The Waiting

Amidst this weekend’s excitement, there was also a very sad time.

Early Sunday evening my mom called the farm sitter to check in on everyone.  She also wanted to see if the sitter would be available for a couple more days (and I was going to see if I could beg US Airways to waive the change fee) so she could extend her visit.

After a few minutes of conversation, the sitter expressed some concern about Shadow.  She was on the fence about whether or not to have the vet come out.  I spoke with her for a few moments; he didn’t drink much water and had very little corresponding output.  He also cut back even more on his feed and had only moved his bowels once in 24 hours.

We didn’t need to hear any more.  The vet had to come out – immediately.  My mom called the answering service, and the vet called back within 20 minutes.  One hour later he was at the farm examining Shadow.

Meanwhile in Philadelphia, my mom and I were a mess.  I wrote about Shadow a few days ago when he didn’t finish his grain.  We attributed it to the warm weather and spring fever.  He was drinking and otherwise normal.

I tried to keep us busy while we waited to hear from the vet.  I have some cool artwork, but I always second-guess myself on where to hang it.  So that night we hung six paintings.  And waited.

Finally, the farm sitter called.  Shadow was very dehydrated, so the vet gave him IV fluids.  He also drew blood and prescribed Banamine, a painkiller.  Shortly after receiving the injection, Shadow finished his grain, drank water, and followed it with the corresponding outputs.  He felt better.

We will have the results of his blood tests tomorrow (Tuesday).  I am particularly worried about his kidney values.  If he is in renal failure, there is little we can do but keep him comfortable until we have to make a very difficult decision.  But if his kidneys are okay, it might be something treatable – like stomach ulcers.

Shadow has lived a long, healthy, and happy life.  At some point – whether it be in 4 years or 4 weeks – my mom and I will have to put our selfishness aside and do what is best for Shadow.  We owe that to him.

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