Monday, May 1, 2017

Day 2685

I've decided that you can't schedule death. It's not right. I canceled the appointment for 5 PM today and the tentative one for 10 AM tomorrow. I'm going to quit calling the vet to make an appointment for Dot and then canceling it the next day. When the time does arrive, I'll do something. For now I'm going to concentrate on keeping Dot alive.

Amazingly, Dot seems a little stronger today than she did yesterday. She tried to eat the same food for two days in a row. By the end of the day, she'd eaten an entire can of the tasty stew we introduced her to yesterday. She should be eating twice as much, but this is real progress. The food is nutritious. Dot likes it. And she's not throwing up.

I think I've entered a new phase in my life. For lack of a better term, I'll call it extreme hospice care. I spent most of the day trying to get Dot to eat, but it was very gratifying when she did. We've been so close to giving up at several points. Figuring out what works and what doesn't has been a learning experience for all of us.

We've gotten better at managing the cancer pain. Dot sleeps better now and no longer sits in her bed panting in the evening. I've become much better at administering her pills. I wrap each pill in a small ball of cheddar cheese so there won't be a bad taste when I put them down her throat. Dot has finally learned to trust me and doesn't try to bite when I open her mouth to pill her. This has taken time and patience, but it makes a huge difference. Following each pill with something tasty to keep her swallowing helps too.

I've abandoned the traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner and feed her smaller amounts throughout the day. I cut her food into very small pieces so she won't choke on it. We keep the house very cold now and only walk her during the coolest parts of the day. We don't use the fancy wheelchair as much as I thought we would, mostly because Dot likes to sit down and rest at several points during the short walk. Everything is a learning process. I need to pay more attention to Dash as well, so her doesn't get jealous. He has already noticed that I spend a lot more time feeding Dot than him. Dash wants the special food too.

I was very encouraged today. This was the first time in a week where there wasn't a period during the day when I thought Dot was going to die. I'm going to ask the oncologist if regular B-12 shots might help stabilize her anemia. We're definitely not out of the woods with the swallowing problem. Dot still has a lot of difficulty chewing and swallowing. You always hear that dogs lose their interest in food when they are near the end of their life. Dot has not lost her appetite. She is still hungry. She just has a lot of difficulty eating.

I'm still kind of amazed that a chance encounter with a total stranger provided the breakthrough we needed. Doctors have suggested everything from strong medication that would increase her appetite to placing a feeding tube down her esophagus. Vets are so locked into Hills Science Diet products that nobody even mentioned simply changing her food.

Don't expect a full recovery or anything miraculous to happen. This was just one day. It was a good day though. A very good day.

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