This has been quite possibly the worst year I've ever experienced, and I've been through some pretty shit ones. Not satisfied with taking my cat from me in May (ok, so she was 20 but that's not the point) it now looks as though my dog won't be here at the end of the month. Both my fur babies in just 5 months; could life really be that wicked? The answer to that is a definitive "Yes" as I've found to my detriment, many times in the past.
When we took her out on Saturday she was a little 'sluggish' and not her usual bouncy, excitable self. I thought it a bit "odd" although nothing to worry about as she often has moments like it. My Mum said on Friday she'd struggled to have a poop, so I figured she was probably a little bloated. When my niece came round later in the day the dog jumped all over her - which is normal behaviour. By the time I got home that evening, she was snoring her head off.
During the early hours of Sunday morning I woke up and her breathing was quite hard and gaspy; again I put it down to her being constipated, rubbed her tummy on and off until it was time to get up and got on with our day. Going out for her walk she was very slow, however coming back she trotted along quite happily, so I assumed she'd cleared the blockage and was getting herself sorted. Then came Sunday evening and she turned her nose up at dinner; this gave me much cause for concern.
As soon as the vets opened yesterday I called them and they booked me an emergency appointment; I had just 20 minutes to shut the shop, go home to collect the dog and get to the vets main practice in a village that bottlenecks with traffic during the school run - I didn't like my chances of arriving in time, however, the traffic gods were smiling on me for we arrived early. That's the only time the gods really smiled. I took her in thinking she was constipated, brought her out again last night with fluid on her lungs, possibly cancer and she flat-lined while under anaesthetic so they could Xray her, which showed up jack shit. They then referred her to a specialist, which is where she is right now. So far the bill has come to just over £5000 and they've still no idea what is causing it or how I am going to pay for it.
As I type right now, she's undergoing surgery to drain fluid from her heart, which could result in death, and to be honest once they've tested that fluid, the only option I could be left with is to have her put-to-sleep. I really had to think long and hard about letting her go to the specialist for I would hate to drag out her illness and issues, just for my sake, however, the vet and specialist believe it is worth exploring, and they are the experts, after all, and I will be guided by them and their judgement.
Leaving her yesterday was a horrendous moment. As I've said, I expected them to give her an enema and send me on my way with a course of antibiotics. Instead, I was told it could be this, that or the other, handed a form to sign saying I understood whatever she has done could kill her; the vet then took the form as soon as I'd signed it and dragged my dog off to do whatever they had to do. I know it's their job, that they are doing it all the time, but it was way too much for me to deal with in one go. For all I knew that might have been the last time I saw my dog alive, and I'd have not got chance to say "Goodbye". I was in bits driving back to work - actually, I was in bits for the rest of the day. I'm still in bits, really.
Originally they told me I'd have to leave her there last night (not something I wanted to do for they keep them in cages and she hates to be caged) then they phoned to say it would be ok to collect her in the evening, which I did. I could hear her crying from outside the building. That was when they told me they wanted to refer her to a specialist. By the time I got home with her, the new ones had left me a message telling me to get her to them for 10am this morning. They are in a city about 30 miles away, which is not a problem, however, I had so much to do at the shop this morning I knew there was no way I was going to be able to make it over there. Thankfully, my uncle picked Mum up and they took her. Mum said the people seem lovely, and the lady I spoke to on the phone was very friendly and helpful, which is nice. While it's still a massive overload for my pea-brain to take in, I felt more comfortable sending her away today, than I did yesterday. Especially when they asked if she was ok to be in a crate or if she was better in a room with a floor (I guess like a kennel - she won't like either but she'd be happier with that). I was also better prepared (if one can ever be prepared in such a situation) for her to not come home again, so had a cuddle with her before I left and said my "goodbyes" in case the worst is to happen.
Because she's not good with anaesthetic and I remembered how bad she was after she was neutered as a pup, I said I'd sleep downstairs with her last night - Mum decided she wanted to as well. The dog and I would have been quite happy to snore away together, but Mum hadn't been there when she was a pup to know what to look out for, so she was awake all night worrying, crying and getting herself in a state. It didn't matter how many times I told her the dog was "ok". I honestly didn't worry because of how she was before (the first time around though, I was worse than Mum last night, so fully understand why she was getting herself in such a state). At 6 this morning the dog climbed onto me, over me, and stretched out next to me, before climbing back over me and jumping up on the sofa next to Mum. That's when I knew the anaesthetic had finally worn off. I think I managed to nod off for a an hour last night; I remember the news starting at 11, and the next thing I knew it was just gone midnight and I needed to pee. I've not been asleep since.
The new vets today were told she is not good with anaesthetic, however they have an exceptional record for their animal care, told me "not to worry", and that they would not give her anywhere near the dose she was given yesterday. In fact they couldn't understand how a dog with such fluid was given such a dose, and survived it (she's a little fighter, that's for sure and that gives me hope - I only hope it's not 'false hope'). However, until she had the Xray yesterday (which she had to be anaesthetised for, they didn't know about the fluid, so they did what they had to do). They've not called yet to say she died while being operated on and she should be in recovery by now, so I'm keeping it all crossed that everything has gone-to-plan, although if it turns out she isn't going to survive, I shall feel really guilty for putting her through all of this, when she could have been at home, curled up asleep on the bed. Mind you, if she'd not had it done, she would have died before the week is out, in the most painful way, so it really was a "no-brainer" to put her through her ordeal today.
Don't get me wrong; I know she has to die sometime, we all do. I just always thought she'd make it to at least 14 before her time came; she's only just turned 10, way too young to be taken from us. I also, never in a million years, thought it possible I could lose both my babies within such a short time of each other. I know to some people they are "only animals" - those 'some people' are not people I want in my life - but to me they are my babies, and while I would never wish for her to suffer in any way, I'd also not like her to depart her mortal body at such a young age.
This week sucks, this year has been shit, and while I know what I'm going through is nothing compared to what some people are going through, it's all relevant to each person and to lose her would absolutely break my heart into a million different pieces.
I started this on Tuesday; since then there have been changes.
The vet's told me they would wait until they got the results of the fluid back, then they would do an ultrasound and another scan to check for tumours or signs of disease elsewhere in her body. They said they'd let me know just after lunch. By 4.30 yesterday afternoon I was going out of my mind. Eventually I phoned them (they were about to phone me!!) and was told she was going to have a laparotomy as they'd found her lung was swollen with a lesion on it so they wanted to test it to find out if it is a tumour. Why did they not find this when she had her scans on Tuesday? That's 3 consecutive days she's had to have something done, all the while being away from home, probably scared, and wondering what the fuck is going on. I'm not happy, was even less so when she told me she didn't know if her laparotomy tube would be long enough to reach the lesion, and when she phoned later to saw my dog was in recovery she told me she'd sent stuff off for lab work but isn't entirely sure she got what she needed because the tube wasn't quite long enough. I don't understand why they would not use a long enough tube? For a so-called "specialist" I'm not that convinced I'm happy with them.
She did say when she phoned I could collect my dog this morning, however, if I had done and the results show cancer (or she's not been able to get the sample she needed) then I'd only have to take her back again. Once I have her home, the last thing I want to do is to her stress by then taking her back, so I've said I will wait until they have the results, then go over so we can discuss options. I don't think I have ever been more terrified of anything in my life. I am trying to prepare myself for the call, knowing deep in the pit of my stomach it is going to be the worst news, yet at the same time I don't think I will ever be prepared for it. My heart is literally pounding in my chest, my stomach hasn't stopped churning, and my head feels as though it is about to explode. I also didn't know it was possible to cry as much as I have done in the past 4 days.
Waiting and not knowing is hard, but thinking about having to have her put-to-sleep is the worst thing I think I have ever experienced. When it comes to having to do it (which I am hoping-against-hope I won't have to, however, I've lived in this evil, shitty world long enough to know good things don't always happen) then I have no idea how I will bring myself to do it.
Don't even get me started on how it's all about the money.
I don't believe in god - any of them - because nothing in my life has ever given me a reason to, however, if you do then I am begging you to have a word with whichever one you prayer to, in the hope he might spare my little "fat bum" and give us another couple of years with her. 12 I could possibly handle, 10 is just way-too-young.