Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fat Boy Slim

Well there was some dog drama at home yesterday. Actually it started Tuesday night. Ange had just shut down the house for the night and had just switched off the lights when she heard a thud, shrieking, and growling/barking. She knew it was Sammy crying and Duke responding. She switched on the lights only to see Sam having a nervous breakdown. From what she can surmise, Sammy tried to jump on the bed, didn't make it and somehow bumped Duke in the process. Sammy was crying and crying and crying for like 5 minutes. She finally got him calmed down but he was still acting like he was in serious pain and was limping pretty bad. She called me to give me the run down and told me she thought he really had hurt his leg. We discussed it a bit and I told her I thought we should just let him sleep it off and we could re-evaluate in the morning.

Sammy is the most dramatic dog in the world so it's kind of hard to know when he's seriously hurt or just being dramatic. He cries when you pet him too hard, and I am soooo not joking. Ange also has a tendency to be a bit dramatic especially when it comes to Sam or health issues. So other than taking him to the emergency vet and shelling out a bazillion dollars for something that might not be a big deal what else was there to do then let him sleep it off? Daisy has hurt herself several times in the past year and usually it's just a little R & R and she's fine.

So this morning Ange woke up and Sam was shaking and panting and still limping and shrieking every 5 minutes. So she gave me a call to see what I thought. I said definitely if he's acting like she says he is (again, I'm faaaaaar away and trying to decide where drama stops and reality begins) then she should try and get a vet appointment today. Then I ask her the critical question of "Do you think I should come home?"

Sidebar: A few months ago Ange hurt her back at work. She called me from the ER to let me know. I was in Bloomington and had just walked into Chili's with my family for dinner. I asked her if she wanted me to come home. She said, "No, finish dinner with your family, drop Leslie off (she had rode to B-ton with me) and then come to the ER. I'll probably be waiting her forever anyway." So I did like she said, even trying to rush us all through dinner a bit so I could get to her. When I got to the hospital she was like "GOD, I can't believe you didn't come right away!" Uhhhh, you told me not to?!?! But apparently she just thought I would. So we learned a valuable lesson that day. Ange learned that I do not come from a very sympathetic family, so if you really want me to be there and hold your hand, which I do not mind doing, then you need to tell me. And I learned that I really, really need to make sure she's not speaking in code and give her the bottom line.

So she's says "Well if you want to come home you can." Sigh, apparently the lesson was not quite learned on her end yet. So I say "Well, unless you tell me to come home I'm not. I'm going to stay here. But I really don't mind coming home if you think I need to." She had to go to class because of a test and couldn't stay home, and she also had a doctor appointment right after to get some of her vaccines for Africa. So Sam would have been home from 7:30-ish am until about 1:30 pm. So she said she was going to jump in the shower and think about it. She called me back a little later and said she thought I should come home. So I did. Apparently we did both learn.

So I called the vet on the way home and explained the situation. They got us in for a 10:15 appointment. I got home to size up the situation and found out that it was actually a lot worse than I thought. I examined Sammy and surmised that it was actually not his leg that was hurt but rather his lower back. Now hurt legs can still be serious but usually, worst case scenario is some kind of surgery to repair what was damaged. Hurt backs could lead to paralysis. As much as I would like a special needs dog, I did not want to turn Sammy into one. He was shaking and crying really bad so I thought I would just scoop him up and put him in the car (after I cleaned it out and made a little puffy bed for him with blankies) and see if they'd see us early if we got there.

We got there and I apologized for getting there early (it was about 9:45) but that it was actually his back and not his leg that was hurt and that he was in worse shape than I thought. It helped that Sammy was crying non-stop. So they zoomed us into a room, weighed Sam (who's gained 3.5 lbs. since he was last there) and Dr. G was soon in to see him. He confirmed that is was his back and said that since he was in so much pain and such a drama queen he'd need to put him under anesthesia and do the x-rays. He told me to call around 3:30 for an update.

We were worried but glad he was under the care of the vet. We went about our day and at 3:30 called to see what was up. After being put on hold the receptionist told Ange that Dr. G had cleared a 4:30 spot to come in and talk with him. And that was all. Seriously??? So then we both had stomachaches and were worried for the next hour. I am proud to report that Ange did not cry once during this whole ordeal, even though I thought she might for a moment after she hung up the phone. What a brave girl.

So we got to the vet's office and the girl at the desk said "Do you want to pay the bill before you go in and talk to Dr. G?" I took that as a sign that Sam was being discharged but to confirm I said "Does that mean he's coming home?" and she said yep! She gave us the bill and Ange nearly fainted when we saw it was $411!!! But of course, he's worth it, it was just a ginormous amount. After that we looked at the two prescriptions she gave us plus the itemized bill to see if we could hypothesize what the situation was. Between the two of us we were pretty accurate. Sam has some kind of disc injury between his 5th and 6th vertebrae. He was given a shot of cortisone to help reduce the swelling of the disc, a prescription for some cortisone (and instructions to buy some Pepcid to protect his tummy from the steroids) and a muscle relaxer. He was also put on doggy bed rest, which means, as little excitement and movement as possible, no jumping, and no steps.

So we're all went back home to convalesce and Sam is doing much better. He's pretty much been sleeping since we got home. We'll keep an eye on him for the next few days and hopefully he will be all better soon!

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