…I haven’t slept a wink…
So I’ve been up since 4:30AM, at least since I probably woke up 2 other times before that, on the day of Aleck’s surgery. When we got home our sweet patient had decided that the only place he wanted to be was lying on top of me, so when he woke and fed and allowed me to hand him off to Craig and my mom, I went down for a nap. As I’m trying to sleep I hear all of this commotion coming from his room, excited, cheering, encouraging noises from Craig and my mom. When I came to my mom told me how Aleck had turned himself in a complete 180 in his crib, on the day of his surgery with a full leg cast on and a system full of codine and other fun drugs. He did it all by using his leg of self-expression, pulling the rest of his body with him, inch by inch. The whole thing took about 30 minutes, and he didn’t stop until his head was where his feet had been. Now, when he normally is in his crib he’s in his hip splint, so this was a new adventure for all of us.
Last night we discovered he has once again outgrown his hip splint, so he slept in his crib with little to hold him back. He fell asleep at 12:15am, having woken at 11:30pm for another feed, and when he woke me at 7:15am I was in for quite a surprise. Not only had he done a complete 180 in his crib but he had turned his mobile on with his foot! I could hardly contain myself, I was laughing so hard. I mean what a champ, what an absolute fighter. It’s like I keep telling crib, Aleck is going to walk if he has to use his leg of self expression and drag the other one behind him. There is nothing that’s going to hold our little man down.
Of course, he’s not the only fighter in the Persin household, Sadie is fighting for her life right now. With half her mouth filled w
ith this swollen and bleeding tumor she’s still eating meals, though we are giving her rice and tuna fish (she’s always been part feline). She greets her friends on the street with a smile and her tail wagging high. Yesterday she dragged me on her favorite walk to Palmer Square and made friends with everyone there, collecting love from strangers a
nd sniffing butts of fellow canines. Every night she still crawls into bed with us, and every morning when Aleck wakes up she’s the first to hear him and take her place in the hall, on guard. However, if the swelling doesn’t go down I think we will be left with no choice but to end her suffering.
When I think about all of it I’m just torn apart. It’s bad enough to have a dog dying of cancer, I had two others, but with Sadie her pain is so visual. She’ll greet you with a big smile and you can see half her mouth taken over by this giant tumor, teeth stuck in it, blood oozing down the side of her face. We have rags all over the house we are keeping handy to clean her up, but the side of her face is so painful at this point she whimpers when we touch it. In just 3 weeks she went from the Sadie we know and love, to this suffering creature and it’s just breaking our hearts.
The vets are absolutely no help. On one hand they say the swelling could be her reacting to the vaccine they gave her on Monday, and that it always gets worse before it gets better. On the other hand, it could be the tumor growing, overtaking her mouth inch by inch. Where does that leave us? How long do we let her suffer, and in turn how long do we suffer with her? This all feels unnecessarily cruel, meaner and harsher than the fates that met my other dogs. With Sadie we can literally see the pain since it’s in her mouth. She can still walk, she can still breathe, she can still drink, she can still bark at her buddies, so when do we make this call? How do we make sure we don’t do this too soon but al
so not too l
ate? The vets said that you know things are bad when they stop eating. Then the vets say that dogs will instinctively try to hide their suffering, pretend for your sake that nothing is wrong. So will she continue to eat and try to act like herself even though she’s in pain? Will she be the one to show us that her time has come or do we have to make this decision for her? How long do we let her fight this fight?
And with Craig and I so distraught it can’t be good for Aleck. I try so hard not to cry in front of him but I haven’t been completely successful. He won’t have the privilege of knowing Sadie, stroking her mink like fur, playing with her fox like ears, grabbing at her fluffy tail. When we first brought him home I didn’t want to force him on Sadie. I wanted her to get used to him, slowly, on her own terms. I didn’t force any interaction between them. She very often sits on the couch with me while I feed him but jumps off when he starts to scream. I just figured that she would get to know him better once he started eating foods, once he was leaving a trail of yummy for her to clean up. Now we are out of time, and our two babies won’t know each other.
Maybe it’s for the better that he won’t experience the pain of loosing her at such a young age, maybe it’s better that this all happens now before he remembers any of it, before he can recognize the pain and suffering Craig and I are going through. Maybe we’ll take the love we’ve showered her with for these 8.5 years and give it all to Aleck so he’ll have even more love then if she was still around, making us even better parents than we would be otherwise. Maybe these things happen when they do for a reason. Or maybe I’ve just been hit with so much shit that I absolutely have to find a reason for all of it because the idea that we were somehow chosen to endure all of this in such a short period of time is just too much for
me to bear. We keep looking at each other and saying, “It’s too much, it’s just too much”.
Craig loves to go through FFFFFound, a website of random pictures, drawings, graphics on the web. Tonight he showed me a poem that went like this:
I AM TIRED
I AM TIRED
I AM TIRED
I CANNOT FIX THIS
We are tired, we have tried, we cannot fix this. All we can do now is figure out how to end it.