Creaks and bumps from Lily's room. I have a hunch Dusty is in trouble. She can't get downstairs by herself. I wrench myself out of bed and, sure enough, there is a dark puddle on the carpet. With the steroids and diuretics, poor Dusty is drinking and weeing gallons. So this is it. Her first 'accident'. I pull on my old jeans and take her down on the Stannah, let her out and go upstairs with the head torch, the Marigold without the hole in the finger, a bowl of water and a cloth. After a good few minutes of my scrubbing, a little head pops out from the duvet with a look of confusion on its face.
'Poor Dusty's done a wee,' I say.
The head burrows down again.
I go down and sit with Dusty in the kitchen for a while. She looks so utterly mournful and defeated. She is such a noble girl, my heart goes out to her. How ignominious, this reduction at the end of one's life to the bodily functions of a toddler. I smooth her silky head and neck, feel down her spine, protruding more each day, the bony knobbles of her hips where the muscle is wasting away. The swelling is returning around her neck and chest, her eyes are glassy black with red rims. My poor beloved darling girl.