Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Day 2686

Dot has eaten for three days now without throwing up. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a big deal, but considering the condition Dot was in last week, it is nothing short of miraculous. I called the oncologist today to give her an update and she had no explanation for Dot's surprising rebound. She just said she was happy for us and hoped that she'd see Dot again next month for her next recheck.

I'm so glad we didn't give up on Dot when things were looking very grim last week. We came very close to thinking she had no chance and that the kindest thing we could do was put her down. I honestly have no idea how she received a temporary reprieve from what everyone thought was inevitable. It's obvious that the new pain medication is much more effective. It's possible that pain was causing her body to shut down. Maybe the cancer is in some kind of remission too. Who knows. I'm not going to spend a lot of time analyzing this. The important thing now is to keep Dot eating.

I don't think Dot will ever chew or swallow normally again. If we can get food in her though, it comes out normally on the other end. Her digestive system seems to be working just fine. I've learned to take my time feeding her. She takes tiny little bites and sometimes you have to massage her throat to encourage her to swallow. Dot doesn't appear to be hungry early in the morning anymore, so I've moved her main meal to later in the day. The goal is just to get her to eat two cups of something by the end of the day. I haven't got there yet, but we're getting closer.

While Dot was sleeping, I went over to Snap Kitchen and picked up dinner for the next several days. I'm surprised at how popular places like Snap Kitchen and Nature's Plate have become. I suspect nobody has time to cook anymore. I love Snap Kitchen. The meals are delicious. The menu is very creative. And you can microwave everything when you get home in just a few minutes.

I've got to figure out what to do about Dash. He's getting jealous of all the time I'm spending with Dot. It's not like he really wants me to spend the same amount of time with him. He just wants Dot's food. I can't really feed the dogs the same thing. Dash has always had problems with crystals in his urine and he needs a low purine diet. Also, he'd be a fat little piggie if I fed him what Dot is eating now. Since he tries to steal Dot's food, I have to pen him in the back of the house while Dot is eating. I understand why Dash is mad. Sometimes it takes hours to feed Dot.

This whole experience has got me thinking about my Dad's last days. Like Dot, he had extreme difficulty swallowing. Dad's problem was Parkinson's Disease. Doctors gave him swallowing tests and when he didn't pass, they put in a feeding tube. He didn't want a feeding tube, but they didn't give him a choice. Hospitals and doctors are so afraid of lawsuits that they would rather make a patient miserable than risk the wrath of family and relatives if death was preventable. I know for a fact that Dad would rather have choked on a plate of barbecue than be fed through a feeding tube for the final three months of his life. I have a feeling that if someone had the patience to feed Dad the same way I'm feeding Dot, he would have done just fine.

So far, the hardest thing about providing hospice care is that every day is different. I like predictability, and there is nothing predictable about dealing with end of life situations. Dot's comfort level, sleeping habits, and ability to eat change from day to day. At some point during the day, there is always a surprise that I wasn't expecting. I'd like to think that I have a plan, but I'm really just improvising. There isn't an instruction manual for this sort of thing.

Bogart is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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