On April 7 there was a dramatic change in Sasha’s condition which lent more urgency to the situation; she suddenly lost her vision. I mean she literally woke up BLIND! Other than the decreased mobility and fecal incontinence since the prednisone taper she was absolutely fine when she went to sleep the night before. I know she had full visual capacity as she tried to eat the smaller dog’s food, barked at animals on the television, and looked directly at me when I called her name. I spent all morning April 7 trying to emotionally process this incomprehensible change. I immediately sent an email to her neurologist but if necessary, there was a veterinarian ophthalmologist in the specialty group where Sasha was treated for her PFD. Fortunately, just last month her internist at the practice said she would deviate from their usual protocol and accept Sasha as a routine patient. I still can remember the terror that overtook me that day and how completely overwhelmed I was. Her internist is off on Thursdays so I couldn’t talk to her and the neurosurgeon was in surgery and I wasn’t going to listen to his tech ~ wasn’t happening. I called my specialty vet practice back and asked if there was any way Sasha could be seen by their ophthalmologist only to learn she was also off on Thursdays. I’ve always had an excellent relationship with the staff and the receptionist was kind enough to email Sasha’s basic records and all her recent reports from the neurosurgeon to the ophthalmologist at home. The ophthalmologist actually emailed back in a relatively short amount of time. She said that in her professional opinion Sasha’s sudden blindness was connected to her neurological/spinal issues and that she could see Sasha the following week but in all probability would refer me back to the neurosurgeon. I accepted that but once again, I had that nagging feeling in the back of my mind. Sasha’s assumed disk compression was in the lower end of her spine; as a nurse I couldn’t rationalize how a disk compressing the lumbar (lower) end of her spine could also affect her cervical (upper spine) thus causing sudden blindness. I also kept going back to how Sasha’s overall health went to “hell in a hay basket” when her prednisone was drastically tapered. The neurosurgeon called me later that day and said he would get to the bottom of it when she came in for surgery which was still four days away.
Meanwhile Sasha became extremely depressed. She slept most of the time and had to be coaxed to eat. I also noticed another very unusual thing; her sense of smell was off. Sasha was a Schutzhund trained tracker so this was almost as alarming as the blindness. We have hardwood floors throughout but went to a local flooring and tile store, Northland Flooring, where we’d purchased the hardwood plus tile for a recent bathroom remodeling. My daughter explained our situation and the woman kindly gave her a stack of square carpet samples that were recently discontinued. She said if she could help us in any other way please stop back. There really is an advantage at times to small community living. I laid the carpet samples in a trail on the floor leading to the kitchen and back door. I bought a scented spray and spritzed the carpet squares hoping Sasha might regain her sense of smell; sadly she didn’t. Our house looked a bit like Goodwill Central because I wanted the old type bath rugs with non skid bottoms and the only place I could find a few were Goodwill. I really didn’t care ~ I just wanted to do whatever possible to help Sasha as I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to wake up blind. We moved some smaller furniture like end tables out-of-the-way because she would plow into them and it hurt my head to see. My husband made a makeshift ramp for the 2 steps leading out of our back door. Fortunately we have a very large back yard that is fenced in with a 6′ chain link fence but still have a storage building with an attached open end for drying firewood plus shepherds hooks in the ground with wind chimes.We knew we just couldn’t turn her loose out there so walked her on the leash, something she has ALWAYS hated.
By the third day of blindness Sasha was returning slowly to her former self ~ personality wise. I would take her in the front without a leash because she’d always loved it there. We live partially up a mountain and are high enough up that the road isn’t visible and no neighbors. She walked gingerly and banged into the bird bath a few times but for the most part it was a great improvement from her initial depression. I had began sleeping on the sofa in the first floor great room when Sasha started losing her mobility after the prednisone taper and continued because of her visual loss. We don’t really have a noisy household but I did notice that once everyone turned in at night and the house because quiet Sasha would begin to wander; getting stuck in corners, under the dining room table and just generally restless. I had recently seen a blurb about Spotify having a Doggy Soothing Playlist so I installed it on my iPad mini. After everyone went upstairs, I would turn on the music and make us both a piece of toast. I’d cut hers into strips and she would approach the sofa and eat one strip at a time. Then she would lay down near the sofa and sleep until morning. I was really happy that she adjusted to her new bedtime ritual within two nights.
I began to settle down a bit and was looking forward to Monday Apri 11 which I prayed would bring an end to this craziness. I wanted Sasha to have the best quality of life as possible.
💜Next up ~ D Day💜
I’m not a savvy blogger so unsure of menus, icons etc. To see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day, please click here.