I'm sure the expression is used elsewhere, but I first heard it playing golf, during a particularly bad day on the links, before I learned to lighten up and enjoy the bad shots as well as the good: "The wheels have come off."
Yesterday the wheels came off. It started off with plenty of warning; I awoke in the middle of the night with a searing, stabbing headache. By 5 AM I couldn't stand it any more and took meds for it. It took more than the usual dose to get it down to a dull ache.
After breakfast I decided to put out a suet block for the woodpeckers, who have a tendency to scatter seeds from the feeders, looking for bugs or shelled seed meat, I don't know which. Last year I bought new pacs (heaving snow boots); they wouldn't fit. I had to take off my socks to get my feet into them. Further warning.
When I went outside, I took Kane with me, who gets cabin fever. He ran around the yard joyously, while I put the block in the suet feeder, getting congealed fat all over my hands. Once done, I went inside with Kane, to discover that, somewhere in the snow, Kane had torn off a claw, and he was bleeding all over the kitchen floor.
That's when the wheels came off.
I rushed to get a bottle of peroxide and the first aid kit. I washed his foot over a small plastic tub, and commenced to wrap the foot. Karen had her hands full trying to hold Kane still. In the middle of the wrapping, he jerked his foot back and gauze, tape, and blood went everywhere. I lost my temper, said some dirty words, and started again.
A call to the vet, they were able to see him immediately, which was a relief. The second attempt at wrapping worked, and I taped a plastic bag over his foot, as he was bleeding through the wrap. Kane had trouble walking, so I had to carry him to the car. He weighs close to 100 pounds.
Throughout this, Kane thinks he has done something wrong and is being punished. So, when it came time to pick him up, he squatted on the floor and would not stand up. This led to further words, which of course confirmed in Kane's mind he was being punished. I finally got him into my arms, through the front door, down the steps and into the back of the car. It took several minutes of heavy panting to get back my breath, and the world was spinning.
Good ol' adrenaline.
On the way to the vet, he kept trying to stand, and I get yelling at him to lie down. This had the effect of punishment, making matters worse with him.
I arrive at the vet's, and go inside to beg for help carrying him in. A rather large fellow comes out with me, obviously Pee Owed to have to carry a big dog. While I struggle to find the leash, Kane hops out of the back, and the guy says, "Hey, he can walk."
"Sorry, I guess I made a fuss about nothing."
"No problem." I guess acknowledging my state of twitness softened him up.
(By the way, pet owners will recognize this phenomena. The dog is crippled and in agony at home, and perfectly fine once he gets to the clinic.)
In the end, we got his foot treated. The vet clipped the hair around the toe, put some ointment on it, and chidded me for not keeping his nails trimmed, feeding him too much, and exercising him too little. A new bandage and wrap, and he's fine. I went ahead and had his annual checkup done, complete with shots and the like.
But, I'm still uncomfortable about my mind state yesterday. I was about as far from mindful as you can possibly get without breaking the law. I suppose everyone has "those days" now and then. But, Oh Boy! I need more time on the cushion.
Perhaps this is a wake up call (which my Buddhist readers will recognize as a pun of sorts). Practice, practice, practice. It's the practice during the good times which prepares us for the bad times.Music in my head:
Strauss' Blue Danube Waltz