Conversations & Thoughts

On Monday, Jake The Dog’s veterinarian had a conversation with me in which she encouraged me to start thinking about Jake’s “current quality of life.” I’m pretty sure that almost every pet owner knows exactly what that means.

Given Jake’s hind leg issues, it’s a conversation that I have been expecting for some time now, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

Jake doesn’t do much these days except sleep, lay and stare at the wall, eat, piss, and shit (we are brothers to the core). It’s not the best life, and he has trouble walking and may be in pain, but he never whines or cries unless he finds himself out in the yard without the strength to make it back inside. And often, he shows glimpses of his old self by chewing on his toys for minutes on end or trying to sniff Lola The Dog’s lady bits in a creepy Harvey Weinstein sort of way. In other words, he’s a bulldog. He just can’t walk and can be a snappy dick about taking pain meds without shoving your hand down his throat and placing it in his stomach, right next to a hunk of IAMS doggie pâté, a move that only I can get away with. And even that only has a 20% chance of working and an 89% chance that I lose a digit.

After getting past the initial shock of the conversation and realizing that I was having this conversation on the anniversary of my mother’s death, I talked with Wifey and developed a plan. We will continue to monitor Jake’s situation, commit to making sure he keeps his pain meds down, do our best to accommodate him, and if we see that he declines any further, be honest with ourselves and do what needs to be done; for Jake’s sake. Of course, all that is written in sand, so I am preparing to say goodbye, but not without one last-ditch effort to ease his pain.

With that out of the way, CHRISTMAS IS OVER!!!

Despite some holiday-inspired adolescent seething by me on the way to PA, the holiday went just fine. Everyone was very nice, the food was amazing, and I ate too much, especially the beloved Luciano’s pizza that my father-in-law treats us to upon our arrival each visit home.

After being ill for the past two months in one form or another, I started working out again with 3-mile Dreadmill lumbers on Monday and Tuesday. I won’t be out of “stretchy pants” anytime soon, but it felt great to break a sweat that wasn’t fever-related and start burning some of that Luci’s pizza off. I plan to continue daily walks and lumbers then move to more intense workouts on the magic Zwift machine in the days ahead. Whether that helps me maintain or lose any weight remains to be seen, especially in light of the unwelcome return of Daddy’s Little Helper, but worst-case scenario, I’m fit, fat, and whether through hard work or DLH, I can look in the mirror without wanting to smash it (or myself) with a meat hammer.

Between Jake The Dog’s continued decline in health, grappling with my self-hatred, COVID, hating more than half the country, and the darkness and ice of the Michigan winter, I have decided to heed the advice that Doctor Leo Marvin gave to Bob Wiley and “take a vacation from my problems.” No, I’m not going anywhere, but I want to concentrate on the positives and not fret over things out of my control. That is easier said than done for someone like me, but I figured if I write it, I might be more inclined to follow the advice rather than just think it and forget about it.


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