Sarge has slowed down in the last few months, but has faced each day like a warrior. The night before last he was clearly distressed and we actually thought we might lose him. He became unresponsive very quickly, his gums were white as paper and he had no strength. We laid with him for hours thinking he was passing. We stayed with him all night long and he actually pulled through. Still unable to stand we took him to his amazing vet first thing in the am. Based on his symptoms I suspected he was bleeding somewhere.
The examination revealed my suspicions were unfortunately correct, he had a massive amount of blood in his abdomen. At that point we had to make decisions. Option 1 was to get an ultrasound that might show where the blood was originating, but the place that could do the ultrasound would not be able to do it until the next day. Option 2: take him to surgery now, but he was so weak the vet said even with a blood transfusion he had a high chance of not making it through the procedure, option 3 was immediate euthanasia and option 4, we take our hero home on hospice to be with his family. Dr. Heintz assured me that Sarge was not in pain, but was very lethargic. His lungs actually sounded good, so he would not struggle to breath. We could give him gabapentin (pain) and valium (anxiety) as needed.
As many of you, being a tripawd parent means that we have dealt with decision making struggles many times before. Amputate, or not, chemo or no chemo, what diet is best, what pain meds, what have I done, did I make the WRONG choice for them, etc…. this is not a new world for us. In the back of our heads we all at some point have thought, if they could just tell us what they want us to do!!! We also know our babies have a desire to fight and we want to give them a fighting chance.
All day yesterday and into the evening, Sarge was to weak to lift his head, much less stand. I syringe fed him broth and water, as he was too weak to drink from his dish. He woke up panting about every 4 hours, so I would crush his meds and give in a syringe with his favorite chicken broth. At 6 am he started panting but was wide eyed and head raised high! He started to stand and we had been carrying him out to potty but this time he managed to hop out 80% on his own! He also ate a normal breakfast, right from the dish!
I know all too often, even with human patients, they will rally before passing, but I am blown away with his vigor and valiant strength in this moment. He even musters the strength to wiggle that precious nub of his, the all too familiar boxer Elvis pelvic wiggle.
We will continue our vigil by his side and I will update as things progress. We would have never dreamed Sarge would still be with us 3 years post osteosarcoma diagnosis, and although I am beyond thankful for every moment we have had him, no matter the time it’s NEVER long enough with our furbabies.