Monday, June 30, 2008

Sad and Scary Revisited

I know y'all (well, all two of you) can't want more of this, but this is my world right now.

My friend Kate had to go back in for an "adjustment" to her pacemaker. It seems the probes weren't quite in the right place, so they had to go back in and fix them up. She said she still feels pretty strange, but the doc thinks that may be due to part of her heart being worked out that's simply not used to it. My prayers for her heart and her health (and NO MORE SURGERIES if possible) are ongoing.

I can finally blog about the thing that happened, since Son the Younger is finally home from Germany (after a 24 hour delay).

Last Saturday night, hubby, Son the Older and I went out to dinner. When we got back home, it was time for us to play some scheduled World of Warcraft. Hubby plays upstairs and noticed that Jake, our dog, was lying upstairs. This was very unusual for him -- his hangouts are all downstairs. After a few minutes, hubby noticed that Jake hadn't moved, so he called his name. Jake tried to sit up but could only move his front legs. His breathing was very fast and shallow. So we called the emergency vet clinic to alert them that we were on our way and took off. Hubby and Son had to carry the 100-lb dog down the stairs, which didn't look at all comfortable for any of them.

Once the vet saw him, she diagnosed a ruptured tumor, either on his liver or spleen, with abdominal bleeding. She gave us two options: operate to stop the bleeding and remove as much of the tumor as possible, with a very high monetary cost and a life expectancy of probably 2-3 months IF the surgery went well -- and there was always the possibility that he wouldn't survive surgery, given his age (10.5) and how sick he was when he got there. The other option was the one no dog owner ever wants to consider.

As painful a decision as it was, we decided to let him go. Given that Son the Younger was in Germany, it was even more difficult. They gave us a private room where we were allowed to say our goodbyes, and then the vet came in, and Jake went peacefully to sleep. Cooing sweetly to my dog as he died so that he would have that small comfort (and not breaking down until he was gone) was truly one of the hardest things I've ever done. Watching Son the Older experience the same thing was just as hard. (Hubby, knowing his limitations, wisely elected not to be in the room.)

Jake has always been one of the sweetest dogs I've ever known. He's never known a stranger. In fact, if you'd just continue to pet him indefinitely, you could be his best friend forever -- he simply never tired of your love and affection. He was unfailingly gentle with children, no matter how they tugged or patted him. He greeted me every day when I came down the stairs, letting me know that I was the queen of his world. He was my dog, and I have missed him every day. I imagine that will continue for a long time to come.

In the latest twist of Sad 'n' Scary, I found out on Sunday that an acquaintance from church, Michael Argall, was killed in a bicycling accident on Saturday. I didn't know Michael well, but he had served with me on a production team several years ago as a camera operator. I know he had a really busy life -- he served in other areas; he was a divorced dad with three children; and he was very involved in fitness in his spare time -- but he always showed up to serve with a smile, served joyfully, and left with a smile. He ultimately found that he wanted to concentrate his time in other ministry areas, so I didn't serve with him for very long, but I enjoyed the brief time I served with him and have always thought fondly of him. I guess God wanted him back early. I know that pains his long-time girlfriend, his children, and so many people who love him (check out all the links I found talking about him).

What can we learn from Michael? Live life to the fullest. Live with joy every day. Know that you are not guaranteed tomorrow, and live that way.

Michael would probably be surprised at how many people are shocked, taken aback, in mourning over his death. I'm not; he was really a great guy. But like Michael, if you live you live to the full, you might be surprised at how many people you end up touching along the way.

Hey, Michael? If you can hear me, pet Jake for me, OK? Y'all go for a run -- you'll both love that. Give him a treat for me until I get there.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

It's definitely been a tough few weeks for Austin.
Much love to everyone and we're praying here in CO.