The Watchman

The Watchman

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Where's the Instruction Manual?

I have had one of those weeks when I wish I could just open the instruction book and turn to page number..... and read exactly what I am supposed to do.

We once again received a new version of what needs to take place to resolve our claim with the insurance company on our home. Our agent has now stepped in to help resolve the issue and will work as a mediator between ourselves and the claims office. Unfortunately when we met with him on Monday, his explanation of how this process is going to work was different than we had been told even one week before. At this point, Rick and I have determined that what Jason has told us will become our instruction book. That way if we follow what he tells us to do and then we have problems in the future we have someone who knows the industry advocating for us.

A rough time this week was Tuesday. Monday Rick noticed an inflammation on our dog's backend. Dancer has been fighting cancer/tumors for the last couple of years. He had required surgery in February to remove a tumor from his rectum that was causing problems. By Tuesday morning the inflammation had progressed to what appeared to be his rectum hanging outside his body. This was confirmed that morning by our vet. Rick and I now faced the task of first deciding if we have another surgery performed or to have Dancer put to sleep. After we made our decision to end Dancer's suffering, we then had to tell the kids. How do you make the decision? How do you tell your children that the last pet they have from their life "prior" will no longer be there? How we wished we could open a book to page ..... and read the appropriate discussion.

What we did was to schedule a time for the procedure with the vet for later in the day, then Rick and I took off work and brought Dancer home. We gathered the kids together in the living room with Dancer and explained to them what was wrong. We talked about the options, that while surgery could extend Dancer's life for a month or two, the ultimate end would be the tumors rupturing his colon and he would bleed to death. We talked about some of the other biological functions that were happening in Dancer's body that were making life very uncomfortable for him. Then we talked about heaven and our faith that we have a loving Heavenly Father. We discussed the plan of salvation and that all living beings were first spirits that have taken on physical bodies and that one day, our spirits and our bodies will be reunited during the resurrection and that until that day, when we die we are greeted by those that love us and have died before us.

This helped the kids as they remembered Miley and Tigger and especially Patch, our first dog. We talked about how Dancer had laid with Patch's body after she died until the kids found her. To know that Patch and Dancer would be able to be together again brought a smile to their faces as they thought of all the fun they will have in heaven freed from bodies that are old and diseased. The kids said their goodbyes and shed many tears, then Rick and I took him back to the vet. Dancer passed with Rick and I beside him, with his head resting on Rick's lap.

Wednesday brought signs that life is returning to normal. It was the first day of school and Wil had his first fight of the school year with his parents over curfew before he even walked out the door. This day also brought a discussion of what the children should say when asked about the fire and if we should talk to the administration about specifically asking teachers to not ask. The kids joked that they wanted to have shirts that said "We're fine. Thanks for asking." We did not go this far, but did tell them that this answer was very appropriate when asked the inevitable "How are you?"

I don't want to sound ungrateful for the concern of others, because we are so appreciative. It is just difficult to relive it over and over again, especially for the kids. Let me say how wise people are. The expressions of concern and sympathy that my children did receive were very lowkey and heartfelt for our older children and were directed towards us for our younger children. After I spoke with Lela's teacher about the anxiety she is still feeling after the fire and the problems that she has been experiencing, she told me that there will be no "surprise" fire drills during the school year. She is going to talk to the administration to insure that she will be able to let the class know when one will happen and that we will have the option to keep Lela home if necessary. She is also arranging to have Lela meet with the school counselor.

After the stress of the week, both at home and at work, we decided that we needed to get away. We spent the day at Bryce National Park hiking and picnicking and playing tourist. On the way home last night, as we were in the car singing songs together from Schoolhouse Rock and various artists, laughing at all our family's inside jokes, and making plans for the future, I realized that maybe we don't need an Instruction Manual. I thought of the saying - When all else fails, read the instruction manual. I don't think we have failed. In fact for just winging it and doing what feels right, I think we are doing pretty darn good.


  1. Man, you guys are in the heart of what I call "The Dogpile Trial". Everyone has it at least (hopefully!) once in their lives. It's when many huge problems come at the same time and continue LONG after you THINK you've hit your 'this is all I can handle' point. For us, it was at the time the twins were born and all that transpired before and after. A decade later it STILL stresses Greg out to think back on those days.

    I am hoping that the struggles start to level out for you guys soon. Still, I AM a little jealous that you can 'day trip' to Bryce!

  2. Ann - you are FANTASTIC!! Thanks for all your blogging. I hope that things continue to trend upward to you after your "vacation".