Eddie is ill. This should not be a surprise; he is, after all, fifteen years old which is a fair stretch for a dog. What is a surprise is the suddenness with which his illness has affected him.
We always knew about the swollen liver, the heart murmour, the chronic ear infection, and the hardening retinas, but when he stopped eating and started being visibly ill every day, it was clear something else had gone wrong. After a spate of blood tests, it seems he has liver/gall bladder disease, pancreatitis, and cholangiohepatitis. If that sounds scary, well it is.
The first treatment was to administer pills. Lots of pills. Eddie doesn’t take pills well. I have a few puncture wounds from my attempts to persuade him that they’ll make him better. He’s also cunning: First he learned that he could push the pills through the sides of his mouth (where he has no teeth). Then he learned that if he swallowed hard, we’d think he’d taken them and he’d be free to run off and spit them out. Recently he’s learned that if he swallows hard and stops chewing and looks at us with big brown eyes, we’ll let him go. The little bugger.
The next treatment was to give him a ton of fluids subcutaneously. This involves setting up a drip bag and running a line into the skin between his shoulder blades. I am now getting quite adept at this, so if my plans for intravenous delivery of caffeine comes to fruition, I know I can do the IV part.
The last part of his treatment is a daily injection of anti-emetic to quell his nausea and and encourage him to eat something. Today was my first time giving him this injection and the first time, after building myself up, I aimed a little too high and ended up with the needle going in one side and out the other. When I pressed the syringe, I covered myself in his medication. Thankfully he didn’t seem to mind. Another false start later, and the very patient patient had his medicine. He’s already looking perkier.
Now far be it from me to leave Oliver out of this. He isn’t one to enjoy being out of the spotlight and, after he was moping around for a bit, Mirto suggested we give him a fake injection. So she held him down, and I poked at his back and made a sound like the syringe being pressed. I wish I could say that he wasn’t fooled, but he was completely. And he was much happier having had the attention.
As you can imagine, it’s weighing heavily on Mirto and myself having Eddie be so ill, but we can always count on Oliver to be the comic relief.