mardi 13 juillet 2010

la Maladie du maître médecin, Baccarat at the ENVA d'Alfort

l'Ecole Vétérinaire Nationale d'Alfort
Maisons-Alfort, France

Baccarat is here. She spent the night in intensive care, and I have not been so exhausted in a very long time. There is the exhaustion that sleep helps, and there is the exhaustion that remains when sleep is done. I have not told this story in more than fragments in an email here, a text message there, a post on Facebook, or a message. Our Baccarat is very sick. I will tell the story, but she needs me now, and so the story will have to wait.

She has a 5 cm mass in her heart that was initially believed to be in the right ventricle, but is in the right atrium. It appears likely that it is subsequent to a renal issue, but we are waiting for the results from the tests that were performed last evening and this morning, and I am on my way to go spend the afternoon with her, perhaps bring her home. Tomorrow is Bastille Day, and if there is any chance that she is better off there, that is where she will remain because she could not be in better or kinder care. The ENVA at Maisons-Alfort is the reference in veterinary education, training and care in France, and she has had the chief of cardiology consult on her case.

They say hers is a rare case. They have decided to call it "la Maladie du maître médecin" because the only other one they have seen was in a dog whose master was a doctor, too.

We watched her grow weaker as the afternoon passed, but after her long series of cardiac and abdominal sonography, in quiet, darkened rooms with hands holding and stroking her head, paws, tummy, she had a better moment and looked out the windows before lying down, still looking more like her old self than I had seen in days.

That's what touch and love can do. That is what they are unafraid to offer at the CHUVA (Centre hospitalier universitaire vétérinaire).

She is an amazing, wonderful, distinct person. Once you meet Baccarat, there is no mistaking any other Labrador for her. She is imperfect, and she is beautiful. She is loving, and she is funny. She lives with us and makes her place, a very large place I have not always seen a loved animal inhabit so completely. She is present and ready, and to see her hardly able to fill her own paws and respond is terrible for us. Friends who love dogs tell me she is strong and we have to help her fight.

I need to go see her now.

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