Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Taking the Long View

In general, I'm not one of those "shiny, happy people". English is only my second language: sarcasm is my first. I'm generally a contrarian ...but I'm consistent with it: not only do I find the clouds to other people's silver-linings, I'll find the silver linings to other people's clouds.

Recently, one of my dogs was afflicted with abdominal cancer. Originally, her primary veterinary-practice vet presumed insulinoma. Subsequent imaging – first a sonogram then a computerized axial tomography (I'd use the more common "CAT" but seems odd to do so in the context of a dog) scan – combined with a non-indicative test-result for overabundance of insulin seemed to indicate that it was probably a liver tumor. Today, she had surgery …and the tumor turned out not to be associated with her liver at all: was a tumor growing off her stomach that had butted up so snug against her liver that the imaging made it look like a liver tumor. Have to wait for histology results to come back to find out just what kind of beastie it is.

At any rate, the afflicted dog was the fourth rescue we adopted ...and the third to be afflicted with cancer. The first two were euthanized because of their (untreatable) cancers. The third dog died of sudden renal failure. In short, I've plenty to be "cloudy" about – particularly when it comes to my pup-luck.

That said, all five of the dogs we've adopted have been absolutely wonderful companions. So, my pup-luck isn't completely shitty. And, taking the long view of things, I've actually got plenty to be thankful for:

  • I've been employed at a sufficient-enough pay-scale that I've been able to save aggressively not only for retirement but for "rainy days".
  • Due to the previous point, my care-decisions for the current dog's treatment have, thus far, only needed to be driven by probable outcomes rather than financial considerations.
  • I have a wonderful set of friends and acquaintances who've been wishing us well with our current canine-health straits
  • I live someplace where I have access to a number of both day-to-day and specialty veterinary practitioners
  • I live close to said practitioners
  • Those practitioners have flexible enough schedules that:
    • I was able to have my dog be seen by an emergency veterinarian within an hour of the episode that ultimately uncovered the tumor
    • Prior to the oncology-referral, the emergency vet asked to do some additional diagnostics that could have included ICU charges, but for which I was only charged the actual lab fees.
    • I was able to have very frank discussions with the emergency vet about likely diagnoses and prognostics
    • I was able to have my dog be seen by a veterinary oncologist within a day of the emergency vet's lab results coming back.
    • I was able to have a CT scan performed the first business day after the oncology consult.
    • I was able to have very frank discussions with the oncology vets about likely diagnoses and prognostics resultant of all the preceding diagnostics
    • I was able to have a surgical-consult the day after the final imaging results came back
    • I was able to have surgery performed the same day as the consult.
  • I have a very understanding employer who's been able to accommodate me suddenly needing to take time away from the office so I could take advantage of all of the above scheduling flexibility
  • I have an employer who's trying to work within their legal frameworks to help me with the financial aspects of things
  • As noted previously, I have enough in the way of savings that I don't need my employer to come up with a financial hail-mary for me.
  • Because of my financial standing, even if I didn't have the liquid or semi-liquid savings as an immediate backstop, I could probably fairly trivially pick up a 0/0 credit card to help me bridge any savings-gaps I might have had.
Now, to hope that:
  • The pathology report comes back with results that allow me to be thankful to have my doggo for another few years.
  • All of the dog-related concerns can ebb soon enough that (what appear to be) incipient health-problems for my wife can be addressed free of worry about doggo. Basically, if wife does end up hospitalized, again (fuck you, Chron's), hopefully doggo will be sufficiently on the mend that I'll be able to visit wife during her hospitalization.
Lastly, as crap as 2019 has been from a medical and veterinary standpoint, there've been enough other positives – both those listed above and those that I've not explicitly stated – that I can easily see that things could be so much worse. And, no, I'm not asking the Universe for a demonstration of how much worse things could be. I would prefer to be able to remain thankful for the luck-detour being manageable.

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