For the longest time, Max has not been able to sit, not even for a cookie, and Max prizes cookies above all things on earth. After months of failing capacity, well, what can we expect of an eleven-year-old German Shepherd, particularly one of uncertain parentage, indeed a foundling from the Staten Island Ferry, and a foundling who now has a titanium-and-plastic replacement hip? Well.
It turns out that we may have made the ultimate mistake in geriatric care, the error of thinking that the patient was dying, when in fact he just needed a little well-placed medication. And after the prednisone has kicked in, well, surprise and a little tear from just the over-compassionate left eye….Max sat for his cookie this evening. Oh, my.
Meanwhile across town, my best friend is preparing for another round of surgery. I say she is my best friend, although I may not be hers, but it doesn’t even matter. What matters is this: tomorrow she goes in for another attempt to clean out that burst appendix and maybe to disentangle some other organs and stuff. Oh my.
I spoke to her yesterday, and she was calm. I’m sure it is not unheard of to prepare a variety of arrangements just in case. I’m absolutely positive that I would do the same in her position. But I do hope that all these preparations are unnecessary, and that I will have my friend back, smiling and laughing and playing with a new puppy in months to come. Without her, we will all be less joyous, less expansive, less….just less.
We laughed and joked yesterday about human frailties, about how most of us at heart believe we will never die. Can’t you imagine each spirit gasping at last, “Oh, gosh! I guess I wasn’t the exception!” But some of us, my friend and I among them, accept the inevitability of death and hope for a rich, full life and a timely, dignified death.
I have sent her off to the hospital with a giggle, a new book (Helen Husher’s View from Vermont, which I wish I had written), and tales of my puppy with hopes to hear of her new puppy in January. It’s all I can do.
It would annoy the dickens out of my friend, but I hope you will keep her and all of us who love her in your prayers tomorrow. Sometimes we have to trust in medical expertise and also in something more. We just have to.