Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stayin' Alive

The sun is shining, we stand (or, in my case, sit) on the precipice of June -- and America's favorite dog blogger devoted to politics, pop culture, and basketball is, emphatically,

not dead yet!

So crank up the volume, and put on your white suits, kids. Disco down with us for the song of the day in Roxie's World:

Am I experiencing a miraculous recovery or a momentary reprieve? Haven't a clue, and Dr. House is not in the house to investigate my extraordinary case. Here's what the doctors of philosophy of Roxie's World can tell you based on their observations.

Up to Monday (Memorial Day), I was taking the following medications, as prescribed by my primary vet and my sweet-as-pie Portuguese cardiologist, who I saw for my annual check-up two weeks ago Tuesday:
  • Proin (for urinary incontinence)
  • Enalapril (an ACE inhibitor, used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure)
  • Pimobendan (used to manage heart failure secondary to mitral valve prolapse in dogs)
  • Tramadol (an analgesic, used to treat severe pain)
  • Metacam (an NSAID, used to relieve symptoms of arthritis)
  • Pepcid (used to treat peptic ulcer disease, perhaps caused by prolonged use of an NSAID)
As of Monday, when I resolutely refused to take any of my meds, despite Goose's repeated attempts to get me to swallow previously irresistible wads of pills wrapped in liverwurst, I have been taking:
  • Nothing
  • Nada
  • Bupkis
  • Nuttin', honey
  • Diddly squat
  • Jack s_it
  • Zilch
On Tuesday, you may recall, my primary vet took a blood test and declared me to be in liver failure. She predicted I would be dead in two weeks without treatment. Since that time, the moms have declared our house a Hospice for Dogs (H/T: the Shy One), with Moose making a series of snide remarks about the pharmaceutical industry, high-end veterinary care, and the virtues of Christian Science, except for, you know, the whole Christian part.

Meantime, here on the floor, I am comfortable and content. My back legs still aren't working, though I have made valiant efforts in the past couple of days to stand. I eat, drink, and potty, with varying degrees of assistance. My coat is soft and smooth again, though earlier this week it was stiff and dry. New daily rituals of hot compresses and artificial tears have alleviated the icky crusting around my eyes that had briefly left me functionally blind. Moose has gotten all poetic about my patience during these tender ministrations, telling a friend that I sit in complete stillness, like some grateful, canine Buddha, even as she takes the flea comb to dislodge the schmutz that has gotten stuck in my eyelashes.

For once, Moose's metaphor may not be wide of the mark. There is a bit of the Buddha in this old dog as I make my way through however much time I have left in this body, this state of being. On Wednesday, I told you I was dying. Today, I would like to rephrase that. Let us say instead that,

I am living -- for how long, who knows, but what mortal creature knows the answer to that question, my philosophical friends?

The mood here in Roxie's World has shifted from sorrow to gratitude, the mode from vigil to celebration. Every moment now feels like an unexpected gift, which is arguably how all of our moments should always feel, but even a dog can struggle to sustain an absolute commitment to being in the present. For you hyper-active, hugely self-important humans, such a commitment is even harder to maintain, and so you add yoga and meditation to your to-do lists.

Go outside and play, little Buddhas. Hold your face up to the sun and bask in its warmth. Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin'. Feel the deep rhythms of your own and everyone else's stayin' alive. Our good friend Julie has a beautiful piece up today, addressed to yours truly and aimed at helping me make the best of heaven when I get there. It's full of excellent advice (e.g., "Look for the Jew part of heaven. You'll know you're there because everyone will say, I don't really believe in any of this, but you look swell, Sol.") and good suggestions on who I should hang out with. (Gert, Alice, and Virginia were already on my list, Jules, but I would also like to add Galileo and Gilda Radner to your suggestions. Plus maybe Abe Lincoln and a couple of musicians. How 'bout Mozart and John Lennon?) We are extremely grateful to Julie for her thoughtful consideration of how I should negotiate my next phase, but I am sure she won't mind if we say that for now, for this moment and perhaps the next few, the consensus in Roxie's World is -- you guessed it -- that heaven can wait. We've still got some livin' to do.

Peace out, beloveds, and thanks for holding us in the light.


  1. Natalie P.2:48 PM EDT

    Hugs to Roxie. The late-great, Little Zee Prizel-Fitzpatrick was also a patient of a certain Portguese cardiologist. :)

  2. Ah, that Portugese cardiologist is a doll, isn't he, Natalie? Rox and we hope he is careful on his motorcycle. . . .

    And Rox, love that you chose one of my faves, "Stayin' Alive!"--oh yeah. To your list of musicians you want to hook up with in heaven, don't forget that great Texan Janis Joplin (your aunt-you-never-met Alic wrote a great bio of her, Scars of Sweet Paradise). Janis can sing like nobody's business, and I'm sure she and John would be happy to work up a duet, perhaps calling in Elvis for a reprise of his "Hound Dog."

    We are here with ya, sweet baby dog, and you will be part of us. . .always.

  3. That's "Alice," not "Alic," Rox. Dunno how the "e" got dropped. . . .

  4. dog-eared book9:10 PM EDT

    Y'all will love the best cover of "Stayin' Alive" I've ever heard -- recorded by the "Young @ Heart" chorus in Northampton MA -- basically, a group of octogenarians who do choral versions of pop and rock songs they've never heard before:

    "I Wanna Be Sedated" is another fantastic cover --
    Funny how the songs change when it's elderly gallows humor and not teenage angst they're memorializing!

    Hang in there Roxie, and Moose & Goose, too. Much love from your Legions of Loyal Fans. . .

  5. dudley the beagle10:41 PM EDT

    Wow, you too, Roxie? I think we need a new game: six degrees of the Portuguese Cardiologist.

  6. Anonymous10:13 AM EDT

    Yo Roxie!
    You go girl!!!! I'm cheering you on from NJ. I look to you as a mentor ... for your Buddha-like wisdom and dignity (we won't discuss the dribbling while I sleep part)
    I can tell that your Moms love you so very much and send my love and licks. My mom also send her love.

    popcorn-smelling-paws up

  7. Oh Roxie, you do not go gently into that good night! Rally and rage!

  8. Six paws of the Portuguese Cardiologist? That is pretty amazing! Dudley, the moms are interested to hear what your human has to say about their decision to yank all meds and put me on hospice care. So far it's going really well -- My tinkle even seems to be a healthier color -- but they need a little assurance, I guess.

    And Dog-Eared Book -- those vids are just crazy wonderful. You have outdone yourself in uncovering cultural gems on the interwebs! Stay tuned for a new post . . . .

  9. I'm glad to read that you're feeling comfortable, sis. When you go to the sweet hereafter and meet Ms. Radner, please ask her to sing this song to you. It's one of my favorites. And when she does, I hope you think of me!

  10. Thinking of you, Roxie, and your moms.



  11. Thanks, everybody, for the continued beams of love and healing vibes. Today's big news is that my back legs seem a little stronger. Out in the yard, I can even get up enough traction to do a bit of walking! A full week without meds today, and I am still comfy and peaceful. For now, I dig the drug-free life.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.