Day 8: Roo's best day in weeks


Last night Roo was feeling awful. She lay on the floor with a grimace, not able to sleep and occasionally groaning. There’s a spot on her side that she began trying to bite, and that freaked me out because I thought something inside might be hurting and if it was, it couldn’t be good news. I checked the spot against an online dog anatomy, and it was unclear, but in the neighborhood of both the liver and the spleen — both of which are enlarged. They’re getting smaller than they were when she was in the hospital, but they’re still rounding out the pink skin on her soft, shaved belly. I sat with her on the floor until around 2 AM. Any time I tried to get up she batted her paw at me to get me to stay. She’s always done that when she isn’t feeling well, but this time she was especially insistent. I sat there thinking the worst kind of thoughts.

I also couldn’t work out a decent workaround for a covering for the sore on her foreleg. The shirt I was wearing happens to be the biggest one I have, so I took that off and put it on her, but the sleeves were too long and the only button that would close made it too tight. I left it on her, but she took it off twice in five minutes. Then I tried the sock again, but she kept picking at that, too.  I tried to jury rig an apparatus out of a sleeve and some surgical tubing left over from my shoulder surgery, but that was just a hopeless mess. Around 2 AM, when she was finally getting some sleep, I sneaked it back on her, and somehow it lasted until morning.

I called the vet and emailed them a photo of the sore and more antibiotics were prescribed. This is the third course of antibiotics for Roo in seven weeks, but the oncologist doesn’t want that sore to fester any more than I do.

It’s not as hard as usual to get Roo out of bed now that she’s so tanked up on water all the time because of the prednisone. Some people limit a dog’s availability to water overnight when they’re on prednisone, but I can’t imagine doing that — keeping water from a puppy for house training is one thing, but the thirst from prednisone is something else entirely. I leave her bowl full and by the morning it’s mostly gone. Until this prednisone, Roo has only rarely drunk any water at night. Now, around 7 or 8 (5:30 the first two nights out of the hospital), she’s ready to get outside. Not today. She waited until nearly 10. She was too sleepy to bother, even though she must have been bursting since her last outing at 1:30. At first I took it for lethargy from not feeling good, but it might have been the opposite. It might have been that she was feeling a bit more like her old self and just wanting to keep sleeping in.

She was feeling much better when she got up. Outside, she stretched and dropped in the grass to roll around for the first time and then bolted into the woods behind the house. She seemed better than she had since before her paw surgery almost two months ago. Her digestion is still not recovered from her sickest days last week, the three days of not eating and then the stress of the hospital and then two doses of chemo, but apart from that and getting tired quickly, she acted as if she wasn’t in the least sick. 

The call to the vet happened after that and I asked if it was a mistake to let her run around like that and she said there was no reason to limit her activity any more, so I gave Roo the option to decide how far to walk later. She wanted to go to her old park and wasn’t dragging at all. I didn’t want to get too far from the house in case it caught up with her, and she complained about being turned around, especially since she was being stopped from going swimming. 

“Sorry, Chig.”

She looked at me with her head down. The position of a dog insisting on something, pointed in the direction of the lake.

“I know, Little Bear. But you can’t swim. You have that arm.”

She stood there. She reallyreallyreally wanted to go swimming. I could tell she was beginning to wonder if I had lost my mind, but ultimately she came along. She started walking slowly, but not because she was tired. Only to make sure I knew how she felt about it. Luckily, it’s not hot here, so even without the water she wasn’t broiled. It was the fist time since her paw started bothering her, which I now suspect must have been when she was first starting to get sick with lymphoma (even though her bloodwork at the time of the surgery didn’t show anything unusual).

At the end of all that, back in the camper, fed and resting, she kept feeling good, woken only once from her nap when the phone rang. It was the pharmacy’s automated voice messaging system saying, “A prescription for Roo is ready at your neighborhood CVS pharmacy.” 

We went to pick it up and go to the pet store to see about a soft e-collar. She absolutely must stay off that hotspot.

“Hey, Chig,” I asked her when we got close to the store.

She looked up at me with her ears up and her eyes bright and wide.

“Who wants to go to the mouse store?”

She sat up in her seat they way she always has and at the store jumped out of the car like a puppy and strode right in. The fist thing she saw was a brown rat in a terrarium and she got a kick out of that. She was feeling pretty relaxed, because when one of the salespeople was showing me the e-collars she dropped to take a long, luxurious pee right in the aisle. She let it rip until a vast puddle formed. Of course this was out of character for Roo, but between all the smells from so many dogs peeing in there all day and how gut-bustlingly sloshy she was from all the water she’s drinking, she forgot herself.

This peeing went on just around the corner from where the sales guy and I were, and I’ll admit that for a microsecond the thought occurred to me not to say anything, but I did and apologized and asked him if he had any paper towels so I could clean it up and he said not to worry, they’ll take care of it, happens all the time, not a big deal. 

“She hasn’t been feeling well and she’s on prednisone,” I said. “It turns them into camels.”

“Really, don’t worry about it,” he said. He saw the look on my face. “Really,” he said. “I understand. It’s not a big deal. I hope she feels better.”

It turned out they didn’t even have Roo’s size in the collar. She had to make do with a bag of Dogswell duck grillers to make up for having to wear her big old e-collar until I figure something else out for her to sleep in overnight. That one is too big for the inside of the camper.

So, I guess that’s how it’ll be going. One day up, another day down. Last night I was getting the awful feeling that whatever she was trying to bite in her side could be bad news, then today, Roo was almost as good as new.

Her next round of chemo is on Thursday.