Jiminy, age 14 or 15 here; now 15

At about 10:30 last night, Jimmy began to whine.  It was the same sound he’d made in the middle of the night, two days ago, but much less intense.  I picked him up and cuddled him, and this seemed to comfort him, because he stopped whining and was content to lie curved against me, nestled in the crook of my arm.  But between then and when I went to bed, again at about 3:00 AM, he occasionally looked so bad that I was pretty sure I was going to lose him.

About this going to bed at 3:00 AM–it’s completely unlike me.  There’s just been so much to do in dogland that I’ve had little time to write, except during the wee hours.  And the time flies when you’re on the computer, doing dog stuff.  But last night I was feeling very guilty for staying up so late.  I felt it must be affecting my daytime performance (although I can’t tell that it is), and I also felt bad for having any lights on while the dogs were sleeping. 

But, driving home from the note factory today, I realized that, if I hadn’t been awake at 3:00 or 3:30 during the night between Friday and Saturday, I wouldn’t have known that Jimmy was in trouble. 

And I’ve just learned that, if that episode was what I now think it was, immediate care might have helped him.  During the concert this afternoon, I realized that, at some point since yesterday, my subconscious had come up with a theory about what might have happened to him.  I think he may have had a stroke.

I had briefly thought of some such internal event at the time, of course, but since he was in pain, I’d discounted the stroke possibility.  I’d never thought of a stroke as being painful.  That was really dumb, though, considering that I know for certain that my Grandma was in terrible pain when she had her stroke.  She just had time to phone my mother, and to say, ‘Help me please, I have such a terrible pain in my head’, before she collapsed, with the phone still in her hand.  She never regained consciousness after that.

Because I know that Jumper had at least one, and probably more, strokes, and since I’d never seen her have any pain with them,  I’d thought that it couldn’t be what Jim had suffered.  But I should have realized that the chances were that Jumper had suffered her strokes while I was away from home.  The initial ‘attack’ doesn’t last long, after all.  If my hypothesis is right, I feel so bad that I wasn’t home for Jumper.  But at least I was there for Jim.

Of course, I don’t know for sure whether canine stroke causes pain.  I don’t even know whether it is a stroke we’re dealing with.  I’ll ask MVDVM tomorrow.  I saw that he’d called, when I got back from the concert, and I called back immediately, but the office was closed.  He must have been in to check on his critical patients, even though it’s Sunday, and I really appreciate that.  I can’t wait to talk to him.

As I drove home, I felt quite despondent about my idea that Jim might have had a stroke.  Jumpie didn’t do very well after she’d had her strokes.  However, she was also diabetic, and had been, for years, and she’d had several attacks of vestibular disease (which may or may not have been related to strokes).  What I’m saying, basically, is that her general health was much more fragile than Jim’s  And just now I was reading about stroke in dogs, and apparently it’s quite normal for them to make a full, or almost full, recovery.  The best article I read said that general nursing and TLC can make a big difference to a stroke victim, and I thought, I can do that!  It said that it’s important to give the dog lots of good food and exercise after a stroke, and if there are things I’m good at in terms of dog care, it’s those things, so now I have a lot of hope. 

So far, Jim hasn’t been interested in food (and only began drinking today–he’s had two drinks, and I hold my breath and keep everyone else away from him, to make sure he takes in as much water as he can).  I’ve been feeding him baby food beef thinned with a little water, using one of those fat plastic syringes.  So far, so good. 

Just now, for the first time since what I’ll call for now ‘his stroke’, he came to the little laundry hallway to see where I was while I was upstairs for a minute.  In fact, he did this twice.  The first time, I was very glad to see him, but didn’t want him to be standing alone on a hard surface, since his hind legs seem weak and are slightly ‘toed in’ now.  So I put him back into bed, went back upstairs to finish getting my snack, and came back down to find him there again.  Somehow, this was the most encouraging thing I’ve seen yet, and I’m quite cheered up. 

I’ll take a little nap with him curled next to me now, and everybody else all around us.  I want to make something extra special for dinner, to see if I can get him to eat something solid.  I can do this, I can do this, I can…

Hang in, Jim!

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