Today, or for the last few days, more accurately, I wanted to post about some stuff – okay, it’s been a week or so since I wanted to post about some stuff, I’m just having trouble getting back into the swing of this, or actually, it’s not that I’m having trouble getting back into the habit of blogging, but more having trouble getting back into the habit of finding time to write a couple of thousand words, and apparently zero interest in developing the habit of writing less. So stuff has been building up for a bit and it’s finally enough for a post, not that I can’t turn a 12 second interaction with a stranger into a 2000 word screed barely related to whatever my original point was going to be.
I’ve been thinking about a whole bunch of different unrelated stuff and just wanted to know what other people thought of them, or your personal experiences with them, because I… just want to know. So I’ll put them out there and you can chime in if you’ve got experience with what I’m talking about, or you heard some stuff from someone who does, or even if you have no experience and just want to say something. What the hell, go wild.
First thing. A week or so ago? Maybe more? I don’t know. What happened was, Cheesefiend on Instagram (Elephantitas Alegres on… blog) posted a picture of some turkish towels. I’ve seen turkish towels before and not been moved one way or the other, because I have towels. But right at this exact moment, my towels are kind of crappy and always falling out of the cabinet and they’re all mismatched, as if purchased one single set or even single towel at a time based on what was on sale at whatever store I was closest to at the moment I needed a towel instead of on any kind of aesthetic or quality preferences. I mean, almost like that, because I definitely want you to view me as the type of person who puts some thought into her towels. And I guess that picture was posted at just the right time, because those towels suddenly struck me as totally appealing. Thin enough to pack easily. Take up less space in that stupid hall closet I hate. Nice to look at. They’ll dry faster so they won’t be as gross as towels tend to get.
But… they are really thin. Can they effectively dry off an entire person? And I mean a person who is a standard level of shower-wet. Just totally covered in water, which I assume most people are after a shower. And they’re expensive. Do they hold up really well? Are they a standard size, like bath sheet size, or more bath towel size? There are some people who will insist that bath sheets and bath towels are the same thing, did you know that? They are NOT. Anyway, do you have or have you used turkish towels? Do you just have one and prefer it for certain things, or are all your towels turkish towels? Where did you get them? How long have you had them? Do you love them or kind of wish they’d go to hell?
Okay, next thing. If you follow me on Twitter or read my TinyLetter, you’ve probably heard me talk a little bit about this, but I’m going to talk some more about it: Brinkley isn’t doing well. If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you know that Brinkley is Phil’s dog who I immediately claimed as my own when we moved in together. Brinkley is my first dog, and I met him when he was four. He’s 10 now, almost 11, and earlier this week I took him to the vet because he’s been breathing kind of quickly. When we moved to this base, we were dealing with the side effects of Brinkley’s Valley Fever infection, and I was concerned that the disease was making a comeback in his body, since we’ve had him only on a maintenance level of his medication for a while now. It was about time to get that blood work checked again, so in we went. Unfortunately, it quickly turned into one of those “can you leave him for tests and come back later?” appointments. You know, the kind that cost almost a thousand dollars hold me.
They took some blood and some x-rays. Like always, the vet was pleasantly surprised by how great his blood work came back. Everything was perfectly within the normal range except for very, VERY slightly elevated liver levels. The valley fever results had to be sent out, so they will take a while to get back. The x-rays also had to be sent out for a consult, but our vet was able to tell us what he saw. Nothing too bad in the lungs, nothing that would indicate the valley fever was out of control. Brinkley’s hips looked awful – flatted where the ball and socket joint should be nice and round, and very jaggedy. His left leg also has little muscle mass, due to that giant abscess last year that ate away at all the muscle. So, increased pain could lead to the faster breathing, for sure. And a bit of a shadow around his liver that was worrisome.
The next day, I didn’t put my phone down for a second while I waited for a call back, and finally called back myself. When I got in touch with the doctor, he went over what the radiologists had said. Lungs are consistent with previous valley fever and just old dog-ness, nothing to be too concerned about there. Hips look bad, but we know that and took an additional pain medication prescription to try to make him more comfortable. The shadow around the liver, though, is a large mass. He’ll need an ultrasound and possible liver aspirations to determine what it is – a benign mass or malignancy, but they were very concerned. We live in a very small town with no access to pet ultrasounds, so our local vet made very quick work of getting us scheduled in the next town over for Monday morning. Before I hung up, I asked our vet to level with me and tell me what he thought. To his credit, he didn’t hedge or skirt the issue at all – he thinks it’s cancer and he thinks it’s not good.
We know Brinkley’s old, and I kind of knew he wouldn’t last forever. I mean, I knew it, but I don’t think I really knew it. A long time ago, Phil told me goldens have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, and I kind of only heard “12” and have just assumed since that was the minimum we’d get. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen now, and I feel absolutely incapable of dealing with any of the aspects of this situation. Over the last year and a half, our dogs have cost over $5,000 – money I can’t say we were happy to spend, but money we didn’t hesitate to spend. Before we even get a diagnosis, we’ll be in $1,000+ on this round of Brinkley problems. What if the vet says he’ll be fine… with a $3,000 surgery? We don’t have it. We just don’t. We’ve spent everything on Brinkley. Everything we have. Actually, technically, more than we have. And he’s old. And he’s uncomfortable. What if they need to do surgery to find out if it’s benign or malignant? With hemangiosarcoma, if it did turn out to be cancer, that surgery would only add a few more months at the outside.
I told Phil he needs to make a living will immediately, with every possibility considered, because I am not a person who is equipped to make these kinds of decisions, but thinking about it, who is? I mean, there’s not a course you take or anything to prepare yourself for this kind of thing, and part of responsible pet ownership is knowing how far to go and for how long. And making that call, whether it’s one you’ve made before or for your first pet, is probably going to vary wildly by situation. It just seems like such an impossibly big decision. I know Brinkley doesn’t know anything about this kind of stuff, but I know and making that choice for another living being is nuts. It’s insane to me.
Obviously we’re not at that point yet – Phil is taking the day off on Monday so he can stay with Penny while I take Brinkley the hour away to the vet for his ultrasound. We didn’t think it would be a good idea for Penelope to be present in case we do receive bad news, but rather tell her ourselves when we’re composed. But then, when? I assume even if Brinkley does have cancer, we caught it quickly, because I am an obsessive and anxious pet owner. Do we tell her right away, tell her he has a few months left, and that we’re going to be extra nice to him, and no, that’s Brinkley’s steak, your peanut butter and jelly is on the table? Or do we tell her at the end? Do we tell her exactly what will happen at the end, or go with something a little more euphemistic?
This is all premature and I know that, but you can probably understand that I’m incredibly anxious about how the next few days to few months are going to play out. Just tell me anything. Tell me about how this went for you and what you did or didn’t do or what you’d do differently. Or what you think you’ll do in the same situation. Just tell me anything at all.
Lastly. Let’s assume we’re all my age, because that’s what I usually do. Remember starting some new job or maybe with your parents or grandparents, whichever works for you, where you had to learn a new software or use a computer in a new way, or some process changed suddenly and you had to do things differently, and you just did it, while some older people (NOT ALL) had a really hard time in the most frustrating ways? Like making you (me) have uncharitable thoughts like, why is this so hard? Why are you trying to do it that way? Why would you think it would work that way? It’s intuitive, why are you making it so difficult for yourself?
I don’t know about you, but I always just kind of assumed it was a factor of growing up with computers, like from the very start, while a lot of older people learned on the job. I’m specifically thinking of the first company I worked for out of college that used a specific and clunky order processing software. I worked at a branch office, and I was sent to the main office in Boston to learn the program for the sales coordinators who worked up there. The trip was for a week. An hour after arrival at the main office, I emailed my boss to ask if my plane tickets could be changed. Done. Got it. I do not need to stay here in frigid Boston (SO MUCH SNOW that winter) for an entire week to learn one process in one piece of software. But the women who trained me said that was how long it took, so I had to stay the week, and I just had my branch office send all the orders to me at the main office and worked as normal. I guess I just thought that because I’m familiar with computers in general, as are others my age, I picked it up quickly.
And I continue to be familiar with computers and I don’t really have too much trouble picking up new things and I thought that’s how it would continue for my whole life – a factor of when I was born, not a factor of age itself. BUT I WAS WRONG. There are things that are coming out now – things that young people pick up and run with without issue – that I just cannot grasp. And it’s not one of those, “oh, kids these days doing weird things, why would I want to?” type things where I don’t get why someone would want to do it, but more that I actually cannot figure out how to do it effectively or as intended, despite my best intentions. Like, say, tumblr. I like to go there and look at stuff about my favorite (Korean) shows and favorite (Korean) bands and all of that. But to actually use it? Like make posts and reply to other people and interact with others? Can’t. Cannot figure it out. OR SNAPCHAT. I don’t think I have anything of particular interest to post on Snapchat, but I want to follow some makeup people, because that is my jam, and the whole interface is just boggling to me. Why can’t I do this? I’m basically technically savvy. I use a jillion apps with no problem. I think it’s that I’m old.
Again, I don’t mean something I can’t understand because it’s not of interest to me. Like say Justin Beiber. He exists, sure, but I don’t grasp the appeal in any real way because I’m just not interested. I’m talking about things I am totally interested in, but cannot work to save my life. Yet young people pick these things up the same way that I learned work software in an hour and couldn’t figure out why it would take anyone any longer. That’s a punch right in past me’s ego. It’s happened to you, too, though, right? You assume you’re knowledgeable in some way about some topic, and other people aren’t because they were born in a different time, but then NO. Something new is totally boggling and suddenly YOU are the person born in the different time, EVEN THOUGH YOU (I) FEEL VERY CURRENT TIME. Am I explaining that well? Let me know.
Anyway, I think that’s it for today. Tell me what’s going on with you.