Sunday, May 11, 2008

Caregivers are God’s Gift to Mankind

For the last week, I’ve been under a doctor’s care for bronchitis, which as everyone knows is simply the inflammation of the membranes lining the bronchial tubes. It came over me in about 24 hours and rapidly made it almost impossible to breath. The asthma-like symptoms of bronchitis are alarming and debilitating. Any activity at all leaves a person gasping for air and for the first time in my life I am using an asthma inhaler. I suspect the underlying cause in all of this discomfort is this year’s heavy pollen count.

About the time this malady struck, I witnessed my little doggie convulsing in the side yard. I let her out to chase a cat and being fourteen years old; my doggie has a poor track record of success, so the cat is never in danger (as if cats actually fear most dogs). After a couple of minutes I called her in and that is when I observed her distress.

As all pet lovers know, seeing your baby convulsing is as traumatic as all get out, if I can use that old Southern saying. To those who do not understand how a human being can become attached to an animal and treat it like one of their best behaved family members, I submit pity to you for missing out on one of God’s greatest blessings and I say that kindly and without malice. To me, my dog is my best little unassuming friend.

So, here I am, a normally healthy and still semi-virile man, barely able to breath and get around, carrying my obviously sick and whimpering dog into the house, muttering feeble attempts at comfort and all of this on a Saturday afternoon, when the nearest open animal hospital is on the Gulf Freeway. I did what any self-respecting American in 2008 would do; I went to the Internet to attempt to find the cause of my doggie’s suffering.

I thought she had had a stroke and seeing that the best care was TLC (tender loving care), I made her as comfortable as possible until Dr. Cynthia Lipps could take a look-see come Monday morning. My daughter Melody brought Muffin to the Archer Road Animal Hospital and low and behold, it wasn’t a stroke at all, but Canine Vestibular Disease or what is commonly called old dog syndrome and Muffy was admitted for treatment and more TLC.

Right about this time, we receive a phone call from my son Nick in Austin. His car was broken into while he was studying for finals and his driver’s window was broken, radio, IPOD, backpack and yes, his wallet are all taken. He is in a major bind – out of gas with no way to access his bank account, I’m sick as my dog, my daughter is stressed out over our dog and her finals and generally working full time at Uruku/Skoogies Salon and attending Lee College, so it all falls on my bride to pull us through.

She’s used to all this care giving stuff, as she is… Mom. She and her sister Tammy take care of their mother at Green Acres Nursing home on a regular basis, washing her hair and combing it, doing her laundry, sneaking in an occasional candy bar and comforting her in her old age. Now I know that women feel stress, as I’m married to one and I regularly stress her out with my uncouth behavior, but Mom’s have a built-in ability to handle stress that would cripple a grown (read growed if you live in Liberty County) man and render him useless (or more useless according to many).

It’s been a long week for us here in the Marshall Fam, but as is always the case, everything works itself out. I’m breathing much easier and only have about five more days of antibiotics to go. Finals for both kiddos have come and went with good grades. Nick has resurfaced identity intact and access to all his old documents and the car window is repaired. Muffin is making daily progress and we are optimistic about a full recovery.

Mom is shouldering it all like a true matriarch and the de facto head of this little family. Moms everywhere, you are the best.

1 comment:

Baytown Bert said...

On May 13th, we had to have our wonderful dog put to sleep. She was loved beyond measure and we miss her terribly.

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