Friday, January 16, 2009

Warming Cold Hands -- and Hearts

If ever there was a day for hand-warmer mugs, it's today. The high temperature is supposed to be 9 degrees (F), without wind-chill factors. That's nothing compared to what you folks in the Great Hinterlands of the North go through (-45 F!), but it's cold for our mid-Atlantic region.

RR might remember that I broke my hand back in May 2006 while on a teaching trip to Zambia, Africa. That's another story (that's me on left, smiling because I'm still drugged from having the break reduced by a fabulous Egyptian doctor who ran a clinic in Livingstone, just outside of Victoria Falls -- another story, too).

It took a while, but I eventually healed and regained full use of my hand and fingers. I later discovered, however, that cold temperatures made the fracture site throb, as did any kind of dramatic weather change (like those old-time, weather-forecasting, "trick" knees you hear about).

The winter after I returned my BFF Kath (bless her heart), knowing that my hand still bothered me, got me a hand-warmer mug to soothe my aching bones. She even got a left-handed mug for me (I'm normally right-handed, but my fracture was on my left hand). :o) Here it is, my wonderful wacky hand-warmer mug:

The idea is that when the mug is filled with a hot beverage, you hold the mug with your fingers tucked into the formed pocket that protrudes into the beverage area of the mug (you can see the finger pocket in the picture) so your hand/fingers can benefit from the liquids' warmth.

Lately, with our recent cold snaps, my hand's been throbbing again (yes, 2.5 years later). So this morning I pulled out my hand-warmer mug, filled it with piping hot coffee, and slipped my left fingers in.

Ahhhhhhhh. How good the mug's warmth felt on my aching hand!

What my hand-warmer mug is to my once-broken hand, so my canine kids are to my heart and emotions. They sooth the ache like nothing else can.

I mean, how can you not smile at faces like these:

It doesn't matter which of my four-legged kids it is: their goofy expressions, endless enthusiasm, rib-splitting antics, and against-all-odds optimism (a Lab trait) can't help but make the corners of my mouth lift into a heart-thawing grin, if not a full-fledged, teeth-baring, face-dimpled, lighten-your-soul smile -- even when old or healing wounds begin to hurt once more.

It's been a tough few days:
  • DTS had another of her divorce mediation sessions this week (a divorce she never wanted), the outcome of which makes clear just how devastating an impact her estranged husband's choices are and will make on her life, not his. Where's the justice in this, especially after she was a faithful wife for 25 years? Aarrgh, aarrgh, aarrgh, and double aarrgh!
  • Mom's (who is 85 yo) rehab from her broken hip (well, femur near the hip socket) isn't going quite how we'd hoped. We met with the rehab staff earlier this week, and they're concerned by how her pain is impeding her ability to do OT and PT effectively. They're still optimistic (rehab will just be longer and slower than usual), but I'm beginning to wonder if she'll ever live independently again.
  • Of course, Mom in rehab and DTS navigating her divorce means I'm trying to carry more of Mom's emotional support and trying to keep track of all Mom's details again (mail, bills, home maintenance, etc...). And it's tax season again (DBBG handles her taxes -- that's Dear Big Brother George -- what a godsend he is!) ... and, well, it's just more stuff to keep track of in my overloaded brain. (Now, Joan, remember to breathe.)(hehe)
  • DFS's return to college this semester has been roller-coastering between various decisions he's receiving about his student aid and loans. One day he's able to go back; the next day he's not. Classes start next week, and it's still not decided. Our heads are spinning.
  • DFS's birthday (his 25th) is Saturday (tomorrow) -- always a day of mixed emotions for me because I truly celebrate the gift he is to us, but I still grieve the loss of his twin brother at birth 25 years ago (how crazy is that).
There's other stuff, too (my own job hunt--something that grows more pressing with each passing month; getting out from under months of neglecting my own office and paperwork for others' needs; other family and friend issues; my own health, etc...), but those listed above are the biggies. All involve on-going heart-wounds in various stages of healing. Each still aches with every new "storm front" that moves through.

Not to worry, though: I have my gang here to make it tolerable.

What a bunch of goofballs.

Heart-warming, smile-inducing, soul-healing goofballs.

What would I do without them?

'Til next time,


Kris10 said...

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
-Ben Williams

And you must get quite a few kisses from your bunch!

Take care of yourself.

Chester's Mom said...

A dear friend gave me a mug just like that-different colors-but the same handle. Her and her thoughtfulness warm me as much as the mug. You constantly amaze me at how positive a person you are with all life has dealt you. But then again, I know your faith in God carries you just as he carries me. Your positive attitude is a good testimony to show to others who do not know Jesus. He has blessed you with loving family and loving, goofy, silly, always-look-at-the-bright-side labs that make the "ugly stuff" go away. Thanks for being open about your life-it is encouraging!

Nigel, Sola and Co. said...

Sorry it's such a rough week! I can't sympathize when it comes to the weather - we saw -20 last night, but I lived in your area for years and never saw the kind of cold we do on VT.
Keep squeezing those little goofballs - they make all of the difference :)