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Thursday, July 2, 2015

It's A Comedy -- and the joke's on me

So, what happened is this:

On Saturday, I took Kona for a walk.  Now Kona is a very sweet dog, very mild tempered and she minds well. She knows her name, comes when she's called, knows the meaning of "no!" and is house trained.  But that's about the extent of it. She does not know "sit", "stay", "wait". And I don't believe she has ever been walked on a leash!

The first time I put a leash on Kona, she dragged me down the alley. This was not fun, especially since she's 91 lbs.  I trained Boomer with a German Pinch collar, so I put that on Kona and decided to start training her to "heel".  It was going pretty good.

So back to Saturday, I decided to walk Kona the six blocks to the lake where there is a dog park. I thought she might enjoy running free with some other dogs.  She was doing real well, so well, in fact, that I got sloppy.

We were crossing the street to the park and I was watching traffic and I wasn't watching Kona. Big mistake. She stepped in front of me and I tripped right over her. And fell. Flat on the ground. In the middle of the street. And Kona, seeing me on the ground, laid down next to me.

No one helped me. Even though there were plenty of people around. I got up, bleeding from my knee and leg, limped across the street to sit down on a park bench.  After catching my breath, we went home.

At home, I realized that my elbow and wrist were killing me.  But I could move both and figured I had just bruised myself badly. I did the whole RICE thing, ice, rest, elevate, etc.  It hurt so bad, I hate to admit that I swiped a couple of Boomer's pain meds.

The next morning, I could not move my arm at all. So I drove myself to the ER.

The last time I was at that ER was with Bob.  Memories flooded me.  Bob in that bed saying "Go home! Go home!" and then I noticed the date, 6/28, exactly one month from his death.  I tell you, I was in tears.

Anyway, got some painful x-rays, and the doc told me that I broke my arm in two places:  at the elbow and wrist.  They wrapped me up in an "immobilization" splint that went from my fingertips to midway between my elbow and shoulder. The splint was bent so that I could not unbend my arm. They gave me a sling. They sent me home with pain meds (which were the exact same pain meds Boomer takes!) and a referral to an orthopedic doc for casting my arm.

Yesterday, I went to the orthopedic doc, who was unfortunately in the same clinic where Bob went for his foot problems. More tears. Including me, sitting in the van, wailing, "Bob, why did you leave me?!!"  

That doc cut off the splint, looked at the exact same x-rays and told me that I did not break my elbow, it was only badly bruised. That there was only a chip on my wrist bone and my wrist was badly sprained.  No broken bones.

I left with a wrist brace. Picked up Kona from the vet where she was spayed. She will definitely need more training with that leash....

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Comedy or Tragedy?

So, I'm trying to decide which plot I've landed in --- comedy or tragedy?  Here's the plot outline so far --

Heroine's beloved husband dies.
Not even a month later, the beloved cat dies.
Meanwhile, the old beloved dog is at death's door...
Heroine gets a rescued yellow dog to cheer her up.
Then promptly, heroine trips over said yellow dog and breaks her arm in two places.

I'm not making this up.

I once had a writing instructor explain the "fine line" between comedy and tragedy like this:

A man slips on a banana peel = comedy.
YOU slip on a banana peel = tragedy.

So which is it?

I tell you, it's hard to type one-handed. So I stop here.

PS: Boomer is still hanging in here....
      Kona at the vet getting spayed...
      Ripley throwing a pizza party as Kona is gone tonight!

And me? Trying desperately to maintain my sense of humor.....

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Fostering Kona

This was Hillary's idea.  Hillary is our veterinarian.  You know, it's pretty bad when you are on first name basis with your vet.  Anyway, Hillary got a call from the Labrador/Retriever Rescue of Florida.  There were four purebred labs being turned in to them, and they needed a vet visit for shots, etc. Then, they would all need foster homes. And Hillary asked if I'd consider fostering a purebred lab? She thought a younger dog might be just "the thing" to "perk Boomer up" and it would also be good for my heartbroken soul...

So I picked up Kona, a 4 year old female yellow lab, on Thursday.  I hate to say, those dogs were living under terrible conditions...

"Kona" means "lady" in Hawiian.

She's overweight, has an ear infection and a wound on her leg. She is on antibiotics and ear drops. I have to take her in to be spayed next week (the rescue pays for it). But she's a sweetheart. And she "picked" me -- I was actually supposed to pick up one of the other dogs. But she sat at my feet and looked at me with those sad brown eyes and I asked if I could take her instead.

Ripley on attack mode!

And she's scared to death of Ripley!  And Ripley hates her ---

Though Boomer thinks she's a fine girlfriend.

I'm told I can either foster her until someone adopts her, or -- I can become a "foster failure" and adopt her, myself.  So, we'll see what happens.  A lot depends on Ripley.

This photo, with former owner, taken by Hillary before Kona's exam. Look at Kona's nails.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Zenith passed away after surgery today. She had a cardiac arrest.

I can't believe this is happening.   This is too hard.

Monday, June 22, 2015


This is hard. Perhaps the hardest thing I've ever been through.  It feels much like when Bob had his stroke back in 2010 and was in a coma for so long. Except then there was hope. And now, there is none.

Boomer is not doing well.  It's sort of like a "death watch" for him.  I had scheduled the vet to come last week, Sunday, to put him to sleep -- but she couldn't make it until later in the day and somehow Boomer perked up and rebounded.  Yesterday and today, he is not eating. I have some new pills for him, appetite stimulate and something for nausea.  We go, day by day. Waiting.

Zenith began vomiting blood. Pure blood. I took her in for an ultrasound and they found a "fluid filled mass" on her liver. I take her on Wednesday for exploratory surgery and biopsy. Pray it isn't cancer.

Bubba, our good friend and car mechanic, is in the hospital having suffered a stroke. Bubba, who took me to the funeral parlor to collect Bob's ashes. Who was building Bob an urn for his ashes...

Chris is sick, having a raging infection stemming from her foot. She may have to have a toe amputated.

Ripley doing better, I spend evenings curled up with him on Bob's hospital bed. This house has become a lonely, sad place.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Then Bob Falls Under The Porch

The other night, I was talking on the phone with Bob's uncle and I was sitting on the back porch/wheelchair ramp. We were talking about the fiasco that Bob's "Celebration of Life" became after one of Bob's relatives acted out in a completely childish manner.  I won't go into details, except to say that there has been a lot of strife in that family for many years and I would have hoped that, on this solemn occasion, certain people would have kept their mouths shut and paid a bit of respect to Bob's memory and the people he loved. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Anyway, I was talking on the phone with Bob's uncle, when I happened to glance down and notice that the little white bronze heart that contains some of Bob's ashes and that I now wear around my neck was gone!   So, I'm freaking out, checking the folds of Bob's t-shirt (which I am wearing) looking for the bronze heart and Chris (who had shown up while I was on the phone and sat down next to me) is looking at me curiously and I hold the empty chain up that is still around my neck and her mouth drops open and she whispers "Check your bra!"

So I'm reaching down to check my bra when I see, out of the corner of my eye, a little whitish thing roll onto the porch deck and plop right through the space between the floor boards and fall under the porch.

But I'm thinking that that's not the little bronze heart because whatever that was, was too small. And, to my relief, I find the little heart nestled inside my bra but to my horror the plug at the hole on the top of heart is missing and the thing is empty.

Now I'm really freaking out because Bob is gone.  He fell right out. And the thing I saw roll on the porch deck must've been him, the tiny container that contained his ashes.

So I tell Bob's uncle that I have to run and I dash into the house to find a flashlight, because it's starting to get dark and I have to get under that porch and find Bob!

And I can't find a flashlight, I mean, where the heck did I put them when I unpacked? And I'm flinging open drawers and dashing through the house and I know we have a bunch of flashlights, but where are they? And did I even unpack them yet? There's still a lot of boxes in the back room.

I ask Chris, who has followed me into the house, if she has a flashlight. She says she does but "it's green and it howls." And I'm thinking, huh? Just then, I open a drawer and find a flashlight. But of course, when I turn it on, it doesn't work. So I open it up and the batteries are all corroded. So now I have to find new batteries for it. I'm digging through drawers for batteries and, of course, we've got every kind of battery except the kind this flashlight uses. Then I remember that I have this kind of battery in my camera, so I find my camera and take the batteries out and put them in the flashlight, but the flashlight still doesn't work.

Frantic, I tell Chris to go get her flashlight, and she says, "Are you sure? It's green and it howls." And I'm practically screaming now, because I don't care, I just need a flashlight and I'm not even sure what the heck she's talking about.  So she leaves and returns with her flashlight and hands it to me.

I'm looking at this thing and it's a black flashlight with neon green trim, and instead of one button to turn it on, I have my choice of five buttons which are marked: "light", "thunder", "wolf", "scream", and "laugh". I'm thinking, oh for crying out loud, this is a Halloween flashlight, for trick-or-treating.  I punch the button that says "light" and, of course, that button doesn't work. So I punch "thunder" and am greeted with the sound of effect of booming thunder accompanied by a flashing eerie green light.

But it's all I got, this flashlight. So I head under the porch.

There I am, crawling on my belly through the dirt, under the porch deck and I can't even raise my head. There I am, punching the buttons because the flashlight won't stay on for more than a couple of seconds, so my quest is accompanied by the sound of thunder, then witchy screams and wolf howls and flashing neon green light and I am worried about snakes and spiders and god-knows-what that might be under there in the dark, and I'm thinking this is ridiculous, I'll never find Bob this way, and I'm not even sure where I am under there in conjunction with where I saw the little white thing disappear through the cracks of the porch floor.

I have to push myself, on my belly, backwards to get out from under the porch.

By now, the sky is pitch black. So I turn the porch lights on. I'm thinking I need some kind of marker to mark the spot where I saw the little white thing disappear, and I find a stick and stick it through the floor boards where I think the thing disappeared and once again, I crawl with the haunted flashlight under the deck to search for Bob.

There I am, crawling on my belly with the flashing neon light and howling screams, and the stick is way under there, about six feet away. The first time, I didn't go under far enough. I'm not so much crawling but squirming through the dirt on my belly like a snake. And I reach the stick and flash the green neon light around and I'm thinking, that container that contains Bob must be plastic and should shine when I hit it with the light, but I am seeing nothing. Absolutely nothing. I'm growing very frustrated in that eerie green flashing light that I have to keep turning on and I'm hitting all the buttons so I'm getting thunder, then screams, then wolves howling, and Chris, above me, yells, "Diane, don't break my damn flashlight!"

I give up. squirm backward out from under the porch. I'm covered in dirt and leaves. And tears are flowing down my dirty cheeks. Chris and I decide that we will get up early in the morning, and run to the store and get a real flashlight. And I will begin my search for Bob again tomorrow.

So I go in the house and take off my dirty clothes, watching the floor carefully in case Bob is caught up in my clothes (but he isn't) and then I shower and I'm thinking, if this wasn't so darn tragic, it would be outright funny.  I mean: Widow with Howling Halloween Flashlight Searches for Dead Husband Under The Porch! And I can hear Bob's voice in my head saying "Funny!"

The next day, armed with a brand new high-powered Coleman flashlight, I crawl once again under the porch. I find screws and nails and all sorts of bits of glittery stuff -- but no Bob.  After nearly two hours of searching, I give up.  I crawl out from under the porch, feeling like a complete failure, tears flowing and I'm bellowing "I'm sorry, Bob!" Then I go inside and clean up.

I call the funeral home. On the phone, I break down, wailing, "I lost my husband under the porch!!!! And I can't find him!!!!!"

And the gal at the funeral home tells me, that, um, he'd be pretty hard to find because his ashes were not in any kind of container. The ashes in the heart are put in there loose....


Boy, do I feel stupid. But later that day, I take Bob's ashes with me and have my little heart "refilled" and the necklace put back together.  All the way there and back, I have Bob's ashes sitting in his box in his usual wheelchair spot and I find myself talking to him, as if he's really there, and I hear him answering and at one point I say, "I'm sorry, I forgot your sunglasses." And then I think, I am truly losing my mind...