18 and Counting

by Shawn
(Kansas City)

My poodle, Quincy was diagnosed with diabetes in 2002 around the age of 10, and he will celebrate his 18th birthday next month (April). For the most part, Quincy has led a completely normal life, receiving small insulin injections every 12 hours without incident. Then about three years ago, he began having an occasional seizure, each time, scaring me to death. I would routinely rush him to the vet where they would hydrate him and adjust his insulin dosage. As he continued to age, Quincy's hearing decreased and cataracts began clouding his vision. While he was noticeably disabled, blind, deaf, and with arthritic hips, he got around the house and yard as if he could see perfectly. A wonderful testimony to his memory and the compensation of other senses especially smell.

Sadly, over the past year, Quincy's diabetes has become more and more difficult to control, and he has begun suffering more seizures (approximately 1-2 per month. The vet is sometimes perplexed at the cause of a particular seizure as sometimes Quincy's blood sugar is off-the-charts high rather than low. All I can say is that, like my father, Quincy is a "very brittle diabetic." And it seems that with the increase in seizures, his cognitive abilities have markedly decreased. He is sometimes confused, and often wakes up at 4:00 am to wander around my bedroom in the dark, his little paws clacking away against the hardwood floor, usually pooping as he goes. But I know that he knows me when I hold him, he eats well, and other than the seizures, does not have any acute health problems. So while my kids keep reminding me of his age and asking "how long are you going to deal with this?", I continue caring for him regardless of the distress and inconvenience because although he is old and feeble, he is receives our love and is a cherished member of our family.

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