Day 28: Roo comes out into the light


Rooki got some relief from the meds and IV fluids at the hospital on Friday. She was still sick and miserable and weak, but her level of distress was improved and at least she was able to lie still and get some rest. One of the drugs prescribed, mirtazapine, acts an an appetite stimulant, and by evening, with some coaxing and henad-feeding her a tiny bite at a time, Roo ate a little cooked beef and rice. The metronidazole, lomotil and Proviable helped a little with the diarrhea, though it still haunted her throughout the day. She was too weak to stand up, let alone get outside, and she seemed upset and embarrassed by any small accident, not matter how much I encouraged her. When I cleaned her with wet towels where she lay, she sighed with deep relief. Later in the day, she finally took a sip of water.

The diarrhea stopped on Saturday morning and Roo took a good drink of water just as I was about to load her up to go to the vet for more IV fluid. maybe the message had finally gotten through to her, because I told her a million times that if she didn’t drink from the bowl I had been sliding under her nose every ten minutes she was going to have to go back to the vet. During the day, she pecked at the occasional cookie. In the early evening, I had to go to the store and didn’t want to leave her alone because I knew it would stress her more than coming with me. I lifted her into the car, which she has always found offensive. She didn’t mind now, even if she made another embarrassed wag, tail low and slow.

When we got to town, Roo sat up in the passenger seat and looked around with interest. She always enjoys a walk in town.

”Do you want to go for a walk, Chig?” I asked her. She did.

it was slow going. Roo seemed disoriented, and it was an effort for her, but she wanted to walk and it was good for her. After a few minutes we got back in the car and I bought her a rotisserie chicken and we brought it back to the camper and she loved that. I worried about giving her too much, and I suppose I did because later she became sick again. I spent the rest of the night in the floor with her. Being close to me makes her breathe more easily and she lost patience with me and batted at me with her paw any time I got up, as if to say, “What do you think you’re doing?”

She was gassy and her stomach was growling and her belly seemed tight, and what with the diarrhea having stopped for so many hours, I was sure that what she really needed was to get outside, but she wouldn’t go. It was night, a condition she will only take on in emergencies or when she is feeling confident or when there’s a suspected animal to chase. She wouldn’t risk it. Over the course of three hours I kept trying to convince her, but she was resolute. Absolutely not.

I managed about two hours of sleep before checking on her again. She was sleeping soundly and I left her alone and tried to get back to sleep myself, but it was impossible. I wanted to make some coffee, but Roo was lying in an unusual spot for her — in fact, in a way she had never laid before — with her back against the stove and sink cabinet, so there was no way to make it without disturbing her, so I abandoned the idea. Around 11, she woke and wanted to go outside.

As soon as she got outside, she went to the grass and dragged her butt, which scared me because the first sign of her lymphoma was her doing that because her vagina had swollen. I checked her and saw, to my enormous relief, that she was only scratching because she had had more diarrhea overnight and it was uncomfortably caked between her legs. That’s why she was lying against the sink and stove. She was keeping out of any unpleasant spots on the floor. I removed the bandage around her arm so she could get the first soaking from the hose she’d had in nearly two weeks. Her wound looked like it had finally turned the corner. It wasn’t nasty at all, and Roo luxuriated in a long, cool shower.

After she took a pee and wiggled and snorted in the grass, I assumed she would want to go back to sleep. Even in the best of times, 11 in the morning is not what Roo has ever considered a civilized hour to do anything but sleep. But she began to walk towards the street and looked back at me as if to say, “Well? You coming?”

”Do you want to go for a walk, Laroupka?” I asked her. She gave me a look that suggested we had better things to do than stand around and jawbone about it. I slipped her old collar on and, at the end of the Flexi, Roo started walking quickly. She looked just like the old Roo. I couldn’t believe it. I thought she would run out of steam by the time we got to the corner, but she wanted to keep going to the park nearby. I let her off the leash when a squirrel appeared and she took off after it, bounding over the bushes and branches in her trademark series of pounces.

It’s hard to describe what seeing that made me feel, but you can imagine.

We kept walking along the path we had been avoiding on our other recent walks here because of the numerous swimming holes that Roo could not go in with her wounded arm. This time, Roo was allowed to swim all she wanted, and she dunked her head and swished it around under the clear water over and over again and snorted and smiled. It was a great moment.

I was wary of going too far and tiring Roo out, but she didn’t slow down. For the first time since March, Roo was acting like healthy Roo. Her goal was obvious. She wanted to go all the way to the tadmouse pond, about three-quarters of a mile away. I decided to risk it. If she started running out of steam we would turn back.

She didn’t run out of steam, though. She was up to it. She kept her speed up for all of her hour-long walk. She didn’t dig holes or run much, but the improvement was more than I had thought possible only hours before.

We’re at the laundromat now. All of our Dollar Store carpets and Rooki’s bedding needed a good wash after the last two nights (we went through the entire stack of the absorbent pads the vet gave me). They’re ready to come out of the dryer now, so it’s time to go in and get them and take Roo back to the camper.

9:56 PM update; Roo is exhausted tonight. I hope we didn’t overdo it.