We gathered Penelope's effects from the veterinarian today. We expect to collect her ashes next week.
While rinsing her off one time last week, I thought we might try ``expressing'' her bladder. It would be consistent with her problems that she had too much urine in her bladder and can't get it all out in a controlled way. And that a bit of help might do her good. At her check-up with the vet's on Thursday they couldn't get any urine out of her and the vet said that was all right. They would probably get what samples they needed Monday night.
I did my best to squeeze her belly the way I'd learned to do for Columbo, and she lifted her tail, a sign that she was ready for it. But nothing appreciable came out, except as I squeezed she let out a sad ``yow'', pained. Not the loud scary cry Columbo made as he had the seizures that told us he was dying. But still, she cried, and because of what I did, thinking it would be a help.
A week and a half ago, at Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum for their pinball league, we made stamped identity badges for both our rabbits. We had made such for Stephen, shortly before he died, and for Columbo, shortly after we got him. We had meant to make them for our new rabbits, but something or other kept us from doing so in May and in June. This month --- I want to say it was because we were finally thinking responsibly. But we had already scheduled her surgery by then. It was on my mind that the next time we visited Marvin's, which we do most every month, it might be after her death.
While buying vegetables at the hipster farmer's market last Thursday I picked up a bunch of turnip greens --- one of the dwindling number of vegetables Penelope was willing to even pick at --- and realized: these might be the last vegetables I ever buy for her to eat. In Stephen's last month we knew that any vegetable run might be buying his last, but never that any would be. (And as it happened I was on a work trip the last week of his life, so bought nothing that was his final meal.) And Columbo died so suddenly and without what we recognized as warning signs that it never crossed our minds we were ever buying his final foods.
But to hold a bunch of vegetables in my hand and know that these are what we'll try to get her to eat each day until the one she had this non-negligible chance of dying on, and that there was an appreciable chance I was about to bring home the last vegetables I would ever bring for her, not even knowing whether these were the best turnip greens I might buy, or even really whether she liked them or whether she just disliked them the least of all the things we had tried her on...
I teared up some, softly crying in the grocery store for the rabbit we had not yet lost.