Thursday, June 22, 2006

Update: Cleo Rallies

Look closely at the bed in this picture. You'll see Cleo stretched luxuriously across the width of the bed, enjoying time away from the cats. We took this picture last year at the Nine Zero hotel in Boston, a dog-friendly boutique hotel.

Cleo has rallied. When we took her home from the hospital, we didn't think she would last through the week. She wouldn't eat, and I had to administer subcutaneous fluids every day, because she hardly drinks any water. She went from a lean 15 1/2 pounds to about 11 pounds. She was listless, fatigued, and couldn't even chase the cats.

After a few days, we could take her off the pain medication. Apparently she isn't finished with life yet. Despite a diagnosis of severe end-stage hepatitis, with a liver that is small, very inflamed, and scarred, and a lengthy scar running from her stomach down to her abdomen, she is very close to her old self. SHe still needs the IV fluids, and she is too weak to take a real walk, but my husband carries her to the Common and lets her walk around in the grass. She loves it. We discovered the one thing she'll eat: boiled chicken, which took a while for two strict vegetarians to discover. I'm hoping she'll eat it with a little rice, just for a little balance. Hell, I'll cook an elk for her if she'll eat it. She is definitely living the best-case scenario with this disease.

So Cleo lives on, and I wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the kind words and encouragement. It means a great deal to me and has helped tremedously. Danny, your poem is touching and wonderful. I'm going to print it out as a keepsake. I can't say thank you enough.

I promise, when things stabilize, I will get back to poetry and all of your wonderful blogs. I will be in Provincetown workshopping at FAWC from July 15-29; let me know if any of you will be there. Also, I'm signing up for a Writers in the Round retreat in September. Check it out here. If you feel like a few days on a lovely island off of the New Hampshire coast, this could be the thing. The poetry instructor is Tom Daley, a very talented Boston area poet.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Cleo is a sixteen-year-old terrier mix, about 15 pounds. We adopted her from the pound when she was four. For the last few days, she has been in the hospital, undergoing and recovering from a surgerical biopsy on her liver and intestines. The news, so far, is not too good.

We visited her yesterday, and saw the stitched wound in her abdomen, the I.V. in her foreleg, and the shaved area for medicine patches on her side. We talked to the vet; he says there are abnormalities in her intestine and liver; he kept using the word "hepatitis," although the biopsy results are not in yet. He says we can give her medications orally, so when she starts eating again, we can take her home. He says, with proper treatment, we can enjoy "whatever time we have left with her."

These are tough words to hear. The vet is clearly trying to prepare us for something. I don't want to be prepared. I don't want to steel myself for losing the pet we adopted in our first year of marriage. It's hard for me to imagine being with Chris without being with Cleo.

I was wondering why I didn't feel like blogging this week, and I realized thinking about Cleo was taking up my energy. But I missed the blog, too. So I'll just blog about her.