Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We're Home/Thank You/Figuring Things Out - part 3

I woke up Sunday morning knowing what I had to do, but not accepting it. It wasn't light out, and one southern mocking bird was singing away in the dark at the top of his lungs, as if life were something to sing about. Giacomino was curled up against me and Bill was awake. Both of us were crying.

I got to talk to my sister. They extubated her in the afternoon. I talked to the ICU nurse. Martha's pain was well controlled by the morphine drip. I'm coming, I said. I don't know when yet, but I'm coming. "Okie dokie," Martha said in a hoarse whisper. That morphine is good stuff.
My friend, Swede William's dear breeder Lisa in Sweden called. She listened to me ramble. And then she echoed Bill's exact words: "A week, a month, a day means nothing to a dog. It means everything to us, but nothing to a dog. Do not wait too late. That is where we can be cruel; that is where we can be selfish." Words I myself had spoken in the past to another dear friend.

We had a lovely walk around the block in the warm sun. He started to fall several times but I caught him. It didn't dampen his enthusiasm. I spent the day scanning photos. Oh and Lisa in Sweden had reminded me that I needed to trim William's neck fuzz for the National. This is not an activity to attempt through swollen tears, I later realized. I thought I had done a fine job. William's neck looked like he had encountered a maniacal, fuzz buzzing, fur-craving beaver badly in need of orthodontia.

I can't go into the next hours, except to say that I am blessed with the most wonderful, compassionate vets in the world. When I left them, something snapped in me on the forty minute drive to the crematorium. On the way there, I started to keen. Sounds just came from me. And on the way home the keening became screaming. Can you imagine? There I was driving on Lone Oak Road, in my big old Warburton Whippet van, with my unshowered bed hair, just screaming. I've never screamed as loud and it kept coming. I couldn't make it stop. I got frightened and I called Bill. "Talk to me," I screamed. "I need to hear your voice. I can't stop screaming." I scared him and he wanted to come get me. "No," I screamed. "I'm almost home."

Somewhere a plan had taken shape. I would drive to Atlanta the next morning. Carolyn had been on the Board of the American Whippet Club. Another board member was having health issues and would not be able to make it. If I didn't go, I didn't think there would even be a quorum, and nothing would be voted on, new officers wouldn't be elected and it would be a mess. I would show Swede William, go to the meetings, deliver the Willow Award, and then head up to Toledo, meeting Friend One with Spice and Easy on the way. That night the bed was so damn empty.

Tuesday morning I checked my email one last time before packing and heading to Atlanta. (Remember the Comcast outage? This LINK will take you to Comcast's official explanation.) Some of the lost emails had dribbled in during the night. And then my breath caught. There was an email from Carolyn. The subject line said "Re: Easy." I thought perhaps her brother or sister-in-law had emailed me some info from her computer. But it was an actual email from Carolyn, which I had gotten back in December. It must have been stuck on some server somewhere, and when Comcast's glitch got fixed... I had been trying to figure out when Easy's cancer surgery had been. I couldn't remember if it had been in January of '08 or November of '07. The email said,

I thought it was his lymph nodes but Greg took Easy to see ROn today
and we are pretty sure that his thyroid tumor is back - it has been
almost a year. Right NOW , he is eating, drinking, playing, barking, and
basically acting , eating normally but I am not sure how long it will
last. Ron X rayed his chest today and said it is perfectly clear so at
least that is good for now............. The surgeon thought it would
coms back in his chest first ....... I do not plan to put him through
surgery again....

And with that miracle electronic glitch, Carolyn was able to answer so many questions for me. The surgery had been in January. No more surgery for Easy. I had done right by my own Very Old Dog. I got out my suitcase, relieved that this would no longer cause worry for a Dear Old Soul, and I stopped screaming, and began a good old-fashioned cry. I miss Carolyn. I miss my Giacomino. Oh my poor sister.

Hug your hounds


  1. We cry for you and with you, and know that one day, all will be well. Changed and different, but well.

    Take good care.
    Love and licks,
    Jake and Miss Fergi

  2. Sitting with my laptop at the Brielle (NJ) public library reading this post in a room with other people and trying unsuccessfully not to cry. But what a Comcast miracle to deliver a lost message from your dear friend to you with an answer you so desparately needed. Who says miracles don't happen. I think there is a whippet in Heaven being cared for by an angel..... many many hugs to you... xoxo

  3. Oh...I was astonished to make it through your post without crying, knowing that your decisions were wise and caring. And then reading the comments opened the floodgates again. I am constantly amazed at the kindness and caring that people send via this amazing media.

    Barb, Gussie and Teka

  4. Dear Patience,

    Every time I walk past Bill's painting, I touch it to somehow both feel and impart the energy that's in it.

    But just now, hearing you keen, then scream, then cry in my heart, a different painting came to my mind -- the one by Andrew Wyeth -- Christina's World, I think it's called -- where a woman is part way up a hill looking upwards towards the house on the horizon. It suddenly captured the title of your posts -- We're Home and Figuring Things Out...



  5. Oh, Patience. So much in such a short time. You will come out on the other side in your own time and your own way.

  6. I think God is taking so many of your favorites to the Bridge together, so they can comfort each other and share stories of all the laughter and wonderful times you brought them. You are so much the worse for it, but they are all united together and the piece of you that they took with them will help them find each other.

    You have helped me in so many ways, Patience, and I have never met you in person. I can't imagine how much of an impact you make on the lives of your friends, family, and dogs (who are both!).

    Hugs always,


  7. I think telling this story is hard for you, but in another way, good for you.

    I have seen how strong you are and know you will come out of all this OK. But we all know it isn't one bit easy.

    Jo and Stella

  8. Oh no, so many things in so little time. I'm so glad the dogs were placed in good homes, Mom wonders whatever would happen to us...

    Rudy and his human mom Sandy

  9. Life can really punch you in the gut sometimes and we felt that punch reading this. We can't imagine your feelings but know that we are here and reading and sending strength and hugs.

  10. I have no words...only hugs.

    Thinking of you,


  11. Martha and P-DoggyApril 15, 2009 at 5:26 PM

    Dear P,I have been there,keening and screaming-sometimes it is needed to clear the soul. I agree Carolyn's e-mail was a (much needed) miracle. As I often say,this is something you get THROUGH,not over. Whippet kisses and hugs to all.

  12. Thinking of you and thanking God for you.

  13. Francarrich from WWApril 15, 2009 at 6:54 PM

    I hope you understand how I mean this -
    You done good!

    Carol, Banjo & Aida.

  14. Oh Patience, leaky leaky eyes again and can not imagine how you are feeling..... For once in my life I actually praised Comcast as well...Love A+A+PL2

  15. Patience,
    I am getting caught up on everything at your blog and I am so sorry to hear all that you have been going through. When it rains it pours. Sigh. My ma ape wishes she could give you a real world hug. And when my ma ape does that crying/screaming/keening thing I always like to lick her tears. I'd do that for you, too.

    wally t.

    ps. A small story--we were annoyed at Comcast for the down service. But then I got the apology e-mail at my e-mail address four days ago. My ma ape got her apology at her e-mail address today. So at least they have their priorities straight. :)

  16. I'm so sorry for everything you've gone through and for what you have yet to go through. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  17. Patience. My mind is just a blank, all I can think is your name and how much I wish I could give you a huge bone-cracking hug. What a HELL of a year so far. I can only think that there will be an amazing second half to at least attempt to balance out 2009. I don't think anything in the world can balance out the losses you have experienced, but maybe something to ease your soul.

    I may not know you in person, but I can truly say I love you and your Bill and your Waggle. You are good people. Maybe you can ask Bill to give you that hug for me. :)

    Amanda from the Great White North :)

  18. Wow. No wonder we didn't get to talk in Atlanta.


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