Friday, November 9, 2007

Watching and waiting

When you’re in charge of the entire conference including air travel, hotel reservations, meeting requirements, PowerPoint presentations, meals and entertainment, no matter how beautiful the environment or how well things go, the thing you look forward to most is going home.

We arrived at the Lihue airport with plenty of time to catch our flight. There were weather issues around Hawaii and our flight was 45 minutes late taking off. We were assured we would have plenty of time to make our flight in Honolulu. If you consider running to your gate to find the plane already loading plenty of time, they were correct.

Six hours later we stood at the baggage claim realizing we made the plane but our luggage didn’t. It was 11:30 pm in Seattle and my pillow was calling so I filled out the forms, caught the shuttle and happily spent the night in my own bed.

Knowing my girls were getting baths first thing Monday morning, I called the vets and asked them to call me when they were ready for pick up. About 10 I received the call with news that the Dr. wanted to talk to me. That’s never a good thing to hear when you have a sick dog, so off I went.

First they brought Belle and she and I were very happy to see one another. Then the vet himself brought in Rosie. She seemed a bit out of it and he showed me large bumps on several spots on her body. He recommended a biopsy and I decided to just leave her there and get it done. I would pick her up after work and would hear the results within 3 to 5 days.

We three spent that night together as a happy family and they even ‘helped’ me unpack when my luggage arrived at 7 pm. Could it have been the Hawaiian doggie treats?

At 6:30 the following night he called. The news wasn’t good. Not only does she have bladder cancer, she also has lymphatic cancer. Our 3 to 5 months turned into 2 to 4 weeks. He gave me several options for treatment in hopes of prolonging her life by a month or two. But my response was, “No. We’re done. No more tests, treatments or medications. Leave her in peace. When she starts to suffer, I’ll bring her in and we’ll let her go.”

He didn’t even try to argue with me. He knew it was the right thing to do, but as a medical professional it was his responsibility to give me all the options.

So now I sit on death watch. I observe her every movement, watch to see if she’s eating, pooping, peeing and listen to her for signs of breathing difficulties. I hold her and love her and attempt to make her final days as comfortable as possible.

My last dog went very quickly. She had a seizure about 4 am. We were on the vet’s doorstep at 8 am and she was gone by 11 am. It was over and done, I mourned and moved on. It hurt like hell, but it was fast.

This is so much worse. I learned she was dying at the end of September. Since then I’ve cried periodically, and had intermittent headaches and body aches related to the stress. I fight to hold myself together; to not tell people how petty and ridiculous some of their whines are.

I don’t want her to die, but I want this to be over.

Is that selfish?


cyn said...

i'm so sorry to hear about rosie, AW. that is truly heartbreaking news. you did make the right choice, but that doesn't mean it was an easy choice. thank you for sharing.

Church Lady said...

It's not selfish. It's a prolongued stress for both of you.

I'm really sorry. I wish I could say something to make you feel better.

You're doing all the right things.

Bernita said...

No you're not selfish.
There's a point past where it's not love to keep them here.

The Anti-Wife said...

Cyn & Chris,

Determining that point is the hard part. Thanks!

Merry Jelinek said...

It's not selfish at all, aw, you're making the best choices you can, for both you and Rosie in a bad situation.

I'm sorry to hear about Rosie's turn of health, but I'm sending you cyber hugs and good thoughts, for both you and Rosie.

Take care.

John Elder Robison said...

I'm sorry to hear about your dog.


Melek said...

no it's not selfish. you want it over for you, but also for her. just give rosie lots of pets and loves...and treats. anything that will make her happy will help you both.

Chumplet said...

It's not selfish at all. Sometimes you have to be practical when it comes to the comfort and well-being of a pet.

They don't understand why they're being poked and prodded to prolong their lives.

I think hugs, gentle pats and treats are the best way to show them you love them, and a good way to say goodbye.

Ello said...

AW, I'm so sorry about Rosie. It is not selfish. It's love. She knew how much you loved her.