Where The Popsicles Are-81

Of stones and Peaches.

The first six months of 2005 went by in a flash. We didn’t have to go back to see Dr. Carson until the first of June. Joanie was doing well, busier than ever. Her calendar was full. It gave us a good feeling to not have to pack up and head down the road every month or three months to another meeting with the unknown.

The Pap smear in June did show some atypical cells, but Dr. Carson felt they were probably due to the radiation she had earlier, but would check again when we came back down in September. They call them atypical when they aren’t normal, but cannot be called cancerous or precancerous. In any event, they bear watching. The reason we were going to go back in three months was a urologist in Bismarck, had discovered some stones in her Miami pouch. In fact they had discovered ten fairly large stones. How those had been missed earlier considering all of the CT scans Joanie had had, and all of the eyes in Bismarck and Minneapolis that had been looking at the scans, remained a mystery, one I had written Carson about after all was said and done.

The reason they had been found at all right then, was Joanie had been complaining of some pain, and they thought, initially, that might be the source. It wasn’t. It would be some time before they would be able to pinpoint the source of the pain, but the first order of business would be to get rid of the stones in the Miami pouch.

The surgery to remove the stones had to be open, meaning they had to open her up and open up the Miami pouch. The stones were to large to be removed by a less intrusive approach. The procedure, done by a urologist, Dr. Monga, went well, and Joanie was only in the hospital for two days, and we went home. In retrospect, it was one of the easier procedures she had undergone in the last nine years.

The only sad event during an otherwise good period, was one of our Siamese, Peaches. She was the younger by a year of the two we had, the other was Muffin. Peaches had developed feline diabetes, and it had progressed faster than we had anticipated.

Peaches was the heavier of the two, and was still able to make it up and down stairs. The litter box was in the basement, but one week, it was obvious things had gotten worse. We had visited the vet with her, and the news wasn’t good. She seemed to do okay for a few weeks after that, but then it was obvious what we had to do, and were going to have to act soon.

One night, when she couldn’t get up on the couch, even though we had a small stool she could climb on to make it up, we knew I had to take her in to the vet the next day and have her put down. This reality was hard on Joanie. These two cats, both who had come to us as little white fur balls, even though they were a year apart, had a firm grasp on both our hearts.

As Peaches lay near the couch, I tried to coax her into the kitchen to give her some water, but she wouldn’t move. I finally went over and picked her up and carefully carried her into the kitchen next to their water bowl, and tried to get her to drink something. She wouldn’t.

Then, as she lay there on the kitchen floor, I stroked her fur and tried to comfort her and would sprinkle some water on her little mouth. Joanie, whose own body was betraying her, stood off to the side, tears in her eyes, and Muffin sat off a ways wondering what was going on with her companion, not understanding, but obviously concerned. As I stroked her fur, she looked at me as if to say it was okay, and breathed her last, and I covered her in the towel I had laid her on.

I wrapped her in the towel, then put her in a box we found, and wrapped several layers of plastic bags around it bound with tape, and the next day I buried her in the back yard where Joanie wanted her.

The passing of Peaches had an effect on Joanie, and that night as I held her tight, she cried even more. I suspect it was not only because of the loss of one of her dear, furry friends, but also deep somewhere inside, the prospect of losing something so close when she was dealing with a life threatening disease made the processing of this event more difficult.

As for Muffin, she was confused as well. I didn’t notice it so much that night, but the next day, I saw her going from room to room, and down to the basement searching for her friend, as if hoping she would find where she was hiding. It struck me how much our pets are really like us after all.

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About Bob Kallberg

Retired reporter. Concentrating now on recounting Joanie's 12 year battle with cancer, a battle she waged with extreme courage, determination and an indomitable spirit, that, for me, serves as an example.
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