We also remember the Christmas Tree of 1995. We had spent a very exhausting November, moving my mother-in-law (Helen) from North Carolina to a nursing care facility near our home in suburban Milwaukee. By early December, she was settled in and happy and we were really looking forward to Christmas.
We got our tree on Saturday and put it in the stand. I awakened early Sunday morning to find my husband shaking with chills. His temperature was 104 and he clearly had influenza. (It is of note that we both had our flu shots, apparently from a recalled batch.) After some acetominophen and a shower, he settled on the couch and I started to put the lights on the tree.
I was interrupted by a phone call from the nursing home. Helen was ill. I put tissues and fluids by the couch for my husband and rushed over. I found Helen quite short of breath and coughing constantly. An X-Ray proved she had pneumonia. The physician suggested we treat her at the facility rather than the hospital and I agreed.
I awakened on Monday morning feeling as if someone had beaten me while I slept. I was aching all over and had a temperature of 103. Yep. I also had the flu. I called to see how Helen was doing. The nurse said she was fine, so I called her room to tell her I would not be coming over that morning. She was not fine. She was clearly confused and didn't even know who I was. Another call to the nurse and a pulse oximetry reading later and Helen was on the way to the hospital.
I took some more aspirin, got dressed, got everything situated for my husband, and dragged myself over to the hospital to meet Helen in the emergency department. I told the nurse at the hospital that I needed a mask. Have you ever been burning with fever, and had to wear a mask? I hope you never do. That Monday was without a doubt the longest day of my life.
After signing all the admission papers and seeing Helen settled at the hospital, I came home to make certain my husband was all right and to plop in the recliner. We both looked at the empty Christmas Tree and had to laugh. Laughing always seems better than crying.
The remainder of the week was spent in caring for my husband (who claimed he was sicker than I), running back and forth to the hospital (wearing that awful mask), and collapsing exhausted when I returned home. By Thursday, we were feeling a little better, so we would spend 15 minutes on the tree and then have to rest once more. It took more than a week to get the tree decorated. Fortunately, all three of us recovered and two weeks later were almost back to normal. Our children came home for Christmas and we had a great time. Nothing like a bad case of flu at Christmas to make you truly appreciate good health.
So...here is our tree this year:
This shot was taken upstairs from the bridge over the great room.
While I love "theme" trees, ours is an eclectic mixture. We have lots of doggie ornaments, lots of nurses and doctors, lots of Hallmark ornaments and lots of Waterfords, along with some homemade ornaments. It may look confusing to some, but every ornament on that tree has a meaning to us. And that's all that matters.