I'm glad I took the weekend to be sure. I've spent the whole weekend with Murphy, watching him, and there isn't a doubt in my mind that it's time. Over the last 48 hours he's become increasingly confused, detached, listless. His diarrhea isn't responding to the medicine, and he's had four or five accidents since 4:30 a.m. He barely budges from his little bed in the living room, and when he does he walks around the room confused. The pain meds obviously aren't bringing relief. He's not interacting with me, he's off in his own little world. I'm at my desk in the office, and he just walked into the room, stood here staring blankly like he didn't know I was here, and turned to totter back to his bed.
He's ready. So am I. Looking back on the last few weeks, it's been coming for a long time. He came back from his near death experience last February and part of me imagines he could do it again, but no. This time it's not happening.
This is different; that came on suddenly and was very dramatic, this has been the gentle, inevitable decline. He's been deteriorating so gradually, if you live with it every day you don't really notice until you stop to think about it. One day he was no longer able to climb the stairs, so I carried him. He stopped enjoying walks, so I would take him out separately, carrying him to a patch of grass to do his thing. (He'd do it there, and then in the house an hour later.) He lost interest in sleeping in the big bed with me - no problem, he was more comfortable in his little bed in the living room. Small changes in his behavior, but looking back, yes, he was detaching himself from this world, little by little, and I was in denial. He was still asking for Teddy Grahams now and then, so he was fine - I could overlook the rest.
And he did eat a bit for me yesterday. I indulged him with his favorite people foods - a small pancake with maple syrup, some baked tilapia, a few bits of cheese - and he enjoyed them. They made his diarrhea worse, but he was at least able to eat something. He won't touch his formerly beloved chicken and sweet potato, and no brand of prescription dog food appeals to him. He's drinking lots of water and he's still dehydrated.
I've said it before, but I want a people doctor as awesome as my vet's
office. Dr. M. called me yesterday afternoon to see if there had been
any improvement in his condition, and we agreed that it is time. We'll bring him in early this afternoon.
I am sad, but to be perfectly frank, also relieved. Saying goodbye is hard, but damn, caring for him the last few months has been a lot of work and stress, the meds, the prepping of special foods and hand feeding, and the endless messes. I'm glad I gave him every chance, but now he's telling me it's time to say goodbye, and I am finally listening.
The timing is awkward but also helpful, I think. My daughter and Miss D and I are off to Asheville tomorrow, and Sophie will be here in the capable hands of our pet sitter. He's aware of the situation and will give her extra love and playtime and attention - she's never been "alone-alone" in her life. Murphy hasn't been any sort of company in the last few months, but he was at least another living creature in the house. She'll adjust - I think the life of an indulged only dog has been her secret dream.
And for me there could be no better distraction than a few days with all three of my granddaughters together! We will have a blast, and I'm ready for a fresh start and a life that doesn't involve the grind of caregiving. I've done far too much of that already. I need less worrying and cleaning up messes, and more yoga.