Thursday, January 5, 2012

December 2011 Part 1

So...December had both high and low points.  For starters, I became a college graduate.  We'll chat more later.  On the low points...I lost both my beloved Kitchi (guinea pig) and my Grandma Shaw.

Kitchi begging on the edge of
his cage for a carrot!
    Kitchi had his first respiratory infection in November just before Thanksgiving.  Knowing these infections can be fatal, we took a trip to the vet where he was prescribed an antibiotic.  He did get better, but within a few weeks, I was beginning to notice he was loosing weight.  When you weigh barely above a pound to begin with, any weight loss will be noticeable.  We went home home on December 22 to spend a few days with my parents and sister for the holidays.  That night I could just tell that he didn't feel well.  He loved carrots...possibly more than me...and he turned his face at carrots that night.  The next morning he woke me up.  I found him struggling on his side with only half of his body moving.  Not knowing what I could do to help him, I picked him up and held him as his body was shutting down.  He seemed to have trouble breathing too--which makes me think he had another respiratory infection.  I don't know if was aware of me or of what was happening to him, but I would like to think that I gave him a good life.

    Kitchi and I met at This Little Piggy & Me --a guinea pig adoption facility in Cincinnati.  My sister was still a student at Miami University and I was a student at the University of Cincinnati.  We were both happy guinea pig owners when we were younger and still love the cuddly cavy.  Sister found the guinea pig adoption facility online and told me.  We were both approved to become new guinea pig owners!  I adopted Kitchi on November 8th 2008.  He found his way to the adoption facility through a college girl (as told to me through the family that runs the facility) literally stole him from a party because his owners thought it was funny to feed him beer!  In his temporary home with This Little Piggy & Me he was given the name Kitchi--which means 'Brave' in the Native American dialect of Algonquin.  The little Kitchi was with me through the rest of my time in college but sadly needed to cross over the rainbow bridge on December 23rd 2011.  Now he gets to spend the rest of time buried next to my sisters "Piggy" whom Kitchi was very much in love with while they were both alive.

    My Grandma Shaw was a big part of my decision to choose the University of Cincinnati.  Knowing that my parents already regularly traveled to Cincinnati to see our extended family--always staying at Grandma's house in the process--made the decision feel practical.  Grandma's house is a mere 6.9 miles from the center of campus..  I had the opportunity to go to school away from my parents, but still be able to leave campus and see my family easily and at a moments notice.

Grandma and myself at my high
school graduation in 2007.
    This is the grandma that used to feed my sister and myself ice cream, even when mom said 'no.'  This is the grandma that used to let me come stay with her for a week (or so) at a time for what we called 'Grandma Camp.'  (I never really liked going to camp where I would make friends for a few days that I would never see again)  This is the grandma that would host sleep-overs for all of the cousins, stay up late with us, and give us a cookie before bed.  This is the grandma that used to give me a 'rub-a-dub-rub' with an oversized towel to dry my off as I climbed out of the bathtub.  Needless to say, she has had a big impact on my life.

    Her decline of sorts began on Easter of 2009.  That is the day that she broke (spiral fractured) her femur.  From there began other problems including trouble walking, eating, and general loss of strength.  She has had two extended hospital visits, each followed by stays in a convalescence center.  The end of the end was quick.  She celebrated her 88th birthday in October.  Less than a week before Christmas she was accepted as an at-home hospice patient.  That was a Tuesday.  Thursday she was barely conscious.  Friday she was peacefully sleeping.  Saturday was Christmas Eve.  She went peacefully during our traditional White Elephant gift exchange.  The game was originally her idea and she loved playing with us every year.

    To think of these events on a positive note, Kitchi was securely in my arms at the end and was able to have a happy life filled with treats and carrots with me.  Grandma lived a long life, she traveled the world, and was able to be in her own home, her own bed, and surrounded by family when she went.  She was, in a way, a Christmas present for family and husband.

    I'd like to believe that both Grandma Shaw and Kitchi are going to be with me for a very long time.

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