The last 2 days have been pretty grim around here. Ken and I have been so worried about Ilex, knowing that the next call we received could be the news that she had passed while at the vet hospital. She’s 16 and one of the two things we have worried about in the last couple of years is her kidney function, so when the vet said her kidney function was compromised, we thought the worst. We both know that the time we have left with her is limited, but the idea of her passing away when we aren’t with her is just too much to bear.
We visited her twice yesterday and both times it was so difficult to leave. She was loopy from the pain meds they had her on, and much of the time seemed not to really recognize us. But she was clearly stressed when we put on our coats to leave. She whimpered and whined, which is something she never does. It was heart breaking to leave her there, especially knowing that she was so upset about it.
Last night before we left, I knelt down and kissed the top of her head, whispering in her ear, “you’re my favorite girl. You will always be my favorite girl.” At which she pulled her head back, looked me in the eye, and touched the tip of her nose to mine. That was when I knew that she recognized me and knew who I was. It didn’t make it easier to leave, but it made me feel better about her chances of coming home for some reason.
This morning the vet called at 7 am. When you get a call early in the morning like that, you always expect the worst. I know my stomach drops to the floor at the sound of the phone ringing. But, when I answered, it was the vet telling me that Ilex had improved overnight. They had given her an appetite stimulant and she finally started eating around 2 am for the first time since Thursday. She would only eat the food we brought from home, though. None of the dog food they had there. Her blood work showed improvement in her kidney function, and she had maintained a low normal body temperature, which she had been unable to do in the previous 2 days. She even stood up by herself and went outside to go to the bathroom for the first time.
All of that information went right out the window, though when the vet said that they wanted to send her home! I was happy about all of this news, of course, but the only thing I could focus on was the idea that my sweet girl was going to come home!
We picked her up a little after noon and brought her home, where she immediately walked to her bowl and looked at us, expecting her milk bone. She seemed uneasy for a little while, whining a little when we would leave the room, but she seems more settled now. And as I sit here with her lying at my feet, snoring contentedly, I can say without a doubt that this is the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received. We may not have a lot of time left with her, but even a few more days of this is absolutely worth it.