LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Decorating the Tree

We always have a lot of fun decorating our Christmas Tree. Each ornament seems to bring to mind a story and we recall so many "Christmas Past" memories while we decorate. They usually being with "do you remember?" And of course we always do remember.

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.

14 comments:

pat said...

love it , love it...looks a lot like mine will look...if I ever get it up!!

Dog_geek said...

It looks great - a lot like the tree we put up at my parents' house, which has the same ecclectic mix of ornaments, some of whihc were made by my brother and I when we were kids.

The influenza Christmas story sounds horrid! I'm glad you all made it through and had a good holiday anyway!

Cheryl said...

Absolutely love that tree.....mine will be decorated in the same way.......

And you my dear are an angel......your family are very fortunate to have you.......you will get your rewards in heaven.....

And men always feel worse than woman, do they not??

George said...

I certainly hope that decorating the tree this year was much healthier than your experience in 1995. This year's tree is certainly beautiful.

Cedar ... said...

Your tree looks grand! and eclectic is what mine will be too,... decorations range from 1942 to present day,... everything has a story. I'll be taking pics as soon as it's up!

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

Hi!
Well, you are just not going to believe this! I came here from Donna's blog. I saw your comment there. I live halfway between Hendersonville and Brevard. So we are neighbors! Another coinsidence...We always get our tree from Jackie - the same place you go! In fact last year I did a post on it....

Looking forward to hearing back from you! I have two blogs. I am a mosaic artist and my mosaic blog is www.lavenderhillstudio.blogspot.com my other blog is about my home, garden and life in general...It is at www.thecomfortsofhome.blogspot.com

Penny

Jayne said...

What a story from earlier years Carolyn. My, but I am certain you all were exhausted. Glad you could laugh about it. :c) Your tree is gorgeous and I love the mish mash of ornaments... makes it so much more personalized.

Shellmo said...

The flu can really kick your butt - I have so much sympathy for all the running around you had to do while sick!
Your christmas tree looks great by the way!

Toni said...

Your tree looks wonderful!
Christmas stories always seem to be the best. But the flu no no.

Carolyn could you email me please.
kellyink(at)mac(dot)com thanks

fishing guy said...

Carolyn: Great story of a Christmas you would like to forget but still gives you memories. Men always get sicker then women. It's in the genes.

Melissa Weisbard said...

Your tree looks great! I love decorating the tree all except for stringing the lights. I got wise and bought a pre-lit tree so the experience is so much more enjoyable now.

I've got a bad cold right now combined with a double ear infection and chest congestion. I also have no voice. Winter is great, don't ya think? lol

Bird Girl said...

OH my Carolyn - the Christmas of '95 is one I think I might FORGET! What a time you had - and fevers that high are dangerous in us old folks ;-) I hope the Christmas of 2008 will be your best ever and judging by the looks of that tree - it will be! And if not??? You can always laugh ;-)

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks, everyone. Christmas of 1995 always serves to remind us that no matter how rushed we get, or how frustrated, we have only to recall that horrid couple of weeks and we feel much better.

I should add that there are some ornaments that haven't been placed on the tree. Those are the ones made by our son and daughter when they were very young. We always wait for their visit and let them put the ornaments on the tree. And believe it or not...they still argue over who has the best spot on the tree and the ornaments will be moved over and over again during their visit home.

Carrie P. said...

Your tree is so beautiful.