08 September 2009

A Dog's Life

Ernie went to the vet today to have an owie removed. Just a benign tumor on his hip, but general anesthesia is always a little scary for greyhounds, and he is 11 1/2 years old. This is definitely not what the poor old guy had in mind when we asked if he wanted to go for a ride in the car.

The vet called a little while ago to say the surgery went fine, no surprises, he can go home later this afternoon. All good news. The vets at the clinic where we take our dogs are amazingly wonderful -- I wish I had a people doctor I liked as well.

After Ernie's previous sojourn at the clinic (he broke his tail and had to have it amputated) I was talking to one of the vets about pain meds, and a dog's perception of pain. Dogs can be incredibly stoic. (We are not talking about Ernie, here. Ernie is a total weenie. Scream first, ask questions later; that's our boy. But some dogs can be incredibly stoic.) A dog's perception of pain now isn't complicated by how it's going to feel tomorrow, how long it's going to last, or whether it's going to get worse.

As coping strategies go, that's not bad. Just deal with what you gotta deal with today. One day at a time. Take care of what's in front of you, right now. Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. If I can do something to make things better, or to change the way things are likely to turn out, fine, do that. If the best laid plans, etc. etc., and I need a power chair, help feeding myself, or going to the toilet, or turning over in bed, or any of the other indignities this disease can dish out, just take it as it comes. One thing at a time. I never in a million years expected to wind up in the situation I'm in today, but I must be able to cope, because I'm doing it. Besides, what's the alternative?

I can scare the living wahootsis out of myself by thinking about what MS might have waiting for me down the road. They say you shouldn't ask a question unless you're real sure you want to know the answer. I don't ask how much worse it can get, because I do not want to know. We're living a dog's life, me and Ernie. Ernie's a little better at it, because he's had more practice. One thing at a time. One day at a time.

Is supper ready yet?

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