Life Goes On. Thank Goodness.
I just talked to my friend Tim who is in Montana preparing to bury his mother-- she had been declining a while-- and she was old, and as he said, it was time. But it's never easy. He said her wish was for me to write her obituary, and so I will. I actually don't so much write them as I gather the stuff of a life into some sort of order that fits the form. I'm writing two this week, one for a Haines man who lived long and well, J A Tate, (and yes, he is simply J A no other "real" name ) and another for my friend Glenn's family and friends in Juneau-- he was a runner and an inspiration to me and many, who although he was a grandfather seemed invincible until he died shockingly fast from cancer a few months ago. As the old prayer book says, I am continually reminded that "in the midst of life we are in death." I have been up to my elbows in both lately. This has also been the week of fine weather, so there's the garden, and the children on the beach and family phone calls (Mother's Day and all) and cycling and cookouts. Pearl too, is a nearly full-time job at the moment, with her cone, pills, soaps and salves. She was apparently bit by an evil insect who gave her a horrid infection that looked like leprosy on her lovely face and was at first feared to be the flesh-eating bacteria kind-- Thank God for the iPhone and pirate tele-medicine-- I texted the vet in Juneau, Dr. Wolfe, photos of the eruptions after a day of treating it like an allergic reaction and is was clearly getting worse and worse in a frightening way, and she said, "Call Len, now." That would be Dr. Len Feldman, my neighbor and my doctor. A family practice doc. Well, Pearl is family. I hated to bother him at six on a sunny Thursday evening but the vet said it was an emergency. I could see that, too. Len was in his garden, but he said to bring Pearl over, and he indeed had the antibiotic the vet said Pearl needed, and then she -- through me and the text messages on my phone-- asked him what he thought it was and he said he'd never seen anything like it before (and he's seen a lot) but it was clearly some type of severe fast moving infection. She texted back. "Toxic epidermal necrolysis. Means serious skin eruptions from something." To make a long story short-- the good news is the antibiotics halted the progress, and the vet arrived for her monthly visit the next day and gave Pearl an exam and the cone, and me instructions on keeping the wounds clean, and now five days later Pearl is much better. We still don't know what caused it. But a kind, available vet, and a true family physician kept Pearl with us. You know when you are in the thick of an emergency like this-- I was supposed to be at a planning commission meeting, and Chip was supposed to be taking tickets at an Arts Council concert-- you get so focused on the event you are not afraid? But then, suddenly, when all is well, it hits you what you might have lost? This morning, Pearl was running on the beach with that silly cone, picking up sticks when she took off toward the water and before I could stop her went swimming with it on. I chased after her, yelling "nooo..." but then she didn't drown, she kept her nose up and was smiling the whole time-- that's when I knew she would be fine, and I cried. I was so grateful that it all turned out okay, maybe because I know, as my job emphasizes, that it doesn't always, and that's life, too.