Vomitoria and Aspiration Pneumonia
A few of you know that our older Dane Levi has been seriously ill for a few days. This is going to be a series because, as much as I wanted to make it a “long story short” kind of thing, there is just no way to do it. Please excuse the lack of polish; I’m writing this as much for catharsis as I am as an explanation for why I’ve not kept up with the blog and comments. Not only will this be a series, but it will be serious. I’m breaking from my normal humorous missives to share a bit of my life from the past few days. This is about my dog Levi. He’s a Great Dane who means more to me than most people. The past few days have absolutely been My Darkest Days.
Levi had been vomiting regularly. We took him to the vet for a multitude of x-rays and that’s when we found out that he had an enlarged esophagus. We knew that was possible last year when he had surgery for a partially twisted stomach. But it wasn’t till this last spate of vomiting that we were afraid something was really wrong. He vomited everywhere! Rugs, brick hearth, sofa, dog beds, wooden floors and every other floor, too. He was not discriminating when he picked his places. I think he imagined himself to be Roman rather than a Dane. Why you ask? Let me take you on a tangent as you know I am fond of doing.
Legend has it, though it’s now been debunked, that the Romans had rooms called vomitoriums. More accurately, vomitoria, but it’s all myth so what does it really matter? These vomitoria were said to exist for the purpose of vomiting in order to continue to gorge food at the infamous Roman feasts. Levi probably thought the entire house was a vomitorium because he didn’t realize that the definition was incorrect. Silly dog!
Vomitoria existed as passageways for the large amphitheaters like the Coliseum with the idea that people could rapidly exit, kind of like…well, you know. Now that we have the myth out of the way, I can get on with the frightening story about Levi. The problem for my poor boy wasn’t just that he wasn’t absorbing food and getting skinnier by the minute. The acute problem was that he had inhaled a foreign substance and it caused Aspirated Pneumonia. You know how it feels when you swallow something the wrong way and it goes down your windpipe? Levi had done this in a big way and it was causing a deadly infection.
The problem for my poor boy wasn’t just that he wasn’t absorbing food and getting skinnier by the minute. The acute problem was that he had inhaled a foreign substance and it caused Aspirated Pneumonia. You know how it feels when you swallow something the wrong way and it goes down your windpipe? Levi had done this in a big way and it was causing a deadly infection. We knew it was bad, but we didn’t know just how bad it would turn out to be.