Can I whine for just a minute?

I’m sick again and my dog is dying.

We’ve been hunkered down all weekend in hospice mode. Tosca has cancer, isn’t eating, and has gotten so wasted that she probably won’t last more than a few days. We probably will have to decide how that goes. Our vet is willing to make a house call when the time is right.

But just when it looks like the end is near, Tosca rallies, goes outside and looks at me expectantly. She wants me to throw a stick for her. So I do, just a few feet. For a few minutes we play and she looks like her frisky old self. Then wham, she lies down and sleeps for another six hours.

As for me, I’m coughing like Typhoid Mary, or perhaps TB Mary, with the bronchial thing that’s been going around. This is my second round this month, and I’m feeling pretty cranky about it.

But there is one silver lining to the whole dismal scene. A friend calls it “sickness permission.” It’s how, when we’re sick, or tending someone who’s sick (or both), we let go of our Things to Do List. It may be the only time we allow ourselves to nap, to read a book in the middle of the afternoon, or to lie on the couch watching all three installments of Lord of the Rings back to back without guilt.

Sickness brings us back to the animal demands of our bodies. We drop our high-level ambitions and tend to breathing, elimination, digestion. If something is going wrong with one of these functions, it can be awful. But if the discomfort is mild, there’s a sweetness to it.

If I were well, I’d feel like I should be making calls on behalf of some mid-term candidate, or cleaning the house. But today, no way. I’m going to just curl up with my doggie and rest.