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Monthly Archives: April 2012

My Week at the Vet Hospital

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As Told By: Jada Belle McKinney

Friday, March 30, 2012

I haven’t felt like myself lately.  I mean, I’m always a wild beast of a dog, but recently I’ve had less energy than usual.  Also, it hurts when Mommy and Daddy try to pet me.  I can’t explain it.  It just hurts.  I don’t know how to tell them that it hurts, so I just run and hide when they try to pet me.  I feel bad because I think it hurts Daddy’s feelings.  I wish I could just explain that it’s not him, it’s me.  Mommy seems worried about me, but that’s just how mommies are, I think.

Mommy also noticed that I apparently have a bump above and below right my eye, and they said they think it’s some sort of rash.  They said it also matches a rash-looking think that I have around my left ear.  I don’t know about a rash, but I did bump my eye the other day.  I would tell them that if they could just speak Dog, but instead it looks like they’re going to spend the rest of tonight looking up dog rashes.  Normally that would bug me since this is supposed to be our playing time, but as I said before, I’m quite tired.  I think I’ll just sleep.

Yeah, sleep sounds nice.  I’ll sleep and have happy dreams about the delicious rawhide Mommy and Daddy let me eat earlier today.  I think they just gave it to me because they were worried, but I’ll take what I can get!

Saturday, March 31, 2012
Hospital Day 1

Today has been a long, exhausting, and scary day.

When I woke up this morning, I felt way worse than yesterday.  I mean, I couldn’t even drag myself out of bed to go outside and go potty!  What kind up puppy doesn’t just waggle their whole body at the chance to go sniff and explore outside?!  This kind, apparently.  Daddy made me get up and dragged me outside.  I think he noticed that I wasn’t feeling great, because he told Mommy that he couldn’t get me to walk around or anything.  As if Mom needed to worry about me any more than she already was!  Then Daddy left for some sort of workshop or something…I’m not really sure what it was, but he didn’t seem very excited.

I pretty much slept all morning because I couldn’t do anything else, plus I needed to save up energy for our visitors that were coming this afternoon!  I couldn’t wait to see Grandma and Grandpa Warner, plus Molly Brown!  Molly Brown is a chocolate lab, and she’s my best friend in the whole wide world!  So I had to sleep if I was going to have energy for all of them!

So I slept…and slept…and slept, but I kept feeling worse every time I woke up.  Finally this afternoon, Mommy made me go outside to go potty.  She was on the phone with Grandma and Grandpa, who were almost here, and then she started freaking out after I pooped.  I’m still confused about exactly what was wrong because she said I had blood in my stools.  I tried to explain to her that our barstools were inside and that I didn’t think there was any blood in them, but she wouldn’t listen.  She called the vet and took me there right away.

I was so excited to see my good friends at the vet, although I definitely didn’t have the energy to show it.  I had just been there two weeks before for my checkup, where they gave a good report of being a healthy, ferocious Jada-beast.  When we got there, though, all the doctors and techs weren’t smiling like they were last time.  They were also concerned about the bloody stools, as well as my mouth that was still bleeding from the delicious rawhide I ate yesterday.  Then they did a bunch of pricking and poking and jabbing thing up my butt.  NOT fun at all.  They went away for a little while and came back with a piece of paper that they said had some test results.  I don’t remember Daddy having a med school test very recently, but if he did, he must have not done very well because it made Mommy start crying.  I wanted to tell her that it would be ok and there would be other tests, but she was so busy talking to the techs and the vets and Grandma and Grandpa on the phone that I could never even get a word in.

Everyone was talking about tick-bourne illnesses, spider bites, snake bites, poison, and lots of other yucky stuff.  The nice tech lady said that my platelets are really low.  She said that normal is 175-500, and my platelets are at 30.  I’m not very good at math, but I think there’s a pretty big different between 175 and 30, so I think that’s not very good.  The doctor told my mom that I was bleeding so much because platelets help my blood to clot.  Then she said my red blood cells are low, too.  I don’t know what those do, but I think it has something to do with my low energy level.

The next thing I knew, Grandma and Grandpa were there, without Molly Brown!  They said they needed to take me to an emergency vet in Mount Pleasant.  I don’t know who names these places, but let me tell you, there is nothing pleasant about all the more pricks and pokes and jabs that were to follow in this so-called “Mount Pleasant.”  I mean, I guess the people here are pretty nice, but not the stuff they keep doing to me!

So when we got here, I met a new vet, Dr. Mokos.  She’s very nice.  She said she was an emergency vet and that she would take good care of me so they could figure out what was wrong.  She said she really didn’t think it was from a snake or spider.  (Hello, way to state the obvious!  Don’t you think I would have known if a snake randomly tried to bite my head off and eat me?!  Seriously, I feel like I get no credit sometimes!)

Then the scariest thing EVER happened: She took me away from Mommy and Grandma and Grandpa.  I mean, I didn’t try to pull towards them or anything because I have no energy, but I hope they’re not giving me away or something!  I didn’t even get to say bye to Daddy!

So this is where I am right now.  My legs are shaved, and I’ve got something called an iced I.V. hooked up to me.  It doesn’t feel great, but they told me that they had to give it to me so they could lower my temperature and to help get my vitals stable.  They’re also giving me an antibiotic called Doxycyline, which should help me if this is from a tick.  I always knew ticks were evil, but I didn’t know they could be this evil!  I’m not really sure what’s going on, but I just hope I get to see Mommy and Daddy.  Mommy promised they would come back tomorrow, and I can’t wait!

This is me, still sleeping, just before Mommy made me go outside. I'm super tired, but also super cute!

Sunday, April 1, 2012
Hospital Day 2

Check out that black eye! I'm so hard core!

Mommy and Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa came to visit me today.  They seemed surprised when they saw me because they said it looked like I’d been in a bar fight.  My right eye is now swollen all the way shut, and I can’t see out of it.  This certainly isn’t my prettiest moment ever, but at least I know all the other dogs won’t even think about messing with me.  They give me funny looks and I tell all of them, “You should see the other pup!”

I’m bleeding pretty much everywhere now.  My ears, my nose, my mouth, my eyes, my butt…everything on me is bleeding.  I super wish it would stop in my mouth because I’m kind of getting sick of the taste of blood.  I have even less energy than yesterday, except it’s even worse when I try to walk now because all my joints are swollen.  The Dr. Mokos said it’s because my mucus membranes were all bleeding on the inside.  I don’t know what that means, but it sounds G-to-the-R-to-the-O-S-S!

I’m still not really eating anything, but can you blame me?  It hurts to eat!  Plus, I’m not hungry!  Are they trying to make me lose my nice puppy figure or something?!  I don’t know…I might try to eat something later today if it means I’ll get to go home and see Molly Brown sooner.  Did you know she’s my best friend?  Because she definitely is!

Can't stop bleeding. Yuck!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hospital Day 3, A.M.-early P.M.

Mommy is starting to go a little crazy with all her picture taking...

Today, I got transferred to a new doctor.  Dr. Mokos said she had done what she could to stabilize me, and now I have to go to the internal medicine specialist, Dr. Nicastro.  I think they use that term “transfer” pretty loosely, though, because I definitely have the exactly same crate area that I did yesterday.  Dr. Nicastro seems really nice, though, just like all the other people who work here.  She agreed with Dr. Mokos that this isn’t from a snake bite or anything.  She says that this could be from a tick, or it could be something called auto-immune.  I don’t know what that means, but it doesn’t sound super good.

Dr. Nicastro put me on some pain medicine this morning.  I like pain medicine!  It made it so that I can walk a little bit.  Not much, but a little.  I got some more blood taken from me this morning for something called a CBC, or a Complete Blood Count.  They said they have to send my blood to a lab in another state to have it checked manually and to get as accurate of a reading as possible.  We’ll get the results back tonight or tomorrow morning.

I got to see Mommy and Daddy this afternoon, also.  They seemed happy to see me and to see that the swelling around my eye has gone down a little bit.  They also seemed happy that my temperature has gone down a tiny bit for the first time since Saturday.  I think that’s good, though Mommy kept saying that she was worried this was all false improvement and that it was just the pain medicine making these changes instead of me getting better.  Way to be a Debbie-Downer, Mom!  So then Mommy and Daddy told me goodbye and that they would see me tomorrow.  The nice tech lady took me back to my crate area so that I could sleep more, and boy was I ready for a nap!  I get tired from just a few minutes of standing these days.  It stinks!

Hospital Day 3, late P.M.

So tonight, I’m pretty sure I hit an all time low.  The CBC came back this evening, and what a whirlwind it was that followed!  My platelet levels are still dropping.  I think they’re in the low twenties now or maybe in the teens.  Even worse was that my RBCs had dropped to 18.  From what I’ve gathered in the chaos following these lab results, 18 is apparently not high enough to keep me alive because I can’t get oxygen to my organ systems.  Well, that certainly explains my lack of energy!

So we got these lab results, and then all of the sudden, Dr. Nicastro began making frantic phone calls to Mommy and Daddy.  She was asking if there is any way I could have been poisoned and saying that now it looks like I could have something wrong with my bone marrow.  She mentioned lymphoma and aplastic something…both of which are really bad.  Mommy and Daddy told her to give me a blood transfusion right away, but then they had another big decision to make.

The first option is to start me on steroids first thing in the morning.  If my problem is auto-immune, those should help.  The other option is to do a bone marrow biopsy first thing in the morning.  If they chose to do the biopsy, they couldn’t start me on the steroids yet because it would mess up the results.  This would also involve sedating me and lots of medicine and lots of pain, but it would tell Mommy and Daddy for sure if I have something wrong with my bone marrow.  From what I’ve gathered, if Mommy and Daddy had me do the biopsy and found out something is wrong with my bone marrow, there wouldn’t really be much the doctors could do, and they have to make it so I take a forever-long nap.  A forever-long nap sounds pretty good right about now, but Mommy and Daddy don’t seem to like that option.  It makes them cry.  I think they must not realize how tired I am right now, or else they’d think a nap would be a good thing for me!

I sure was happy to have visitors so late at night. I'm starting to think that the vet is giving me special treatment for being so precious, but I'm not going to complain!

So in the end, Mommy and Daddy decided that I’m starting on steroids as soon as I finish my blood transfusion.  They said that they didn’t want to put me through everything that would be involved in the bone marrow biopsy, and that whether I responded to the steroids or not would tell the doctors everything they really needed to know about whether I can be helped or not.  I hope the steroids help, because it doesn’t really sound like I have any other options.

I'm trying to be a big girl and stay cheerful for Mommy and Daddy. It's crazy that I'm the one in the hospital, yet they are the ones who need me to keep them thinking positive thoughts!

The transfusion will take about four hours, and they came to visit me during part of it.  I don’t really know what time it is anymore because I sleep so much and the techs wake me up a million times a night to give me medicine, but I think Mommy and Daddy must have been here really late because they looked exhausted.  They came in and sat down with me in my crate area to keep me company.  What a nice vet office to let them back here with me!  I tell ya, the people that work here really are terrific!  The techs love me so much…I think I’m their favorite inpatient!

I’m finishing up my transfusion now, and then hopefully going to be able to get some sleep.  I’m keeping my paws crossed for some good results tomorrow, and maybe, just maybe a little more energy to play.  I miss being a regular puppy!

I'm ready for the transfusion to be done so I can finally get some sleep! I'm SO tired!

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
Hospital Day 4

United with Bo!

Today was a terrific day!  I think the vet and techs must be happy with my reaction to the transfusion, because they gave me a bunny to play with this morning.  It’s not even like a dog toy bunny.  It’s a full-sized stuffed animal, like the kind that human kids get to play with!  Mommy and Daddy never let me play with people toys, so it was awesome!

Then Mommy and Daddy came this morning and brought my favorite, fuzzy, squeaky, beaver toy.  His name is Bo the III, but I just call him Bo.  I like my Bo toys so much, I tend to love them to death pretty quickly.  I’m pretty sure I’ve even seen a Bo the IV hiding out in the cabinet of our laundry room for when I need him.

My temperature is finally normal, and my I.V. doesn’t have to be iced anymore.  I’m also eating like a good, growing puppy, again!  But I mean who wouldn’t eat rice and chicken?!  That’s right, I’m getting people food these days!  I’m on steroids now, and Dr. Nicastro says the next 24-48 hours will be the most telling because that’s how long it should take my body to really respond.  I’m also not bleeding everywhere, which is a nice change, as well.

Daddy is pretty excited that I'm feeling better!

Then, tonight, Mommy and Daddy came back to visit AGAIN.  They only came once on Sunday, and the came a second time last night because of my transfusion.  Today, they came twice just because they wanted to.  I guess I’m a pretty big deal or something, or maybe that’s just what almost dying does to people.

I’m pretty sure I heard Mommy say that if I am doing well tomorrow, Molly Brown will come see me before she has to go back to Georgia!  That would be so awesome!  So now, if I didn’t have a good enough reason before, I have to get better for Molly Brown.  Talk about motivation!  Keeping my paws crossed for reacting well to the steroids!

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
Hospital Day 5

I SAW MOLLY BROWN!  IT WAS AWESOME!

This morning, Mommy came with Grandma, Grandpa, their good friend name Kim, and Molly Brown.  What was even better was the fact that I had energy when I saw them.  I didn’t have a lot of energy or anything, but I definitely got a good butt waggle in and I may have let a little pee out.  I’m so happy I got to see them before they left.  I feel bad that everyone came all the way to Charleston to visit me and barely got to see me, so I’m sure this was a super treat for them, also.

I like licking Molly Brown's mouth! It's fun!

Dr. Nicastro says I’m responding really well to the steroids, and she’s thinking more and more that this is auto-immune.  Basically, it means my body thought that my blood cells were intruders, and it attacked them.  How crazy is that?!  Anyway, I’m also off my I.V. now.  That’s right!  My temperature is stabilized all by itself!

I'm starting to like my blue tutu!

To top my super awesome day off, I heard Mommy and Daddy talking when they came back to visit me again tonight.  Dr. Nicastro took some more blood from me this morning.  If the results are good when they get them back tomorrow, I GET TO GO HOME!  Oh, how I miss my bed!  It would be so wonderful to get to sleep in it tomorrow.  Plus, I bet it smells like Molly Brown now, so that would be even better!  I can’t wait!

Thursday, April 5, 2012
Hospital Day 6

Finally heading home!

Today is the day!  My test results were good and I finally got to go home!  Mommy and Daddy came this afternoon, and the tech brought me out to see them.  I knew for sure that I was going home because she brought Bo out with me and gave him back to Mommy.  What a happy moment!  And you know what made it even better?  Then the tech gave me the bunny I’ve had in my crate area since my transfusion.  Yep, I got to bring home MY stuffed animal!  AMAZING!  Plus, I’m home just in time for Easter, and for Daddy’s birthday.  He’s says I’m the best – and most expensive – present ever!  I mean, I personally think I’m pretty priceless.  How could anyone place a dollar amount on a puppy face as precious as mine?  In any case, I’m just happy to sleep in my own bed tonight!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I tried to be a really good girl when I got my blood drawn, but I am so tired of all those needles!

I still don’t have energy like I used to.  At my check-up today, Dr. Nicastro said it may be months  and months and months before I’m my old self – if I ever am again.  Dr. Nicastro says that Process of Elimination (I don’t think I’ve met that doctor) tells her that this is an auto-immune disease.  She said one third of dogs with this respond really well to treatment and they can lower the dosage of medicine over months and months.  Another third of dogs with this respond to treatment, but not really well.  Those dogs will probably be one a lot of different medications for the rest of their lives, and they will likely require multiple transfusions.  The last third of dogs doesn’t respond to treatment, and those dogs have to take the forever nap I heard about when they thought something was wrong with my bone marrow.  We’re thinking I’m not in the final third because I’ve responded well so far, but I could always just stop responding.  Dr. Nicastro is hoping I’m in the first third, but she says we’ll just have to wait and see.

I have to go back for more blood tests every two weeks for awhile, and I’m on so many different medications, I can’t keep track.  I’m getting medicine of one kind or another seven times a day right now, but Dr. Nicastro says that hopefully, if I respond well to treatment, we can lower that.  I hope so because I’m really not a fan of Mommy and Daddy waking me up at three in the morning every night to give me one of my medications, especially because it’s the worst tasting one!  They give me all the other kinds with yummy treats, but they said they can’t give me this yucky bitter one with food, so I’m just stuck with the bad taste in my mouth.  Mommy keeps telling Daddy that since they’re up all night anyway, they might as well have a baby.  I’m not sure what she means, since I’m the baby, but in any case, Daddy doesn’t seem to be going for it.

So I think we’re all starting to realize what a long road I have ahead.  I’m lucky to have such good puppy parents to take care of me like they do.  I guess, even though Daddy makes me cuddle with him more than I like to, and they always try to make me follow rules and stuff, they’re not too bad.  I love them an awful lot!

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