Time changed back. In the middle of the night 2:00 became 1:00 again. During the worst moments of my life I always say to myself that TIME CAN NOT STAND STILL, THIS WILL COME TO AN END BECAUSE IT CAN NOT NOT.
I was chilled to hear my Dads voice through the door, kinda nervous CAN YOU COME DOWN STAIRS? I NEED YOUR HELP WITH CAIRO. I could tell from his tone something was wrong because it was a somethingiswrong tone all full of a worry that you wouldn't dare get mad at and will rush after with a little skip in the valves of your heart. We ran down the stairs he explaining to me that SHE TRIED TO GET UP BUT FELL OVER AND SHE HAS NEVER DONE THAT AND SHE STARTED TO TWITCH AND BLEED OUT OF HER MOUTH and my heart valves opened all the way and and my blood surged out of control.
Cairo lay on the floor all fucking bloody and blood dripping from her mouth and next to her something that I thought surely was an organ for it seemed to be something very important that looked like it should be inside of her but was distressingly on the Out side of her. And I was like OH GOD NO and then time turned back and I was like OH GOD NO again in a small prayer that lasted the full backward hour and my blood flowed the wrong way through the chambers for that long second.
FIND AN EMERGENCY VET HOSPITAL AND BAG UP THE ORGAN. We rushed out the door with Cairo bleeding and drove to the Animal Hospital. They took Cairo from us and left us in a fluorescent lit room. We just sat for awhile.
DAD I THINK YOU SHOULD PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE CHANCE THAT CAIRO MIGHT NOT BE COMING HOME.
I know, he said.
Cairo has been living with my dad for the last three and a half years. When I moved back to Portland in 2002 I was living in a small one bedroom apartment, enrolled in school full time and working nights. My schedule was hard on Cairo and I felt stupid and guilty for cramming her into my compact life in a tiny apartment. My dad agreed to take her into his more spacious and accommodating life and naturally he fell in love with her. Naturally she fell in love with him for the first time in her life she actually relaxed and stopped watching me with terror every time I left the room or reached for my keys.
Cairo at my wedding in July
God I was the worst dog mother ever. Driving home today Sascha called Cairo my Teenage Pregnancy. I could hardly take care of myself and abandoned her to my mother more then once. Generously both my parents call Cairo Our Dog not More Evidence Of Your Failure To Thrive.
In the morning after not much sleep and some morose negotiations we headed back to the veterinary hospital. The bleeding had originated from a cancerous bone growth in her cheek and upper jaw. The bone there had been swollen for several months. She had been examined, had had teeth removed and been given a dose of antibiotics but nothing seemed to affect the swelling much and the swelling didn't seem to bother her in the least. The vet thought it might be cancerous but considering her advanced age and lack of discomfort had recommended we wait and see, keep an eye out for changes. A few months back I posted that she had cancer but it never seemed to go that way. I thought she would outlive all of us, the dowager Miss Cairo.
What had lay there on the carpet the night before was her clotted blood. And in the morning she was still bleeding heart shaped clots, more bright red blood. They gave her a sedative to lower her blood pressure enough to stop the bleeding and wheeled her in wrapped in a white blanket streaked with red under her chin.
She was so fucking alive... she was like, three dimensional squared! I just wanted to encourage everything vibrant about her!! I mean, at 18 my impulses were genuine if totally totally misguided. I was just lurking around unaware of the real world just yet, unaware that vibrancy alone will get you worse then nowhere.
Almost 15 YEARS LATER I am sitting here multiplying out her life into dog years. I lay my hands all over her, up her spine and across her ribs. I feel the thickness where her leg was broken so many years ago and the pointy knot on the back of her head. Right there where her skull tapers are her only gray hairs, six of them where I found a tick more then eight years ago. Her eyes are rheumy and in them I can see my own peaked reflection. She feels papery thin and older then anything I have ever touched.
My dad is holding his cell phone to Cairo's ear so my mother can say goodbye. He turns on the speaker phone and the four of us sit there in silence until I simply cant stand the sensation of being broadcast a million miles wide and he turns the speaker phone off.
I wonder what it is like to be an emergency veterinarian... all these people and their dying dogs.... these dying dogs and all their people. When Edison was still just being prodded by the vet for excessive water consumption and high calcium levels there were two generations of family in the waiting room. We filled up the exam room! I was like HOLY COW LOOK AT ALL THESE BROTH SPOILERS... but DAMMET there can't be such a thing.
I can't stand the idea of whispering to Cairo and having it broadcast to the ethers. It kills me. We hang up and call her back when the vet comes in.
I have no intention of writing an end to this. It was so abrupt. He said READY? *shoot* and I was like WHAT IS THAT? IS THAT REALLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING, LIKE RIGHT NOW?
FUCK, and her eyes went and she stopped breathing but you might not even have a reason to know but you always know because they just aren't there anymore. And she wasn't there anymore and just like with Edison it seemed somehow pointless to keep kissing her head because you might as well kiss the hat someone wore yesterday. It isn't even comforting. It feels inexplicably material and selfish but you want to plant kisses on that forehead because you have so much more love to give even if you cant give it to that body laying there.
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