Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weed it and reap

If as we sow, so shall we reap, then I must remember to wear my glasses the next time I pick up a packet of seeds. I surely didn't think I was planting the mess of weeds cropping up this week.

One lesson that I have finally, finally learned is to not obsess about those things over which I have no control. Still, that is easier writ than done, especially when pertaining to things close to home. This week, the health issues of my dog and my mother have demanded my attention.

My sister has been the one driving Mom to her medical appointments -- most recently to a naturopath -- while I've been charged with ensuring that there are convenient and appropriate food choices available to help her stick with the anti-inflammatory food plan prescribed (I share a house with my mother, which is a whole 'nother circumstance best left to another post, or better still, a session with a trained mental health professional). Well, I did the unthinkable and bought shrimp home to prepare for dinner one evening. "I'm not allowed to have shellfish," said Mom before going out on the porch to smoke a cigarette. Uh . . . .

So, I am determined not to feel responsible for what my mother eats or doesn't eat. Other than the shrimp thing, I do what I am "supposed" to do, cleaning bunches of celery, chopping salads, cooking meals so Mom won't resort to her former diet of cheese, nuts, and English muffins slathered with butter and peanut butter (ick, ick, ick). Maybe if I found a recipe for "tobacco-infused shrimp primavera," she'd eat that . . . .

The dog, a geriatric dachshund, has had disc problems in the past, but we managed it with prednisone and restricted activity, and she seemed to recover fully. Thursday at suppertime, however, she was feeling so good that she leaped up and something gave out when she landed. For a few scary minutes one hind leg wasn't working -- but today, after more meds and less activity, she seems pain-free and is only limping slightly. The s-word (surgery) is something I can't/won't contemplate, not for a superannuated canine. But I dread that the day will soon come when I have to make a tough decision regarding this creature's comfort, and am letting that stress me out more than it should.

But there is a bright side: At least when the dog goes out on the porch with my Mom, the dog doesn't light up.


  1. Sounds challenging. You're a good daughter - hang in there.

    No chance of your mum quittin'? My mum has done it after 55 years smoking. She barely recognises herself without the cost and the stink and the coughing. We quit together 15 months ago.

  2. Lou, my mom has quit three times already just this year. "When the time is right" she says. Truth is, she really doesn't want to quit, and despite her aversion to "drugs" won't acknowledge that she is medicating herself.

  3. Having followed your blog for a number of years, I can say you are a good daughter, as Lou points out.

    The smoking thing is definitely motivational, of the self kind. God if I could have shown her the gook that was removed from my neck, direct stoppage primarily caused by nicotine...maybe she would reconsider. The blockage was at 89%. In other words, the reaper was bearing down...and that was a year AFTER I quit.

    Incidentally, your pup and I are on some of the same meds...prednisone.

  4. Jeez, now I wonder how much residue is left in my airways...

    Oh well, at least I did quit :-)

    I know a limerick about seeds. I could probably make one up about daughters and/or mothers ;-)

  5. Doug, I neglected to say that at the time, my doctor said, the only thing keeping me alive was my high blood pressure.

  6. jj, my blood pressure is low (110/70 or something), considering my smoky past and sugar/salt/fat/caffeine diet :-)

  7. Sounds incredibly frustrating.

    In and aside, I've never smoked really. A cigarette with a friend here and there, a few cigars back in the day with the boys but the people Fin and I bought this house from were serious smokers. The first two months, despite cleaning all the walls and getting filters for EACH air vent in the house I had asthma attacks every night. It was awful and frustrating and unbelievable that the house was actually toxic to me. That experience alone taught me how poisonous nicotine is. Thank goodness your mother takes it outside. I do hope for both your sakes that she finds the "right time" soon.

  8. Ummm. Several things going on here Intelli. First, it's easy to forget that flowers are basically, weeds. And most weeds don't flower until they reach 12-24" tall, which doesn't really work in suburban yards.
    I nursed an invalid mother-in-law for a number of years. Often I would cook two dinners. One for me an one for her. She couldn't handle BBQ and fried chicken and a Southern boy has have them now and then. It's good for the soul.
    Never was a smoker, of cigarettes that is. I do enjoy my martinis and cigars however. I had an uncle who smoked two packs and drank a pint of whiskey a day. He lived to be 95. Not a blood relative so no genetic help, but inspirational all the same.

  9. PEN - yes, Butter AND peanut butter. She doesn't clean the knife when switching condiments, either, which drives me absofrickinloutely up the wall. (breathe, intelliwench, breathe . . .)

    Jaded, thank you. But you think I'm not a good pet owner? (Does prednisone make you pee more, too?)

    Doug, limerick away.

    Bethany, when it's cold out mom smokes on the enclosed sun porch. She sees that the white trim has got a lovely yellow nicotine patina now -- but she won't make a connection that the same gunk is coating her lungs.

    Mr. C - it's the metaphorical weeds I don't much care for. Botanical ones are often much more attractive to me than their cultivated hybrid kin. Hardier, too. And actually, I prefer eating the veggie-laden diet, but tomorrow is indeed BBQ day in the campus dining hall, so guess what I'm having for lunch?
    As for the smoking, prior to the moving in together, mom promised to quit, otherwise it wouldn't have been something I'd have considered. It's one thing to be related to a smoker, another thing to live with 'em. Mom may very well outlive me, but I'll smell better :-)


And you thought...