Saturday, May 15, 2010


May you be at peace;
May you know the beauty of your own true nature;
May your heart remain open;
May you be healed

(I had this written down somewhere as a Buddhist blessing, but I have no idea where it comes from or where I found it.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

24 hours in the animal madhouse

My Friday went something like this:

Day off work. Lily gagged a few times and threw up a tiny little bit of water during the day. So I am a little concerned.

1700 hours
Bring Franken-Kitty to the regular vet to get the drains taken out of his face. Ask the vet about Lily. Vet recommends trying her on some extra-bland food to see if that helps.

1900 hours
Feed Lily half a can of new food.

1930 hours
Lily starts retching and throws up her food in the back yard. I follow her around, trying to see what is going on. Is she pale? Is she breathing okay? Is she unsteady on her feet?

1935 hours
Turn around and see Monk finishing off his little after-dinner snack - the "Lily Smoothie." He must have been jealous because she had different food than he did. Either that or he was just trying to be helpful by cleaning it up for me.

2230 hours
Lily seemed fine after throwing up - good color, belly seems soft, no panting. So just kept an eye on her while she snoozes in the living room. She's licking her lips a lot and I hear gurgling stomach noises. Go over to pet her and she starts panting. She gets on her feet and starts to retch. She looks unsteady.

2235 hours
Get the shoes on and get her into the car. Drive to emergency vet.

2250 hours
Arrive at vet and Lily is panting and won't get out of the car. Get big, burly vet tech with a stretcher. I push her from behind and he scoops her up to put her on stretcher.

Okay, I'm getting bored with this whole time-line thing. The short version of the rest of the story was that I was up until 0400 hours.  That's 4:00 AM people.   They took X-rays and blood. Her blood work is fine. She is not bloating again (which can happen) but she is full of gas. They sent her home with two more medications.

I now feel like it was a little bit of an overreaction on my part (my bank account feels the same way.)  But I'd rather be safe.  Stomach surgery + vomiting = I'm going to worry.

Lily now has five different meds. It has become like one of those math logic problems:

If Lily has to take Pill A, 3 times a day, with no food or water 1 hour before or 1 hour after
Pill B, 2 times a day, 10 minutes before any food
Pills, C, D and E with food 2 times a day
she's eating 1/2 can of special food, 6 times a day
Franken-Kitty is wailing at the door every 5 minutes
he needs liquid antibiotics 2 times a day which he hates...

At what hour of the day will Kathy break out the Mike's Hard Lemonade?
(Show your work.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday afternoon

A little Alfred Hitchcock moment in the backyard today:

Franken-kitty really wants to go outside.

This is actually quite a nice picture of him. Trust me. You do not want to see the gory close-ups.

Lily relaxing. She's a happy, eating, tail-wagging wonder.

So far Monk is staying out of trouble.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The local vets LOVE us (for our most generous contributions to their children's college funds.)

Lily is home and doing great but this morning the cat's face exploded.

Lily came home last night.  A nice slow, gentle ride home in the back seat of the car.  Then, while trying to park in front of the house near the path that leads to the backyard, I bashed into the curb and sent her flying.  Her front legs down on the floor and her back end still on the seat.  A nice downward dog move for a girl who is not supposed to stretch her abdomen after it was ripped open in surgery. 

From Louise Peterson, Sculptor  (These are beautiful!)

She really, really did not want to try to get out of the car after that.  Hurt my wrist when we wrestled her out.  It is not an easy task to pick up a 90-lb dog when you can't grab her around the middle.   But she was happy once her feet were on the ground and she trotted into the backyard. 

Then we had a little comedic interlude when she kept spitting out the pills I tried to feed her.  She usually takes them with food and it is no problem.  But she had no interest in food.  So I tried the brute force method and five or six times when I thought she had swallowed, I let go of her mouth and she spit them out.  She got some good distance on a few of them too.  Did finally manage to get the pills down.

This morning she was her happy self - about a 7 out of 10 on her usual enthusiasm scale.  Woke up and wagged her tail madly because she's simply thrilled to start another day - even when she's not feeling all that well.

Oh...the cat.  He woke up this morning with one side of his face twice as big as the other.  Called the vet immediately and luckily they could fit us in today.   Right before we left, his face exploded.  It was an abscess that burst.  A seemingly endless stream of reddish body fluid flowed out of that little cat's head, which he then proceeded to lick off the floor.  Lovely.  A little something like this:

This is a dramatization.  No cats were implanted with alien spawn in the making of this photo.

He's a long-haired, wild ruffian of a cat and we can't always see if he has cuts.  He doesn't tolerate too much poking and prodding.  So when he gets an injury that becomes infected, we don't know it until something like this happens.  He's spending the night at Chez Vet with a drain in his face.   More vet bills!  Yeee-haaaa!

Tomorrow we're going to be hosting the Animal House of Horrors.  Lily with her saggy, Frankenstein belly and schizophrenically shaved patches all over her body.  And Kitty with a seeping plastic tube coming out of her face and a cone around her neck.  

Let's just hope Monk can stay out of trouble.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lily update

Lily is doing great.  They opened her up and everything looked fine.  Her stomach had actually untwisted itself by the time they got in there.  Spleen is fine and overall she has fabulous looking guts for an 11-year-old. They pinned her stomach to the inside wall of her body so this won't happen again. 

We asked them if they could do a little liposuction and tummy tuck while they were in there.  Beach season is coming up after all.  They declined.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lily Girl

Lily almost died last night. Sudden onset of bloat - also known as Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). It is a life threatening condition that can kill a dog within hours.

She was fed at 5:30 PM and friends came over for dinner later. She was fine the whole night. Then, right after the friends left at around 8:30 PM, she starting retching without throwing up. I watched this happening and was thinking that she'll eventually throw up whatever is bothering her and feel better. I thought that maybe she had gotten something dropped from the dinner table and Thai food didn't agree with her. Within 20 minutes she had stopped retching and was lethargic and panting with pale, cold gums.  I had never seen this happen before, but it was clear that something was very wrong.

She was able to walk herself out the front door and down the steps to get into the car. Drove 20 minutes to the emergency vet and by the time we got there she couldn't even sit herself up in the back seat. They brought a cart around to the car and a big vet tech picked up her 90-pound body and put her on the cart.

They stabilized her and got some of the air out of her stomach and she actually had a very good night. They will operate today to untwist her stomach and pin it to the inside wall of her body so this doesn't happen again.

Went to see her this morning and she is just like her old self. Full of energy and happy as can be. They brought her into the exam room and she was like - "Oh, you? Well it's cool that you are here and all, but there are some seriously interesting smells in this room that I must investigate immediately. So I am going to run around and sniff every corner and almost pull out my IV. Then maybe I'll get around to letting you pet me. You understand, don't you?"

She's the type of dog who seems to be happy and full of pure joy for life, no matter where she is or what is going on. After the visit, when they were taking her out of the exam room, she was just as enthusiastic about that - "Oh, COOL! Now we're going over here? That is AWESOME!"

Holy Huge Vet Bill, Batman! She's 11 years old. So we might only have a few more years with her after this. But it will be worth it. How could we give up on a creature so filled with life? (And they have an interest free payment plan that really helps.)

Surgery happens today and the surgeon will call later when Lily is in recovery.

I have been trying to capture the jubilant dancing that she does when you pick up a leash to take her for a walk. It's hard to get on video but here are a couple of tries.