Our weekend started when we heard a thump early Saturday morning. I said to Wayne, “It sounds like Hillary fell off the table.” She had been sporadically eating all week. Late last week she voraciously ate the leftovers of some baked fish we had for dinner, so we poached several fillets for her, but like everything else, after a while she stopped eating it. Most lately, she had been eating a little bit of lunch meat several times a day. We had her off the table earlier in the week, but she got herself right back onto it, probably because she preferred the table to being bugged by Luke (although sometimes Luke was licking her, which she seemed to like).
Wayne got up to see what was going on because I couldn’t. Luke has finally figured out that he can jump off the bed, so if we want him to stay on it, I have to stay in bed, or I have to be obviously getting ready to get in it. Otherwise, he just jumps right off after we put him up there, and we didn’t want him running up to Hillary if she was on the floor. Wayne came back and reported that she had indeed fallen off and wasn’t doing well. He took Luke outside, and I got up to see her. She was lying half on a cushion on the floor. I put her completely on the cushion and was able to feed her a little bit of chicken. But shortly after she ate, it became obvious she was dying. It took her a couple of hours, during which we put her in a dog crate up on the table so that I could put my hand in and touch her while I talked to her but Luke couldn’t bother her. Also, if she did happen to start wandering around, she couldn’t fall off again. Finally, I was talking to her, and she turned her ears toward me and then gave a little jerk and she was gone. My poor little kitty. She had a rough last month or so.
But that wasn’t all. Saturday afternoon, I was outside with Luke and just happened to go inside for a moment to get Luke’s outside water bowl when I heard Wayne yell, “Kay, I am having a heart attack!” I went into the bedroom just in time to see him slide from the bed onto the floor. I called 911 immediately and they told me they were sending an ambulance and to make him as comfortable as possible. He said he had terrible pain in his abdomen. He was extremely pale when he is usually florid, and he was clammy.
We went to the ER, where we figured out that he had put too much pressure on a nerve when he was going to the bathroom, because he was badly constipated. This pressure made him briefly pass out. I had observed that sometimes he grunted away in the bathroom and warned him that this could happen, because it happened to a roommate when I was in graduate school, but he never paid attention to me. I didn’t think he had lost consciousness, because he talked to me most of the time and answered all of the questions for the dispatcher, but he did have a blurry voice, and later at the ER he said that he couldn’t remember how he got on the floor.
We spent a record three hours only at the ER, during which our family really stepped up. My niece’s husband, Ares, came over with the kids so that Luke wouldn’t have to stay in his crate, and then my brother Mark and his wife, Nancy, came over and walked him. Ares had to take the kids home at bedtime, but when we arrived home, my sister, Sue, was with Luke. The diagnosis for Wayne was that he is seriously constipated.
But that’s not all for our weekend entertainment. On Sunday morning, we buried Hillary in the pasture. Then Wayne was talking about going to urgent care, because now he was passing blood and had a tarry stool, and it said in our papers from the hospital to call the doctor if that happened. I suggested that we call our doctor’s office first, because there might be a doctor on call. I actually got as far as calling and being put on hold by the answering service, when Wayne told me to hang up. We decided to go to the store and buy prune juice, more vegetables, and more fruit so that I could make lots of fruit salad. When we got in the car, however, it turned out that he thought we were going to urgent care. I again suggested that we call the doctor’s office, but he said no, and we went to the grocery store and bought those things, as well as something from the drug department (that he has not used yet).
Then, as if all that wasn’t bad enough, in the afternoon when I was outside with Luke, he came out and told me he knew what was wrong with him. He said that a week ago he had eaten a berry and that he had looked it up and it was nightshade, and he was going to die. Now, my husband has a habit of self-diagnosing and then assuming that whatever is wrong with him is the worst thing possible. Also, he told me about eating the berry at the time that he ate it, and he described it as like a raspberry, so I assumed it was an unripe blackberry, since we have blackberries all over the place. I said that if it was poisonous, he would be dead by now, but he said no, that you felt better for a while and then you died, like that guy in Alaska in Into the Wild. He said he knew what he had eaten was a nightshade berry.
I had him take me to where he found the berry and show one to me. He took me to a blackberry patch, but we found no berries. So, I asked him to show me the berry online. We looked up nightshade berries, and they are round and smooth and look nothing like raspberries. We looked up “poisonous red berries in Washington” and saw nothing that looked like a raspberry. There was one page that also showed blackberries, both in their unripe and ripe stages, but that was a general page about berries. (I suspect he saw that picture and it was next to text about nightshade.) I thought I had him convinced he had eaten a blackberry, and he finally finished the conversation by telling me that you had to eat fifteen to die from them, and he had only eaten one. OK, I thought, even though he was still convinced he ate a nightshade berry, at least he doesn’t think he’s going to die. He didn’t seem to be able to grasp that a blackberry could be red, and he said it didn’t taste good, to which I replied, “That’s because it wasn’t ripe.”
I thought that was taken care of, but on Monday an innocent question about how he felt brought out that he was in the stage where he felt better but he was going to die. This time, I went downstairs to his computer with him and asked him to show me the page he’d been reading (last time we were on my computer), but he couldn’t find it. Then we went outside and walked around until we found a red blackberry. At that point, he finally agreed that he had eaten a blackberry, but he wanted to taste it to be sure. I said to him, “You are not eating any more berries. Leave the berry picking to me!”
Tuesday I went with him to the doctor’s office. He is so constipated that his entire colon is full. The doctor gave him a bunch of suggestions of things he should try, in order. So far, he hasn’t done any of them, which is also something he does when his self-diagnosis works out to be incorrect (which is always). Sometimes I wish the internet had never been invented.
That was so traumatic that I hardly feel like telling about anything else, so if you want to hear about our hike, my art class, or Luke’s further progress, just put in a comment and I’ll answer.