Thursday and Friday

Imbolc and the Shadow Mountain Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Kate’s surgeon. Her healing fingers. Ruth’s help. Seoah’s help. Joe from Singapore. His help. Jeffco snowplowers. Getting back to the loft. Murdoch in the kennel. Gertie’s pain managed right now. Ted for two pushes yesterday. Jon felt comfortable asking me for help.

As far as I can remember, even when traveling, I’ve never gone more than a day without a post. Let me give you a rough idea of why it happened this time.

Wednesday night Gertie started moaning in pain. SeoAh got up, then got us up. We’re downstairs and can’t hear her very well. Me, not at all. We were all up with here for an hour plus, giving her water, lying with her. She’s on her dog bed in the living room. Comfortable in that way, but the cancer pain came on stronger than we anticipated.

Thursday morning instead of coming up here to write, I went back to bed and slept in until 8:30. Kate’s iPad was in the shop in Denver and finished. I went in right then to get it since we both wanted to attend a potluck at CBE for the artist in residence, Ruth Gendler.

Was hungry so I stopped at Swift’s breakfast place on Santa Fe. Great joint. Formica table tops. Orange. Lots of men my age eating breakfast, many solo, but a group right behind me reminded me of the Woollies in their table conversation. Booths. Two seaters and four seaters extending in a long, narrow room.

My eggs, crisp bacon, American fries, and French toast went down like a gourmet meal. While I ate, I read the NYT about the impeachment trial. Waitresses with plates of pancakes, eggs, waffles sometimes three to an arm, moved between the two rows of booths. My kinda joint. Much like Pappy’s back in Andover.

After the meal, I hobbled back to the car. Threw my back out carrying Gertie outside on Wednesday. Seat heater on high my back felt caressed and I drove the three blocks over to 8th to the Apple repair place. As I pulled into a parking space right in front of it, I got a call from a strange number. I answered.

“Charlie, you have come home. Katie got bit.” It was Seoah. It was about 10 am. I talked to Kate. Kate had let Kepler inside while Murdoch, unbeknownst to her was in the living room. The door to the sewing room was open and he charged in to meet Kepler. A fight ensued in which two of Kate’s fingertips, her right middle finger and the between it and her little finger, got chewed off. “I need to go the E.R.” she said.

I got Kate’s iPad and headed back up the mountain. The roads were clear and I went fast, making the drive in 32 minutes. Kate had the fingertips on ice, had stopped the bleeding by squeezing her fingers, and sat calmly in a chair in the sewing room, right next to where it happened. Seoah got bit, too. A finger and her leg.

Gertie got some water and another pain med (oxycontin), then we took off for the Swedish E.R. once again. Kate went away with an E.R. nurse, so I took Seoah to a Rocky Mountain Urgent Care not far away from Swedish. With finding Seoah’s insurance (a military one, Tricare) and her time with a doctor, we were there until 2:30 pm.

A nurse liaison from Swedish had texted me, wondering where I was. I told her I was with Seoah. Kate was about go into surgery. Oh. Well. I’ll be there when I finish up with Seoah.

Back to Swedish to the Surgery waiting room on the third floor. Knew right where it was. Kate’s surgery lasted for almost three hours. At 5 pm, due to an imminent snow storm approaching the mountains and a house full of dogs that were hungry, plus Gertie with no pain meds, I decided to leave before the surgery finished. Kate would be in recovery for at least an hour if not more and even then not be very aware.

On the way home I spoke to the surgeon. “The fingertips were too shredded. I closed the fingers up.” I asked about her dexterity. “She should have full functionality, even for sewing and quilting.” He paused, went on, “I’m worried about those dogs you have. Somebody else could hurt. Even children.” Yes, I said, I know. We’re concerned about them, too.

By the time we reached Conifer the snow had begun. Once we reached home Rigel and Kep went on into the snow. Gertie moaned in pain. I was feeling guilty about insistence on not euthanizing her. I condemned her to this. Exhausted from the day my emotional reserves fell short. Hard to get back to a stable place. Crying. Feeling guilty. Seoah comforted me.

After Gertie quieted down, I fed Rigel and Kepler while Seoah let Murdoch out through the downstairs. What to do about the dogs? This was on Seoah’s mind and mine.

I fell asleep, not knowing or hearing Gertie’s moans. Seoah got up with her. Kep got me up around 5 or so. We’d already had over 6 inches by that time. How could I help Gertie? How was Kate? I hadn’t talked to her the night before. What were we going to do about Murdoch? How were Seoah’s bites? A lot of stuff swirling around.

Two immediate matters were Murdoch and Gertie. Seoah and I agreed that Murdoch needed to go to a kennel. That would lower the temperature level by a lot, not having to worry about a fifth (!) fight. Called Bergen Bark Inn where we boarded our dogs several different times. Yes, they could take and Akita, even one who’d been aggressive. It might cost extra if he couldn’t be out with the other dogs. Told Seoah. She said, just money. You and Katie be happy, safe.

This decision made me feel bad, since I’d wanted to give Seoah and Joe a peaceful and happy time in Singapore. Not to be. Felt like I was letting them down.

Gertie. I tried to find out what a maximum dose of oxy was for her. Got no help. Grrr. Decided finally to give her two more full tabs. That would eventually quiet her. At one point I had eight in my hand. End it now. I would have done it, but Kate wanted me to know the lethal dose and nobody would tell me. So I went with the two.

Around 9 Seoah and I drove in what was already a big snow storm to Evergreen. We took Murdoch in to the chalet like office of Bergen Bark Inn. I felt sad. He was so happy, bouncy. The staff there were great. They remembered Vega, Rigel, Gertie, and Kepler, so they understood the doggy context.

One of the staff told me about the Evergreen Animal Protective League. They don’t have a shelter, just find new homes or foster homes for animals. I got a phone number. It would be ideal of course to find somebody up here in the Evergreen/Conifer area to take Murdoch. That will be today.

On the way home my sadness shifted to relief. Seoah, too. Hard for her, but she said, Katie more important. Yes. I agreed.

Back home the two oxy’s had soothed Gertie and she rested. In talking with Kate I learned she would come home in the afternoon. Still snowing, another 6 inches or so. 12 by noon or so.

I went to bed for a nap around 12:30. While I napped, I got a text from Jon. Could I come over to Aurora and pick up Ruth and Gabe? He was really sick. Sure. I said.

Still snowing. Around 2 I left for Aurora. On the way down I went full Minnesotan, driving smoothly past the Coloradans with, oh, no, snow! on their minds, driving 40 mile an hour or less in the right lane. Precipitation hits their panic button. Especially snow. Weird, but true.

On the way down 285 northbound looked like a parking lot all the way to Morrison. Two jackknifed semis plus CDOT closed I-70 between Golden and the Eisenhower tunnel. Everybody coming home to Evergreen or Idaho Springs would have to detour up 285. Oh, joy.

Down though, was slick thanks to the hesitancy of folks with insufficient snowy road experience. Made it to Aurora around 3. The snow slowed way down once I passed through the hogbacks and went under Co 470. Picked up Ruth and Gabe on Florence and drove back to Swedish to pick up Kate. A nurse brought her down, we loaded her up, two gauzy fingers, and hit the road back for Conifer.

Once the semi’s cleared, 285 traffic moved. Slowly, but we made it up to Brook’s Tavern about 5 pm or so. Not bad. Had dinner there. By the time we made it back to Shadow Mountain almost 18 inches of snow had fallen.

This morning Ruth’s asleep on the couch, Gabe’s on the futon in the guest room, Seoah’s in the guest room. Murdoch’s in his kennel. Gertie was quiet. I’m feeling better rested and less labile. Kate’s still asleep. More yet do do, but taking Murdoch to the kennel opened up some breathing room for us all.

And that’s what I was doing the last two days.

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