Ella…in progress. Dogged out!

So it’s after 8 p.m. and here I am, still fiddling with the current effort in Ella’s Story. This past couple weeks have been a conflation of conspiracies against the scheme to write Ella installment by installment.

Last week’s excuse was a vast tsunami of paying work (if you can imagine!). Our client journal’s senior editor sent us an entire issue’s worth of content, including four 30-page scholarly articles plus the usual bottomless editorial statement. Meanwhile, our various Chinese mathematicians have been pouring out copy, one project after another headed for publication (“…and can you please return this in two days, when I need to submit it?” 😀 ).

Can’t complain about this: it is after all paying work, which we much appreciate.

This week’s excuse? My little dog, Cassie the Corgi, has been banging at Death’s Door. So far Death refuses to let her in. Though I must admit that on Saturday I truly did not think she would make it through the day.

She’s come down with Valley fever, as just about any mammal that lives in the Southwest’s low desert eventually does. In fact, almost everybody here has it, and carries some degree of immunity to it. But when you get old, when you get sick, it can pounce on you. In a big way. Cassie is 12 years old, near the end of her life in doggy years. She’s never been sick in her doggy life, at least not since she came to my house. But she’s very, very sick now. Very sick, indeed.

In the past, a dog that developed symptomatic Valley fever simply died. The drugs we had did little to change that. But these days we have a set of four drugs that do actually work, if the disease is not too far advanced. If it’s only in the lungs and hasn’t yet become entrenched in the lungs, you have a pretty good shot of beating it back. It probably will recur, but if so, you may have another shot at stopping its progress. If the disease has disseminated through other parts of the body…well…

On Saturday, I thought that she was going to die, she was that sick. She went into a closet (she never goes into closets!) and hid herself away in a corner: clearly Mother Nature trying to tell us something. The vet emitted vialsful of drugs. One of them, which contains prednisone, had the effect of suppressing the scariest of the symptoms. If we can keep her alive until the fungicidal medication kicks in, then she may have a shot.

Heh. Trouble is…the manufacturer of the prednisone-laced drug specifically states you should not use the stuff in an animal with a fungal infection.

Which, of course, is what Valley fever is…

So I do not know if my pretty little sidekick will live or die. Just now things are looking better — possibly even pretty good. But we will not really know for some weeks. In the meantime, this crisis atop the mountains of brain-numbing paid work create quite the distraction from the creative writing project.

Watch this space. Eventually a new chapter will surface! Really…