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During our last chat, I mentioned to Gill that I had experienced something strange in my eye last week…a bit of weirdness that had L’il Sis booking me into the Optometrist’s office fifteen minutes later. Not to appear ungrateful, but I thought it was much ado about nothing. But since she does pre-testing in the eye doctor’s office, I deferred to her judgement on this one.

I described it to Gill as a shimmering around the edge of my field of vision — sort of like the Northern Lights. “Wow! That’s neat, Ma!” Gill commented, obviously in awe of this new medical mystery visited upon our family. Before she could Google it and produce a deluge of relevant facts, I added, “L’il Sis was in a panic. She asked if I saw flashing lights…all the while a look of terror on her face and the coffee she was pouring spilling all over the counter. She thought I might be having a retinal detachment. A bad thing!”

“Wow!” Gill said again. I could hear her pecking away on the computer keyboard, already deep into research mode.

In an effort to head her off at the pass (I knew she was probably on the Mayo Clinic’s website and had specialists on hold by phone at this point), I continued, “It turns out it was just an aura, like the kind some migraine sufferers experience before a headache occurs. Although I do have a migraine condition, I’d never had an aura before. It was quite impressive. And even though I don’t get actual migraines any more, things like red wine, old cheese, chocolate and even changes in barometric pressure can trigger an aura. Check, check, and check. Plus, that was the day of the tornado! So, mystery solved.”

“Ma, I think the weather service should just round up our family and use us for predicting  future weather events. My arthritic back and knees can tell if rain is coming with 99% accuracy. And L’il Sis’ arthritic hips — when she starts limping with that funny gait, it means cold is coming. Even our pets get weird when a storm is coming.”

“That’s the answer,” I shrieked. “From now on, when Crazy D takes off on one of his biking excursions, I’ll make sure he asks us first how we’re feeling. My aura would have told him about the potential for stormy weather without him having to check the weather channel. Much more efficient.”

And not to be outdone, I added proudly, “Why did you know, just this month The Pig (the beagle) was diagnosed with allergies? She has sneezing fits and scratches constantly. I just need to watch her and I can guesstimate the pollen index to within five points! I tell you, we really are a full service family.”

“Ma, I might have to quibble with you about The Pig. Could just be she’s been hanging out with all the mangy chipmunks, rabbits and groundhogs in your neighborhood for too long. Not to mention the occasional beaver she harasses. She probably has a bad case of fleas! Which reminds me: DO NOT let that dog on my bed! I don’t want to need fumigation when I come for my holidays.”

“No worry,” I assured her. Then, quietly, under my breath, I muttered,”Your bed isn’t your bed anymore. Come right down to it, your room isn’t your room anymore either…” Happy Holiday!