Rural Living

The Winter of My Discontent

a scourge on the happiest season of all


by Margo Oxendine, Contributing Writer

Margo Oxendine

Hope springs eternal,Ē they say. I hope thatís true this year.

If youíve been reading this column for a while, you know I adore winter. I always thought it was my favorite season, but this winter proved me wrong.

I had a very bad winter, considering the medical emergencies, surgeries, and the three-month recovery. I was housebound for much of that time. Itís a very good thing I like being home alone, with Brownie.

I hope all those wonderful, kind folks who stopped by with homemade soups, breads, jams and chocolate (yay!) and such, realize how deeply grateful I am. The same is true for the 300 or so of you who sent cheerful cards and well-wishes. You gave me the inspiration to make a New Yearís resolution: Donít just think about it; send the blessed card! I hope I will carry through with that resolution.

For the first time, I find myself hoping desperately for spring. As I write this at the end of January, I am slated for my ďre-doĒ surgery Feb. 4. I hope it goes well. Supposedly, Iíll be in the hospital for five to seven days. I hope thatís an overstatement. The sooner I can get back to my ďrealĒ life, the better.

I hope the home health nurses who tended to me after my month in the hospital this winter realize how much I appreciate them, their skills, their advice. I hope the poor nurse I called in a panic at 1:30 a.m. on a snowy night ó and who hopped in her car to drive 90 minutes to my aid ó will forgive me. She was pleasant and competent that night, despite the dangerous drive and late hour.

Most of all, I hope little Brownie gets better. She became quite sick Christmas Eve, and hasnít been completely well since. She has good days, where she seems almost her old self, and bad days when she wonít eat or even barely move from one snoozy spot to another. Her spleen is enlarged. That can mean cancer. Or something else. We wonít know unless the vet ó who loves Brownie almost as much as I ó performs surgery and removes the spleen. And I am not sure I want to put my dearest little loved one through that trauma. I certainly know first-hand how debilitating surgery itself can be. I hope I can make the right decision about that, and soon.

Brownie is my first dog. And I know I could never find a dog who could even approach her perfection. Iíve had her, my constant and happy companion, for five years. Dear Anna Johnson had her for the four or five years before that. Brownie and I visited Anna at the nursing home faithfully; we even gave her a 90th birthday party. Brownie was kind enough to wear a funny hat. When Anna passed away, I sang at her funeral, with Brownie by my side.

A rather wise woman told me this week that, if Brownie dies, itís because Anna has decided to call her to her side once again. That thought made me cry and nod my head in agreement, at the same time.

Geez. You folks are used to reading what I hope are entertaining columns from me here in Cooperative Living. I realize this one is rather maudlin, but by now you know I write what Iím feeling. And I havenít been hap-hap-happy in three months.

I hope that spring will change that. It will be warm. Both Brownie and I will be less achy; perhaps, weíll even be filled with a desire to get out there and roll around in the grass, smell the flowers, smile at the sight of daffodils.

One thing Iíve always liked about early spring is that, around here in the mountains, daffodils pop up their happy little heads, and a few days later, theyíre covered in snow.

My life, and Brownieís, has been a lot like that lately. But you know what? Despite the cover of snow, the daffodils seem to survive to enjoy another spring day. And surely then, all is right in their world.

Yes hope, even mine, springs eternal. I hope.


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