There comes a time when it is obvious there is no cure, and no treatment. When the drug or the knife can do no more good. When the relentless juggernaut of the dying body supplants the will of the mind to survive. When all hope is lost for this life, and hope arises for another one, after death. Comfort becomes important. Being clean, fed if able to eat, good things to drink, positioned for comfort because you cannot move, to have someone who loves you present
to supply a calm, kind, loving voice; to be touched and held if that comforts you. All these are paramount now. Meds to ease suffering and pain, to promote sleep and rest, and to ease the anxiety of the unknown.
You may think I am telling my hospice nurse story, and yes, that is true, but this is the story of a different kind of hospice...the one for my dog, Rosie. Rosie came tripping into our life many years ago, a stray, dumped in the neighborhood; discarded, uncared for, ungroomed, covered with six inch long matted, muddy poodle hair and full of brambles and weeds, covering a famished, starving little body and a will of pure twisted steel. It was love at first sight for me.
After fresh water, nourishing food, love, and a good grooming and vetting, who sat before me? A darling tiny poodle, most likely purebred, full of the fierce intelligence of the breed. Full of strength, honor, wisdom, a fierce devotion to me. She would always get between me and anyone at the door...and she would have died in a heartbeat, using all of her 15 pounds, defending me if needed, there is no doubt.
Full of play! Catch, fetch, running in circles and just full of fun. Down on her forelegs, bottom in the air, wagging so hard the air got out of her tail's way.
Full of love! She would launch herself into my arms when I came home from the day and liked nothing better than to be nestled close to me, being stroked and petted and told what a pretty girl she was. (For of course it is true)
Full of intelligence! She just knew. I never had to teach her a thing. She could do all the normal things...sit, fetch, stand up, come (only if she wanted to though!) ...all the tricks. But she also would take me to the bedroom, so she could be placed on the bed for her naps...to the door for potty time...she would tell me with a short bark. She just knows what I am saying and taught me what she wanted and needed.
Full of honor! Dignified and beautiful, too, in that way of dogs. An honorable person, with no spot on her character whatsoever.
A traveler! In the air on planes, in the truck...she just did wonderfully, and was such a joy.
And now? We are to this point. Hospice for the poodle doodle girl. Gently singing the poodle song to her..."Rosie Posie Pumpkin pie, you are the best girl in the world, in the world, in the world!"
The liver malfunction, Cushing's disease, insulin dependent diabetes, blindness from the diabetes and cataracts, hypertension, collapsing trachea with cough that does not seem to cease.... all have taken their toll, and now we are at the end of her life.
So? What does a nurse do? What does anyone who loves a dog as much as I do, do?? As many, many of you have done???
Love...presence...cleaning the patient...good food if wanted...cool water...strokes and holding...life review...and those meds to ease suffering...a gift for her that is wholly inadequate to the gifts she has given to me.
Tears for my loss. Tears for her suffering. They just don't stop, do they???
More as the journey goes along.
Rosie just will not eat. Maybe a bite or two. I put a bit of baby food into a syringe and trickled it into her mouth, she seemed eager for it. She mostly sleeps. She enjoys being tucked in tight to my leg, as I sit on the couch.
More of the same. A few wiggly tail moments, but mostly sleep, goes out to potty, and back. Drinking water like crazy (diabetes)
Started her on megace, and she ate like a trouper. Later on in the day, she went into respiratory distress...a subtle increase in the respiratory rate. Then full-on rales, exp grunting and wheezes. Did she aspirate? Is this heart failure, or just her large liver crowding her stomach? Just heart breaking. Her final vet appointment is tomorrow, and I cannot, just cannot stop crying. It is now 1:40 AM, and I am bawling...she is asleep at last. I keep on checking her for respirations.
08:00 2-4-2023. Rosie had rapid respiration’s part of the night, interspersed with deep sleep. She will no longer take water or food, but went out to potty. We had a final vet appointment at 8 am. Rosie started have irregular respirations and a slowing heartbeat. She passed in my hands at 0800, right when her appointment was supposed to be. A huge part of my heart goes with her. She was my darling girl, and I grieve her loss. Dog moms know....my heart is broken.
And that is why I have not posted for a bit. Quilting brings me some solace, but I look for my baby everywhere, and she is just not there.