The little calf who couldn’t get up wasn’t, in the end, able to pull it off.
She seemed to be fine last Wednesday morning, seemed to be continuing to gain strength and coordination. She was trying hard to figure out how to get up on her own, and looked as if she’d figure it out in a day or two.
But at lunchtime she was flat out, unresponsive, and had developed cheyne-stokes breathing. She was clearly on her way out. Thankfully she was unconscious and in no pain. She died about 3 p.m.
I posted her and found that her lungs were completely congested. Interestingly, she also had free blood in her pericardium. I could find no other defect in the heart, so that pericardial blood is a puzzle.
The proximate cause of death was fulminant pneumonia, long known as the friend of the dying.
What the underlying problem was will remain a mystery.
She had a short life with a lot of challenges but she never suffered as far as I could tell. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes.
Life’s like that.
Last Thursday, Mom and I climbed into the Lincoln and headed west.
Our plan was to drive to Oregon, then down to California, then back home through Belen, N.M.
We arrived in Albany, Ore., on the evening of June 2. We met and visited with my cousin and her family, and shared a great meal of pizza and salad with them. It was the first time I’d met Erin’s husband, Luis, and her children, Mateo and Elisa.
A big part of the reason for our trip was little three-year-old Elisa, who was diagnosed shortly after birth with cystic fibrosis. Mom and I decided we wanted to walk in the 2017 Salem, Oregon Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 5K walk to help raise awareness of, and research money for, CF.
It wasn’t many years ago when those afflicted with cystic fibrosis could expect to live only a few short years. Thanks to advances in treatment, life expectancy has increased greatly, and a cure for the disease might be just over the horizon. This is due in large part to the efforts of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and to donations by people from all across the nation and around the globe.
Many people think of cystic fibrosis as a lung disease, and it is. But it also affects other organs, including the digestive system. Elisa has to take medicine, do breathing treatments, and wear a percussion vest every few hours to help clear her lungs. She also has to take about 25 pills and several liquid medicines every day to help her digest food.
So on Saturday, June 3, Mom and I and several hundred others braved the chill, damp conditions and did the walk. It was fantastic. It’s hard to describe what it felt like to see all of those people walking together in common cause. At the end of the day the walk raised more than $40,000.
On Sunday we had breakfast with family once again, then traveled to the Metolius River to visit the resting place of my Mom’s folks.
Monday and Tuesday we spent on the road, headed south from Albany on I-5, right through the heart of California’s Central Valley. It took us two solid days of driving to reach south Orange County, where we met my niece, Joy, and her husband, Preston, for some fantastic Mexican food at Avila’s.
Along the path of our journey -- more than 2,000 miles so far -- the signs of American agriculture have been everywhere. That’s what our country really is, you know – a huge working farm. Most of our fellows think about agriculture only a little bit. But, each and every day, all across the length and breadth of America, farmers and ranchers show up, suit up, and feed the world.
Tomorrow (as I write this on Tuesday evening) we’ll head down to San Diego where Mom and her Sister Nancy will get to spend some quality time together, while my cousin Becky and I tour museums and sample good food.
I’ll write about that part of the trip next week.