I’m impatient for the end result, but know it will take time.
In other news, I have the opportunity to pick up a car I have always wanted. Not the year I’ve always wanted but a restored VW bug can be extremely pricey and if it’s a true restore, the engine sucks. I don’t have the kind of money to put the Porche engine in one so….. newer model it is if I can swing it. Never thought much of the color on this one until now. Going to look at it this weekend and see what I can do.
nothing earth shattering today. Just random musings of the Littlehawke…..
Physicians are the worst. Nurses are up there too. Not all, but a great many.
Then there are the people who take a few classes in psychology and couch-diagnose you in such a condescending manner that you just walk away and cut your losses. I had to do that with a gaming friend not long ago. Her self-righteous crap was just a little too much for me. I was sad about it at first. Now I just don’t give a fuck.
(this was a draft written in April, 2010 that I never posted.)
“Hey, It’s Rick. I have some bad news…..”
shit…. oh god…….
“Dad died about 2 hours ago.”
There are tears in his eyes, I can hear them in his voice. My brother really doesn’t cry. He’s not an emotional sort really. At least not that I have ever seen much. This time I didn’t tell him it wasn’t funny. The nagging feeling I had been experiencing since Summer was gone and I knew it was this which had hovered on the horizon. Fuck I hate being right. I thought is was my Aunt’s death that had been that other shoe. Then Mark Metz died in a hunting accident. In fact that afternoon, I had been to Mark’s funeral. Tears rolled silently down my face as I listened to Rick recount what he knew, what he didn’t know and what the hell were we going to do now? Two orphans with no clue and our parents snatched from us in an instant it seemed.
Brittany comes in and sees me on the phone, tears streaming down my face and asks what happened.
“My Dad just died” I tell her.
“you need to go home. Right now. I’ll stay, don’t worry about it, just go home. Let me know you got home safe and we’ll talk to Dr. Chevalier in the morning.”
Brittany is a good kid. I don’t have the words to thank her properly for her compassion and will to help in a situation no one should have to go through. She didn’t argue, she just pointed. I left for home. On the way I called Matt. We cried together over the phone. I cried all the way home.
When I was 18 I left for college in Iowa. I was drugged and raped my first week there. I lost half a year or better of my memory and still don’t remember the actual event well. What I do remember is enough. I’m not sure I want to remember more. I quit school, went home in shame and lived there until sometime in August when I went back to face demons. I never really returned home. I had become the black sheep of the family. I went for my 10 year HS reunion, the occasional family holiday but that’s all. I didn’t see my parents for 10 years or more. Mom got esophageal cancer and Dad felt that as aggressive as those cancers can be, we’d best have a family vacation and NOW. So he paid for the four of us to go to Spain for 14 days. It was amazing. Once again, I was the black sheep. My perforated and painted body was something Mother didn’t approve of. While Dad might not have approved, at least he like the artwork I chose to display, if not the medium in which I did it. Another strike against me. I had already married and divorced my first husband who beat me. I was on my second husband whom I didn’t love, but offered financial security for a time. That ended not long after the trip to Spain. I moved to West Virginia. I had friends, a good job and my hobby. I met my current husband. I was truly happy for the first time ever. I had the first and only grandchild. Mom and Dad came out for the birth of my first born. It was traumatic and wonderful all at once. Mom seemed to forgive me some. We talked for the first time in over 15 years. Dad and I got closer. I still didn’t go home. My home was here now, with the family I had helped create. I was loved.
Mom got cancer again. Years of smoking finally reared up in her lungs. Found after a fall which broke her hip and cracked her pelvis, she underwent radiation therapy once more. Handling it much better than the same regemen for her throat 8 years prior. But the radiation had left her bones brittle and she’d fallen again. Surgery and more tests, a live in rehab center for athletes and convalescents, and mom recovered from the lung cancer. But the tests had revealed cancer of her liver this time. in 3 weeks or less Mom went from recovering to a back injury due to brittle bones. Then one night, she broke her back, threw a clot and it was over.
Somewhere in the middle of this my father had a stroke. For 10 days I didn’t even KNOW about it. No one called me. NO ONE. I was hurt, livid, angry, crushed. In many ways I still am. I wasn’t there for him and was refused the right to come out to help when I offered to quit my job, take a leave of absence or whatever was needed and do just that. I was the daughter that no one wanted.
My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary 2 years ago this last August. I flew my entire family out, including a grand son neither of them had ever met as a surprise. It was the only time I had seen my father cry. Mom never really said anything. I’m not even sure she was happy to see me. The boys I know she wanted to see, but me…. I’ll never really know. A year and a half later,on January 22, 2012, Mom died. We flew out to her celebration of life. Her urn was placed on the mantle. The ground was frozen so we couldn’t bury her. We opted to do so in the summer when the ground was more forgiving. 6 months later, my boys, my husband, my brother, Dad and a few very close friends shoveled dirt over mom’s urn in a simple grave in a graveyard which houses bones as old as the gold rush and before. In my head, I buried my mom twice.
That week we went with Dad to some silly things like burrow races in Fairplay, dinner with friends, sight seeing and just quality time with my Dad. It was nice. Matt and I decided we’d take the family out again very soon because the boys needed to know their Grand Pere and he needed to know them.
In September my Aunt died. Rick and I went to her funeral and were reunited with mom’s brother and our cousins. We, the kids, had formulated a secret plan to get a family which had drifted apart over 30 years back together.
October… and here we are. Rick and I split phone calls to people we know from our old home town. We hack into Dad’s email to send a blanket email about his death to people we didn’t have phone numbers for since Dad’s phone had gone missing the night he died. Rick and I posted both our phone numbers on the email to contact. Of the HUNDREDS of people on the lists…. one called me. ONE. And that was because he couldn’t get in touch with Rick fast enough. I am still…. the daughter that wasn’t. Rick, Matt and myself shoveled dirt over Dad’s urn in a grave right next to Mom’s. It was a beautiful day.
The amount of guilt I carry now is staggering. I wasn’t there for Mom’s Illnesses, nor Dad’s stoke and recovery. Rick carried it all and became the local hero in the eyes of all the people my parents knew and loved at home. I was simply some girl they claimed as a daughter that they never saw and didn’t really care to see. It hurts. More than I have words for, it hurts every damn day. I hurt for Rick who hasn’t had a life for 20 years, I hurt for the loss of my mom who never really wanted me around, and for my Dad who didn’t really accept me for who I am, but did try. I hurt for the loss of a grandfather my boys will never really know. He was amazing.
I cry every day. I try not to, but I do. There is so much I wanted to say and do with Dad still. So much about him I wanted my boys to know. So now I have to settle for stories and pictures and his photographic art to tell the story of a man who for as long as I can remember represented my whole world.
People who know me well try to understand and express their sympathy. But they don’t know, they can’t see. I died that day too in some ways. I’m not good company, I’m needy and insecure. I both need to be alone and want to be with people so I don’t have to think. I am a mess. I want to crawl under a rock and stay there.
Rick can finally have a life. But I know he’s a little lost right now. He’s spent so much time over the years looking after our parents that now…….. And I feel guilty over that. I wish so much were different.
Spend time with people you love. Tell them you love them, show them at every opportunity. Tomorrow might not come.
When we moved half the country away from home at 2 months before my 12th birthday to start over things changed for us all. Mom became a heavy drinker. She still smoked and for a while it was up to 3 packs of cigarettes a day. She couldn’t get out of bed without her hangover coffee and 3-4 cigarettes most of the time. More than once I cleaned up after her. I never had friends over to the house. Mom rarely showed for swim meets, came to my plays and I’d worry, came to my band concerts and I’d worry. I moved away when I went to college because I couldn’t handle it. I learned through her that I would never be pretty, smart or amount to anything. Almost always when she was drunk.
For her own reasons this would get better or worse, she’d disappear and reappear at important occasions. Dad would be furious but do nothing. My brother Rick would be left to pick up the pieces. I just couldn’t it. I couldn’t deal with it. My own self loathing was such that I married a man who began to beat me within 6 months of our wedding, then married a second man years later who cheated on me for 7 years…… It took me a long time to figure out that I could make choices that didn’t hurt me or mean I was worthless. I’m honestly still dealing with that every day.
12 years ago my mother had esophageal cancer. That is a horrible type of cancer typically because it moves quickly, mets out extremely fast and generally doesn’t have a decent survival rate. Mom opted for high dose radiation rather than chemo because she didn’t want to lose her hair. 1 year later, then 5 then 8 and then 10 she was pronounced cancer free. In December of 2010, mom fell and cracked her hip on the ice. the tests, scans and battery of other hospital crap over a period of about 8 weeks brought forth the diagnosis of lung cancer in her left lung. Again, she opted for high dose radiation rather than chemo and it went well. She handled this radiation better than the one years before and bounced back with renewed vigor. Mom and Dad made plans to travel again.
Then at Thanksgiving of 2011, mom fell again and snapped her femur in two. Surgery placed a pin and two screws to give her more stability than she’d had on that side in literally over a decade. She went to a live-in rehab facility in Denver for 3-6 weeks. 3 weeks into it, she felt faint. Her )2 sats were 75% and her heart rate had plummeted to 35. They rushed her to the ER, she was admitted to the ICU ward at St Anthony’s in Denver and was there two nights. Once they figured out that due to her bilateral subclavial stenosis, her hands had little to no decent circulation, and placed the pulse oxometer on the right area, things got better. She went back to the facility in 2 more days and was eventually released to go home within another 10. She wsa again in good spirits and bitching at people in the way someone does when they’d had enough fawning over them. Though the latest news was not good for the long run. Tests run during her stint in the ICU revealed liver cancer. My mind said that the lung cancer had metted out faster than they thought and we would lose her before July of this coming summer. I made plans to spend the week with my family and parents and brother in the early summer.
About a week after that, Mom fell in the house. She didn’t know how it happened, when it happened or anything. She was confused and upset. The ambulance again arrived and she went to the hospital. This time she had a compression fracture of a vertebra in her back. Into a back brace and back to the center she went.
On Monday, Janurary 23, 2012 my brother called me at about 8am his time. My first reaction was that something bad had happened to either mom again or to dad. “I don’t know how to say this, but I’m just going to…. Mom died last night.”
Stunned, my mouth dropped open. “WHAT? THIS ISN”T FUNNY”
“I’m not kidding. It happened sometime in the middle of the night. They don’t know how exactly.”
20 minutes of conversation and all I can say is… ‘ok, ok, ok.’ To everything my brother tells me. My guilt at not being there through dad’s stroke, mom’s illnesses and to help him came full force to hit me in the face. The coroner wouldn’t be releasing the body for a couple days due to the fact that she didn’t die at home. They had to make sure it wasn’t due to neglect or whatever at the facility. That she wanted to be cremated gave me time thankfully to tell my employer, arrange my schedule, have the younger children looked after and booked flights out to Denver. I call my oldest cousin to tell him because my mom’s brother is his father. I couldn’t call Unc myself. I couldn’t hold it together to do it.
I loved my mom. I always will. Whatever differences we had, what ever cruel and mean things were said and done pale in the wake of losing someone who loved me in a way no other will on this earth. The ground is so frozen where my folks live that we opted to not bury the ashes until this summer. So we had a celebration of life or *wake* for her instead and I think 300 people came. Some I knew. Most I didn’t. I hadn’t been home to visit in a very long time over 30 years. Maybe 3 times in all. For me it was just too hard, too heartbreaking and sad. I was never what mom wanted for a daughter, never enough for Dad to truly be proud of what I do. But that doesn’t detract from the love I felt and will miss every day.
So I looked at all the boards they put up with pictures of her through college, HS, my brother and I as kids, mom and dad’s travels, their 50th wedding anniversary 2 years ago where I surprised them and brought the entire family out including 1 grand child they had not met yet. Named after my dad. I realized I had missed out on a lot. My young kids had missed out even more in not getting to know them. The guilt I feel will probably last forever because, well, I’m like that. I have a big heart, I am hurt easily and I hold a grudge with the best of my Scot ancestors. (Sound familiar Mom?)
Over the years I have made a point to tell my parents, my brother, friends and other relatives that I love them and mean it from the heart. I still do that every day. My husband and I went out, I spent days going through Mom’s things she left me. Sorting, crying, marveling at all the stuff she collected over the years. We came home on Sunday, Feb. 5th. I went back to work. The kids came home, life resumed it’s relatively normal pace.
I am more careful now. I do things for people I care about not because I feel obligated but because I don’t know how long they will be in my life and I want to make it count. I can’t make up for the lost time with mom, but I will damn sure make use of the time I have now with those I have in my life.
I miss you Mom. Every day. I know that now you don’t hurt, you don’t hate yourself so much and you don’t spend every waking hour worried or in pain. I know you loved us all very much. I hope that you know we loved you too. Watch over Dad ok? He doesn’t know it, but he needs you still. I hope someday, I can be the kind of mom that would make you proud.]]>
This morning as I walked the dog before attempting to sleep for the day of my overnight shift, I noticed the Daffodils forcing their way through the earth under the big oak tree outside the living room window.Â The Crocus will soon follow.Â It frosted last night, so the new leaves on my Butterfly bush might not make it.Â We shall see.Â The frozen earth wakes as the days become longer.Â Songbirds seem confused as they chirp away at 2am.
I am getting ready for 2 major cooking weekends. I’m behind in school, I joined a gym and have been there every day but one since.Â I’m trying to put more into my days than I have hours for….. the house needs a good shoveling of crap to the curb.Â My oldest cousin whom I have not seen in 20 years or more is coming to visit at the end of the month.Â My mother has cancer at age 74.Â My 17 year old step son will not graduate High School this year due to his own anal-cranial inversion problem and he’s just now figured out what it means that he truly fucked up.Â It’s going to be another wild ride this year….
On top of all that, enter a newly made close friend? Or someone I thought of as a close friend who later gave me an ultimatum as if he were my commanding officer.Â It didn’t go over very well and I’ve pretty much decided he’s a selfish bastard in many ways.Â Also enter friend of many years, and crush as well….. having difficulties of his own and needing a sounding board.Â He is someone I can honestly say is not selfish in any way and sometimes suffers for it.Â I am doing the best I can to help him through……. but words aren’t always enough…. it bothers me I cannot do more.
My own family and herd of fuzzy creatures is healthy and happy.Â The brothers fight and scream, yell and hit as boys do.Â The older seems to think he’s the parent when he can’t even manage his own laundry or keep his homework straight.Â the baby is…. well the baby and still at the age where everything should revolve around him…. according to him. My oldest is truly amazing to me every day.Â I often wonder if I am a good mom, a decent wife or even a good friend.Â but I am truly blessed with the people in my life and thank the Lord and Lady every day for the parts they all play within it.Â I always want to be more…. do more, just never seem to get to it all.Â I am half way through my life and there’s still so much more to do. So many more things to appreciate, see, experience, teach and love.
Ahhhhh Spring….. awakenings, change and revalations]]>
Originally this was written in 1998, late in the year. Reposted in several places including LJ
Current mood: melancholy
On January 28, 1998 a young man came to us asking that we examine a female Pit Bull he was looking to purchase from the current owners. He told us that she had a skin condition and that he wanted to know how much it would take to “make her right” before he purchased her. So we put the young man in the large exam room with the dog to wait as he filled out his registration forms and so on.
Upon entering the room some minutes later, I was struck with the intense odor that was coming from this poor dog. There are several odors a person who works with companion animals never forgets once experiencing them. One is the odor of a dog suffering from Canine Parvovirus Enteritis (parvo). That is the smell of rotting fleshâ€¦ such as bad hamburger coupled with the smell of fecal matter and other assorted nasties. The other is something I call the “skin smell”. It is the odor of infected and rotting flesh on the outside of the body of an animal. Usually this is caused by secondary staph and bacterial infections brought on by something else. THIS is the smell that hit me.
There on the floor of the exam room, as I entered, wanting nothing more than to be loved and wanted, stood Missy. A tan and white American Pit Bull with the most beautiful green eyes I had ever seen. Friendly as could be, she wobbled over to me and sat down with those wonderful eyes staring up at me as if to say, “hello, will you love me?” I wanted to cry and scoop her up in my arms all at once.
This poor, beautiful, suffering dog was covered head to tail with sores. Open, weeping and bleeding in many places, and in fewer-scabbed over but weepy still. There was almost no fur on her body save her immediate face. It was the most horrid skin case I had ever witnessed. The amount of time she had been left alone and untreated for the primary cause of this plight had to be extensive. Several months to at year probably. Most likely, Missy had contracted Demodectic Mange as a new puppy and it had been left untreated all this time. What sat at my feet before me this day was the result. Holding back tears I could do nothing but love her. Though her condition was so ugly that it hurt to look at, Missy was a beautiful dog. On top of all this, Missy was also terribly thin. More than likely she had internal parasites and poor diet loaded on top of this neglect. Amazingly, she still wanted people. She still sought love and affection. It was amazing and completely alien to me how any animal could still have that capacity after this kind of life.
To treat Missy, and get her back to reasonable health would cost several hundreds of dollars in medications, medicated baths and special diets. It would be months before she even got her fur back if we treated her. The young man contemplated this for several minutes. This young man, with all his kind intentions, did not have that kind of money. Neither did I. Had I the money or the means, I would have taken Missy and treated her here at the clinic. The young man then stated flatly that he couldn’t take her back to the owners, since he knew they would only tie her back outside in the cold and leave her to die. He then did the only thing he felt he could do. He asked us to put Missy to sleep.
Of all the things I do in my job, putting an animal down is always the most difficult. I feel some of those for days. This one will haunt me for the rest of my life. Knowing this poor tortured animal had reached outside its pain and suffering, yet gone beyond her horrible treatment to not hate all humans, made this decision seem so damned unfair. Many times, when I think about it now, it still seems that way.
I stayed in the room and held Missy as we administered the overdose of barbituates which would release her from this life. I looked into her beautiful green eyes and told her it would all be okay. It would soon end and she would not hurt anymore. Then she slipped into her permanent sleep. As I laid her head down, white-hot fire shot through me. My skin burned so hot I choked back a startled scream. I gripped the exam table to stay upright and closed my eyes. Then, as fast as it hit, it was gone. I knew then that this had been the right decision for Missy. She gave me the gift of releasing me from guilt as we had released her from her horror.
When the client left the office, he’d asked that we take care of Missy’s body for him. I had her privately cremated and her ashes returned as the only gift I had to give her. I still see her in my dreams and in my mind’s eye from time to time. She follows me as a reminder that sometimes, that which makes us feel sorrow, also makes us human.
Being human is the most difficult thing sometimesâ€¦â€¦.
Note; Missy is the reason I have the dog I have now. I swore on her ashes that I would not turn down helping another dog if I had the means to do so when one came along. About 3 months later, Phantom and his whole litter were dropped at the doorstep of the shelter with a bottle of milk. I bottle fed him, adopted him out, he came back to the shelter, and I came to get him and took him home. He’s 11 years old now.
Today is March 1, 2011Â I put Phantom down in September of 2009. He had cancer.Â I still cannot bring myself to write more than that about it … He touched me that much.Â We Acquired Tonks the Beagle when Phantom was about 4.Â She is 5 or 6 now.Â I love her, but she’s not Phantom, and I’ll never have another Beagle……
At least his word of the week isn’t “Disgusting” anymore. Or as he says… “Igusting”Â Bless their hearts, the women at the daycare are trying to help us with getting RichardÂ potty trained. They tell him “EWWwww… that’s disgusting” every time they change a diaper.Â Which would probably work if it made him think badly of the whole deal. Instead, Richard likes the word so much it’s become a game.Â While I’m not overly worried about the potty training being on a timer, I’d sure be happy when there are no more diapers….. sheesh.
In my frustration I posted something to my FB account about putting a picture of my boss’s face on my pell and repeatedly beating it with my sword until I felt better.Â Apparently people who don’t know me well, haven’t bothered to GET to know me and who think they know everything that is appropriate ratted me out to said boss.Â She then called me to ask me if I did say that.Â Well, since I didn’t put a NAME, just said “my boss”, it could have been any of the doctors, but I told her that yes, I said that.Â She started laughing. She thought it was funny.
Now the Dr. who saw it and told her …… is the same doctor whom I watched yank a dog by the collar off the treatment table to the floor, and proceed to threaten, hit and show it the back door and the river.Â The entire time she was telling the dog she was going to throw it in the river because it was being unruly and it was scared.Â So…. tell me, WHO did something inappropriate?Â Â I posted an opinion, a frustration and what I had thought at the time might make me feel a little bit better.Â Â Who among us had never said something like “Oh they make me so mad I could just kill them sometimes” or “I could just smack the stupid out of them” or something along those lines?Â Because if you sit there and tell me you’ve never thought, written it down, said it out loud or acted on those feelings, you are lying to me and I have no respect or use for you.
So, now only 3 or 4 people have access to my FB account from work.Â If something I post gets back to people, I know who did it and can act accordingly.Â And believe me, I will.Â I’m done being betrayed and thrown under the bus by people I thought were trust worthy.Â Y’all have fair warning now.Â Either buck up or shut the fuck up!