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
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