Saturday, March 5, 2011


About two weeks ago, Niels woke to the fragrant aroma of Bailey diarrhea. The next morning we woke up to vomit. We called the vet and brought her in. After checking her out, the vet put her on a sensitive stomach wet dog food. Bailey LOVED it and nearly knocked me over every time I put some in her bowl. She was also on an antibiotic and something to settle her stomach. She didn’t throw up for a week.

I called the vet when we were done with the dog food and asked what I should feed her. She told me to make her some chicken and rice until her follow up in a few days. She ate it the first day, but not the second. At her appointment, the vet said to try her regular food again. She had no interest. The vet then suggested Iams Sensitive Stomach dog food. She turned her nose at that as well. Then we went to Petsmart to get some wet sensitive stomach food. While we were there, cute little puppies were going through their obedience class exercises. I haven’t been in Petsmart much since I left Grand Rapids, so I was immediately brought back to when I took Bailey to obedience school. It was the first time it occurred to me that this might not end well.

The next day, Bailey threw up again, even though she had hardly had anything to eat. The vet told us to bring her right in. Daniel was napping so we didn’t get there until about 3:30. We left about 3 hours later, without Bailey. She was dehydrated and needed IV fluids to rehydrate, more meds to settle her stomach, and more meds to help with the pain she was now feeling. We agreed to have blood drawn and an X-ray done. Her X-ray was mostly normal, but her blood work showed that her liver numbers were astronomically high. One panel had to be diluted 6 times and still didn't even register.

After another 3 days in the hospital with more meds, more blood work,and ultrasound and seeing a specialist, all we know is that Bailey is in liver failure, but we don't know why. For another $3,000, we could do a biopsy, but in reality, she probably wouldn't survive the surgery because her blood isn't clotting well, and if even if she did, we're either going to learn that she has cancer, which she wouldn't survive, or something else she wouldn't survive. As her regular vet told me, as she sobbed with me Wednesday, "The only reason I would advice you to do the biopsy, is if you need to know WHY to live with the decision you need to make."

So Thursday, for me, was about coming to peace with saying goodbye. It's been brutal.

We repeated her bloodwork four times this week. The fourth time actually showed a little improvement--diluted six times, her numbers actually registered, but at the absolute top of the scale, still astronomically high. However, at the point nine of the markers were off, instead of six.
Despite almost a week of intensive care, she is not getting better.

Thursday night, we brought Bailey home for the weekend. She's not eating or drinking much at this point, but she's had a hydrating IV for 4 days, so she'll be okay even if she doesn't drink much at home. I admit, bringing her home for a few days is all for me. I'm having a REALLY hard time with the fact that we never made time for a family photo with all four of us, so I need that before I can say goodbye. We ordered a fancy new camera, which arrived on Thursday.

When I first brought her home, she was so happy to back in familiar surroundings. She even 'talked' to Mom on Skype and looked healthy. The only way you knew she was sick is because of how yellow her eyes, ears and tummy were. But, by 8pm, she was sad again and shivering.

Friday was a somber bittersweet day. I took a TON of pictures of her and Daniel, including the one at the top of the page. When Daniel napped, I realized that it the last time with just the two of us. When Daniel woke up, we took Bailey for a car ride (one of her favorite things) and brought her to the lot where our new house will be built. It breaks my heart that she won't be moving with us. It was pouring rain, so I didn't get to let her out, but she's been there before.

It's been good to have her home. I needed this time to say goodbye and the chance to do all those "lasts." More importantly, I had to know that she wasn't the same Bailey I have known and loved for almost ten years. It's been heartbreaking to see her refuse food and shiver and be sad, but I need to see it too, so that we could know that we were making the right decision.

Our friends Tiffany and Andria came over this morning to take our family pictures. Neither Daniel nor the weather cooperated very well, but we have some pictures of all four of us, which was the last thing I needed.

Our prayer today is that she will pass quietly and peacefully tonight in her favorite place, snuggled between Niels and I. If not, tomorrow we will take her to vet for the last time.

I am just devastated. Bailey is the last carryover I have from my pre-TBI life. I've already lost my job, my writing career, my house, my name (I don't mind that part so much!) and my car. The last few years have been filled with so much loss, Bailey was all I had left, she's been through so much with me. Maybe this is the best time because we're putting our house on the market (was supposed to be this week), and it will be easier when there isn't a dog in the house, and it gives us more options for apartments when the new house is being built, blah blah blah. But it still just bites.

Thanks to all of you who have loved my sweet girl.

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