Nurse Juanita on duty

Peering out my kitchen window, I see red sky - what should I make of that?

They say the night is darkest before the dawn – no kidding, I never been so glad to see the sun as I have this past week.

Dreary days have turned into a dreary week. Still nursing our sick dog, we had a long weekend with our vet out of town. She would seem to be heading for recovery one minute, deathly ill again the next.

I think we let her over-do, an argument my husband and I take round and round. She needs to get up when she wants, he says. I say, she doesn’t have any good sense right now, we need to keep her quiet and laying down except for short forays to go to the bathroom. As usual, my husband wins the argument, and takes her on long, unrestrained walks. Sometimes she pees, even takes a disgusting but solid crap, other times she wanders listlessly, lays down suddenly in a remote spot, has to be cajoled to get up and come back to the house. He insisted it would be good for her to get out and lay in the sun yesterday –  I asked him again and again – do you want to lay in the sun when you’ve got a fever? 

Every time I went outside to check on her, she’d be laying on a cold concrete slab in the shade – best way to get pnuemonia. My husband and I would argue around again, and he’d set her up on her bed on the patio, only to find she’d wandered off again.

I told him, you’re wearing her out. We argue. Last night her temperature spiked back up to almost 104 in the middle of the night. I don’t have the heart to say “I told you so,” given the expression on my husband’s face as we apply an ice bag between her legs and talk about where’s the best place to get children’s aspirin at 3 am.

He works so hard taking care of her, he carries her up and down the stairs, stays up with her, takes her out in the middle of the night thinking she needs to pee. But today I have to put my foot down and tell him, she stays in the house unless she has to pee, and then we take her just down to the door yard and bring her back up. I don’t like bossing my husband around, so I gave him too much lead on this one.  He’s restless to get work done, so he thinks he can babysit the dog while he’s all over the yard, in the shop, running back and forth to the garden. He isn’t a nurse, he doesn’t realize what a patient needs.

If we can just make it through the night.

If we can just make it through the night.

So, I sent him to bed at 3 am, exhausted, and I set about putting a cold wet cloth on her face, nose, pads of her feet. I pressed it gently to the inside of her ears in turn. When her temperature got up to 103.5 (at 104 they recommend, get to a vet), I put some ice in a bag, wrapped it in a cloth, and put it between her back legs. I thought that would be uncomfortable, but she didn’t even flinch. It scared me half to death the way her legs were so limp when I handled them. When I offered her water she was eager for it sometimes, sometimes not so much.

They say you can use aspirin, but not the coated variety I keep on hand. I didn’t think it was prudent to send my husband out to the store for baby aspirin in his condition, so I kept at the cooling rag method.  Now, 6:45, it’s down to 101.3, considered “normal”, and she’s breathing and sleeping comfortably.  As we’ve been trying to do since last Wednesday, I offer her a drink of Pedialyte every 10 – 15 minutes. Just enough to get her mouth wet, so she won’t start barfing again. 

I don’t mind saying, my life is not normal right now, I don’t care about anything but my family, and it ain’t going to change anytime soon. The article I read on dog flu said it would take about three weeks before she would be feeling well again. 






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