Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bright Copper Kettles, etc.

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?"


  1. Belinda, I wish I could give you a big, big hug. I'm just so sorry that Gene's passing wasn't in the way you'd hoped it would be but I know he felt you comforting him and it had to help as he passed from this world.

    And I want to wish you and Alex a happy anniversary. May your love grow ever stronger.

  2. Belinda,
    I'm so, so sorry for the way things went with Gene. It sounds absolutely horrific, probably much more so for you than for him, since he was sedated. It is hard to lose a beloved animal, and much more so when the end is not as peaceful as you would have wished. Please accept my sympathy.

    Congratulations on your anniversary! Sometimes it seems to me like the challanges we've been through together have cemented our marriage even tighter (although I'm sure this depends on the nature of the challenges!). Don't you just love family sandwiches? My kids like us to make those too.

  3. I wish I was a lot closer and could cry with you, it is hard to lose a beloved pet. You lost Gene 2 days after I lost K.C., so it is kind of fresh for me. Lots of hugs and encouraging thoughts during this rough time.

    Congratulations on your anniversary and may there be many more happy years together.

    Have fun at the fight.

  4. (HUGS). When Moxie my cat was PTS, I chose not to be there - I couldn't deal with it.

    From everything I've heard about PTS, what the vet did didn't sound right. Talk to your regular vet about it.

    Enjoy the fight tonight. Boxing isn't my thing, but he does look very handsome :)

  5. I didn't realize you could print wording on the back of the Moo cards, those are adorable.

  6. p.s. I'm avoiding the tragedy because I never know what to say. I'm sorry just feels so... you know, lame.

  7. I'm sad to hear that the vet wasn't as courteous to your feelings nor th Gene's. That's awful!

  8. I wrote you an email, but now, I see why you haven't been able to reply. I am so sorry for your loss, B. That's never an easy thing to go through, especially when you love your animals like you love your children. (Maybe more! They don't answer back!)

    On the upside, I am so glad that you and Alex have reached this milestone together. You two are perfect together and you NEED one another. It's more than a want thing. And it's so good to know that you were able to rely on him during your time of need. (No pregnant pups this time around, I gather? *wink*)

    I pray for you guys, every night. For your strength, for Alex and for your Babygirl. You are the most beautiful family I have come to know.


  9. I'm so sorry to hear about 'Gene, and that you both had to go through that.

    Congratulations on your anniversary! It's obvious from your writing that you and Alex truly love and cherish each other. Also, that MOO card with Bella's eyes and her hands up to her mouth? TOO ADORABLE!

  10. Congrats on the marriage thing! I totally agree with the idea that everyone gets on each other's nerves eventually! I can't wait to see you in just 2 short weeks. And maybe you could bring over a puppy or two for me to see? Love ya!

  11. I'm very sorry for your loss. Thank you for such a heartfelt post. It comes at good time for me - a friend is slowly losing her 9 year old black lab that they had since he was 6 months old to a mouth cancer. I'll keep you and 'Gene in mind as I help T through her sorrow.

  12. I've said it before and I'll say it again. There isn't much to say.

    I'm sorry, I'm sad, I'm full of hope for you that you'll be ok and be able to love and cherish all your other animals (and may I include your daughter and husband in that....) with a renewed sense of purpose.

    That's all we can ask for. Is that those we allow into our lives (relatives, friends, pets, etc.) affect us enough so that we're better for their presence, however short.

  13. Just stoppin by to check in on my favorite mommy blogger. *mwah*


  14. Don't know what to say except that I'm sorry, so sorry.

    On the happier end of things, I really hope that your anniversary was as lovely as could be, given that you went to a fight! Didn't get to see you, because we don't have HBO, but I'm sure you looked lovely on TV. Think it counts as your 15 minutes of fame?


    Hope you're doing alright. What a year you've had! I hope 2007 is uneventful for your family - you guys need a break.

  15. I'm so sorry about Gene, lots of warm thoughts and wishes coming your way during a sad time.

  16. I'm so sorry about you losing your horse. I can totally understand how your heart must be broken & your love for your animals. You're in my thoughts.