The date has been set- October 2nd. That’s the date where Parker will undergo enucleation (removal) of his left eye. While I know it’s the right decision, I can’t help but be sad.
Anticipatory grief is the grief reaction that happens prior to an impeding loss. It’s not that I am grieving losing Parker all together, it’s the reality that he is being ushered into senior hood, and one-eyed senior hood at that. We were both young when I adopted him- I was a college student who had never had a dog, he a 9 week old puppy who had never experienced life. Now I’m in my mid-30’s, married and beginning a new career. He is 12, still spunky despite arthritis and intervertebral disc disease, but losing his left eye.
We never could have imagined when he had his first eye infection in May that five short months later we would be removing that eye.
But numerous trips to the Veterinary Ophthalmologist, the realization that he has no sight in that eye, so many different medications both orally and in his eye, and most importantly- the non-healing, super painful ulcer that keeps cropping up- pointed us towards the enucleation discussion.
It wasn’t an easy discussion to have. His ophthalmologist agreed it was the best route. We could try other procedures before enucleation, but they would most likely be band aids. I would have to continue medications multiple times per day in his eyes (which Parker is getting very tired of), and his eye would still be painful and we would still be living under the cloud that it could turn into glaucoma at any moment.
Parker’s eye is still painful right now. It’s the least painful it’s been in a while, but he’s still blinky, there’s still a lot of discharge coming from it. We’re medicating it with anti-inflammatory drops and antibiotic ointment multiple times per day, and he even had a course of steroids to help with inflammation. But the pain and discomfort still persist. The only way to get rid of it permanently is to remove his eye.
I know enucleation is the right thing to do, and I know he will be in great hands. The doctor doing the surgery is the same one that saved Clyde’s life this summer. Dr. Sam is a skilled doctor, one that we have trusted for many years. I don’t fear of anesthesia- I know Parker’s blood work forwards and back. I know he’s a great anesthetic candidate and that he will be getting excellent anesthetic monitoring.
It’s also worth doing now while he’s healthy, has great blood work and is a great anesthesia candidate and the eye is stable. A few days after the procedure the pain will be gone permanently, I know this. I know he’ll rock the Pirate Pom look, too. Nothing can keep that smile down- not meningitis, not crappy discs in his neck, not arthritis, not having barely any teeth, certainly not having one eye!
What kind of hard decisions have you had to make for your pets? How did they make you feel?