I’ve been sitting here…thinking…wanting to write, yet not wanting to write…however, knowing that I needed to write in order to feel better. The problem is that I just don’t know what to say.
What I do know is that I had to let Grace-A-Rue find peace and good health again. I tried everything. I read and read, article after article. I joined the Megaesophagus Yahoo Group in order to learn more about others experiences. I tried what they tried…I tried different medications…I studied the disease. I built a chair so she could sit vertically and “let nature take it’s course,” and fed her in so many different fashions that it’d make your head spin, each time pleading for it to stay down and avoid regurgitation and/or vomiting. I held her up vertically after she drank…none of it worked.
When I weighed her today she’d lost 3 more pounds, for a total of 18lbs. She was weak, falling more and more, and Dr Shrum noted that even since her last visit he could tell a difference in the way her head sunk in more and her spine became more prominent. Her funny little fat paws were stained from regurgitated food, and despite my constant wiping and cleaning, she still smelled of dog food. She swayed back and forth when she stood, and after falling I’d pick her up, position her feet, and she’d walk a bit more. She did remarkably well, despite her ataxia, for about a month…but the last few days she struggled.
She still had a light in her eye, however, and tried to run to the car today…it was like watching a dog in slow motion…but she didn’t stop because she was so thrilled to get to the car. Rue loved to ride; it was her favorite thing. My heart ached as she managed to stand up at the clinic, walk to the door and look at me to let me know she was ready to go home…it was the pain of multiple stab wounds.
I couldn’t let her starve to death, and I couldn’t stand to see her miserable and exhausted from vomiting and heaving continuously, dealing with the fear of her choking, and watching this with no means of control or ability to stop it. She looked at me helpless as food spewed…her eyes watered as if she was crying. It was too much…she couldn’t keep any food or water down, absolutely nothing, and I couldn’t even feed her the last few times because she couldn’t stop throwing up. She took it as it came and fought as long as she could, but when I saw her unable to take a breath between the loss of food, and when she couldn’t even take a bite without the same result, I knew it was time. My need to conquer the disease and keep her going was far less important than the need to free of her of the abuse her body was experiencing, as well as her will.
MegaEsophagus is an evil, evil disease…or it was for us. So many have done so well with it and have great success, but she(we) struggled greatly, most likely due to the age of onset…most likely due to a tumor, since she also had Horner’s Disease, seizures and the development of difficulty in walking. It was surely all related. I hate that disease…HATE IT. I hate it’s meanness and what it did to my sweet baby, Grace-A-Rue. How anything could torment a loving and kind soul like that is beyond me…pure evil.
I have been so consumed in Rue that I’ve let the days pass by without knowing much of anything or where the day went. I’ve been depressed at the lack of progress we’ve made. Constantly cleaning floors, her beds, her paws and her face…I’ve taken her with me on errands to let her experience something other than the house or my bedroom. I’ve scrubbed floors and scrubbed more floors. I’ve shopped for different foods…anything to help her. I’ve apologized to her profusely for getting upset when she’d drink out of the bowl on the floor vs. the bowl on the food riser, or when I’d fuss a bit because the stupid disease made her vomit through the night, causing her to look pitiful, making a mess and waking me several times. It was imperative to let her know I wasn’t angry with her, but instead with that damned disease.
I wasn’t doing half bad when it came time, considering, and I even managed to laugh a bit when I zonked my head on the exam table in my attempt to change positions. I can only suppose that it was a bit of much needed humor at that precise moment in order to lift me up a bit. But then Dr Shrum gave me a hug, and I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I quickly made it out the door, and as soon as I hit the landing I lost it. I then sat in the car and painfully cried, holding on to her purple “halter dress.”
I finally turned the car on, knowing I needed to drive away. The radio began to play and I stopped, listening to the lyrics of the song, absorbing them and knowing at that precise moment they were for me.
The song, “Home,” by Daughtry some of you may know, as it’s a rather popular one. The original meaning of the song isn’t about death, and it’s certainly not about a dog. Yet the words spoke to me, providing comfort, and I heard them sung by Miss Grace-A-Rue. She said:
“I’m going home,
To the place where I belong,
Where your love has always been enough for me.
I’m not running from…
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don’t regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old,
So I’m going home.
I’m going home.”
She’d gone “home” to heaven, loved and safe with the Lord and all of her furry friends. Now she is able to eat all the food, treats, and cheese she can stand…and it will never come back up and land on her feet or make her cry. She’ll enjoy her meal (horizontally vs. vertically), jog over to the others, and absorb the beautiful day by the Rainbow Bridge.
I cursed myself today for getting so emotional about animals. “You must be flat out crazy!” I angrily said to myself. Yet, I can’t help it. Simply put, they touch my heart and give me love…how can that be crazy? On the other hand, maybe it is…crying over so many and loving each so wholeheartedly, missing every one of them so much…it seems foolish sometimes. Surely it is? But I still do it…I just can’t help it. They are my life and my family. They are my teachers…Grace-A-Rue included. She loved me, she played with me, she made me laugh and showed me that I really can’t complain. She melted me with those big “blue” eyes and her soft smoochies. She may have been a little arthritic, aged and perhaps a bit homely to some, but she was beautiful and full of life to me. I’ll forever remember her barking and stomping her feet at me to move the baby gate so she could get into “her” room, or to make sure I moved a bit faster in preparing her cheese snack, ears perked and eyes lit up like stars.
But you know… maybe she didn’t lose the battle after all.
You just can’t find a better place to live than heaven.