Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Difficult Farewell

After three agonizing days, my ten year old golden retriever, Berkeley passed away.

I was away visiting my sister last weekend, and Arielle called to tell me he was acting strange. I arrived home on a late flight the next day and took him to the vet the following morning. An xray revealed coins in his intestines, and they did surgery that day to remove them.

But, they also discovered an abnormality with his spleen and removed that as well.

Post op, they were concerned about heart arythmias and about low red blood cell count. He was transferred to an animal ICU where he could get transfusions.

This is a long drawn out story of 48 hours of phone updates, worry and stress. Here, I'll share a short version.

Yesterday, it was suggested that they xray his lungs to see if he had any evidence of cancer. If so, we could assume that the spleen biopsy would come back to confirm it. He did have nodules in his lungs and his heart was slightly enlarged.

I visited him there yesterday morning. He walked into the visiting room on his own. We sat on the floor and he pressed his head into my chest like he always does to get his ears and neck scratched. But he wore out clickly and slid to the floor. I laid with him for awhile, then asked them to move him back where he could be reattached to his monitor and IVs.

Arielle and I went back to see him last night. He seemed like maybe he had turned a corner. He was upright and interacted with us, even though it was somewhat lethargic. He had not been willing to eat but I was able to coax him into taking a little cheese. Our plan was to not think about the cancer right now, but to try and get him recovered from the surgery and hopefully have a little quality time with him at home. I could tell the doctors were not optimistic, but I was feeling hopeful because he was doing so much better than he was in the morning.

I got a call in the middle of the night to tell me he was crashing. I was in a stupor. They asked me if I wanted to come down but I knew I couldn't safely drive myself there. Aaron was out of town so I would have to drive myself. They suggested another xray to see if he was bleeding out, but they were also leaving the door wide open for me to let them put him down. I couldn't give up, I ok'd the xray.

But he was under too much stress and he was experiencing arythmias....they called me 30 minutes later and said he was in cardiac arrest. They attempted about 5 minutes of cpr while I was on the phone, and then I told them to stop. Berkeley is gone.

I have a very heavy heart today. He has been my constant shadow for his entire life. He was my walking buddy, my fuzzball, and one of my babies. It all happened so fast and now, our whole family is in shock.