Monday, September 15, 2008

Take No Prisoners

Well 3 more vets down and still counting. One receptionist told me the vets in her practice "don't treat dogs with Distemper". The other two; one used to do spinal taps years ago when she worked at Georgia Veterinary Specialists, but is too rusty now, and the other never had given a spinal tap. The ones who don't have the skills I can deal with, it's the ones who can and won't that really have no heart and a black soul and I wonder why they are in the field if they're not willing to do everything in their power to save lives. I know first-hand what it feels like to be dying and have no medical intervention, denied the one treatment that will determine your very survival and quality of life. It is much worse than death itself. It is truly Hell on earth. Luckily I eventually got the treatment I needed to save my own life, but having had that experience there is no way that I could just stand there and allow it to happen to another living thing and be able to live with it. Some of these vets may think it's best to just "accept" that she is going to get worse and eventually die, merely keep her comfortable, and wait for the inevitable, but that would only be appropriate if this option did not exist. One cannot discover a new medical treatment and then just pretend it doesn't exist. You can't put Pandora back in the box. Perhaps on some primal psychological level it is so ingrained in the minds of vets that Distemper is the scourge of veterinary medicine that they have catalogued it in their minds as if it were the plague, and like archaeic human doctors did once apon a time, truly believe deep down that the sufferers should be isolated and shunned, allowed to die for the good of the other healthy ones in the community. Maybe they tell themselves that this is best for the dogs who are currently infected, candy-coating this idyllic euthanasia lie that is so deeply imbedded in our culture, deciding that they have the right to speak for these dogs who rely so much on humans to protect them. When humans think of putting an animal "out of its misery" they think of it as a "compassionate" final act, but this has become too easy an excuse not to hang in there and fight for these very fragile lives.
To romanticise death is a mistake. When my mother was dying of cancer in the summer of 1987 she had envisioned dying at home with all her loved-ones around her as a graceful and painless passing and so did everyone else in my extended family. My cousin, Helen, is a nurse, and her father, a doctor. That last few weeks waiting for my mother to die were anything but graceful or painless. I remember when my father called me to come stay in the house. We all thought the end was near, maybe two or three days, but in fact she lingered for 2-3 weeks. By that time the cancer had metastacised throughout her body and it was attacking her brain. I wittnessed during those last weeks her having grand mal seizures, writhing in pain, despite the heavy pain medication dripping into her arm at all times, her difficulty breathing, and drowning in her own mucus due to the shutting down of her autonomic nervous system and her swallowing. She eventually slipped into a coma and never regained consciousness (as we know it), but I can't help but wonder whether she might still have been suffering but unable to move or call out for help, locked inside a body which was a veritable time-bomb, trapped with a horrible monster that lived inside her.

My cousin Helen said to me one day while we were sitting by her bedside, "I always thought the experience of death done this way, at home was a beautiful, natural and dignified part of life, but it's not that way at all, it's horrible!" Yes, that it is. Death is horrible. Don't be sucked into all the propaganda telling you it's this merciful release from pain and suffering, because it's not. Maybe there are those rare occasions when someone dies instantly from a head-on collision in a car or airplane, or has a quick and powerful heart attack, but when one dies of a disease no matter on pain meds or not there is nothing quick and merciful about it.

Before you think about putting yout pet "to sleep" (another euphamism) read all the literature about the use of lethal injection in humans who are on Death Row. Just because you may not see any struggling from the outside looking in, don't assume for a minute that the recipient of such injection is not suffering and is merely going to sleep and then dying painlessly. Too much recently has been discovered to the contrary. Part of what's in those injections is a paralytic, which means that it renders the person or animal unable to move or respond. It has often been discovered that the part that renders the recipient unconscious does not always work or does not work before the other ingredient takes hold of the body. Imagine being fully conscious of your heart stopping and other vital organs shutting down, but unable to tell anyone or even move your pinky to let them know you are feeling each excruciating moment. There have been Death Row inmates whose executions have been stayed because of a botched job like this and they lived to report their experience. What they reported was blinding pain, the worst kind you could imagine! Several states have since re-visited legislation regarding such procedures and even challenged the current laws allowing it, posing the question as to whether it may constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
This is why vets need to stop doing this to animals. It is NOT humane! Not only is it not humane, the option to "legally" kill an animal this way opens the door for every lazy and selfish person in the world who doesn't want to spend the time or money to fix the problem an animal has. In animals this practice is completely unregulated and can be done for just about any reason. Jack Kavorkian did some heavy time for promoting this kind of thing in humans. Imposing this upon animals who cannot speak for themselves or make an informed decision of their own is an ethical problem. It is one thing if a human chooses that for him/herself, but strict regulations need to be put into place to see to it that the option is not abused and that families don't abuse their Power of Attorney to "put down" relatives who have become an emotional and financial burden to them. The methods used also need to be re-evaluated and proven not to cause suffering.

My guess is that most if not all animals if they understood this issue would choose to live rather than to die.
Animals have none of the emotional issues we humans have attached to long-term illness and disability and they live in the moment. Their lives are relatively simple compared to ours, and they only want to be loved, to eat, and to drink water, and maybe walk around the yard a little. They have no responsabilities to make money, thoughts about whether they are pulling their weight, nor do they have to take care of others.

I took lots and lots of pictures of Carmella yesterday, and made several really nice black and white photos which I'm going to have made into custom rubber stamps. I was hoping the company I was planning on purchasing from would e-mail me by the end of today but they haven't. It looks like I can't put in an order until tomorrow so that I can get started soon on my new line. The woman I got an e-mail from last week was supposed to get back to me to let me know whether the ones I sent her would take well, but still no word.

At some point I'll probably look into getting a Photopolymer plate-making kit, but I wanted to try a few this way first because it's alot less expensive.

Carmella was restless again today, pulling on my clothing and wanting to go outside and then immediately wanting to come in again. Her jerking is getting pretty severe now and she has fallen a few times already today.

I spent a long time sending out press releases to every TV news station in town. One or two came back undeliverable, one news reporter had an automated e-mail saying he was out of town until the 17th, and several sent automated e-mail responses already saying they received my correspondence and that I'd receive a response within 72 hours.

Next I'll go to National news agencies and shows like 20/20 or Dateline. I'm wondering how I'd go about submitting my press release to the AP wire. Apparently that goes out to every news agency in the country.


LoveEtsyFeedback TagsAndButtons said...

Thats so mean to tell you to just wait and watch her die! You have such powerful stories, im sorry you had to watch her die of cancer thats horrible.

I hope that a news place picks this story up! Maybe you could check into your local college papers. Im not sure they would ru the story since its not realated to them, but you never know if theres a connection to something you could make to the college. They might actually respond in a decnt time (How do I know? I used to be on a paper staff). Its worth a try. If antyhing maybe if you could get one to respond, maybe they cant run the story but could give you an in to the other papers

w said...

our 'animals'. they're not that, are they? they're family.

carmella is a beauty.

Eileen said...

she's a beautiful dog...

Giftbearer said...

Yep, she's really my only family now.

Conscientia's Cameos said...

I truly hope you find someone who will be able and willing to treat her, she is gorgeous :)

blackfeatherfarm said...

I am trying to have hope for Carmella, this is really haunting me. I know I love my dogs too much, and this is breaking my heart, I can't imagine how you even sleep. I would be a wreck.
I am listing a necklace on ebay - because I think I will get more for it there, to go to Carmella's vet bill. It will be towards the end of the week and I'll get back to you with the item # or url. Not alot of money, but everything helps. I will post one of her photos on the listing if thats ok. Nothing will be done with it other than that and then I'll delete it. Or let me know if you would rather I not use her pic. I'll check back on your stamps. By the way, I watched my beautiful sister die of liver cancer so I know of what you speak. Good thoughts....

Giftbearer said...

Thanks everyone for the kind thoughts.

Love your dogs as much as possible. It can never be too much. If everyone loved them as much as some of us love our dogs she'd have been treated by now.

Yes, I think posting a picture of Carmella on Ebay with the necklace would be a good way to get potential buyers to connect with her and with the cause. I'm excited to see what it looks like. I think you're right that with their auction format you can get more.

I've been getting very little sleep actually. I don't think I will until we find a vet to do this procedure.

I believe that The Creator wants her to make it, so there has to be a vet out there who "gets it" and will step forward, hopefully sooner rather than later.

fluffnflowers said...

Lots of hugs to you and your beautiful girl. I'm so sorry that it seems like things aren't coming to fruition, but I'll keep my fingers crossed that there's someone out there willing to listen who can help.

Giftbearer said...

Thanks! Keep Reading! Another update is coming up!