so last year herman's vet told us he has cancer. he said he could feel the tumors, let me feel them, talked about how this is a common form of cancer in german shepherds - herman is half shepherd - and we could open him up to test and be sure, but doing so often accelerates the cancer. but it's time to start thinking about how we want to approach the end of his life. how much treatments, how many tests, etc.
we did and it was awful. last year was awful, and it was so friggin weird that a very similar thing happened to me in the same time frame. but we made our tough decisions, i researched all the associated costs of euthanasia, and the bottom line was comfort measures only. pain killers probably, and we'd buy him a nice new bed when he started to spend too much time lying down.
well we had brought him in for hotspots. he was so uncomfortable, it broke your heart to look at him. at home while we were all sorting out our decisions and what ifs, we were treating the hotspots. go back for the checkup, talk to the vet about our decisions so that he can note it in his chart and guide his treatments and advice accordingly, he can't find the tumors. check and recheck the chart with the diagram of where they are, call the other vet in to look... they're gone. i ask, well could they have been cysts, not tumors? they both shook their heads in disbelief but didn't come up with a more plausible theory. if i didn't feel them for myself i'd just say they were wrong and leave it at that. but the masses were there. so i don't know, but i'm happy because herman is a shiny happy boy and whatever it is, it can't really be that much of a problem. for now.
so he's old and over the last year he's slowing down, doesn't like getting into the car or walking fast. that's cool. last two days though, he deteriorated badly and the c-bomb that the vet dropped last year is still very much on our minds, being pretty much unexplained. what looked like an arthritic limp to me turned into him not being able to get up from lying down yesterday morning. i summon the man to help move him, don't bother the kid till she's out of school since she can't help till then anyway, but when she decides to go hang out with friends instead of coming home she forced me to tell her via text why she needs to come home now.
i spent the day trying to get herman out to pee. i wrap him in a rug and drag him across the carpet, slide him across the lineoleum, while he groans and looks around glassy eyed.
rockzo watches, and tries to make me stop. he jumps on me and growls. i stop because it's hurting herman and i'd rather clean up piss than hurt him, rockzo cries, yelps, and licks him. this can't be good, i'm thinking as i wait the four hours for everyone to get home. animals know, they say. i start texting my good friend, who as it turned out, euthanized her own dog one year ago today. she's sending me names of all the medications that helped her dog, and he lived another year on that.
lil' filth comes home streaked with tears asking if today's the day he will die. i say absolutely not. she reiterates her threat of a sustained campaign of revenge "if you kill him." i love her.
mr filth comes in and sees how bad it is, being strong enough to carry him outside he does, then comes back in and says this is it. if he can't go out, what is left?
people, please.... we still haven't been to the vet! meanwhile i'm thinking, given the year i've had.... no way i'm euthanizing herman on thanksgiving. no fucking way. i'll spend a month's rent on painkillers to delay it just a little, i'll stay home from work to do hospice care on him, no fucking way it's happening today. nope. but what came out of my mouth was, "don't panic till we know what's wrong." to both of my children.
well... whaddaya know? lyme disease test positive. yeperdoodle. lyme. $400 to test and start treatment. he's on three medications, antibiotics, antiinflammatory and another for his joints. for a month to start he'll be on those, plus two injections in two and four weeks, and possibly another month course of pills.
my birthday present, whatever it was going to be, is toast now. i don't give a single shit. it happens every year anyway, since we're poor something always comes up and it's the thought that counts. it's like every year we say "this is what i WANT for you," and that has to suffice as the gift. it's not bad, actually.
anyway, after a single dose of medicine, he's walking, and sneaking into the cat litter for a snack.
oh, and the vet changed the word in his chart from last year from "tumor" to "abscess."
we come home, lil' filth says "i think he's going to live to be 16."
happy thanksgiving everybody. i'm celebrating by not buying a single thing all week.