On the heels of bringing Maximus in to see the vet on Monday, I’m faced with a tough decision. The fact is, he’s not going to get any better – this despite the special diet, the radiation treatment, and the anti-cancer vaccine. He only has a little time left. Of course, one could argue that, relatively speaking, we all have little time left. How much “little” is the question. Maximus has hung in there despite the odds. The vet calls him “a tough little guy,”. True, but he’s a tough little guy fighting a losing battle and I have to decide when it’s time to throw in the towel. The decision isn’t as simple as it may seem to the impartial observer. While he has been lethargic since his diagnosis back in July, it’s not exactly out of character for Maximus who has always been the laid-back type, preferring a cozy snooze over an afternoon walk. Also, the vet suspects that this lethargy may have more to do with the tramadol he is taking for the pain than the pain itself. As for his loss of appetite, the fact that he’s still drinking suggests his unwillingness to eat isn’t wholly pain-related either. In fact, the vet informs me that loss of appetite is common in cancer patients.
And so, because Maximus can’t talk to me and let me know exactly what’s going on, how he’s feeling, and what he’d like to do, I’m at a loss. Yes, given that I am leaving for Montreal this Friday, it certainly would be easy to make the final call over the next few days, but I won’t make a decision just because it’s easier for me. I want to make a decision that gives Maximus the most quality time available to him. I don’t want to ever look back and consider the possibility that, even subconsciously, my decision was dictated by my personal comfort. Max may be ill but he has nevertheless continues to demonstrate flashes of his old self, looking downright happy and excited when some kids came to the house the other day (and, notably, whenever he’s LEAVING the vet’s).
It would be easier to leave him back at home with the dog-sitter, or at the vet’s, but in the likely event that these are his last few days, I think I owe it to my buddy to be there for him. And so, I’ve arranged to bringing him along with us to Montreal. He’s always been a great traveler, sitting quietly in his sherpa bag for the duration of previous flights. The last time he stopped eating and I assumed he was on his last legs, the change of scenery from Toronto to Vancouver seemed to give him a second lease on life. Here’s hoping the switch from Vancouver to Montreal does the same.
Well , I’m pleased to report that I’ve covered everyone on my Christmas list. Figuratively speaking. The task of the literal covering has fallen to Akemi who gift-wraps with all the professionalism and artistic sensibility of – well, someone who has worked retail in Tokyo.
I’ve elected to go with a balance of personal and impersonal gifts this year. Sure, it’s easier to go with various scented soaps (see above), but I figured I’d also roll the dice this Christmas by offering some reading suggestions in the form of a few of my favorite non-genre books. It’s tough because almost everything I read is genre fiction (either SF, fantasy, or horror), but there have been a few exceptions…
The Man Who Ate Everything and It Must Have Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten
You may know him as one of Iron Chef America’s most hard-to-please judges, but he’s also been Vogue Magainze’s food critic for the past twenty-two years. Along the way, he’s written countless food-related essays and these two books collect some of his most humorous pieces. Endlessly entertaining even for non-foodies.
Before becoming a writer and show runner on HBO’s Game of Thrones, David Benioff published this wonderful coming of age novel set in Leningrad during the second world war. Two young men are charged with the seemingly impossible task of locating a dozen eggs for the wedding of a Russian Colonel’s daughter.
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Another humorous collection, this one an assortment of personal essays from one of the funniest writers out there, David Sedaris.
Yes, I said non-genre but this book’s near-future setting and endearing protagonist make it incredibly accessible. One of my top ten favorite reads.
King Lear told from the fool’s point of view. You don’t have to be familiar with the bard’s work to thoroughly enjoy this riotous novel. A terrific introduction to the wild and wonderful world of author Christopher Moore.
Finally – mom just finished Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and is looking for another book along its quaint and comical lines. Any suggestions?