22 March 2010

Beginnings and Endings

Thirty greyhounds, with their people and assorted hangers-on, welcomed spring with a walk around Green Lake in Seattle yesterday afternoon. Ernie would've loved it, but he was too sore and wobbly to go.

His visit to the vet this morning turned up about what we had expected. The new lumps on his leg are malignant (duh). There's no easy way to remove them, even if we were inclined to put him through that, which we're not. His joints are sore. His legs are weak. He screamed pretty much every place the vet poked him, but Ernie is kind of a weenie that way. The vet sent him home with some pain meds. We'll keep him comfortable. He'll let us know when he's had enough.

I'm OK with that. We'll enjoy being with him for as long as we can. When he's ready to go, we'll let him. It hurts that dogs don't live as long as we do, but they don't. Still, when you weigh the pain of losing them against the joy we get from their company, it's always worth it.

I admit I was looking forward to making the walk (roll) around Green Lake myself, even if Ernie couldn't. It wasn't his fault that I didn't go. I've been limping along (figuratively speaking) with bubble gum and bailing wire modifications to the joystick control for my power chair, but I'm afraid the Red Queen has caught up with me again. It's just too hard to make the chair go where I want it to, which, considering the size of this thing, could be really bad. I need a solution that doesn't depend on being able to use my hands. I need to talk to the wheelchair guy again. Maybe he'll have something the Red Queen hasn't heard about yet.


  1. oh Ernie! I have made this choice and I do believe that Ernie will let you know when enough is enough.

    Our friend had a finger control for a bit on her chair and then moved to one that was controlled by head movement on the head rest. So there are lots of options out there bet your go to guy will have quit a few possibilities for you.

    So sucks you need to adapt the control again and that your hands are not cooperating . ...

    It is so not selfish to invest in YOU!

    Bet your family agrees that your pretty darn special to them too.

    I have not thought about Alice's journey across the squares/ranks for years!

  2. Zoom - so sorry to read about Ernie. You are so right that the pain of losing them is outweighed by the joy of having them. But, it still hurts to see them in pain and then see them die.

    As to the wheelchair ... I assume you've already tried this, but I'll ask anyway ... will your medical insurance pay for the medically necessary mods to your chair?

  3. Jan - A head control is one of the things we'll be considering. If you know someone who uses one, how does it work for her? Does she like it?

    Cranky - Insurance will pick up part of the tab for wheelchair mods, but they're all custom solutions, and hence expensive. Even a 20% co-pay can be a real chunk of change. I wouldn't mind if I thought that whatever we do would hold me for a while, but you just never know.

  4. Our friend is unfortunately no longer with us so I can not ask any direct questions. I will ask around my support group.

    I do know that our friend( not MS related ) never was able to walk. As she aged her disease - sorry but my brain is so not retrieving what congenital/genetic deal she faced - any ways, her problems increased. Joy sticks went out and she tried numerous systems.

    Before something else took her (cancer) the only thing she could control consistantly was her head movements. I remember how great it was when she could look left and her head would follow and then her chair. Best explanation I can give.

    So she loved it mostly because it was the only thing that worked for her - no other options were left.