Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Partial Sick Day

I'm home in bed with a cough and a cold, at least for part of the day, anyway. Despite calling in sick to work, I still had a 20-minute telephone conversation with the hospice nurse who is admitting my patient to home hospice service as I write this missive. I also must fulfill my professorial duty and teach tonight from 4 to 9:30pm, including the administration of an exam on the endocrine and renal systems and nursing care of such.

As I lie here in my bed, the window open and light streaming in, I hear the sounds of a large felled tree in our neighbor's yard being chain-sawed and stripped and chipped into a new existence as mulch and firewood.

Prior to school, Mary and I will drive to the animal hospital to pick up Sparkey and bring him home. The compassionate and sensitive vet caring for him in the ICU thinks he might live two more months if we're lucky and he's not suffering. Otherwise, we may need to euthanize him sooner. Composing my post from last night, I burst into tears before I could finish writing, the first full conscious recognition that our dear friend is dying. I can't wait to get him home and let him know he'll be forever free of the confines and strange smells and sounds of the hospital.

We've lived through our best family friend being murdered by the police, many friends and clients dying, elderly family members dying, my wife's extended family suffering the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Now the focus is close to home: our beloved old dog. Every time I've heard of a neighbor's or friend's animal dying, I've thought, "There but for the grace of God go I". Now here we are, it's no longer "there". And here is where we need to be.
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