Thursday, April 12, 2012

Not Yet

I was preparing myself to write an RIP post today because I was fairly convinced we would terminate Jake’s life.  My son Dan, who had thoroughly researched his condition on the Internet, was of a very different opinion about what we should do.  We kept annoying him by saying things like, “Are you thinking about yourself or the dog?”
This afternoon we had a consultation with his regular vet, as opposed to the emergency care hospital where he had been treated.  She was very supportive of the care he had received there and the course of treatment they had prescribed.  She was not at all surprised at the fact that he was wobbling and periodically collapsing to the floor, saying the adjustment to any anti-seizure medication takes at least a week accompanied by a period of “drunken” behavior.  
So instead of putting him down, she suggested we take him home, restrict him to a space with no stairs, give him plenty of light to assist his greatly diminished vision, and just wait for a week to 10 days.  She was fairly confident that his system would adjust to the meditation and the side-effects would subside.  She said there is a strong likelihood that he has a brain tumor, but that they are slow-growing in older dogs.
So tonight we will all go upstairs to bed, leaving Jake in the family room, where he will undoubtedly detect that we are not there.  (Dan slept with him on the floor last night.)  And tomorrow we will watch for additional signs that Jake is settling in to his life post-seizure.  And most of all we will hope the meds work to steer off future seizures.
His day will eventually come, but it wasn’t today.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Look who's home!  He has a little green bracelet where his IV was.  And he is so thirsty because he is on steroids.  But otherwise it's the old Jake.

He came home with lots of meds and instructions, including an anti-seizure drug.  The underlying problem was never diagnosed, but all signs point to a brain tumor and a possible tumor on his lung, which will only get worse over time.

But for now we are enjoying every minute of his company and we are relieved not to have had to make the decision to put him to sleep just yet.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Jake Scare

As Jake has moved into old age and has been relatively symptom-free, I have begun to convince myself he will live forever, or at least for many more years.  That is, until this morning’s episode.
Jake was lying at the top of the stairs, outside my son’s room since they are rather inseparable now that Dan is home.  As I started to go up the stairs, he suddenly stood up with a really bizarre look on his face and began walking in circles, bumping his head into the wall.  Then he collapsed into a twitching mess with his eyes rolling and his tongue hanging way out as his head hung over the top stair.  
I woke Dan up with a yell to hold onto Jake to keep him from tumbling down the stairs.  My husband rushed up to hold his head as I thought he was dying right before my eyes.
I raced down to find a vet who could help us.  We opted not to go to his regular vet, who was a solo practitioner today, but rather to take our chances at the emergency vet hospital in Springfield.
By the time I had hung up the phone everyone was in the kitchen, including Jake who was still not steady on his feet and was favoring his back right leg.
I called to cancel my personal training session and Dan and I managed to get Jake into the back of the old Volvo for the trip to Springfield, where they were able to admit him soon after we arrived.  They immediately put in IV in his paw in case he should experience another seizure so they could administer the appropriate drugs.  
He is staying there for tests and Xrays and observation until at least 9:00 tonight.  They have already given him a positive report on his blood work.  So we are awaiting further news.
Meanwhile we added a hefty charge to the Visa account, one for which we will not be reimbursed by insurance.  I can rationalize that by the fact that we have had virtually no medical issues with this dog his entire life and he hasn’t seen a vet in a couple of years, getting his yearly shots at Petco.
If he comes home, and at this point I trust he will, I promise never to take for granted another day with Jake.  He truly is a wonder dog!

Update at 9 PM:  Jake had another seizure at the vet's, where he is spending the night, and he still has limited use of his right rear leg.  The vet is fairly sure he has a brain tumor.  We will have to make a tough decision in the morning as to whether his diminished quality of life warrants bringing him home.  I can't imagine life without that dog.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Fish Soup

We had a great seder with our neighbors of many years.  My only contribution to what has to be one of the most complicated meals around was homemade gefillte fish and horseradish.
The fish and the horseradish were well received by the 15 people at the seder.  The fish was the usual blend of whitefish, pike, and carp.  The red horseradish was hot enough to clear out your sinuses but not hot enough to make you cry.  Both are gone for this season.
But one of the best bi-products of making fish is the broth, which we turned into bouillabaisse tonight.  I love the subtle flavors of saffron and fennel.  But especially I like the rouille, a very garlicky paste served in the bottom of the bowl over toasted French bread with more as an accompaniment to the soup. 
Instead of the usual mix of lobster and mussels and so many other types of shellfish, we had only shrimp and halibut in our bouillabaisse.  But it was otherwise quite authentic and delicious.
Obviously we are not keeping kosher for Passover.  Shrimp and French bread are a double offense.  But even God would have been licking his lips over tonight’s soup.