I wasn't going to write about what a horrible week I had last week because I looked at it as focusing on the negative and the past instead of looking to the future. But I realized this morning (as I read Dee's comment on the post from yesterday) that I would be leaving behind a couple of pretty important things that deserve acknowledgement, and, in one case, thanks. The first and most important of those is the passing of Ernie Monstrocat.
Last weekend it looked like he had a cold so we took him to the vet on Monday. The diagnosis was a sinus infection transmitted from his mouth. They gave him liquid antibiotics and a pill-form decongestant, and said he should probably have his teeth cleaned the following Monday. Because of his advanced age, they did some lab work to see if he could tolerate the general anesthetic for the cleaning, and promised to call with the results on Tuesday.
When they called Tuesday it was with the information that the lab results revealed he had incurable, advanced kidney disease. They recommended we bring him in for a few days of hospitalization with IV fluids to flush out his kidneys so that he might be able to feel better and live a bit longer. I was very nervous when I took him in Tuesday because we had already been through a month-long hospitalization with Jester that ended with putting him to sleep and horrible guilt for having put him through it all on the first place. So before leaving Ernie to several days in a cage, needles and strangers, I asked to speak to our regular vet--who had not seen Ernie the previous day.
She did a physical exam and was concerned at the 6-lb weight loss in conjunction with the kidney disease and sinus infection. She looked at his teeth and said they weren't as bad as she would have expected given the sinuses. She recommended taking a couple of x-rays before going through the IV fluids and hospitalization route because if he had another more serious issue--large, cancerous masses hidden by his still substantial bulk, e.g.--then putting him through the IV fluids and hospital stay would probably not be the best choice for him. The x-rays did not reveal any large masses, instead they showed a complete lack of right hip joint and areas on his spine and ribs that looked like bone cancer. The kidneys and liver also both looked abnormal, and everything together led our vet to believe metastatic bone cancer and nothing to be done but let him go. And the world crashed to a halt.
It was only Tuesday afternoon. Dave was having a very stressful time with his work, Jessie was dealing
with serious issues at school, and Mom was coping with the one-year anniversary
of my Dad's death. I had already had to deal with the Siyeh Glass website being hacked and shut down by our ISP--right as we had new classes listed and a newsletter to get out, the hard drive on my laptop becoming corrupt and needing repaired (with no back-up of the 483 gigs of data on it), and the glass furnace going out in the hotshop with multiple failure points (not just elements or relays or thermocouple, but ALL of them) necessitating in canceling the Sunday glass dates in the studio. In a larger context, it was two weeks before the Buyer's Market show in Philadelphia where I have not one but TWO booths to fill with work (as yet undone), and also two weeks before the first 30 pages of my book (as yet unwritten) are due. And that's all I'm going to write about the trials of the week. Everyone in the house was having to deal with their own bad crap at the same time I was buried in the poop so it was REALLY lousy for all of us.
Now on to the thanks. On Monday I posted on Facebook how horribly the week was going and stated that I needed chocolate. There were many, many notes of encouragement and support (and one even contained a virtual chocolate cake!), and I was comforted. But my friends went even farther than that. The next afternoon--within an hour of putting Ernie to sleep and before anyone knew about his passing--Becky the Bookkeeper showed up at the studio with a bottle of wine and a couple of big Scharffen Berger chocolate bars and she also brought in a basket from Morganica that had just been delivered. I cannot adequately describe how very cherished and loved I felt at that moment as I sat crying over Ernie and in despair of the week.
That night when I got home I nibbled on caramel corn, Godiva chocolate, honey roasted peanuts, and white chocolate lime cookies accompanied by a lovely Malbec--all before dinner. And I raised a glass to Ernie and to friends. We'll get through somehow.