Sunday, November 29, 2009

Things I Should Be Doing

I have put so much on hold I now have a to-do list almost as long as the book I'm taking forever to edit/rewrite/re-edit/submit. This list is so overwhelming I just glance at it now and then, feel guilty, and then go back to bed to watch an old movie or read a few pages of the Ann Tyler novel I've been reading for a month now. I know. A month? What happened to me as the woman who gobbled books? I got an Imac and stopped reading. What's up with that? Has twitter stolen my brain? Is a piddling blog post all I can accomplish in a day?

I used to spend at least a couple of hours a day visiting other bloggers. But when my to-do list grew to epic length, I gave up going anywhere but twitter and the grocery store. And like all bloggers, once I stopped visiting blogger friends, they stopped visiting me. You have to give a little to get a little. It is a two way street.

So, this morning I did a couple of things on this long overdue list. After checking in on twitter (not on the list) I gave myself a haircut. The hair that fell on the bathroom floor made me get the vacuum out and actually turn it on. I've had the vacuum out as a symbol of my need to use it, but it just sat there until I eventually got sick of looking at it and put it away. So now I have one cleanish floor which now needs to be scrubbed.

I could just print the damn to-do list here and check things off as I get them done, but more than likely, I'd write a new blog post and never look back, never check anything off the list. I have excuses for this neglect of domesticity. We know what they are. But maybe I'd actually feel better, more optimistic, more likely to edit a new chapter every day if I got the damned to-do list done.

I do change my bedding every week. I'm obsessive about clean bed linens, for me and for the dogs. Especially now, since Cyrus has developed this plague of flesh eating abscesses around his mouth. Clean beds and clean bowels. So today I will change our beds. I do clean up my kitchen area everyday. I cook; I clean up after cooking. But the dusting and such is just not a big priority these last weeks, months. I don't really know how long I've been letting things slide.

Even without extenuating circumstances I have a tendency to grow depressed during the holidays and it only turns around when the days begin to grow longer. This year there are extenuating circumstances. My best friend died six months after her diagnosis of small cell squamous lung cancer. She was a non-smoker. I'm sure not going to quit smoking now. So that's not on my to-do list.

Maybe today is the day I can get one more thing checked off that list. Maybe I'll vacuum the whole 500 square feet of floor space. It would be nice to check that one off my to-do list.

And for those of you with suggestions about ointments for Cyrus's lip... Dr Bodely and I have discussed this. On the first sore, the one that was closest to his nose, higher on his upper lip, I tried cleaning it with hydrogen peroxide and coating it with antibacterial ointment, but this only seemed to make it worse. It was obviously painful and irritating to Cyrus and resulted in a more vigorous attempt on his part to lick and rub the stinky ointment off. It sure did not seem to help.

When the first sore erupted like an outerspace alien life force that started as a sore and then became a hard swelling along with the otherworldly sore turning into an exotic cauliflower looking thing in shades of red from pale pink to deep burgundy right beside his nose, Dr Bodley thought it might be a cancer tumor that would signal the beginning of a sudden end to Cyrus's life since is was in a position that would make surgery impossible. I took comfort when the antibiotics started to work and the swelling went down. It took three rounds of antibiotics to cure that first sore. We had a couple weeks of relatively good health but then the next sore began it's eruption. It's like a pox, a plague, an invasion of something like nothing Dr. Bodley's ever seen.

I know that there are no new plants in the area of the yard Cyrus visits three times a day for his brief sojourns outside. I've wondered if he was being bitten by a brown recluse spider. But if so, why only Cyrus, and why only on that one side of his muzzle? It's a mystery that might be solved if I had unlimited resources and Cyrus didn't outweigh me by forty or fifty pounds. He will not leave the yard to venture beyond the fence. He will only go out into the yard first thing in the morning, late afternoon, and just before we go to sleep. I have tried many times to force the issue, to attempt to drag him off his bed and out of the house, but he will trample me to get back onto his bed if he has to. So, like a good caretaker of an invalid of any sort, I do my best to keep him well and comfortable. He's a good dog, and I love him. Like the rest of you, I'm just doing the best I can.