tried to cancel phone calls for 24 hours at a time.
Meanwhile, a winter storm keeping me inside so I could paint and play and a kind neighbour who surprised us by snowblowing our driveway (we didn't see who it was but we have an idea) have restored me.
If you're overwhelmed remember: your oxygen mask first, deep breath, then onward. Wishing you a year of sweet surprises. And an abundance of oxygen.
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.