Amidst all the crap that was last week, the worst thing that happened finally happened: our first, and oldest, pet passed away.
You know how sometimes you just know that something really bad is about to happen? Or how sometimes you just know that someone (or something) is going to die shortly? Well, I had that feeling about Furry, our guinea pig. The six months or so, she was moving a little slower, sleeping a little more, and losing a bit of weight. We started giving her more food by hand because we thought that perhaps Mo, our 2-year-old guinea pig from hell, was stealing all the food (because she does). I'd sit with Furry and she'd nibble on pieces of cucumber (from the middle part out) or green pepper, as pleased as a pig can be.
Although she never really gained back any weight, she seemed fine otherwise. Totally happy, eating, drinking, curious, doing all the normal piggy things. But all along, I watched her, because something told me her time was coming. It wasn't just the fact that she was now 7 years old (which equals OLD in guinea pig years). It was something else that I couldn't quite put my finger on.
So, last Wednesday, I got up and noticed that Furry wasn't moving around, was facing the back of the cage, and seemed a little too quiet. Her breathing was also different. So, I picked her up and held her all morning while I studied anatomy. I held her in my lap on a soft blanket, with a small bowl full of cut-up green pepper, and I talked to her and fed her. I massaged her ears the way she liked. I brushed her little hair tuft with my finger, knowing it was probably one of the last times I would do so.
I had to go to school that afternoon, so I called Mr. Handsome to give him a heads-up. The last thing I wanted was for the kids to come home from school and find Furry had died.
We had a break at about 6 p.m., so I called home to see how things were going. And I could tell right away that what I feared would happen had happened. Mr. Handsome sounded flustered, sad, not himself. He said Furry had passed away about 10 minutes earlier, very peacefully. Everyone had said their good-byes, spent lots of time with her, and then she just lay down and stopped breathing.
It was so hard for me not to cry right there in class, but I kept it under control. That is, until I got home after class that night. Mr. Handsome and the kids had already put Furry into her resting place -- a shoebox filled with hay, some fresh veggies and Vitamin C, to tide her over until she got to piggy heaven. When I opened the box and saw her, lying so still, I broke down and sobbed.
And I have to admit that, although animals are precious to me, I kept telling myself to stop being so emotional. She was, after all, "just" a guinea pig.
But she wasn't. She was Furry. And Furry was our first dear pet, our pig with attitude. She was quirky, and cute, and had a sense of humour, and we all loved her a lot. She had a very strong personality, and was more like a tiny dog than a guinea pig. Not only that, but she was darn cute.
Like it's not bad enough that I struggle daily to keep up with my mammoth studies of anatomical drawings of men's gargantuan genitalia, but now the final exams are looming, I still can't lift a 200-pound person in a chair up two flights of stairs, and my arthritis has flared up to an entirely new level of agony and utter torment.
That is probably one of the worst parts of having arthritis: the routine unpredictability of it. For weeks, nay months, I can feel pretty damn good. I am never without pain (that would be waaay too much to ask for, of course), but then, almost overnight, I will wake up and feel nothing but.
Last night, I took codeine and some Tylenol so that I could actually fall asleep and maybe get a few hours without the gnawing of my joints waking me up (or keeping me up), but even that was apparently too much to ask for. This strange thing happens now and again when I take codeine, and the fact that I never know when it's going to happen makes my life just that much more fun. As happened last night, my stomach (and pretty much every other organ in the viscinity) pushed the "dislike" button on my body (I think I have many), and I ended up writhing in even more pain for pretty much the entire night. My stomach went into spasms, and it felt like my entire ribcage, intestines and back were finally going to make their escape to freedom. I almost woke up Mr. Handsome and asked him to take me to the hospital, but of course, I didn't, because I'm a martyr that way (also known as "VERY STUPID"), and because he was sleeping so soundly (which he pretty much always does) that I truly believed it was better that at least one of us get some sleep. What was possibly even worse than lying there in agony for hours on end was the fact that, the few times I actually fell back asleep, my dreams perpetually wove around the same theme of -- you guessed it! -- extreme stomach pain. My subconscious obviously has no imagination.
So, today, I feel like crap. I'm laying low, feeling sorry for myself, and taking some time to just be.
Note to Mr. Handsome: Read this post at your own risk. Don't blame me if you fall over in a dead syncopic episode due to extreme prudishness.
I've finally figured out a way to totally gross out Mr. Handsome, and make him pray for freedom from the chains of marriage.
You may think that an odd statement regarding one's spousal unit, but then, you obviously just don't know enough about Mr. Handsome's and my relationship, for our relationship is entirely based on one-uppance. And that is why it's worked for so many years. Either that, or we're insane, which is probably very true as well.
Every week at school, we have a class called Medical Terminology, whereby we have to study some body system, learn the spelling and meaning of all the words, and then spew them out during the weekly test. So much fun. Seriously.
Especially when said system for the week is the male reproductive system, in all its infinite glory.
The other evening, I sat down to go over the chapter, which includes some dictation words that we can play on a CD and then spell. Very helpful when you're dealing with complicated medical terms that have too many consonants, which obviously means the scientist who came up with the term was on waaay too many drugs. Or was Polish. Probably both.
So, there I was, INNOCENTLY reading about the male reproductive system and all its comings and goings, when Mr. Handsome suddenly stated, in no uncertain terms, "Don't you think that's a bit inappropriate?"
And I said, "What? What's inappropriate? Words about the male reproductive system, you mean? Why would that be inappropriate, sweetheart? They're just words, and they're just body parts."
Mr. Handsome didn't go for it. So, I kept on reading, and once in a while, a word would come tumbling out of my mouth, totally out of the blue, as if my subconscious were somehow trying to irk Mr. Handsome to no end. Mr. Handsome was watching poker on the television (apparently that's all that's on when he watches tv), and in-between hands, or while the cards were being shuffled, he would hear words like "bulbourethral gland", and "ductus deferens", or "prepuce".
I heard Mr. Handsome's throat clear, and looked up to find him staring at me, a look of unhappiness across his face. He clearly wanted me to fail.
So, I closed my book, walked over to my laptop, and switched on my medical terminology program for the dictation portion.
Silence enveloped the room, and all that could be heard was the poker game on t.v. Poker is gibberish to me (I am most probably the world's worst card player in history), and in my head, it all sounds like the adults in a Charlie Brown classic at Christmas or Hallowe'en.
So, while the hands were being played, I did my dictation. Suddenly, the poker game was studded with male reproductive terms that were exclaimed loudly throughout the first floor of the house for everyone to hear (did I mention that I STILL can't hear well out of my left ear, hence the loud volume?).
Mr. Handsome turned around, but because he has no flexibility (literally AND figuratively, obviously), he couldn't quite see me.
The television goes off.
He gets up and looks at me, then walks toward the stairs.
I know Mr. Handsome's going to read this post, and not speak to me for a day. I also know I'm going to get perfect marks in this week's test, which is all that matters, guys.
If it wasn't bad enough that I had a wee eyeball issue last week, as well as a major toothache that is still rearing its ugly head with pain, I came home today to dog crap on our living room carpet. Five nicely-shaped nuggets of the canine variety, more specifically, poodle-like.
Oh, yeah. And no one saw it until I came home. Strange coincidence.
Guess who picked up the chocolate bananas? Yup. While I wore my paramedic uniform, no less. That's how brave a medic I am.
In addition to the rather large Tootsie rolls on the carpet, this week also brings a megaload of tests. I had one today to make up for the one I missed last week because of my stupid eyeball. I have one tomorrow that should be fine, and is supposed to be written, although the teacher's definition of "written" isn't written at all. More like fill in the blanks and match some words and definitions. Wednesday brings us a test on the male reproductive system, and we all know what that means. Lots of laughter and snickering as the teacher (just picture Mr. Rogers) dictates words such as "ejaculation", "penile thrust", and "priapice". I can hardly wait.
The biggest test takes place Friday, where we have five different stations set up and we have to go in blindly and diagnose and treat each "patient" at each station, who will be presented to us with some kind of soft tissue injury. I'm thinking a loose eyeball, a poor lad with his guts on the outside, and possibly an arterial bleed that just won't stop. Awesome.
Come on, now. You wish you were me. Just admit it.
As if it wasn't enough that two of my teeth decided to give me grief the other day...Now I have to go to the hospital to get my eyeballs checked out because I think I may have another retinal detachment happening, which wouldn't be a good thing, in case you were wondering.
Looks like the Cloud of Doom has decided to sit right on top of me and give me just a little more grief. Yeah, sure. Bring it on. I love grief. And doom.
And then the dog vomited. And peed. On our living room carpet. Again.
Now all I need is a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses coming to my door with pamphlets on how I too can be saved...
I am a 46-year-old mom of two amazing children and wife to a wonderful and very patient man, and a lucky friend to many. I am a Realtor and a writer, but have also been a journalist, editor, and daycare provider. Not every day is a good day, but I sure try to keep smiling.