Days 21-31

The cone. Is. OFF!

There has been much celebrating, in the form of rolling on the ground, biting ankles, biting toys, scavaging for rabbit poo, and barking just to bark. I think she wanted to burn the cone under the full moon and dance around it.

I was hesitant to take the cone off, but my husband said the stitches were done doing their thing, and most of the healing under the scab was done. It’s nice having a paramedic / EMT spousal unit. It’s like having a reference book you don’t have to carry around. And what am I a reference for? Well, if he is interested in story structure and genre and themes and the hero’s journey, well, he knows who to turn to.

Took the pups on a hike today. A new trail and I was getting quite bored. Trees rocks snow, kaaaaay. Then I met some people coming up the trail and they mentioned caves. Caves? Yes, I will cross the stream twice over slippery, crackling ice to see limestone caves. And we did.

Day 5

  • I had a funny observation earlier today, but I forgot what it was. I always think I’ll remember, and I never do
  • Skidded on ice during my drive into work this morning and almost hit a big moving van head on.
  • Had to change the dressing on Mayhem’s foot because I forgot to wrap it during a pee break. She snapped at me a couple times, but I did it!
Not their usual formation but I didn’t want to disturb the patient

Day 3

I slept through my alarm this morning. Swear it was that drink I mentioned yesterday.

Going through my chapters this afternoon, and I really have to stop myself from editing as I go. I just recently learned that you were just supposed to charge through. You’re supposed to come back later, several times actually: tweak your story, then your writing, then micro-tweak your sentences. I’ve always jumped to micro-tweak.

I’m so sick of this damn story I dread going through it again, but I promised myself that I would finish it. I wish I got a developmental editor years ago, even if it was just for a month or two.

Took Mayhem to the vet this morning for a cyst on her front paw. They don’t like the look of it and think it might be cancerous, surgery scheduled for tomorrow morning. I have to admit that I did cry in the waiting room. I am still very scarred about what happened with Max, but I also learned a lot.

Stay calm, don’t freak out, wait for test results. In the meantime, love and play.

Day 2

I’ve been living off of miso soup and protein shakes. Of course I blame the reason for my headache-y lethargy to not taking my multi. Yeah, no. I have chapters and six (short) scene analysis due on Thursday morning, which is just three short sunrises away and I do my best work in the a.m., so I have got to get it together.

A few weeks ago, I ordered some samples from a company that has mushroom based protein powder and coffee and elixer/potion stuff. I accidentally drank one of their “chill” chai latte at work, having read the word “latte” and assumed it was a pick-me-up. It was so not. I was very relaxed that evening and I think I went to bed at 7:30. All of this to say I have another sample packet of said “chill” and think it’s just what I need tonight. And not to worry – I don’t get paid from the brand to promote or anything. I mean, who reads this besides me?

My lights just flickered. I CANNOT lose power. Tomorrow the high is 2 degrees. Dos. Degree-os.

Major win today: Getting two booties on Olive. The sound the plastic hitting the ice is hilarious. It’s what I kind of always hear in my head when she’s walking anyway – she is soooo flat-footed and the most ungraceful labrador-golden(?) I have ever seen. It’s like she’s got palapus feet – plat plat plat plat…..

I did get two booties on Mayhem, who promptly sat down and Yoda-ed her ears until I took them off, then she ran away. We both knew that was the only outcome that could ever happen.

Turn up the volume for that plat plat perfection

Day 1

Was up at 4:15 am and felt a bit proud about that, but still a bit panicked about the upcoming cold snap. Negative 26 degrees won’t crack the house open, I think, but I’m scared of things happening: pipes cracking, septic tank exploding…I can’t imagine what -26 feels like but I’m about to find out. Last year the lowest was -13. I wanted to get out of the heat and humidity, but as usual, I overshot.

  • Ate a huge pancake right out of the pan,
  • Kept a baking show on the TV all day to keep me calm,
  • Two loads of dishes,
  • Scrubbed the fridge,
  • Shoveled snow from the side steps, and walkway, and created 2 dog paths. It’s not melting anytime soon and the weather app predicts clouds with light blue stabby knives coming out of them, whatever the heck that means, but it can’t be good,
  • Rolled-up towels and blankets to stop drafts, my addiction to rubber bands coming in handy and secured the rolls with them,
  • Took the dogs out for mini-walks. They were so happy to go outside but got cold pretty quick and looked at me accusingly,
  • Took a two-hour, man-sized nap,
  • Smeared Aquafor on my face like three times,
  • Brought in some miscellaneous pet toys that were outside, and
  • Threw carrots to the bunny that is living under the front porch.
Mayhem & Olive

Skipped dinner, which I may regret soon, but Day 1 down.

Dog With One Kidney

I don’t know what my damage is with posting. I’ve had this site for years and have barely touched it, but this summer I thought I would be able to get into a groove, make a schedule, put my blah blah blah out there. Then I found a lump on Max, my ten year old Labrador.

Not one of those old-dog fatty dog lumps – he’s had those for years, but a hard thing right below his rib cage. At first I thought it was just a rib. Max was on a diet so I thought maybe it was working. But, just in case, I took him to my vet, Dr. Falcon (can you believe it?). He knows me well, so if I was being paranoid he would say so and send me on my way.

But no. Instead, he knelt down, felt the lump, and took Max in for X-rays. Falcon told me it was a tumor on his spleen, and that he could do surgery that morning.

“Ok,” I said. Max had surgeries before.

“I’ll give a few minutes to say your goodbyes, just in case.”

What?

“People usually don’t find these,” Falcon told me. “The tumors burst, and you could come home to find him dead. It could burst at any second.”

So I did. I said goodbye and cried freely, as people and staff walked past me, and I didn’t care. It was heart wrenching to watch Max trot off and flirt with a vet tech, not knowing what was about to happen. I texted work, letting them know I wouldn’t be coming in, and spent the rest of the day pacing, crying, being tortured by the unknown. It was a long six hours while I waited for Falcon’s call.

I got Max the year my daughter graduated high school. He had been with me during my first marriage, through the divorce and moving into a small apartment. We walked and jogged thousands of miles together and snuggled in bed every night. He moved with me to my second husbands home, then we road tripped across the country when husband #2 was transferred.

He was steadfast and loving, and it didn’t matter where we were – I was his home.

When Falcon did finally call, he reported it wasn’t a tumor on Max’s spleen, it was a tumor wrapped around a kidney. He took out the kidney too, and it was complicated. He had almost given up.

“He has to stay here tonight,” Falcon said. “And it’s between him and God.”

Max has always been stubborn, so I counted on that. Although I’m not very woo-woo hippie, I tried to send a message to Max as I cried and cried and paced the yard: Do not die in that kennel! Fight! You can die tomorrow, or even on the way home, but not in that kennel alone and scared! Fight, Max, fight!

He fought. He came home.

It’s three and a half months later and he’s still with us, but beginning to fade. The months haven’t been easy; he basically has kidney disease and cancer. I was going to document his struggle in real time, but I couldn’t. The stress and anxiety was too much, and it was all I could do to not just curl up in bed with him and cry for days on end. I probably should have blogged, though. It may have helped.

The contortions of care and research I’ve done have been exhausting, and only in the last few days have I let myself get un-wrung, largely due to Falcon.

“Why do you need more bloodwork?” Falcon asked on our last vet visit. “It’s going to be the same or worse, and I think it’s the cancer that’s wearing him down.”

“How long do you think Max has?” I pressed.

To his credit, Falcon didn’t roll his eyes. I already knew there was no way to tell.

“Why are you even looking for that?” He said. “You need to look at the extra time you already had. Given his medical history, I’m surprised he’s made it this long.”

“We got a bonus round?”

“Exactly.”

So, that’s why I haven’t been around this summer. You dog people know what’s up. And for the first time ever I joined a Facebook group. It is for canine kidney disease and the information and valuable resources I’ve gotten out if it has really surprised me. I thought it would be a lot of people giving half-baked advice, and it is a little bit that, but mostly not.

It felt good to interact about the issue, give virtual hugs, and ask a question once in a while. I was by myself in this but I wasn’t alone.

‘Till next time, blogspace. I swear it won’t be too long this time.

Maybe we’ll be friends.

So I wrote a book. (Collective groan.) I know, I know. But it had been floating around in my head for a while, and with the dark Dakota winters, what else is there to do? Besides knit. Which I’ve tried. Being left-handed, which means one becomes semi-ambidextrous, means that knitting and crocheting instructions can completely freeze my brain up.

Anyway, so I would get up at 4:30 am to write, and about 6 am carry on with my day. As you writers know, however, revisions and ideas would run through my brain all day. Less like run, more like those annoying “just married” cars with cans clattering behind it.

But I finished it, huzzah, after six drafts, and am now onto Phase 2: rejection. I’ve sent it out to three agents, and in two weeks, will send it out to more, and so on, until it is fully rejected from everyone and I list it on kindle.

What this means for Right Now, though, until I get my next story together, is that I still have to get up at 4:30 am and write something. I learned this because somewhere in my second draft I got off schedule, and it was painful to right the course. Don’t want to do that again.

So you might be seeing more of me.