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melting but not down

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Its taken me a while to get to the point where I could write about losing my lovely little dog Kish.  Guilt and grief are powerful silencers.  For quite a while before now, possibly even a year, she was rarely able to last the day without needing the loo. As Mr Lily and I were both out at work, it meant we'd often come home to puddles or poops in the kitchen where we'd moved her bed for ease of cleaning up.  Even though I'd spread puppy training mats all over the floor, sometimes she'd managed to miss them or paddle in her accidents, leaving huge areas to clean.  Unfortunately I was usually the second one home at night, almost always to be greeted by an extremely pissed off husband who'd had to deal with the mess, not a task with which he coped well.  He constantly insisted it was time she was "put down" but I ignored him, reasoning that at her age (16) it wasn't surprising that she couldn't hold it in all day - we couldn't - and in other respects she was fine, eating and drinking normally, enjoying pottering around the house and garden, not in any obvious pain although a little stiff in her back legs and lately had often to be helped out of her bed.  I loved my hairy little daughter and wasn't ready to say goodbye.

Three Fridays ago I drove home from work.  At the corner of our village I stopped to speak to Mr Lily who was waiting for a lift to the pub.  He said Kish had weed and he hadn't had time to clean it up so had just put an absorbant mat over the puddle.  I carried on  home.  I'll never forget the sight that greeted me when I opened the kitchen door.  Kish was on her side on the floor, thrashing about in her own shit, panting, panicking, desperate to stand up but unable to get to her feet.  The mess was smeared all over the floor and her and when she turned her head to look up at me as I entered the room her big brown frightened eyes pleaded "help me!"  I managed to get her up, covering my hands in poo in the process and put her outside while I cleaned up the kitchen floor.  (I never minded cleaning up after Kish - I'm blessed with a poor sense of smell.)  Then I took umpteen anti-bacterial wipes and did the best I could to clean her up.  I couldn't have bathed her - the last time we tried that she had a panic attack and couldn't breathe, I didn't want to distress her further.  This is Kish just after the clean up, you can see how wobbly she had become.....
That Friday was when I realised it was time to let her go.  It would have been cruel to put her at risk of another episode like that - what if she were left floundering from the morning onward? No, unthinkable, watching the video I'd taken on my mobile I could see she was a tired old girl.  I phoned the vet and booked her in for the following day - having made the decision, I didn't want to delay.  I phoned lovely daughter and she came straight over, bless her - much as she loved Kish she supported me in my awful decision and promised to come with me to the vet's the next morning, cancelling other arrangements that she'd made.

I was up at 5.30am the next day, couldn't sleep and wanted to spend as much time with Kish as possible before going to the vet's at lunchtime.  I brushed and brushed her to get rid of all the grey tufty moulting hair so she looked sleek and pretty.  I talked to her and stroked and cuddled her and LD put her coat on her to keep her warm....

For the first time ever, Kish was calm at the vet's.  No longer scrabbling and pulling on the lead to get out of there as fast as possible, she lay quietly in lovely daughter's arms and while standing on the table, buried her nose in my neck for ages while we talked to the vet.  They decided against shaving a patch on her leg as the poor old girl was covered in lumps, so gave the injection without fuss.  Kish just glanced at the vet then turned back to me, we kept eye contact until her head drooped and she gradually slipped away.  It took me a long time and a lot of tears before I was ready to leave her.  I cried and cried all weekend and on and off the following week.  Getting up on a morning and coming home at night to a Kish-free house was awful, so empty, so soul-less.  I started to question whether I'd acted too soon and wished I could turn back time and have her with me just a little longer.

Kish came home this Tuesday.  We had her cremated on her own and have put her casket on the  mantelpiece next to a photo of her as a beautiful young dog, decorated by her name tag and a taffeta bag containing a few tufts of her hair.  I have kept her original adoption papers, collars, halti, harness and frisbee - I couldn't part with all her stuff, seemed so callous.  I took her in the kitchen with me last night while I did the washing up and found myself crying while I talked to her about what had happened and how much I loved her.  Cracking up, obviously.  Here's a few photos of Kish throughout her long life with us, that's my foot she's cuddling in the last one. 

Monday, 11 July 2011

Those of a nervous disposition look away now......

This is a true story.  It happened to me today and yet I still don't know quite how it happened.  Anyway, this morning I had to go to a meeting in another workplace.  You should know that my job requires me to wear a lanyard round my neck with my office swipe card, door key and ID photo hanging off the bottom of it.  Before I went into the meeting, I went to the loo to spend a penny. An hour later, I spent another penny before the long walk back to the car, along many a corridor and past many people, mostly male.  As I got into the car, something caught my eye on the end of the lanyard.  There, stuck firmly to the swipe card was a panty liner.  Not just any panty liner, but the very one that just over an hour previously had been stuck equally firmly (or so I thought) to my pants.  Now what I want to know is:
  1. on which trip to the loo did the transfer take place and how?
  2. did anyone notice but feel too embarrassed to tell me?

Sunday, 10 July 2011

"WOLF!" ?

The care home rang again this Friday to say they'd insisted the doctor came out to mum because she seemed to have a very bad chest infection and they wanted to be sure it wasn't pneumonia.  It wasn't, but it was sad to hear that mum didn't recognise/remember her all time favourite doctor when she visited her. I was expecting to find an even frailer mum when lovely daughter and I went to see her yesterday but amazingly she was in the lounge, quite alert, making comments and responding to us and her cough was only intermittent!  She wouldn't drink much of her build-up milkshake (nor would the other residents) but when weighed was 35 kilos, which is not bad going for mum - she did get down to 32 at one point (77 and 70.4  pounds/5 stones 7 pounds and 5 stones and almost half a pound).

Oh bugger, I've just sprinkled ground coriander on Mr Lily's porridge instead of cinnamon :-(  Its a sign that I should stop blogging lol

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

feeling my age

Had a great 60th party, now back to reality.  Last Friday the care home rang to say that they'd called the doctor out to mum because they didn't think she'd been herself all week.  The doctor told them to let the family know that mum was in the "final stages of dementia".  I was on my way home from work when they rang so of course thought of lots of questions after the phone call, especially after I'd looked it up on the net and seen all the horror stories about the final stages.  Lovely daughter and I went over the same night and had a long talk with the staff. They couldn't give me any timescales but said that the doctor had stopped all mum's medication apart from aspirin because at 91, she'd "had a good innings"- its a blessing I suppose as getting her to take all her tablets has always been a struggle. She sleeps a lot, doesn't have the balance to walk unaided and isn't drinking enough, although she has good days with her eating.  Mum was already in bed when we went at 6.30pm so we returned on Saturday morning.  She doesn't initiate conversations any more and although she responds when you talk (very loudly) to her, half the time its clear she hasn't heard or understood you.  She seems lost in a world of her own most of the time and sometimes says she wishes she were going home, which I think is probably her childhood home.  I filled in an end of life form again, confirming that I didn't want mum to be taken to hospital but treated at the care home if ill, didn't want  her resuscitating if her heart stopped but did want her to receive non-invasive life prolonging treatment to make her comfortable, like oxygen or antibiotics.  I even phoned the travel insurance people to check we were covered if we had to cancel our holiday at the beginning of August (we are).  Am I awful to hope things don't drag on too long?

I'm off work this morning, which is just as well.  Had a chewy day at work yesterday - someone kicked off and threw a chair across the room, I wasn't under threat but it had an impact.  I've felt exhausted and down ever since.  Beginning to think I'm too old for this job.