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.