Today I'm less frightened and more hopeful about Buster. I'll backtrack.
Wednesday night and Thursday morning were rough. Buster seemed critically ill. I had an appointment Thursday morning that would bring me to the Upper East Side, and since I'd be nearby, I had been planning on some museum-going from my New York City to-do-before-moving list. Allan was home with Buster and could take him to our own vet, for injections and meds to until we saw the specialist on Monday. Allan convinced me that there was no point in changing my plans, and even I could see that the distraction might be good for me.
I first went to the Met, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is the museum I grew up with, where I learned to appreciate art. My mother started taking me to the Met as a little girl, and only later did I realize how lucky I was to have one of the world's great museums only a day's outing away. Yesterday I wasn't trying to take in a large chunk of Met, only to purposefully bounce around. A Laura's Favorite Art Tour.
Mostly I wanted to see the Rembrandts and Vermeers. They weren't easy to find, which was fortunate, because on my way there I got a peek at some Matisse (one of my favorite artists), Picasso and Van Gogh, and wandered through some art by some new friends, the ancient Assyrians, Babylonians and Egyptians.
There was a special exhibit on Matisse and his textiles, which looked great, but it was as crowded as a subway platform, and I passed on it.
Walking through the galleries, I realized how much I had needed this respite. I felt like the art was not just distracting me, but soothing me. That it was healing.
Eventually I found Rembrandt and the Dutch Masters, including what is probably my favorite painting in the world, Vermeer's Young Woman with a Water Jug. I find this work beautiful beyond description. I just stood there drinking it in.
(I see the Met uses this painting on the link for its permanent collections. Nice.)
Then winding my way towards an exit, I spent some time in the incredible Michael D. Rockefeller wing, the Met's African art collection. I love the African masks and sculptures, I find them so powerful and expressive. Lovers of modern art should not miss this; it's the roots of Picasso and all the modern masters.
Then I walked down Fifth Avenue to my favorite museum, and one of the truly great spaces of New York City, the Frick Collection. The Frick is one of several New York museums housed in the former mansion of a robber baron. It's a small, brilliant collection of very fine paintings and sculpture. You can see the whole museum in an hour or two, which I think makes it the perfect size.
It also houses a serene courtyard with a fountain and pool, that is an oasis of cool and calm. I won't even attempt to describe the courtyard, because I can't do it justice. There are some nice photos of the Frick here, but none of the courtyard. And even a decent photo like this, can't capture how it feels to leave the sights and sounds of 21st Century Fifth Avenue and walk into this tiny slice of paradise. If I say it's one of my very favorite spots in New York City, you'll know how I love it.
It was blazingly hot outside, and I sat on a marble bench in the courtyard, thinking of Buster, my heart very heavy (and my eyes very wet).
After a while I roused myself to walk through the galleries. It's a very eclectic collection. There are Dutch Masters, Velasquez, El Greco and Goya, Turner, Constable and Gainsborough, Veronese, Medieval art, exquisite Limoges. The great calling card for me is New York City's other three Vermeers, including Mistress and Maid, now known as "the girl with the pearl earring," from the book of the same name.
I was sorry to see admission to the Frick has become so expensive. I'm sure $12 is prohibitive to many people. There's a $5 student admission, and admission includes an audio guide, which is nice.
Though still very worried, I felt much restored. It was nice to be alone. But more than that, the art itself restored me. Neat how that works.
Later in the evening, I had a phone consultation with the internist (specialist vet). She had reviewed all of Buster's records, and believes she sees a pattern. She said all of Buster's many health issues may be caused by a hormone imbalance, an auto-immune disease like Addison's (which is similar to Lupus). She listed the typical profile of a dog with Addison's and it exactly described B. What's more, she said the condition is highly treatable. It's corrected by a synthetic hormone; many dogs with Addison's live happily into old age. Music to my ears.
All this time, I have been wondering if Buster's various problems could all be caused by one underlying disease, and asking if we were perhaps missing a big picture. Finally, someone answered yes.
This morning we are taking him to this specialist for a blood test. She doesn't even have hours today, but she's coming in to the animal hospital for us. She'll take blood, then we leave for an hour, then come back and she'll take another sample.
We'll have the results on Monday morning, when our appointment for colonoscopy was originally scheduled. If the blood test is positive, we'll discuss treatment and start him on the hormone. No scope, no surgery. If it's negative, she'll do a colonoscopy. Naturally I'm hoping the test is positive.
Just knowing this is a possibility has given me great hope. B's stomach is finally quiet and he is less sluggish and more himself today. And we'll know a lot more on Monday.
Thank you all so much for your good wishes. They mean a lot.