|Norma Jean with Babe and Chester|
We grew up with dogs and cats all around us, and although I have owned cats in the past, Smart Guy never had any pets during his childhood. When I started skydiving, I spent so much time away from home that it never occurred to me to become a pet owner. But Norma Jean has always had a dog, and although she really grieves over the loss of each one, she gains a huge amount of enjoyment from their unconditional love. When I return home Tuesday, I realize that the feeling of pet ownership I feel now will fade away as the plane takes off and I turn my thoughts toward home. Maybe one day I will own a cat again, but not while I'm feeding the wild birds!
The real benefit I've received here, other than connecting with Norma Jean again during this terribly hard period, is learning to use swimming as a form of exercise. As I swam in the pool this morning, I realized the true meditative aspect as I breathed out my nose into the water and in through my mouth as I took a breath every other stroke. Even counting laps is meditative. I was able to swim 36 lengths, a true half mile, before stopping and getting into the hot tub. I wrote about my breakthrough in swimming laps here.
My visit has been beneficial in other ways, too. Learning to be with my sister as an adult, I flashed a few times on the two of us walking the dogs this morning. I saw a possible future of us together as little old ladies with our swimming and our doggies living in a retirement community like so many seniors do. But of course I still have Smart Guy around, and if genetics has anything to say about it, he will outlive me by many decades.
Which makes me think of the thyroid biopsy I will have when I return home. Before I write in here next, I will have it behind me. The appointment is on Friday the 11th. Although they didn't consider a biopsy before, once they did a second ultrasound, I received a call from the doctor's office suggesting it. Fortunately I have the ability to see the results of the ultrasound on line, and once I read it and noticed the word "hypoechoic" describing the nodule, I of course looked it up online. It means that the largest nodule sends a different sort of echo in the ultrasound and so they will follow up with a biopsy. This means I will know without any doubt what is going on with my thyroid. So I should be happy but I am a bit apprehensive.
I think it will be a little lonely here once I leave, but the doggies will help immeasurably, and in less than a month we will all be together again in Texas for a few days to have a family reunion. This was promised when the family decided not to descend on Florida after Pete died. I will leave Washington again on March 25 for five days to attend, and then I will probably not travel anywhere too far away for a while. I need to rediscover my own beautiful part of the country, as well as reconnect with a certain missing element in my life, my partner.