It's been almost two months since I said goodbye to my little Zoe, and a couple weeks ago, Casey got sick again. I say "sick" and "again," but it's not really either one -- it's a flare-up of a condition she was diagnosed with 3 years ago.
She has back problems, centered in her lower spine. Three years ago, that netted her six weeks bedrest and lots of good drugs, followed up with regular chiropractic visits. This time, she's just getting the good drugs. LOL Seriously, Doc says she'll be on pain meds for the rest of her life. Doc also says "this is not the beginning of the end." Yeah, I asked her -- I need to know these things. *sigh*
Doc took an x-ray and said she sees severe deterioration in the lower spinal region. I didn't see the x-ray --- I didn't have time to stay with Casey at the vet, I just dropped her off last week on my lunch hour and a friend picked her up for me after she was seen. We go to a vet specialist on April 3. She'll tell me whether acupuncture can help, or if she has other ideas.
Tonight I took her x-rays to my chiropractor (he adjusts her, too), so he could tell me what it looked like, and he wasn't in today. He and his wife decided at the last minute to stay home with their kids on the first day of spring break. Had I known that, I'd have taken her x-rays to him last Friday.
The chiro who was covering for him is a lady I like, and I like how she adjusts Casey.Again, if I'd known she was going to be there, I'd have taken Casey with me, because she needed adjusted, but it was 85F when I was leaving the house, and I hate taking dogs in the car with those temps, especially as I had stops to make along the way.
She looked at the x-rays, and said the vertebrae are dropping :(
Driving home, I was thinking about my girl, and wishing I'd have taken her to be adjusted, even though it was so hot. If I had, then when the specialist saw her tomorrow, she'd see her at her relative best. Then it occurred to me that if I hosed Casey down before putting her in the car, that would help keep her from getting overheated. So I went home, let the dogs out, hosed them both down so no one would feel left out, and took Casey back to chiro for her adjustment (50mile round trip).
Dr R was happy to see us come back (she says she's honored I trust her to adjust my dogs), and because she had seen Casey's x-ray, she used a different approach than she would have otherwise. She told me that her sense is that where Casey's vertebrae are dropping, her skin is attached to the spine, so when the vertebrae drop, it pulls the skin and adds to the pain. I don't know if you could ever see that on an x-ray, but apparently she's an Intuitive. She showed me some things to do, and Casey had no problem with what she was doing, and I could see the difference. Then she did the normal adjustment.
But I wanted to tell you about Casey rescuing me tonight... it was on the way back to chiro with her. I've been a mess all day, wondering what the new doc will say tomorrow, wondering what it will do to my wallet (Tuesdays' visit will be $110-175 depending on what we do - ouch!), wondering how my girl is really doing. She's such a STOIC dog and almost never complains about anything. So I take it *very* seriously when she yelps. Her yelping is how we discovered her issue in the first place, and how we found out it was back.
But she's also a HAPPY dog...this little girl, who was scared of the entire world, has come out of her shell to the extent that in the last year or so she's actually gotten in trouble! When I first knew her, she'd never have tried to push any limits. She's almost always smiling, and as long as she can see where I am, her life is good. When she's scared, she runs to me - I'm her safe place (I choke up every time I tell people about that).
I've been so scared, since Mar 22 when she yelped again and we found out it was back. Scared I can't do what she needs, can't be the strong person she needs me to be, that I'll let her down somehow. And I was kicking myself all over the place tonight for not taking the x-rays to chiro on Friday (but I couldn't have gotten there before they closed), and then for not taking her with me when I knew she needed adjusted... you know the things the critics in our heads can say to us, Don't really know why we still listen to them after all these years - we should all know better by now, and yet the critics are still in there fussing away, and I for one am still listening to them, apparently). Then I glanced back at her during a stop-light, and saw my sweet girl just stretched out in the back, panting hard (she does that on car rides) and smiling cause she got to go somewhere with her mama.
I had already given up, had already decided that no matter what my vet said, it was the beginning of the end, or at least the decline. I was already expecting the specialist to say that acupuncture wouldn't really do her any good, cause she was too far gone and I should have taken her there last year when Doc first referred us (but that flare-up got better, so I figured I should save my $$ while I could).
Her eyes were watching me, and I could almost hear her telling me it's all ok, and we're going to make it, and that she trusted me, that whatever I do is ok with her. (dang, I'm crying as I write this - I've needed those tears, too) Watching her, the strongest thought in my mind was "SHE hasn't given up -- why am I?" And then I wasn't, anymore.
That's why I say she rescued me...I was on the edge of Bunyan's "Slough of Despond," ready to be totally hopeless when everywhere around me God's nature is showing me that hope is as unquenchable as spring's new life, and Easter is less than a week away.
My vet and I are agreed - within the constraints of my budget, as long as she's a happy dog, all is good. When it gets too much for her, I'll let her go. Unfortunately, Doc can't give me a timeline. Much as I'd like to have one, Casey doesn't need one. Dogs live in the moment, and her moments are happy as long as she's with me. She's already adapted to sleeping beside my bed instead of on it.
Me, on the other hand? I live in the future, in my mind, looking ahead to worst-case scenarios, trying to prepare myself so the eventual heartbreak won't be quite as agonizing (as if anyone can ever blunt the edge of heartbreak/heart-ache. The only way through it is to feel it). I'm trying to live day by day with her, but it's hard for me, because I know that no matter what, the end result for me is more heart-ache. What a great lesson to be learning, though, and what a fantastic teacher she is for it.
** I have never considered Casey to be a "rescued greyhound." She's a retired racer, who was released into an adoption group at her retirement. I reserve the "rescue" term for dogs who were in danger, and she never was. But it made a great title for a blog post.
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|We just need to listen. by MaryE||Apr 5, 2012 8:15 AM||1|
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