On Thursday, I got nothing done. Zelda had a vet appointment at 4PM and I spent the day trying to drown my worry in puttering. Laundry, re-organzing cupboards, washing dishes, wiping down the floor, folding clothes in different ways… Eventually, we made it to the vet, who ruled out a urinary tract infection or kidney problems. That left, as I had suspected, hormone-related urinary incontinence.
Don’t ever google canine dementia.
It’s not something you want to know anything about if you love a dog, not unless you’re forced to.
Zelda started the incontinence medication on Friday morning. It takes between 5-10 days to take effect, so the fact that she’s peed in the van multiple times since then does not mean that she’s got dementia, not yet. But the incontinence really is getting dramatically worse — she went from an unexpected accident inside in February to peeing on my bed on April 13th, to doing it again a week later, then three times within a week, then yesterday three times within the day.
I am… well, somewhat distraught, actually. It’s not just the peeing, although that’s obviously uncool. Yesterday she managed to pee on two fitted sheets, two pillowcases, and a top sheet! Plus the floor, plus a rug, or maybe two rugs. Fortunately, I’m parked in a friend’s driveway, so there was a washing machine nearby.
But she’s also not eating well, she’s doing weird things like burying bits of food around the van (so not okay), she’s sleeping on the floor instead of my bed, and, of course, every odd thing she does now looks like a symptom of dementia to me.
I don’t think I could possibly be living a worse lifestyle for a dog with dementia. And my vague thoughts of settling down by renting a room from someone are obviously impossible with an incontinent dog — I can’t imagine how stressed out I would be, if I was that tenant.
After I lost B, I realized I needed to develop a Zelda Loss Survival Plan. I can’t remember if I wrote about it, but I really did take it seriously. I knew that if losing B was bad, losing Z was going to be… well.
Anyway, I was walking her this morning and realized that the fundamental problem with my ZLSP is that it also needs to be a LZSP — a Losing Zelda Survival Plan. If her loss isn’t a lightning bolt, but a long, slow nightmare that includes the possibility of her no longer recognizing me, no longer knowing who I am, becoming aggressive… yeah, I need a different plan.
I have no idea what that plan looks like, but it probably starts with taking one minute at a time. And in this minute, it’s a lovely day in Florida. It’s probably going to get too hot, as always, but my window is open, I’m listening to clucking chickens from the neighbor’s house and chirping birds, and there’s a cool breeze.
I haven’t managed to get any writing done at all in the last week — haven’t even tried! — but I am working on a project that I should finish my part of today, and then I’ll try to get back to Grace. And the project that I’m working on — well, maybe I should save the details for another blog post. But for me it involves listening, not writing, so it’s a novel experience. WordPress just tried to change “novel” into “lovely” and I wouldn’t describe it that way — I actually find it sort of uncomfortable and torturous — but I think the end result is going to be excellent. And in the moment, it’s a really good distraction from worry. Perhaps my LZSP should include immense focus on work?