A Lucy Update

Frankly, it’s been a horrendous four days over here. Obviously Lucy’s surgery and the adoption of Novalee made for some not-so-great days. What’s made it worse is that Lucy is back in the ER vet for the night.
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Since I brought Lucy home Friday evening, her appetite had continued to decrease. She’d eat maybe 75 percent of her food in the morning and then less and less as the day went on. And I was feeding her super small amounts every 4-5 hours so it’s not like she was getting a ton of food at once. I knew she felt like crud but the problem was she needed to take her six (yes, six) medications with food to feel better but she didn’t feel like eating.

The less she ate, the less medicine she got into her system and the crappier she felt and the more dehydrated she got. And the cycle continued until she felt so badly she puked – medicine and all – what she managed to choke down Sunday morning.

There was a list of warning signs which, if they happened, I was instructed to call the vet and of course vomiting was one of them. So Lucy and I spent almost four hours at the ER vet this morning/afternoon to figure out what exactly was going on.

The vet on call scared me to death when he said she might have a perforated intestine from her stitches stretching and causing tiny perforations which required, yes, more surgery. Fortunately it appears she just needs some stronger anti-nausea and pain meds to start feeling better. But, because she was dehydrated and hadn’t actually ingested all of her meds since her initial discharge Friday, she got herself another overnight visit.

I was so relieved I almost cried; the vet really had me thinking worse case scenarios. And then I forked over $1100…

Which brings me to what else is on my mind – money. I worked very hard for the past 18 months or so to put some amount, any amount, into my savings account each month. Of course I always tried to save money but the last 18 months were spent with precise budgeting. That work has been completely erased by Lucy’s surgeries and subsequent care. Don’t get me wrong – there was zero hesitation on my end to pay for whatever Lucy needs. That’s why I have a savings account, after all. It just hit me how easy it is to be back to “square one” so to speak after months of diligent budgeting.

Lucy is worth it 10 times over and there’s no way I would have ever not paid for what she needs, it just adds stress to what was already a stress-filled four days.

The good news is the vet assured me that Lucy should be like a new dog tomorrow morning and will only improve from here on out.

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I want this happy face back.

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Two Days I’d Rather Not Relive

Anyone who follows me on Facebook knows this has been a hell of a few days over here. For those who aren’t aware, hang on…

I have to rewind to maybe a month ago. One morning Lucy got sick – vomited and may have had some other intestinal distress, I can’t remember. It really wasn’t a big deal – we fed her a bland diet for a day and just a few hours after getting sick she was already back to normal.

Maybe a week or 10 days later, the same exact thing happened except this time she puked up some random round object. I looked at it for a while and really had no idea what it was. Still don’t have a clue. But I figured that may have been in her stomach the first time she got sick but now it was out of her system and I thought that was the end of it.

Then on Thursday morning – her fourth birthday! – she got sick yet again. I was planning to call the vet that day anyway to set up her yearly physical and when I mentioned she had gotten sick three times in 3-4 weeks, they suggested bringing her in that morning. Twenty minutes later we were waiting in the vet’s office.

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Among other tests, they took some x-rays and found something somewhat concerning on two of the four images – a round object in her intestine. Because the round object disappeared on two of the four images, the vet wanted to send it off to an expert x-ray reader (didn’t know such a job existed…) for a second opinion. They sent me home with some probiotics and instructions to wait to hear back about the x-ray.

Well, five minutes after we got home, Lucy puked up the half a cup of bouillon she had drank that morning all over my couch. I called the vet and barely got the words out “Lucy puked” before they said to just bring her in and they would keep her until they figured out what was going on.

That afternoon the vet called back and said the x-ray expert recommended surgery – he felt strongly that something was blocking her intestine and making her sick.

At 5 p.m. Thursday evening, she went back for surgery and the vet found two objects. The first was something completely lodged in her intestine – as in, they could not get it to move at all. So it took a bit more cutting than they had anticipated to get it out. What was it? Still no freaking clue. They said it was a big hairball but I was able to look at it – and it doesn’t look like hair, exactly. It looks like a solid dust ball or something. I don’t know. We’ll never know.

And the second object? Even more random. There was a piece of something dangling into her stomach. They showed me that object, too. It’s not a foreign object – it looks like a small clot or tumor of some sort that was hanging on by…body tissue, maybe? Anyway, it was hanging off her stomach wall and into her stomach. Probably not making her sick but the vet recommended getting it biopsied. Crossing my fingers the biopsy shows nothing concerning.

Thursday night I was able to sneak into the vet to see her before they shipped her to the overnight ER clinic. So pathetic.

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She arrived back at my vet Friday morning but they wanted to keep her for the majority of the day for observation. Because she has stitches not only on her tummy but also literally holding her intestines together, they needed to be sure that small amounts of food wouldn’t rupture the stitches before they felt comfortable sending her home with me.

I picked her up a little after 4:30 today and I could not have been happier.

Oh, and while all this was going on Novalee was adopted.

Yup, Miss Nova found herself a forever home.

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Her adoption was finalized earlier this week and her new mom is from Central NJ. I had planned to drive home to my parents’ house in NJ on Friday to do the exchange; our university is on spring break and I thought taking Friday off for a road trip with Lucy and Nova to get Nova to her new mom while also visiting my family would be ideal.

And then Lucy decided she needed surgery the day before our planned roadtrip. Novalee’s new mom was kind enough to meet me about an hour from here and she was so happy to meet her new addition. Nova was just happy to get back in a car and sleep.

I actually held it together when they drove off. Nova is such a people dog and I know she’ll absolutely love any home she’s in. And she won’t have to share attention with another dog. Her new mom is very bulldog experienced and could not wait to bring Nova home. She even bought her a new martini glass collar – my kind of woman 🙂

But wait, there’s more. Marty has been gone since Wednesday morning and isn’t home until midnight on Sunday (Monday morning, technically) so I’ve been handling all this on my own. I’m stressed and tired but I managed everything just fine. Logistically things were a little tricky but all of us got through it. I know I’m capable of doing anything that needs to be done on my own but when you’re used to having someone else in the equation it’s easy to get used to relying on the other person for support of all kinds. I’m proud that I handled everything on my own without asking for or needing outside help (asking for help is not a strong suit of mine).

So, Nova (whose new name will be Holly) is settling into her new home, Lucy is snoring away next to me on the couch and I’m drinking a massive glass of wine.

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I have to keep a close eye on Lucy for a few days to make sure her food seems to be moving through her without issues and we go back in 10 days to get her stitches out. Hopefully the biopsy is completely normal and we don’t have any lingering issues from that.

Right now I’m still in a fog; it’s been a really, really weird and stressful two days. In some ways it works out well that Nova was adopted today. Sure, it made for a long and emotional day but Lucy’s issues prevented me – and are still preventing me – from dwelling too much on the departure of Nova.

I hope the next time I blog it’s about something completely trivial.

The Sweetest Thing

Our apartment building is set behind a karate school and its adjoining parking lot. Our front door faces the school and Novalee loves to start our walks by going through the lot. There are always people and cars to look at and she’s no dummy – she knows that the odds are in her favor someone will stop to pet her.

As soon as I got home from work the other night, I leashed Novalee up and we began our pre-dinner walk through the parking lot. Immediately a boy – maybe seven or eight years old – rushed over, asked if he could pet Nova and plopped down on the pavement to start petting her.

His dad is someone I “know.” He’s the one who helped me rescue Isaac after he ran away. His son still attends karate lessons so I see him from time to time in the parking lot plus he lives along the river which is one of my frequent running routes. So I know him well enough to smile and wave and his son was all about Nova so all three of us began chatting.

Actually, his son began chatting. He told me about how he used to have a dog but they recently had to put him to sleep at 17 years and three months old because he was in pain. He told me about how they thought the dog was invincible and might never die. And about how now he’s lonely and doesn’t have anyone to play with at home anymore. He said he plays by himself with his toys and sometimes lays in bed watching TV but that it’s lonely without his dog.

He told me about how he wants his dad to take him to go look at dogs that are available for adoption and that maybe a bulldog would be a good dog to get. And that maybe his new dog could sleep in his bed with him. And “does this dog like to sleep in your bed?” he asked, pointing to Nova.

All the while he never once stopped petting Novalee and kept saying how cute and well-behaved she was and that again, maybe a bulldog would be a good dog to get (not so subtly hinting to his dad…).

Novalee started to get cold (I actually think she was milking sympathy pets out them) and so the dad started to get his son to move toward their truck and head home. As the son got in the truck, he turned around and asked me what the dog’s name was and I told him Novalee.

Nova and I continued down the sidewalk and as the dad and his son drove by on their way home, the son leaned out the window, started waving and shouted, “good-bye, Novalee!” He waved all the way down the street.

I have never been so happy to spend 15 minutes outside in 30 degree temps.

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