:Questions and the Travelin’ ManPosted: July 2, 2008
Susan and I have exchanged lots of posts, along with a phone call, in the past few days. I prefer to keep the following, sent on Sunday in the forefront of my mind.
Susan wrote…You’d never think from looking at them that there was anything amiss,
now would you?
The news from yesterday’s vet appointment wasn’t surprising:
upper left jaw.
We will try to keep him as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.At least it looks like he’s gonna make it to his 6-month anniversary
here, which is on Friday.
On Thursday I will take him in for some alternative energy therapy that
the vet thinks will help him with the transition.
During our phone conversation Sunday morning, I tried to ‘ask the questions’. The questions that would help guide Susan’s decisions with her own answers. To arrive at the right questions is simply an ability I have, including the Big Question. In Champ’s case, the Big Question was ‘if Champ could be back to how he was last Wednesday before the tentative diagnosis, would you and he want that?’ The answer to that guides the next questions. Susan said other than sneezing when he ate, he was fine. The sneezing, while annoying to both of them, wasn’t that big of a deal.
To me, then it was clear that the dental extractions and tumor removal were causing his extreme discomfort, never mind the pain of getting the anti-inflammatory, pain-killer and antibiotic through his sore mouth and into his system. And if Susan and Champ could get him back to last Wednesday’s status quo, then he very well could have quality time left. It is very, very hard emotionally to cause further pain giving medication. The words from a song come to mind. “You’ve got to be cruel to be kind.” One might ask if meds were needed. In this case, there’s no question in my mind. Yes! I’m fairly conservative when it comes to drugs, but the body often heals faster with some assistance from western medicine. Take advantage of drugs if appropriate!
In the early dawn this morning, two things were floating around in my mind. What has really changed for Champ with the knowledge of the neoplasm… My ability to ask The Questions – will it come back to haunt me.
A year ago last Christmas holiday, I received a phone call from Faye at 2:30 in the morning. When the caller ID on the phone lite up, I knew something was very, very wrong. It was too early for Allie’s puppies to come into this world. Faye was at the emergency clinic with a comatose Allie. I asked Faye if they had her hooked to fluids. She replied not yet, I need to sign for treatment. Hang up the phone now! Go sign the forms! Call me back when that’s done! And so the night and into the next morning it went. I was clinical. I asked the questions. I was there for Faye. I boxed away my own emotions. Inside my heart was dying. Not only was Allie in very grave danger, but her puppies, her Manny puppies were most likely dead. I was looking forward to those puppies, to sharing the trials, tribulations and triumphs of those puppies with Faye. I kept that all to myself. My emotions weren’t going to help Faye. She needed a rock, not a puddle.
A day or three later it occurred to me that my approach had previously gotten me into big trouble, was one of the building blocks – or would that be wrecking crane – of a long-ago relationship with another dog person. My ability to be clinical, to ask the right questions for decision making, to be a rock was misinterpreted. I was accused of being uncaring, cold.
It is the ability to accept each other for who we are that ultimately decides who our friends are.
Allie survived an emergency ovariohysterectomy. Her uterus contained two dead, rotting puppies. I’d asked the right questions. Faye made the right decisions. I hope my questions continue to guide Susan down the path she’s travelin’ right now with our Travelin’ Man.