I have not been looking forward to this week: it is one year since Greg died. Each day of this last week I have been thinking...... a year ago he went into hospital, or was moved to intensive care, was intubated, extubated, intubated again and then died. I feel compelled to savour each detail, roll it around in my mind as a sort of morbid memorial, to make sense of it, otherwise it still does not seem real -almost as if this last year has been a dream.
As if this was not enough, this week has not been kind to me at all. Kay is ill with tonsillitis and, as often is the case when she is very ill, she has been very weepy when she calls me, overtired and inconsolable. With two hundred miles between us, my mothering instinct to nurse her has been impossible except for advice over the telephone. Thank goodness for penicillin and paracetamol. She is coming home for the weekend tonight (a long-standing arrangement and entirely her choice, as she insists on being with me on Sunday 6 March for the actual anniversary of Greg's death).
To put the icing on the cake of all that, Snoopy has not been well this week. No, that is an understatement - he has been seriously ill. It started on Sunday when I was woken at 5am to what seemed like an earthquake - the bed was shaking and the cause of it was Snoopy - lying on the foot of my bed shaking uncontrollably. The tremors went on for some while and in my half-sleep/half-wakefulness I felt him writhing in circles trying to get comfortable. I must admit to thinking it might be something dodgy he had eaten and snapped awake to the thought he might just empty the contents of his bowels over my bed, so I quickly ushered him onto his bed at the foot of mine. It was then that I realised he could not use his back legs at all - he was completely paralysed from the waist down. I immediately thought "stroke" and started to panic. In the wee small hours of the night, when I am alone and a problem manifests itself, it is all too easy to panic. I got a doggie painkiller and forced it down him. After two hours there seemed to be no change. Moreover he did not want to get off his bed (could not get off his bed), and no amount of biscuit inducements or bribes of "walkies" (that usually do the trick) would get him to stir. By 7am I was panicking more. There was no way I could get a large, heavy and lifeless Snoopy down three flights of stairs into my car to find an emergency vet open on a Sunday. My own vet had given me his mobile number some time ago in case I ever needed him in an emergency but so far I had never needed to use it, but weighed up the pros and cons of contacting him now. It was Sunday morning and still quite early. I did not want to disturb his one chance of a lie-in and I was also dreading what he might charge for a Sunday call out to my house.
I managed to hold out another hour until 8am but Snoopy was still clearly not well. I rang the vet and a sleepy voice answered at the other end. He told me he would come round. When he arrived, he thought it might be arthritis in the spine and gave a painkiller injection and asked me to ring him again if Snoopy showed no signs of getting better
To cut a very long story short, Snoopy did improve slightly and could at least use his legs again,but was producing weird coloured things from his back end and looked very morose. I ended up during the week having to take a urine sample (I bet the neighbours had a field day seeing me running behind the dog in the garden with a bowl) and Snoopy rather reluctantly provided a blood sample at the vet's surgery the following day.
The results came back yesterday and were not good. It would appear Snoopy's liver function tests show a damaged liver or pancreas. This could be caused by a tumour or fibrosis. The only way to tell what is causing it would be to do an ultrasound scan (which means shaving off his fur to put the scanner on the skin and this traumatises the dog)or open him up (ditto). That would show the cause of his pain but would not necessarily solve the problem as both cases would be advanced and for a 12-year-old dog that would be too much trauma for little gain. So it is bad news really. Poor old Snoops is old and wearing out. To get this news this week of all weeks is not on. We are in for a rocky ride.