I take back everything I said in my previous post about Med Vet–they are some of the nicest, most empathetic people I’ve ever come across!
Bailey had her surgery on Tuesday–Dr. Schertel called me around 10:30 am to let me know the surgery was done and she was in recovery (I also found out later that he called my vet, Dr. B. to let her know what was going on). It was actually 2 surgeries–the first one was to “strip” the 2 sub-lumbar lymph nodes. They did that through an incision that runs from about 3 inches below her rib cage nearly to her little “private parts” down her abdomen. The 2nd surgery was to remove the left anal gland–an incision that runs a little over an inch out from her anus.
We picked her up on Wednesday afternoon. Poor little sweetheart–she looked like some demented Poodle groomer had gotten ahold of her. Her front legs had Poodle puffs around her “ankles” then she was clipped down to her skin around her “calves” with her “thighs” being furry. She has a bare skin patch on the lower part of her back, and her little heiny is totally bare all the way around her private parts and her underbelly up to her rib cage (gives new meaning to “bare-ass nekid!”)
The incisions look healthy, but scary. She has stitches and metal sutures in her belly incision. The little incision off her anus has stitches.
They told me to keep the e-collar on her at all times–but she doesn’t rest well with it on. She behaves as if she’s being punished. So I’ve spent the past 3 days in the bed room with her as much as possible to keep an eye out that she doesn’t mess with her stitches (thank the Good Lord that I can work from home!). She’s stayed mostly quiet. I’ve not had much sleep.
We’ve had 2 traumas.
Trauma 1: Around 6pm on Thursday, Bailey vomited. This was scary because I got the e-collar off her just in time for her to urp (I had only put it on her 15-minutes prior, this was the defining moment for me and the e-collar–I now hate it as much as Bailey does). I heard her whining–she hardly ever whines–I popped off the collar and she threw up a mass of yellow bile (will need to get the stain out of the carpet soon), with a little bit of kibble thrown in (I had managed to hand-feed her 8 kibbles that morning). I called Med Vet. This is where my mediocre opinion about them changed.
I spoke with Dr. Jenny Lang–she works with Dr. Schertel and had been part of my original consult with him. She was more concerned over the vomit than I was (WHAT??). She told me to discontinue the Carprofen–she thought that might be upsetting Bailey’s tummy. She was also a little worried that Bailey had not been eating (see Trauma 2). She said she could prescribe a new pain med from a local pharmacy, if I thought it was needed, and for me to call her back in the morning.
Around midnight Bailey was restless–up to now she had seemed mostly sleepy and content to lay in her bed. I called Med Vet. The Emergency Room vet tech was incredibly empathetic to me–she took the Walgreens phone number (God bless the person who decided that Walgreens would be open 24/7!), and she contacted Dr. Jenny to find out what pain med should be prescribed (probably woke her up at home!). By 1:30am I was giving Bailey her new pain med (Tramadol) and by 2am she was fast asleep. (All of this happening during a massive snow storm–when I drove to Walgreens the only other vehicles I saw were snow plows!)
Trauma 2: Bailey has not eaten anything since Monday night–the night before her surgery. On Thursday morning I managed to hand-feed her some kibbles, but she urped them. When I spoke to Dr. Jenny on Friday morning she said to try anything to get her to eat–chicken and rice or canned food. I called my vet (wonderful Dr. B.) and got a prescription for EVD Low Residue canned food.
OMIGOSH! I gave her a couple of healthy tablespoons with a little chicken broth and you would think she was starving the way she attacked her food! (I guess she was, poor baby, with nothing in her tummy since Monday night!). We did small servings all day on Friday. She seemed to be a little perkier.
At 7pm Mom and I sat down for supper in the great room (first time that we’ve had supper together since Monday night). Guess who joins us! Little Miss Puppy Butt comes out of the bed room (she had not voluntarily left her bed since she came home), not at her usual frisky trot, but at a kinda nervous gait plopping herself down at my Mom’s feet (the best spot for fallen tid bits). She stayed there the entire time we ate supper, then minced nervously back to her bed.
Later on, she “asked” to come up onto the bed with me. She has not done that all week. Around 4:15 this morning she jumped off the bed before I could lift her down and headed for her pee pad. She did a massive pee (first time she’s used the pee pad since the surgery–I’ve been putting a coat on her and “forcing” her to go outside to pee–she hasn’t wanted to leave her bed). Then, wonder of wonders (!), she started to do the poopy dance.
[OK, if you're reading this you probably think I'm nuts, but my dog exhibits definite, definable movements when she's getting ready to have a bowel movement. She does a poopy dance. I don't know how to catalogue it, but I can recognize it when she does it. Just like I can recognize the way she moves when she is uncomfortable (like when she joined us for supper last night). Her moves are fast and jerky, her tail is at half-mast, and she moves to her destination without stopping for anything--not even an interesting smell.]
The whole BM thing has had me worried because–remember–she has this incision held together with stitches at 8 o’clock coming off of her anus. But out popped 2 little poops with no apparent problem! They came out easily, and she did not seem to experience any pain when they did. I felt like doing my own dance. Bailey re-settled herself on her bed with the opinion that I was silly to be dancing around the bedroom in the middle of the night.
Her stitches/sutures come out next Friday. We will also see the radiologist then. I am not convinced that I should put Bailey through radiation or chemo, I hate the idea of making her suffer anymore than she already has! But I’m going to hear what the radiologist has to say.
These past couple of days I find I am able to talk about Bailey’s cancer without crying, maybe I’ve begun to accept it (even as I type this I feel my eyes stinging and tearing up). And I am amazed and humbled at the number of friends and acquaintances who have come forward, asking about Bailey and offering support. I’m still not in much of a holiday mood, but I’ve begun to think I might make it to January.