Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lack of Sleep Triggers Old Memories

After dozing on and off for 4+ hours of what I am optimistically calling sleep, I woke this morning at 6:45am to find Rudy's condition unchanged from her triumphant revival at 2am. Man, this chick is a FIGHTER. I am no longer convinced this tenacity is a good thing. She is not acting like she is in any pain, but to be honest, it is torture for us- this roller coaster of emotion.

Let me back up. In the past few days, Rudy has suffered a couple of what appears to be seizures. Her body seizes, her neck extends completely backwards and she is unresponsive for a few seconds. During these bouts, I think, "Oh no! This is it." They last less than a minute and after them, she sleeps a little and then, peeps for food and water and returns to her active self. With this in mind, I honestly think we are merely making her last days comfortable and I am talking to Kristen about that horrible, but probable outcome.

Yesterday, Kristen cared for Rudy all day while Sean and I worked a charity tent booth at the local Belfast Celtic Festival. When I say "all day", I mean Sean and I left the house at 7am and we did not get home last night until 10:45pm. Grandma Becky & Grandpa Dale kindly picked up the girls for us at 5:00pm, since the girls preferred to stay home for part of the day and visit the festival at night.
I was concerned about leaving just in case Rudy took a turn while I was away. But, the reality is, there is nothing more we can do. There is no other medicine, treatment, or procedure that is going to miraculously heal this chick. We are hospice care. As much as I personally care for this little one, ("care for" as in: sleeping  -not- on the couch... alone... so I could be there to tend her through the night, "care for") I DO have other responsibilities, too. Rudy was stable when the girls left home. Kristen set him in his 10 gallon glass aquarium, set up the heat element on one side, fed and watered her, and made sure she was comfortable for her absence. In the few hours of being alone, Rudy crashed... again. Which brings us back full circle to being up all night, offering food and water whenever Rudy peeped that she was awake, checking the temperature of the tank and making adjustments, and wondering repeatedly, "Am I doing the right thing?" Would ending this be more humane? Is Rudy suffering because I am letting her continue?"  I don't know the answer.

But, this morning, I dreamed of my Grandpa George. It was a memory as much as a dream. When I was a young girl of about 10 or so, I was with Grandpa while we went to help a neighbor family with some chore of theirs. I don't remember what. The Whitney children, my aunt Belinda (who is only 3 years older than me) and I were all playing in the field, near the barn. There was an old, white porcelain bath tub in the field where a family of mice had made their home. The field mice were not "pinkies", (you know, so young that they had no hair) but they were tiny little things. Fearless, we thought it great fun to pick them up and let them scurry around our fingers. We must have played with them for at least an hour, when Grandpa George came to check on us. He took one look at our hands full of mice, one look at the livestock grain nearby, and told us to drop them and go inside the house and wash our hands. I think it was the grim look on Grandpa's face that filled me with dread. I begged Grandpa not to kill them, but Grandpa's kind, but resolute reply was, "They cannot be allowed to spoil the grain. The Whitneys NEED it for their animals. Mice carry diseases and can make the people and other animals sick. Go inside." I dreaded what would happen. I love my Grandpa with all my heart and always have, and I know, Grandpa was a REAL farmer. One who would not hesitate to protect valuable, expensive grain from vermin who would spoil it. I cried all the way into the house and all the way home... and right now, again, while I share this memory. For what? A nest of field mice that were destroyed nearly 25 years ago? Because though I understood why, even then, I was helpless to stop it? Or just because I miss my Grandpa? Or because, REAL farmer, I am not and likely never to be. Were Sean or I to come across a nest of mice, we would leave them be. If they got into our grain, (which we keep in large plastic and metal trash cans with locked covers, since we work with 100 lbs of grain at a time, instead of silos of grain) we would protect the grain better or Sean and I would trap them and release them elsewhere.

I struggle with the decision of what to do about Rudy. Is there an inherent value to life? When do we say, "enough is enough?"

This morning, Rudy is active and alert, peeping, eating, drinking, and eliminating waste. I do not have pictures other than the video I am still editing because I am simply too tired to bother to take some. I will though, just as soon as my brain awakens and catches up with the forced activity of my body. For Sean and I, it is another long day at the festival accepting donations for this year's Heroes*Hope*Healing McDonald's Golf Classic presented by Bangor Savings Bank, which supports the children and family rooms in the newly created pediatric floor of EMMC's CancerCare of Maine.

At least, the weather is fine.

Thanks for stopping in. I appreciate your company.
Sonja ♥


  1. I am so sorry! I know this is a tough situation, and I know how attached everyone is to Rudy, including me. I don't know what to tell you except you have been the best chick Mom around, as well as your whole family, and if Rudy doesn't make it, you gave her the best shot you could and honestly if her legs can't be fixed, I am not sure how she would function as an adult. Shoot fire and save matches I am over here crying my eyes out. Farming is hard!

    1. I'm so sorry to depress you, Miss Kimmy Jo! Rudy is doing fine tonight. I have video of Ryan Dale feeding and caring for her, for which he is writing a guest blog post for me. Hopefully, tomorrow.

  2. I totally understand your predicament. I have been there several times and it's truly agonizing. Just let your instincts guide you and keep doing what you're doing. I'm pulling for Rudy! :) **hugs**