Friday, March 17, 2017

Baxter Blues

Tough day today, Baxter's hip came out of its socket again. According to the vet, there are two options: put it back in and there's about a 30-40% chance of success with that option, or do surgery with weeks of physical therapy and potentially months before he is back to 100%--if ever. The vet stressed that the surgery is very successful--and I have no doubt it is. But there comes a point in life when fixing it doesn't make it better. Baxter is 16 years old. He sleeps most of the time, he has forgotten where he's supposed to relieve himself, he is hard of hearing, losing his eyesight, and losing his mental facilities. I don't know how much time he has left, but I really don't want him to spend it mostly immobile, being forced to do physical therapy in the water (he hates the water), and recovering from an invasive experience. With his hip still out of the socket he has been running around the house quite happily (on three legs), eating, drinking, and going outside normally. Yes, he's on pain meds, and I see no reason to stop them. But I am really, really struggling with putting him through surgery. Between my mom and our deerhound Jester, I am not a fan of surgery on the old.

Even so, I am swamped with guilt over not doing everything I can do and can afford for him. My kneejerk reaction is "Of course, let's do surgery!", but regardless what this vet--who has never seen him before and doesn't know him--says, I keep thinking it's better for him *not* to do it, and doing it so I can console myself by saying I did everything I could for him is a lousy reason.

If we put the hip back in, it has to be tomorrow morning, but then he'll just be back in the sling, peeing on it and himself, struggling to walk, and it probably won't work. This is a lot harder of a decision because I'm not there with him judging for myself how he's doing and how he might do with various treatments.

Going to go to bed to sleep on it. Have to make at least one decision (put it back in or not) by 8:30 am tomorrow.


Bill said...

Being faced with such decisions is very difficult. What are the opinions of your family members?

Brenda Griffith said...

Neither of them are offering opinions, but when pressed Dave agrees with the no surgery decision.

annie said...

You and Dave are right on. Let Baxter enjoy his time on three legs. I have taken many dogs who are carrying legs around (and one who had a leg removed) through the end of their days. We just loved them well and helped them up and down stairs if necessary. Also helped them on and off laps. I can't imagine that Baxter wants surgery.