Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Tragedy of October 16th
Grab a sack lunch kids 'cause this post is a longer one.

Miss American Pie is one of Steve's best friends. She is having a really tough year.

Her father passed away earlier this year. It is difficult to lose a parent. Well, imagine losing two in the same year. Miss American Pie's mother is in hospice right now. She has been traveling regularly to Milwaukee to help her mother die. Now, it is no secret that I am not a huge fan of Miss American Pie but I wish her no harm either. And we both extended a hand to help. When her father died, Steve and I volunteered to keep her dog Roxy for her. Roxy gets along with Steve's dogs very well. They have been play pals for years. We extended the same courtesy for her while she deals with her mother.

On Sunday, Miss American Pie brought Roxy over around 1 or 2 pm. I was busy doing some re-writes on the children's television show I've been working on for the last 6 weeks. Steve was doing some fall house chores. We both stopped our projects so that we could find out if she was doing okay and the status of her mother. Things were not good. In addition to her mother's health, her daughter just dropped out of college this semester for health reasons. And Miss American Pie told us that Roxy was not doing well either. Roxy wasn't eating and she had become very lethargic. It must be the stress we all said.

When I fed the dogs dinner Sunday night, Steve's dogs lapped up their dinner very quickly but Roxy ate 2 or 3 pieces of kibble and then she was finished. I also noticed that Roxy was breathing funny. Her breathing was very labored. Maybe this wasn't just stress. On expert advice, Steve and I decided to take Roxy to a vet the next morning to make sure.

Originally, Steve was going to take Roxy to the vet located in Lakeview but I had a pre-production meeting in Lincoln Park so it seemed easier for me to do. It was a very typical October in Chicago kind of day. Heavily overcast, slightly windy, with sprinkles of rain intermittently. Roxy immediately started to pull at her leash when she and I arrived at the animal hospital. She did not want to go inside. I pulled at her leash and talked real pretty to her and she went inside.

Our doctor was mild mannered and cute. Roxy responded well to him except when he wanted to examine her mouth and her abdomen. His initial examination was not enough. He asked if he could run some tests. I called Steve and Miss American Pie to let them know what was going on. We all decided to let the doctor do his thing. I left Roxy in cute and capable hands while I went off to my Lincoln Park meeting.

My meeting was to get some feedback from an award winning teacher on our show. My boss, who I call "the fountain" because she just bubble thoughts and ideas in every direction,wanted to know if third graders would find it entertaining. Needless to say, my mind was on Roxy (actually I was feeling really bad for Miss American Pie) and it was difficult to focus. We got through about half of the scenes and then my cell phone started to vibrate. It was the cutey vet and he didn't have good news. Roxy had cancer. It was very advanced and the prognosis was not good. The doctor asked me to come back so he could show me the x-rays and talk to me about our extremely limited options. I still had a least another hour in this meeting. I finished the meeting and headed back to the animal hospital.

I arrived at the animal hospital at 1 pm. It was closed until 1:30 pm. I went to pick some food up at Eatzi's rather than hang outside on one of the gloomiest days ever. The attendant unlocked the doors promptly at 1:30 but the doctor was out until 2 pm. I waited reading the New Yorker to pass the time. When I was called into the vet's office I hesitated the same way Roxy did when arrived. I knew it would not end well.

With Miss American Pie's permission, I signed the paper work to euthanize Roxy. It saddened me. It still does.

Of course, this is only half of the great tragedy of Monday the 16th. In a future post, I'll tell you how I was fired from my brand new television job later that evening.

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