It seems we’re back to the point we were last year with Schmoopy where it’s time to keep track of the good and bad days by putting happy and sad faces on the calendar. Here’s the tricky part: Each time she gets a little less mobile it becomes our new normal.
Sometimes she wants to be hand fed. Other times she wants to dine in bed:
Sleep is very deep these days:
It’s now part of our routine for Mr. Wombat to carry Sophie up to bed at night and back downstairs for the day in the morning. We’ve also come to expect disrupted sleep as part of our night. She gets too warm (hot flashes?) on her bed and retreats to the cool tile of the bathroom floor. When her old bones tire of the hard surface, she summons us with a few barks to help her get up so she can shuffle back to the cushiony comfort of her old lady bed. This happens two to three times a night. *yawn*
It’s almost like having a newborn again.
Except you’re scraping 75 pounds of panting , scramble-footed hacking dog off the floor instead of scooping up a 10 lb. wisp of a person looking for a midnight snack.
The other night we came home from a party and found poor Schmoops frantically panting like she’d just run a marathon. She couldn’t get up and was quite frazzled. When I helped her stand, her back legs seemed to have lost all communication with her spine. Her feet flipped, her legs criss-crossed and refused to function.
Mr. Wombat carried her outside and she eventually regained use of her legs enough to go to the bathroom. Then he carried her straight up to bed.
We found ourselves staring down that big decision again.
I talked to the vet about it and asked if we could try a couple days of anti-inflammatory meds just to ease the recurring discomfort in her shoulder and see if it helped overall. I also asked if she was able to examine her and know if it was time for the dreaded decision. She said whatever is in the hearts of everyone in the house is what we should do. She said she could also give her some anti-anxiety meds to ward off more panicky moments like she had the other night when we left her alone for four hours. She said she would help us in whatever direction we decide to go.
I don’t really want to pile on more meds.
That said, I’m also having trouble being objective about this.
I see her limp along on a short walk and wonder if I’m keeping her around for selfish reasons.
At the same time, I see her eagerly hobbling to the next fire hydrant to read the scents du jour. I see her taking in every smell with great interest as they sweep through on the breeze. A lot of the time she looks happy.
Her brain still has big ideas, but her body just can’t keep up.
There are still some frisky moments where she barks to play. Playtime is now only about a minute or two long, and she knows if she tries to move too quickly her back end will give out.
So it’s a short, cautious play.
But it’s play.
Am I digging for the bright spots here?
We do everything we can to accommodate elderly people and keep them comfortable, and I feel like that’s what we should do for her. Trouble is, she can’t verbalize her level of pain or discomfort.
I got the gift of another full year and then some with her after last year’s visit from the house call vet. Isn’t that enough?
I suppose it should be, but it will never be enough. I just don’t want to say goodbye.
And I know one of these days, probably sooner rather than later, I’ll have to take that selfless step and let my Schmoopy go.