3/25/2015

The waiting game

It's a last ditch effort; bombarding his body with pills to see if something will work.
"This would be so much easier if you could just talk, Dog," I tell him while stroking his head.
"It is weird," the vet said. "His symptoms are so vague, and his test results aren't really telling us anything other than that there is fluid around his lungs." I nodded as his voice echoed through the phone.
"I can't afford to take him to the specialist," I told him and tried to keep my voice from shaking. The test the vet had recommended to confirm a diagnosis required a referral to another vet and $1,500 to start.
"If the specialist is not an option," I continued, "is there anything else we can do?"
"Well, if the fluid is caused by an infection, antibiotics would be able to treat it, or if it is congestive heart failure, water pills would help," he replied. He'd told me earlier that, if the fluid was not a result of infection or heart failure, there could be a few other possible causes that only the specialist would be able to diagnose. Two were very rare and would involve surgery resulting in a bill of upwards of $5,000, and the other was a tumour on the heart.
"If I chose to give him antibiotics and water pills, would we be doing it for him or would it really be just for me?" I asked.
"What is frustrating with this case," the vet said, "is that we just don't know what the cause is. There is a chance that the pills could work, but we just don't know."
"Okay," I said, and took a deep breath. "And if I give him these pills, how long would we wait to see results before it is no longer fair to the dog?" I asked.
"I wouldn't let it go more than a week. But if he starts eating again, more than just tiny little pieces, we'd extend that to two weeks and take things from there."
"Okay," I said, "let's do that then."
I've spent a lot of time crying. While the idea of my dog dying was looming on the horizon, it wasn't something that I'd seriously given much thought. I'd assumed I'd have more time. More time to be a better owner. More time to spoil him. More time to take him on long, slow walks. More time pet his fur and tell him that he would have to start pulling his weight around the apartment and get a job. But I've come to realize that, no matter what happens, I have already been lucky to have had this much time with him. I've had nearly eleven years of his love and loyalty, and, since he started showing signs of illness, I've already gotten an extra week I didn't think I would have. If our journey together has reached its end it will hurt, but I have no right to complain. But I don't think I can be blamed either... for being greedy for more.

3/23/2015

Dogs....

Gandhi's longest hunger strikes lasted 21 days. So far dog is on day 23, although he seems willing to cheat every so often. 

Both blood and urine collected and analyzed, the only thing we can say for certain is that dog is probably not fasting to end violence or anything quite so noble. 

It is hard to say if he is in his final days. Other than having no interest in food, he largely still seems to be enjoying life, but there are times when he is so still that I have to place my ear to his chest to make sure he is still breathing. 

I spend hours just staring at him and stroking his head. I feel anxious when I have to be anywhere that requires me to stray from his side. Hard as it may be, I can accept that this may be the end of our journey together, but it breaks my heart to think he might take his final breath when I can't be right next to him. 

Without any sort of definitive answers from the vet, I am not sure if the idea of euthanasia is jumping the gun. "If only you could talk," I say to him, as we stare at one another. "I don't know what you want me to do, and I don't want to make the wrong choice." 

So, for the time being, I keep him next to me in my bed at night, listening to him snore as he breathes in and out, hoping that maybe tomorrow he will decide he has proven his point and eat the bacon I have cooked for him. 

3/04/2015

My best friend

As I jogged at a leisurely pace on the treadmill, I looked over to my dog on the couch and squinted my eyes in an attempt to see if I could tell he was still breathing.

The dog is old now, eleven to be precise, and he hasn't been feeling the greatest over the last few days. Feeling overly sympathetic, I have been spoiling him by letting him sleep on my bed and on top of other comfortable surfaces. I can't tell if his apparent lethargy is due to illness or simply because he's always been this lazy but never had something comfortable enough to lay on.

As I stared at him, determining that he was in fact still very much alive, I tried to think back to some of the more memorable moments we've shared over the last decade. He is my best friend, and he is the only friend I have that has shit on my floor and faced absolutely zero consequences afterwards.

I am not sure what I will do when he dies. Sure, dog number two will still be kicking it, and the cat (always the cat), but it won't be the same.

When I finished my run, I decided to take him for a walk in the snow. He sniffed around and hopped in the air as I threw snowballs at his head (trust me, he likes it). "I think you're faking," I told him. "You're feeling much better than you've been letting on." He ignored my accusations and rolled onto his back, kicking his legs up in the air.

We stayed outside until he got back onto his feet and led me back in towards the door.

I hope my dog knows how much I love him. Even when he passes so much gas within the confines of my bedroom that the smell causes me to wake from a dead sleep. He has been much better to me than I deserve, and I can't imagine being anything but completely lost without him. 

1/18/2015

Growing Up

At some point in time it is going to happen to you. You're going to reach that age where very nearly everyone you know is a "responsible adult." Your entire circle of friends will consider it a big score when one of you can come up with enough pot to roll a single joint.
You'll huddle around it, reminiscing over the last time you'd partaken in this particular past time. "I haven't done this since before I had kids," someone will surely say.
You'll say nothing though. It has only been a few months since you smoked a bowl. The only reason it hadn't been more recently was because your dogs broke both of your bongs and you'd been a little careless with the glass components of your vaporizer. The tinfoil-wrapped straw device you'd rigged up as a replacement just wasn't cutting it anymore. Before that though, you'd gone through two solid months of getting stoned every day after work. You'd ended up getting to know the local Taco Bell staff on a first-name basis.
"Shit, if I get this thing in Switzerland, where will I buy my pot?" you ask yourself briefly. 

12/26/2014

Boxing Day traditions

For a few years now, I have made it a habit to spend Boxing Day in my pyjamas, drinking and cleaning. It's sort of my thing.

Drinking makes cleaning far more enjoyable, but it also yields questionable results.

As this Boxing Day comes to a close, I am already finding that I can't quite remember how much I actually accomplished over the course of the day. I do have a vague recollection of sitting in the bathtub, shower turned on and spray raining down on me from above, chanting, "Please, don't throw up. Please, don't throw up," for about ten minutes or so. I did not throw up. 

9/21/2014

Dear Bobbie,

It is nearly 4 a.m. and I am drunk. Do you not realize how badly I need poutine at this very second? I do. So bad. And yet you do not answer my texts requesting that you bring it to me. For over 15 years we have been friends, and yet you refuse me this one request. I feel like you owe me this much. I mean... do you remember that time I took you to the mall to buy a DVD players (back when DVD players were still something new) and you had terrible gas? You would wait until someone else was standing close to us, and then you would fart and casually walk away. It smelled like something had crawled inside your body, Bobbie, and died.. and that the thing that had died had been dead for weeks... months even. And, naturally, because you'd fled the scene, that stranger, the one standing right next to me, would look up... directly at me and give me the dirtiest look. And you did that so many times that day.

Surely that warrants poutine. I don't like you anymore. 

7/21/2014

Because that is the least I can do

I sat there, watching as my mother spoon fed him strawberry ice cream, wondering how aware of his surroundings he actually was.

My grandfather had fallen a little over a week earlier and sustained a nasty black eye, a cut to his forehead and a broken right hip. He'd spoken very little since the accident, and, even before that, he'd been displaying signs of confusion.

With "swallowing issues" to take into consideration, even my grandfather's water required a thickening agent. I looked over to the tray, where a cup of gelatinous water sat, and couldn't really blame him for not wanting to eat or drink.

I'd suggested bringing ice cream a few days earlier when I'd noticed his nurses had unsuccessfully attempt to sneak his pills into his vanilla pudding. "If we get a chocolate based ice cream, he may not notice the bitterness of the pills as much," I told my mom. A trip to the grocery store found Hagen Daz on sale. Two dollars off - surely an omen.

As my grandfather began to doze, we decided it was time to take leave. I bent down, kissed his forehead and told him I would be back again soon. "Try to stay out of trouble, Old Man," I said. He smiled at me in return. "I am serious," I warned, "I won't bring you any more ice cream if I hear you've been bad."

As I turned to leave, one of the other men sharing the room called me over. "Today is the happiest he's been since he came here," he told me. "I think it's because of you."

"Well," I paused, "I told him not to make a scene. I am now trusting you to ensure he doesn't get into any mischief. If he gets up to no good, I am holding you responsible." And I winked, because I am always looking for an opportunity to wink at someone.

It is hard watching someone you love die. I wasn't sure, at first, if I'd be a strong enough person to do it. I have seen it before. I used to work at a hospice. I was surrounded by death every day, or at least, statistically speaking, once every 14 days. But it is different when it is your family. It is different when you are the one sitting at their bedside.

I am not sure how much longer my grandfather has. I am not sure if his heart will suddenly stop in the middle of the night or if we will have a little bit of warning before the time comes. What I do know is that, if he needs me, I will be there to hold his hand as he takes his final breath; to stroke his head and tell him that everything will be alright. 

5/07/2014

At least when it comes to meat

"I'm going to eat that," I said. And I did. I ate all of it. Making up for more than fifteen years of vegetarianism all in one shot.

"Wow, you're really taking this whole 'eating meat' again thing to heart, aren't you?" my aunt asked. It wasn't the first time someone had said this to me.

"Go big or go home," I replied.

Part of me is starting to think that I need to re-think my "Go big or go home" philosophy. 

4/05/2014

Sitcoms.

Late, in the quiet of the night, it haunts me.

Show me that smile again. Don't waste another minute on your crying. 

I can't escape it. Try as I might, the second my eyes close it starts.

We're nowhere near the end. 

I toss and turn, hoping it will just go away.

The best is waiting to begin. 

But it doesn't. I find no refuge in the darkness of my bedroom.

As long as we've got each other, we've got the world spinning right in our hands. 

The Growing Pains theme song.

Baby, you and me.... We gotta be....

Of all the theme songs...

The luckiest dreamers who never quit dreaming.

Why does my subconscious always choose this one? 

4/03/2014

Rough week

That you are dead is inconceivable to me.
I can so clearly hear your voice in my own head. Your laugh. See your eyes shining as your smile lit up your face.
You never seemed sick. You never let it slow you down. Until the very end, you were a force; a beacon of hope in the darkness. Your presence was a gift to those around you, especially to my mother. You have been one of the best friends she has ever had, and for that I will happily forever be in your debt.
If cancer could be beat by sheer determination, yours would have been gone long ago.
But isn't that always the case?
I hope you knew. I hope that with your dying breath you had no doubt of your value. As a friend. As a mother. As a sister. As a wife. As a person. Your absence will leave a hole in the lives of each person who knew you. I hope you recognize how much you mattered. 

3/02/2014

Olympic Fever

While I have no complaints with how Team Canada performed at the 2014 Olympics, I am disappointed that I didn't achieve my own personal goal of having a threesome with the Hamelin brothers.

It's one instance where a speedy finish would have been discouraged. 

2/25/2014

Happy birthday.

You would have been eighty-four today. Can you believe it? For as long as I can remember, you've sworn you weren't a day over twenty-nine. 

I can relate to that. Part of me still has trouble believing I'm no longer a teenager. 

Last week I found the sweater you knit me years ago. I don't think I'd ever actually worn it in public. It's a perfectly good sweater, it's just that you'd given it to me when I was a teenager. Believe it or not but lopapeysa sweaters aren't quite considered fashionable amongst the teenage demographic - not to say I have ever actually been fashionable. But I found the sweater, there in the bottom of my deacon's bench. I picked it up and shook it out. Surprisingly, when I went to put it on, it fit. 

It's been ten years, but I still find pieces of you all around me. 

If there's an afterlife, I hope it has cake. 

1/11/2014

Greatest meeting ever.

As I sat on my couch, knitting yet another mitten, I stared at the TV in a mixture of shock, horror and just a little bit of intrigue.

Jackass II was playing.

I cannot say that I have ever really been a fan of the Jackass franchise, but I will admit that there was a brief period of time (specifically the fall of 2002) when I had a small crush on Partyboy.

For me, most of 2002/2003 was spent in my friend Rob's basement, sitting on a couch with a bunch of twenty-year-old dudes while they drank beer and played video games. I learned a lot during this time in my life, like how to shotgun a beer, that Snoop Dogg had his own pornographic video in which he did not actually engage in sexual relations with anyone but did often offer commentary on the sexual escapades of others, and that twenty-year-old guys will have sex with pretty much anyone/anything at any given time.

But I digress... This post is supposed to be about midgets (only you don't know that yet).

So, as I sat there (on my couch... knitting a mitten... watching Jackass II), Weeman appeared on the screen, naked and drinking a beer. He entered a room where some sort of business meeting appeared to be taking place, climbed up on a table, walked across said table, climbed down off of the table and then exited the room.

"I wish that would happen at one of the meetings I go to," I said out loud to no one. "I would like to be the one taking minutes when something like that happened."

2:00 pm - Meeting begins.
2:03 pm - Gordon suggests seeking new donor engagement opportunities that contain more of an interactive educational component.
2:07 pm - Naked midget enters room and climbs on to table.
2:08 pm - Naked midget exits room.
2:10 pm - Susan suggests cutting department costs by eliminating hard copies of newsletters aimed at younger demographics and sending electronic copies only instead.

1/07/2014

I also am really into loose leaf tea now...

Lately, I have been knitting like a mother fucker. Actually, truth be told I do not know how a mother fucker knits. It would be rather insensitive of me to assume that all mother fuckers knit or that all mother fuckers have the same level of skill when it comes to knitting, so I really should have thought more about my word choice in that first sentence.

Let's start again.

Lately, I have been knitting like an individual who has very clearly defined goals when it comes to what they hope to accomplish through their knitting and semi-specific ideas about the timeline that they would like to accomplish these goals within.

There. That's better.

I was inspired to take up knitting when I was forced to discard a pair of mittens that had been purchased  by a friend on a trip to Poland and gifted to me upon her return. My mittens were made of big, scratchy wool and smelled vaguely of kielbasa. I loved them immediately.

Parting with those mittens very nearly broke my heart, so I vowed to find a way to fill the void they left.

Or maybe I just got bored one day and decided that knitting seemed like a neat thing to do and that I should give it another shot. I can't really remember, but the end result is that I knit now.

To date, I have completed one pair of mittens (that may or may not look like they were made for someone with severely misshapen hands), 1/6th of a scarf and half of a second pair of mittens (with marked improvement when it comes to craftsmanship).

I have zero ambition to move increase my range beyond mittens, scarves and maybe hats. 

1/06/2014

Zombies…

I once woke up in the middle of a dream about zombies to go pee and spent the next ten minutes sitting on my toilet trying to decide what my best course(s) of action would be if I suddenly found myself in the midst of a zombie attack.

"Wait a minute," I said to Hudson as he lay sleeping in the bathtub, "zombies are not real. Why am I sitting here trying to come up with a legitimate plan for a zombie attack?" He groggily lifted his head up and stared at me suspiciously before sighing.

"Whatever, Hudson. Who are you to judge me?" I asked him. Hudson pees on himself practically every time he goes to the bathroom and still runs into walls when he gets excited. Also, his favourite place to hide is under a glass table, so I am guessing that any plan he'd come up with to escape a zombie attack is probably not going to be that successful.