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Always insist on dignity for treatment for older dogs



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 11th 05, 05:43 AM
Pamela McElwain-Brown
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Default Always insist on dignity for treatment for older dogs

I recently had a very distressing experience with the high-tech
critical care units at two different pet hospitals in Eden Prairie,
MN, where I live. My 17 year-old beloved miniature poodle Churchill
was admitted to prevent dehydration after a spell of g/i upset, but
then they refused to let him go.

Churchill kept trying to tell everyone when he was ready to go home --
but the staff refused to acknowledge that, and kept insisting he
remain hospitalized. I was so frightened. I was put under the gun
and told that if I took my dog home without their permission to
release him I would have to take responsibility for his dying. I was
threatened by doctors from the Emergency Clinic, from Banfield, his
regular clinic, and from Metro, a specialized clinic, by a Dr.
Goulloud who is supposed to be a genius, but was, instead nothing more
than a cold-hearted butcher.

In retrospect, the one thing I wish I had pushed for was simply that
Churchill be treated with the same dignity as any older person. He
wanted to go home. I wish I had just taken him home with me.

So, communicate with your pets, as they want and need your help in
being comfortable in their old age and last days. Please do NOT let
anyone, no matter how expert they tell you they are, and no matter how
much of the moon they promise you, come between you and your pet. You
are the only voice your pet has.

Pamela McElwain-Brown
In memory of Churchill 11.21.87 - 12.28.04
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible,
whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" A Study in Scarlet,
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1887

"Behind the Headlights: Presidential Limo" airs on the SPEED cable channel. Here is a link to the
schedule: http://www.speedtv.com/programs/323/ More at www.jfk100x.com.
"The Pretty Pig's Saturday Night", a new essay on "the SBT" is at http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/in...showtopic=2372.
Scroll down the main Ed Forum page to"Assassination of JFK", click on "JFK Online Seminars", and you will find my essay, plus many others.
Also, for more detailed limocentric questions and a backup of www.jfk100x.com please join jfk100x at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jfk100x/ (Yahoo Groups).
For information about my life away from research, visit www.themagicflute.org
  #2  
Old January 11th 05, 12:36 PM
diddy
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

in thread : Pamela
McElwain-Brown whittled the following words:
I was put under the gun
and told that if I took my dog home without their permission to
release him I would have to take responsibility for his dying.

When you refuse treatment and the end result is that your pet WILL die,
it's a responsibility you shoulder. That's not a bad thing, if you choose
to allow them to die with dignity.
Recently I stayed with a freind while she died under hospice care. When we
brought her home, the responsibility of her passing went from doctors to
me. She knew that we were giving up heroic measures (at her own request)
Our goal went from recovery to comfort. In fact, when the pain meds no
longer worked, and her body lay rotting in bed, and flesh tore loose as we
changed bandages, we prayed for this to go faster than it did. She even
asked in disgust, "how LONG is this going to take?" At that point the
mission became dying.
But it becomes a huge responsibility.
When I took my boy in to be euthanized (dog), I took the responsibility of
his death. Some people can't. They just allow their pets to miserably pass
away naturally.
That's because they are unable to take the responsibility of their pets
death. They just allow it to happen.
When you ceased heroic measures, you WERE saying "I am allowing my pet to
die" That is a decision indicating you were accepting the responsibility
and outcome.
When you realize that the outcome for your remainder of your pet's life is
not something you wish your pet to endure, and you decide euthanasia is the
kinder path, you are accepting the responsibility of your pet's death.
It's hard. You truly take on the responsibility of that pet's pain and
suffering, and take it away, and then in that decision, make that pain,
your own. It's HUGE.
And the vet's were warning you (Not threatening you) in case you didn't
realize it, just what the implications were. They realized that if there
was a chance to prolong his life, it was now. Changing your mind after
he's gone because you had guilt feelings was not an option.
If you did EVERYTHING, you would never look back and say "I wish I had done
more" Guilt can play a huge part in the grieving process, and grieving can
be difficult enough without the guilt factor entering in.
They didn't want you doing "What if's" after the fact. So they wanted to
make it clear that you understood this in the haze of emotional stress of
your pet actively dying.

When I put my pet down last summer, I stood there while they did a
necropsy. As soon as they cut him open, it was evident how much he WAS
suffering, and didn't ever let on. I didn't know, or we would have done it
sooner. That necropsy was absolutely the most conscious appeasing thing I
could have done. No questions of whether I gave up too soon. In fact, if
there was guilt, I didn't do it soon enough. I never had to question if I
did the right thing. I just got right down to the business of grieving. And
I still am 6 months later. He was the best dog ever.

I think the business of grieving is the issue that these doctors were
actually trying to address. Because it's absolutely the most difficult part
of the whole dying process. They recognized that.

I'm sorry for your loss.
  #3  
Old January 11th 05, 09:06 PM
Pamela McElwain-Brown
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Tue, 11 Jan 2005 06:36:29 -0600, diddy
wrote:

in thread : Pamela
McElwain-Brown whittled the following words:
I was put under the gun
and told that if I took my dog home without their permission to
release him I would have to take responsibility for his dying.

When you refuse treatment and the end result is that your pet WILL die,
it's a responsibility you shoulder. That's not a bad thing, if you choose
to allow them to die with dignity.
Recently I stayed with a freind while she died under hospice care. When we
brought her home, the responsibility of her passing went from doctors to
me. She knew that we were giving up heroic measures (at her own request)
Our goal went from recovery to comfort. In fact, when the pain meds no
longer worked, and her body lay rotting in bed, and flesh tore loose as we
changed bandages, we prayed for this to go faster than it did. She even
asked in disgust, "how LONG is this going to take?" At that point the
mission became dying.
But it becomes a huge responsibility.
When I took my boy in to be euthanized (dog), I took the responsibility of
his death. Some people can't. They just allow their pets to miserably pass
away naturally.
That's because they are unable to take the responsibility of their pets
death. They just allow it to happen.
When you ceased heroic measures, you WERE saying "I am allowing my pet to
die" That is a decision indicating you were accepting the responsibility
and outcome.
When you realize that the outcome for your remainder of your pet's life is
not something you wish your pet to endure, and you decide euthanasia is the
kinder path, you are accepting the responsibility of your pet's death.
It's hard. You truly take on the responsibility of that pet's pain and
suffering, and take it away, and then in that decision, make that pain,
your own. It's HUGE.
And the vet's were warning you (Not threatening you) in case you didn't
realize it, just what the implications were. They realized that if there
was a chance to prolong his life, it was now. Changing your mind after
he's gone because you had guilt feelings was not an option.
If you did EVERYTHING, you would never look back and say "I wish I had done
more" Guilt can play a huge part in the grieving process, and grieving can
be difficult enough without the guilt factor entering in.
They didn't want you doing "What if's" after the fact. So they wanted to
make it clear that you understood this in the haze of emotional stress of
your pet actively dying.

When I put my pet down last summer, I stood there while they did a
necropsy. As soon as they cut him open, it was evident how much he WAS
suffering, and didn't ever let on. I didn't know, or we would have done it
sooner. That necropsy was absolutely the most conscious appeasing thing I
could have done. No questions of whether I gave up too soon. In fact, if
there was guilt, I didn't do it soon enough. I never had to question if I
did the right thing. I just got right down to the business of grieving. And
I still am 6 months later. He was the best dog ever.

I think the business of grieving is the issue that these doctors were
actually trying to address. Because it's absolutely the most difficult part
of the whole dying process. They recognized that.

I'm sorry for your loss.


Thank you. I do acknowledge that Churchill's situation was a
difficult one. In his case, he had never been comfortably crated, and
once he was feeling better from the g/i issue, this is one reason why
he wanted to go home. Also, Churchill's treatment has included a
holistic vet who used acquapuncture and chiropractic with him, plus a
pet psychic and healer who had the best understanding of the
destructive effects of stress on him. In Churchill's case, he had
recovered from the dehydration when he was ready to leave. They kept
on adding reasons why he 'couldn't', including apparently some false
readings. It is at that point I wish I had just brought him home, to
heal or to die with me and our other dog, Lamb Chop, who is now quite
desolate and keeps looking for Churchill. I understand hospice care
and appreciate its value, and instead of catheters, iv's and, at the
end, oxygen, I just wish I had had enough force to say "Enough", and
consulted Churchill. He and I have been such a good team for such a
long time -- foregoing surgery at times in favor of more holistic
alternatives. I wish I had listened to him even more carefully during
his last days. I just hope others will benefit from my mistakes.

Pamela McElwain-Brown
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible,
whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" A Study in Scarlet,
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1887

"Behind the Headlights: Presidential Limo" airs on the SPEED cable channel. Here is a link to the
schedule: http://www.speedtv.com/programs/323/ More at www.jfk100x.com.
"The Pretty Pig's Saturday Night", a new essay on "the SBT" is at http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/in...showtopic=2372.
Scroll down the main Ed Forum page to"Assassination of JFK", click on "JFK Online Seminars", and you will find my essay, plus many others.
Also, for more detailed limocentric questions and a backup of www.jfk100x.com please join jfk100x at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jfk100x/ (Yahoo Groups).
For information about my life away from research, visit www.themagicflute.org
  #4  
Old January 12th 05, 04:50 AM
montana wildhack
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 2005-01-11 16:06:12 -0500, Pamela McElwain-Brown
said:

I do acknowledge that Churchill's situation was a
difficult one.


I'm sorry for your loss. We have been through some difficult situations
with our dogs and have found that there seem to be some difficulties
with communication between ourselves and our vets. Some of our vets
have felt that they should always err on the side of aggressive
treatment and they waited for us to tell them this was not the path we
wished to follow. It is much the same with human doctors.

How different it has been when we have made our wishes plainly known.
Of course, we've "fired" a couple of whole practices before we found a
practice where we felt comfortable in the communication with a majority
of the vets available. Your subject, "insist on dignity for treatment
for older dogs" is very true, but not often easy, as you have found.

It is a difficult situation that you have experienced and I'm so sorry
that your loss of Churchill was made more distressing.

  #5  
Old January 12th 05, 11:38 PM
Pamela McElwain-Brown
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Wed, 12 Jan 2005 04:50:31 GMT, montana wildhack
wrote:

On 2005-01-11 16:06:12 -0500, Pamela McElwain-Brown
said:

I do acknowledge that Churchill's situation was a
difficult one.


I'm sorry for your loss. We have been through some difficult situations
with our dogs and have found that there seem to be some difficulties
with communication between ourselves and our vets. Some of our vets
have felt that they should always err on the side of aggressive
treatment and they waited for us to tell them this was not the path we
wished to follow. It is much the same with human doctors.

How different it has been when we have made our wishes plainly known.
Of course, we've "fired" a couple of whole practices before we found a
practice where we felt comfortable in the communication with a majority
of the vets available. Your subject, "insist on dignity for treatment
for older dogs" is very true, but not often easy, as you have found.

It is a difficult situation that you have experienced and I'm so sorry
that your loss of Churchill was made more distressing.


Thank you so much for your understanding and support. I am waiting to
hear when Churchill's ashes will be ready for me to pick up, so I
anticipate another bout of deep feelings. I hope that those reading
this thread will find a stronger voice in times of crisis with their
pets as a result. It's snowing in Minnesota today, and about 30
degrees, some of Churchill's favorite kind of weather. He loved to
'dig to China' and make snow angels.

Pamela McElwain-Brown
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible,
whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" A Study in Scarlet,
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1887

"Behind the Headlights: Presidential Limo" airs on the SPEED cable channel. Here is a link to the
schedule: http://www.speedtv.com/programs/323/ More at www.jfk100x.com.
"The Pretty Pig's Saturday Night", a new essay on "the SBT" is at http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/in...showtopic=2372.
Scroll down the main Ed Forum page to"Assassination of JFK", click on "JFK Online Seminars", and you will find my essay, plus many others.
Also, for more detailed limocentric questions and a backup of www.jfk100x.com please join jfk100x at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jfk100x/ (Yahoo Groups).
For information about my life away from research, visit www.themagicflute.org
 




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