Feeling the Blues

I’m sort of through with my meltdown….maybe not entirely however I’m no longer crying.

I actually wrote a heart-felt, deeply personal post about my day, today, Saturday, which started out fine, just fine, and then declined into one of malaise, then malcontent, then anger bordering on rage……..the latter of which was precipitated by a WordPress glitch. I wrote a wonderful post on my iPhone, sitting outside on a chaise lounge next to Zolton, also on a chaise lounge.

Looking blue

It was a bittersweet time. Filled with photo-ops and reflections. And then POOF. It’s gone. Not auto-saved as it was promised to be by those invisible WordPress support people that come to the rescue 6 weeks after the fact.

My boys went to a Phillies game and I was left to my own devices, without much of a plan. I love that! But not today.

I started my day, around 1:30 pm (told you: I’m depressed), after reading a bunch of magazines while drinking coffee in the kitchen in my pajamas. I put on my sneakers and started out to my gym…to lift some weights…since I’ve been very, very weak these last few weeks.

Zolton picked up on the sneaker-part…a wardrobe item I loathe and will never be caught dead in unless I am going to exercise. Sidenote: When I was single if I ever met a guy wearing running shoes with jeans, he was immediately dismissed as geek. But I digress.

So Zolt knows that sneakers equate with movement and if he’s lucky he can redirect that movement from the gym to the road; from the television and weights and treadmill to that of the open road…..trees, weeds, wildlife and maybe another  occasional canine on the loose. These days, he usually gets whatever he wants.

Off we head, up the hill around the corner from our place. He is moving at a reasonable clip. I wonder if he is feeling the sadness I feel….the looming goodbye on the not-so-far-distant  horizon? How can he not? He can’t be feeling well. Cancer originating in the anal gland; moving into the pelvic cavity; lymph nodes; liver; both adrenal glands; both lungs and possibly brain. I’m not sure where the mammoth sized 9.8 cm (4-5 inch) mass which is blocking his femoral artery fits in this equation but it can’t be pretty. In fact, it’s probably going to be a cataclysmic disaster any day now. Hopefully, I won’t be alone.

As we press on, I call the vet-tech who works with the at-home-euthanasia-vet. I need to know when I should be intervening. They tell me that I will know. I’m not too sure. Where is the kindness in watching the sad look on your dog’s face every day?

Just not smiling much anymore…
…but I’m still aware

If it’s not severe pain, it is severe discomfort….perhaps a shared malaise….not too sure about much right now. I just don’t want him sad and uncomfortable and certainly not in pain (and NO! They don’t tell you when they are in pain until that pain is severe….they put up with a lot before they let you know it).

This vet-tech woman is a doll. She has empathy and time. She is listening…..until I lose it. Some jackass on a tractor mowing his dumb lawn is freaking out at me because, in my distraction, in my grief, I didn’t notice Zolt was taking a whiz on his lawn. And when I say “lawn,” this is Bucks County, Pennsylvania. There are farms and estates set way off the roads. There are pebbles and weeds along the road where dogs go to the bathroom. I never once thought of bringing a clean-up bag out here in the country. No one does. So Zolton had to take a pee. And we all know that #2 likely succeeds #1, so LOOK OUT. He throws his arms up. I yell, “…sorry, but he didn’t do anything…and he’s got cancer and dying!” Like that would mean something to such a neanderthal!!! And do you know what this moron says: He calls me a f**king whore!” Yes. That’s right. I actually live within a mile of such a low-life! “You F**king Whore,” he says to me. I’m honestly flabbergasted. So is the woman on the other end of the phone who hears my line of defense. And so, likely, is Zolton, the poor angel that is on steroids and pain meds and feels like shit.

I’m now rattled. I can’t accomplish much this fine day. I can’t focus and get paperwork done. I don’t feel like watching a movie or reading just yet. I want to clean up my desk but I just can’t direct my attention anywhere. I start a DOGBOOK Facebook page for Zolton, The Wonder dog. Friend him. Friend us.

Zolton wants to go out so I decide to join him with a glass of wine and a magazine. We head out to our pool which isn’t really open. I mean, it’s the northeast and it’s only the middle of April. I grab two chaise cushions, one for me, one for Zolt, and I start writing a blog entry on my phone.

I’ve already told you how this ends.

Now I’m crying. I am becoming unglued. I wonder if anyone else can relate? I’d love to hear from you.

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Can these hands heal?

I’ve always been told that I jump to conclusions (if you read my previous posts you’ll see that I’m often TOLD things quite a bit). Most of the time, I let the people who tell me things about my manner–usually negative–go in one ear and out the other to some degree (though not completely, because I am sensitive). However, today, I don’t give one darn hoot what people say about my overly sensitive ways of reacting. I am intuitive and I’m bracing myself for some bad news.

If you recall my last entry relating the last year of life without my precious father and how he helped me handle my puppy twelve years ago??? (If in doubt, please read “A Year in Heaven). Well that puppy is an elder dog now–a “senior” and he is not doing well.

Last Thursday I took Zolt for a checkup. I’m embarrassed to say that with everything that has gone down in the past year, I’ve been remiss in getting him checked every 12 months. He had lost 15 pounds. I hadn’t even noticed. Now he is a big dog–half Newfoundland-half Lab. Down to 75 pounds from his fighting weight of 90! Now he was always over weight, I reason. But the doctor doesn’t like what she sees. She thinks he looks depressed and she palpates his belly and thinks his liver is possibly enlarged. She also senses something neurological is askew as he is doing something “weird,” she says, “with his head.” I don’t see it and I’m a psychologist.

We do the X-rays which don’t show anything unusual. We do a complete blood profile which shows some elevated numbers (calcium and amylase) though nothing wrong with his liver enzymes (though the enzymes are not amiss until 75% of the organ has been damaged). He has a history of Lyme’s disease which caused early stage renal disease, we were told, many years ago. He has since been on a fancy diet I sent for through the mail. This seems to have kept his disease at bay. The kidney disease seems to have created a further problem, that of high blood pressure, which we have been treating for the past few years. I mean this is a dog who has had issues. He was hit by a car when he was young and we patched him up “good as new.” About six years ago we thought he had cancer as they had found a growth in his abdomen and all medical personnel braced me for the worst (such that I was on-call for an intra-op call to decide if we wanted to put him down or not). Low and behold, he surprised us all, and the problem turned out to be a cyst, blowing the minds of all vets involved in the case. But let me tell you, I prayed and prayed and prayed for this dog–hands on him in the ER the night before his surgery. I even put him on a prayer chain on the internet. Were my prayers answered or was it just my good fortune? I happen to think it was God.

I continued to lay my hands on sick dogs and good things happened. Did God work through my hands? I don’t know. Wouldn’t that be something? Wouldn’t that be a gift from God?

Tomorrow, I take my very best canine companion to Malvern for an ultrasound. I am seeing an internist upon the recommendation of my vet. I’m hoping the weight loss is due, in part, to the fact that we were away for over 10 days and Zolt had no human food to consume which is a considerable chunk of his diet. Plus he seems to hate this new food I switched to in June, I’m noticing (remember, I’m slow to observe certain things–my mind has been riddled with emotional grief all year and I have a child to take care of). Plus it’s over a 2 year span!! And he’s getting old and they lose weight as they age, right?

As for the high calcium….well he eats a heck of a lot of cheese (so much for the “special diet”) thanks to my husband’s lax manner in just about everything that concerns me. All I can say is that I’m NOT READY TO LOSE MY BELOVED DOG!! I mean, I know he’s not going to last forever. I’m just not ready. I’m still sobbing over my father’s death. I sure hope I still have the gift in the hands. I’m claiming it! Or have I blessed other people and their dogs such that my quota is up–up when it’s time for some miracles for me??

One can only keep the faith and remember that the Lyme’s disease from deer tick bites is another bullet in building my case to get back to the city!! And look at my baby, how stylish he would be when walking through Bergdorf’s wagging his tail and knocking over some table on the first floor. How I would love to take him there. Last time I was there, I even asked if they had a size requirement since all the dogs frequenting that place (as well as my hairdresser on Madison) weigh under 2 pounds. They aren’t prejudicial–all dogs are welcome and I am taking him there one of these days. It’s on the bucket list. Plus he’s much better mannered than some of those little dogs taking a tinkle at the Judith Lieber counter. He would hold it–even if it hurt. What a blessing this dog has been….