Rina and the Annual Check-up.

April was a month of birthdays and medical check-ups at our place. Steve turned 60, and I turned 13; that’s 91 people years and I’m in better shape than him. The birthdays are fun, the cakes yummy, but visits to the doctor are another story.

Foto010 - CopyI heard Steve on the phone making an appointment with my vet, Dr. Listriani and suspected the inevitable was coming. Tuesday morning, he donned his black felt hat and told Komang he was ready.  I recognised the signs of a road trip and came running, wagging my tail ready for an outing. He picked me up, we got into Komang’s car and off we went.  I stood on Steve’s lap, my nose at the open window, breathing in the wind, ears flying, and observing the passing people, dogs and motorbikes. My tail couldn’t stop wagging. I love a day out; a girl loves to be seen. When we stopped in front of the vet, all wagging ceased. I knew what was coming.

Steve carried me into the surgery, stood me on the table, nursed my head and stroked my back. I braced myself. Dr. Listriana held a thermometer.
“That’s a good girl,” they both said as she slid it into my backside. No lube, no jelly, no nothing, she just pushed it in. I tried climbing Steve’s chest, but he held me still.
“Stay still Rina, be a good girl,” he said.
And you two are sadists, I thought.

While she waited for the thermometer to cook, the doctor listened to my heart and lungs with her stethoscope. Next she injected the Rabies booster, and the combined, Parvo, Distemper, Parainfluenza and Lepto vaccine. They aren’t painful.  At last she removed the temperature gauge, checked it and said, “Good, she is healthy, but she’s getting older, thirteen now. There’s a little problem; she’s developed an irregular heartbeat. It goes dot, dot, dot,  pause and then dot, dot, dot again.”
You’ve got to wonder, I thought. She’s just shoved a 10cm glass tube up my clacker and now she’s telling Steve I’ve got an irregular heartbeat.
“What’s that mean?” Steve asked. He sounded worried and choked up.
“She shouldn’t do long walks, or lots of steps. She’s getting on and won’t live forever.”
“Oh,” Steve said. “Rina’s already let me know in her own way. Some days she walks a few hundred metres and stops, so I pick her up and carry her for the rest of the walk. It’s the same with steps. If she wants to be carried she stops, looks up at me and I pick her up. She’s sleeping a lot more too.”
“Just so you know,” Dr. Listriana says.
We paid and left.

Back in the car, Komang asked, “What did the vet say?”
“She’s getting older and slowing down. Just like me. She’s also got a bit of a heart problem.”
“Oh,” Komang said. He took his left hand off the steering wheel and stroked my back.
“She’s got another year or two or three. Maybe longer.”
“Oh,” says Komang again.
And then Steve said the strangest thing. “I hope I know when it’s her time and can let her go.” I had no idea what he meant.

Steve went to the doctor a week later. He had the flu and a sore throat. Komang and I waited in the car for him. As Steve got back into the car clutching his medicines, Komang asked, “What did the doctor say.”
“My pulse and blood pressure are normal, so that’s good, but she told me to stop smoking, lose some weight and take these.” Steve held up his small bag of pills.
Komang and I nodded our heads.

Steve stopped smoking, ate lots of salads, walked daily and took his tablets. I could see he was trying to follow the doctor advice. The cough refused to abate.IMG_0019

Last night, I slept on my pillow beside Steve on our queen-sized bed. We’d only just got to sleep and his coughing and spluttering started. This went on all night; snoring, coughing, spitting. He didn’t seem to wake up, but I did and sat there staring, worried about him and hoping that he would eventually get better. And as I watched and worried, I knew what he’d meant and thought to myself, “I hope I know when it’s his time and can let him go.”

Gently I moved closer and licked his cheek.
“I love you Rina,” he mumbled and started snoring again.

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