Oh, sure, you can drink what you want and stay up late, sleep as late as you want on the weekend and even take a mental health day without asking anyone’s permission. You get to make your own choices. But then there’s all the responsibility you have and that’s the rub…
October has never been the kindest month for me. The weather gets colder, the sun hides behind clouds, the days start to shorten and things die. My garden is gone for the year. My flowers are close behind, just waiting for first real frost to wither and turn brown. My dad passed away several years ago this month. On Halloween. And now my sweet 14-year-old Norwegian Elkhound, Inga, was just diagnosed last week with advanced stage lymphoma.
This past weekend was awful. We were waiting for confirmation of the diagnosis from the vet while medical tests were being run. On Saturday Inga ate some people food and a little bit of dog food but mostly drank tons of water. By Sunday, she ate nothing and could barely stand up to drink water or go outside. This morning we had the diagnosis confirmed and decided to begin giving her high doses of prednisone. If she’s responsive to the steroid, she hopefully will get less weak and develop a bit of an appetite soon.
But her long-term prognosis is about two or three months, if the prednisone helps. It seems like a reasonable thing to try but right now I feel like she’s slowly starving to death before my eyes and I can’t bear to put her through this for very long. I’m dribbling water into her mouth through a straw. If the prednisone doesn’t help soon, we will talk euthanasia.
A more aggressive approach would include surgery to remove her spleen and chemotherapy. I told my vet I wouldn’t consider that. It’s not only the cost, which would certainly be several thousand dollars, but the fact that Inga is 14 and a dog, albeit a well-loved pet. And from what I’ve read, chemo would only put her in remission for about a year (if she survived the surgery and treatment).
So why am I agonizing over the decisions? And second guessing myself? Because there isn’t a choice that doesn’t break my heart. Right now, I hate being grown up…
Postscript: I wrote this post Monday night and decided to post it anyway, even though my precious girl took matters into her own paws and passed away during the night. I’m so very sad but also happy that she won’t have to suffer. We were honored to be her family for all these years…
I know I’ve told you about my very cool, talented, older (sorry, Al) cousin Al Ciner, who was a member of a musical group called The American Breed. He also played guitar for other bands back in the day, including Rufus, where Chaka Khan was the featured singer. I know it’s not a great picture, but he’s the hunky, funky guy fourth from the left. And this year Rufus is nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I would love it if you’d help by checking out the website and voting early and often, as we say in Chicago! You can vote once a day through December 5 here: https://www.rockhall.com/fan-vote/2018-fan-vote
If you’re (gasp!) too young to remember Rufus and Chaka Khan, have a listen to Tell Me Something Good. Rufus won a Grammy in 1975 for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus for this song!
JP is our youngest grandson who turned five in September. He and his mom and dad lived with us while they were building their house a year ago. Though they’ve moved into their new house now, we still get to pick him up from preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays and spend the afternoon with him. Next year he’ll be in kindergarten all day. He’s so full of fun and remarkably wise for his years!
Last week and this week we have him everyday after school and on Fridays because the other grandparents are vacationing in Hawaii. We love Hawaii, too, and JP and his parents went to Maui on vacation with us earlier this year. He’s just been mesmerized with all things Hawaiian and loves to listen to a CD of famous Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. It’s called Facing Future and you may think you don’t know him because he recorded mostly traditional Hawaiian music. But I bet you’ve heard his very popular rendition of Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World, his lovely voice backed by only a ukulele, that was used in more than one television commercial!
One of the songs JP likes best is about the history of the islands and how IZ sings that the king and queen would be disappointed to see what has become of their people and their islands over the years. My grandson takes this to heart and loves to talk about it.
JP: Nana, are the king and queen of Hawaii dead?
Me: Well, yes, that was a long time ago. Now Hawaii is a state in the United States, just like Illinois.
Me: We don’t have a king and queen, do we?
JP: Yes, we do. My dad is the king and my mom is the queen and I’m the boy prince! But you can just call me the prince.
(His daddy calls him boy prince teasingly, but he does have an AWFUL LOT of toys! And four very doting grandparents…)
I’m having a group of folks over this weekend and I’m looking for some nice fall like drinks that could be made up ahead of time in a pitcher. It’s not really a Halloween party, but it needs to have alcohol for sure. I was thinking various beers and hard ciders? But maybe one type of cocktail, too?
All ideas are welcome!