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.