Monday, October 8, 2007

The dog's chemo

We have settled into a pattern. Each morning after breakfast the dogs know they will get peanut butter on bread. Inside Keeper's peanut butter are 40 mg. Prednisone, half a tablet of acid reducer, and 50 mg Benadryl. Being Airedales, they gulp down their treats without chewing, so it's easy to medicate them.

Right now the only sign of Keeper's illness is shortness of breath within less than twenty minutes on our walks. During the walks, I worry that the tumor will degranulate, releasing histamines into her bloodstream and causing a sudden drop in blood pressure, followed by collapse. I can carry a 60-lb dog only so far.

Because Prednisone, a steroid, makes dogs thirsty, I let her out more often. Still, she has been taken by surprise a few times, leaving puddles in the kitchen and once on floor pillows she was lying on, plus a couple of accidents on the carpet. What with the two pee accidents from Keeper and two barfs from Darwin, the living room carpet has been trashed in only a month.

I had a friend whose mother kept the couch and lamps covered in plastic, taking the covers off only for company. She did this because she wanted to keep them looking nice and she feared she would not be able to afford to replace them when they grew shabby. She died young from ALS and my friend tore all the covers off the furniture, swearing she'd never protect objects just to keep them looking nice for some indefinable future that may not arrive. Better to use what you have, even if you wear it down to nothing.

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