Trying to keep it together this week has not been easy.
I have been counting insulin needles to see if I have enough, but not too many. I need to reuse some, which is not unusual. I have always doubled up, using one for Frankie’s two shots each day, to save some money — so sue me — but in the last few weeks I have been throwing them away after only one shot, a luxury. But I realized I might be running out, and I don’t want to buy a new box.
I have been laying in supplies, treats for Operation Spoil Frankie (OSF), with the same attempt of proportion and control where there is none.
I have loved this little furry creature who is now lying peacefully asleep on my bed without proportion. Control? Living with a pet, being responsible for his life, and now his death, is the ultimate control. I would give anything to relinquish this last bit of responsibility.
It helped a bit to have several friends come over to see Frankie last week and confirm that he really doesn’t have much quality of life; even his treat taking is desultory. I reminded my friend John of the time, about a year and a half ago, when Frankie jumped up on the couch and lodged himself between us while we were making out. John in turn reminded me that Frankie not only leaped up on the couch, but jumped up and stood on John’s legs to stare at him, in hopes of scaring him away. That’s the Frankie I want to remember, not the little ghostly imposter who has taken over his body, who can barely figure out how to get up on the mattress on the floor.
There are no pictures of the couch incident, but I have documentation of one relating to another guest, my friend Rebecca, Frankie’s rescuer. On my birthday, Rebecca noted that her Brussels griffon, Charles, was also celebrating his 15th. Frankie has not always been overly kind to Charles, who is now getting the last laugh, as it were. For a chuckle — I promise — check out Charles (Not) in Charge.
By any measure, Frankie’s last weeks have been good ones, and not only due to the implementation of OSF. He has only had a couple of thirsty nights caused by high blood sugar, fewer than in some periods. He tends to have an iffy stomach but, with the exception of one small puking incident, he hasn’t been sick.
And of course he doesn’t have any sense of the future.
For me, life goes on as usual in some ways. Frankie sleeps much of the time and, not wanting to wake him or annoy him when he’s awake, I keep my stroking and weeping over him to a minimum. I have assignments to complete, and there is a compartment in my mind, the one that lets me do the work, that denies what I have committed to do. Aside from those weeping bouts and some flashes of sheer dread, I have been largely calm, or angry at things that have nothing to do with what I am really angry about: Having to say good-bye to Frankie.
I use the term “saying good-bye” and, of course, euthanasia, but the fact is I am taking my friend’s life, and a part of my heart along with him. How can anyone be expected to get her head around that?
I’m not sure that I will write any more this week, except perhaps for a few words on Friday to add to the post I have already planned. I will be going away with my friend Karyn directly after the doctor leaves, to a lovely place, Ramsey Canyon, hummingbird central for Southern Arizona; we will stay at a B&B that is known for its pies. The second night, we will bunk with another friend, Bonnie, who runs a wine tasting room outside Willcox; needless to say, wine will be involved. The week after, my friend Cynthia is hosting a wake.
Leaving my house, enjoying nature, surrounding myself with dog-loving friends, drinking heavily… In theory, this will all be soothing and cathartic. But I don’t anticipate it will begin to fill the gaping absence. Time, I know, time…
And a change of subject. Probably. That is, I doubt if I will continue this blog for a while — this time I know better than to say never — so I want to say now how much it has meant to have so many people respond to my words, to empathize and, some have said, take solace in what I have written. I will continue to read and cherish every comment — assuming no assholes turn up, which they usually don’t — even if I don’t respond to them.