Sudden Drop

Dearest Rachel –

Under circumstances that seemed less dire, I’d probably be soundtracking this letter with Citizen King’s “I’ve Seen Better Days,” because the bottom seems to have dropped out all of a sudden. But – since the bottom has seemed to have dropped out all of a sudden – I wonder if that wouldn’t be making light of a serious situation.

I’ve always been told that I ‘would know’ when the end was near, and while you and I were of the opinion that Chompers wasn’t likely to make it to spring, up until now there has been no indication to this effect. All of a sudden, I’m thinking it might be upon us, and I probably don’t need a veterinarian to tell me so after all.

All I really need from them is to confirm what I already suspect, and presumably send him on his way to meet you, as he’s not likely to self-destruct any faster than he already has been.

You already know about the fact that he ate less than half of what he was given last night – the rest mostly wound up on either the linoleum or the carpet. Even attempting to feed him what he had left in his bowl proved to be a futile exercise. But we got him out last night, and after taking a longer nap than expected, I got him out one more time between one and two (which should explain the lateness of my last letter), and he quite cooperatively fell asleep on the blanket on your side of the bedroom.

I’d almost say too cooperatively; I woke up a little bit after seven, and I could tell he’d done something during the night. Honestly, I’m getting used to that; in fact, I’ve concluded that the reason the washing machine has been having trouble is because one of his blankets is particularly heavy, and tends to unbalance it. Anything else in that machine works just fine, so it turns out I don’t have to replace it just yet.

But of course, I do have to clean up after him. So I grabbed some toilet paper, and picked up everything he dropped – to which he didn’t even move. I mean, he was breathing, but that was pretty much it. So I concluded that he was still sleeping, and we all know the old saw about sleeping dogs. I figured he would wake up and demand to be taken out and fed in his own good time.

As it so happened, Kevin and Daniel were also both still sleeping in the family room, so I did a few things on the computer like I always used to while I waited for… someone… to wake up.

It took nearly an hour and a half, but Kevin eventually won the race to consciousness. At this point, I decided to Chompers had had enough sleep, and I picked him up to take him outside. If nothing else, he drank a whole lot of water shortly after I put him on his blanket around two, so he should really have been needing to go.

Strangely enough, he only made a couple of puddles before whimpering about wanting to go back in (at least, that’s how I interpreted it). I found out later that he’d made a fair puddle just inside the doorway (which I cleaned up as soon as I discovered it), but that was later on.

I placed him on his blanket in the sunroom, and presented him with his breakfast. I had to get him up on his haunches, and hold him to keep him from falling over while he simply licked at the vegetables on the top of the pile of food. Not biting at them, licking them. Finally, after a while of unsuccessfully trying to eat this way, he toppled over in a heap.

This is not normal behavior for him, to say the least.

At this point, I’m getting concerned. I call the veterinary clinic, hoping I can move up our appointment, because I’m thinking there’s something seriously wrong with the old boy if he’s acting like this.

The receptionist demurs a bit, telling me they’re booked solid, but as I explain the situation, she has me hold on while goes back to check. She can get me an appointment tomorrow morning at eleven, but it’s going to be a different doctor. She instructs me to write down a list of his conditions (like the fact that he’s got three out of four legs that are essentially out of commission), his medications (including the various supplements, such as the milk thistle and cranberry powder), and his latest symptoms (such as his sudden loss of appetite, and probably his reduced bladder output as well) so as to fill this other doctor in. In the meantime, she recommends that I make sure that Chompers at least gets some of the wet food into him – it may be that he’s no longer about to eat the vegetables.

For now, I pick off the Brussels sprouts from the current container, and offer him the wet-food-and-kibble combination in order to get something into him for the morning.

For a while, he’d been lying there with his snout in the container; by the time I went to get my camera, he’d gotten out of it, and was just staring it down. Licking wet food and kibble will get some of it into his mouth, but as you can see, not that much.

It’s the last of his MREs at this point, so it’s not like I’m having to throw out too much in the way of actual food waste. Don’t know if I’m going to be actually preparing any more MREs from this point forward, either, but it’s probably cleaner to use those old Beneful containers in any event.

At this point, I don’t know what to expect from tomorrow’s appointment, but I’m braced for the worst. This may well be the moment that everyone’s been telling me about, when I would know that it was time for him to go. We’ll find out soon enough.

Until then, honey, wish me luck. It seems we’re going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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