Friday, October 30, 2015

One Long Week

And one long post to tell you about it.

So. My vet woes continue.

On Tuesday evening, Big (my beloved German Shepherd, for anyone maybe not aware) started acting weird. He's just kind of weird in general—all my animals are (my influence, I'm sure)—but Tuesday night it was multiplied and intensified. He was agitated and restless and couldn't lay down for more than 30 seconds before getting up to pace some more. He climbed on the couch and laid down, and then began the dry heaving.

Only it wasn't really dry heaving because an insane amount of drool was just falling out of his mouth. But anyway, he was attempting to vomit without any luck of getting anything out of his system.

After about 10 minutes of this, the decision was made to take Big to the emergency vet because everything he was doing were classic symptoms of a little thing called Bloat.

In the event that you're not familiar with Bloat, it's a disease where the dog's stomach will flip or twist or both. It's a time sensitive issue that will result in the dog's death if not treated in time.

So we bundled up Big, put him in the car and tracked down an emergency 24-hour veterinary hospital. Because I would rather they had told me nothing was wrong before laughing me out of the office than take the risk of his condition actually being Bloat.

But they didn't laugh me out of the office. They did x-rays and confirmed that his stomach had, indeed, twisted, and the only treatment options were Super Expensive Surgery or humane euthanasia.

We opted for the Super Expensive Surgery. I am so very grateful that we were in a financial position that allowed us to take the Super Expensive Surgery option. I was not ready to say good-bye to my boy. Truth be told, I will NEVER be ready to say good-bye to my boy. I understand that I will have to someday, for he will not live forever, but I wasn't prepared for it to happen on Tuesday night. So if there was a chance that this surgery could save his life, we were going to do it.

Well, we wen't going to do it. We didn't go to veterinary school, but you know what I mean.

Now, I'm sure this has been made clear upon multiple occasions on this blog, but in case it hasn't, I am the dog mom from hell. I'm the dog mom who's so involved with her dogs that she correctly diagnosed Bloat within ten minutes. Which is great if you're saving your dog's life, but is probably less great if you're, say, a vet tech at a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic and your job is to tell me to go home and leave my dog in their care. If you're curious, it went a little something like this:

Vet Tech: All right, you can go home now.
Me: Yeah, you'd like that, wouldn't you?
Vet Tech: Very much.
Me: Too bad—I'll be camping out in your waiting room until my dog can come home with me.
Vet Tech: That will be days.
Me: I hope the chairs are comfy. Unless, of course, you'll let me stand in the operating room and then the recovery room. Would you? I'll be real quiet and just stand in the corner, I swear.
Vet Tech: Please go home.

The Man finally got me to leave by reminding me that I had another dog and two cats who also needed my attention. So I went home and paced until the doctor who did perform the surgery called me at 1:30am to tell me that Big had made it through surgery and stood a good chance to survive the night. (Amazingly enough, this did not make me sleep better. Or at all.) Because the problem had been caught so early, there was no dead stomach. (Also, learning the phrase 'stomach death' could be applied to her dog, does not help over-involved dog moms sleep, either.) The doctor promised to call me again later in the morning to give me another update.

That update consisted of, "He's doing well, and if he continues to do so, he could probably go home on Thursday." And then, when I pressed for details, the doctor added, "You can call as many times as you want to check on him."

Challenge accepted.

The vet techs I spoke to were all very, very polite and professional and reassured me each and every single time I called that Big was still marching down that road to recovery. But I imagine that on the inside they were more like this:

Me: Hey, it's me again.
Them: No shit.
Me: How's my dog?
Them: You know, when we told you you could call as many times as you wanted, we were just being polite.
Me: TELL ME HOW MY DOG IS!

I told you, dog mom from hell. That's me. I make no effort to deny it.

It was determined that Big—after eating, normal bowel movements, and repeatedly breaking out of his recovery room and walking around as though he owned the hospital (also, my influence, I assume)—could come home Thursday afternoon. One would think, after being told that I could finally bring my dog home, that I would have been pleased with this news. Instead, I was more...suspicious.

Me: You're sending him home because he's healthy enough to do so, right? Not because I won't stop calling you?
Them: He's healthy enough, we swear.
Me: Really?
Them: Oh no! The hospital is going through a tunnel! We're losing you! *click*

So, Big came home with a foot-long surgical incision, five different medications, and a Cone of Shame the size of a satellite dish (he gets great reception.). We have to keep him calm and quiet and sequestered in a small area to help protect his stitches, which will be removed in two weeks. This means that I am, once again, restricted to working only when Big is asleep, which obviously happens, as I was able to write a blog post roughly the length of a David Foster Wallace novel. (Just don't ask how long it took to write...)

But it's okay.

Because I still have my boy.


But please, oh please, oh please—let this be the end of our vet visits for a while!

32 comments:

  1. Way to go super perceptive Dog Momma!! That cone is most impressive too, by the way!

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    1. I know! I just had to laugh when I first saw it.

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  2. So, so glad Big is doing better and home now! And I'm crossing my fingers for you that it's the end of vet visits for a long time....

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    1. My credit card's doing the same thing. :)

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  3. So glad you caught it in time! And a blessing you were in a position to pay for the surgery. (Sad how many people can't.)
    How many channels does Big get now?

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    1. Such a blessing, for which I am immensely, beyond words, grateful.

      And Big gets all the channels now. Even HBO...

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  4. That is one lucky hunk of a dog and you are lucky humans! Get better really fast, Big!

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  5. I grew up on a farm and we had cows die of bloat. I was saw my dad save a cows life by stabbing it in the right spot to relieve the gas before the stomach was twisted. There was a vet who tried this thing where they rolled the cow back and forth on its back. Not an easy thing to do. So glad your boy is all right.

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    1. No, I wouldn't imagine that rolling a cow back and forth on its back would be easy at all. Wow!

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  6. Goodness! It does sound like a long week, but I'm so glad you were able to realize what was wrong, take action, and have a healthy--or getting healthier--doggy again.

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    1. I am, too. I have nightmares now over what would have happened if we hadn't taken him to the vet when we did.

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  7. Vet visits are rough.
    I used to scoff at the idea of pet insurance, but...

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    1. Our visits certainly have been rough lately. And yeah, I used to scoff at the idea of pet insurance, too.

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  8. What a week you've had! But at least it all turned out for the best. Except for your wallet.

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    1. Yeah, the wallet took a major hit this week. But it, too, shall recover. Probably.

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  9. Aww, I'm so glad he is okay and home again!! I can imagine how frightened you must have been. I would have been calling all the time too. Unfortunately I've been there with the super expensive treatment but of course never regretted it. The last pic of Big with his cone is so precious!! Hugs to you and to him. :)

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  10. Aww, poor Big. At least you were able to get him fixed up and healing.

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  11. Oh no! Poor Big. I'm glad he's better. You are fantastic for opting for the expensive surgery. I would've done the exact same thing. From one animal mommy to another, I get what you mean by Vet's thinking we're a handful. They always seem to think I'm crazy when I explain my dog's symptoms. But, nobody messes with our kids, right? We just want the best for our babies. I also hope this is the end of the vet visits. I bet you're stressed our after the drama of the past weeks. Wishing you and your kids well. Have a great weekend.

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  12. Oh, poor doggy :(. I'm glad he was able to get the surgery. And that the vet didn't file a restraining order on you. He looks perfectly happy in his cone of shame there. I hope he heals up well.

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  13. I'm so glad Big is better now. Good for you for recognizing that this was an issue and not something that might have gotten better overnight. That's why he got treated so early.

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  14. I never even heard of Dog Bloat until recently, two dogs last years of friends got it and it wasn't acted on quick enough. Glad he is doing better.

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  15. What a week! Glad you caught it in time! Lots of hugs for Big!!! ;)

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  16. I'm so glad this story has a happy ending! :)

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  17. I'm so so glad Big was ok! I would've acted exactly the same as you, if anything like that ever happened to one of my pets. I grew up on a farm too, so although I'm familiar with stomach twisting in cows, I have to confess that I've never heard of it in dogs, but I'm definitely going to be looking up the symptoms! Hope Big is recovering well at home :)!

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  18. That happened to my brother's GSD and having worked at a vet I guessed before you said. I remember a poodle that died once from it...very sad. So glad your guy is home and being a conehead! And I'm with you on not wanting to leave your dog. Why can't there be a recovery room where we (their parents) can be with them as they wake up?

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  19. Poor boy. I'm glad you caught it in time. He's beautiful.

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  20. Oh my! Poor Big. I'm happy to hear he's doing better. I'm sure the vets have seen scarier dog moms than you, and no, that's not a challenge! ;)

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  21. I'm so glad that your dog is doing better. Healthcare in general is cause for many bankruptcies, and animals need healthcare too because they are a part of the family. In my opinion, you did the right thing. It's the decision I would have made. I hope your dog stays healthy for many years.

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  22. I'm so glad you were on top of things and knew just what to do. I would have been completely clueless. And I'm SO glad your Big is going to be okay!

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  23. Good job at catching it on time! Get better soon, Big!

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  24. Never knew about Bloat till now, but ack, how scary! Thank goodness you caught it when you did, and that you guys were able to opt for the surgery option, too. Glad Big's finally home and recovering well!

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