Monday, April 12, 2010

Of Sloth, Glutton and Remicade VII

On Friday night, I lost my family dog.  Physiologically an aging hound, he was otherwise a puppy; he was an energetic, spoiled, happy, somewhat disobedient, gorgeous, gigantic puppy.  I did not become aware that he was even ill until two hours before he died, and the blindsided nature of his death is what makes it so difficult.  Post hoc analysis (note: assessment of tests/behavior, not autopsy) has strongly suggested that he had a stomach tumor which ruptured and took him fairly quickly.  My poor little Aussie-Collie-Horse-Cow-Dragon (yeah, 80 lbs of pure child and beauty).  I am choosing to ignore the frequency of this fate in many dog breeds and feel that it is oddly ironic that my dog should die of stomach cancer.  It was hard after rushing to my family's house in shocked and frightened tears to see him just laying there majestically in the backyard.  I don't know how my parents managed to be with him as he twitched and let out his last breath.  I don't know how my father found the composure to clean the vomit from his front paws and close his eyes.  I have no idea how, two hours after I arrived, I was finally able to go outside and sit with him, kiss his head and stroke his back to say goodbye.  I have no idea how I managed to leave his side.  No matter how comfortable I become with the nature of death, it always destroys me.

Enter the Sloth.  On Saturday, feeling physiologically superior to what I have now accepted as my "normal" self, I hoped to be constructive.  I hoped to write my science paper, my "novel" and give some attention to my books -- I am thoroughly engrossed in the 12th and 13th century and m seemingly unable to wrench myself from it.  Instead, I moped in bed until 9am and let H.K. drag me to the park to play with his new sexy camera and micro-dolly.  There were, of course, dogs at the park.  None of them were nearly as beautiful as Shep, and made me miss him all the more (I have included a photo for those of you who never met him and begrudge my maternal bias).  I came home and moped some more, with a bit of writing peppered into the evening.

Enter the Glutton.  I have, since Friday night, been consoling myself with Tootsie pops and pomegranate juice (the latter is prescribed for my non-infection-[now]E.coli-infection, I assure you).  It has to be something like eight spanning the weekend.  I've also been gorging on crackers and forbidden cooked vegetables, since my appetite has chosen to overwhelm me in the absence of pain (which before today was on a 4-day winning streak).  And that craving for hard boiled eggs?  That had me bringing up my entire stomach contents last week, and -- surprisingly -- again, when I ate them today anyway not wanting to waste food.  But let me take a step back...

Enter the Remicade.  On Sunday morning, I received a phone call at 942am asking if I could come in for my infusion at 10am instead of 2pm, as I was scheduled.  This was such a strangely healing day.  I packed my Infusion Survival Kit and made it to the hospital by 1002am.  For what seemed like only 2.5 hours (as opposed to the usual 4) I sat working on my science article with old Simpsons episodes in the background and Nilla Wafers at my side.  When I drove home, I ran a mile and a half (this is a big step forward for me since last August), cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed the rest of the apartment and wrote some more science before crashing in my bed with my tea and Frank McLynn's version of Richard and John Plantagenet.  Then we made coconut lemongrass chicken soup for supper (which has become a weekly habit).  One hell of an awesome day.

Today is a miserable one, but not because it is Monday.  As aforementioned, I decided to eat some hard boiled eggs today; not a good decision.  Work flew by in what seemed like a third of the time I spent there -- I don't even remember doing most of what I did.  The bus ride home was twice as long because I was concentrating so hard on not vomiting.  My dear friend is coming to stay with us for a week and I do not have the energy to adequately prepare the house/her bedroom for her.  My stomach is raging at me.  And I am still finding it a strenuous task to come to terms with losing Shep, although his quick departure is a comfort in that his pain was somewhat minimal, and not drawn out for months in attempt to stabilize him on various medications.


  1. aw....cute doggy. AS for your remi, well take comfort that means it is working. The few times it worked for me it was like that. And hard boiled eggs are effin bland. Gross. Your body just rejected them. I DID steal your idea for drinking tea and you are a genius. Its so soothing.

  2. That was a beautiful post on Shep. I'll forever be a believer that dogs have a profound affect on the pysche. (Or maybe I'm a sap.) Regardless, I'm sure you have countless memories of your time with him.

  3. Oh, my, he is a handsome dog, and I am so sorry for your loss. We are a family of dog lovers, and when the time came to put our beloved brittany down a few years ago, I received a card from the vet. It showed a mutt curled up sleeping on an easy chair, and the verse read, "My parting has left you with a void, fill it with your remembered joy." Take care.

    Kathryn's mom (aka MONG)

  4. I am so sorry that you lost Shep. He was a beautiful dog. We have a 13 year old black lab. My youngest son was 4 when we got him. He is having a lot of problems walking/falling, can no longer do steps and I'm afraid he will not be with us much longer. They are such a big part of our families. Enjoy your wonderful memories of him.

  5. I know how hard losing a pet is sorry for your loss, and I hope the remi works I had a rare reaction to it and I just started cimzia 2 weeks ago.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....