Sunday, September 24, 2006

When is it Time?

Well, things are getting intense around here in terms of distractions. We're going to a Bible conference next weekend and that always brings out the attacks, but also I'm moving into the final month for revisions and that is usually a bad time, too. Right now things with the book do not look good. I am confident that God will work everything out as He always has before, but sometimes it's hard to remember that!

The photo, by the way, is Bear as a young dog. We had taken him on his first campout to Northern Arizona, only it snowed. We're in the van and I'm holding up my parka so my sister can take the picture without the bright background of the windshield. Of course, he's being a sweetie with his head on my shoulder.

Speaking of Bear, I'm getting up now at two or three hour intervals every night to let him out, because the kidney failure means he is producing copious quantities of urine in his body's attempt to get rid of the waste materials. He is virtually blind now in the dark, and senile, I think. He no longer barks or whines to be let out. He just gets up, walks in the general direction of the door and if you don't wake up and get to him in time, he just lets loose where he is. Then there is clean up and washing all the towels again and... So it cuts into sleep.

Sometimes, if you actually wake him up out of his night time sleep he stumbles and staggers around as if he's lost all control of his muscles. Sometimes he can't walk over the threshold of the door, trips and collapses and can hardly get up. We also suspect he has episodes of a balance disorder. And if he has the disorientation and lack of coordination from not being awake, plus being blind in the dark, and not knowing where he is or what's happening, he will snarl and act scary. Since most of the time he is completely docile, a very sweet and friendly dog, this is weird, too.

They say it's a symptom of aging, but I suspect it can be of kidney failure, too, since the unfiltered toxins running rampant through his body attack all his organs, including the brain and nervous system.

Anyway, he had a bad night last Thursday -- three episodes of snarling and disorientation -- and we decided it was time to put him to sleep. But then we couldn't get hold of the vet, and he's been sweet and fine every since. Fragile, a bit weak, skinny and not eating enough, but he is eating. Especially if it's food he likes. And he's been up and alert and he loves his walks. So... second thoughts have set in.

Which means we're on a kind of emotional roller coaster. Thinking, Okay, this is it, he's going to be gone. And then, oh... maybe not.

There is the question, too, of whether he is in pain or not, if his quality of life is really worth the other stuff. How do you answer questions like that? People tell us that we will know when it's time. But so far, we don't. He really was supposed to have died months ago. It's been almost a year since his acute kidney failure episode and at first the vet thought he'd die when she took him off the continuous intravenous fluids he'd been on when in the hospital. Even if he survived that, there was a good chance he'd not last the month.

All this is just one tiny aspect of this whole thing. There are also the meds to be ordered, received/picked up, and administered in their schedules. (But there are also the times when he is terribly cute, the way he follows me around, his joy in the walks, his ongoing interest in his treats and finding the marro bone treats we put about the house.... So. That's been part of what's been going on since I last blogged.)

Amazingly, in spite of it all, I have finished chapters 15 and 17 and have moved on to 19. It is slowly taking shape, though I've not had a lot of time to work on it.

And, I have to say that our Bible classes for the last week have been incredibly enlightening and appropriate. Well, the sun is going down. Time for Bear's walk.

Pressing on,
P.S. If you feel inclined to pray for me, ask that I would have the energy and sleep that I need, and the ability to concentrate on the work at hand. Thanks.