Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Day 1890

The hardest thing about caring for a sick dog is that they don't understand what's going on. Even in her weakened and very compromised condition, Dot still wants to go about her normal life. If I wasn't continually watching her like a hawk, Dot would attempt to drag herself around the house, further damaging her already fragile spinal cord. In situation like this you've got to confine the dog to a small safe space where they can't hurt themselves, while still providing enough attention and activity so they don't become terribly depressed. Since Dot is taking prednisolone, she doesn't even have the luxury of sleeping for long periods of time. The drug makes her drink lots of water and urinate frequently, so she has to go outside and pee every few hours. I have to be prepared to move her with the Help 'Em Up Harness on very short notice. So far, I think I'm doing a pretty good job with all this, but it's exhausting.

During the periods when Dot was sleeping today, I managed to write another new article and submit it to my client. There were also a variety of website management issues that needed to be dealt with along with some client correspondence that needed to be addressed. With my isolated, computer centered work environment, I imagine that my work life will continue pretty much as usual. I will still sit in a small room and stare at a large monitor for long periods of time. I can still do anything that can be accomplished using a keyboard and a phone. I just can't do anything else.

I was hoping the decision that needs to be made about surgery would become easier as I watched Dot's progress. So far, it hasn't. I see small signs of improvement each day, but they are very small. I don't know if it will be weeks or months before her condition becomes significantly better. The main problem is that I don't have months. If the prednisolone isn't effective at reducing the inflammation in her spine enough for Dot to stand on her own again, her paralysis will become permanent.

Dot's vet is going to come over to the house in a few days to evaluate her condition and give her another acupuncture treatment. I'm hoping that she is able to see something I might have missed. It was much easier to make a decision about Dot's abdominal and Dash's thyroid cancer last year. Even though the surgery was risky in both cases, they both had to have it, or they would die. The surgeon was also very confident about his ability to remove the tumors. Spinal surgery is a lot trickier. Removing a foreign object from the spinal cord without damaging the cord itself is a very delicate process and extremely difficult for the best of surgeons. The fact the Dot would have one of the best neurosurgeons in Texas doing the operation still wouldn't give her more than a 60% chance of success.

I've been through this before with other dogs, but I was younger then. I'm incredibly tired right now. I know it's just a matter of time before this crisis joins all the other traumatic moments in my past. Even the healthiest of dogs won't live forever. Janet will probably return to work as soon as this crisis is over. It's a mystery to me why she doesn't enjoy retirement, but it is an equal mystery why dogs don't live longer. Whatever happens, I'll still be here recounting the tiny details of daily life. Dot and Dash might not be able to make it until Day 5000, but I'm determined to hang in there.

Lexi is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day