Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day 1899

I've been on pins and needles all day. Time passes very slowly when things are completely out of your control. We got up early this morning and drove Dot to the veterinary specialty center in Lewisville so she could be admitted for surgery. We filled out a bunch of paperwork, said goodbye to Dot, and then we waited. It was very quiet in the house today without Dot to warn us of cats and squirrels in the back yard. Even Dash could sense that something was wrong. I could tell Dot was scared when we were admitting her to the hospital this morning. I tried to reassure her, but I don't think I did a very good job. I was scared too

I tried to keep myself busy while I waited for the all important phone call from the surgeon. I went out to breakfast, even though it was almost lunchtime when we arrived back in Dallas. I finished a couple of writing assignments and sent them off to the client. I took Dash on a long and somewhat cold walk and then did a lot of pacing around the house. Finally, about 4:30 PM, the call I'd been waiting for arrived. The surgeon had good news. The arduous three hour surgery has gone well. The surgeon felt that she had been successful in removing the broken disc fragments in the L1 vertebrae that had been pressing on Dot's spinal cord. Now that the spinal cord is no longer compressed, the nerves will have a chance to heal and if we are lucky, Dot will walk again. Sometimes when a spinal disc ruptures, the fragments become attached to, or embedded in nearby blood vessels and are very difficult to remove. Dot was lucky. The fragments that had broken off and caused her paralysis were still clean and the surgeon was successful in removing all of them.

Dot is still not out of the woods yet, but she survived the surgery. That's the important thing. When the surgeon called, Dot was just waking up from anesthesia and was still under heavy sedation. She will be watched carefully tonight and for the next several days until her condition stabilizes. On Saturday, Dot's physical therapy vet will come to the hospital to give her acupuncture. This, along with cold pacs and laser treatments, will help reduce inflammation and speed healing.The best thing I heard from the surgeon today was that while Dot was waking up from anesthesia, she moved her rear legs. It was just a reflex action, but it means that there is still a nerve connection between the legs and the spine. There is hope.

Dot will spend the next five days in the hospital. While she is recovering, Janet and I will try to prepare the house for her return. We will need to connect the rooms with rubber backed carpet runners so Dot can safely move about without slipping on the brick floors. We will construct a "safe" area where we can leave Dot for short periods of time when we have to leave the house. It is very difficult to crate a large dog with leg injuries, so I am envisioning something that can be placed securely around a dog bed, so she cannot attempt to get up and move about on her own without supervision. Even if things go very well, we will have to continue to support Dot using the Help 'Em Up Harness for quite a while.

Our very first Dalmatian had spinal surgery to remove a tumor when he was eight years old. Spot's recovery was difficult for all of us, but he did learn to walk again and continued to live a happy life. I'm hoping that Dot can do the same. Spot's spinal surgery was the first. I'm hoping that Dot's will be the last. After dealing with nine difficult surgeries on five different dogs, I'm not sure I have the stamina to do this again.

Bingo is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day