The arrangement whereby Gunner and Montrose would be flown here, and I’d meet Judy and hand them over to her in exchange for Sawyere, had to be postponed for a couple of days. It wasn’t even close to being flying weather here today; ditto for Ohio and Pennsylvania.
And it turned out to be a very fortunate twist of fate, for me and my family. Because at about 3:30 this morning, Jiminy cried out in pain, and I thought I’d lose him overnight.
I’d stayed up very late, trying to work with Judy and Donna to make new plans for the three shelter dogs. I went to bed at about 2:00 or 2:30, and when I came to bed, Burberry thought she’d go out for a last potty break. But the deer were there…so I went to the door to call her back and stop the amazing musical announcement. (She comes to me every single time now, for no reason that I can figure out. I just go out and say, ‘Good girl, that’s enough now, you’re off duty’, and she runs happily to me. Maybe she really does understand complete sentences.)
As she came in, I heard behind me a sound I’d never heard before. I flew to the beds, and was in time to see that the cry had come from Jim. He was trying to get onto the futon (about five to seven inches off the floor), and he couldn’t. I picked him up. He was shaking all over, crying, terrified…it was awful.
I still don’t know what caused it. At some point during the long night, I took him out, because I sensed that he wanted that. He walked a few steps and went poop, carefully. This told me (really, I thought it told me, but MVDVM confirmed it today), that he was not paralyzed and did not have an intestinal blockage, both of which scenarios had been bumping around in my reeling mind.
I took him upstairs and began hunting for the two bottles of Tramadol which had been given to me by neighbors, after the passing of their own dogs. Figuring that Jim wasn’t too much smaller than my near neighbors’ Sheltie, I gave him half a tablet–25 mg. Thinking I’d take him to the emergency vet, I’d put on boots and a very warm down jacket. I decided to settle us down in a recliner and see if I could get some kind of clue to what was happening.
Surprisingly, I found that touching his hind end seemed to give him comfort, rather than to hurt him. So I massaged his hind legs and his ‘hips’, while he was cradled upside down against my left side. He seemed to prefer being upside down, which may end up being a clue, because it’s not his usual choice. Around that time, he looked like he was dying. He was still making sounds of pain, some which sounded like crying and some like moaning, and he was not able to pay attention to me. He was in his own world of pain. I tried to reach him, though, and I believe he knew I was there. Sometimes he panted, although his mucous membranes were perfectly pink, so I could tell he wasn’t suffering for lack of air. The expression in his eyes was one I’ve never seen before. It’s not there today, thank God.
I felt so helpless. Our emergency vet is not a place you want to take a sick animal in the middle of the night.
Eventually he began to relax a little. The Tramadol was taking effect. I put up the footrest of the recliner, turned myself sideways, curled around him, and slept until about 5:00. He was better when I woke, and I was so grateful.
But he was, and is, very far from being himself. He has an inner preoccupation, and it’s cancer I’m afraid of. I’m always suspecting it, though, and so far I’ve never been right. And I did not suspect it in the one dog who actually had it, Cairn Terrier Brigadoon. So I will reserve judgement and hope for better things, like a sprained leg or an ACL injury.
I’m tired of writing about this awful day, but I’ll finish. I had to be at the note factory at 10:00, and my vet’s office didn’t open until 9:00. Worse yet, MVDVM was off today. Somehow I managed to make decent decisions, although I had no confidence in them at the time.
When I had to put Jim down in order to cook the dogs’ breakfasts, I crated him with a towel from the dryer and a hot water bottle, so that none of the other dogs could step on him or jar him. I took the call from Pilot Ron, telling me that the dog flight was definitely a no-go. I tried to make an appointment for Jim after work, but the vet on duty was leaving before I’d be out of rehearsal. I took a call from Miguel, thoughtfully checking to make sure that our plans had definitely been cancelled. I went to work, planning to speak to the Personnel Manager about leaving early. But I discovered when I got there that the piece we were doing, although easy musically, is very complicated in other ways (we have to follow certain ‘acting cues’ in it–it’s a spoof of Peter and the Wolf, for children), and it was our only rehearsal on it. I knew that I needed to be there in order to do a good job (not to mention the union issues involved with missing the only rehearsal for a performance…)
So all I could do is to call the vet’s again at our break, and ask to speak to the other vet and explain the symptoms. But he was in an appointment, and couldn’t call me back until it was time to turn off my phone and return to the rehearsal. However, when I checked my messages after we were finished, there was a message from him telling me that MVDVM would be stopping in to the office, if I could get there by a certain time.
I couldn’t make that time–it was the exact time of the ending of our rehearsal–but I was able to have a long talk with him while driving home (I hate talking on a cell phone while driving, I honestly do, and it was even worse because it was snowing and the roads were slick, but it was my only chance). He suggested a second drug for Jim which would not only mask the pain, but help the possible underlying inflammation, a drug which wouldn’t interact with the Tramadol.
So Jim has just had his Metacam, and he had his second dose of Tramadol earlier, and he’s eaten a little baby food beef and gone peeps twice. The fact that he made no attempt to lift his leg gives me hope that this is not cancer, but an orthopedic issue (not that that’s so great, either, but, rightly or wrongly, it feels much more manageable).
Well, it was a very long night, and I’m going to take a quick nap before doing dinner duties. Thank goodness I don’t have a concert tonight. Today was another one of those days when I realize that the people asking me, ‘How do you do it?’, have a point. I do have a concert tomorrow, but I’ll take one day at a time.
And at least I did not have to be the cause of cancelling Sawyere’s trip, and Gunner’s and Montrose’s. I never thought I’d be so grateful for foul weather.