Saturday, March 18, 2006

March 16, 2006

Gestational Diabetes! Thank God there is only 4-6 weeks left till our due date! I’ve discovered that bread products and pineapple juice will shoot my blood sugar through the roof (150) while mild mannered foods such as veggies, whole fruits, meats, and starches such as certain squashes and pastas keep me WELL under the 120 mark. How do I know this you ask? Well I’ll tell you, Bob. It started with a simple blood sugar test in which I got to suck down half of the nastiest orange sody-pop and then have my blood drawn. When that came back elevated they sent me in to do a fasting (as in no food for 12 hours) test in which I got to shluck down the WHOLE sody-pop on an empty stomach and then they pumped my blood into tubes over the course of THREE HOURS. A total of four sticks, but fortunately for me the lovely ladies at our Scott and White Lab are VERY good and sweet as can be. So then I got to sit nervously by the phone rocking back and fourth while visions of bland foods, limited menus, and giant needles filled with INSULIN danced through my head.

The call came and lo it was the Herald of Doom come to deliver the bad news. Yep kid you got it. SO Monday I go in and they show me all the neat little doodads I get to take home and ever so “painlessly” test my blood sugar four times a day while eating off a menu for diabetics. Let me tell you something, when a doctor says “this won’t hurt a bit” THEY ARE LYING! I get a pen like “gun” with a six shot barrel full of needles, I get a computerized thingy which spits out numbers telling me whether or not I’m in my range, and I get a small jar full of “test strips” that suck up my blood and tell the computerized thingy what numbers to spit back at me. I get to do this FOUR times a day. I’ve run out of fingers and this morning discovered something revoltingly interesting and macabre. If one places the needle just so on the index finger of the right hand, punctures and then squeezes just right, one can be showered in a little cartoon-like fountain of blood! This to my horror happened this morning and since I’m supposed to test two hours after my meal but before my snack I WAS hungry when I began the test but soon found my taste for food had waned to a sickening lump that sat in my stomach as I stared at the tiny droplets that the geyser from my index finger left on my shirt.

The other momentous occasion this week was probably the most painful thing a pet owner ever goes through. My cat Unicorn (a sweet Berman I’ve owned for 17 years) had to be put down. This cat slept on my bed for the first 9 years of her life. She was a stray we found sitting in the rain one December eve and only caught her because she jumped into dewberry vines and got tangles. She was beautiful and had the print of a unicorn’s head and neck in profile on her nose. Being a unicorn enthusiast already this mark made her even more special to me. Making the arrangements was like pulling the plug on a loved one but the choice had become clear. The growth of a tumor on her shoulder that was removed nearly a month ago revealed that she had little time left on this earth. It had metastasized and spread and just recently spawned about six new lumps. The thought of her being in that much pain was too much yet the thought of putting her down was devastating. I’d look at her china blue eyes and think “How can I possibly take you to end your life”. If the tumors had never arisen she might have lived another two years and died of old age but there they were and there was nothing more that could be done.

I spent three days agonizing over the eventual loss cried even harder the last day I knew she would be alive. We took her to the vet, a kind compassionate lady who has seen us through a lot already. Unicorn looked so healthy and vibrant in her last days making it all the harder for me to say good bye. I cried rivers emptying out all the tears I had been trying to hold back. The vet gave her a sedative so that she would be relaxed and at peace when the moment finally came. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Unicorn has been a part of my life for so long and been such a constant that those final moments I still wanted to beg for the vet to do something to save her and knowing full well that there was no miracle that could be performed. Unicorn purred a while as if to say she was okay. It was all I could do to keep from screaming, I wanted her to stay that badly. Clay practically had to hold me up so I wouldn’t collapse. I kept my hand on her soft warm fur wishing this was a nightmare or some fancy that could be blown away. The ache seemed to spread to the whole family. Mom and my brother cried, Clay cried, I sobbed a lot. It seemed the tears would never end.

When she finally slipped away, this sweet gently lady from Wiggles and Wags came with a white fluffy towel to wrap Unicorn’s body in. She looked so light and her paws seemed so small. We wrapped her up and even though I was looking at what remained of my cat I could see plainly that she was gone. All the spirit that made Unicorn my cat was no longer there. I wanted to turn around or go home and find her waiting there for me, even though I knew that wasn’t going to happen. The young woman gently carried her out and the next day we went to pick her up. She’d been cremated with the utmost care and placed in a beautiful honey toned box with a paw print on it. They gave me her paw print in a small clay disk and a commemorative candle along with a poem written about the Rainbow Bridge. Animals we love who have passed on go to a place called Rainbow Bridge, where they are restored to health and vigor and wait for us in a sunny place so that one day we can cross the bridge together.

I still wish Unicorn had lived to see Cassandra, I still wish I’d had more time. I can still tell Cassandra about the wonderful cat that loved rubber bands and ping pong balls, and drank by daintily dipping her paw in the water and licking the drops off. I can still tell her about how wonderful it was to have a real Unicorn in my life. Even if it was for only a short time.

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