Friday, December 4, 2009

Enough with the blood!

Today was the big chop day. Dashiell's day to relinquish is testicles. His turn to enter the world of the neutered pets. Normally I'm a big fan of early neuter and spay, but with giant breeds, like Great Dane's there is some recent evidence that neutering after their growth plates have closed reduces their risk of osteosarcoma, bone cancer, one of the big health risks in giant breed dogs. So we waited. And today was the big day.
Yesterday when I called to schedule, they told me I could get him in today or wait more than a week. Thinking in the holiday season craziness, there is no time like the present to cross something off my insane list of stuff that must be done, I took the very immediate appointment.
In the morning rush, I added the dropping off of a Great Dane at the vet's office to my list of stuff to pack in, and set about my to do list. Because I knew Nikita was likely to be distressed by being on her own, I opted to stay at home and because I knew I was going to be a wreck, I decided to take the day off as a personal day. Now I may do personal days differently than other people, I mostly continued to check email, attended a few meetings and tried to stay on top of my work. Um yeah, I know, that's not how days off work, but I'm special.
A little after noon, I got a call from the vet saying that Dashiell's surgery had gone well. Really quite routine. He was a bit groggy and they were going to keep an eye on him for a bit longer but I could pick him up at 3 pm. Cool. Nice easy in and out.
Unfortunately, that didn't stick. About an hour later I got another call. Dashiell was having some unusual swelling and bleeding after his surgery. The vet wanted to keep an eye on him a bit longer. They would call me later and tell me when I could pick him up. No big deal, just being safe. And I started to worry a little. That wasn't the end. About 45 minutes later I got yet another call. Dashiell had been taken back into surgery. He had been bleeding too much, they were worried something was wrong so they took him back into surgery to make sure everything was sealed up the way it should be, and it was. But now he was back in recovery. His bleeding seemed to slow down, but there was a chance, if he didn't stop bleeding completely, that he would need to be transferred to the emergency vet. The vet was concerned because his blood didn't' seem to be clotting quite normally and was a little worried that he might have some kind of doggy hemophilia. They told me to pick him up at 5 pm and we'd talk over what we wanted to do, either send him home or have him go overnight to the emergency vet clinic where he could be supervised more closely.
I was panicked. But at the time the vet thought he was not longer bleeding. Maybe I'd go pick him up at 5pm and he'd be home like normal. About a half hour passed and I got another call, the bleeding had stopped. Things were looking good. Come get him at 5 pm. And then a few minutes later a less positive call, he was bleeding again. We should transfer him now.
I drove over and picked up my wobbly drugged dog. I took him to the emergency clinic and helped him stumble his way into the office. Through my tears and terror, they checked him in and took him to an exam room. The vet checked him out and then gave me her take. Most likely the bleeding was caused by blood pressure changes from the drugs. It was not a serious issue but he should be monitored over night. They would run some blood work to check his clotting factors and make sure his blood was not the problem. In her mind, he'd be fine. They'd keep him overnight, check his blood a couple of times over the night and make sure he wasn't having and unexpected changes, then tomorrow afternoon he'd be able to come home. Then she ran through the scary options. Genetic disorders, autoimmune disorders, severed arteries that had slipped back up into his abdomen, things that required a lot of intervention. Life threatening things. Things that I shouldn't dwell on too much, but that I should be aware of, just in case.
She then told me to pick up the kids from childcare, since it was just about that time, then call them back for the results of the labs. That would give us more information, and they'd be ready by the time I got home.
So I did just that. I picked up Little Dog, drove back and picked up Big Dog. I tried not to worry, but I prepared the boys that Dashiell wasn't going to be home tonight. I used my best upbeat mom selling a terrifying load of crap as candy voice, and it was almost believable. I was going to be able to do this.
We got home, and after the necessary potty trips, snack preparation and stuff putting away were done, I braced myself and called the vet. I got put on hold twice before I actually got the night time vet. She reassured me that the labs looked normal, they weren't ordering further labs because nothing was out of line. They were still observing him and he was mostly crashed out due to the drugs, but not bleeding and not acting uncomfortable at all. All of this was very good news. As she was telling me that I could call back later that night to check in if I wanted to, Little Dog emerged from the bathroom with something all over his lips. Lipstick? Marker? I couldn't tell. It looked runny, but I was trying to get the important details from the vet before I scolded him for getting into my make up or eating markers. It wasn't until I hung up the phone that I realized what was on his mouth. Blood, and lots of it.
As I gave him the visual once over I made a guess of what had happened.
"Did you try to shave?" I asked, eyeing Mr. Dog's razor set by the sink.
"Yes," he answered. "It hurt."
Turns out he'd shaved a little bit of his lip away. Just a nick, but man did that little cut bleed.
We washed it, applied pressure and added a bit of antibiotic ointment to treat it, and it seems to be doing better.
What a day. I guess what they say is true. When it rains, it pours. I just wasn't quite prepared for it to pour blood. And now mama needs a glass of wine. Or two.

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