Wynken, Blynken, And Nod


Whinkin and Blinking, Summer 1984

Wynken and Blynken, Summer 1984

Last week on my way to do some grocery shopping I spotted a dead Opossum in the middle of a road in my neighborhood. It had been hit by a car, it’s body crushed. I personally have witnessed a person with no respect for wild critters swerve into another lane to run over a box turtle. I’ve heard others brag that they run over Opossums because they are “ugly, useless animals.” When I saw that poor creature I immediately started blaming someone for the loss of life I saw before me. I didn’t know who to blame, but my first instinct was that is was someone who thought it would be a great sport to kill an innocent animal, out in the winter darkness looking for a meal.

Sad at seeing it lying in the road, I was sent back into my memory bank where Wynken, Blyken, and Nod still reside. They were three baby opossums I had the privilege of rescuing from certain death after they apparently had fallen from their mother’s pouch when a predator, perhaps an owl, was out looking for a feast for his or her own family during a starlit summer evening.

Out for an early morning walk in the countryside where I once lived, I heard strange sounds like high pitched “CHs” coming from the side of the dirt road I was following. It took me a minute or two before I spotted one, two, and then a third tiny creature (about 1 1/2 inches in length), covered with gray fluffy fur.  They had pointy pink snouts, large pink ears and naked tails. Their eyes were still shut tight. I immediately recognized them as baby Opossums. They were struggling in the grass and weeds, calling for their absent mother. I carefully picked them up one by one, and keeping them warm in the palms of my hands, brought them home.

I immediately called a woman in the area who at the time was helping the Wildlife Center of Virginia to care for wild animals who were injured. She told me to find an eyedropper and had me mix of a solution of milk and a few other things to feed them. They were very hungry and took to the dropper immediately. She told me she had a full house and couldn’t take them right away, and asked me if I could keep them until she had room. I got out the large glass fish tank I had stored away, shredded some newspaper and a few rags, and put a small cardboard box in one corner where they could go and cozy up together. They were my charges for only a short few weeks, but they grew rapidly. Nod, the smallest of them, died a week later. I added canned cat food to the remaining two’s diet which they loved. When they saw me coming through their glass enclosure, they struggled to climb out to get something to eat. On sunny days I took them outside into the grass where they clung to me, climbing up my legs and arms and into my hands.

I was in love and though I had to take time to feed them every few hours, I didn’t mind a bit. I often put toilet paper tubes into the aquarium and they would curl their tails around them and carry them around placing them where they wanted them, like a piece of furniture.

Then the call came from the woman who’d been instructing me on how to care for them. She’d be picking them up and taking them to the Wildlife Center the next day, where they’d be rehabilitated back to the wild. I cried. Heartbroken, knew I would never see them again. But having grown up in a household that often had rescued wild animals living amongst us, I knew they would be much healthier and happier living in their own natural world. Sad for days afterward I envisioned them out in the forest learning how to forage for their own food.

Opossums feed on whatever is around, but especially enjoy mice, nuts, berries, carrion of any sort, and chickens if they can gain access to a backyard hen house. They are also known for their appetites for ticks, those creepy little blood-suckers whose bites can cause Lyme disease.

Please Don’t Harm Opossums! They may look like rats, but they are beautiful in their own right and very valuable animals to have around.

The Day after I saw the the dead Opossum up the street, my daughter sent me this video in honor of those three little friends of ours!

Do You Take Time For Self Care?

Feeling Crappy!

How I look when I’m feeling crappy!

When I took a long break from social media this past winter I found there was a good reason to have the extra time to just plain deal with life. That was when Bill’s knee blew out and I needed the extra time to take care of him. He is slowly improving after his surgery to repair a torn meniscus and to remove the arthritis that had been building up in the knee. But he still isn’t 100%. His doctors are telling him it’ll be another four or five months before he’ll be back to normal. So he goes to the gym, works out on a recumbent bike to keep his muscles working and puts up with feeling frustrated and the almost continuous pain.

Our acceptance of what seems like a major intrusion in our lives is growing and we’ve settled in, taking the summer one day at a time. This week he went off to Ukulele Camp in North Carolina. He drove himself down there stopping every hour or so to keep his knee working. He’ll be bringing home new tunes with which to serenade me and hopefully this adventure will help with his frustration level. Yes, our minds needs care, too.

Now after another three week break, I’m back. It was a much needed time in which I took care of some loose odds and ends I’d been ignoring … like the chronic pain I’ve been experiencing for years and my sometimes complete exhaustion. I am one of those women who takes care of everyone around her but herself, though now those lessons are beginning to take hold.

After spending almost two years watching my daughter deal with Chronic Lyme disease and feeling helpless because I couldn’t help her in any way, I finally caved into the fact that my symptoms were very similar to hers. Because I didn’t have major deadlines for a while, I decided to go see the Lyme Disease specialist here in Charlottesville. It turns out I do have Lyme Disease, along with the Epstein Barr virus, a parasite in my gut, and Adrenal Fatigue.

Finally knowing why I’ve been feeling so crappy has been a blessing. I must say I had an inkling of what my problem was. But still the aha moment was dizzying and very much needed. My unpredictable joint and muscle pains had been getting worse, along with headaches, and lots of brain fog. I needed long naps in the afternoons so that I could stay awake in the evenings. No amount of yoga, pilates, massage and chiropractic helped.  I pictured Bill and myself limping into the future unable to take care of each other.

IMG_1626But the news is good and I’m already beginning to feel like my old self. I’m on a homeopathic protocol. My joint pain is gone, as are the headaches. Though I still have a few sore muscles, I have much more energy and little brain fog. This week will be the third week of eight that I will spray a number of different homeopathic remedies under my tongue three times a day. I will then go to using the sprays twice a day for another eight weeks, and then go to once a day, until I meet to discuss the outcome with my care-giver. That I’ve been gluten free for several years and have recently gone lactose free has helped a lot. Most of the time I watch my sugar intake and try to keep added sugars to a bare minimum, using only honey once in a while. It’s been pretty easy. Though I miss ice cream and cheese, I’ve taken to having one or two pieces of dark chocolate when I’m feeling starved for the things I’m not supposed to eat.

I’ve always vowed I would not allow myself to become what I call a Rocking Chair Granny, unable to do much but rock on her front porch watching the world go by. When I go down I want to be doing something I love to do, still filled with curiosity and the need to learn and experience everything that excites me.

I’ve been at work, too.  I finished rereading my manuscript and sent it off for its copyedit last week, have finished reading a number of books, and am ready to go back to doing some serious work. The big difference between then and now is that I’m listening to my body and giving myself lots of time to let is rest, eat well, and get exercise.  Those things are at the very top of my What is Important list.

When was the last time you gave yourself some time to just be and see how you are feeling? Do you have a list of your most important things to take care of?