DeDe has arthritis.
Part of me is relieved that that’s all it is.
Part of me is not. Arthritis is not just a condition to live with. Arthritis means DeDe is in pain, and from the looks of things, she’s been in a great deal of pain.
It also means that she has yet another condition that, while treatable, she will not recover from.
Now there are two arthritic animals in my home to worry about. Neither can tell me how he or she feels. At least with Bubba Cat, I knew something was wrong when he started hiding all the time. But DeDe tries so hard to please me, she may have been in pain for a long time now and me not know it.
There are many questions swirling around in my head.
How much pain is she in?
Is it worse for DeDe because of her other health conditions?
How will I know if the pain is so great that it’s time to say, “enough?
As companion animals live longer, there will more of us who are asking ourselves these questions. And it’s something we need to start encouraging people to consider when they take on a companion animal. I know it wasn’t in my mind when I brought DeDe into my home.
I’m fortunate in that I’m able to afford DeDe’s medications, which now cost over $200 a month. She also requires a special diet, and her food is expensive. There are many people who love their pets who simply could not afford to meet the needs of a dog like DeDe. That doesn’t make them bad people.
In addition to the impact on DeDe and Bubba, I have to consider the others who live here. I also have to consider myself.
I have no lie to tell- I’m tired. With a high-stress job, the need to find a new place to move, and now two geriatric patients to care for, I’m about at my limit.
For now I am watching to see if DeDe appears to be in less pain.
And I’ll say a prayer for the rest of us out there who are caring for elderly companions.