About the day before the night before Christmas…and the perils of hiccups!

I had a post half-written (in my head) and was feeling cheery and ready to host a small Christmas Eve gathering in our home the next day. Add to that eager anticipation of a full family Christmas with the shared excitement of young children–the ones who say things like, “Santa is such a nice man. I wonder if he gets the toys free from stores?” Sophia and Karina do believe in Santa, but I’ve been told they aren’t as sure about the reindeer and apparently a workshop with elves is also a bit hard to swallow.

We can’t look back and say exactly when it was clear that Jay was sick. He had a little cough and felt miserable. He was running a low-grade fever. But it was the three days of almost non-stop hiccups that became the focus. Do you go to the doctor when you have hiccups 18 out of 24 hours?

And wouldn’t you feel sick and little flushed if you hadn’t slept a full night in three days?

With much encouragement from our nurse daughter, Jay did see his doctor on Tuesday the 23rd,  and although the hiccups were a mystery to him, too, antibiotics were prescribed for a mild case of pneumonia, with simple instructions to just rest. And then the day just didn’t improve. By evening the fever was climbing, and I probably wouldn’t have encouraged a trip to the emergency room, but Aimee was beginning to get nervous about her dad’s appearance. Something wasn’t right.

And off we went…

As it turned midnight and the 23rd became the 24th, I had a flashback. December 24, 1973 I walked into a similar hospital emergency entrance to give birth to our first child. The attendant greeting me at the entrance took note of the date and said, “There’s a manger down the hall.” That was the first of many Christmas references, with Aimee born later that day and placed in a little Christmas stocking

Present day, and aren’t we glad for antibiotics? Jay was released early this morning and home in time to see his granddaughters open their presents. And sometime late yesterday afternoon those crazy hiccups finally stopped. Fingers crossed!

In all the excitement I missed the round of Christmas greetings I’d intended to share, but I have one left to give.

Earlier this week Sophia noticed one of my Spotify playlists and asked me to explain “Contemporary Christmas.” Sophia doesn’t just ask questions; she loves discussion. So that’s what we did.

The playlist included songs from current entertainment artists, but at seven, she still doesn’t know many of them by name. In an attempt to tell her what was NOT particularly contemporary, I mentioned Bing Crosby. She said she knew who he was–and by the way, he was dead. Hmmmm. Well, that would mean he wasn’t on the contemporary list. But he would have been on MY contemporary list at one time.

So we took our time talking about how the word contemporary has multiple meanings. We could be talking about “belonging to or occurring in the present” or referring to “a person or thing living or existing at the same time as another.”

At the end of an invigorating discussion Sophia turned to me with a knowing expression and summed it up. “Yeah. I understand. It’s not contemporary if the song goes all the way back to the old times, like the 70’s.”

I hope she will always love our discussions, and not be too thrown off by how hard I laugh.

Well, I go all the way back to the 70’s–at least! And I have a favorite from that era I pull out every year at this time. The artists blur the lines of contemporary. Bing Crosby wasn’t exactly my contemporary, but he’s timeless. Pairing his voice with a very 1970’s contemporary artist, David Bowie–sheer genius.

To read an interesting back story on the awkward meeting of the pair, read HERE.   And if you would enjoy going “all the way back to the 70’s” you might enjoy recalling Bing meeting Bowie at the door. Like I said, an unlikely pairing.

It’s never too late to wish peace and joy in the new year. And that’s my personal wish for each one of you. The world is made up of all sorts of unique and unlikely pairings. I’m hopeful that maybe we’ll take a bigger step towards all getting along. Peace.




56 thoughts on “About the day before the night before Christmas…and the perils of hiccups!

    • I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you and say “thank you” for responding to my Christmas post! And here we are right at the New Year! I hope you have a healthy and very peaceful 2015. 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Karen. As you can see it’s taken me almost a week to respond! What a week it’s been, but we are mostly back to our normal routines in our household and ready to usher in the new year! Thank you for your kind thoughts, and I hope for you, too, a happy and peace-filled 2015! ox

  1. I’m so glad you caught pneumonia right away…we were lucky too with a bout of it in our nest twice. It took awhile for my little guy to feel better though…so hope he enjoys his rest and so glad you were in your nest for Christmas. My seven-year-old is quite inquisitive as well, how delightful that we can enjoy these conversations that give us a good chuckle…I hope they keep up forever.

    • We are finally getting back to our routines, Cristine, and Jay is feeling so much better. I, too, feel we were fortunate to catch the pneumonia right away, and I think those really difficult hiccups may have been a blessing. Had they not been so encumbering and really quite painful after awhile, we may have postponed seeing the doctor and eventually making our way to the ER. All is well now. I have been thinking about you…and send my concern and best possible wishes. I think there must be a lot on your mind, too. oxo

    • It’s taken me a few days for us to get on track again, Rob, but all is well now! What a week of activity and recovery! But we are very grateful for kind words and good wishes…thank you! I was thinking of you today. I went to the Natural History Museum with my grandchildren and we were looking at the “African Mammals” behind glass. LOL! I couldn’t help but think of your “up close and personal photography.” If you’d been with us, I think you’d have felt a little sorry for our “substitute” experience. 🙂 Happy New Year, my friend.

  2. Thank goodness everything went well in the end Debra, and you could all celebrate together! I wish you and your family health and happiness for the coming year, and peace of course too. Enjoy the rest of the holidays!

    • Thank you so much, Cathy. We are getting back into our normal routines and everyone is once again feeling well. I think we have both benefited from “forced rest” and may be the better for the experience! I hope you, too, have had lovely holidays and I certainly want to wish you a happy and health-filled new year!

  3. Gosh, Debra – what a weird thing … and how dreadfully uncomfortable for him !!! All fingers firmly crossed that it never happens to him again, the poor man ! I hope your entire family has a very happy NY !!!!

    • It has taken me a few days to get caught up on rest and come down from quite an adrenaline spike, M-R, but we are finally back to our more routine selves…we aren’t a very exciting bunch, which right about now seems just fine with me! We are doing our best to just be quiet and recuperate. No more hiccups, either. 🙂 You’ll be ushering in the new year very soon and I do hope that it is a year with good health and peace. I am holding a good thought for both of us. 🙂

    • I am just now getting around to thanking my blogging friends for Merry Christmas wishes and here we are almost to the new year! We are finally feeling our best again and eager to be back into our routines, which for me, includes coming around to do some catching up with you, too! Happy New Year!

  4. Glad to hear your husband got treatment early. One of my church choir friends suffered a “cold” — and loss of her voice — for two months before learning she had pneumonia. No hiccups, though!

    My CBC music app on my older iPad distinguished “contempary” from “adult contemporary” and I couldn’t tell the difference. Still don’t know. Maybe the two channels differentiate between music for people who received their driver’s licences after 2005 and those who received them after 2012?

    This is the 2nd Day of Christmas! Wishing you and your friends and family a terrific ten more!

    • We are definitely enjoying our remaining days of Christmas, and I hope you are as well. Thank you. Jay is recovering very quickly and I think with his “forced recuperation” I’ve slowed down, too, something I needed! I think the hiccups may have been responsible for seeking medical attention more quickly than perhaps would have been the case otherwise, and for that, we are so glad. The pneumonia was detected very early. As for music categories and lists, I am frequently baffled by the titles. I think being someone who obtained her driver’s license in the 1960s puts me at somewhat a disadvantage with any current lists. What I consider “current” is probably now an oldie! 🙂 Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing more progress on Maud’s place–I’ve got that right, don’t I? I’ve lost touch in the last few weeks and need to catch up!

  5. Oh that Sophia. She sure has a way with words. Regarding the Cosby-Bowie video, I recently heard that it was Bing died between the taping and the show airing. Glad Jay is doing better and was able to enjoy Christmas with the family. Merry Christmas!!!

    • We are doing so much better now, Frank. Thank you! Sophia is such an interesting little girl. She does love discussion. I wonder if blogging will still provide a creative outlet when she gets a little older. She has the temperament and personality to really enjoy a blogging community! I look forward to seeing what 2015 offers us all…and I hope for you, it’s a healthy and peace-filled year. 🙂

  6. Loved the “there’s a manger down the hall” comment. You have to keep your humor when you work in a hospital! Gad Jay is better and that clip of Bing and Bowie is one of my all time Christmas favs. Sophia is precious! My granddaughters are 9 and it’s a special time. They are old enough to “discuss” with intensity yet young enough to make me smile.

    • Wishing you a happy new year, Kate. I hope it is a very healthy and peace-filled year, and that you continue to revel in humor (and a good dose of sarcasm) with every available opportunity! 🙂 I enjoy visiting your “home” and experiencing life on the east coast with you and your husband and your menagerie. 🙂 ox

    • Thanks so much for the belated birthday wishes for Aimee. She spent her birthday in the emergency room with us–the perils of health care workers and family members in need–but we have more than made up for that over the last couple of days. Happy New Year, my friend. I am genuinely interested in seeing what the new year brings to my blogging friends. This year went by quickly! Do you think we can possibly slow 2015 down and enjoy it even more? 🙂

      • Since we can’t turn back the hands of time . . . slowing them down a bit sounds like just the thing! Enjoy the tail end of 2014 and a grand start to the new SLOWER year!

      • And thanks for being one of my top visitors on SLTW in 2014! You rock!

        Here’s to manifesting a year filled with happy, enthusiastic, upbeat, positive thoughts that fill us with joy, vitality, gratitude and peace!

  7. Don’t you just l-o-v-e these conversations with young grandchildren? I find I always learn something new about myself during our “talks”. This was such a lively post, Debra, and I admire your sense of humor, even in the midst of Jay’s thankfully short hospitalization. I’m always brought back to those circles of life, and there you were, your own Christmas baby guiding the way to diagnosis, treatment, and what will hopefully be a continued recovery for Jay. j
    From one old time contemporary to the other, here’s to peace and joy long after the holiday season (which, to me, lasts 11 more days, 🙂 ) . Penny

    • Penny, I love your observation about Aimee, my Christmas baby, being so attentive and available to us during Jay’s Christmas hospitalization–41 years later. It is very full circle, and sweet to contemplate. I do rely on her a lot, it seems. Both Sophia and Karina are such delights to me and we enjoy such wonderful conversations. Sophia is very logical and relishes context (she’s a lot like me) and Karina is our little magical child, with an artistic nature. I’m fascinated with both and so grateful that I am a healthy and able senior–they don’t completely outpace me quite yet. 🙂 Jay is doing just great. He saw the doctor today and I think we are entering 2015 with full hearts! I hope for you and Tom a new year with continued improvement in all areas of health, and peace-filled hearts. From our house to yours… oxo

  8. I spent one Christmas Eve in emergency, having slipped on a patch of black ice in my parents driveway and breaking my tailbone when I was 18. Very happy to be nowhere near a hospital evert year since then!

    So glad to hear that Jay felt better and hot to enjoy Christmas at home with you all!

    • Ouch! Breaking your tailbone? I can’t imagine how painful that was. I remember as a child taking a few bad “sit down” bumps and having a sore tailbone–that was bad enough. One thing that made us a lot more at ease with the Christmas Eve hospitalization was the reality that there were many people “in house” obviously very, very ill. We knew he was just going to get some good rest–something I think we both were needing! I am ready to get back to blogging and have missed it–not so much writing, but definitely reading. I hope you have been doing well, and I really do want to take the opportunity to wish you a wonderful 2015. I enjoy following along and seeing where life takes you in your very active life. 🙂 ox

  9. What a wonderful mixture of word images and memories, Debra!! Last night I saw a ‘feel good’ news item of a full nursery in Philadelphia with every baby swaddled in a bright red Christmas Stocking. The thought of you as a young first-time mother receiving her baby girl in a Christmas Stocking is just so dear!!
    And then to read the role she played in the push to get John’s hiccups addressed now – connections again!
    Thank you for sharing about making of a much loved Christmas duet and that back story.
    Dear Sophia- no simple ‘why’ child! But I do wish I could be there !
    Merry Christmas to you and yours! Exhaling now- love & peace!

    • Thank you for your very heartfelt thoughts, Beth. I really do appreciate you!! You are so good at seeing all the connections and reminding me of their importance and impact, my friend. I do hope and pray for you that 2015 brings in a fresh season that offers you encouragement, renewed health and much peace. I’m believing that for you…for us both! oxo

  10. I love the David Bowie and Bing Crosby pairing!!!! It always makes me happy! Now I have to hop over and read the story behind the meeting….. I am curious!

    I hope your Jay is improving steadily and all is well and better in your home!!!

    • Thank you, Colleen, for being such a thoughtful and considerate blogging friend. Jay is doing just great at this point, and although Christmas ended up being quite different for us, I think slowing down to a snail’s pace ended up being rather nice. I’m a little sorry we can’t seem to do that for ourselves and instead need an “event” to shape us. I do wish for you an abundant 2015–in all the ways that nourish and encourage. 🙂

    • Thank you, Lori. Christmas seemed to pass by very quickly, but I am looking forward to the end of the year with gratitude that we are in good health and there weren’t any big bumps in Jay’s recovery! Happy New Year to you and your family, with a hope for continued health and all the encouragement you could use in your new business efforts. I hope it is a wonderful year–that doesn’t pass just too quickly. I’d like to enjoy it in slow motion. LOL!

  11. Clearly, you had big plans for Christmas, but Jay had to upstage you. Seriously, I’m glad he’s fine and on the mend — and very glad that you were able to have a Merry Christmas with your family. Thanks for sharing the words of your grandchildren — it’s a reminder that despite all of the commercialization of the holiday, there is still a sense of wonder and innocence. Great carol, by the way. All the best for the New Year!!

    • Thank you so much, Kevin, for your very thoughtful words. Jay is doing well and we are more or less back to our busy selves. Following the brief hospital stay I think we mostly needed rest. We’ve been able to slow down and enjoy and then it seems all of a sudden here we are about to jump into 2015. I do hope that you and Joe continue to grow even more comfortable in your Florida home and for you, Kevin, continued health and well-being. I admire your resilience. 2014 had some big hurdles, for you, I think, but it seems to me you have done what you could to make the best of it all. I’ll be eager to see how the new year opens refreshed potential and possibilities. I’m hopeful for a peace-filled 2015. 🙂

  12. I’m so sorry to hear of all your Christmas dramas. That’s not good. I’ve had Alfie in hospital twice leading up to Christmas and both times he thankfully was discharged on Christmas Eve. But that does mean you tend to spend Christmas Day with your eyes glazed over slumped in almost a coma. I do hope you all are recovering from the stress and anxiety these worrying times bring. I do love the sound of your newborn being placed in a stocking! xx

    • Thank you for your care and concern, Charlie. After Jay returned home we both were just exhausted. We’re finding our way back now, however, and all is well. You are probably enjoying a festive New Year’s Eve and getting very close to 2015. I hope that you and Drew and those wonderful children of yours have an abundant new year, in all the ways that nourish and nurture such an active family. I am continually amused and delighted in their strengths and talents, and you are a dear. Happiest of New Year’s blessings to you from your California friend. ox

    • Thanks, Deb. You have been so sweet to follow along while I kind of “jumped the track” and disappeared on you. LOL! jay is fine now, and we are doing well overall. We needed quite a bit of rest and fortunately that’s been possible! I do hope that you and Don have a very happy year to come. I also hope we can do a little better at keeping in touch–I am pointing a finger at myself. LOL! Hugs to you…and thanks for your prayers. You are such a constant friend. ox

    • I like your thoughts about contemporary labels, Rommel. It reminds me of the first time (a while ago now) when I realized that the “oldie” station was playing the music I had enjoyed in high school. Somehow I was shocked by that. We lose being contemporary somewhat slowly, and then when it’s gone, it is really GONE! 🙂 Happy new year to you, too, my friend. I hope you have many more adventures along the way. I know you will!

  13. Debra, I am so relieved everything turned out right and Jay is safely back home – and that you were able to enjoy some of Christmas Day. I hope Jay is going from strength to strength, and you are both set for a lovely and exuberant new year. All the best to you both, and to that lovely family of yours.

    • Thank you so much, Kate. We are doing well now, and once Jay was returned home we had the necessary resolve to dedicate several days to rest. We needed that more than anything, I think. I was so sorry to read that you had also been sick. I hope the entire Shrewsday family is ready to jump into 2015 with new adventures and the health and stamina to keep up with all the opportunities. I’m going to do my best to see if I can slow 2015 down just a wee bit! I’m at an age where these flying calendar pages are a little alarming. LOL! Bless you and yours, dear Kate. I hope all the best things for you in 2015.

  14. Oh, Debbie- I was holding my breath through two thirds of this and just hoping! Thank the Lord is all I can say 🙂
    I just stopped in with joy-packed wishes for the New Year. Hugs to you!

  15. I’m sorry to read about Jay’s illness Debra. Christmas is such a busy time, it’s no wonder that we can get run down and develop illnesses as a result. I hope he is now firmly on the road to recovery. I’m glad that he was home in time to join in the present opening ceremony 🙂

    I enjoyed the video of Bing and Bowie – I don’t think it gets played so much over here (though to tell the truth, I don’t listen to the radio much). Anyway, I wish you a happy and restful New Year 🙂

  16. So glad Jay was on the mend for Christmas and you were all home and happy 🙂 Hope the christmas magic (because yes, it is real) is helping him recover nice and fast!
    Happy Holidays and have an incredible 2015 my friend, just like you deserve!

    Choc Chip Uru

  17. A lovely post Debra. And it being only the 9th day of Christmas, it’s not too late to give you seasons greetings. Revisiting the bowie/crosby duet was a real gift. I have always been deeply moved by this on a few different levels. And I always wondered – how in the world did such an unlikely pair get together to create this song of the the ages ,and a song of our times. Now I know! And i hope the hiccuping husband is OK and healing.

  18. Hi, Debra! You say: “Well, I go all the way back to the 70’s–at least!”
    This reminds me my memories go back all the way back to the 1930s!
    I used to have long conversations with my father’s younger sister Elisabeth.
    She was “Tante Lies” and never shied away from having very serious conversations with me. I liked this very much.
    Hoping all your family went into the New year in good health!
    Best wishes to you and all your family for the New Year! 🙂
    P.S. I hope it is all right that I just published a post in which I refer to one of your posts?

  19. Pingback: An Artful New Year | breathelighter

  20. Having seen and responded to the news about Jay on FB, it’s taken me far too long to get round to reading your post, Debra. I just love the wisdom of young children. That response from Sophia was wonderful. 🙂

    P.S. I love the new blog look>

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