That's what I'm trying to do with today. I cannot dwell on what happened with 'Gene yesterday, because it was just horrifying. For those of you who'd like to skip directly to the "brown paper packages tied up with string," you should skip the next two or three paragraphs, which are only there because I have to get it out.
To sum it up, I was able to keep my colt comfortable throughout the night and into the morning with painkillers. He was pretty much out of it, but he was quiet, calm, and at least not suffering terribly. But then the vet was not able to get here when he estimated, and by late morning, I'd run out of drugs to give him. The pain broke through, and there was nothing I could do, but watch, talk to him, and cry. And then when the vet did arrive, he had a far different protocol than our other vet for euthanasia. I don't pretend to understand all the factors that were at play, and I'm trying not to compare this experience with the easy, relieved passing of Montrachet, but this was...not like that. I noticed that different drugs were used, but had, and have, no idea what that had to do with what happened. And as for what did happen, I'll just say that rather than feeling like a mercy, this felt more like a murder, and I'll never get it out of my mind. I know that the euthanasia had to be done--he was beyond saving--but I'd have much preferred he'd have been able to just close his eyes, sigh, and go to sleep with his head in my lap, like his grandfather did earlier this year.
But that wasn't how it went. I keep thinking of that scene from "The Green Mile," in wich the weasely psychopath guard "forgot" to soak the sponge on Edward DeLacroix's head before electrocuting him. For those of you with veterinary backgrounds who are wondering, all I can tell you about the difference between this experience and that one, was that with Montrachet, two injections were given. One put him gently to sleep, as if for surgery, and the other stopped his heart, and it was easy--a relief. Two shots. For Gene, there was a preliminary shot, but he didn't seem fully sedated, and that was followed by opening a port into his jugular, to which was attached rubber tubing and a one-liter bottle of fluid, running full-bore. I can't describe the horror of the actual death, but to say that it took what seemed like an eternity, and it wasn't over until that liter bottle was empty. Compare that to 'Chet's passing, which took less than a minute, all told, and you have an idea of the state I was in by the time it was over. My desperate hope and prayer is that what I witnessed was purely a physiological reaction to the drugs, and that the sweet colt was already "gone" by the time it was happening.
Enough of that, and I apologize to anyone who's been emailing or calling while I have been deliberately not communicating. I thank everyone who commented or emailed with sympathy, those of you who don't feel that "it's just an animal," and wonder what I'm getting "all worked up" over. Before this year, I had owned and bred horses for over 15 years, and had never lost one, ever. Had some close calls with colic, and a couple of bad injuries, but never one I couldn't save. 'Gene's body will be going to the state lab Monday morning for necropsy, because I just have to know what went wrong. This is also when I thank Alex for dealing with the truly--for me--unthinkable parts of all this, and doing the things that had to be done, all alone (including somehow getting an 800-pound horse's body onto a trailer), while shielding me from the cold reality of it all. Thanks, Honey. This is the kind of thing my dad would have taken on, once upon a time, and you'll never know what it means to me that you were there for me.
So. Now to concentrate on the positive. Today is our wedding anniversary. We're still together, still committed to making this ridiculous arrangement work (I mean, seriously, who came up with this whole marriage business, anyway? Didn't it occur to anyone that even "normal" people get on each other's NERVES? And that Alex and I are both more than a stone's throw from "normal?"), and we love each other and our little family of three like crazy. When I was obviously upset yesterday, Bella orchestrated a "Belinda sandwich," which is her way of making everyone hug, with one person in the middle. I sure didn't have that when I was single. So there's that.
And speaking of family, the rest of mine is also the best in the world. My mom worked like a dog all week to orchestrate the office Christmas party last night, and I made us miss it, because I was busy being wadded up in a fetal position, crying and taking Xanax for several hours. (And on another positive note, that was the first time I'd cracked open THAT bottle for quite some time, so we're getting better with the weird anxiety-thing.) There's that.
I have the kindest, most thoughtful blog-friends EVER.
The dogs are all doing well, and puppies are starting to walk and look especially adorable.
It's FIGHT NIGHT. (Yeah, I know, it's also our anniversary, but, uh...we're going to see some boxing. If--I mean, WHEN--Jermain wins, we will probably jump up and down and hug, and that's romantic, right? Plus, my husband will allow me to mention, probably several times, how very PRETTY Jermain is, without repercussion.)
Wanna argue with me about that? Didn't think so. Watch for us on HBO tonight--I will be waving at YOU, I promise!
It's a beautiful day in Arkansas. Cold, for once, which is rare enough that we actually appreciate it, and bright and sunny.
Isabella has been the most delightful child (I mean, she always has been, generally speaking, but I'm talking strictly BEHAVIOR now) in the western hemisphere for WEEKS now. I'm starting to wonder if, after Christmas is over, I can just go ahead and start in on the Santa Claus business for next year. Would it work for a whole year? Or is that just cruel?
And then, my MOO cards came today! I took some terrible pictures of them, but please believe that the actual cards look MUCH better than my lame photographs. I'm wholeheartedly endorsing these little gems, and am coming up with forty-leven uses for them already. These are my "blog cards" for when people in the "real" world say, "Your what?"