Wednesday, February 26, 2014

More on Mol and a bit of spring sunshine.

Thanks all so much for your kind, encouraging and affectionate comments about Mol.  We got through the weekend and surrounding days of the vet's absence not so badly, she has been tending to have a couple of good days, apparently pain free, with reasonably easy movement and pretty cheerful, then seems to put it out again and needs to recover, which can be difficult and frustrating.  Hesitantly I would say the good periods seem to be getting longer and the twinges less crippling; we're still on edge about it but a little less so than we were.

We thought more about the matter of surgery, which our instant response had been to reject, considering her too elderly and to have had enough of that kind of thing in her life, and Emy the vet hadn't seemed eager to contradict us.  Nevertheless, we did come round to the idea that if it were a risk but one which would bring her comfort and help if it worked and a peaceful passing under anaesthetic if it didn't, then we would go for it.  The three choices which seemed to be confronting us were: 1) euthanasia, which none of us, least of all Molly, are ready for 2) continuing chronic pain or 3) make-or-break surgery, and we thought perhaps the last might be the least worst option. However, on raising the subject with Emy further, she strongly counselled against it.  It is extensive and invasive surgery, would require pre-operative injections in the spine under anaesthetic which would need another, specialist vet, and not only is there a risk of her not surviving the anaesthetic but also that she could emerge in a worse state from the trauma of the operation and need to be put down anyway. So it was fairly easy to reject that course of action; as Emy put it, if she has two good days and one bad, then that's more than a 60% quality of life, when or if the balance starts to change we would need to rethink. The steroid medicines seem to be helping, and while it's not a good idea to use them for too long over a longer lifetime, in the scheme of things here there's no reason why she can't go on with them for as long as they help. We will simply have to work around and adapt to things as they go; our travel and social life will be more and more limited, but frankly so what?  We kid ourselves into thinking we have to decide what's important, but I think perhaps it's thrust upon us, all we need to do is recognise it. There's plenty else to enjoy anyway.

Thus resolved, and with a sunny morning outside, and my Wednesday afternoon teaching cancelled, we felt the need to stop moping and get out. We accepted an invitation to tea on Friday, then headed out to the bio shop, (unfortunate that bio, short for biologique, French for organic and equally nonsensical, should sound like BO) where we bought fresh veg, nuts, seeds and spices, a bottle of apple and rhubarb juice and a jar of aubergine curry Tom thought I would like. Going to the bio shop gives one so much more of a virtuous glow than going to Lidl, even if one's wallet and shopping bags are both lighter afterwards.  I must say their fruit and especially their veg really is very good these days, a far cry from the manky, over-priced, withered offerings that used to pass for organic produce. 

Molly waited in the car without a problem, the last couple of times she's come out she's finished up uncomfortable afterwards, but we made sure we lifted her out of the back and installed her carefully in the front with a blanket, which is the sort of thing we're going to have to take more care to think of.  She always will clamber between the seats to get into the front when we get out if she possibly can, and it's not the sort of thing she should be doing. The alternative is to put something up to stop her, and we'd rather she kept up as many of her little rituals and pleasures as possible.

There was still some morning left, so we drove up to Morieux and looked at the bay and munched on a couple of small red bio apples - Molly had a radish - and watched other people walking on the beach,

and the trotting horses exercising,

and Molly reckoned, well, insisted in fact, she could just manage a very short walk with some sniffs and smells, though we didn't go down the steps.

We came home and had home-made (except for the pastry, which was bought, so I suppose it wasn't really home made, the filling was though) chicken, leek and mushroom pie and peas, then Tom and Molly snuggled down for some quality sofa time and I went out in the garden and photographed flowers.

Having got out into the garden at last I should really have been wading through mud to plant broad beans and try to banish weeds and moss and debris, but it was just so good just to feel the sun on my back and look at things.  These roses whose name I don't know had hips and buds and flowers on them all at once.  The real stars were the hellebores and the first bees of the year, but I'll post them tomorrow. It's been a good day, without any pain.


Zhoen said...

Good on Mol. She certainly is not ready to chuck it in yet.

Bio isn't really worse than "organic" when you realize anything with carbon is organic. Try finding inorganic food. Oh, I know what they mean, but I really wish there was a better word for it.

the polish chick said...

zhoen - agreed re: confusing nomenclature. personally, i'm a fan of silicon-based foods. nice crunch!

lucy - what a lovely post, glad things are going well for now. and how lucky that you have spring! we're still a good two months away…oh well, the world is a varied place!

marja-leena said...

Such a positive and happy post, Lucy. Lovely scenes of the beach and your garden, which is further ahead than ours after such a cold February.

Rouchswalwe said...

We've had dustings of snow here. So I am happy to see that the flowers are emerging by you and that Molly is sniffing and feeling better. Banzai! Lady Spring is slowly waking. I welcome her this year more than ever before.

christopher said...

Blessings to all of you, especially all of you. I can't think who I want blessed more.

Catalyst said...

It seems this is a time when Mol should get whatever treats she has liked all these years.

Roderick Robinson said...

Cutting out the unrealistic options. That's a positive.

Pam said...

Hello. Thanks so much for your kind comment about Sirius. I nearly commented on your last post but was too weepy at that point. I do feel for you, as you will imagine. With Sirius... we've been worrying a lot about him for some time. It's so hard to tell how a cat's feeling because they sleep so much anyway, but last weekend he was breathing so fast that it was clear that he couldn't possibly be comfortable. But it was still horrible to call the vet and have the deed done. Animals are so trusting and we felt like murderers, especially as he was a young cat. However, to be rational, it's a relief to be sure, now, that he's not suffering; and really he hasn't been able to have a normal young-cat life for some weeks now. The vet said that he wouldn't have lasted much longer anyway.

It's rubbish, though. I keep expecting him to come into a room; keep seeing him out of the corner of my eye and then realising that it's just my handbag...! And tears come when I remember the feeling of his lovely furry head pushing against my hand for me to rub it. And his purr! He was a very purry cat.

Anyway, I do sympathise. I think you'll know when the time has come and although it's very sad, it's the last thing you can do for your lovely furry friend.

Pam said...

Gosh, that comment sounds much more sensible than I feel, sitting here with tears pouring down my face!

Lucy said...

Thanks all. Mol continues pretty well, no twinges for a couple of days now and no major disabling crises since the end of the weekend, so perhaps we can go on on quite manageably for a bit now. She even went upstairs on her own this morning before I could stop her, which she's been advised not to do, but seemed fine for it.

Z - I suppose 'organic' also has the sense of things developing along natural rather than artificial lines, but it is silly. Trouble is I suppose there's no single better word.

PC - mind you, silicone as used in window mastic and breast implants looks decidedly jelly-ish. Yum. Ré spring, see below!

ML - we've had atrocious weather this winter in some ways, but it's not been cold. The lightest of frosts this morning had no effect on the roses. Some things are quite late, like the mimosa which was just dazzling on the way out.

R - yes, a bit of sunshine and a breath of spring make so much difference.

Christopher - you're a dear, hope your furred companions are doing well.

Bruce - she does rather milk it, I'm afraid! We have to be careful not to spoil her too much with food treats, as the steroids can make her eat to much and put on to much weight which won't do her any good, but so far she's not miserably ravenous. Hungry for affection and contact though, but as you say, if she can't have it now when can she?

Robbie - the possibility that there might be something we could do, another option than allowing her to go on suffering or having her put down, was immensely helpful in getting us through the most difficult moments, so we are still very grateful for it. Now things don't look quite so bleak, and we are more thankful that we didn't have to take those measures. Even when, as you said in your e-mail, intellectual factors are not the main thing, being helped to see a clear and logical set of possibilities, and to have others share useful and illuminating benefits of experience, are things which never go amiss. So thanks again for your input, sincerely.

Isabelle - I'm so sorry, it just will hurt won't it? They are such an enormous, woven-in part of our lives and our surroundings. But you did your best, and it was good enough, and it really will get easier, just hang on in there, you aren't alone.

Sheila said...

Just now catching up and feeling for you. Our second-oldest dog is also having some significant age-related issues. Went to the vet yesterday. There is no easy route, but better to love and hurt than not to love at all...Sending love to you.

vicki johnson said...

A big hug to you all. Love it that Molly insisted and that you both help her enjoy all that she can.

and...i love your new camera.

YourFireAnt said...

I try to imagine being able to have rosemary growing outdoors. [sigh..] I have it growing in pots in my kitchen and also here at the office, but winter is too fierce here for outdoors rosemary growing. I have a lovely thriving plant in a south facing window at home, and have opened the window for a bit nearly every day (ever since I learned that rosemary needs a breeze, in order to shed the molds). Now it is beginning to bloom again. ;-)

I was so glad to read your detailed account of Molly's life, and I think she has a good one with you and your husband. 14 is good. She is blessed.


Jewel79Bp said...

I found this blog today, I am so happy... We have two cocker spaniels and now I am planning our vacation in Brittany in June. I am looking for infos that what are the best places to visit with our two dogs. I am now a bit confused, because I thought that Brittany is extremely dog friendly, though, now I am reading all the websites and dogs are basically not allowed anywhere. ( I was quite shocked that we are not allowed even in Carnac....) So if you could help me with any info that what is the most dog friendly sight, I would be really glad. We will have our accomodation near Nantes in Port Saint Pere, but we would go anywhere in a 200 km radius. Thank you so much and your blog is really great! Hugs for Molly, too ;) Andrea from the Netherlands.