The manner of his burial

We brought Baxter’s body home on Friday, December 10, and buried him that Saturday. He lay on his chair for most of Friday, but Peggy put him in a cardboard box with a couple of his toys and moved him to the garage when his body began to smell.

Six of us attended his funeral, but no words were spoken. I took him out of the box, and lowered him into his grave by means of the tablecloth on which Peggy had laid him. I then tucked the tablecloth over his body, and Josh brought buckets of earth that I had stored under the eave of the house because of the rain. I emptied these buckets into his grave and tamped the dirt with a shovel.

I don’t know to what extent getting Brewsky so soon after Baxter’s death has enabled me to avoid—or at least postpone—grieving, nor do I know how much having another dog has helped. I do know that every time I lose a loved one to death, my own desire to live becomes that much less. Of course, I still have a lot to live for.

The state of my health

I’ll be lying awake in pain from osteoarthritis, syringomyelia, chondromalacia, a Baker’s Cyst, and an aching back, but I’ll be high at the same time because I will have taken a few Percocets or a couple of Demerols. Anyway, I’ll be lying there unable to sleep—partly because of the pain, and partly because being high makes my mind bounce all over the place—and I’ll think to myself: “Snow, you really could put yourself to sleep, you know. All you would have to do would be to take a maximum dose of one narcotic or another and a maximum dose of one sleeping pill or another plus three Neurontins, two Tofranils, and one Requip, and wash it all down with a shot of vodka… Okay, forget the vodka, at least until I build up such a tolerance to the pills that they stop working.” Well, it’s tempting sometimes because I’ve been lying awake most nights for years. Of course, the downside would be that I might die, or the house might burn down around me without me waking up until the roof fell on my chest.

I take a fair amount of scary drugs, and sometimes I enjoy them, but I never take more than I need, and rarely as much as I need. I sometimes wonder which would actually be worse for my body, taking enough pills to make me sleep, or the exhaustion I experience from never getting enough sleep. I just know that I take more pills than I ever imagined I would, and, as a consequence of the pills and the pain, I never feel really good anymore, and I never feel really intelligent anymore either. In fact, I worry about how much more I can handle before my organs start to fail.

I got another referral to a neurologist (the same neurologist who did my vertebral biopsy when my C5 turned up osteonecrotic—aka dead), but she won’t see me until I get another MRI, but I can’t get another MRI until insurance okays it, but insurance can’t okay it until my orthopedist submits the proper form. Insurance denied the Synvisc injections, so I have that on appeal, only I have no idea how speedily the orthopedist’s staff is moving on it. I just know that medical staff people tend to thwart a patient at every turn if he becomes impatient. I think this is because overpaid doctors, who are mostly male, treat underpaid staff people, who are mostly female, disrespectfully, so staff people take it out on the only people who are lower on the totem pole than they are, the patients—especially the male patients, although I am not too sure about this part of my theory. But anyway…

The steroid shot I got earlier this month has already stopped working, so I’m positively screwed, pain-wise, until I either get the Synvisc, or the surgical neurologist cuts me open again, or the orthopedist cuts me open again. I’ve been waiting for one thing or another to happen for years, and the glacial slowness of the process really makes me envy people who are so rich that they can get on their Lear Jets, fly to the top specialists, and plop a hundred thousand dollars on the counter and not miss it. They can no doubt get themselves moved to the head of every line too, but I wouldn’t do that, and I wouldn’t mind even a little bit shooting any rich person who did. Of course, that's a politically incorrect thing to say just as saying that I sometimes enjoy being high on narcotics is a politically incorrect thing to say. But, you know, my fondest dream is that I would never need another pill for as long as I live. As for shooting rich people, I think we could do with a few less of those bloodsuckers.