Death of an old dog, part three, by Patricia

In part three, the mental illness storyline continues, but the mystery of the cause of Mark’s troubles comes somewhat to light. I muse upon the idea that when misfortune besets you, others watching from a distance sometimes suppose you must have done something to deserve it. Just when I think everything’s on the upswing, my daughter springs yet another disturbing surprise.   I return to the story of my canyon trip on Thanksgiving Day. Parts of this segment are unpolished–apologies for that. You can find part one of this series here and part two here.

I spent the rest of that night struggling to keep my head and to work up plans to get Mark the help he needed, even if he refused it.   The next morning, while he still slept, I rose early and scrambled to discover our options, making some phone calls.   The PCP wanted me to bring Mark to the emergency room for a CT scan in case he’d suffered another stroke.   A stroke could account for such a radical change in his behavior.   With as many CCMs in his brain and brain stem as he has, the possibility that yet another malformed vein had ruptured or begun seeping was significant. Continue reading “Death of an old dog, part three, by Patricia”


Death of an old dog, part two, by Patricia

This is a long post. Also, emotionally, it’s perhaps overfull and addresses subjects like pregnancy and childbirth from a standpoint I held over twenty years ago.   The “mental illness” storyline continues. Part one may be found here.

I spent the next five hours in the basement with my husband trying to find him in whatever place it was that he had gone.   I don’t think I’d ever heard such despairing, angry, tormented and tormenting words.   I asked if he was having a bad reaction to a medication.   He scoffed.   “What difference does it make what I say?” he said.   I understood that to mean that it didn’t matter what I said.   As I told him later, “I could feel that the connection between us had gone quite cold.”   I recognized his response to the question as a non-answer and guessed that that line of inquiry would take us nowhere, so I returned to the two he’d asked earlier.   “You asked me two questions upstairs: Did I ‘think you were unintelligent,’ and did I ‘ever even like you.’   I said that I thought you were brilliant and that I loved you. Did you believe my answers?”

“After twenty years of being snubbed by you, I don’t believe them,” he said. Continue reading “Death of an old dog, part two, by Patricia”

Death of an old dog, part one, by Patricia

Our dog Sky in 2007

This multiple-part series is from a longer work-in-progress I’ve begun that recounts my experiences in Recapture Canyon in southeast Utah.   Woven throughout the longer narrative are my ideas about language’s part in evolution, culture, and relationship–including what language reveals about and how it affects the ways we treat with people who live with what I call “brain variables”–conditions of the brain that require those of us with “normal” brains to make an extra efforts to travel beyond ourselves in order to encounter and stand with the people that live with them. As with some of my longer series, this may not be an easy read. It certainly hasn’t been an easy write.   I respectfully request that readers not download this piece.   If you are in need of any language or information in this series, please email me at pk dot wizadmin at gmail dot com to request a copy.

On Thanksgiving Eve, Sky, our family dog, died of conditions related to old age.   If she’d reached her birthday at December’s end, she’d have turned fourteen years old.   Up to four or five weeks before her death, Sky still raced my fourteen-year-old daughter around the yard, loping creakily on arthritic hips.   Running must have hurt but when she threw herself into the competition her blue eyes sparked and her mouth curled back along her muzzle into a wide, tongue-lolling grin.   During those runs she felt herself part of a pack and like a good Siberian husky jockeyed to take lead position. She’d become deaf over the last year; to draw her attention we shouted her name and clapped our hands.   She turned and looked but seemed unsure that she’d really heard anything. I suspect that in the last few weeks she’d started going blind. Continue reading “Death of an old dog, part one, by Patricia”