Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day #410 I Still See a Bee or Two

A couple of days ago the weather here in Georgia was warm enough to entice me outside to do some drastically overdue yard work. And there were some golden honey bees that kept me company as I weeded, dug up the vastly overgrown daylilies, and rescued several thousand (or so it seemed) crocus bulbs.

It won’t be long before it will be way too cold for the bees to venture outside, and I must say I tend to emulate the bees. I spent 26 years living in Vermont, and although the winters are GORGEOUS there, I found that the longer I stayed—okay, what I’m really talking about is the older I got—the colder those winters seemed.

It didn’t help that I had a malfunctioning thyroid, something I discovered after I moved to a warmer climate. I know I mentioned my thyroid way back on Day #13, but did I ever tell you about Jazzminka, the cat who healed my thyroid? If you know me and I already told you the story, just skip down to the BEEattitude for the day.

Bees keep themselves warm in winter by shivering, rapidly contracting and un-contracting the muscles that usually power their wings, thereby creating heat. But people can’t shiver enough to warm themselves like that. I’ve never figured out how to use my wing muscles, much less disconnect them.

People depend on the thyroid to regulate internal temperature, causing our body to generate more heat in the winter and less of it in the summer. (Obviously I’m greatly simplifying the process.) But when the thyroid doesn’t function properly, temps get all screwed up.

I used to be so cold all winter long, it was downright painful.

Even when I moved to Georgia, with the fairly mild winters here, I still ached through the cold months and (maybe even worse) in the over-air-conditioned buildings in the summer. Brrr!

I discovered a doctor, though, who diagnosed the hypothyroidism and who prescribed Synthroid, with the warning that once I started taking it, the Synthroid would destroy any remaining thyroid function and I would have to take Synthroid for the rest of my life.

I thought it was a small price to pay for the chance, finally! to be warm. And I took the medication for several years, increasing it a bit each winter and backing off the dosage a bit each summer (per doctor’s orders).

But then I brought Jazzminka into my home. She was a Humane Society kitten, a gray/black/white tabby who was way too young to be away from her mom. She used to give me hickies from sucking so long and so hard at the skin of my neck.  I thought she was just missing her mommy.

As she grew, she began kneading the front of my neck—hard enough that it hurt. She was persistent, and would spend 20 or 30 minutes at it if I’d let her.

Gradually I found that the dosage of Synthroid seemed too high. The doc said to cut the pills in half. Eventually I had to quarter them. And finally I was taking a quarter of a pill every other day—and then every three days.

Jazzminka tapered off her insistence on kneading my thyroid as I got healthier, although she would still climb up and give me little “checkouts” occasionally. She died of a happy old age several years ago, fully knowing (I’m sure) that she had herded me through a healing process that I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t experienced it.

Since then, I've had my thyroid tested, and it’s perfectly normal, so now I don’t have to unhinge my wing myscles.

BEEattitude for Day # 410:
       Blessed are those who accept the gifts from Mama Nature, for she never leads us astray.

The teeny details:
BOOK SIGNINGS   There’s One Today!   
     Nov. 26      1-4 p.m.          Wellspring Treasures, Kennesaw GA  
     Dec.   3       1-3 p.m.         Books for Less, Buford GA
     Dec.   4       1-3 p.m.         Humpus Bumpus Bookstore, Cumming GA
     Dec. 10       2-4 p.m.         Peerless Bookstore, Alpharetta GA     

my books: Please buy them from an independent bookstore or directly from my website.
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AggiePete said...

Jazzminka was truly a blessing that came along just when you 'kneaded' her ... lovely felines tend to do that! Hugs from a literally freezing Houston this morning!!! Br-r-r-r

Fran Stewart said...

Keep those woolies on!

It's funny how temperature is relative. when I lived in Vermont (for 26 years), if a mid-winter day got up to 20 degrees, it felt like a warm front, and people tended to go without hats.

Now, in Georgia (or you in Texas), 50 is cold and 32 is ridiculous!

Rained all night here. Still raining.

AggiePete said...

Oh, I love the cooler weather compared to the 110+ we had this summer - I own one jacket ... not a coat. I borrowed Billy's this morning and was burning up on the bus coming to the office! Nope, give the winter any day!!! Had a few drops on Saturday but nothing to write home about ....