--by Mike Murray
Our desires change as we age. When I was a child, I asked Santa for toys. Later on, I coveted electronic gadgets. These days, I find myself wishing for good health and well-being – for those I love (and even for those I don’t).
For those who are ill or injured; or who lack the basic necessities of life; or who are lonely, anxious, or depressed – holiday wish lists vary. But their contents express a shared desire: solace. They seek shelter from the storms that rage in their lives.
My wife and I are among the fortunate. While not wealthy, we’re doing okay financially. Sure, we still carry a mortgage on our modest home, purchase economy cars (and drive them for well over a decade), and keep a close eye on the budget. But no wolf currently lurks outside our door.
And, although we have not been blessed with children, we have been graced by the company of wonderful canines. We have considered each one a full-fledged member of the family.
Our current animal companion – Janna – recently gave us a scare. A problem with her left hind leg led to an “open diagnosis,” one that included the possibility of a fatal condition. Her illness reminded me that all of us, even those who are generally well-off, can know despair. When someone you care about is sick or hurt, your world turns upside down. Ours did, when Janna’s health was jeopardized.
My wife and I were relieved to eventually learn that Janna had “only” mechanical dysfunction in her knee. Her ultimate diagnosis (complete anterior cruciate ligament rupture with severe stifle arthritis and a crushing injury to the caudal horn of the medial meniscus) was scary enough. But it was nowhere near as frightening as the diagnosis we were dreading – the one that carried with it a death sentence: bone cancer.
Janna’s osteopathic clinicians (Drs. James Vogt and Lawrence Anson), her attending veterinary technicians, and her primary care-giver (Dr. Constance Curren) delivered to Pam and to me an early Christmas present: a prognosis of recovery for our precious “J-Bear.”
Janna’s getting on in years; we know that her time is growing short. But she will share this Christmas with us. And, perhaps, one or two or three more. My wife and I have dedicated members of the veterinary community to thank for that, who successfully treated Janna’s physical ailment – and in the process also eased our emotional discomfort.
Copyright © 2008 Michael F. Murray -- All rights reserved.