Earlier this year in January and again in March, Paul and I had to go through the dog owners final act of 'putting the dog down'. We lost two dogs in 2 months. Beautiful black Dalmatians named Rocket and Lucky. In the Here's Gracie posting I explained that we tried to live with out a dog.
But a puppy? At the new age of 60?
~~~and as I type this she is under my feet chewing on what ever her mouth touches as I entice her with the actual chewing toy....one of those knotted cotton rope things, a big one, really nice...great colors too...
So let's go back in time to 1999 I think. I was sick. No one knew what it was. Some of the symptoms were fever every day, chest pains, diarrhea, stretching and breaking tendons, blood vessel ruptures under skin and in my eyes, sores in my mouth, extreme pain if touched, extreme pain to move, extreme fatigue to the point of only being able to lay still and just breath shallow, sudden falls- just collapsing, cognitive speech effects, nothing came out right my speech was so garbled, loss of muscle control to the point that I couldn't get the fork all the way to my mouth to feed myself- it would just fall and hit the plate loudly...I had so much all over physical pain that I thought I was dying any moment.
Me? I was a National Grand Champion in Tae Kwon Do and in tip top shape and now I could barley walk or even breath.
The testing began. Every week a new test and the wait and the negative report back. They were looking at Lyme disease. We had dogs, dogs have ticks, I lived in Kansas where there are lots of ticks. Lyme is a hard one to catch as the window of the positive for it is very small. More weeks went by as I hung on day to day. No, sometimes minute to minute. I have heard people say there is no way to live daily with pain at the above 10 level. Well I did and so do others. What are you going to do? There is no stopping it. There is no understanding it. You are trapped in a body that is in constant agony. Of course you have to live with it!
I had a huge crusty rash on my arm. I talked my Doctor into doing a biopsy--- told him he needed the practice anyway and after all it would be numb, right? One of the nurses said when he was out of the room that it was a Lupus rash, she had seen it before. I had never heard of Lupus. The biopsy told us nothing. Another negative. In this time 1999 there was no actual blood test for Lupus.
Now after 3 months of testing in this way my Mom happens to casually mention that once a doctor had told her that she had Lupus. She hadn't said anything because she ."...didn't want that to be what I had..". Yeah I still clench my teeth at that one.
I was sent to the University of Kansas Medial Center in Kansas City, Kansas. Whoaaa the testing starts all over. Now the focus is on MS. Months go by. I am still alive and wondering why.
The week after Christmas and before New Years I am on the futon in the living room for the night.
The first thing the KU Med center does is give me anti-depressants. I never take them. Now they know that the depression from constant pain is a biggy, but I know I cannot take them. I hate drugs, and my body is allergic to most and I do not believe in them. I think they make your mind worse. The chemical imbalance in my brain cannot be adjusted by these drugs. Period. Now... Paul had alcohol in the house from xmas gifts --we seldom drank in those days HA!-- and I have narcotics. Hmmmmmm.
As I lay there I am done. I am ready to move on. I cannot do this anymore. I am emotionally numb. My dogs are there with me on the futon. No one is home or they are sleep. No one knows how I feel. I feel like my relief is just a moment away. I am totally resolved and it is all good. I just have to manage to get up and take the drugs and drink the booze.
Picture two fifty- five pound black Dalmatians laying on top of me. Lucky is in the front and she puts her nose just under my chin. Her eyes are open and she just sighs as she lays there. Rocket, the alpha dog, is on my legs and she looks around Lucky's body into my eyes. uhhhhhh ohhh. They know.
I tried to move my legs. I have a hundred and ten pounds on top of my one hundred pound body. Lucky shifted a bit but not to let me up she pressed down on me. Her black nose is cold on my skin and her breath is so warm with it. Her big deep brown eyes just watched me.
I would open my eyes every few minutes to see her starring at me. She pressed her chin down onto my collar bone as if to tell me not to even think about getting up.
I fell asleep.
I woke up. I was fine. I looked at the dogs still there. Dalmatians have a way that they smile. They jumped up ready for food! Of course! Life goes on.
After this the Med Center puts me onto Lupus drugs saying that if I improve then they know I am auto-immune. I feel like a guinea pig. The Steroid drugs work. I slowly get better. I learn more about Lupus and make diet changes. At that time it had now been over a year.
My dogs saved me.
I never said anything about this night to anyone until years later after I moved to Hawai'i. I think my family was surprised. They never knew how bad I really felt. During that year I refused to go to the hospital because I did not want to die there in a strange place. Because I soldiered on they just didn't have to think.
So now there is Gracie to give that unconditional love to us and trust in me. I do not expect to ever be that down with Lupus again, but ....
Dogs are just amazing. What else can I say? We have a puppy!
* do not do Tae Kwon Do. Choose Chinese Taiji. Or become a surfer.....