Monday, December 18, 2006

My Betty is sick

And I am fretting and can't stop. This little girl is my second doggy love, a rescued Westie/Jack Russell mix with a little deafness thrown in and a wide-eyed gaze that is as near human as I've ever seen in a dog. Since we returned from Mazatlan, she's been throwing up.

I know dogs do that and she's an investigative creature, quickly onto all manner of grotesque tidbits when we go for walks, so I figured it would pass. It didn't. Thursday she was bad and Friday worse and I took her to the vet. He gave her a shot, sent her home with pills, she slept in my arms all afternoon.

I was on the verge of taking her back because she was so lethargic when she hopped up and began to play her games, got her leash, engaged Billy in the roughhousing she loves. She's a tomboy dog, a rough and tumble little girl, fearless and intrepid and brave.

So she was healed and I've been thrilled and have continued pushing the nasty pills she hates down her throat per doctor's instructions. Only last night she got up and had the runs. And then up again and again. Had to wash her back feathers at 5 a.m. because she could not calm down and I hadn't realized she'd soiled herself and this little tomboy dog is girlie enough that she can't stand being soiled.

Now she's sleeping on my lap but making these little moaning sounds. My magic magnifying mind has her at death's door the same way the spot on my arm discovered in the shower turns into melanoma and limb amputation and brain cancer before I even run out of hot water.

I remember so well how I felt when it became clear that my husband was very sick. I spent many years protecting myself from the pain of losing a beloved Other, and when the doctor called from surgery to say his liver was a disaster and to ask permission for tests, there was a very clear curtain that came down between Life Before and Life After.

Life Before did not take into account the potential for loss. It was magic, pain-free, innocent, lovely. Life After was terrifying, carried an aching constant pain, a horrifying awareness of helplessness in the face of the capriciousness of disease, and tremendous grief.

It was surely the disappearance of my mother that set into motion this need to protect my heart, the protection which ultimately kept me shut off from Others for a very long time. But faced with the loss of my husband (he is relatively well now and I am so grateful), faced with the possible illness of this small dog I love so madly, I am reminded again that loving the Others hurts. It hurts and when I am caught up in that pain I think "Idiot! You learned this lesson, you fool why did you let go, why?" and I just want to run away and find someplace alone to lick my wounds and protect my heart.

Being open in this life carries great risk. I think it's a little like childbirth (so I'm told): you can experience agony but then a little forgetting sets in. It takes forgetting to be able to forge ahead in love and in life. The unbearable nature of loss was what prevented me from a lasting relationship for so many years. The fear of having no control fueled my transient dalliances with men and ensured that I would dip into their lives and vanish before I faced a separation instigated by the him of the moment.

Once love happens, though, the opportunity to flee disappears. I am stuck loving this little dog, no matter what's wrong with her. I am entrenched in loving this husband who probably will not grow old with me. Every life has its vagaries and uncertainties and living in fear of the future is something I do not choose today. I choose to live in love and joy and happiness and I am there the vast majority of the time and yet this morning I am afraid and sad that a creature I love is in pain. I love this little girl and in that act is the potential for heartbreak.

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Blogger Da Nator said...

I know exactly what you mean - love + loss is so unfair dammit. Why didn't God (or whomever) get the note?

Of course, it does no one any good to worry when things are fine (not that I can help hyperventilating when I remember my loved ones won't live forever), but worrying is unavoidable, especially when things aren't fine.

Best wishes to your doggy girl. I hope it's just that the medicine the doctor gave her that gave her the runs (as often happens). BTW - dogs can take aloe vera juice or gel, if you can get her to swallow it, it might help soothe her tummy. Canned pumpkin also helps regulate stools, too.

December 18, 2006 12:08 PM  
Blogger Vic's Still Standing said...

My sweet little rescue doggie got me through a painful divorce. I lost him this year. So, the possibility that your sweet companion is sick truly saddens me. I hope, I hope that things will go well for you both.

December 19, 2006 10:03 PM  
Blogger evilganome said...

Hi Lynette. I am so sorry about Betty. I have no advice about her, only good wishes. As for your husband I can offer a bit more than good wishes. I almost died in 2000 from liver disease. I was lucky enough to be put in the care of a wonderful physician, who also is one of the formost researchers in his field. He has done great things for me, and last year was able to help one of my friends SO, who had been offered very little hope from the doctors he had been seeing. If you want more info let me know.

December 21, 2006 2:34 PM  

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