Bridging the Divided

Chardonnay: An Update…..

One undeniable fact of life is that we control very little. The ironic thing is we think we are in control of so much more. It isn’t until we feel helpless in the face of challenges that we realize how little control we have over anything. We get to decide what to eat, what to wear, what to watch on television, and even then, we don’t always get choices in those areas. 

Chardonnay’s sudden seizure activity has changed our daily lives. Her seizures, at first a week apart, became more frequent after the initial three. Chardonnay started having seizures every couple of days. Today we are on day five after the last one, but today isn’t over yet.  At first, we decided to take the natural treatment route and treat her with CBD oil. After her last seizure five days ago, my husband and I decided to start her on the medication the vet prescribed. 

It was Thursday evening. I had just finished talking with my mom on the phone as we do every evening. Chardonnay was in the living room sleeping on the sofa, the other dogs nearby. I was in the kitchen a few feet away emptying the dishwasher. Kaiah started barking, which is not unusual for her especially when she is playing with the cat. But I didn’t hear the usual noises of Kaiah and Sophie playing. I walked over to the sofa and found Char lying on her back, full-blown seizure in progress, blood coming from her mouth and flying everywhere. I put her on her side and tried to comfort her as best I could. When the seizing subsided a bit, I turned her over onto her stomach to see if she would stand. She couldn’t. Blood was still flying, and with every attempt to right herself, Char fell this way and that. As has been the case, Chardonnay experiences extreme anxiety following a seizure, frantically running as best she can, bumping into walls and doors. I always follow, reassuring her she is safe. During the time she is recovering from the seizure, Char is blind, or at least partially blind. On this night, Kaiah followed beside Chardonnay as she frantically ran down the hallway and into our bedroom, seemingly guiding her away from running into the walls, the dresser, the bathroom door, and the bed pedestal. As her vision recovers, Char startles easily, especially when I reach for her. I decided to get down onto the floor with her and crawl behind her on my hands and knees, softly talking to her while her anxiety eased. Once she calmed, I picked her up and found the cause of the blood. She had bitten her tongue and lips during the seizure. Tongues and mouths tend to bleed a lot more than one would think in both humans and animals. When I say blood was everywhere, it was; on the floor, doors, fireplace hearth, baseboards, and my shoes.

We are as many days into the prescribed seizure medication as we are seizure-free. The last couple of days she acts more like herself, although she has less interest in food. For the most part, she sticks close to my side, follows me from room to room, sits on my lap or by my side. Char played with Kaiah and Tasia a bit after my husband got home last night, chased a ball through the house, seeming to enjoy the playtime. Last night she slept next to my side, my arm curled around her. Usually, she sleeps near the end of the bed. I suspect she feels safer when she feels my arm around her. This may be our new norm.

I have decided against weening her from my presence as the vet suggested to decrease the possibility of seizures related to separation anxiety. I have left our home a few times since and she was fine. I think the seizure medication has taken the edge off her overall anxiety. We have decided, whatever the cause of her seizures, and for the time we have left with her, we will make sure she is comfortable, knows she is loved, feels secure, and enjoys her life…..

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