Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Which end is which? Rudy the Therapy Dog

AviatorDave & Rudy the Therapy Dog
Therapy can come in all forms, sometimes with four paws. It's Wednesday, and I remembered to take along my cameras to the radiation clinic so I could try to capture the essence of Rudy the Therapy Dog. He passed his therapy doggie exams a few weeks ago, so I've been told. I have no idea what this entails, but it sounds like an entitlement for him to be spoiled rotten in an institutional setting, I'm guessing, without running the risk of biting the cancer patients.

It's hard to resist his little Ewok-ian face, although without that handkerchief it's not very easy to tell which end is which. His fountain-like tail reminds me of a short-haired version of Cousin Itt from The Addams Family. This morning I followed Rudy down the hallways with my digicam, trying to get a clear shot of him in action. Ever try to take a photo of a pet with dark fur? A blob is what you get most of the time. Dr. B (our radiologist) gave me the best tip:

"Send Rudy running down the hallway, then while he's at full speed call his name. When he tries to stop, he looks like a mop!"

I'm skittish around animals I'm not familiar with, but David takes to all animals very easily, and they love him. He makes them feel calm. He has that same effect on people, too.

David himself has been very calm these days, in contrast to my puddle of anxiety. I may not look anxious, but inside I'm a maelstrom. Category 5. Our friends have been very supportive and helping us deal with our situation, but there are all sorts of limitations -- proximity, mostly -- that can't easily be overcome. My dear chums have taken great pains in the past couple of days to help me find my sense of humour, which I'd lost for far too long... to that point where I didn't think I could find it again. It took much phoning and bandwidth -- Skyping and photo uploading -- to warm up Ye Olde Funnybone, that other form of therapy I sometimes find rather elusive. I'll get it all back, I know -- it's just... very rusty at the moment. I'm generally a sanguine melancholic in times of crisis, but lately my inner melancholic has become my epidermis.

Meanwhile, a ray of light made its way in: David reported getting out of bed this morning involved less pain. This means the higher intensity of radiation he's been receiving is finally working (he's halfway through his 10 sessions of spine treatment), combined with the new chemotherapies he took in yesterday. Prior to yesterday, there seemed to be no end to the increasing pain to David's back and bones due to metastasis; with each passing day he seemed to be getting worse. Both the radiologist and oncologist expressed their concern and informed us yesterday of new strategies to deal with the spreading which involve new drugs and frequent monitoring, but we accept there's a certain amount of experimentation involved and responses to treatment vary by individual. Needless to say, we'll do whatever it takes to gain improvement -- any at all.