Thursday, April 3, 2014

No. 63 – Awaken

Performer: Yes
Songwriters: Jon Anderson, Steve Howe
Original Release: Going for the One
Year: 1977
Definitive Version: Union Tour, 1991. The version I have is from Stuttgart, Germany, I think, not Denver. I love this version because of the symphonic nature that Awaken takes on from having all eight Yes men playing this majestic epic, but particularly Trevor Rabin’s underlying guitar shredding at the end.

If someone else did a list like this and had Awaken as their No. 1 song, I wouldn’t argue with them. It’s not my No. 1 song, of course, but I get it. A different series of events—had I found this song when I was younger as opposed to in 2007—could have led it to be.

Before I get started, a big shoutout goes to my buddy Dave, who turned the big 5-0 today.

As I mentioned, I had a dog when I was a kid. Well, Sugar was given to me on my second birthday, but I certainly didn’t do anything to take care of her. I suppose I fed her once in a while and petted her, sure, and played ball with her outside, but Sugar really was Mom and Dad’s dog when it came to actual care.

Over the years, a series of pets passed in and out of my life, some making more of an impression than others, but none of them were mine until Henry in 2010. When Laurie and I got Henry (good ol’ No. 285), I was ready to have a pet and, for the first time—aside from Maile, of course—ready to assume ALL of the responsibilities of what that meant.

That said, Laurie has been the one who more often than not has taken care of Henry’s health-care needs. That has been a function of scheduling more than anything else, because she’s had significant gaps in her full-time work schedule over the past four years.

In fact, that’s why Henry has Laurie’s last name. The first time Laurie took Henry to the vet—after she had been let go from her long stint at AHA—the office had to have a last name on Henry’s pet carrier, and Laurie’s was used, because she brought him in.

Officially, I’m the stepdad, I guess. However, stepdad stepped up big when Henry needed it the most.

In March 2013, a few months before I wrote the entry for good ol’ No. 285, Laurie noticed that Henry’s behavior seemed to have changed a bit over the past week. He seemed to be licking himself after going to the bathroom way more than usual. I hadn’t noticed, but I started to pay attention. Before long, I saw what she was talking about.

Once again, Laurie was between jobs, so she took him to the vet. They found he had developed crystals in his urine. Although not dangerous in and of themselves, this necessitated a change to his diet, and we had to make sure that Henry still went to the bathroom normally.

As the person who cleans his litter box, I can assure you that that had not a problem … until two days later. Henry’s whiz nuggets were much smaller than they used to be, but they seemed to be regular. However, Laurie said Henry was taking longer in the litter box than usual, although he never cried out to indicate he was in pain.

Henry started to go downhill over the weekend. Sunday night, after one trip to his litter box, he went to his various other boxes that we leave out for him to play in in our dining room and he tried to pee there. He even tried to pee in his bed. OK, this isn’t normal at all. Again, he didn’t seem to be in too much distress.

When I got home from work Monday, however, Laurie said Henry was worse off. She scheduled another vet appointment for the next day but was worried enough that perhaps we should take him to the 24-hour animal hospital. She couldn’t do it, because she had rehearsal that night and had to leave soon.

When she left, I felt helpless. I’d never owned a cat, and I had no idea what was the right thing to do. I called the hospital for advice. After I told them what was going on, they said I should bring Henry in. Well, of course they’d say that. Janet had had cats forever, so I called her for a second opinion. She said it was probably OK to wait till tomorrow.

As we talked on the phone, Henry climbed into his chair in the living room, like he usually did when we were in that room, but I could tell he wasn’t feeling well. He had been sluggish all evening. I went to the all-knowing Internet, and I learned that if Henry had a blockage, which seemed possible, his kidneys—and therefore he—could start to fail in as little as 24 hours.

As I did this, Henry made my decision for me. He went into his litter box, and I watched carefully. He was in there for five minutes before he left without covering anything. I looked, and there was a spot about the size of a dime in his litter. OK, pal. I’m taking you to the hospital.

He was sitting in his chair when I took his pet carrier into the living room. Henry isn’t particularly skittish about seeing his carrier, because we leave it out, so he would get used to it and not run and hide when he saw it (one of my more brilliant ideas). But when I set it down on the floor in front of his chair this time, he jumped down, and for a second I thought he actually was going to go in on his own, as if to say, take me to the doctor’s office, dad. He certainly didn’t fight when I put him in.

No one was at the animal hospital on Clybourn when I got there, so we got right in to see the vet. The vet did a few tests while Henry tried to bury his head between my arm and chest as I held him tightly. Yep, the vet said, Henry has a urinary tract blockage. We’ll need to give him a catheter and keep him for a couple days’ observation. I felt vindicated in my decision to bring Henry in.

Before I said anything, however, the vet brought me a bill. It would cost $1,600 to take care of Henry. I understood why he did this—some people wouldn’t want to spend that much on their pet, thinking that it would cost less to just get a new one. Well, I wasn’t about to let a little thing like money get in the way of Henry’s health. I signed the acceptance form, and an assistant took Henry. The vet said someone would come get me in about an hour.

At this point, I sent Laurie a text: At the hospital with Henry, should be here another hour. Come by when you’re done. Then I waited. It turned out we’d beaten the rush. By the time an assistant came to get me, the waiting room was full of people and their ailing pets.

Henry was in a cage with one tiny tube going into a foreleg (his arm) and another snaking from under his body to a bag on the floor. He was lying in a way that produced the biggest toad butt ever. When he was younger, Henry would lie flat on the cold floor, so his legs splayed out behind him at a perfect 90 degree angle from each other. This made his back end spread out like a massive toad.

I couldn’t tell whether Henry was whacked out from the drugs or blissed out from the emptiness in his bladder. Perhaps both. Either way, I could tell that he was on the road to recovery.

The nurse said Henry would have the catheter that night, have it removed the next day and stay for another night for observation to see how he handled going to the bathroom on his own.

Laurie hadn’t come yet, so I called her and told her she didn’t have to come that night. I’d just meet her at home and tell her everything. As I left, I realized how much I loved Henry. Yes, Henry isn’t my child, but I’m attached to him in a way I’d never been with another pet.

To shorten somewhat a long story, Henry was fine. He came home two days later with a shaved arm and shaved junk that he licked constantly for the next two weeks, but soon his fur grew back, and everything went back to normal. Laurie and I changed his diet to more expensive food to reduce the possibility of more crystals, and Henry’s been fine since.

And the capper: When I’d figured my taxes just before Henry’s little adventure, I noticed just before mailing the form that I figured them wrong. I forgot to subtract my IRA contribution. When I refigured my taxes, my refund jumped to $1,800, which ended up covering Henry’s hospital bill. In other words, it all worked out.

1 comment:

  1. Hey man, thanks for the shout-out!

    And I'm glad Henry is feeling better!