Meltdown at 30,000 Feet

Don’t know whether it was a drop in cabin pressure, sheer exhaustion, the realization that I truly was going home to an empty nest, or the fact that I was just getting too old to to do so much in such a short time, with little rest, lousy eating habits, too many cigarettes and a medication imbalance. Could be that I was suffering from claustrophobia because the guy next to me was huge, not to mention wreaking of body odor and bad breath. I just wanted to scream. My first flight was late, landing after the second flight was already boarding, at two opposite ends of two diametrically opposed terminals, and if it wasn’t politically incorrect to say so, I would tell you that I ran through the airport like O.J., made it to board in time, only to sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes waiting to take off.

The meltdown actually began long before I ever reached the airport. In fact, its genesis wasn’t even revealed to me until the next day, when a physician explained to me that I was in a full-blown, acute relapse of my fibromyalgia. That explained a lot.

It explained why I abruptly attempted to give notice at my job ten days prior, when I needed to be working, and didn’t really want to resign. I had been unhappy about several things, though none of them, insurmountable. It explained why the recent several weeks found me weeping over television commercials or stories on Facebook™ or the news. It certainly was the reason I had difficulty getting out of bed or bending over or sitting for longer than fifteen minutes, or even keeping the covers over me during the night.

Granted, my life had been full of emotional challenges in the past two weeks. I had to put the dog to sleep… my best friend. I found myself moving my daughter to a city one thousand miles away to start a new job and a new life. And if those challenges weren’t enough emotionally, I encountered significant financial trials as a result of those things and unexpected major household repairs. Isn’t that always the way? Financial pressure always wreaks havoc on one’s emotions. So do termites… and I didn’t even know that until after my meltdown.

So I sat between Mutt and Jeff (or The Odd Couple), in the seats that seem to get tighter and tighter each time I fly, and wept. No, it wasn’t weeping, it was absolute convulsive crying. I was never a very good flyer. I usually succumb to white-knuckled anxiety. This time, however, I didn’t even notice the take-off.

Suddenly, just after the pilot announced that we had reached our cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, I blurted out, “I need chocolate.” The lovely man sitting next to the window handed me a granola bar. “It has a few chocolate chips, if that will help.” Nice to know there are some people that just get it.

The three of us flew silently back to south Florida. When I got in the car, and kissed my husband hello, I immediately talked about planning a trip back to visit our daughter, and that we needed to make the reservations soon if we were going to travel on a holiday weekend. (I’ll pack chocolate with me this time.)

My Best Friend

We made a pact. He promised to tell me when it was time, and I promised not to make him stay any longer than that. Well, its time.

He has stopped eating. Well, he’s stopped eating what he’s supposed to eat, anyway. He still shows great interest in what I’m eating. He hasn’t played in about two weeks. He’s losing control of his bodily functions. I’m not really sure if that’s true, but he has to strain so much to get to a standing position, I think he just can’t help himself.

Promises weren’t made to be broken. I know that, logically. They’re not always easy to keep, though, either. We’ve already made the appointment, but I know I can’t be a part of it. In my head I know it’s the right thing to do. It’s just that my heart can’t seem to get in line with that thinking.

You see, he’s my best friend. That sounds like a cliché, because it is. He saved my life. That’s probably a platitude that’s been a bit overused as well. When I lost a job I held for thirteen years, he was there to console me. For the ten months I was unemployed, we did everything together. Almost everything. (He did visit me when I was in the bathroom, and he did try to climb in the shower with me, so when I say almost everything, I mean it).

When I was weepy, he snuggled and lapped away the tears. When I was somber, he would drop a toy at my feet. When I was introspective, he would curl up and sleep on the floor next to me, as if he knew I just needed to be alone with my thoughts.

I could tell him anything. I could trust him with my deepest secrets. I could be catty and venomous about people and situations, and he would never tell. I could tell him my hopes and my dreams and he would never discourage me or dampen my spirit with reality. He never changed the channel.

When I finally got a job, he was the only one that came running, happy to see me, when I got home after a long day at work. He had his place on the couch, but he would get up, tail wagging, to come greet me.

He had more respect for me than my own kids did. He learned to put his toys away when he was finished playing with them. People balk when I say that, but it’s true. Before he lost his hearing, I could tell him which toy to get, and he would put whatever he was playing with away, in his toy box, and go rooting through it to pull out just the toy I had asked him to get. My kids never put their toys away unless I threatened to give them to less fortunate children. That sounded remarkably like my mother.

The one thing I won’t miss is the hair. Oh, the hair. I can sweep the entire house and within an hour, hairballs are scheming to form under the dining room table or the piano. They line up along the hallway even while I’m in the midst of sweeping, and just when I put the broom away, they scurry out plant themselves in noticeable places, making it look I did nothing at all.


And so it is time.  He is the third rescue dog our family has loved. Part of me wants the freedom from the responsibility of taking care of an animal. That’s mostly my eyelids at 5:30 in the morning when he wants to go for a walk. The biggest part of me, my heart, will likely find myself at a shelter or the Humane Society within a month. But, if you made it to read this far, you will know, there will never be another Goyo.