It’s August! How is it August? I ask myself this question every month of every year and wonder constantly when time decided it was going to spiral out of control and leave me paralyzed and sleepless with fear over it’s inevitable and unpreventable passing.
The month of July has been somewhat more-so of a whirlwind due to two factors: our family dog is sick and I spent a week in Las Vegas/Utah/Arizona.
Our family dog being sick is and was a real aberrance. Literally one day she was fine and the next she was not. We were vacationing at the beach in Bethany, DE the first weekend in July. Saturday, she was chasing rabbits and sprinting around the sand, tongue flopping and tail wagging. Sunday, she was lethargic and uninterested in food, an extreme deviation from her personality.
“Running on the beach must have really worn her out, she’s not used to this,” my dad commented.
Two days later she was diagnosed with autoimmune hemolytic anemia. I’m still not entirely sure what this means. From what I can gather, her red blood cell count is low (anemia) and this is (probably?) caused by an autoimmune disorder. Potentially, it could be an underlying disease, like cancer. Yes, it comes on that quickly. Somehow.
For the time being she’s on a high dose of prednisone. She started at 60 mg, then, after the results of her blood test indicated she was still in the low/normal range, they upped the dosage to 80 mg. This resulted in incredible muscle wastage in her back legs, to the degree where she can’t jump up, even a little. She has extreme thirst and hunger, and she’s incontinent. It’s pretty hard to watch. Her eyes were weird, wide, and hollow and she seemed like a different dog. The test that came back two weeks ago said her blood count was the highest it has been since we started her on the meds, so we decreased the dosage from 80 to 60. Her personality has come back a little, but her muscle mass has not. It’s kind of weird, but we’re hoping the blood cell count will go up, the medicine dosage will go down, and the muscle mass and overall personality will return in full. But who knows.
These are the parts of life I struggle with wholly, the painful changes and the aging and the loss. I hope our dog will be fine, but she’s nine and this is more or less a glimpse into the not-so-far future of what her life holds, and in a wider scope what everyone’s lives hold. I don’t handle watching these changes gracefully and I’m constantly kicking and screaming and challenging the aging process of myself and everyone I love around me. I’ve never been able to handle change well, even when the result is growth or even necessary wisdom. Instead I lay awake, staring at the ceiling, dreading the coming days, months, years, wishing I could press pause and float for a little.
But that’s not how life works.
On a more positive note, I also went back to Las Vegas a few weeks ago, for a work conference. I can’t even get into how great the work conference was. They showered us with hospitality and it was overwhelming. I never wanted to leave. Although the conference was in and of itself fantastic, the real enrichment of the week came at the end, when my mom flew in and joined me on a three-state, circular road trip through Utah and Arizona. In my previous Las Vegas post, I mentioned how if I ever had the chance to go back I would definitely swing by the Hoover Dam. I checked that off my list and more.
Thursday afternoon, post conference, we went to the Hoover Dam and Boulder City Brewing. Friday we took off for Zion and Zion Brewing Co, ending the evening in Page, AZ. Saturday we tackled the Antelope Canyons, Horseshoe Bend, and Lake Powell, before trekking to my new favorite little town, Flagstaff, AZ (where we went to both Flagstaff Brewing Co and Dark Sky Brewery). And then Sunday we were up and at ’em and tackled the Grand Canyon. It was a lot and it was just enough. It was fulfilling and enriching and, as every large trip does, left me horribly depressed upon my return. I’m still sorting my thoughts out on paper, but hopefully I’ll translate them out here in the not-so-far future.
And now it’s August. This year has been a sort of weird repeat of 2017, as I went to Dallas, Las Vegas, and Alaska in 2017, and I’ve revisited all of these places again in 2018 (back to Alaska in a few short weeks). I’m hoping the compression in my chest from the passage of time subsides and I’m able to take each day in stride and in full, but right now I’m sort of overwhelmed by my present and my ever approaching future.
I don’t know why this all scares me so much, or how to fix it. But here I am, living it every day nonetheless. What other choice do I have?