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December 3, 2000
three years ago

Spending Time With Fezzik

Fezzik was lying back out on the lawn when I got up and I went out to pet him and to see how he was doing and I found that he'd had diarreha all over his back end. John and I dragged him away from his mess and then hosed him off and put him on a clean patch of lawn to dry off as we had our breakfast. Bacon and waffles and I took the last of the waffles out to Fezzik along with a bit of bacon. He ate those happily, though he did hesitate at the last piece of waffle, I think more because they were a little dry than anything. I sat with him for a little while and petted him until he seemed comfortable again. I think he gets ashamed when he shits on himself and it just was good to tell him that he was okay and that there wasn't a problem. John brought out just the ground beef portion of his dinner and he only ate half of that. Just not that hungry.

He's moving even less today, and his eye's running more. We brought him in for a little while when he was dry and John said that he was just starting to realize that Fezzik just wasn't going to be getting any better. Not at all. We both cried, and I just let John cry and cry and get it out and realize it and feel it and get hugged. I think he was going through what I went through yesterday. Fezzik started licking John's leg, knowing, as usual, that John was really upset and, being a dog, wanting to comfort him. That got us both really crying for a while.

Fezzik got hugged and petted and cuddled a lot and he eventually just fell asleep right there. Too tired for much more. So we just watched TV and did a few things around the house and at noon, we took Fezzik to Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone.

Fezzik couldn't get up, didn't even try to sit up when we opened the back to feed him the cone. He did, however, eat it as fast as he could anyway. He managed to spill some of it on himself, but didn't seem to mind at all, and we cleaned it off of him. He enjoyed the eating of it. We got a few things at Safeway and on the way home, Fezzik made a few retching sounds, but didn't throw up. Instead, he settled, looking unhappy and queasy on the floor of Borax and just lay very still until we got him home.

John wanted to work on the car, and Fezzik was lying on his bed around the corner of the garage again and looking, again, a little bit curious, but instead of going towards the door, he headed, when I picked up his back end, for a little bit of the garage where he could be out of the wind that was starting to pick up and could just see and hear John. So I helped him go there and I got his bed and laid it partially on top of him and then picked up his front end to put him mostly on it. I had to ask for help from John to get him completely on his bed, and that worked. He just lay there like a half-dead dog and panted hard, coughing for a bit, before just settling to half doze and half watch John work.

I went inside and ate lunch. John was having stomach problems, and I knew I needed something more substantial than ice cream as I was starting to feel bad, too. I reheated the roast and a few of the side dishes. I couldn't finish everything and mused that I had already long lost the dog that would spring to his feet if I dropped something under the table. I had even lost the dog that would sit right at my elbow, drooling for just a bit of what I was eating. We've already lost a lot of what Fezzik has meant to us, a little bit at a time.

I mostly listlessly stared at things, went out to just pet Fezzik and sit with him a little, helped John with his diagnosis of the starter problems he was having, and then went back inside and put things together so that I could dictate for a little while. John finished what he was doing, and came in and asked me to help him bring Fezzik inside. So I helped John bring Fezzik inside and on the way in, while my right hand was failing, I stepped right on John's toes, really hard, and he was swearing pretty hard by the time we dropped Fezzik on his bed by the couch. Poor John, poor Fezzik. I couldn't help it, I just started laughing, half hysterically, half with tears. Fezzik lay half against the end of the couch, where he'd been half-dropped and watched me while John just shook his head and we hugged. I left John petting Fezzik and watching afternoon football, and I went upstairs to dictate and write.

It's so very, very odd, writing about the times while Fezzik was still doing okay with his mobility, when he's doing so poorly. While I have a debate raging inside as to how much longer he has to endure shitting himself and lying around waiting to die. Whether the moments he has of enjoyment around the ice cream cone or being cuddled are worth the hours and hours of him just lying around, unable to do anything, and just waiting for us to magically do something with him. Also reflected that he pretty thoroughly killed my half-imagined connection of us being home and him getting better by being so very much worse while we were around this weekend. It's just the cancer. Nothing we can do about it. He's very tough. He's lasted almost a whole month without chemo at all and he got better for a while, but it was a matter of just a couple of days for him to turn it around for a bit last time.

This time he's not turning it around.

After I got a bunch of entries out, John came up to tell me that Dune was about on. All the time I was dictating I was sniffling, coughing and sneezing. It had started last night with the cats at the house we were at, I thought, but it really seems, now, to be a cold. I actually have a head cold, which might be why I was feeling pretty bad the last few days and I'd been sitting outside with Fezzik in 40 and 50 degree weather, using freezing water on him and lots of other things I just did. So I went downstairs. John said that Fezzik had mostly just slept, that his lungs aren't doing well at all, and that he got petted and eventually wanted to go outside, so there he was. I cooked chicken fingers for John and I while he heated up leftover side dishes, and we ate. We brought Fezzik back in for his dinner, and he ate everything up as I put chicken fingers in with the ground beef and he enjoyed all that. I also fed him his vitamins and glucosamin by offering them to him a few times, until he just decided to eat them.

We watched Dune and Sunday Night Football and petted Fezzik until he wanted to go back outside. We then talked over tomorrow. First the whole raging debate that was going on inside came out and John had the same doubts and the same worries. If he is any better tomorrow morning, John will just go to work. If he isn't... it's been days, now, that he's been really bad. Dr. Biller said that we'd know when he didn't have any energy, couldn't get around, and wouldn't eat for days at a stretch. When there just weren't any good days anymore. It was pretty obvious, from today, that Fezzik can no longer get anywhere he wants to go without our help. With us he can go only a few places, and it's not even really evident that he enjoys more than a few moments.

Between the two of us, I think we'll make sure that we're not just rushing into it. And between the two of us, I think that we'll also do the responsible thing when things just are only worse for Fezzik down the line. One thing that had John choking up was if Fezzik got a lot worse while we were away at work and coming home only to find Fezzik agony, when Fezzik never really had to hurt at all in the first place. We did the chemo in order to improve the quality of his life, not just the quantity. And it's very obvious that the quality of Fezzik's life got a whole lot worse since Friday and that this big step down on top of all the other steps, all the other things we've lost in the last few months, was most of his life.

Still. It's hard.

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