Benny's World

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rainbow Bridge for Sydney

I awoke to cool temps in the house and no lights. I went throughout the house and lit candles everywhere. Our power went out for a couple of hours. Our pooties were loose in the house, which means Mr. Benny was so tired and didn't notice them.

I decided to come in and turn on the lights when the power came back on. I listened to "Let it Be." How did I know what would portend?

Not long after the song, I went out to see Syd in our garage. She was on her way of expiring after the power came back on. She was there, but barely breathing. Then I knew the moment of death was coming. In fact, I think I witnessed her last moments.

I woke Mr. Benny, and when he took a stethoscope to Syd, she was gone.

I am glad I saw Syd move into peace. It was quick, but I'm fortunate I was there for her at the last minute of her journey.

How I know these things, I don't know. But we have to let it be. I'm in tears, but I knew somehow.

RIP, Syd. We loved you. Here's something Walter Cronkite had played at his funeral, same age as you: When the Saints Go Marchin' In.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Resilence: Another Family's Story

This afternoon, Mr. Benny and I had to make a visit to our veterinarian. Our remaining Aussie Shepherd, Sydney, was low in spirits, would not eat, and had trouble getting up. Her symptoms appeared similar to her sister, Mattie, who went to Rainbow Bridge on October 30, 2008.

We had thought the worst and had expected to help transition Syd as we did with her sister to Rainbow Bridge. However, Syd rebounded yesterday afternoon. She ate some dog food out of a can and she was able to walk a bit better last night. Her spirits and face looked less sad. It was as though Syd knew we weren't ready for her to go; she didn't wish to disappoint us as she knew how much we love her.

While I wish the latter were true, we had some tests run on Syd. Her blood platelet count was exceedingly low, but the rest of the blood levels were fine. However, the x-rays revealed some mitochondrial looking cells around her spleen, lungs, and near her main artery. Her lungs looked compromised. I don't recall what the technical terms are called, but to simplify for BW readers, she likely has two forms of cancer, one benign, the other probably malignant. She has arthritis too in her back, but luckily, we had already started giving her vitamin supplements for it, and it's not quite as bad as it was for Mattie last year.

BW readers remember all too painfully about Elizabeth when her cancer returned with a vengence; this time, there would be no cure. She would have to take meds on a regular basis. We know from interviews and other sources (such as the book Resilence) that Elizabeth gets transfusions in addition to her daily tablet.

And if that weren't enough, her family suffered some other set backs. I read another story in the LA Times this evening about the awkward moments in a restaurant recently. Must be hard on the children, although Elizabeth is still considered popular in the area.

Benny's real world outside of this blog has experienced some setbacks as well. We lost Mattie 50 weeks ago. My momma died 6 months ago. Mr. Benny is now unemployed and while he gets some interviews, more places in his field are pulling the positions, or the HR departments are so sloppy in their "no thanks" responses. Some places haven't offered to pay for his mileage or for a meal in return for driving many hours for the one hour interview. Times have been tough for him. It's demoralizing at times.

Yours truly has taken on extra interim work where I am employed. I receive a stipend for it, albeit I've not seen it yet in my paycheck. Our work place is so stretched that it's hard to get all of the administrative tasks done in a timely manner. I don't make it a habit to talk about my work here, so I won't tell you what I'm doing. But I will say that I'm hoping the experience will pay off on my long term plans of moving ahead in my career. The stipend, when I see it, will be helpful in supporting my family.

I think it would not be wise to put myself in Elizabeth's and JRE's shoes because our situation is very different. Elizabeth and John live a relatively comfortable life. She gets the best health care money can buy (although she wishes for a Medicare option for anyone as I do). Mr. Benny is now on my health insurance, but we have to watch very carefully how it is used. Mr. Benny has make 5 contacts a week to earn his unemployment check. No one in the Edwards family has have to work, although Elizabeth chose to open a part-time furniture store just to leave a legacy for her children to remember. But what Elizabeth's family and my family have in common is that we will continue in the long term to be resilient. We will have more valleys than peaks for the months to come, but we welcome the peaks when they arise.

And in living with Syd's cancer, we were given two options: we could get an ultrasound to confirm, but we also were told that even if Syd would be operated on, she is at high risk for expiring on the operating table in problems with anesthesia. Her tests today were $405. We know we can't afford surgery for her, but even if we could, her survival rate wouldn't be much more than she has in just living with the condition.

Sydney was resilient today. She was happy, went for a short walk, and she had a good appetite this evening. She will continue to have collapses as she did last weekend where she may rebound but each time, the recovery time will take longer--or she may just finally go in her sleep. The vet said she may live a few more weeks or even months, or she may have another relapse in the next days. However, Mr. Benny and I decided not to go forward on other procedures for Syd. We will live each day with her (and for that matter, Elmora, who is afflicted with feline hyperthyroidism, but holding her own at the moment) as though it is another gift from the universe.

We thank all of the BW readers for their positive thoughts and prayers, and ask that you continue to send them as Syd moves through the last days of her earth journey. You are welcome to submit your thoughts in the comments section, even it is a struggle you are experiencing and would like prayers from us.

Blessed be.
Update: Let it Be:

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Call to Action for Democracy

Once in a while, I miss JRE's campaign for One America. I was so swept up in the cause of bridging the haves and have-nots, and creating a rising tide for all boats, especially the working poor and the middle class.

This afternoon, Mr. Benny and I went to see Michael Moore's latest film Capitalism: A Love Story. And with its overall populist tone, I felt as though I were back in time being a volunteer monitor for JRE's blog for a couple of hours.

Michael Moore grew up believing that capitalism was supposed to be a rising tide too for all boats. If one worked hard, received decent wages, got a good pension, and received health care for little or as part of the benefits package, then we were living the American dream. As Moore puts it, "if capitalism was like that when I grew up, I was all for it. " That's what I believed too growing up.

Moore smacks the Clinton and Bush Administrations equally for the repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act and the abuses thereof, although Moore could have made a better tie with explaining Glass-Stegall first if he was trying to make comparisons with the FDR era in certain respects. In fact Moore doesn't really mention the name of the act, perhaps recognizing that many of his fans may not know the name of it, and perhaps didn't think it to be as important. However, Moore rightfully admonishes Ronald Reagan for commencing the dismantling the unions, deregulating S & L's, and for being the poster man of Corporate America/Wall Street taking control. Moreover, Moore doesn't let off Congress either for taking gifts and giving so much power away to Wall Street either for the past 20 years, doing nothing to make the CEO's of the manufacturing sector accountable for their short-term shareholder outlooks.

As with any Michael Moore film, some new unseemly corporate practices are revealed and are shocking. I'm a business librarian by trade, and I wasn't aware of some of those practices. To me they are unethical, but as Moore points out, they aren't illegal either. I think they should be and I think Moore would like us to push for more watchdogs.

The title of the movie is somewhat a double entendre, whereby many of the financial services folks, such as Bernie Madoff and the CEO's of many banks, were so into predatory lending practices and derivatives that they got lost. One VIP lending officer at Countrywide gave heavily discounted loan rates to many members of Congress (ie Chris Dodd, Kent Conrad, etc) and friends of the CEO. He believed he did nothing wrong, it was his job as instructed. Thus, he and the others didn't feel remorse. Borrowing from the last line of the 1969 movie Love Story, their work didn't merit "having to say you are sorry." Yet, they all should have.

Moore doesn't really advocate for socialism, communism, etc. Instead, he advocates to make our elected officials more accountable and to have more regulations on industries in which the service is invisible, difficult to understand. Likewise, CEO's can share the fruit of the labor as an alternative business model. One example was Avocado Street Bakery in California.

The most poignant aspect of the movie was the historical film sequence of FDR giving his State of the Union message on the radio, but having a film company film a certain part of it so that folks could see it on the movie screens (if I understood this correctly). The sequence moved me deeply, and that's when I wanted to be part of an One America movement again. It was exactly what JRE and EE talked about, and at least we know EE believes to this day.

This movie is funny and at times, will move you as I mentioned above. I think this is my favorite Moore flick, although I will always be fond of his first one, Roger and Me, maybe as this kind of returned to that sort of theme. Difference is making this more quickly with "heavy capital" producers (which is fine, Moore is not criticizing making a lot of profit, it's exploitation as an intent by companies thereof). In the credits, he mentions everyone, including researchers, etc. And he hired editors instead of attempting to do more of the work himself; he is exercising more vision.

Capitalism: A Love Story is a must see for all JRE, Dennis Kucinch, Bernie Sanders, Al Franken, Alan Grayson, and Jeff Merkley supporters. If one loves the true progressive blogs like Bleeding Heartland, JRE Movement Continues, Old Elm Tree, Docudharma, Montana Maven as well as the DU,Open Left, or Progressive Blue --this film will resonate as this is Moore's finest to date. His remedy is spot on: spreading wider the populist seeds and pushing for extended fruits of democracy but deeper in the bushes and trees, where it be in Congress, the White House (Mr. President that means you as well) or in the workplace. Following our POTUS's new Nobel Peace laureate and his call to action missive, this movie is timely.

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