Thursday, September 9, 2010

Update on Miss Lils

I am happy to report that Miss Lily is doing great!  She is 10 days post op and had her first full meal of her regular diet tonight.  She ate all of it, a little slower than usual but she did finish it.  She is still on pain medication and is still taking three different antibiotics as well as pepcid.  She will be done with some of those meds by the end of the weekend.
Yesterday I removed her e-collar while I could watch her because she got her bone and wanted to chew on it, she can't chew it with the collar on and looked pretty pitiful when she couldn't.  Today in the time it took me to go to the bathroom she was barking at someone outside, I of course rushed to get her back inside.  I am sure whoever it was, was terrified of the silly looking dog with the satellite dish on her head!  I am hoping she can have her staples out this weekend after she has her recheck with her doctor.
I am much more optimistic that she will do well now and am only mildly nervous and worried as opposed to terrified for her well being.
Thanks to all who have offered their love and support.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Update on Lily.

So Miss Lily got to come home last night.  She ate when she got here, out of my hand I think she may be getting spoiled.  This morning she ate out of her bowl.  She is really happy to be at home.  The dog pack is happy to be back together again.  Suki gained some weight hanging out in the hospital with Lily all week so she is going to need some exercise.  Lily got to sleep all night (well six hours, before she had to eat and take medicine) with no one bugging her, and she is brighter today because of it.  She is still on a ton of meds, and she is not completely out of the woods but I am definitely more hopeful rather than scared (but still a little scared).  I feel like I dodged a bullet with this.  I managed to get sick since I have been not getting sleep and doing school and work.  So tomorrow we will spend the day together. Here is a picture of her in her bed.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Update on Lily

Just wanted to post a quick update on Lily.  She looks a little brighter today and is happy to see me when I am there.  She had to have a fresh frozen plasma transfusion early on Thursday morning to help with her low protein and it also has great anti-inflammatory qualities.  She is still on three different types of fluids, three antibiotics, pepcid, and anti vomiting meds (all injectable).  Her pain is finally well controlled and she has just started taking one oral medication. She has not had any vomiting but is still refusing to eat. Her prognosis is still guarded, and all is not perfect.  I am still really scared and am trying to spend as much time with her as possible.  I have had very minimal sleep and food but it is worth it to lay in the dog run and take little naps with my Lils.  It was great today to wake up and rub her belly and feel her stretch with contentment.  I will keep updating this so you all know what is going on.  Thanks to all that have offered their love and support, it means alot.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

You Need a Kleenex, but I Promise it's a Happy Ending(so far)

So for the last couple of months Lily has been intermittently vomiting.  Now at my house this is not a big deal nor a tragedy.  Vomit happens when you have 4 dogs and 3 cats.  The rules are: as long as the said vomiter continues to eat, acts normal, does not have diarrhea and the vomiting does not become excessive, little attention is paid to the vomiting.
Well Sunday night while I was at work Lily broke one of the rules; she was vomiting excessively.  She vomited 8 times in a couple of hours.  So she saw  Dr. Turner, and had blood-work (normal) and radiographs (pretty normal), she got a couple of injections and instructions on oral meds and such.  We went home and went to bed, I was exhausted after working all weekend and nervous about the Fall semester starting the next day.  Monday morning I woke up and expected Lily to bounce out of the bed and come eat breakfast and be fine.  None of that happened.  She did not bounce and when I made her go outside, she just lay in front of the door and most alarming she had zero interest in eating anything. Worried, I headed off to my first day of school worried about my dog.  I came home and she was very depressed, would hardly get up and as she came out of the office, she regurgitated water all over the floor at my feet.
Next step, back to the hospital.  She saw Dr. Ramirez and  at that time, had an elevated heart rate (180) and was showing a pain response upon abdominal palpation.  Dr. Ramirez decided it was time to start her on IV fluids, anti-vomiting injections, acid reducers and antibiotics. She was also scheduled for a cardiac echo and abdominal ultrasound with Dr. Melmed on Tuesday.  I helped get her started on all of this stuff and then went home to sleep as I had to start my clinical rotation at the hospital on Tuesday morning, (despite being very worried about Lily, I had a great time). I called and checked on her before I went to bed Monday night and she was basically the same if not more depressed.  Tuesday morning before I went to clinic my phone inquiry turned up more of the same.  As soon as I got home from clinic duty I called again, her echo had been done, her heart looked great however, her abdominal ultrasound was disturbingly inconclusive.  Her stomach was dilated and had alot of fluid in it, she had an enlarged lymph node and several areas of her small intestines were dilated and had thick walls.  Dr. Melmed didn't find any obvious tumors and no obvious foreign body. Lily was still very depressed but had not regurgitated anymore despite the manipulation during her ultrasound.  Dr. Ramirez said that the next step was to do an abdominal exploratory (for the medically uninclined that is exactly what it sounds like, you open the abdomen and explore) or try conservative treatment for another 24 hours and see what happens.  At this point she was worried about some kind of GI cancer that would be hard to see with the ultrasound or x-rays.
So here is what I was faced with at this point.  Something had to be done, when I got to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon Lily was miserable.  She would barely lift her head to say hello to me and was urinating where she lay.  She was extremely depressed and painful.  The last time Lily had general anesthesia she was unable to walk on her own for about 36 hours due to her myelopathy ( nerve disorder affecting her spinal cord, causing generalized weakness in her hind end that makes her gait awkward, lovingly so of course).  Plus Lily is 11 years old, has chronic Ehrlichiosis that keeps her white blood cell (the cells that fix you when you are sick) count low, has had ACL repair (think football running backs) on both knees, back surgery and is allergic/sensitive to a bunch of drugs. Do I let her stay on treatment that isn't working so great and see what happens, leaving Lily to spend what could be her last day on this earth in a cage away from me? Do I cut her open, to see what is going on in her belly and possibly have to euthanize her on the surgery table if she has some sort of cancer?  Do I let her go to surgery and if there is something bad wake her up and take her home and euthanize her there?  This decision had to be made while I was hysterical with grief.
Luckily Dr. Turner was there for me to tell me what she would do if Lily were her dog (and also what Dr. Ramirez already told me she would do), and that was to take her to surgery, open her up and if there was something bad and unfix-able we would euthanize her on the table.  So I took her into an exam room with her fluids, Suki and a bed for all of us.  We lay there like three spoons in a drawer for 3 hours while we waited our turn for surgery saying goodbye to the best dog that ever was.  Any dog owner will know how hard this is, and anyone who knows Lily and myself on a personal level knows how especially hard this was for me.  I thought about all the times Lily was there for me when I was sad.   I told her thank you for all the times she shared my joy and wallowed with me in misery, with her calm quiet wonderful demeanor.
I thought about the first time I laid my eyes on Lily, she was the ugliest/cutest thing I had ever seen.  She was 6 weeks old, and had a dog bite wound on her face which was how I ended up with her. She had a  giant pot belly that was so round and pink and soft. Her foot pads were pink with adorable black freckles on them.  The dog bite wound on her face was swollen but her red freckled nose was adorable. She looked like a soft pink and white piglet.  As we lay there, I promised her I would always remember when she was new.
I thought about and reminded Lily of our many adventures, like the time we drove cross country with My friend Martin and his two rottweilers Buddy and Lady, we spent 24 hours in a car three fun filled days in St. Louis (Martin and I into trouble and drunk and Lily diving and swimming in the pool with Buddy) then the 24 hour drive back.  Martin had to leave his dogs in St. Louis which was sad and consequently, the reason for the trip. Lily kept him company all the way home while he was grieving.  We used to go to the dog beach pretty regularly and sometimes the nude beach where Lily would catch her Frisbee for hours and enjoy her favorite past time, sunbathing.  She kept me protected on my 2 mile walks to work every morning in Long Beach California as well as keeping me company at work all day.  She tolerated countless foster dogs and cats over the years without complaint.  She moved with me to Texas in an over crowded, noisy moving van (another 24 hour marathon no stop trip) also without complaint.
When it was our time to go to surgery I held her in a giant hug and tried not to be too upset because that freaks her out.  I was pretty unsuccessful at that.  I went into the kitchen at the hospital to wait for Lily's fate.  about 30 minutes later I was told that she had a foreign body in her pylorus (the end of the stomach before it enters the small intestine) that extended to her duodenum (first part of the small intestine).  It was a piece of a stupid rope bone that was thrown away a month ago.  That's right my crazy stoic pit bull has had a fairly large piece of a rope bone stuck in her stomach for a month.  This was exceptionally good news considering the circumstances.  We were still unsure as to weather she would be able to walk and the site where the surgery was performed was pretty bad, lots of ulcerations.  It will probably heal but we are no where near out of the woods yet.
After 4 hours of sleep I am here at the hospital sitting in the dog run with Lily, Suki, this laptop and my coffee typing out this blog.  Lily is doing great so far.  She got up on her own and walked outside, she is maintaining her temperature and seems as close to pain free as you can get after major abdominal surgery. The important thing is she is right here next to me and I can touch her anytime I want.  She will have some blood-work later in the day and we will go from there.  The hope is she just continues to improve and can go home this weekend.  I will post updates here for all to see as well as on the facebook.
Looks pretty comfy right?