Estimate Schmestimate: Bowser’s Update 4/16/13
Estimate: An approximate calculation or judgment of the value, number, quantity, or extent of something.
I beg to differ on that definition. Instead, I think it should read:
Estimate: I’m going to tell you this much lower number so that after you are convinced and committed, I can then rape you with the real cost.
Okay, so I’m being a bit ridiculous but had I known how much yesterday’s Barium study would cost me, I would have said “no”. My reasoning? When I talked to Bowser’s vet on Friday, he estimated $150-$200 for x-rays to check for a blockage. I wanted to try the x-rays because the alternative would be for Bowser to be back under anesthesia for another surgical procedure (the scope and biopsy of the esophagus). Given his age, that he just had surgery a few weeks ago and his current weak condition, the vet and I didn’t think that the scope was the best idea. So, $150-$200 sounded like a reasonable quote and something that I could do to try to figure out what was happening with my best bud. When I showed up at the vets to pay the bill, I about shit my pants when they told me the bill was nearly $400. WTF? It doubled? I did talk to the vet prior to paying the bill and he told me that when we talked on the phone, he forgot about the charge to mix up and administer the Barium, that he did an additional x-ray and that Bowser’s meds added more charges. Damn. Had I known it would have been that much, I would have really re-thought the scope. At least then we would have gotten more definitive information. Needless to say, I got in trouble when Larry got home because he thought that I got taken advantage of.
So, now on to the results… the x-rays showed no obvious obstructions in Bowser’s esophagus. While that is good news, it’s also frustrating because we still don’t know why Bowz can’t eat without regurgitating. The vet took 4 films; two before administering the Barium, one immediately after the Barium and one a short time later. Barium is a chalky substance that is used as a contrast medium in x-rays. Not only does it allow hollow structures to be imaged but it also can detect any blockages that may be present. The Barium did hang up a little in one spot of the esophagus but not enough that it concerned the vet. On viewing the last film, you can see all the Barium made it to Bowser’s stomach.
Now what? Well, we are no closure to really knowing what’s happening with Bowser. While we don’t see obvious obstructions on the x-ray, we have to keep in mind that cancer rarely will show on one. We are now trying to treat him as if he has a bacterial infection in his stomach. Bowser will continue taking the Prednisone and he’s had 3 other medications added. I swear the dog is taking as many medications as I do! Bowz is now down to 1 dose of Prednisone a day. Added to that is Cerenia (a nausea medication) once a day, Amoxicillin twice a day and Metronidazole twice a day.
Bowser is holding steady, even though on Saturday, I thought he would die. After Bowz ate on Saturday, he started to regurgitate so I let him outside. He went into the yard and started getting sick and just about the time I got to him, he walked off and then kind of collapsed on the ground. I ran to him and fell down beside him and began to stroke his fur as I bawled like an infant. As the sun set behind us, we laid there in the grass for nearly 30 minutes before we could both pull ourselves together enough to go back in. I spent much of that night crying but I promised Bowser that I would do better the next day.
On Sunday, I kept my promise and Larry and I dedicated the day to Bowser. While I knew that I wasn’t promised tomorrow with my best friend, I knew that I had that day and I sure as hell wasn’t going to waste it. On Sunday we did all of Bowser’s favorite things and the day was about him and him alone. Bowser went “bye-bye” in the car, he laid in the grass in town, he ate ice cream at Baskin Robbins, he got to wee-wee on a fire hydrant, work on a race car, pretend to drive a semi and most of all, he got to be Bowser. Sunday there were no tears shed, no regrets felt and no love lost. We lived in the moment for all 86,400 seconds of the day and no matter what happens, that can never be taken from us.