Since I wrote about Sassy’s eye emergency a few weeks ago, I feel like we’ve entered into a new normal: caregiving.
It might seem strange to refer to taking care of a pet as caregiving. Isn’t that what we do all the time — making sure our animals get food, exercise, medical attention, and so on?
Yes. But to me, caregiving is when things are intensified, when the animal needs care that goes far beyond the day-to-day stuff.
And that’s where we are with Sassy.
She’s still on the six medications (three oral meds and three eye drops) for her glaucoma and three medications for her dementia. Some of the meds are given every other day, some twice a day, others once a day.
This new normal means getting notifications throughout the day from an app called Medisafe that helps us keep track of what she needs. Otherwise it would be a confusing mess.
This new normal also means she’s wearing diapers now. She’s never been good at letting us know when she has to go, and one of her medications results in her having to pee all the time.
After too many accidents in the house, we resorted to buying Simple Solution dog diapers. The first time we put a diaper on her, she seemed upset and managed to pull it off. So I ordered diaper covers that have Velcro fasteners, so they act sort of like undies for her and so they’ve stayed on.
Getting the diapers on her is a struggle for me because she’s always squirming and trying to sit down and/or get away. So Mike has become the designated Diaper Guy, and he’s really good at it!
Another facet of this new normal: We have to carry her up and down the stairs. I think this is more a function of her dementia — diminished motor control is one of the symptoms. She’s also on a painkiller that makes her woozy, so it would be a disaster if she attempted the stairs on her own. We use a baby gate to keep her off them.
At first she was trying to bite us (and sometimes succeeding) as we carried her up and down the stairs, but now she’s passive and just lets us. I think she knows she’s not able to do it on her own anymore. We even have to carry her up and down the two steps leading from the sidewalk to our front door.
I had a dream recently that Sassy was flying up and down the stairs on her own like she used to, and that made me really sad.
She’s been at the veterinarian’s office every week for the past two weeks, yet another part of this new normal of ours, and it’s getting expensive. But whatever, you do what you have to do.
We have one visit this week, another the following week, and hopefully after that her eye pressure will be stable enough to go for longer between visits. We’re trying to transition her off one of the eye drops, but she’ll need some of these meds long-term.
I do know for sure we can’t leave her alone for more than an hour or two, so we won’t be going on any sort of vacation anytime soon. I’m glad I work from home and Mike does too most of the time.
She’s our baby and we’ll do everything we can for her.