August 1, 2005

This Sucks

We have a most wonderful neighbor, a delightfully spry woman who has kids our age. Well okay. She has kids Wendy's age. She's retired but always on the go. We knew her socially through Tina's family for a number of years before we became her neighbor. A better neighbor one cannot find. She's friendly and helpful yet unobtrusive. I've become quite attached to her in the two years we have owned this house.

She has been our enthusiastic pet sitter since the day we moved in. She has a few cats and her daughter's dog stays with her from time to time. Our pets have adopted her as one of their own.

An excellent pet sitter, she goes the extra yard by doing things like hanging out at our place to keep them company when we are away. She's doled out medications on the complicated schedules Detail and Cosine have had. She doesn't mind our odiferous dogs who shed and occasionally drool. She and Fig were buddies. She's just one of those pet people. Like us.

So here's the dilemma. I've blogged about Cosine getting old and infirm. It is no secret I anticipate her death in the near future. As she deteriorates, she requires a much higher level of care and attention, like being carried outside and followed closely as she goes about her business. She doesn't keep her balance well. It also affects how she eats, as lowering her head seems to really throw off her coordination. So we hold her dish up to chin level.

After her meals we guide her over to the water bowl, which must be kept filled to the brim because she can't seem to drink from it otherwise. We encourage her to sip and eventually she gets it. Her pill schedule is the easy part these days.

We're going to Montana. Not this week but the week after. We arranged with our neighbor to pet sit as part of making our travel plans.

But Cosine wasn't nearly as infirm then as she is now. And how infirm will she be by the time we leave for our trip? Her care is going to be the most intensive our neighbor has had to undertake. Is it fair to ask her to do it? If we don't, then what the fuck are we going to do? Can't take her with us. No way can we board her; leaving her in an unfamiliar place would be cruel.

While the most obvious solution may be to cancel our trip, the thought of that breaks my heart. I need to see The Boy. I'm excited about hanging out with my father for a week. Practically speaking, we've invested a good deal of money I'd hate to just throw away.

Geez, how selfish am I?

I comfort myself by saying if she doesn't get any worse, our neighbor will be able to handle it fine. I've been procrastinating about having a heart to heart with her because I'm afraid of what she may say. I already know she's a bit nervous about the "what ifs" while we are gone. Wendy and I are also nervous about the "what ifs."

Should Cosine get worse... well duh. Honestly, I know she's getting a little bit worse each day. Her quality of life grows suspect. Wendy and I observe her and wrestle with just what it is we are seeing. The imminent departure date for our vacation cannot be a factor in a quality of life decision. It just makes things harder.

See what I mean?
This sucks.

.

3 comments:

Mel said...

That does suck. I send my sympathy.

Katie (WannaBeMom) said...

I know what you mean about this because we've been in situations like this-- either because there's a garage full of stray cats that Partner is nursing or like now, with our one cat who is quarantined for peeing on our bed. When we go away, what shall we do? This is simple compared to your problem too.

You are aren't selfish, Suzanne, you are human. You want to see the boy, and you need a vacation. Don't beat yourself up too much.

I just hope everything works out well for you guys and Cosine.

Kristina said...

I think you need to have a heart-to-heart with your neighbor and see how she feels. I think she'll come through for you when you explain the situation. You might also consider calling your vet and asking if they know a professional pet sitter they could recommend-- not to replace your neighbor, but perhaps to supplement her visits and take some of the burden off her.

It does suck. I'm sorry, Suzanne.