Joanne Carson. A true heroine to me
Just read that Joanne Carson died. She was notable as Johnny Carson’s ex-wife, but to me one winter night in Colorado as I lay on the floor trying to calm my two year old Dalmatian, Roscoe, during grand mal seizures.
The internet was a new thing back then, but a search for treatment landed me on a small bulletin board of women who also had dogs with canine epilepsy. Joanne had written the book on the treatment of canine epilepsy. I was panic stricken with Roscoe’s seizures and had received almost no help from local vets.
They put me in touch with Joanne, who downloaded a voluminous treatment regimen that she had worked out with her own medical doctor that included keeping a large amount of liquid valium on hand to be given to Roscoe with a catheter, and a phone number to call her. She promised would personally take my call and walk me through inserting the catheter and administering the valium.
I went to the vet with the sheets. At first, he did not want to give me the medicine, but after calling his professor at the University he graduated from, wrote out the prescription. It also sent the pharmacist into overload, because he did not know it was for a dog instead of a human and was taken aback by the dosage. It likely would have killed a human.
One bitter winters night Roscoe went into grand mal seizures again, and also began the ragged breathing that usually signifies the death rattle is near. I frantically retrieved the Valium, syringe and catheter, and called her. True to her word, she walked me through it all, and waited patiently on the phone until Roscoe began breathing normally again.
Working with the vet, we got Roscoe medicated to the point that the seizures were not so frightening, and though I kept the Valium at the ready, I never had to use it again. Roscoe live with us another eleven years before passing. I still miss him.
And I mourn the passing of Joanne, who also comforted another dying acquaintance, Truman Capote, that I chronicled on earlier.