Friday, March 29, 2013

Excuses, Excuses

If you follow Lodekka on Facebook or Twitter, you may have noticed that I've closed early several times over the last couple of months. I want to share with my customers and friends what's happening on the home front so they know why my hours have been a little unpredictable as of late.

The day we found her in Bandon
My Border Collie, Ramona, has a very severe case of epilepsy. She's only four years old and we've had her since she was 8 weeks old. She's our baby. She's the sweetest, most gentle dog you could ever hope to meet. But she's been afflicted with a neurological disorder that causes violent seizures and almost unbearable post-seizure behavior. She goes blind, she can't walk, her temperature rises quickly, she cries, she pants and "paddles," which looks like she's sprinting while lying on her side. It's so painful to watch. She only exhibits these behaviors in the middle of the night, so my husband and I are awakened from a deep sleep to deal with an all-out crisis. Her condition has worsened to the point where this is happening every single night.

During these episodes, we have to immediately spike her medication, give her ice cream to raise her temperature, move her off the bed so she doesn't hurt herself, then act as human straight jackets while she paddles violently. We used to give her valium rectally to interrupt these side effects, but it's been making her more hyper lately so we've discontinued it. This means that we have no way of calming her down; we just have to wait it out. Once her post-seizure behaviors subside a bit, I just lie down with her on the living room floor until we both fall asleep. Sometimes this process takes and hour, and other times it takes four hours.

Ramona at 10 weeks with Bun Bun
We've tried almost everything to help her, but we only have a few more things to cross off the list. We make her food at home, we give her supplements to support her liver, she's getting acupuncture, she only eats fruits and vegetables for treats and she's on three intense anti-seizure meds (which I have very mixed feelings about). The next step is imaging, but the vet feels pretty confident that it's not a brain tumor because it's affecting both sides of her body equally.

My husband and I don't sleep much these days. Thankfully, we have very different work schedules so one of us can be home with her most of the time, and we alternate who attends to her in the middle of the night. We also have a very caring roommate who loves our pooch and keeps a close eye on her when we're not at home. As you can imagine, these circumstances make us feel pretty isolated. We value our freedom, but Ramona's condition makes it impossible to travel, hang out with friends, stay out late - and we have to go to bed early because we know we'll be awakened in the middle of the night.
Ramona at 12 weeks
I mention all of these things because there are times when I have to close the shop early to be with her or open late because of an episode that either kept us up all night or occurred in the morning. It pains me to do this, but I don't really have a choice. I do my best to post changes to my hours on Facebook and Twitter, but I understand that not everyone checks social media outlets before they visit my store. I sincerely hope that Ramona's health returns and I won't ever have to apologize for closing unexpectedly again.

I also wrote this post because I'm hoping to find other pet owners who have had similar experiences. I've met a lot of people who grew up with epileptic pets, and it's always comforting to hear that their four-legged friends lived full lives. Ramona's situation is different. Her disorder isn't responding to the drugs or lifestyle changes that help other dogs. If you've experienced something similar with a pet, I'd love to hear your story.

I'm ready for my dog to be healthy again, and I'm eager to put more creative energy into my other baby, that big old bus on Williams Avenue. Thanks to everyone who has supported me during this challenging time, and please keep Ramona in your thoughts and prayers.


7 comments:

  1. Oh, bless her little heart. I wish I had something to offer in the way of a remedy, but just wanted to send warm wishes to you, Ramona and your family.

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  2. Sending you and Ramona lots of xoxo and wishes for calm and peaceful nights. Poor little bean.
    Pam

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