Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What does quality of life mean?

My cousin D is being confronted daily with this question as it is played out before him in the life of his father, my dear Uncle D.

Cousin D and I have talked muchly over the past few weeks, and I have worked quite earnestly to be a source of support and gentle encouragement to him. I do desire a good death for him.

I wonder, though, if he would be offended by the thought that I, too, think of quality of life when it comes to Kashi.

Oh, how my heart hurts to see him growing old, virtually before my eyes. Hind quarter weakness, dimming vision, a twitching eye, and growing fatigue. Gray hair. Slow gait. Not so bad, eh? However, he also has one more problem growing in intensity: his frayed nerves.

Now, I have well documented his fear of storms, vacuums, flashing lights, loud noises, and the opening tones of Quicken. His response to the first has escalated beyond all belief. My poor puppy-dog is now virtually inconsolable. He whimpers and trembles violently. He runs about looking for a safe place to hide, often squeezing himself in spaces that he cannot then get out of once the storm has passed. And now he has started pooping in his fear. His doctor has given me a prescription for Zanax, but I am worried about trying it. The hepatic shut he has labored against his whole life can make taking medication a precarious choice. Given the alternative, however, I believe that I should try something else.

Silly of me, I know, but as much as I want to help Kashi, I cannot picture myself walking into Target, stepping up to the pharmacy counter, and asking to fill a prescription for my dog.

My goal for tomorrow: get those pills.

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