Monday, August 06, 2007

Far Too Close to the Bone

Corduroy Dog was sick this week. And not just a little bit. I plied her with scrambled eggs, lamb chops, turkey, peanut butter, leftover meatloaf, ham, hoagies, Parmesan and special (extra yummy, they say) dog food, but she only ate three bites in two days. She drank water, but couldn't keep it down. When we left the vet on Monday morning, I had to stoop and lift her compliant body into the car. Even her fur looked sick. Finally, her temperature is back to normal and she ate five hamburger buns, a chicken breast, seven green beans and a lamb chop before going to sleep last night. When she's finished her antibiotic, we'll go back to the clinic to have another x-ray and an ultrasound to determine if some suspicious-looking patches on her lungs are cancer or snot. Cancer or snot. That could be a metaphor for life. When we have bad things happen to us, we've just got to wait and see if they'll turn out to be cancer or snot.

Snot, of course, isn't pleasant and it can make us feel as if we're dying. But in the end, it's only snot, and when the ragweed dies or the virus runs its course, we'll be back to normal. Cancer, on the other hand, has to be dealt with aggressively and with determination to be cured. If it can be cured at all. I realize that what I've been dealing with for the past few months, that black cloud that's been over my head as I dwell contentedly in the quotidian* below, is probably cancer. I think my prognosis is good and my will to survive is strong, but it's going to take some effort to fully recover. I see signs of life when I realize I still do love people who I can't talk to anymore and when I realize that the hope that died has been replaced by a new hope I hold for myself.

When I went to Montevallo to register yesterday, there was hope. When I realize that the life I always wanted is starting to bloom around me, there was hope. When I realize that I'm still able to talk to God and that I still want to be part of a church family, there is hope. In spite of everything, while I no longer believe** people are good at heart (or anywhere else for that matter), I realize I'm still going to be able to love some of them and walk with some of them as a part of a church. And that, perhaps, is the greatest miracle of my life.

*The word quotidian is one of my new favorites. Elizabeth Dewberry used it in an interview I read recently (wow, Elizabeth Dewberry has had her business on the Internet lately!) when she was discussing her relationship to then-husband Robert Olen Butler. "But what I needed to know," she said, "Was how we would manage in the quotidian." It was so delightfully pretentious that I had to claim it as my own.

**Among the things I no longer believe are the notions that we were created to suffer and that God derives some twisted pleasure from seeing us thrown under the wheels of life. I don't know why I feel the need to add that. Perhaps it's because those ideas are also cancerous.

***It's sad that I make footnotes for my blog. I wonder what my thesis (which, by the way, I have to start working on NEXT SEMESTER!!!!!) will look like. I think I have a sad little footnoted brain.


Carla said...

OK, first and most importantly, please keep me up to date on Cord Dog's status.

Secondly and far less importantly, this Elizabeth Dewberry stuff? Bizarre. I just read one of her books a few months ago and it was super good, AND her husband (ex?) teaches at my old college. So I had to click around and read. Bizarre.

susan said...

Thank you! She's doing much better. She's almost her old Cord. Dog self. Now, I just hope she doesn't have tumors. We'll find out next week, I guess.

You know my sister went to high school with E.D. She's an interesting person, that's for sure. I wondered at which "Florida college" he taught. Now I know.

I read "Many Things Have Happened Since He Died," and liked it. The other novels, not so much.

I saw the mag. today. That thing is HUGE. I peed a little.

Elisa M said...

that is delightfully pretentious! I love it.

Carla said...

I was just checking back to see how the Cord dog is. I am in NYC. You should be here too and we could talk about books and thoughts and be brilliant!

susan said...

She's doing so much better! Thank you! She's back to her old self. Now, we just have to hope that those little patches aren't tumors. We'll see!

I'm so jealous. I would like nothing better than to be in NYC talking about books and drinking coffee with you!