Love, Loss and Losing Remi
To say the past few years have been fraught with loss is a complete understatement. Some days, it feels like the hits just keep on coming.
I’m sick of dealing with grief and trauma.
One of the biggest myths people hear is “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Hah – I beg to differ.
I totally understand that life is messy and challenges abound. But in the midst of grieving one loss, I find myself grieving another. And another.One of the biggest myths people hear is “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Hah – I beg to differ. Click To Tweet
In the beginning of July, my precious Remi seemed to have some seasonal allergies. He was coughing and sneezing and occasionally spitting up some tummy ick. A bit of allergy medication worked for a while.
Until it didn’t.
In contact with our vet almost every day, I’d update his symptoms, gave him smaller meals, monitored his symptoms, and off we’d go for a check-up. His blood-work looked good, he lost just a pound or two since January, he was playing and eating, but snubbing water. His voice was a bit hoarse. But my biggest concern wasn’t just the persistent cough and more vomiting, but that he fell going up two steps into the kitchen.
Off to the vet, where he was diagnosed with a pulled muscle. So, a few meds to quiet his allergies and stomach upset and a pain med/muscle relaxer for the pulled muscle. This worked for a few days.
Until it didn’t.
Waking up early one morning, I had a horrible thought run through my head. I was afraid to go check on Remi, because I hadn’t heard him cough or bark. I knew his throat was irritated, but I could set a clock to him waking me for breakfast time.
He was excited to see me, but I knew something was really wrong. I quickly dressed, brushed my teeth and ran him up to the vet.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the vet tech came out to the car to usher me in the office with Remi’s vet. Remi was particularly anxious, and the vet wanted to speak with me.
“Something is very wrong with Remi’s legs. I’ve been running his symptoms into a database, and I believe you need to get him to the emergency vet clinic as soon as possible. He may have myasthenia gravis. That is way beyond the care we can give him here.”
I started to shake and tear up.
What the hell is Myasthenia Gravis? According to healthline.com, “Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a neuromuscular disorder that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles, which are the muscles your body uses for movement. It occurs when communication between nerve cells and muscles becomes impaired.”
What the f#ck??????? And this disease can happen to humans or animals.
“Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a disease that interrupts the way nerves communicate with muscles. In order to understand this disease, you must have some understanding of how things work in the normal situation.” – Wendy Brooks, DVM, DABVP
I was shaking too hard to read Dr. Brooks’ article while waiting at the emergency vet. The article, printed out for me by my vet, goes into details about this disease. I am posting it here, so that pet owners can educate themselves. It is not as uncommon as it may sound.
As the rest of my family met up with me at the vet, we decided to start testing to – hopefully – rule out this diagnosis. Maybe he ate something in the yard, or had acid reflux.
But, when the x-rays were finished, the results were not in Remi’s favor. It was found he had megaesophagus, “a condition in which the esophagus loses the ability to contract and move food down into the stomach. Subsequently the esophagus becomes dilated and any food or water that is consumed will simply remain within the esophagus until it is passively regurgitated… Megaesophagus can occur due to a large number of underlying diseases. Diseases that your veterinarian may test for include myasthenia gravis, hypothyroidism, hypoadrenocorticism, toxicities, infectious disease, or other neuromuscular diseases.” – Washington State University
A blood test would have taken 7-10 days to confirm MG. Unfortunately, Remi passed away before the results came in.
The night Remi died, we all took turns with him, trying to get him to eat or drink. He kept trying to get away from us. I was crushing his meds, mixing them with water, and coaxing them down his throat. I was laying hands on him, praying, “God, don’t take our dog. God, please. We’ve been through too much loss. God, save my dog.”
And at 2 a.m., I was rushing Remi to the emergency vet while my son held Remi in his arms.
We barely got him out the car and parked when the vet tech called and said Remi “was on his way out.” That precious dog waited for us to be away from him to cross the Rainbow Bridge.
I cried all night, all day and the next day. I still cry for him. Remi was my unofficial therapy dog. He helped me on days that my trauma therapy was too much. His silly, playful puppy-ness made me smile on the hardest of days.
I clung to him after Sarah died. Remi got me out and moving on daily walks when I had no energy to even think.
My anger at God and the world was off the chart. Really, God? Really? You couldn’t save my dog?
The outpouring of sympathy was amazing. One card verse read, “No pet could have had a more loving home than you gave yours.” Tears rolled down my face. Another card, “Sometimes there’s just not a roll (photo of toilet paper) big enough for all the sh!t you’re going through.”
Both – true statements.
I contacted the rescue where we adopted Remi, so they could contact his siblings’ families, in case this was a genetic auto-immune disease. Hopefully the other dogs can be tested, and there will be no evidence of the myasthenia gravis.
As I have said in previous “Love, Loss and …” posts, grief produces trauma, and trauma produces grief.
Trauma and grief also bring about the question of “why?”
Why are we going through this horrible season of loss? Why my granddaughter? Why my dog? Why all the other trauma in my life – all the original things I was working on before adding even more grief and trauma in my healing journey?
Godspeed, my precious Remington. Remi. Remino. Remy Martin. All the cute names we called you. Thank you for healing our hearts after we lost Jack the Dog. If I could describe you in one word, Remi, that would be joy. Pure joy. Thank you for being a small – yet huge – portion of my healing journey. Thank you for being my photography assistant and a wonderful walking companion.
Thank you for licking the tears of grief off my face these past few years. I know you and Sarah Boo – who loved you so much and enjoyed walking with us – greeted you with a big hug. I know you greeted her with a nuzzle and a kiss. I know that you both will enjoy your time together of play, running and being free of the bizarre diseases that took both of you from us way, way too soon.
I love and miss you both more than my words can express. And while it was short, thank you both for the love and lessons of life you shared.
(ps-part two of this “puppy tale” will bring some good news)