• Alyse

The Transaction of Death

If you read my last post, thanks. It was filler, let's be real. I'm trying (and failing?!) to add ads to my website so I might stand a chance at making some passive income off of the thing that I do. Is it worth anything if I don't?! Does it ironically cheapen the experience if you stumble across the blog that I'm trying to instill meaning in if you also see ads for the shoes you wish you had the money to buy, or the vacation you would so much rather take vs. the medical bills you're actually paying for?!

Everything in this life is a transaction. Even death.

I have yet to experience a death and not immediately turn around and find someone grabbing for my wallet.

I would like to share with you the story of how my dog Lady just died. She passed away at the end of March, so very recently, not even two weeks ago yet. My daughter still cries every day. I will quickly say this is not a post I would let my daughter read. It's a bit gruesome. This is the best I have in terms of **TRIGGER WARNING**

My dog died, and I watched it happen and I'm about to tell you blood (and money) was involved. You are warned.

Money makes the world go 'round. There's no secret to the power it has over us all. It's such a powerful force I have to find a way to monetize the death of my family members, and now my dog.

We all have to make money or we will not survive, despite the fact that we could, it's almost like we refuse to. We are an incredibly stubborn species. I don't like money or what it does to the people around us. I have a weird relationship with it because I've seen various extremes to understand money isn't what makes people happy. Support, family, stability... these are things that make people happy and money gives us some of that. Even family. If you have enough money, you can afford to have one of your own these days. A lot of people of parenting age are opting out of parenting because it costs too much to create life, and keep it going.

So, when I'm standing in a hospital, or veterinarian clinic, in the front of my mind the *cha-ching* is building louder and louder. Each new test, each passing minute, each decision or indecision I make is another dollar dropping in the bucket.

My dog got sick while we were away visiting family in Utah. She got sick the day after we arrived. We all found it funny that she was putting herself in time-out as she sat in the corner near the grandfather clock in my sister's living room, come to find out she was about to vomit. The next morning I called the family vet. Lucky for us we were "home" in a way and everything recently familiar to us was right down the street. They advised me on what to help her eat due to the likelihood that it was travel sickness. At that point, though, she had stopped eating all together. She kept trying to drink water, and although I knew the chances of her becoming dehydrated were high, I was reassured that she was trying to do what was best for her body while we waited for an appointment to open up to have her seen. She continued to vomit through the day and night, without eating, and now without drinking. She and I sat in the sunshine listening to my other dog Niko bark at the birds and watching the neighbor cat that walked along the top of the fence in the backyard. I called the vet again to get her in sooner rather then later, but she would need to wait one more night. Come morning she had thrown up brown liquid. Her body was completely rebelling. I gathered her up in a blanket and alongside my husband we took her to the vet down the road and sat in our car waiting for their doors to open, while I petted her head and she breathed deeply in the blanket. When their doors did open my husband signed papers, and I talked to a technician about what was going on. Soon, they took my Lady still wrapped up in her blanky, and we left to get some breakfast.

A little while later they called us, and we came back in. She'd had a seizure, and was vomiting blood. They let us in the back room to see her, and we stayed with her petting her head for a good two hours. She started perking up from the medicine and I.V. they had given her and so we left again. I was hopeful. A few hours later I was making the very hard decision to end her life because our vet had called us again to tell us his thoughts and that she very likely wouldn't make it through the night. I couldn't tell my children yet, I had to make up an excuse to leave in the middle of our fun with family and friends.

When I arrived they had a metal table in a back room set up with a towel on it, and brought her in to lay her down in front me. She was barely hanging on. She had fallen so completely apart, she couldn't move anymore. She wouldn't respond to my voice, or my pets.

I told the vet my thoughts, that I'm not willing to put her through the pain of more testing to try to piece together the very strange and sudden puzzle of why she was dieing. He told me, even if I were to rush her to the emergency clinic right now to get more testing done and constant surveillance through the night, he didn't think she would even survive the car trip there. A tech came in to start the paperwork to put her down as I watched my dog take her last excruciating breaths. While I knelt down in front of my dieing dog, petting her head and trying to live these last moments together, I was being asked how I would like to preserve her remains, and being told how much everything would cost. I stepped away quickly to grab my wallet and hand my credit card to the technician who had a somber face and seemed to regret that she was required to take this information before we stuck the needle in my dog's tiny arm to end her suffering. My own mind suffering horrible flash-backs to the awful moments I stayed by my mother's side as she died, and the after thoughts of deciding how much she was worth as we picked out the casket she would lie in until the earth ceased to exist.

The technician left the room after handing me a receipt that I held bunched up in my left hand while I still petted the top of Lady's head with my right. And then she left the room to get everything ready with the vet.

Now I was alone with my dog for a few minutes. Left to sort it out in my head and figure out if what was happening was real.

Should I cry? How was I going to explain this to my children? Was I murdering their dog? Had I tried hard enough to save her? What had I done wrong to cause this? How did I not see this coming, and why couldn't we find answers?

In that moment Lady perked her head up and craned her neck towards me. "Hey sweety, are you going to be OK?" I asked suddenly wondering if I was making a huge mistake, when her body went rigid and flung to the side so hard I had to catch her and keep her from falling off the table. Her breathing became ragged, her body stiff, and I knew this was it. OMG my dog was dieing. This was death taking my dog. I held her head as best as I could, wondering if I should cry for help. I did cry for help, but it was weak and I knew there was nothing my screaming "help me" could do for this moment.

Her body relaxed, and her breathing quieted. My heart was pounding in my ears, while hers had just stopped.

I threw my receipt on the ground, and stretched my left arm to open the door to our room, still holding her with my right hand, and just said to the void in the hall "My dog just died!" and in rushed the vet and technician.

Natural death looks nothing like it does in the movies. You don't just stop. Your body convulses despite the life that is no longer there. Lady, although very dead now, was still moving and twitching. Her tongue, once rigid in her mouth threw itself out to the side. Her legs spasming, and the vet reassuring me that this was completely normal. However normal, I wasn't prepared to watch her spray blood out of her back end in a very dramatic horror movie way, literally spraying the walls behind her with her own red filth. It smelled rancid. The vet quickly covered her back end and I stood in shock. Her body began relaxing more until her head finally gave one last twitch, and blood started to pool out of her nose. My dog had sort of just exploded in front of me. I began sobbing uncontrollably, every death catching up with me in this one truly horrific moment. The realization that I had never actually seen the very last moment of life in any of the humans I had lost, was now a tender mercy given to me by the universe.

Once I calmed down and had a few reassuring words from the vet who seemed very concerned about me, the technician went to the computer and said "You'll get a refund in a few days because we didn't euthanize her." It was quick, in an almost sweet consoling way, and I didn't need to do anything other then nod, but the dollar amount still hung in front me. I didn't want to ask how much the refund would be for, and I didn't know if I cared.

The moment became cold and suddenly I was removed from it. Dollar signs bouncing around in my mind almost comically. Mocking me and the experience I just had. "Hahahaha... You don't get to grieve because you just spent all your money on a dieing creature that could have died at home alone in the backyard."

How was I supposed to feel? Nothing felt natural. The whole moment suddenly felt wrong, cold, transactional.

I've spent days reflecting on this and what happened to our sweet little Lady. I've spent years coming to terms with the idea that: this is just the way it is.

Every little thing and every big thing we experience in life is transactional.

Before you consider bringing a life into the world, or letting one go, you must consider money. That is the power money holds over us.

I get it, and I, too, have to go along with it. I don't have to like it, but I do like what it can give me sometimes, but sometimes I really really can't stand that it gets in the way of every moment of your life. Every precious moment, it sneaks in and takes away the otherwise natural feeling you're having and compounds it into a million tiny pieces of stress that you get to carry away with you as it embeds into your skin and bones. Into your blood.

...and now I will try to stick ads at the bottom of the post in hopes you'll click on it and give me a few pennies in my adsense account.

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