Claire's Death

Wrapping My Mind Around...

I have been wracking my brain for a week now, scanning for clues, any memories of Claire acting differently, slowing down, anything that could have warned of the cancer growing inside her. I can’t think of anything, only a few errant thoughts or details that have no real importance unless I haphazardly assign something to them. No actual evidence of what was to come: a diagnosis and then death twenty hours later. It all happened so fast.

A week ago tonight I was trying to digest this new information; the fact that Claire had cancer and I had made the decision not to treat her but to keep her comfortable with steroids and fluids at the emergency vet overnight and bring her home in the morning for a few days of borrowed time. We didn’t even achieve that goal. Claire did come home in the morning. The entire dog family rode along in the car to pick her up. They were all so happy to see each other. The dog pack reunited if only for a few hours.

Home again it was abundantly clear, minute by minute, that the steroids were not performing their magic and that without intravenous fluid therapy Claire’s massive fever of the previous evening was returning. I had been instructed to bring her into my regular vet for a recheck that afternoon but it suddenly occurred to me that we were looking at a life ending rather than a check up. How could this be happening so fast? What about the few days or even a week of steroid bliss so we could take one more walk at the off leash park? What about a final visit to the beloved river? I had actually chosen to give my dog drugs and they weren’t even working! My friend who is a vet called to see how we were  doing and offered to make a home visit and do the check up. I looked at Claire and told my vet friend I thought we could skip the recheck. That we needed to euthanize instead. Had I just said that?

Next: Claire Relaxing Into the Dying Process