Tango’s Last Laugh

Unsurprisingly, even though we said goodbye to Tango last week, his memory lingers. In some ways, it’s entirely understandable, if not something we’ve pretty much invited upon ourselves — we’ve not put away his food, or his food bowl yet, because we can’t bring ourselves to, for example — and in other ways… well, it’s somewhat less easily anticipated.

Without being too morbid, we had to take Tango to the vet’s car after we’d said goodbye; it took two of us to carry him on a stretcher, and we were honestly worried that the stretcher might snap, because he was so heavy. (When I say “so heavy,” I’d estimate he was… somewhere around 100 pounds, maybe a little over? So, pretty heavy.) The problem wasn’t in carrying him to the car, nor that he was heavy. The problem, I realized earlier this week, was that I didn’t lift him up appropriately.

On Thursday morning, I got out of bed and thought my lower back was aching a little, but I didn’t think anything about it. Friday, the ache was worse, but I put it down to sleeping in a strange position. By Saturday, I was grumbling and moaning as I stood up from a chair. I think you get the picture.

Monday night, I realized I probably needed to take care of myself a bit better, when I stood up and realized that I was standing at an unnatural angle. By that, I don’t mean that I was unable to stand upright, I mean that my body had essentially become a zig-zag, with my hips so uneven that my torso was twisted into a form that no regular person should be in — imagine a person, reinvented in the shape of a lightning bolt, and you’re halfway there. In celebration of Halloween, my life became accidental body horror.

In the days since, I’ve taken care of myself enough — applying heat, using a TENS unit, stretching a lot — to return to some semblance of normalcy. It’s a sign that I’m getting older, I guess, but I like to think of it as one last gift from the big old dog.

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