The past two months have been almost as interesting for Glen and me as the Fortean curses and “interesting times” I wished upon loathsome people in my last post:
• In late August our 10-year-old Australian Shepherd Lucy came through some sudden and very delicate surgery on her neck. Her spinal cord was severely kinked between two of her cervical vertebrae, probably the result of a kink in her genes. Frankly, she made it off the operating table only because her veterinary neurosurgeon has steady hands and thirty-five years’ experience with complex procedures. So far her recovery is progressing as expected. Here she is the day after I brought her home, still groggy from the pain meds and about to be smothered in her bed by Phoebe.
• Addressing one of the problems I wrote about recently in “The Procrastinatrix Strikes Again,” I now have reclaimed my name as my only true and correct one. I’m pretty sure I saw an amused twinkle in the eye of the district court judge who did NOT make me wait several more weeks until my fingerprints cleared the FBI database (thank heavens!), but instead declared on the day of my court appearance, “Well, Ms. Rooke, you are now free to use your real name.” Emphasis his. I was so relieved I wanted to hug him, but there was an armed bailiff standing beside the bench.
• I successfully enrolled in Medicare! It wasn’t exactly a slam dunk, though. I was on the website, well into the process when a bold error message informed me that I had answered some questions incorrectly and therefore I wouldn’t be allowed to enroll. The system then kicked me off the page. My mouth dropped open, my eyes bugged out and I yelled at my laptop, “Are you freaking KIDDING me??” For a very long ten seconds I could only stare at the screen, wondering what to do. Then a miracle occurred. A new page appeared, and it was the one I’d been denied access to. I’m sure I heard the sound of celestial harp music. Since then I’ve talked to another person who tried twice to enroll recently, and the same thing happened to him both times. I advised him to try again, but this time, to wait patiently for a miracle instead of exiting the website in annoyance. Perhaps even more miraculous, a very nice human called me from the Social Security Administration two days after I enrolled and assured me that my Medicare coverage would begin on October 1st as it is supposed to. That’s right. Evidence of caring and efficiency from a government agency.
Those are what I think of as the highlights. Much of the rest was too stressful or sad to find levity in. There were health problems that beset loved ones, and the death of a dear friend after eight devastating years of Parkinson’s. Not to mention more far-reaching issues, like those in the unceasing daily onslaught of horrifying national and international news. In one way or another, the entirety of August and September was an opportunity for me to do what I do best: go into a tailspin of sleeplessness, distress and anxiety while waiting for the other shoe to drop. And—I’m not joking here—don’t get me started on our lack of preparedness for killer asteroids.
However, now that we’re almost into October—my favorite month—and some of the stressors are behind us, I’m hoping that perhaps Glen and I can take a deep breath and regroup. Breathing deeply would be more pleasant if the temperature dropped below 100°F, but that looks unlikely to happen soon. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do with this autumn weather. These certainly aren’t sleeping-with-the-windows-open nights. In this part of Texas, we’re having the hottest September since record-keeping began. But at least we’re sort of accustomed to extreme heat here. Pity the poor Icelanders, who recently held a funeral for the first glacier that fell victim to climate change. What an unnerving milestone.
Interesting times indeed. For the sake of my mental health I should probably stop reading the news. If there’s a giant space rock hurtling our way, I’d rather not see it coming. The small ones I’ve been dodging lately are scary enough.