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Dizzying Intellect » Pooch Tales

Category: Pooch Tales

Better

He’s Home!

gs-home.JPG

I’d like to never do that again, please. Not the worst ten days of my life, but almost certainly the most stressful.

Misery

God, what a day. My dog was walking around during the night, as he’s always done, and woke me up when he fell. I helped him back to bed, and noticed that he was favoring his left front paw. That’s not one of the legs that gives him trouble, so I figured he banged it on something in the dark, and we went back to sleep.

Get up in the morning, and he can’t stand up. Won’t even try, really. So I slide a towel under his belly and hoist him up, and he won’t even touch the ground with that paw. He’s old and his back legs are arthritic, so none of the rest of him was getting up, either.

Called the home vet, who came out, checked him over very carefully (G really likes him, which is weird for a vet) and pronounced it neurological. Get an xray. So he helped me get him to the car (translation: picked him up like a baby and freaking carried his 120 pound tuchus thru the house, down the back stairs, across the yard — stopping to induced-pee — and into the car), and we went to our vet, since the emergency vet’s xray machine was down.

My vet sedated him and took the films, then we waited two hours for the drugs to wear off. The sedative she chose to use (of her three options) was the safest but can’t be reversed, and has some weird physical effects as it wears off. Then we got him back into the car and drove to the emergency vet, so the radiologist could see the films.

Then there were the tornado sirens.

The doc there (the only other doc G’s ever seen that he liked — i.e. didn’t try to eat) said it could be brain, spine, or cancer, basically. Best case, it’s just inflammation in the spine, and the anti-inflammatories will knock it out tonight. He did a blood test to rule out one kind of cancer — if that had been positive, he would have shoved us in the car during the tornado and told me to drive to Columbia to see a specialist tonight.

As it stands, he’s spending the night there and we’ll see how he looks in the morning. I still may get to make a long drive tomorrow, or we may wait until Monday and see a specialist here. I’m just waiting for traffic to die down to take him food and meds, and to see him (and cry all over him) again.

To summarize: I’m wet, cold, miserable, broke, and I want my dog back.

So that’s my day. How was yours?

Update - 6/7 8pm - I never realized that I was an optimist until this weekend. I genuinely, seriously believed it was going to be ok. It might get expensive, and the physical rehab might be bitch, but that G would be fine eventually, and we’d get back to our boring old lives. (Which is now painfully, achingly obvious from the jokey entry above.) I just got back from Columbia, and it’s a brain tumor. I had to leave him, and they’re going to do a few tests this weekend to see if it’s metastasized. If not, they’ll do an MRI on Monday to see if it can be helped.

I’m not going to be talking about this in other entries, by the way. And this entry may disappear until I can handle it. I don’t care if my changing the subject so fast makes it look like I don’t care. This is the love of my life, and the last piece of my heart will go with him. I can’t talk about it with strangers, beyond that.

Update - 6/8 8pm - The doc just called with my twice-daily update and said that when they towel-walked him outside to pee this afternoon, he stood on his own. No walking, but he could stand. I know better than to think this is more than a fluke — my optimism has already smacked me upside the head once this weekend — but they’re all so positive and professional and kind, that it’s hard not to have a tiny glimmer of hope. We’ll know more after the MRI.

Update - 6/9 2:30pm - The doc called and left a message while I was in a meeting. The MRI’s done, and she thinks it was actually a stroke, not a tumor. Strokes are pretty rare in dogs (not as rare as previously thought, she told me this morning, now that they have MRI technology to identify them), and as bad as it sounds, this is probably the best case at this point. You can recover from a stroke.

The other doctor told me, when she called at 9am, that when they went to check on him this morning, he was standing in his kennel. That he stood up on his own, without help. I didn’t want to say anything until I heard about the MRI. I still don’t want to say it, really. I feel like I’m jinxing him. She’s going to call back when he wakes up from the anesthesia.

And now I have to go into the bathroom and cry some more.

Update - 6/10 8:30am - I just want to clarify one thing, because I know this misery is different for everyone. I wouldn’t let G suffer just for my own heart. He’s not in any pain. He has some arthritis (and an artificial hip) but the Deramaxx and Glucosamine/Chondroitin take good care of that. He has amazing range of motion for his age — I watched three different doctors fold and flatten him like a pretzel, to the point where I was actually nauseated at how far his legs would bend in the wrong direction, and he showed no signs of pain at all. The stroke just knocked out his left side. It doesn’t hurt, it just wouldn’t work.

The worst part of this, especially when they were so sure that it was a brain tumor and he wouldn’t likely ever walk again even with surgery or radiation, was that I might’ve had to euthanize him for “convenience” reasons. He’s in great shape, and other than not being able to stand, his quality of life is very high. He eats regularly and loves to play and snuggle and go for walks. But he’s 120 pounds. I can’t lift him. I don’t know how I could live with myself if I had to put him down just because I couldn’t physically get him outside to pee. I can’t express how relieved I am that I went ahead and had the MRI, expensive as it was, instead of giving up. (Not that I would fault anyone for going the other route. Everyone has their priorities, and I certainly wouldn’t tell anyone to take food out of their kid’s mouth to pay for an MRI.)

Here’s some info on strokes in dogs, if anyone’s interested.

And thank you all so much for your concern and best wishes. It means a whole lot to me, and I hate that so many of you are suffering too.

Update - 6/11 1pm - I drove down to Columbia last night and stayed in a hotel so I could see G this morning. When I went into our little meeting room, the neurologist was towel-walking him in (one person!) thru the opposite door. But when he saw me, he broke away from her and ran across the room to me. (!!) I mean, it was only 3-4 steps, and then he sat down and alternately licked my face and beat me to death with his e-collar, but still. He tried to get up a couple of times in the hour that we were together, and couldn’t, but then I got up to call in the doctor, and when I opened the door and went into the hall, he got up and followed me out. (!!!) Again, he laid down pretty fast, but even a few steps is amazing.

The neurologist showed me the MRI scan, and I could see the infarctions in his brain — one in his cerebellum (obviously) and one in the thallamus. They think he has Cushing’s disease, because his pituitary and adrenal glands are enlarged, he has an adenoma (a benign tumor) on his pituitary. The increased hormones from his adrenals are making his kidneys not work quite right, and he’s losing proteins in his urine — one of which affects clotting — and now we’re back to the stroke.

If Internal Medicine confirms that it’s Cushing’s, and finds that he can handle lots of anesthesia, she wants to do radiation to knock out the adenoma, because this could easily happen again. Radiation takes five. freaking. weeks. of everyday treatment. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Woofalot

I found the prettiest little boxer running around in front of my house this morning. She came right to me when I called her, and I locked her in my yard so she doesn’t get run over.

She’s obviously an indoor dog, her skin and fur are perfect and her feet are softer than mine. Somebody must be looking for her, but I’ve been walking around the neighborhood for an hour, and no one’s out calling for her.

I’ll post pictures later. So cute.

Update: She and Big G do not get along.

Update: Her daddy just came and got her! Yay!

w00f!

I liked the Barney video. It wasn’t as funny as the Christmas Barney video, but it was still pretty cute. No mystery that I’m a dog person, I guess…

But I couldn’t get the pooch to watch it. He looked up when Barney barked, but he never watches tv the way some cats do. I’ve heard that dogs can’t even see the picture on a tv, because of the resolution, but I swear he used to watch that pretty little pregnant blonde girl with the hispanic last name on the Weather Channel…

puppy news

the pooch is going into board-and-train next week, which gives me a chance to finally go home and settle up my house. i don’t know how much i’ll be able to get done in two weekends, but it’ll have to be enough.

and then i can spring the pooch in time for halloween. any last votes on his costume before i decide and place an order? i’m not sure how/if either one will fit, but the bandito one is apparently fairly loose, and the pimp one is one-size-fits-most. and the sleeves look loose, which is one of the two parts i’m most worried about fitting. i wish i could see how the back fastens. he’s very barrel-chested.

and here’s the pictures from 2002. i’ll find the one from 2001 eventually.

ground zero

these are a few of the pictures that i took on november 11, 2001.


they’re popups, as usual. click for the big versions, and i’ll post that part of the story later today sometime.

see all that beautiful blue sky? that sky used to hold two lovely ladies that welcomed me home, whenever i managed to make it home. it’s not time to be healed yet. if you are, i’m happy for you. but unless you saw it and smelled it and dreamed about it, don’t presume to tell others how to feel.

mudbath

i swear i’m going to take my camera to the off-leash one day, just to show off how muddy the pooch gets. as far as i can tell, he had never been swimming before i took him to the far-away-park-with-the-lake a few weeks ago. i had to hike my shorts up and wade out into 32.5

veggie pooch

yum. fresh broccoli and spicy three pepper hummus. and the pooch loves it too. i don’t know where in the fuck i got the karma to find a dog that loves broccoli - a dog that loves me *and* broccoli - but i’m sure somebody in nirvana is being beaten for allowing it. he doesn’t just lick the hummus off, either, so shut up. the only takeout i’ve ever brought home that made him *bark* to get a bite was sag aloo - spinach and potatoes in lovely indian spices. he doesn’t even bark for pizza.

and he loves guinness too. a vegetarian irishman in a past life, clearly, my fuzzy angel.

pooch, redux

he’s home (and wondering why the hell i had to use the flash). thank you all so much for your best wishes.

pooch addendum

hooray! the pooch’s surgeon just called and said that he’s coming out of anesthesia and doing great. she said he’s been really good with the techs and students, too, very snuggly and calm. he has occasionally tried to bite doctors in the past, so i warned them, but she said that everyone said she should take the sign down, because he’s so sweet. that’s my boy.

they’re still going to watch him and keep him overnight, but i can go get him at 10am tomorrow. :)