Quality of Life

Word has spread around the ‘hood; the action at the bird feeders has really picked up. We both love the woodies and we’re getting both downys and hairys as well as our favorite, Big Red, the red belly. He’s much spookier and louder than his kin.

Amongst the songbirds, I adore our single Carolina wren. Love his or her jaunty tail, the eyelines, the song. Chickadees, nuthatches and titmice found us first, and the titmice always make me smile. House finches have appeared in greater numbers. We lost the lone cardinal couple. Still hoping to see bluebirds come. So far, they hang near the orchard and the wood line, only occasionally showing up to check a nestbox.

We are entering our fifth month at the Missouri Compromise. Both of us are feeling a bit more grounded. I don’t know why we were surprised at how hard the transition was, and why we expected it to be so short, but, while still not “home”, it feels far less temporary.

We hadn’t lived in a house not built by us in a long time. It makes a difference and one I didn’t consider too deeply. For the first ninety days here, I felt like a caretaker.

But the basement is completely ours now. The animal accident-proof flooring and the bookshelves have transformed the space.

It is so lovely to be able to browse my books, to re-read at will and to be able to add.

Life is impermanence. Bubbles had a cardiac event last week. She started gasping for air, crawled into my lap, gasping and gasping. Her heart was pounding. I petted her. We were all calm. Mr. Nobody and I spoke to this deaf sick dog and stroked her until eventually she calmed enough for me to move her off my lap. That’s when we discovered she had lost control of her bladder.

Bad sign.

She went to her cardiologist on Tuesday and the doc hospitalized her. Bubbles was filling with fluids and needed a lot of Lasix quickly.

She’s progressing from the end stage of mitral valve disease to congestive heart failure. Average survival rate at this point is nine months.

The medications have grown and been tweaked again. She gets 2 pills once a day. Three pills twice a day. And 7 pills three times a day. Plus potassium powder, Cosequin, and a pro-biotic spray.

My baby is 11 ½ years old.

I’ve been avoiding the literature on mitral valve disease. Denial is powerful even amongst those of us who are reality based. From what I’ve learned, we’re lucky she’s still with us at this age.

We have her list of pleasures on the refrigerator door. When none of those pleasures mean anything to her, it will be time. Euthanasia means “good death” and I intend this for Bubbles. I hope these months of freedom and interesting smells have added to her quality of life.

It has most surely added to mine.

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