Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Day 1680

Dot is resting in the ICU after a very long and arduous day. Sometimes waiting is the hardest thing of all. I could hardly breathe until I got a call from Dot's surgeon toward the end of the day. "The procedure went exactly as expected," he told me. This is as close to joy and elation as you'll ever get from a surgeon. Surgeons are extremely matter-of-fact. This is a good thing. You wouldn't want an overly emotional surgeon cutting you open. I've talked to surgeons before and I was delighted with his short message. I could tell from the tone of his voice that the surgeon was pleased. He should be. This was a difficult and somewhat risky surgery and he had succeeded in allowing Dot to move forward and continue her journey to recovery. Dot isn't out of the woods yet, but a thumbs up from her surgeon was the best news I've heard all week.

It was a very long day. I got up at dawn to walk Dash before we drove to the cancer center to have a consultation with Dot's surgeon before she was wheeled into the operating room. You have to bite your lip when talking to surgeons. He mentioned risks that I had never even considered. I trust him though. This was the same surgeon who had expertly removed Dash's cancerous thyroid without any of the complications that are often associated with thyroid tumors. Later in the day when he called to let us know how Dot was doing, he told me that he was very glad that Janet and I had been proactive and gone to the extra step of having a CAT scan. "Sometimes, this is the only way to find these tumors," he said, adding that the growth was even larger than he expected and that if it hadn't been removed, Dot would have definitely died.

As soon as we got Dot checked in for surgery, I drove Janet across town to another hospital and we got her checked in for her colonoscopy. We both have a colonoscopy every five years and today was her turn. I basically spent the day driving back and forth between one hospital and the other. Veterinary Specialists of North Texas is much smaller than the huge complex of buildings at Baylor, but it is every bit as advanced. If you have a very, very sick pet, I would highly recommend VSNT. If I was very sick myself, I would want to go to Baylor. My own liver doctors practice at Baylor and most of Janet's doctors are there as well.

The next few days are critical for Dot. Ileus is always a risk after abdominal surgery. This intestinal paralysis is usually temporary, but if the tiny muscles inside the intestines do not begin functioning again after surgery, food can't move through the intestines causing serious complications. There is always a danger that the sutures won't hold either. It usually takes four or five days before you're out of the woods with abdominal surgery. I'm going to remain positive though. Dot passed a very important milestone in her road to recovery this afternoon.

I'm glad that Dot has so many friends. Three different vets who have Dot as a patient contacted me today to check on her progress. Her medical team is larger and much nicer than mine. Sometimes I worry about what will happen to Janet and I as we grow older and start to fall apart. Dot and Dash will always have someone to look out for them. I think we're going to be on our own.

I'm not sure if we'll be able to see Dot tomorrow. She's still pretty fragile. I hope that she sleeps well tonight and that her intestines begin working normally again as soon as possible. If we're really lucky, the doctors say she might be ready to eat a little food tomorrow evening.

Pongo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day