After four glorious days off work, during which the weather was like something you’d order from a spring catalog, it was back to work today. And the weather reflected that action too – grey and overcast all day, with rain showers here and there. I was on such a high from being at home and getting real things accomplished, as opposed to sitting at my desk at work in front of a computer screen all day long without any noticable change, that even the nagging worry I had all weekend was managable. (And does anyone else wonder at how absolutely bizarre this practice is – all of us rushing like lemmings back and forth five days a week, to sit behind desks and push papers around electronically.) A couple of “off” encounters with co-workers and a rude encounter on the bus home, and I’m effectively in the dumps. How did that happen so quickly, when just 24 hours ago I was essentially walking on sunshine?
Well it could be partly due to my nagging worry, which is, as it often is, my Cutter. Sometimes he seems to have a particularly hard time with the drugs he’s on to control seizures, and this was one of those weekends. There’s no question the drugs pound him daily, but some days the side effects seem worse than others, and he’s more ataxic than usual, or semi-zombiefied where normally he’s just sleepy. This weekend he was weak and wobbly and sleeping hard all day long. So I worry. Is there something else going on or is this just one of his temporary downturns? Is a seizure pending or are all the drugs working to prevent that? Is this age related or a bump in the road? And the big one, will he bounce back or do I need to take him in for tests?
First off, he isn’t suffering. There’s no physical pain as far as I can tell, but is he dopey-drugged or actually depressed? Is he having a hard time dealing with his physical side effects…or is that just me that’s having the hard time? I found him lying by the side of the driveway midday on Saturday; sprawled would be a better word. It looked like he collapsed and as I walked up to him, trying to stay calm, I actually wondered if he’d collapsed and expired. As I knelt by him and stroked his fur he raised his head to look at me sleepily. Perhaps he just got tired of waiting for Dinah and lay down in the shade of the apple tree; it was at the top of the driveway, which he will avoid going down when he’s feeling tired or lazy–he knows he has to come back up. Another time I saw him fall on the hill going down to the pasture. He was following Dinah, who’d turned to come back up the hill. His legs tangled under him and he took a tumble. He lay flat on his side, head downhill, and I walked up to him talking to him in a cheerful voice, but part of me breaking inside. He looked at me without raising his head and seemed so defeated. It was one of those moments where I question all of it all over again. Am I going through this hell for him or for me?
He gets his three medications three times a day, and an hour or two after each med time he’s flattened. Usually by the next time they’re due he’s a little brighter, with a little more coordination. I cut one of the medications down by one sixth on his midday dose yesterday, in an effort to give him a little less to deal with. And of course he had a seizure last night at 2:30 a.m. I don’t think it was necessarily that tiny drop in dose, but probably something he’s been brewing all weekend. It looked like he may have had another while I was at work today, though I’m not sure – it’s just a slobber smeared window that I hadn’t noticed before, but no other signs. Once again I’m left to wonder and to worry and obsess. And hope. Hope that he’ll rebound again to something a little brighter, a little more coordinated, a little more engaged in life than he is now. To my normal, cheerful, brave buddy. He still follows Dinah around gamely, and still tells the whippersnapper who’s boss, but it’s a little duller than normal.
I try to act as if nothing’s wrong – he worries if I worry too obviously. And I don’t want him to feel worse. I’m going to wait it out for a few days and hope he’s just going through one of his spells. He’s such an amazing dog, so game and strong and full of stoic courage dealing with the lousy condition of canine epilepsy. I wish sometimes that I could be as strong as he is, my bigstrongboy, my buddy.