Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 47 - Mini Me (or Stinky Me) and Me

          I’m feeling better and better, but I continue to medicate myself into a relative stupor at every opportunity. Get a twinge in the back, take a pill. Feel a stinging sensation when I pee, take a pill. It’s no consolation, but I’m now medicating Bad Breath Bud even more than I am myself. The vet has him on a regimen of pills that would choke a horse. That poor goofball gets an anti-inflammatory 4 times a day, an antibiotic for infection, mega vitamins with each meal, zantac to keep him from throwing up, and methadone for pain as often as needed not to exceed every four hours. Some of this stuff is bad for his liver, but we’re not worrying so much about his liver as he is not likely to live more than a couple of months. We’re just going to keep him as comfortable as possible.
          Bud’s problems with his hips—the general weakness in his hindquarters—seemed to be improving with the regular walks, but he suddenly began to favor his left shoulder. He never complained, but it was obvious that he was having a lot of pain there. Bud is not a complainer. Our other hound, Sandy, is a complainer. She will cry and whine at the least provocation. Once she got a twig caught up between the pads of one of her front paws. She screamed like she was being murdered with a dull knife. She is a big baby. Bud…not so much. He winces from the pain in his shoulder, but the discomfort doesn’t seem to diminish his enthusiasm for a walk.
          When it was obvious after a few days that Bud’s pain wasn’t getting any better, we took him to the vet. X-rays showed a lesion involving his left forearm with significant bone loss on the forward side of the humerus. The vet felt that surgery was not a good option for Bud because of the weakness in his hindquarters. If we amputated his left foreleg, he’d only have one good leg left. For Bud at least, the cure, which doesn’t offer a lot of hope anyway, would be worse than the disease. Our best option is to make him as comfortable as possible until even that becomes a cruelty.
I feel pretty badly about all this. I’ve only known Bud a short time, but I feel a real affinity with him. I think of him as the canine me. We’re both old coots, coming to the end of our usefulness. Our spheres of influence are shrinking, and our bodies are in revolt. Maybe the drugs I’m taking are making me too vulnerable and sensitive for my own good, but any way you look at, it Bud is a good old dog. I hate to see him fade away.    
          My wife called Kelly to tell her that Bud was sick. Kelly felt compelled to speculate that the cancer was the direct result of my walking Bud too much for the last several months. If Bud doesn’t offer to bite her next time we see her, I intend to do it myself. 

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