Hi Everyone, it's Maryann.
I turn 34 today but I feel like I have aged 10 years in the past 24 hours. As I posted, Thrawn's face started swelling on Wednesday night so Thursday morning I dropped him off at Dr. Bill's office. I was also concerned because he has a few sores on his back legs that would not heal.
As I've posted about a lot before, Thrawn has a lot of health problems. It's a miracle he's still around in both my and the Drs opinion. He's over 10 years old, he's been on so many meds his whole life, the Cushings, the seizures, the neurological problems, the list goes on and on. In March we found the tumor in his liver and really since then I've felt we're on borrowed time. We chose not to pursue the testing and such to find out about the tumor or to remove his adrenal gland because of his health and age. In a rare grown up instance I made the choice of quality of life over the quantity for him. That said, I go back to yesterday.
The sores on his legs are pretty much like bed sores. With his back end being so weak once he is lying down (which he does 90% of the time) he can't move them much. I've been keeping Neosporin and such on them but between Bear licking and Thrawn rubbing them on the floor they just won't heal. I can't stress what a crappy dog parent I feel like for this. Dr. Bill said there's not much to do for them except keep the meds on them. Thrawn has never wanted to lay on a bed, he loves the hard cold tile but I'm going to see if there's anything I can find he'll lay on at least for a portion of the day.
His face swelling was caused by a broken tooth. His very back tooth appears that he either hit it or bit down on something, but it was cracked into three pieces and infected. They did his pre-surgery bloodwork as usual and Dr. Bill called me to tell me that his liver levels were so high the lab couldn't chart some of them. The tooth had to come out because he can't risk infection with his other problems but what it came down to was he might not make it out of the surgery. At 3:15 yesterday I gave him the ok to do the procedure then I sat upstairs at work for the next hour and fifteen minutes waiting for the call in misery.
You spend a lot of time rationalizing things and second guessing your actions when you're waiting on the results of what could be a horrible decision. The quality over quantity theory didn't seem a good choice just then when faced with the end. Maybe I've made the wrong choices with the dogs, I'm probably not as proactive about certain things as I should be. His tooth might not be broken if I had taken better care of his teeth all these years and then I wouldn't be risking his life to take it out now. Perhaps when I found him in '99 and learned of his problems I should have found him a home that would have been able to aggressively address his medical problems. I just don't know.
When Dr. Bill finally called and said he was waking up I don't think I've ever been as relieved in my life. I don't know how I would have dealt with it otherwise. His levels are sky high like I said and we're cutting out one of his meds to see if this will help any. It's kind of a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. His levels might go down, but he might not be able to walk. If his levels don't go down it will likely kill him, so what's the trade off?
There's a good chance that cancer is slowly spreading and causing the constant new problems. The plan of attack is to just keep him comfortable and happy for the time he has left. Hopefully we can get his counts down so he doesn't have liver failure and buy some more quality time. He's eating, drinking, asking for treats and participating as much as usual. (which has never been a lot for him really) As long as he seems happy I'm ok with that. He's a strong dog and he has a will to live, otherwise I think he would have gave up a long time ago. I just wish I were that strong. It hasn't even been six months since I lost Dakota and I'm just not ready. Not that I guess you ever can or will be.
Thanks for all the well wishes and tips, I really do appreciate it. I'm ordering him a Kuranda bed today to see if he will try it out and I think he's going to switch to a mostly soft diet. He still likes to chew so I saw Merrick has some softer options for elderly dogs so he can still have that activity. If any of you have any other ideas I would love to hear. Sorry for the downer of a post, but thanks for the help. -Maryann