Sad reading

It’s been a yucky weekend.  I’m working on finishing up the five reviews on eight books that I owe – had set aside this entire weekend to finish them – but I’ve ended up doing most of the remaining reading while sitting in the reception area of Animal Emergency Care.

Rudy has had a few instances in the last month and a half of ill health: he’d stop eating for a day or two, and be terribly lethargic, then, just when we started to be worried, he’d bounce back and be his regular hungry active self again.  This past Friday morning Jim woke up to feed the cats and found several puddles of cat-puke on the carpet; he fed the cats breakfast as usual, and Rudy declined to eat.  Then he didn’t eat dinner Friday evening, either, and threw up some more.  Nor did he eat Saturday breakfast.  When I got home from work Saturday afternoon, he was vomiting clear puddles of puke, not a trace of food left in his body.

So Jim and I debated, and finally decided that I’d take Rudy over to Animal Emergency Care.  Rudy and I waited, and waited, and waited, for three hours.  While Rudy slept listlessly in his carrier, I got to know some of the other people and animals waiting their turn.  The funky, personable husband and wife with the 18-year-old cat who was limping.  The mother and little boy with the cat who had peed all over the house.  The young couple  with the Pomeranian puppy who had chewed an electric cord and gotten a shock.  The man and his wife who rushed in and urgently asked for help for their dog.

And I read my young adult novel in the waiting room, hating every sentence and every page. 

By 7:15, Jim came by to visit Rudy and me, and convinced me that Rudy wasn’t really sick enough to bother waiting anymore.  So we headed home, and fed the cats dinner.  Rudy didn’t eat.  Rudy was lethargic.  We decided to take him back to Animal Emergency Care at about 9:00 PM. 

The funky couple was still in the waiting room, while their cat was being examined.  They filled us in on what had happened in our absence:  the urgent man and wife with the injured dog had left in tears, without their dog.  The Pomeranian had been admitted for observation, after it was discovered that his heartbeat was irregular.  And then the funky couple got the news about their beautiful, aging cat: he had bone cancer, and would need to be put to sleep.  They left in tears, hugging their cat, planning to put him to sleep on Monday. 

A new patient, a sweet 16-year-old dog, and her owners had arrived meanwhile,  and Jim and I had a lovely chat with them.  Two young women, one stunning, one funny, sat with the stunning girl’s lapdog.  The other groups both ordered pizzas and other junk food, while we waited.  And waited.

Finally Rudy got his turn, and was examined and approved for blood tests and x-rays.  He was hustled out back, we went out and got V-8’s and donuts and chatted some more with the owners of the sweet elderly dog. 

Rudy’s blood tests came back: a bad systemic infection, with white blood counts off the chart.  He’d need to stay the night, and we were given a monetary quote for services to be rendered that made us both feel faint.  Through the wall we could hear the diagnosis for the sweet elderly dog:  pancreatitis.

By morning, Rudy had had his x-ray, and it shows a mass in his belly.  Whether the mass is cancerous, or an abcess, we don’t yet know.  Either way, his chances aren’t good.  He’s still at the hospital tonight, and they don’t like him much because he’s cranky and attacking them (they wear gloves that look like chain saw gloves when handling him, and he has a collar around his neck to keep him from trying to remove the IV, and, I think, to protect the staff from his ire); we’ll be moving him tomorrow morning to the animal hospital down the street for a second opinion.  I don’t hold out much hope that the second opinion will be positive.  It’s an unbelievably sad night.  Life without Rudy feels like a pretty crappy prospect.

And I’m still reading that young adult novel.  And still hating it.  I think it’s fair to say that the circumstances of life are affecting my judgement.  I’ve decided to retire from the book review business.

5 thoughts on “Sad reading”

  1. I’m sorry about Rudy. I hope the second opinion holds out more hope for a recovery. We’ll be thinking about him.

    And don’t retire from the book review business. The world of readers needs your sensible take on things.

  2. Rudy thanks you for the kind words – though he’s feeling pretty glum.

    As for the retirement, too late; I just did. I’d rather indulge my personal reading passions than be a sensible influence on the world. 🙂

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