Once Pearl had used the bathroom and was safely back in her FidoRido pet car seat, it was time to get down to the business of getting a spare tire on the ground and us back on the Interstate.
From the photos you see that there was some major unloading required just to get to the jack. Fortunately, the weather was good. It didn’t occur to me until cold and rainy Thanksgiving Day what a disaster it would have been for all of these presents to have been out in bad weather.
It did occur to me that I was going to need some cleanup before getting back on the road, so I put Pearl’s water bowl under the condensate line of the truck’s air conditioner.
That worked great. If you use that tip be sure to wash your pet’s bowl thoroughly before allowing him to drink from it. I don’t think we want to know what’s in that water.
An hour and nineteen minutes later we were, to quote Willie Nelson, “On The Road Again,” Pearl safely ensconced in her FidoRido Pet Carrier. Birmingham, AL, is usually halfway for this trip, but we arrived at Full Moon Barbecue, exit 267 on Interstate 65, at 6 PM. That’s nine hours for what should have been six hours and fifteen minutes. It was clear we were not going to make our 10 PM (Eastern time) arrival, so we traveled as far as we could, then stopped in a pet-friendly motel for the night.
The odor of a uremic patient is pretty strong. Son Andy and his wife Nan had graciously insisted that I take Pearl to their house for the stay, even though I had planned to use a nearby Quality Inn And Suites location to prevent the intrusion of one pet on another pet’s home. They would have none of it, though, and so I decided the least I could do was bathe Pearl before finishing our last leg of the trip. The part I didn’t think about was how long it would take to dry a dog, even a tiny seven pound dog, with one of those miniscule motel hair dryers.
Pearl’s catheter for IV fluids had reached its lifespan, so I removed it.
Thanksgiving Day was fun with family, but difficult with Pearl. She began to refuse her special diet for renal patients, Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d. I had reconciled myself that she might not be alive when we made the trip home, but I was nowhere near giving up. Finely chopping lean turkey breast meat, I mixed it in with her Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d. Still no go.
I gave in to the temptation to give her pure turkey, in hopes that “priming the pump” might get her appetite back. It worked! When we arose Friday morning, all of her food was gone and she was back to drinking a normal amount, too. Alas, as the day went on her appetite fell off again and she refused all food except lean turkey.
Saturday was about the same. Pearl was eating as much turkey as I would give her, but still not interested in anything else. Fortunately, Andy, an accomplished chef, had cooked a large bird and there was white meat aplenty for humans and canine alike.
Also fortunate was that Pearl was drinking enough water, so fluid therapy was no longer needed. I didn’t think I would miss those alarm bells going off in the back seat on the way home!
We began our trip home Saturday night and Pearl ate so much turkey through Sunday I had to purchase a package of sliced meat, as she continued to reject dog food.
Predicting when a dog or cat with a chronic illness will pass away is far more art than science. Often the laboratory test results are misleading in that regard. Patients with really bad numbers continue to live. Patients with not-so-bad results sometimes die unexpectedly.
Brenda arrived home on Tuesday, and our precious Pearl was delighted to see her. And vice versa.
Six Wednesdays from the day before Thanksgiving we continue to thank God for Pearl’s amazing ability to hang on. She’s still losing weight. She requires a ton of Brenda’s time. And mine when I’m home. Every two days or so we have to dream up another food she might eat because she has rejected almost everything after eating it for 48 hours.
We wouldn’t trade these days for anything.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.