Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Because She's Worth It

That's one happy Fanny!
She's glad to be home!
What a difference one week can make.  As most of you know, it's been just over a week since Aaron and I were able to bring Fanny home from her 48+ hour stint at the emergency vet.  During those hours, there was a no shortage of tears.  Knowing that we only had so much money to spend on Fanny's care in what could have been her last days on this side of the bridge, Aaron and I had the discussion we were not prepared to have.  Sure we had talked about what to do if and when we were the ones that needed to help Fanny cross that dreaded, but inevitable rainbow bridge.  We knew we would not keep her alive just to please ourselves.  We knew that when it was time Fanny would, in fact, tell us.  And when it was time to cross that bridge, we knew we wanted to cremate her to continue our physical lives together.

Monday afternoon visit with Fanny.
She looked horrible.
When we went to see Fanny last week Monday, she looked horrible.  She was in a stainless steel, oxygen-assisted kennel.  All sides were metal with the exception of the front doors.  They were solid plastic with two mini-swing open doors just large enough for us to put our hand through and pet her while she was receiving care.  Seeing her in that kennel...with all the tubes, blinking lights, beeping noises...made me realize just how fragile the lives of our dogs really are.  She was laying down in that kennel, sleeping with her back to us as we entered the room.  When we opened the door to gently pet her, her ears moved in recognition.  It took her a moment to get the energy to pick up her head, but when she did, she turned to look at Aaron and I who were holding each other crying.  She struggled to shift her body around in the kennel, but eventually did.  After a brief discussion with the doctor, we asked if we could spend some time with her outside.  Of course, he complied.  Our time outside was precious, but I had a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that this was it.  It was Fanny's time.  She could barely hold her eyes open and struggled to walk, but she perked up when the wind blew some of its beautiful aroma in her direction. 

Aaron and I left that evening with the decision to keep her on 24 more hours of supportive care. Tuesday morning's phone call with the doctor was not good.  He said that while she had successfully come out of the oxygen-assisted kennel, her temperature continued to wax and wane and her physical strength had gotten worse since the day before.  We decided to try one more antibiotic to hopefully kill the fever and kept our fingers crossed.  That was the extent of what we could afford and, by the looks of it, it seemed like it was Fanny's time.  

We could not have been more wrong. 

A few hours passed and the phone rang.  I saw it was the doctor and debated on letting the call go to voice mail.  I was in denial and didn't want to hear the dreaded words from the doctor that it would be time to let Fanny go.  With a deep breath, I answered the phone.  As the doctor gave me an update, his voice was chipper and quick to deliver the good news that Fanny was doing much, much better.  She had been up and about and she had regained her strength and her temperature had stabilized some.  As we discussed Fanny's prognosis and potential for leaving the hospital with the doctor, he made it very clear that she wasn't "out of the woods" just yet and we decided to keep her there for a few more hours to see how she was. 

The 3pm visit on Tuesday afternoon.
She flattened her ears when I took
my camera out...I swear!
The 3pm visit on Tuesday afternoon is when we knew she was done with this hospital visit.  She strutted into the room, right over to Aaron and was wagging her tail the whole time.  Her bright eyes were back, her spunk was back...she was giving me handshakes and nose touches...and she ate like a horse.  Another discussion with the doctor later and we decided to keep her for a few more hours and take her off the IV fluids to see how she would do.  If everything went well, she was free to come home.... albeit with some committed at-home care and lots of TLC.  

For the first time in almost 48 hours, Aaron and I were smiling, laughing and relieved.  We knew Fanny was still fragile, but she was clearly telling us it was not her time.  After our visit, we went home to take care of Oscar then waited around for a few hours while it down poured and thunder-stormed like no one's business.   I made the call to the hospital at 9:15pm that night and got the go-ahead to bring our beloved Fanny home.  

Every tear and hug, every sleepless hour, every call, text and email from our friends was heard and Fanny continues to heal each and every day.  We are taking things slow with her physical expenditure and sparing no expense with her recovery (well, within limits, of course).  Aaron and I are enjoying our "shower time" with Fanny and make sure to give her an extra special treat after we do our coupage (percussion therapy).  We take her out for short, sniffy walks and let her dictate the pace.  We even made the decision to have Monica Segal formulate a special diet just for my precious, senior girl (thank you, Monica!).  Sure, all of this "stuff" costs money, but you know what?  She's worth it.

1 comment:

  1. No fair making me cry. What a beautiful story and what a lucky girl Fanny is to have you and Aaron!