This Way Lies Madness

Make it stop!!!!

Make it stop!

That’s in the hallway outside my apartment.  It’s been chirp-shrieking for three days now.  Why, oh why, doesn’t someone with a ladder come and change the battery?

Little Incredibly Dumb Dog is afraid of the sound.  She spent all of Saturday quaking. She barks and jumps like a wee mop lunatic for me to pick her up every time we’re in the hall waiting for the elevator to go down for a walk.  By yesterday, she realized it can’t actually harm her through the door when she’s in the apartment, so she spent last night demonstrating her valor by growling and barking at the doorknob.  All. Night. Long.

I considered (for about the 29th day in a row) working on the short story I’ve been building in my mind. Nope, not yet.

Big Senile Dog is only bothered by the little one’s shenanigans.  I think his hearing is going, in addition to his kidneys.  Why yes, I did have to take him back to the vet for more testing, and spoke with her a while ago.  Renal failure.  We’re going to try to keep him as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.  The thing is, when you live in this world of medical mayhem I’ve been party to in the last ten years or so, part of your brain starts sifting through and throwing up memories of every one of these moments when you hear test results.  Fucked up as this sounds, I’ve dealt with much worse.  Sorry.  I love my beasts, but watching Husband turn blue?  Worse.  Art Child turn blue? No contest.

Big Senile Dog was a gift from my brother.  What an awesome gift, right?  None of us dreamed of the extent of  it until he became an unofficial but invaluable service dog for my daughter.  In the dog/people world, Big Senile Dog’s breed hasn’t been “just” a pet for very long.  They’re working dogs.  Bless his tired, scrawny body, he’s worked for us.  Gift isn’t the word, I don’t think there is one.

I didn’t cry when the vet told me, just asked questions about how best to keep him comfortable, and stressed that I don’t want him to suffer.  We should still have at least a couple of months with him.  I’ve been on the receiving end of bad news for people and critters I hold near and dear many times, and many lessons learned.  Among them, falling apart doesn’t mean you care more, not falling apart doesn’t mean you care less.  I will say, though, falling apart while speaking with a doctor makes it much harder to take in the necessary information, understand what they’re saying, and then move forward with what needs to be done.  This doesn’t mean I don’t feel, I’ve just become, I don’t know…judicious? in the when and where.  Try to be, anyway.

I’d like to say I’ve learned all these marvelous spiritual lessons, but in all honesty I can’t.  What I’ve learned is that all I don’t know, can’t control or predict, is vast– and there are no safe assumptions.  Not assuming medical science can treat all or even identify all.  Not assuming good writing trumps all.  Not assuming what I believe is everyone’s truth–or even my truth a year from now.

Nerd Child was home a couple of weeks ago, and sounded like shit.  His asthma and allergies were flaring, and I told him approximately 53,000 times how important it is for him to take care of himself.  In completely age appropriate teenaged boy spirit he told me, “Don’t worry, Ma.  I’m not dead yet.”  Flippant, sure.  But a good reminder to keep perspective, too.

So no, I’m not crying, but I need the musical equivalent of comfort food.


  1. Ugh, there was one college spring break week (for the neighbors, not us; we graduated 10[!] years ago) where the across the street neighbors left and their smoke alarm promptly started that “every five minutes” chirp because the battery was dying. I could hear it. I think Elka could hear it. Other household members could hear it, but only when outside.

    Renal failure, I hear, is a condition which can be dealt with comfortably for a surprising amount of time. We all make our own choices, though, and you’ll know best, or the best you can, for Big Senile Dog.


    1. Yup, that chirp is annoying. :/

      I think much, with renal failure, depends on when it’s caught, and how old/shape of the dog at the time of diagnosis. We’ll keep him comfortable and take one day at a time. ❤


  2. Knowing you are about to lose a friend is sad whether they are canine, feline or human. I recommend comfort food and making a memory album of photos featuring your Big Senile Dog, as I have done that for my constant companions at the end of their lives and it helped me through the hard times.


  3. I didn’t know, mrs fringe. The diagnosis, I mean.

    You’re right, you can’t assume shit, and being judicious is sometimes prudent, and music can soothe the soul. Enjoy your music and your dog and your kids. In the moment, kiddo.

    xoxo kk


  4. Can’t even remember. did we have coffee today? You wanted me to save you a cookie from my sweet Greek neighbor. . .

    Stella. We’re so lucky.

    Enjoy your raviolis, Mrs Fringe. When you’re ready for that cookie, let me know.


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