Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saying goodbye

Saying goodbye can be one of the hardest things to experience in life. Whether it is goodbye to a relationship, goodbye to family or friends travelling or living overseas, goodbye to a way of life, goodbye to one that is dying.

A week ago I had to experience this pain, the pain of having to make the decision of saying goodbye to my 11.5 year old rough collie, who was more of a teddy bear than a dog, a princess.

Four weeks ago she had been diagnosed with a tumour. Decision time .... chemo and surgery or quality of life.

Chemo and surgery only provided a success rate that was low, in this instance, as it was highly probable the cancer had spread further. Her calcium levels had also increased, an indication of the beginnings of kidney failure. And what little time this may possibly have extended her life, was not worth the risk of surgery and the suffering of post-surgery and the treatment being offered.

Or the decision of quality of the little remaining time she had.

Quality was always going to be the option, as hard as the decision was. So anti-vomiting medication injected, steroid tablets provided, a change of diet to chicken and rice (what an enjoyment this was over the option of her previous diet of highly nutritional, but boring, biscuits) and a change back to the happy, excited to see people, lets go for a walk teddy bear that she was.

Unfortunately, this change only lasted 3 weeks, however they were happy weeks. She started vomiting again, experiencing diarrhoea, her back end wobbled as she weakly tried to walk and she was heart breakingly miserable. The always forthcoming wag had disappeared from her tail.

Time to face the journey to the vet, still with an unrealistic hope, but a deeply unconscious realisation that this was going to be a goodbye, a hard goodbye.

Her calcium levels had increased. There was the option of increasing the strength of the tablets, however this would only provide an extremely short term measure and it was highly likely she would start vomiting and suffering diarrhoea again within the week. And no the vet wouldn't try to change the decision of saying goodbye if that was the option decided.

The unconscious realisation became reality.

Gently she was laid down, such a trusting dog. She always was, trusting that you could do anything to her, as if she knew it was in her best interests. Her front paw gently shaven, as the needle with the green anaesthetic was gently administered. Hugs, gentle strokes of her soft head and the last of loves provided, with quiet reassurances and heartfelt thank yous to this beautiful soul. Tears fell and emptiness began to creep in as she quietly slipped away from the suffering she had recently gone through. It was the farewell goodbye.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Decadence: rainy Saturday morning: fluffy white robe: plumped pillows: watching the rain fall steadily through my bedroom window.

My spare time is precious. I always seem to be doing something, going somewhere, sometimes seemingly never achieving a lot. Occasionally, there are those small moments, when I don't have demands placed on my (either my own or from others), that I take a moment out, sit quietly and absorb what is going around me. This is one such moment.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The cub

A mobile phone number left in my inbox with the message "hopefully you will call me or sms me". Nice smile with intense look. Ok why not? Even though I realise he is younger than me. First time for everything I guess. Interesting, age has never worried me, my friends' age varies greatly, younger than me, older than me, I don't consciously think, oh what is their age when I socialise with them. It's put at the back of mind. Yes my insanity is proving to be confirmed more and more each day, that I am sure of.

Decision made, I dial the number that was left. Number dialled and introduction made ..... ok he doesn't recognise who I am .... thinks I'm a customer ..... I laugh silently, cringing slightly, at the ludicrousy of the conversation. I explain where I got his number from, well that he actually left it for me. It suddenly makes sense to him, fumbles with apologies as I laugh and reassure him, that no I don't just dial random numbers and have conversations with complete strangers. Well I don't dial random numbers at any rate.

A week of chatting and texting, the cub as my friend has named him, a date is semi-organised. Time and location sorted. Time changed, location to be decided. Suggestions put forth. Feeling mildly frustrated with the lack of decision and direction, I finally throw down the gauntlet and tell him to make up his mind. He would like to chill and talk, is that ok with me. MacDonalds. I could laugh. MacDonalds? Ok MacDonalds it is. Change of plan, black dress and heels out, jeans and boots in. The temperature was forecast to plunge to freezing, so the jeans option isn't disappointing.

I arrive and look for the specified new shining green vehicle. Not there. Ok back to car, back to the warmth. I hear him rather than see him arrive. Thumping, a highly tuned engine. He parks next to me and indicates for me to get out, having parked close he reverses to give me room. Pulls up. Waits for me to jump in. No alarm bells, no warning bells. I jump in. Teases me about my parking skills. I tease him about expecting a green Mohawk to match the colour of his vehicle. It's a comfortable feeling, an easy feeling. He drives to a look out, where the city can be viewed from above. It is such a crisp, clear evening, the lights stretch from the jewelled city over to the foothills in the distance. It's a magical city. It's one of my favourite views. I always feel like I am Dorothy entering the Emerald City.

We talk comfortably. Laugh at each others stirring. Some serious discussions. Some slightly uncomfortable discussions about where we both are in life. Some indifferent discussions. Yes the heart beat has been pounding in anticipation of will he/won't he and then yes he does. Fireworks, not surprising, we are both lil crackers as he describes us. When it is time to go, I am driven safely back to MacDonalds and my waiting car, he says he would like to see me again, with a final warm kiss, I tell him I will call.
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