Showing posts from February, 2012

Howard the Angel....Cat

This last week, I took our sweet Sheltie, Betty, to the vet.  She's 15 now, and suffering a host of ailments. We'd found a suspicious lump and wanted the vet to take a look.  She did a needle biopsy on the lump, and left the exam room to look at it under the microscope.

Dr. W. hadn't been gone very long till Howard, the office cat, strolled into the room.   Betty has never been a fan of cats, but she was strangely calm as Howard approached and sniffed her paw.  He gently laid his paw on her, looked deeply into her eyes, then waited in the room until the the doctor came back.

Yes, it looked to be malignant, and the treatment of choice - were it not for her failing health overall - was surgery.  We left the office and Kenny and I talked it over.  We decided that Betty had been through enough in her long life, and we wanted her to enjoy her last days in peace.

On Tuesday, I returned to the vet's office to pick up some pain meds so that our old girl would be comfortable. …


I am thinking today of my sweet maternal grandmother, Velma, whose mood was always even, who always tried to see the best.  My grandma ate oranges with the rind and pith - that bitter peel - along with the sweet insides.  I often marveled at that, wondering why she would do that, and when I asked her, she would always smile and tell me that's the way she always ate oranges.  It was a metaphor for her life.  She had reason to be bitter - her life had not always been rosy - but she smiled and took the bitter with the sweet.  I believe she chose to put away the bad times and focus on the good and wonderful.   She had a hope for the future, and looked forward to the day when she would enter eternity with Jesus.

Grandma always made you feel that you were her favorite.  She had seven children, many grandchildren and great grand children, but if you were with her, one on one, you felt that you were the only one that mattered.  There was not one of her children, grandchildren, great-grand…

Good days

We've had family, friends, and co-workers ask lately "How are you doing?  How is Alan?"

It's obvious that everyone who asks is thinking of us and praying for us.  It means a lot.  I've been thinking about the answer to that question.  Right now, the answer is pretty good on both fronts.

If you had told me this summer when Alan was diagnosed with Huntington's that I would be doing pretty well with the diagnosis, able to concentrate on work and home,  I would have been skeptical.  Kenny and I are doing well, Alan is in a good place right now.  I think what we are living with right now is so much better than what we were living with before Thanksgiving and Christmas, we feel fortunate.   Sometimes, when you hit a new "low" and things get better, the new normal - as abnormal as it is - is a relief.

We have days when it hits us;  we are dealing with an awful disease.  Alan stumbles, or loses his balance, and we can see the subtle decline.   This weekend…


I took Alan to get ice cream today after a workshop.  He was fairly troubled when I arrived at his apartment, and looked at me with suspicion, but seemed happy to get out a bit.

As we drove, he began to tell me that he needed a HUGE milkshake to help him become stronger.  His knees are "weak" he said, and he is tired all the time.

Kenny and I have been trying to tell Alan each time he says something about physical discomfort or loss of strength that this has a name.  It's called Huntington's, and it is a condition he has that is making his knees weak and is making him feel tired.  This is what I did - several times as we drove - but he just stared at me, then began again on the milkshake.  It was close to supper time, so I chose to order a medium shake for him.

He was not happy.  All the way back, he told me what a terrible person I was and that, from now on, HE was in charge of ordering.  He told me he would call the police and get them to arrest me.  I just kept dr…