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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Panic - Watson was admitted to Tufts ER

There was more retching and vomiting between 5-8pm last night. I administered more sub-Q fluid and then carried him out into the yard for a pee break. It had been 12 hours since his last urination and I took it as a good sign that he was hydrated enough to even have any urine. Unfortunately at 8:50pm, he had another vomiting episode and this time it was black. Yes, I said black vomit. I happened to be on my laptop at the time and quickly Googled the term. That was enough to send me into a panic.

I called my vet hospital to get the number of the ER, which is Tufts VETS (Veterinary Emergency Treatment & Specialties) in Walpole. Tufts VETS is affiliated with Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. He was very lethargic, especially after the black vomit episode, and had to be carried to the car. He had one more vomiting episode in the car. It's a rather long drive to Walpole from where we live (about 50 minutes) so I was thankful that nothing more dramatic happened.

Rich drove, and I am glad he did. When we got in the car, I was so panicked and upset that I couldn't remember how to get where we were going. I just kept imagining the worst and I knew in my heart that Watson, my best bubbe, was not coming home with us.

When we got to Tufts, he didn't even lift his head. Rich carried him, blanket and all, into the ER. The staff there was great from the beginning. They saw us carry him in and immediately got a stretcher to come get him. They prioritize their patients in the ER, so we got to go ahead of people who were waiting there for less critical matters.

Shortly after I filled out all the forms, a vet tech came out with a black trash bag and asked if we wanted our blanket back. I was confused as to why it was in a bag, but in my frantic state I said "sure". Well, I'm glad Rich clarified.... Watson had had an episode of bloody diarrhea all over the binkie. I was later told that it was mostly blood (again, I am glad the doctor waited until I was sitting in an exam room to tell me that since I would have freaked out earlier).

We waited for nearly 2 hours as they worked on him. When we were called in, Dr. Rutter sat us down very calmly and took a history. She then outlined his condition - he has severe GI distress, causes unknown. It could have been the prednisone; it could have been the foods he was eating (like beef and salmon that, although boiled, are still rich for a dog's GI system). His heart rate was 200 when he came in but after some fluids, it dropped back to a more normal 120. She said it's not a situation to lose hope over, but not to be fooled - he is very sick. But if we can get him through this, then there is a high chance that he can continue his chemo and have more quality time on this Earth. However, the most immediate battle is to find what's causing the bleeding and get it to stop.

We got to see him before we left the ER. He was in one of their big kennels, laying all flat against the floor. He had an IV in one arm and a catheter. His eyes were squeezed shut and he looked so very small lying there by himself. They opened the cage and I got down on hands and knees to give him a kiss. When I put my hand in front of his nose, he immediately opened his eyes and tried to lift his head. I put his little head in my hands and told him I loved him over and over. He looked so very exhausted... I gave him a kiss on the nose and said good night. They promised to call if anything were to happen. I asked that should he take a turn for the worst, that we have a chance to get there before we had to let him go. Thankfully, no call in the middle of the night.

He has an ultrasound and a consult with the internal medicine specialist today. They usually call before 12 noon, so I have the phone glued to my side. We will get to see him at some point, but there are no set visiting hours. We need to call ahead and make sure it's okay to come.

Rich had been so good throughout this ordeal. Although Watson is part of "our" family, he's really "my" dog. Watson would follow me off a cliff and he trusts me to do the right thing for him. I struggled with deciding on chemo or not, and now am faced with critical decisions that literally leaves his life in the balance. How do I weigh all that on a scale? Right or wrong? Through what scope do I make these decisions for him - love? Love is inherently selfish. Of course I want him here. I woke this morning to his empty bed and I wept even though I know he is alive and in the hands of top-notch medical professionals. Money? Rich and I have good jobs and, luckily, are spendthrifts. Watson's medical care will not put us in the poorhouse.

So how do I make these decisions for a loyal being who trusts and loves me unconditionally, but cannot talk and tell me what he wants. If someone has the answer, please tell me.

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