Friday, April 08, 2005

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

Saturday morning we drove with the top down to Maryland to conduct the final transaction that would officially make the LRG belong to it's new owners.

They were very sweet and very excited. They made coffee and had scones and other assorted baked goods from a neighborhood bakery. We had an English breakfast as we talked about the LRG. We answered their questions and offered them little tips for avoiding the worst of the seasonal traffic. We even got a little cheeky and posed for photos of them handing the check to me! It was a delightful Spring morning, and we were all so happy to be doing what we were doing.

Many of those who came to see the LRG were really just locals interested in an inexpensive place to live. The fact that it had so much retro charm was completely lost on them. But these folks seemed to be sent by God. They have a full-time home and wanted the LRG as a weekend/summer place, like us. They really "got" the whole retro-ality of the LRG and it suited them. We felt really good turning over the place to them. We felt pretty good knowing we wouldn't be paying half the mortgage on our new house AND the land rent on the LRG anymore, too! All the possibilities of what to do with the money they paid for the LRG made us giddy for a few moments, until we realized that we really should just pay some bills and put the rest away in savings.

Unfortunately, the whole day was not so pleasant. Yesterday morning our dog Jordan was unable to stand up or walk. We were quite frightened! Joe lifted her into a laundry basket and rushed her off to the vet, who confirmed that she had another inflamed disc in her back.

She had a disc problem a year ago, which caused her to develop a severe limp. The vet had prescribed steroids and anti-inflammatory meds, along with strict limitations on her movement, and within a few days, the limp had improved greatly. A week or so later and she was back to normal - no limp at all.

This time, however, she didn't have a limp - she woke up unable to stand or walk at all. The vet prescribed the same steroids and anti-inflammatory treatment and told us to contact her if Jordan's condition seemed worse today. This morning it became apparent that she was in a lot of pain, so Joe took her back to the vet.

The vet suggested that there were 2 options: surgery and putting her to sleep. Since they didn't do the surgery there, they referred Joe to another vet for a surgical consult and x-rays. This vet said that the surgery was most successful on smaller dogs, but that Jordan's size and weight meant that the rate of success was not as high. They also said that they could repair the disc(s) they found to be damaged, but that other discs could become damaged weeks or months later, and she would be back in the same situation. The icing on the cake was when they gave an estimate for the cost of the surgery (think: 2nd mortgage) and indicated they would not start the surgery until we had paid in full.

Joe was just beside himself. The surgery was certainly far from a guarantee, and the price was completely out of the question. But he also didn't feel like putting her to sleep was the only other option. So Joe asked the vet "If she were YOUR dog, and this surgery was out of the question, what would YOU do?" The vet said she would continue with the steroid and anti-inflammatory treatment, along with meds for pain, and see if Jordan responded. (She also said that some success might be had from acupuncture.)

So, that was the decision we made. After 6 hours at the vet, Joe brought Jordan home in her laundry basket, along with more meds, and we tried to get her settled. It was quite challenging, but we were finally able to help support her weight so she could go to the bathroom. To our surprise, she was also willing to eat a little and drink some water. A little while later the pain meds kicked in and she nearly fell asleep sitting up. The pain meds keep her from being in pain, but they also help her stay relaxed and sleep alot, which are important to keep her from moving around too much. On the down side, they also rob her of her unique personality. Looking into her eyes she seems vacant. Its so sad.

Although I often complain about her shedding (I am allergic to her fur) and needing to be walked, fed, let in, let out, cleaned up after, etc, this situation has really shown me how much I love her and would be sad if we lose her.

Send positive, healing pet vibes our way! More later.

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