It was not my usual week-before-Christmas.
Monday, instead of baking and sampling, I was fasting and prepping for Tuesday’s colonoscopy. It’s not ideal to schedule a colonoscopy the week before Christmas, but it had already been rescheduled twice… The good news is I passed with flying colors. Doc says I don’t have to “Golytely” again for another ten years. Misnomer that.
All is Calm, All is Bright
Wednesday, instead of shopping, I was sitting on a folded quilt on the floor of the veterinary oncologist’s exam room with my back against the wall. The little beagle lay on her side beside me, head on my lap. A mild, pleasantly soothing incense wafted through the air, mingled with the gentle music playing beside it. I stroked her soft little head and spoke quietly to her as she lay still for the twenty minutes the acupuncture needles needed to do their thing.
“It’s worth it little Be,” I whispered, as I stroked the side of her face, “they are stimulating your immune system and helping to clear the lung congestion.”
She lay perfectly still. Completely calm. Not a single needle fell out this time. What a sweet little love.
Acupuncture needles in place of pine needles.
She has been doing so well – her eyes clear and bright, her energy high – that I was starting to imagine her a medical miracle.
And then Thursday she started coughing. Really coughing. She coughed up a hunk of tissue and what looked like a blood clot.
Silent Night, Holy Night.
So Friday she went back on an antibiotic.
She’s sleeping a lot now, her little body battling pneumonia. So last night, while she slept, I broiled filet Mignon, mashed sweet potatoes and sauteed Brussels sprouts. And then my daughter and the hub went to the 10 pm Candlelight Service while I stayed home with our friends.
I was going to have our own little silent night, holy night – just me, the hound and the beagle. I was going to read them the Christmas story. I was going to tell them what Jesus said about not a single sparrow falling from the sky apart from the Father’s care. I was going to read them the story Nathan told David and explain that God considers pets members of the family, too.
“but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.”
God had no problem with the way the poor man lovingly cared for his lamb, but He certainly had a problem with the way the rich man treated her as property.
I was going to say, “God loves and cares for all of the creatures He created, guys, and He loves you even more than I do.”
We were going to have our own holy moment while the rest of the family was at church.
But the night turned out to be more silent than holy. The beagle’s breathing was labored as she slept on the sofa beside me. I didn’t want to disturb her by reading aloud. I knew she’d try to respond to the sound of my voice and she needed rest more than anything else.
So I scrolled silently and came upon this from Muddy Boots Manor:
A precious telling of the Christmas story. I think the hound was listening as he lay awake on the floor nearby. The beagle slept through most of it – awaking only briefly and raising her head to see who was talking. Then she drifted back off to sleep.
Now it’s Sunday. Christmas Day.
When my daughter wakes up I’ll make pancakes. I’ll embellish the maple syrup with minced figs, dates and walnuts because on Tuesday the recovery nurse handed me a brochure with a list of high fiber foods and dried figs was at the top.
We’ll open gifts and then I’ll make stuffed mushrooms and a mushroom pate for the hub and the daughter to take with them to the family gathering.
I’ll miss out on some amazing food, but Christmas, it turns out, is not about beautifully set tables and skillfully prepared feasts.
It’s about giving presence to a sick little friend.
The hound – 96 in dog years – wants extra presence himself these days.
I did take time to do some fancy wrapping this week.
Merry Christmas everyone!