8/18/2015

Whoops!

"You are the worst parents ever!" my step-niece exclaimed to my sister and brother-in-law.

We'd been having a sleepover and decided to make it a Monty Python's night. "She should be exposed to quality comedy," my sister and I agreed.

We were supposed to be watching Monty Python's Life of Brian, and while we'd anticipated several instances in which "ear muffs" and the the covering of eyes would be necessary, we hadn't anticipated the sight we'd been exposed to.

"There are only two of us who live here," my sister said flatly, "and I know that I wasn't watching porn on the game console."

Though it was only on the screen for a matter of seconds, the damage had been done.

Porn.

We'd accidentally shown her porn.

I laughed so hard that I began to cry.

"This is traumatizing!" my brother-in-law exclaimed.

"No," I corrected him, "it is beautiful. And I will tell this story at her wedding."

In reality, my step-niece had no idea what she saw. Her reaction was based entirely on the shock we were displaying at the time. "She's nine now," I told her father. "Based on kids today, this is probably all old hat to her." For some reason, he did not take solace in this statement.


7/23/2015

It'll come to me

I can't find my smile, Internet.

It disappeared a few months ago, when I said goodbye to my dog friend, and I haven't been able to locate it since. Sure, there are fleeting moments when I think I see it off in the distance somewhere, but I just can't quite manage to catch it.

I've been thinking about it a lot lately... How to get my smile back. What is it that makes me happy? What do I love doing? What do I love in general? And who do I love?

I realized that I don't know the answer to any of these questions. I can't remember the last time that I did.

I need to find my smile, and I will, but first I think I am going to have to spend a little bit more time finding me.


5/08/2015

So Ambitious

"Oh, are you looking to do assisted pull-ups?" the sales representative at the fitness store asked me.
"Yes," I told him. "Right now I can do zero pull-ups, and I would really like to be able to do one pull-up," I explained.
I've had the goal of being able to do one pull-up for half a year now. I figure it is time that I finally do something about it. Well, something other than just buying a pull-up/dip station that is now primarily used to hang bras to dry. 

4/17/2015

I miss my dog

I'm sad without my dog. That's the only way to really describe it. I'm not depressed. I'm not despondent. I'm just sad. I'm melancholy.
I know that, with time, my sadness will ease, but right now it feels like a defining characteristic. "My name is Megan," I want to say, "and I am sad."
I know that I am lucky - that most things in my life are running so smoothly that the death of my relatively old dog is the biggest emotional trauma I have to deal with - but my heart is still having a hard time rationalizing that. I don't want my dog to be dead. I want him to be sleeping on his bed, or in front of the toilet, or on the couch (even though he's not supposed to be on the couch). I want another chance to make up for all the times I short changed him on his evening walks or the days I thought, "I should take you to the park," but never did.
Every so often, I would lay down on the floor with him. I'd place my hand on his side and scrunch my eyes closed, as tightly as I could. I'd concentrate on all the love I felt inside for him and do my best to pass it along through my arm, out through my hand and into his body. I didn't hold much weight in it actually working, but what did it hurt? I don't think my dog ever had a particularly impressive grasp of the English language either, but that never stopped me from talking to him.

4/02/2015

Broken

"I don't want to do this," I sobbed, more to myself than to anyone else, as I stood in the small room. There was a blanket on the floor and an exam table to my right. My mom sat in a chair in the corner and my dog sat at my feet, more than likely wondering what all the fuss was about.
The time had come.
It was clear he wasn't getting any better. He was losing weight and moving around less and less. He was just as loving as always, but he had lost the energy and sense of excitement about life that he'd once had.
He used to roll around on the floor and kick his legs in the air. I hadn't seen him do that in over a week, and he would no longer come when I called for him.
The vet said many things to me while I sat on the floor, stroking my dog's side, but I don't remember most of them. "I am not sure," I remember replying many times, without really hearing the question. All I could think about was how much my heart hurt and that I would soon be without my best friend of more than ten years.
His heart stopped within seconds once the vet began to administer the drug. "He's gone now. He was very weak," I heard them say. I sat there, beside his body, stroking his side for several more minutes before I felt another wave of grief.
I loved that dog with all of my heart and a few hearts to spare. As I patted his head for the last time and gave him one last hug, I did not feel regret. Sure, I wished with everything inside of me that things had ended differently, but I knew with a certainty I could not put into words that I had finally proved myself worthy of my dog's adoration.
The first moment I held him, I knew that I would be with him until he took his dying breath... just as surely as I knew he was bound to break my heart. I wasn't wrong. 

3/29/2015

My hands on the steering wheel, at ten and two, as I make my way down the highway, going a few clicks faster than I probably should be.
Watching the road ahead of me, I feel a slight pressure on the sleeve of my shirt. Looking down to my right, I see a paw gently resting on my forearm. I glance up at its owner to see him staring at me in what can only be described as hopeful adoration.
"You're such a dweeb," I tell him, taking my right hand from the wheel and rubbing his head affectionately.
I spend the rest of the four hour trip holding his paw in my hand.
It became a ritual, of sorts, on any car ride - his paw in my hand. 

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 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?