Belated Merry Christmas to All

Good morning, World. Today is December 26, 2012 — the day after Christmas. Belated Merry Christmas to all. Another day for many to shop – to get the great after Christmas bargains. Ho Hum. I will not be a participant this year.  I’m still too sick, too weak to fight the crowds. For the holidays of 2012, I have been ill. Everything has been a fog to me. The beautiful Christmas trees. The Christmas lights. Christmas caroling. Christmas parties…Christmas mass…a complete fog.

I became ill in early October with bronchial asthma. Knowing how to care for myself, I rested, used my nebulizer and inhaler. I have asthma and I know what is required to get well, so I didn’t go to the doctor. I rested. Slept — once until 2:40pm. Totally out of character for me! Getting well a few days before Thanksgiving, I cooked a Thanksgiving feast for two. After Thanksgiving I realized I was still ill, but better.

On December 13, I awoke coughing again. Oh goodness…am I still sick? I asked myself. The night before was a fun night of dancing, singing and having lots of fun at Karaoke at the Elks Lodge. Barbie is back, I said. I’m finally well!

Surprise! Thursday morning is my weigh-in day at Weight Watchers. After washing my face, I turned my lighted makeup mirror on. Oh Gosh. What is wrong with my left eye? I stared into the mirror, got a fresh tissue, dabbing it gently on my left eye. It was bloody red, appearing to have blood gushing out of it. I was horrified. I looked like an alien! I can’t go to Weight Watchers like this. I have to go to the eye doctor! I checked the tissue. It was dry. No blood, nevertheless; my eye was BLOODY!

I looked for my opthamologist phone number in my new Iphone5. It wasn’t there. I struggled to think of the doctor’s name, but I was a true blonde this time. What to do? I decided to drive myself to the office as an emergency. If I needed to stay all day so they could work me in, I would. I packed a few magazines and the Post and Courier in my hand bag, and off I went to the eye doctor. I was mortified! No eye makeup on and here I was driving myself to the doctor. I imagined I would run into everyone I know — without makeup!

By now, I had a bit of pressure in my right eye. I could see well, so I didn’t think there was any damage. Less than an hour later, the doctor checked my eye. The left eye had suffered a subconjunctival hemorrhage from coughing. He confirmed I had no eye damage, but would look this way for a matter of weeks. Great. The holidays are upon me and I look dreadful. Can I wear eye makeup? My doctor laughed. Yes, I could. There was no damage to my eye…It just looked — interesting! Little did I know how sick I was becoming. By Sunday, my chest burned and there appeared to be a bear inside my chest. Growling. Wanting to come out, only I was too weak to let it out. My eye was still red. I could be in a horror movie now, not needing makeup at all!

For those of you who read my blog regularly, I thank you and I apologize for not writing lately. I have been much too sick, and so has my computer. One morning I attempted to use the computer. Everything wasn’t working. Trying to get on the Internet gave me a code of  ‘this page doesn’t exist,’ or something similar. Remember, I am sick and when I am sick, my brain becomes pickled! I realized, not only was I sick with this dreadful virus, but my computer had a virus too! At least my computer and I are closely bonded…maybe a little too closely bonded!

Monday morning, I phoned my allergy specialist. The earliest I could get an appointment was Tuesday afternoon. Lots of sickness in Mt. Pleasant. I was only one of them. Arriving late at the doctor’s office, I apologized, telling them I could not remember where they were located and went to the wrong office. Gosh, how I hate when I’m sick. I am a total air head, unable to comprehend anything.

I remained at the doctor’s office for over two hours. Constantly they tested, treated and diagnosed me. No flu. No fever. No pneumonia. Walking pneumonia — perhaps!

Now, my readers will understand why I’ve been so quiet. Too sick to write. Almost too sick to lift my head off the pillow. Changing the bed linens left me gasping for breath. Christmas Day I received a blessed gift from God — I awoke feeling better. I could go to my friend’s home for dinner. I was finally stepping onto the road to recovery.

This morning I am feeling better — bit by bit. This Christmas holiday season I wasn’t able to shop at all. Each time I thought I might be able to shop, something came up – a surprising assignment with New York Daily News, another assignment for my magazine editor, and of course, all of the illness I battled. So, Phil and I have quietly appreciated that we have each other. Shopping for gifts simply wasn’t an issue for this year. I was much too sick. After all, it is the little things we should appreciate every year at the holidays. For example – good health. Spending time with family and friends. Being nice to one another. Playing it forward with kindness. Instead of being in a rush, especially in traffic, why not allow that insensitive driver who is striving to cut you off to get into the lane ahead of you? Open the door to a stranger. Say hello to someone with a smile. Be nice. Christmas is the time of year to appreciate those who are in our lives, and those who come into our lives. Every one has a reason and a season. The little things. This year I’ve certainly learned to appreciate those precious words and to appreciate “Merry Christmas.”

Perhaps God wanted me to get sick to realize I must slow down a bit and appreciate those I love. Belated Merry Christmas, Everyone. Let us all give thanks for our life, our family, good health and God bless us — EVERYONE! Happy New Year 2013.

The Day Cletus Came Home


Barbie Perkins-Cooper

Copyright [c] 2012 Barbie Perkins-Cooper, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 8, 2012 was a bitter day, with an early and cold winter’s chill for the fall in Charleston, South Carolina. The morning sunshine could not warm the grounds of the coastal area where Cletus was lost. He sniffed the coldness under his belly. Shivering, he was so tired, weak and getting thinner every day.

How long has it been since he ran away? Although he struggled to remember, his brain was tired from so many nights of little sleep. He dug deeper under the house. He heard the noise of a motor. Someone’s coming. I need to hide. She might see me again and this time, she might catch me.

With his docked tail tucked between his legs, he rushed away. The dark-skinned lady with white hair knew where he hid at night. She tried without luck to catch him but he always managed to move quicker than her crumpled body would permit. Cletus knew how to outsmart people. Yes, they were taller than he was. Bigger, and people had long arms that stretched out with fingers that felt more like shovels than something warm to touch him. His sandy blonde and cream-colored fur usually kept him warm, but this morning it was cold in Mt. Pleasant.

Cletus looked back as he moved. Why can’t I run like I did when I ran away? Why is every step feeling like I will fall down and never get up?

Cletus crept down under the bushes. She could not see him here. “Here little puppy. Come here to me. I got some food for you. You look so skinny. I just want to feed you little puppy.” The lady walked with a cane, dragging it behind her as she shook the food bowl. For three early mornings Cletus ate the food, warm with runny looking yellow grains of corn, oats, bread and other ingredients. Cletus didn’t care what it was. He ate every bite, wanting more.

Cletus  heard the softness of her voice before. Yes, it was a nicer tone than before…in the puppy mill. When Cletus lived there all he ever heard was a harsh shouting of Move…get on over there…go do your work boy…now get! Cletus knew what to do and he rushed away before the bald-headed man with a belly that jiggled every time he moved, turned the water hose on again. He didn’t want to get wet again. The waters stung him every time they hit his tiny body. The waters made him feel like he was drowning. He didn’t want to drown. He wanted to hear the soft voice again…the gentle voice and the sweet words, “Cleet…Cleet…Come on Boy. It’s OK. No one will hurt you here.”

Cleetus curled into a ball to get warm. His tired eyes closed. Cleet. Cleet. He dreamed.