Sorry for the downer post last night, people. Here’s what I think contributed to it. So far, I’ve been running on hope and every day that goes by that Martha doesn’t improve means a little less hope. Also, yesterday was a trying day – read: paralyzed, incontinent dog with diarrhea suddenly decides she wants to move all over the duplex. To top it off, in my attempts to further research Martha’s disease I found a blog with someone who had a dog in a condition almost as bad as Martha’s. This woman painstakingly and in great detail journaled her account through rehab, physical therapy, incontinence, and everything else. At around eight months, the dog finally walked again. At eighteen months, after all that effort, the dog ruptured another disc and had to be put down. That might have brought on the bawling.
Because I’m too lazy/tired to re-type things, here’s the update email I sent my friends and family tonight….
Hey everybody –
Thought I’d send out an update on Martha. She came home last Tuesday and refused to eat anything until…Friday when her appetite miraculously returned. In the last few days she has become increasingly more “mobile” wanting to drag herself everywhere. Today I accidentally said the word w-a-l-k, and she was inconsolable until I took her outside and put her in a little sling that the neurosurgeon gave me. Once in it, she tried to run like the wind.
Unfortunately, here is the deal. Of the dogs who are in Martha’s condition, nearly 90% of those who recover will show some form of improvement in the first 14 days. Martha is on day 10, and as of yet, has shown no improvement. In fact, her condition has slightly worsened in that she has lost all reflexes in the back half of her body. Her desire to be mobile (when she is supposed to be resting), along with her incontinence are making things a little difficult. Starting tomorrow, she will probably need to be crated.
Because I can’t comprehend forcing her to live in a crate for the rest of her life, save for the occasional respite or outdoor visit, and because, despite my best efforts to stay tidy, my house is already becoming a little stinky, unless the neurosurgeon advises otherwise at her appointment on Thursday and/or barring something really cool regarding her paralysis, I will probably put her down in the next few weeks (days?).
If you would like to come see her, please do so. She is still very much like Martha in her front half and adores to be patted or have the opportunity to lick you to death. I am relatively sane, all things considered, and am back to wearing non-elastic pants and maintaining focus while working. What I’m trying to say is, it won’t be a downer if you stop by.
Thank you to everyone who has sent well-wishes in the past week and a half, and special thanks to my sister M – who offered me mini-therapy sessions in the early days of this, to J, who almost canceled her Valentine’s day plans on the day Martha became ill before I realized what day it was, and who later came and sat with me the day of Martha’ surgery and brought dinner and flowers, to S, who brought me dinner last week and rolled around on the floor with Martha in all her incontinent glory, and very extra special thanks to M2, who randomly called on that first night when Martha had become paralyzed, was in intense pain, was super frightened and had bitten the heck out of my hand. M2 showed up thirty minutes later with the biggest bottle of red wine that I have ever seen, sat with me as I counted the seconds until the neurologist’s office opened, and stayed until I could no longer keep my eyes open. M2 has also since been back a few times to bring me food, insist on my going grocery shopping, bring more wine, and play with Martha.
This isn’t going to be fun, but I think it will be the best thing for both me and Martha. While it stinks to lose her, she’s been the coolest dog in ways that I couldn’t imagine and the greatest little protector. She has immensely enriched my life, and I’m just thrilled that we’ve known each other as long as we have. I know she’s just a dog, but when a dog has been your best buddy through law school, the bar exam, break-ups, job losses, and attacked a 200-pound stranger intruding your house in an attempt to protect you, she deserves a two page email with a little bit of over-the-top sentimentality.
Much-much love to everyone,
Ana and Martha