Friday, December 14, 2012

saying goodbye to Sammy

published March 19

I've waited a while to post this, not only because I needed to put some space between me and the actual event, but also because I needed this time to process all that has happened.

Sammy's last day was as peaceful as we could manage: we gave her a full dose of alprazolam, not the half we'd been giving her to keep her mellow. We fed her a can of wet food, and tuna when she wanted more and we had none. She spent most of the day outside, lying in the flowerbed where the sun was shining. Someone was with her all day: we took it in shifts, sitting with her in the grass, on the sofa, wherever she wanted to be. I actually didn't want to do it - didn't think I could bear it, because I knew that what I was going to do later that evening would be hard enough - but Sid insisted. We have a picture of me with Sammy, sitting in the sun, her head on my boot, sleepy and unaware.

The drive to the vet was terrible. I had intended to go alone, but Sid wanted to be there, too, and so we brought Spagett as well. Everyone at the vet was so nice, so understanding. I remember one of the techs telling me about when she had to euthanize her dog: "It's the hardest decision in the world, isn't it? Like, you don't want to know, but you know."

I don't clearly remember much about what happened. I remember they took her into the back to place a catheter in her leg, and she screamed. Sammy never had much voice, she always squeaked and squawked like she had laryngitis. When I heard that scream, I thought she knows. Perhaps she really did. They brought her back out, and then all I truly recall is holding her, wrapped in a blanket, and telling the vet to go ahead. I remember the hollow feeling in my chest as she injected the medicine into Sammy's leg. She was purring. I do remember feeling so grateful to hear her purr like that, because it had been ages and ages. She started nodding like she was falling asleep. Sid started to cry, and all I could manage was "don't," because I was barely holding it together, myself, and I didn't want to scare Sammy. And then she stopped purring, and that was it.

Afterward, when I carried her out of the vet's office wrapped in that same blanket, there was only relief. It was over. It was the odd peace I felt after Spagett was born, that total stillness of the soul after going through the circles of hell.

It's been almost five months since she died, and it has taken that long for me to tell the story of her last day. Five months, and I still sometimes see a little black shape out of the corner of my eye and turn, totally expecting to see her there.

Monday, October 22, 2012

when it rains, it pours II

We are moving in a week.  One week.

And tomorrow we are having one of our cats euthanized.

Fun times, right?  Sammy has been on a slow decline for a while now.  She paces, and poops on the floor, and isn't as friendly as she used to be.  We have taken her to vet after vet and there's nothing we can do for her.  For the past few days, she's been on a benzo and while it's made her loopy and she falls into her own poop, she is like a kitten again.  Seeing her so happy and mellow just emphasizes the point: It is time to let her go.

That doesn't make the decision any easier, even though I've felt in my heart for a while now that this would be the end result.

We have talked about it, and cried, and talked some more, and cried some more, and Sid agrees with me 100%.  Everyone I've talked to agrees, this is the best choice we can make.  And that doesn't make me feel any better about it at all.

So I have made the tearful call to the vet, and scheduled the death of a beloved family member.  And tomorrow, I will go with her - Sid can't bear the thought of being there - and watch her die.  I will hold her as she takes her last breath.  It is the very least I can do for the little black cat who has stuck by me for 14 years.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

a quarter for your vomit

Spagett loves money.  He calls it "doy" and every time he finds a penny on the sidewalk, you'd think he won the lottery, the way his face lights up.  He loves his money.  This is turning out to be problematic.

There was a quarter on the floor.  Fuck if I know where he found it, but it was keeping him occupied while I changed his diaper.  He was turning it in his fingers, looking at it, dropping it on his chest, and then he started to stick it in his mouth.  I used Mom Voice: don't you put that money in your mouth!

BLOOP, down the hatch it went.  Right down his throat.  My first reaction was one of panic.  Holy shit, my kid just swallowed a fucking quarter, is he going to choke to death?  But Spagett was screaming and crying too loud to be choking.  So then I started laughing.  Maybe that was mean of me, but I was envisioning a shit-coated quarter, and how I was going to make Sid get that diaper and just let him wonder what had happened.

So, I was laughing.  And Spagett was freaking out so badly it's pathetic, so I held my arms out to him and he flew at me for a hug.  But I was still laughing, and I couldn't stop.  I tried to tell him it's okay, you'll be fine between giggles and I'm pretty sure he couldn't understand what I was saying.

And then he started gagging.  I couldn't tell if it was gagging like choking, or gagging like puking, so I pulled him away from me and just then he bent over and sprayed a fantastic amount of vomit onto the rug in front of me.  Dinner and dessert and snack, all over the floor.

So then he was upset about that.  There were strings of vomit hanging off his face, he was sobbing, and I am officially going to hell because I was still laughing.

He calmed down once I stopped laughing and started cleaning, but I'd be lying if I said I could see straight through the tears in my eyes.  And as I scooped up chunks of cherries and tortilla chips from the carpet, I found the quarter.

I wiped it down with Lysol and clipped it onto the fridge.  It is officially a keepsake.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

she's baaaaaack!

I didn't expect to say that, ever.

Four days of putting up flyers, calling shelters, checking Craigslist and generally telling myself that she was never coming back, and Knut came home.

I was sitting on the recliner, reading, and Spagett and Sid were out in the garage doing Spagett and Sid things, when I heard scraping at the door.  And then again.  And when I got up to see what it was, fully expecting it to be the fucking raccoon I've seen around here lately, there was Knut.

Whatever else she's done in the past four days, she got into a fight with something at some point: there are bite marks, scrapes and punctures, all over her neck and shoulders.  Her ear was bitten.  One of her claws got ripped out.  A fly had laid eggs around some of the wounds.  She was dirty and smelly and tired, but so glad to be home!  I picked her up and took her out to the garage, because Sid didn't hear me yelling for him.  The look on his face was priceless.  Shock and joy and disbelief.  It was Knut!

We got some food and water in her and carted her off to Banfield Pet Hospital.  She was cleaned up and shaved and checked head to toe.  She's beat up, but otherwise healthy, and hopefully there will be no complications with those bites.

I hadn't expected to see her again.  Honestly, I thought she had died, or someone had picked her up.  I didn't think she was going to come home.  That she did seems like nothing short of amazing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

when it rains, it pours


Friday, first thing in the morning, I had my wisdom teeth out.  The bottom two were sideways, and all four were impacted.  The surgery went fine, all I remember was they were having a hard time finding a vein for the IV, they gave me nitrous, and once the IV was in everything went wonky.  Right before I passed out, I remember thinking I was never going to pass out, that I would just feel dizzy and sleepy forever. Next thing I know, I'm waking up with gauze in my mouth and being herded out the door.

That afternoon, I looked like Bethenny Frankel.  The next day, my face was unrecognizable from the cheekbones down.  I blew up.  The swelling was worse the next day, if such a thing could be possible.  I cried.  Spagett was scared of me.  It was horrible.  The Vicodin I'd been prescribed didn't seem to take a dent out of the pain I was in.  I can't say it enough: it was horrible.

While the swelling has gone down, my face is all bruised along my jaw, and I still can't open my mouth very far.  It isn't pain stopping me; I literally cannot open my mouth.  While I understand this is normal and will resolve in time, it fucking sucks trying to eat.

But.  That's not even the worst of it.

Yesterday Knut disappeared.  I spent all day today walking around with Spagett on my back, or biking with Spagett in his seat, putting up flyers with Sid and looking for that bitch cat.  And she is nowhere to be found.  We lost Knut.

Holy shit, we lost Knut.  We may never get her back.  I don't even want to talk about it anymore right now, just thinking about it, just typing the words, leaves me with this hollow, sick feeling.  Even though I know, I fucking know anything could have happened to her, I can't even bring myself to consider that she might be dead.  Eaten or otherwise killed by another animal.  It simply is not a thought I am willing to entertain.  Even though I know she is old, missing teeth, not as spry or able to defend herself, following that train of thought to it's conclusion is unfathomable.

I have to believe she'll come back.  That someone will find her, someone will pick her up and call me.  Or that I'll open the door one morning and there she'll be on the porch, having gotten tired of her adventures and found her way home.  This has to happen, because if it doesn't, the implications are more than I can take.

Friday, February 3, 2012

to the two gay men in Celebration, FL in '96

I'm sorry.

I know it's been 16 years since I saw you holding hands in Celebration, FL, but I have to admit, I think about you two a lot.  Probably a lot more than is considered normal or sane.  It's just that my mom and her boyfriend said a lot of shit about you guys that I'm sure you heard, and you ignored it.  And I laughed at what they were saying, because I was 12, sheltered and ignorant.

You would be justified in thinking that they were bigots raising bigoted children: I would think that, without doubt, if someone heckled me in such a manner while I was out just living my life.  I assure you, those two adults may be bigots (among other things, which I'm not getting into here), but the three kids you saw have grown to be fairly respectable adults.  We're not without our issues, which is another story entirely, but we're definitely not homophobic.  Hell, at least two of us aren't even religious anymore.  These apples, for the most part, fell pretty far from the tree.

I wish I hadn't laughed.  I wish I had known better.  I wish I could go back and shake my mother by her shoulders and demand an explanation; why did she think it was okay to act like that, to teach that kind of blind hate to her children?  But mostly, I wish I could tell you two that I'm sorry.

What happened that day should never have occurred at all.  Ever.  To you two or anyone else.

I'm sorry.

Friday, January 20, 2012

baby steps

It's no secret to anyone who has spent even a little amount of time with Spagett: he is a kid who loves the fiddly things. He loves to figure out how things work, how things go together, how things come apart. He is very curious. When he was a year and a half old, we had to change from simple child-proofing caps on the electric sockets to a full plate because he figured out how the CHILD-PROOF LOCK worked ("Child-proof my fucking ass," say the Mansons). He learned to fly a remote-controlled helicopter! Since he learned to walk when he was nine months old, he is constantly going, constantly doing, constantly figuring things out.

 But he will not learn to talk.

 He has made-up words for "cat" and "helicopter/plane," ("nu-nu" and "oin," respectively) and he will point to a keyhole and say "key." He calls me "mum" and Sid is "dad'n" or "dada." He calls Spongebob Squarepants "BobBob," and will not hesitate to tell you "no" if he disagrees with you. Recently he started saying "cheese," "bug," "candy" (sounds more like "nanny") and "ball." He does use two word sentences. He knows exactly what we mean when we tell him things. But this still puts him behind other kids his age.

 It sounds alarming, but truth be told, I feel like he is just so fixated on figuring out his world that language skills have taken a backseat. I don't know of any other kids his age that can fly an RC helicopter, after all. I don't know of any kids his age who have figured out child-proof locks. As his mother, who worries all the time about everything, I do not worry about his speech. He will get there in his own time. If he goes about talking like he did walking, he will wake up one day and just decide this is the perfect day for talking in sentences.

 However, when he went for his 2 year well baby visit at the clinic, I was told we would get a referral to speech therapy. Which I'm fine with. I know he's behind. And if I'm wrong, and there is a problem, addressing it is the only thing we can do. To ignore it would be terrible.

And so my beautiful, brilliant, busybody little Spagett is going to see a speech therapist.  As the saying goes, may god have mercy on that poor sap's soul.

Friday, January 6, 2012

making progress and hitting roadblocks

When I started running, I was horrible at it. I mean, really, really horrible. And I slowly started getting better, but Sid felt like I wasn't getting better fast enough, so I started the Couch To 5k program.

I had no trouble running nearly 3 miles today, okay? I've gotten better. I ran my fastest mile today. I've gotten a lot better. My average pace is definitely a lot faster than when I started. I've really gotten a lot better.

But I'm still slower than Sid. That doesn't bother me, though it seems to really bug him. My ultimate goal is to be able to run a half marathon, 13.1 miles, and today I did just under 3 miles, so the goal is still out of reach, but I'll get there eventually. I want to focus on distance. I don't care how slow I am, as long as I get there in the end. But Sid wants me to focus on speed. Who gives a shit how slow I am, if I can run 13.1?

Maybe I should just focus on speed for a while. It would be great to be able to go running with Sid, and keep up without difficulty. But he walks faster than me all the time, anyway, so why should I have to move faster than I'm comfortable with, just to keep up with the pace he sets? I do that all the time as it is. But I run to slow for him. The pace I set makes his ankles hurt. BITCH, THE PACE YOU SET MAKES ME HORK UP MY LUNGS. Needless to say, it's coming down to the moment where I am going to have to make a decision on what to work on next, because I'm a week away from finishing this Couch To 5k thing. Part of me wants to continue on with my own goal, and part wants to make this effort for Sid. But what if I work my ass off, run faster, and it's still not good enough? I would not be a very happy Landwhale.