Category: pain

Sooo

…sooo….

Remember how I always manage to injure myself or something crazy before going South? I was doing great until late last night around 11:30pm when I let the dogs out. I saw that I’d left the battery inside the weed whacker, so I went to remove it, when the pusher thing from my aerator happened to fall off the shelf and smack onto my pinky toe. The ram rod is solid steel and it’s a rod which means it fell like a spear, pushing all its force into my one toe. GOOD GOD. The pain lingered, too, well into my sleeping. I was busy reading manga until close to 1am and it was still stinging/throbbing/paining. Thankfully when I woke up, I still felt it sore and stiff, but I can walk OK, it’s not broken and not swollen up tremendously. I was truly terrified I’d crushed the bone or done something awful when the pain wouldn’t stop for 2 hours. Walking is doable, but painful and I have to move my foot in a way so that the pinky toe doesn’t hit anything. I’m just glad it wasn’t any other toes or worse, the top of my foot altogether. Still quite painful, but only if I put pressure on it.

What it means, however, along with the fact that it’s currently raining here and South, is that I now have a decision to make as to when I want to venture down there. Yet another day wasted!! I can’t stain anything when the fence is wet, and while I can still finish up the mulch bed in the back, lugging, dragging and otherwise carrying heavy bags of mulch is going to take much longer and be much harder without my pinky toe to support. You never appreciate anything until you can’t use it. I completely disagree with the “scientists” who believe that not too long into our future, we’ll evolve out of pinky toes. Pfft. Mine is used regularly for balance and strength. Monkey feet.

I think I’m cursed.

I was going to post a photo here but I have the world’s ugliest feet.

At least tomorrow is going to be nice, but I feel bad because I took off of work today and now it’s yet another day wasted in that aspect. Just like my birthday week which I had had all planned out to go do things South and I couldn’t because I’d crashed my car and didn’t know that I didn’t have rental car coverage on my insurance.

It’s probably a good thing that I regularly smash my pinky toe on chair legs and such. Makes it tougher.

Oh and in the shower today I managed to drop my bar of soap. ON THE SAME TOE. Fun times.

In other news, when the dogs and I were rounding the final stretch this morning while coming home, I was busy telling Liana who was scanning the way for our friend Miss Bunny, that it looks like Miss Bunny isn’t out today in the rain! Well. One blind turn to the left and it all happened in a flash:

  1. Bunny hears us coming and darts ahead into the safety of the brush.
  2. The brush happens to be on our right and Bunny is coming from the left
  3. I don’t see Bunny, all I see is a flash of brown heading our way at top speed, which I assume to be a bunny
  4. My brain processes in the flash that this is Bunny, it’s heading our way, I have 2 greyhounds, one who is looking for Bunny and one who is just walking, but greyhounds nonetheless, and it looks like we’re going to collide, the rate at which all of us are approaching each other.
  5. Dread fills me as I have 2 wild fast predators with me
  6. Fight or flight response chooses option 3: FREEZE and GASP AS LOUDLY AS POSSIBLE
  7. Both dogs lunge at the same time as Bunny’s brain makes split second decision to jump vertically and execute aerial 180 degrees turn Gable is the closest and lunges right at Bunny who is probably mere inches from his face.
  8. I am frozen, so I have a death grip on his leash which I usually keep loosely short, which means that my arm isn’t getting ripped off and muscle tension insures that he isn’t going to get anywhere.
  9. On my other side, Lady Jaguar lunges too, but smashes into the back of my legs. I don’t feel much pain because once again I am frozen and tensed up.
  10. My body releases me and off we go, both dogs on a mission, ears up and hunting.
  11. I try to go as fast as my injured limp will allow me, and adrenaline is nice because it blocks pain.
  12. Bunny is long gone, so Liana in her irritation sniffs out where it was last, and poops. Twice. In that area. Gable adds some urine for good measure. Maybe a warning? A last, “I’ll get you next time, you wascally wabbit?”

Both dogs are both proud of themselves and annoyed that their human is ridiculously slow on the uptake and hunt. Pretty much worthless. Currently Gable is sighing and grumbling to himself because why the HECK are you home today, failed hunter? Feed me or do something useful.

Looks like the sun is coming out up here and the clouds are dispersing. I’ll head down around 11 or so, I think. Less traffic and give the water some time to dry. We have yet another freeze warning tonight. Sigh.

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Blarb

Thought about going South today, but then realized that it’s spring break. =_= Traffic was annoying enough yesterday with people not knowing where they’re going and drifting this way and that, slamming on brakes and turning randomly (thank goodness there wasn’t a lot of cars on the road). I definitely do NOT want to deal with it this morning with two dogs that refuse to eat their food. See? They refused to eat their food again. Sigh.

The big thing for me this morning was freaking out while finding a strange, large (like 4-5mm? wide and 4mm height?), painful, red lesion on the border of my areola and skin. It had a large crater where it looks like the lesion exploded in my sleep and a side tract where nasty pus/blood was draining. Tried to clean it up and it was painful as well as bleeding moderately upon wiping. My mind raced through everything it could be as I have NEVER experienced anything like this before, ranging from cancer to simple skin irritation. Normally I’d just chalk it up to blocked hair follicle, but it is just so BIG and the crater and all that pus just spilling out when I touched it…not to mention the biggest worry as it is my breast. Breast. Cancer. Anyone????

Well. I cleaned it up until it stopped oozing so much, hopped into the shower, made sure to soap up well and clean it well too while trying not to freak too much. I don’t have a fever, I don’t feel sick. Getting out of the shower it was then oozing just clear-ish fluid but still painful to touch, air, water. I guess pain can be a good thing as breast cancers usually don’t hurt…until they get really bad. I made sure to get a good feel of it and it’s quite superficial in the upper layers of my epidermis. Alright, good sign. I have this topical Clindamycin that my mom gave me years ago. I use it as infrequently as possible but it does wonders on bad pimples and such, so if I have lesions like this one I’ll use it. So I did. Applied, dried it out a bit and decided to put a bandaid on it so that rubbing from my bra doesn’t irritate the place further.

Then I did what I’m not supposed to do: hopped onto my computer and looked up what it could be. Eventually after realizing I don’t need to rush to the ER and that I probably won’t die in 30 minutes, I’m happy and 80% convinced that it’s just a blocked hair follicle from having majorly dry skin that I never moisturize. I guess my nipple-skin areas have been feeling ultimate dry lately but I’m too lazy to turn that around…just like my hands. I DID PUT BABY OIL ON MY HANDS LAST NIGHT. To be honest, I happened to notice it last night, but it wasn’t painful then and I was too tired (or too scared?) to roll out of bed and check it out, opting to wait until morning. Only time will tell. If it doesn’t go away in a few days, I’m definitely going to have it checked out. I hope I don’t have to though because I need as much money in my bank account as possible!

It still kind of hurts now. Gosh, I hope it goes away.

I’ve grown to look forward to Thursday and Friday nights being at home by myself. That’s exactly what I want, but more of it.

Some good news to end with: I finished reading all my CEs!! All I have to do is take the official tests and boom, done. Ironically the one I finished last night was all about antibiotics. It’s amazing that I took all of these and known all of these back in school, but it’s not until now that it makes more sense, I guess with the clinical experience and lack of brain overload. I’ll probably forget it all within 3 months though.

Also, peeling bandaids off your nipple-areola areas is very painful. I snapped some panic photos of it on my phone, and now I hope no one gets into my phone to look at pictures. All deleted. Now that the panic is over, the pictures really do look just like blocked follicles.

Monday again

And once more, I’m working, but this time it’s a normal Monday becaaaaauuuseee…..THANKSGIVING IS ON THURSDAY. My favorite holiday during my favorite time of the year! Whoooo!! After talking to my patients for years on this, I finally realized that more people than I ever imagined actually greatly dislike this holiday. Mostly women. Mom types of women. Then again, I think more people than not dislike the major holidays altogether. Then I was even more appalled to know that my mom admits to disliking Thanksgiving. I assume it has something to do with being the sole maker of foods on a tight schedule, then cleanup, etc. So I told her that she doesn’t have to be the only one who does things and it’s like she never really thought about it. Whatever. It’s still my favorite, even as I got older and have more to do in the kitchen. Although…this year is a bit different and possibly more drama-filled. And likely the very last time I will ever be able to utilize my own amazing kitchen to its full extent.

I had Friday through yesterday off and spent Friday (I had allllll these plans and errands and chores that needed to be done) morning outside trying to finish up the whole thing I was trying to fix in the backyard. It occurred to me afterwards that the HOA is going to throw a fit once they lay eyes on it. Oh well. Why do they care so much about a private backyard, anyways? Boggles the mind. That’s not what an HOA is supposed to stand for, excuse you.  Well, let’s just say that yardwork like that, which is one of the mainstays of my existence, has not been accomplished by me in months on end…therefore I spent the rest of the weekend hobbling around slowly and in great muscle pain. I felt lightheaded afterwards, but filled with an endorphin rush. Today, 3 days later, there is lingering but minor pain (all lower body), but I can walk and even my upper body feels stronger. The rest of the weekend saw other chores being done, like moving the extra bed into the basement for a daybed, organizing the basement, cleaning out excess materials in my closet so that I have more room to store more things, paying bills, then playing video games. Still have another closet to clean out and probably will end up moving my bed back to the other room. The whole idea behind moving the extra bed away is because I ended up splurging on that photography lighting and backdrop kit I’ve been wanting for years, just more important to me now because my dogs are not getting younger and I’d like a decent photo of them before they’re not around anymore–one without clutter all over the background, etc. And then I can take vain photos of myself too. Bwahaha.

I don’t think I’ve ever met another person (aside from probably my dad) who has the same unbearable muscle pain I get after doing strenuous activity. A couple concerns pop up like rhabdomyolysis, fibromyalgia, other muscular problems, but in the end I think it’s just plain old pain. You might say, maybe you’re just a pain-wimp, but I beg to differ because I actually like pain. I’m thinking it’s more like my body does a terrible job of mopping up lactic acid, or slow wound healing response (like my bruises too), or maybe my muscle fibers expand too quickly and it results in pain as the body is not prepared for it yet, especially since it really only is painful when I try to contract the growing muscles. HULK MUSCLES. MUSCLE GROW, MUSCLE CAUSE PAAAAIIIN. No matter what it is, I’m effectively debilitated for several days. Let’s not mention that whole mountain incident thing. Then after the pain, then I really do feel like Hulk because my body’s all muscled up. If I was born a man, I’d probably be a muscle dude. Body builder. Crossfit Bro.

D’oh! Out of time.

Sunday!

Came back from a Saturday of marathon yardwork with a killer sunburn! Woohoo!

When I came down I was immediately overwhelmed by what a disaster it all had become. Weed-choked beds and weeds galore. The mulch I worked hard on last year? Completely overrun. The plan was to take advantage of this one beautiful Saturday that wasn’t raining to try and at least get the grass killing down because the fence doesn’t rely on heat and sun. And glorious is truly was: gorgeous high of 83 with a moderate breeze and just enough clouds. So I started by commandeering the lawnmower to do it right this time by cutting the grass down as far as it would go before laying down the mulch and landscaping fabric for maximum heat damage. That lawnmower is awesome! Except that the batteries last a total of 10 minutes or so, less if the grass is really thick. Very frustrating. Good thing I don’t plan on owning the house longer than the beginning of next year, because a riding lawnmower would be necessary, and subsequently the dreaded gasoline. The lawn being all weeds didn’t make me feel too terribly bad because if you looked around the neighborhood very few lawns survived this year, but the unkempt factor was annoying. Whatever. I set to work right away (traffic had been so bad it took me forever to start and I had planned on starting earlier before the sun got too high), rolling out landscaping fabric, lofty goals in mind. Ran out, so I made the mulch/fabric/pin run. A guy looked at my items and said to me, “heck of a job for a Saturday,” and I was like, “it’s a nice day.” Same guy smiled knowingly and pityingly at me during checkout. 19 bags later I went back out to finish landscape-fabric-ing and uh oh, the sun was getting bad. But it was OK! Because I didn’t have much of a choice! And there was a breeze!

The difference between this year and last year’s workings
Guhhhhhhhhhhh. The weeds are choking out a tomato plant

By the time I got to spreading the first load of mulch, I was already done for and the expansiveness of the yard hit me hard. Not only did I have but 1/4 of the mulch I actually needed, I could tell my strength was fading and fast. Extremely hot and tired, I came stumbled in around 3pm (I started at 10:30am) and while downing my 2nd Vita Coco stolen from the fridge (water wasn’t anywhere near cutting it), and told my brother in law that I really and truly needed them to buy mulch and spread it for me before the side I prepped turned into the other side. Then I made my way tiredly out to my car, not caring what the heck I was wearing or how I smelled, to buy the second load. This time pushing the cart full of mulch bags was much harder and much less fun. While waiting for my turn at checkout, a couple behind me asked me what case my phone was in. I turned slowly, Ganado-style, and slowly reached for my phone which took 2 tries (I usually stick my phone in the left back and my wallet in the right back), and showed them. He asked if I could sit on my phone without breaking it and I joked that I’ve been sitting on it and we all laughed. The whole time I was frantically hoping in my head that they wouldn’t think I was drunk, possibly having a stroke, but not drunk. Then it was my turn to checkout. Driving home slowly, I unloaded 2 loads, smaller ones because I knew I was quickly fading and still had to spread it. Took some time to put my rocks down around the drainage thing, and frustratingly realized in my addled state that of all the rocks to choose from I chose the one size that would slide willingly into the drain. Figures. I might as well be drunk, holy crap.

Only one more load left (5 bags) I went into the house because I thought I was going to die and needed to rest for a little. Grabbed a new Vita Coco, and went over to my dog’s bed to just lie down for a quickie. I felt my eyes close as my butt hit the ground and as I lay back, Gable barked hard at me before coming to lick my face–something he never does, ever. I could feel Liana lay down on my other side and he wouldn’t stop licking me until I sat up. Right then and there I was revived. I had a surge of energy. It was powerful, having my dogs attentive to my health like that. From 2 dogs that I suspect are ailing from old people stuff. Gable just the other night and morning was displaying more dementia-like symptoms. Liana, I think is intermittently incontinent. I told him that I only have one more and I need to do it so we can go home because otherwise I would crash and never make it back. Like the little engine that could, I kept saying to myself, you can do it. 5 more bags. That’s it. Let’s do this. When it was over, I summoned the last of my strength to take the last wagon-walk back and then grabbed my stuff (slowly) to leave. Talked to my brother in law for a bit and then left. Made it home, finally, and took my long awaited shower ( I knew if I had taken it there I’d never want to drive back). That’s when my next task came: go take care of friend’s cat.

Thankfully, my family called me then to ask what to have for dinner because I hadn’t even thought of food. See, in this instance I am very glad to have someone take care of stuff like dinner and dishes for me. It occurred to me I hadn’t even eaten all day long.

Then we found out about my sunburn. Ouch. Spray sunscreen is great except for on your back. Lotion FTW there. Geez. I hadn’t worn a tank top in years and BOOM there you go. These days I’m so much more comfortable with shorts and tank tops, all thanks to the IPL and possibly old age. Haha. So exhausted, I went to bed around 9pm and ended up on my phone with my brain in full alert mode for an hour. Of course.

Woke up exactly the same time I wake up every day and I could feel my body was going to me unhappy. Ouchies. Not NEARLY as bad as Old Rag, though. I am so proud of myself and glad that my physical state has not deteriorated like that again. Phew! It’s tired and achy, but I can walk and put on my underpants. Definitely could lose some fat, however…

Sunday! A good day to veg out! Or do crafty stuff!

Back To Work

I’m going back today…part of me doesn’t want to leave. Mostly, it’s because I have face people again. My coworkers, my patients who will certainly ask me about my dogs. It’s not like she’s dead, in fact she seems to be doing rather well. I did it again where I didn’t give her medication for the night…none this time. No yelping, no whining, nothing really. I did notice her slight limp when I woke up and she slowed way down the second half of the walk today, but her spirits are good and it could have been the humidity/heat.

The dread still hangs over me, creating a pallor on the days. It’s a major consolation to watch her roaching, melting off the bed, excitedly look at squirrels, rip up cardboard and try to bark/play with Gable. I know this injury won’t go away, though, and now (really after the 10 day follow up where I will further my financial death spiral) it’s mostly a waiting game. Waiting and cherishing her. Him too, honestly, because for all we know something’s going on with him that will suddenly wish to rear its head too. This is what happened, isn’t it? So focused on being alert with him that I didn’t even notice her.

Looking back on last Wednesday when this all went down, I was focusing on trying to get a temp into our office because I knew something was wrong and she needed to go see the vet. I was trying to entertain all the possibilities and stone myself for the worst. When my mom called me and sent me those pictures, I had to stay strong for those 2 patients, but it didn’t work all that well, and GOD, my heart…I thought my heart was going to stop. There was a sharp and then very dull, continual ache exactly where my heart is, but I was adamant that I wouldn’t get a heart attack before I got home to my baby girl.

Then looking further back and stepping out a little, the stress my heart has endured this year has been so much more than any other year of my life. Even the divorce and running away. I guess I should even include last September with Tristan. So yeah, it has been a year, because right around September was also when I started having major relationship trouble.

I think…I think all of this has changed me. I noticed that when I see my patients now, I’m not as happy, and I know they’ve noticed. I don’t care as much, I don’t talk as much, whereas before it was happy talking about anything and everything, whether it was dogs or not. Idiot doesn’t help either. Now I’m just a depressive lump.

I dunno. I just feel weary. I’m 30 years old. Only 30. I’m tired. I’m somewhat depressed. I’m stuck. All of these things together make up life, I realize that. Maybe I’m not as adaptable or as strong as I always thought I was. Or maybe I’m just less strong now. Taking punches from all sides. I wonder if it was just one big event to focus on, if it would be easier to take. It’s like an acid attack on your teeth…doesn’t matter it’s always a 24 minute window with each attack. Once I got hit last August-ish, it will wane, then WHAM, wane again, BOOM, wane some more, etc. Very short respites of true happiness and plunging right back in to the fray.

Maybe this is why I feel I need someone to share all of this with. That it’s too much for me. You get to a certain age and then you no longer can be independent? Is that it? Life events like tragedy all hit people around a certain time in their life, so I know I’m not special in this, but I’ve never had the feeling like I need someone else to be my strength for me. I always did it myself and had no problem with it. In fact, I was very proud of needing no one but myself. This brain must understand this hence the strong desire to find a mate, and my heart is just silly. Not only can it not let itself go again, yet, but it still holds the dreamer idealism that is core to me.

I guess, I can’t escape nature. Companionship, partnership, reliance. Who knew they were so important? I never did.

Workout

I just finished working out. I’ve found that a really good motivator to go workout is when everyone is at home because I try to get away. Don’t get me wrong, the social part is nice, to tell someone about the dumb stuff that happened at work, or that obnoxious driver or how cute Liana is. But. BUT.

In other news, I brought up the courage to text M again today. My last text to him was Memorial day, so Monday, and it broke my heart again to have him be so curt with me. That’s when I decided I need to just stop altogether so I consciously stopped thinking about him, about us and just started getting back to normal like before we met. I’ve been doing really well, but it’s been nagging me that his stuff is still here. I’m surprised he never asked for them back, so I’d been meaning to ask him to meet with me to give them back. However, as I imagined the meeting, I hadn’t been able to ask because I needed to get myself to the point where I will be able to do it without getting emotional. Honestly, it’ll probably get that way, but the more resentful I can make myself about him, the easier it will be. So I texted him today about it. I sensed a sadness with his short replies, but what am I supposed to do? He can’t do this weekend, but there’s no real rush, so whenever is fine, and truthfully  that’s more time for me to build up the strength to do it.

Let it be known for the record that I do not resent him as a person. Our relationship had many, many holes and wrongs from me and him and in retrospect was doomed from about last August. You could even argue that it was doomed from the get-go, but I choose to remember the good things, the  pure happiness and joy. I focus on the resentment in order to overcome my pain, but only for the short-term.

I must be hiding it well because my mom casually brought him up a few times the other day and I neither flinched nor freaked out about it. No one has said anything at work either and one of my coworkers slipped and joked about my “boyfriend patient” before realizing herself, but it didn’t bother me. I guess I’ve been acting so normal no one really thinks about it.

Anyways, I was happy with my workout today. I pushed myself more than I have recently (been getting much softer lately with the depression bit and no motivation), so that the sweat would come, to the point where one of my ankle weight sand bags came out I was moving around so much. Then I moved to the punching bag because the song was good for it and it turned out to be much more than I intended. Deep rooted pain and anger came flowing out of me and I beat the hell out of the thing. Gave it all I had, put it all out there in my fists, clenched my teeth and just released it all. Felt good, but stirred up the pot again. I really had been holding it in. Pain. That’s what I wanted. Physical pain. Then, ironically, the perfect song came on right after my cascade of anger petered out. It’s so heartfelt and perfect I’m going to put the lyrics here. Ended my emotional diarrhea with some light Total Gyming and releasing my heart into the song. YouTube it if you’d like. She’s one of my favorite artists.

 Yesterday

Artist: Anh Minh

Don’t want to start over
We’ll never make it together
Been there, done that before
I don’t wanna take another chance

How did we get so far
No chance of staying forever
Broken from the start
Now regret is all that I know

We’re better on our own
Take back those reckless nights,
Your sweet embrace
It’s time I let you go

No reason to hold on
I wanna forget your touch,
Forget your taste
Forget our yesterday!

Refrain:

Take this pain away with every sweet memory!
I don’t want, I don’t want to trouble you anymore
Take this heart away with everything’s haunting me
I don’t want, I don’t want to hurt another day

I’m gonna turn away, turn away
Turn away, turn away
Walk away, find a way
To erase yesterday

We’ve walked this line before
Couldn’t hold it together
Our love has run its course
The story’s come to an end

I wanna get over
The dreams of us before
I’d rather not have known
You can have our memories

We’re better on our own
Take back those reckless nights,
Your sweet embrace
It’s time I let you go

No reason to hold on
I wanna forget your touch,
Forget your taste
Forget our yesterday!

(refrain)

I wanna be the one you miss

We shouldn’t’ve let it end like this…

Find a way, try to erase yesterday!!!!!

(refrain)

Requiescat in Pace, Tristan

Yesterday was kind of a weird day for me. Left late, got home, walked the dogs in an unusually quick fashion for a Friday (being hungry, I think), and almost immediately got a call from my grandma. I let it go to voicemail because I was tired and my brother and I were discussing food, but the message chilled me to the bone and spurred me instantly into action. She was begging me to come help, NOW, because something was wrong with Tristan in increasing panicked tones. I fumbled with the phone to call her back while racing around to change my clothes and grab some towels (my dog first aid bag and with hesitation but hard emotions: a blanket), and ordering my brother to hurry and come with me. Said a hasty and apologetic goodbye to the dogs, and rushed off trying not to speed too badly, one eye out for cops, but knowing time was of the essence.

When we got there, night had just fallen, around 8:25pm. He got up and came over to greet us, but his legs started giving out and could not stand even with repeated attempts. I gently laid him down, and that was the last time he ever stood up. Checked his vitals with my hands to the best of my ability, checked for injury, checked for reactions, asked questions about timing, exactly what happened, how he was earlier that day. I felt like a paramedic, neutral and concise, but hiding an exponentially growing realization that this was the end. His heart was tachy the entire time I was there at my grandparents, he’d eaten very little  (he is a voracious eater and ate all of his breakfast), asked to be let out and when he didn’t come back my grandpa found him collapsed in the trees. They both managed to drag him into the house (this was around 6pm), and he lay there for the 2 hours leading up to our arrival. No injury, no broken bones, no pain reaction from him. I tried to make him stand up, but he wouldn’t, and responded not at all to treats. His gums were very hot and sticky, like he was sweating.  I noted that he had lost quite a bit of muscle mass. I called his vet’s office who put me on hold for over 8 minutes, so I hung up and called back and immediately told them the problem. They put me on hold again this time for about 5 minutes. The tech was overall not concerned that it was an urgent, instant medical emergency, but pointed me to the nearest e-vets. I had to then call my uncle who was on a train coming home, and we decided to go to the closest vet: VCA Southpaws. I  knew about that already because one of our patients is a vet there, and had a good vibe about them with their close relationship with my own vet office. FINALLY able to do something, my brother and I picked him up in a blanket and put him in my car. He didn’t fight or move while we moved him, but the moment he was in the car he picked up his head and looked at me and my grandparents. They came out to see us off and I had my brother drive because I knew I couldn’t drive in the dark and I’d be in no position to drive soon.

I held his paw the ride there, trying to make light convo with my brother. We get there and thankfully they’re not busy, but in an almost maddeningly calm demeanor they had me fill out paperwork and eventually rounded up some nurses to bring him in. Thankfully I filled out the paperwork almost 100% (I surprised myself!), with minor hand shaking. They asked to place an IV catheter and I OK’d it. They then led us to a room in the back and I was like, Oh no…because it was like one of those consult rooms in a hospital. Then again I’d never been in a hospital before, let alone an animal one. My uncle kept updating us to his destination, and asked that we go back with him, but I never asked for that because I kind of knew we wouldn’t be able to…and selfishly I didn’t want to break down just yet. My brother and I hung around for the next 2ish hours just waiting. The doctor came in and went over a few things, asking permission to run blood tests, which I OK’d. She said that he was stable for the moment, no injuries, just the swollen lymph nodes (lymphoma) that we’d known about. Blood pressure was fine, heart rate was fine for the stress he was in, his vertebrae were stable (apparently Doberman are prone to slipped discs), but his temperature was through the roof at 105.7 degrees F. They were very worried about opportunistic infection given his cancer. The bloodwork would take an hour so it worked out timing-wise with my uncle’s arrival.

More waiting. I was getting very cold and very tired as my body not only was still hungry but shutting down to go to sleep (10 is my bedtime usually).

Then my uncle got there. I heard him rolling his luggage down the hall and he looked an absolute wreck. I updated him, he updated me. I had been under the impression that Tristan had already started chemo, but this was not the case! That despair in my stomach grew. The symptoms he had shown I had attributed to weakness from chemo. Now in my mind it was inevitable, the outcome. As usual, he was rolling out logic and talking through things, and I talked with him in a very objective way, but steering it towards the inevitable decision. Then the doctor rolls in with the information and the information from his vet. It wasn’t good. He was anemic, probably from the lymphoma spreading to his bone marrow, his temperature did not respond almost at all to the medication they were giving him, the prednisone regimen is a pre-treatment to retard lymphoma before chemo, but obviously it couldn’t stop it from spreading, the beta cells were in such high numbers, and it looked like his body had turned autoimmune and was killing itself. My uncle asked questions and just was beside himself. The doctor was very informative and experienced at this and medically neutral, giving him the options but listening 3rd person she was definitely recommending euthanasia.

He asked for a few minutes to decide. My uncle clung weakly to the notion that instant chemo could save his life, but logically he knew the odds were not too optimistic. I put in my observations and recounted for him, as the objective 3rd person, the Dr’s facts and analyses all pointing to euthanasia as the real solution here. Inside I wanted to cry, but I needed to be as strong as possible, even if it seemed like I was being an uncaring hard-ass, in order to afford him the opportunity to make the tough decision. When he broke down, I knew he’d made a decision. The right one. I ran over to him and just hugged him and that’s when he lost it. I held him as long as he’d let me, and tried to be comforting (I felt half self-conscious only), before he said he needed to tell the doctor before he changed his mind. I went to find the receptionist who contacted the doctor (my brother followed behind me, giving my uncle a little privacy). I came back to see him with tissues and bowed out to go to the bathroom. I realized that my fly was down the whole time which allowed me a rare smile in the face of the despair bubbling up inside me.

God must have been guiding me the whole time because I don’t know how to I knew what to say in all of this. It was like having an out of body experience. When I came back, all that despair pushed its way out. The decision had been made and I could finally let go…not that it was waiting for me, because the tears just started coming. It was then that I finally divulged my own decision for my own dogs if they were ever placed in this situation, I wouldn’t be able to save them. I know how chemo works and have several patients on it. It is brutal, brutal, what it does, and in our case, a dog wouldn’t have long to live afterwards provided it will take to begin with. As the doctor surmised, his body wouldn’t be able to hold up to it given the state it was in. I hadn’t wanted that piece of information to color his decision and it seemed to give him solace that he’d made the right one.

They wheeled Tristan in for us to say our goodbyes and the tears kept coming for me. He was half sitting up when he saw us, but that was all he could manage. I sneakily took pictures not because I’m an insensitive asshole, but I thought one day I’d ask my uncle if he wanted them. Tristan was tired. He seemed to know what was going to happen. My brother was very quiet about it, but he cried a bit. I’ve never seen him cry as an adult. After about 20 minutes my uncle noted that he thought Tristan was ready. Neither he nor my brother wanted to be present, but I’d read in the past from other vets that while it’s your choice not to be present, the pet always looks for you when you leave. I stayed. And sure enough, when my uncle and brother left, he was looking for them. The doctor assured me it was the best decision, which I concurred with, then talked me through what she was going to do. I told her I have 2 dogs of my own. His fur was so coarse and he seemed worried, so while she gave me the tissue box, I tried my best to be strong and comforting for him. Ended up leaving snot all over his face, but the crying was at a minimum as he started slipping away. His eyes never closed and the doctor said some of them don’t. Three big breaths later, he was gone. I felt him go. I should’ve looked at the time, but I didn’t. She pronounced him dead and gave me his collar. I stood up, telling her I have 2 greyhounds and was well aware of their risk of ostesarcoma. I don’t know what I was going for with that, but I apologized for making her do that and then thanked her for her help. I patted his warm body one last time, and left the room.

Walking down that hall and out those double doors, I started to break down fully. Managed to thank the receptionist and sobbed my way through the exit. Helped my uncle get his stuff in my car and we started for home. It was quiet with lots of sniffing. Everyone lost in their own thoughts. I put the music on low and the first song playing was “Home” by Chris Daughtry. My brother drove on, unsure of how to handle the situation.

Finally we got my uncle home and I gave him Tristan’s collar. I then called my grandparents for him with the news, and we went home ourselves. Our stomachs were hungry, but our appetite was long gone. My brother expressed that he was glad I was even able to stay through it because neither he nor my uncle could be with him at the very end. It wasn’t just an ability, it was my duty.

My dogs seemed to understand the aura and didn’t bark ferociously at us even though they were starving hungry themselves. I left the blanket and towels in the car, not wanting to deal with it yet. The blanket I chose was the one we’d give him when he came to us. I hugged them both and proceeded to get some nutrients. I tried t wait for my mom to come home, but she was closing so I left her a note and tried to go to sleep. When I tucked Liana in, she smelled my arms and sighed one big sigh. Sleep didn’t happen until after she got home and found the note, but that seemed to be closure for me.

I dreamed things I don’t remember now, and woke up at 6am only to start the tears again.  The memories played back and forth and back and forth, so I decided to type it all up here in the hopes that it would stop. Certainly therapeutic so far…and I realize that I already remember some things in the wrong sequence. I really hope this stops the tears. My face is very puffy and I’m afraid to walk outside with the dogs lol. I’m also dehydrated from fluid loss. That wasn’t even dog. I had a long history with him and certainly a strong emotional investment, but I can’t begin to imagine how I’d be with my dog. My uncle is probably an absolute wreck…alone in his house with momentos of Tristan everywhere.

Looking back on it, the way everything had worked out, worked out, because if I’d come home earlier and we’d gone out to dinner like we usually so, my grandparents wouldn’t have been able to contact me. I’m blessed and honored to even be able to have been there for him through all of this. Someone he trusted and loved. Both for Tristan and for my uncle as well. I’m serious, I don’t know how I just knew to do certain things, to say certain things, but I am thankful that strength was granted to me. How to be an adult 501. A part of me says, now you have experience. What a dick, that part of me, but it’s right. Not to say that each situation is the same, but the silver lining (besides him being out of misery and suffering) is that I don’t have to go into it cold when the time comes for mine. I certainly need my brother or someone again who can drive me, but to have experience is one of the best confidences.

I love you big guy. Run free, eat to your heart’s content, get all your belly rubs, and one day I’ll meet you on the other side of the Rainbow bridge.