There Was Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth
By Beverly Hicks Burch
Ok, I have a confession to make. It’s been a lousy week. I have not been well and we have had a cacophony of disasters to knock on our door one right after another. Some I can talk about, some I can’t.
It started like this…well, sort of, kinda. I struggle with feeling well on a daily basis. That is a given with autoimmune disorders and chronic health issues. Last week something new happened, well, re-happened, with a vengeance.
As I mentioned before, I have an autoimmune disordered called Sjogren’s syndrome. It is similar to lupus in that is affects the organs of your body. With an autoimmune disorder, your body produces substances that attack your organs, skin, cells, blood, etc.…your body as a whole…hence the term autoimmune. Your body is literally attacking and killing itself.
Sjogren’s affect’s many areas of the body. When most people think of Sjogren’s, they think “dry eyes, dry mouth”. Yes, those are symptoms…but, not the only ones. The dry eyes can become very severe, even requiring surgery. Some patients eyes become so dry their upper eyelid will stick to their eyeball and/or their eyeball will become ulcerated. The dry mouth results in all kind of dental problems, no matter how hard you try to fight it.
Why do I tell you this? Well. At my last eye visit, my doc told me my tear film, that precious protective coating we all take for granted on our eyes, was gone. I’m in a constant battle to maintain moisture in my eyes. Some days are better than others. He explained to me that if I couldn’t maintain a good level of moisture, then I would start to have the problems I mention above. He said we could do surgery that might help. The surgery involves inserting silicone plugs into your tear ducts to stop any moisture from escaping from your eyes. That is not the type of silicone implants I dreamed of having.
Toward the end of last week, my eyes really started bothering me. No really. This was about the second episode in as many months, but this last one…wowzer!
It looked like I had stood still and allowed someone to beat me in the eyes with boxing gloves repeatedly many times. As a result, I looked like a wraith seeking young children to devour…granted a very attractive wraith, but, a wraith nonetheless. My eyes itched, were swollen, were runny and my nose was runny. I wanted to take a knife…or my fingers and pluck, claw or whatever the offending orbs out of my head. Misery would be a mild term to describe what I experiencing. The pain was so bad I had to take my hydrocodone for the pain.
Now, I don’t know if it was my Sjogren’s that was causing the discomfort or if I was a victim of the phantom “East Tennessee” allergies. Since moving back here, I think I have developed allergies to every pollen indigenous to the area. Probably revenge for moving at age 12 to Alabama, home of the Crimson Tide…Go Vols and Roll Tide do not go together. Somewhere down the line, you will pay for switching…or thinking about it. In the land of Southeastern Conference football loyalty runs deeps. Was it football voodoo?
Well, I kept doctoring my eyes with my standard meds. It didn’t help. Tall & Handsome went to store and pick-up a few groceries and some Benadryl at the pharmacy. The Benadryl seemed to start helping, but it took days for the swelling and pain to start going down…
Then there was the cat incident…at the same time of the eye incident… Ok, for those of you who don’t know, Winfield is the house cat in residence thanks to Tall & Handsome who brought him here from New Mexico. I call him “Dub” for “W”. If I had named that cat, it would not have been Winfield…it’s just too big of a name for the cat to bear…I think he looks like a “Hank”, but that’s an entirely different story.
Well, Sunday, after T & H gets back from the store, some way, some how Dub gets outside. No, I don’t mean, “Hi, I’m standing on the deck, aren’t I cute?” Do you remember that little term of “Tall & Handsome-speak” I taught you? “This is ugly.” That’s his way of saying “Oh, my freaking gosh!” Well, when Dub got out, it was ugly. I first got tipped off, when I noticed sweat beads popping off of T & H’s forehead and the fact that he was poking his head repeatedly under the bed. The view is not especially spectacular under there, so I asked him what he was doing. Ashen faced, he looked at me and said, “Winfield is gone.”
I knew then I had either taken too many drugs (prescription and over-the-counter of course) or the malady I had had now moved to my ears and brain because Winfield had not evolved to the point of opening doors. He wasn’t that motivated either. He sleeps 23 hours, and 45 minutes a day. The rest of the time is spent eating and pooping…or being a scaredy cat. How the heck did he get outside?
So, T & H is trying to grill a beer can chicken for us, moping around and trying to use the last light of day to find Dub, I’m clawing my eyes out, and Watson is enjoying being the only child. At one point the meds totally knock me out and Salvadore Dali visits me in my dreams. Watson has learned how to give “sugar” like a human child and is going around kissing everyone with lips…
I wake up and the first thing I ask is, “Did Winfield come back?” I should have known by his face. You see T & H started to grey prematurely in high school. Yes, he was about 16 when he got his first silver hair. I call him my platinum bombshell. Well, his face was the same color as his hair…a dead giveaway that the cat was still…far and away…
He looked at me and said, “I just hoped he got hit by a car and wouldn’t suffer long. He’s such a house cat.”
I look at him and think, I’m still dreaming…he didn’t really say that…I’m being punked…right? My eyes started itching, so I knew I was awake and I said, “I can’t hear that, I hope someone found him and is taking care of him.”
He looked at me like, “oh, yeah, good idea” and went back to the beer-can chicken…I think he was a little peeved though.
Well, next morning, Monday T & H headed out to work and we decided I would make a “Lost” poster. In the meantime, Watson is having the best day in his little Miniature Schnauzer life…he was perfect. Every time I took him out, I looked for Dub. No luck.
Down in the afternoon more salt gets poured into our gaping wounds. I have Gomez…Tall & Handsome has the “Banshee”. She has many talents, among them stalking, harassing and hurling piano benches across the room when angry. Well, this past week was also Banshee week. I believe she must have been a really big fan of the movie Cabaret because her theme is “Money makes the World Go Round”. When the well runs dry in one place, she likes to return to places she’s tapped before. (They had no children together, by the way.) Can we say Cha-ching?
My friends, these are not the only perils…some…well, if I told them all to you right now it would just be too macabre…I am not Wes Craven and even though at times I feel like I’ve been living on Elm Street…well, it can wait…
So…way down in the afternoon on Monday, I was just getting ready to take Watson outside. I was really scared. With the kind of last few days we had been having surely some piece of space junk would fall on Watson and me and we’d be in the backyard, smashed when T & H got home. I was dragging; I didn’t want to go outside.
We were at the French doors. All of a sudden Watson was alert and frisky…he saw something. I looked up and my wraith-like eyes beheld a sheepish Winfield on the deck! I couldn’t believe it. I flung the door open, Watson went crazy and Winfield was reluctant to come in…but, he wanted to so badly. I pulled Watson into the kitchen and slowly but surely Winfield crept back into the house. Watson went berserk…how could he just “return” like that after crushing our hearts? He doesn’t under the pathos of cats I’m afraid.
We are in a different weekend now. My eyes are trying to mend. They are better. Unfortunately, with autoimmune disorders when something resolves something else is just as likely to act up…yeah. Winfield had exhibited no desire to go toward any door that leads in a direction towards outdoors…he seems to be cured of that for a while. He and Watson are back to vying for the spot closest to me…T & H made note of the fact this morning I live in a household with three males. And we’re moving to take care of the Banshee issue…
Life is returning to normal on Elm Street…
© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Right Reserved.