Today was down, then up, and then down again. I decided to try Dr. Brantly in one last attempt to appeal to his sense of social responsability, but it turned out he had little, relaying through his receptionist that he would never feel comfortable injecting Newcastle vaccine into the spinal canal (apparently even if not doing so was going to end up killing her). He'd come closest of any of the ones I'd asked, but it seemed as though his initial mindset only got increasingly closed as he ruminated about all the "what ifs". The trouble is he had no alternatives to offer, so who was he to be dead set against this method if it was her only hope. I suspect, knowing this, he offered up a lead at the University of Florida Veterinary clinic, saying maybe they'd attempt it. I made the long-distance call and gave a run-down of Carmella's situation to a woman in the small animal clinic who in turn took down mine and Dr. Sears information and said she'd have a vet call me back by around 5:00 PM. In fact it didn't take near that long. There was a bubbly woman on the other end who sounded hopeful, so I assumed it was good news. Wrong again. She reported to me that all the vets in the neuro department "don't do that", and that "they know nothing about it" stating as others had that it was "still experimental". Well, duh! Of course they'd never heard about it and of course it's "experimental" because nobody has given it a chance to be published. That's why I gave them Dr. Sears' contact information, so that they could find out about it, but did they even call or e-mail him before dismissing this treatment out of hand? No. Well, sorry, but that just doesn't pass with me. Nobody can spreak intelligently against doing something if they won't take the time to investigate it first. That just means that they want to remain ignorant. They sure didn't get their degree in veterinary medicine by having the knowledge pop into their heads by osmosis! They had to put some effort into learning the material. They'd have been kicked out for sure if they came into their professor on the day of an exam and whined, "I don't know anything about this so I'm not doing the exam." They'd have been told pretty fast to get their ass into the library and start reading, and start doing the homework and going to class, or get out; that they don't give honorary degrees in vet school. That kind of obstinate clinging to ignorance is something I cannot tolerate. When I was in college we were expected to back up our argument if we were going to disagree with something, and that's how it should be. In order to really do that one must have some leg to stand on based in logic.
Absence of data or lack of precedence does not immediately render any hypothesis invalid, and it justifies the furthering of study, not the abandonment of it.
I asked the woman on the other end of the line just how we could make this not experimental, and she was not particularly forthcoming, but finally said that they have a seperate research department and that I could speak to them. OK, now we may be getting somewhere, I thought. She did not know the number but had the operator transfer my call. Instead it was picked up by the live answering service who had just come on shift and they did not know the number to connect me to, so I'll have to see if I can find contact information on the website or call tomorrow.
We are pretty much back to square one.
I wrote Dr. Sears and let him know that this turned out another dead end, said we needed him to do conferences, and for some vet, any vet, to publish something.
If Dr. Norwood could at least publish Carmella's experience with NDV in the body that would at least provide one citation that could help legitimize the second half as I am approaching vets. You'd think the way vets are reacting that I was asking them to commit criminal acts, not an act of heroism.
In fact, it is indeed criminal to fail to act in a life-threatening circumstance. A disease is in effect a "natural disaster", but when there is something that can be done to intervene but those who are able do not, that is the true definition of negligence. Does this fact escape those who can but do nothing? Does this not bother their conscience at all?
Maybe they think Carmella is just one dog and they think it's OK to let her languish, turning their attention to those they can easily save by risking nothing, that in the grand scheme of things her life is just not that important to go out on a limb for, but the fact remains that they are aware of the gravity of the situation and they know that this will not go away and that more white matter in her brain is being sacrificed each day they look the other way, and that this dog and this owner have feelings. Would it be OK with them if doctors sat there and let this happen to their wife or child? I don't think so. Maybe they believe that being that attached to a dog is silly and overly sentimental, but if we start picking and choosing whose life is worthy and whose isn't then who is to prevent that kind of calousness from coming home to roost when the grim reaper decides to knock on our door?
These guys keep thinking worst case scenario, but what if this not only had no adverse effects, but was a glowing success, just as it was in the body? What if Carmella went on to live happily ever after once the procedure was completed? Not all "what ifs" have to be negative.
We as a society and as a species must base our lives upon possibility, not be ruled by trepidation. Fear is only useful in the short-term, but it can keep us stuck if it becomes a way by which we live our lives from cradle to grave.
I believe that The Creator did not give us a brain and the technologiy to use it in order for us to choose to ignore that which has been provided. Medical discoveries are a beautiful thing and we should embrace them, not stay trapped in a free-floating fear of progress based on what we don't know. Knowledge is power and with power comes inevitably, responsability. Maybe that is the real crux of the matter; responsability. If we remain ignorant we can always fall back on that ignorance to avoid responsability, but that is to live like Peter Pan refusing to grow up and meet the world head-on, hiding in illusions and creating walls to hide behind.
To believe that the outcome of going outside our comfort zone is always going to be bad is to have a very negative world view. Sometimes trying new things can really add something valuable to our lives. You know what they say, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." If the answer does not live within the lines then if we want it we must be willing to go outside them to get it.
Carmella was restless again today. I let her outside several times in the back yard to run around. When her legs work she is very graceful, like a jackrabbit darting through the thicket, and at times I can almost forget that she is still living with a monster inside her Central Nervous System, one which will ultimately bring her to her knees if it is not stopped in time. For just a short time I am lost in the moment as she glides like a raptor across the landscape, and then she falls, and I realize where I am.