It's been a heck of a week and a half. I wanted to write last night but I was exhausted beyond reckoning and actually went to bed at 7pm. Here it is roughly, in sequence and bulleted.
*The day before the lightning hike I took the Disreputable Dog to an veterinary orthopedist. Over the past few weeks he has been limping so badly in favor of his front left shoulder that he can no longer walk around the block without having to stop for a rest. The orthopedist ruled out any of the usual suspects and concluded with the thoughts that there is a strong possibility of either bone or nerve cancer. Neither of which are good. He recommended us to a osteology research clinic/ school ~250miles (~400km) to the north of Town At The Confluence Of Two Gold Medal Trout Streams (where I live) in Town Known For It's Veterinary College.
*Lightning Hike - a good break from reality - see previous post.
*Lucky for us we didn't overnight because the retina in my mother's other eye ripped that night. An early morning drive to Oil Drilling Town (~110mile/ ~180km to the west of Town At The Confluence Of Two Gold Medal Trout Streams) for more surgery.
*Next day a 5 hour drive to Town Known For It's Veterinary College. First we manage to arrange for Life Long Friend to take the Parental Dog for the day, and for Life Long Neighbor to come check in on my mom while my father and I get up at 4am for the drive. We get to the college and they take a bunch more x-rays, convinced that the orthopedist may have missed some views (can I say at this point - thank goodness I signed up for veterinary insurance for my dog while in grad school as I didn't want to ever have to choose between rent/food and my dog. If you don't have pet insurance, and you are in North America, I recommend VPI - it's better then human health insurance in the US).
*Good news: there is nothing in his lungs or soft tissue so if he does have cancer it hasn't spread there. Bad news, they still don't know what it is so we will be back for bone scans (for bone cancer) and MRI's (for nerve cancer).
*We leave Town Known For It's Veterinary College the same day, I have to get back to work, and unfortunately I'm late due to road construction (which is hard to plan for when you are driving 10 hours) an so a series of complicated phone calls ensue. Luckily my co-workers are most understanding.The Dalai Lama came to Famous Intellectual Ski Town and the bookstore had put together a bookstore for it which means that everybody is working this week and there really wasn't anybody to call but a few people who are willing to extend their hours (thank you!)
Lama who is in town the day after trip one to Town Known For It's *Because we have the bookstore we also have free lawn tickets to the actual talk by the DalaiVeterinary College. I take the bus up with my sister's step sister and my bike and we find a nice place among the aspen trees to listen. It's an interesting talk although he's a bit difficult to understand. He has a childish giggle that we understand more clearly then anything else. But forget zen (I'm kidding!), I have 1.5 hours to bike ~30miles (~50km) from Famous Intellectual Ski Town to Town At The Confluence Of Two Gold Medal Trout Streams before I have to be at work. I'm desperate to fit some exercise in here - usually I bike/ run/ hike at least once a day but with all this driving there hasn't been any. So I pedal like a mad woman and get to work with 5 minutes to spare.
*Next day is my day off. I go briefly to a summer festival then there's more news. Brother-in-Law's mother is ill with heart problems so he rushes off to Kansas. Sister's mother is in town to work on more permanent care for step father (original Marlboro man) and as they come west over the Continental Divide I go east to Mile High City where the Disreputable Dog and I spend the night at sister's step-sister's house (how's that for confusing?) alone and get up bright and early to make a 730am appointment at the veterinary college which is still a bit north. The Disreputable Dog spends the whole day getting a bone scan - they use the radio active element technetium to scan for unusual growth in the bones - and waiting until he is no longer "hot" and is safe to be picked up. And then it's back home again with another late arrival.
*Despite tiredness I cannot help but notice how beautiful the mountains are on our way back. There has been a rain and the mists are rising up the treeless hillsides. The small town we stop in for a walk is spotlighted in evening sunlight with a rainbow arching over it.
*Get up super early because a) the vet has called with results at 6am - the results are inconclusive. There seems to be unusual turnover in the left shoulder but not enough to determine whether it is cancer, and b) because my parents are back off to Oil Drilling City for another eye appointment. I'm off to work early and I'm so tired I feel like I'm hallucinating. And despite the fact that I have several telephone calls to return, some bills to pay, and a blog to catch up on I ignore it all and go to bed at the soonest possible moment.