Monday, April 30, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: 3 days till surgery

I am starting to get nervous, y'all. Not about the money (thank goodness!!). We have 97% of what we need, and I am sure the rest will trickle in. But, I just got off the phone with the vet hospital where Bean will have her surgery. I had called to make sure I understood her pre-op instructions. You know - when we should stop her food and meds, what to bring on the day of surgery, that kind of thing. The lady on the phone was really nice. Everyone there has been very nice, which is comforting. But when I asked what time we could come back and pick up our Bean, she informed me that Bean will have to be dropped off on Thursday morning, and picked up on Friday afternoon.

Can you spot the problem? Anyone??

I have to leave my baby all alone in the hospital overnight!!!!!!!!!!! I am a little freaked out by this. The woman on the phone assured me that she would be fine. There is an after-hours pet Emergency Center that is run out of the clinic at night, so she will not technically be alone in the building. And they will check on her. And I am sure they are all qualified and professional and everything, but they are NOT her MOMMY! I swear, if they would let me bunk down on the floor beside her crate in there, I'd do it. I mean, wouldn't you?

Today's photo:
How could you leave me all alone and afraid? How?! Don't you know what that will do to my sense of security? You DO want me to grow up to be well-adjusted doggie, without "issues", don't you?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: 4 days till surgery

We really are almost there folks, both in terms of time and money. 4 days till the big day. And all totaled up we are at 96% of the goal! Even I am shocked that we have come this far. Just a little more to go before the surgery is paid for and over. Then the healing begins. To be honest, I am more afraid of the healing than the surgery. (I am sure Bean would disagree!) I just don't understand how we are supposed to keep her from putting weight on her leg for EIGHT WEEKS?? It just doesn't seem possible, unless they put her into some kind of coma and keep her in the hospital. But instead, she will be partially sedated, and will be at home with us to look after her. There is a lot riding on her recovery. If she puts too much weight on it before she is ready, she may very well undo all the work the surgeon has done.

There is NO way I am going to let that happen after all that you guys have done to help make this surgery possible. I will sit on her myself for the whole 8 weeks if I have to!!

Today's Photo:
What??!! I can't run for 8 WEEKS!!! Just WHEN were you going to tell me THAT part, mom? Huh?! What else don't I know about this "surgery" thing?? By the way, I've been meaning to ask...what exactly is "surgery" anyway?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: 5 days till surgery

We are in the home stretch here, at 91% of the goal (that's including the off-line donations as well). But please don't stop yet! If you have been planning on giving, now's the time. And any money we raise in excess of the surgical costs will go to Bean's post-op meds and rehab. And also a doggie playpen like this one, to keep her confined while healing. Doctor's orders state that she is to be confined to an area no larger than 3 times her body length. That's about the size of a small bathroom. She will be unable to walk on slick floors, and of course our house is covered in hardwoods and vinyl. My plan is to make a "safe area" for bean by laying down blankets, then putting this playpen on it. If we set it up in the main room, she will not feel so isolated, and we can keep a close eye on our sedated little princess. Of course, there will be very frequent photos of her recovery posted here!

Today's photo:
I'm practicing my "sedated" face. How does it look?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: 6 days till surgery

We are at 84% of the goal today - not a huge increase from yesterday, but I have faith we'll get there in time. We didn't come this far just by luck!

Surgery is less than one week away, and we have started to make preparations.
Phase 1 = the last bath.

I do not think we will be able to bathe Bean for some time after the surgery. She had started to smell a little fishy, which is odd because 1) we don't live near the ocean, and 2) Bryan has adamantly denied rubbing her down with cod fillets while I am out.

The last bath went much like any other bath, and consisted of the following steps:

Step 1 - The capture.
Bean will not willingly get into the bathtub. She must be caught and carried into the bathroom, then lowered into the tub. Since Bryan is the only one with the upper body strength to accomplish this, he is the designated dog-bather. (Don't feel too bad for him though. I am the designated tub-cleaner afterwards.)
Step 2 - The bathing.
This part is not so bad. Bean actually quite likes the taste of the shampoo. She doesn't like getting her head washed though, and tries to keep it over the edge of the tub as much as possible, hoping we will forget to wash it.

Step 3 - the toweling off.
This is a most crucial step, and must never be skipped. Bean has other, much messier, ways of drying herself off if we don't do it for her. Mainly they involve running to the nearest piece of upholstered furniture and doing a frantic, whole-body shake until said piece of furniture is sopping with dog bathwater.

Step 4 - the brushing of the teeth.
After the bath, Bean smells like peaches and the foulness of her breath becomes even more noticeable. At this point it is wise to brush as many of her teeth as she will let us. During this particular session, Bryan chose to focus on the tiny little bat-like teeth in the front.
No walks, a hurt knee, AND a bath?!! This is the worst month of my whole life so far. I wonder what's next? I mean what could suck more than this? Bone Surgery??? But no, not even the humans are that cruel. Right?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: 7 days till surgery

Well, here we are. One week to go before the big day, and I am proud to announce that we are within 80% of our goal!! I have no doubt that we will make it in time, and may even have enough to pay for Bean's post-op sedatives and pain medications (of which there will be many). I couldn't be more surprised and happy about how this has turned out. When it started, I thought, "well, if I can raise a couple hundred dollars, at least that will help us pay something," but you all have totally blown my mind! Thank you, you are all the best!

Today's photo:

Why?! Why have you been waking my up EVERYDAY to take my picture? What can be the meaning of this? I hope you know this makes my knee hurt. Also, I will be barking tonight from 1 AM until 3 AM. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: Day 13

Wow!! Donations have skyrocketed since yesterday! If you add the off-line donations, we are now at 67% of our target!! That is a HUGE jump in one day. We now need to raise $490 in the next week to reach the goal. At this rate, we may reach it by the weekend! I am really speechless. I had no idea how many people in the world would care about one little (well, maybe not so little!) dog with a hurt knee. Did you know that we have readers in Germany and Malaysia now? Bean is going to need an agent after all this is over!

Today's Photo:

In light of my newfound celebrity, I will no longer do photo shoots for free, woman. Have your people call my people if you want a proper head shot.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: Day 12

Well, we have some great news today. We are 5% closer to our goal than yesterday for dropcash donations, ringing in at 38% raised! On top of that, another donor has just pledged a very generous off-line donation of $100! This, added to the amount we have raised on-line means we are....let me see....carry the one...multiply by 100....45% of the way there! (I don't know how to make that show up on the little dropcash graph though. If anyone out there knows, drop me a line.)

Way to go everyone! This word of mouth campaign really seems to be working. And it's a good thing too, because Bean's surgery is just a little over a week away (next Thursday). Today's off-line donation made me think of something. If you have been hesitant to donate so far because of the whole online/paypal thing, please email me and I will give you the info you need to send a check. Or a dollar bill. Really, we are happy for anything! My email is:

Today's Photo:

Man, all that math gave me a headache! I think I'm just gonna rest here for awhile...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: Day 11

Wow! We really hit an important milestone today, and are now at 33% of the goal! (That's one-third of the way there, for you non-Math folks.) Things are really moving quickly now, and Bean's surgery is scheduled for less than 2 weeks away. We have to keep up this momentum if we are going to be paying for it with actual money, and not with inappropriate touching (Which a sign posted on the hospital door says they don't accept anyway. Dang!!).

Keep up the good work everyone! And don't forget to check back here for updates on our progress.

(Also, the visit counter at the bottom of the page tells us where in the world people are visiting this site from. And guess what? Bean has readers in Honduras and in Paris, France!)

Today's photo:
Ooh-la-la! I certainly am popular! I can handle it. I was born for stardom. I mean - look at this face!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: Day 10

As of this morning we are at 26% of our goal! I predict that we will see an increase everyday between now and the end. Like I told Bryan, it's like a snowball effect. We just have to get the word out! Thanks for all your efforts and generosity!

Yesterday was one of those divine North Carolina spring days. The high was in the low 80s, and the air is not yet so humid as to make being outside feel like taking a dip in a pool of sweat. And all you dog owners know what a day like this means:

Every dog in Durham was taken on a walk. Except Bean.

Bean spent the majority of the day positioned in front of a window watching an endless parade of dogs marching down our street, all of them enjoying the beautiful weather and the scents of spring. We eventually took pity on her and decided to take her out on the front porch with us for awhile, while Bryan sat in his rocking chair. It was the first time she has been out the front door in more than a month, and I think she was a little overwhelmed.

Today's photo:

Geesh. It sure is a lot bigger out here than I remember. I'm just gonna watch from under your leg, if that's OK with you Daddy...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: Day 9

Well, some great news....we are already 21% of the way there! I feel like we have reached a major benchmark and I am thrilled! Now, Bean's surgery is less than 2 weeks away (May 3rd) but I just know that things are going to move much faster now. But please do what you can to help spread the word. About a quarter of the people who have given so far had never heard of Bean until we started raising this money. They read about her situation on a blog, or got an email about it. So please, if you have a webpage/blog of your own (or even if you don't but know some dog-lovers) please spread the word by putting a link to us on your page, or sending a link in an email. I just know that once people see this beautiful little face, they will be moved to help. Thanks!

(You may also notice that I added a counter to the bottom of this page, which will give us some idea of how many people visit this site. Only seven since I installed it last night, but I know that will increase as well!)

Today's photo:
Thanks everyone! Now, if you don't mind, all this "rest" has made me sleepy. I think I will take another nap...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: Day 8

Well, our numbers have gone up to 19%! This is due in part to Bryan's latest email plea, and also to one very generous reader of this blog who has now donated twice, even though she has never even met Bean! I will not say her name, for privacy reasons, but I hope she reads this and knows how grateful we all are here at Camp Bean!

Today's photo:
If you help me, I will lick your face.
Actually, even if you don't help, I will probably still lick your face. It's kind of a problem I have. I can't help it!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: Day 7

Unfortunately, the surgery would be even more expensive at the vet school. How is that possible?? And Bean would have to wait several more weeks in this state of no walks/lots of pain which is driving us all nuts. So we are where we are in terms of a fundraising goal. But Bryan sent an email to lots of folks last night, so hopefully we'll see better numbers by tomorrow.

Today's Photo:

After asking Gneville the Gnome to loan her money for the surgery and being turned down, Bean stares off into the distance. She feels that this moment is awkward and strained, and wonders if their relationship will ever be the same.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: Day 6

Our friend Katie moved the rest of her stuff out of the spare room. So bean had to go back into bathroom jail to keep her from running out into the street while the front door was propped open. This time she cried especially hard. I like to think it's because she knows Katie will no longer be staying with us and she is sad. But it is probably because she is becoming more of a brat with each day of pre-op pampering. Please. Please help make this stop....

Today's photo:

I hope you know that being locked in here also makes my knee hurt.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: Day 5

Well, in light of the recent lull in donations, I have decided to take decisive action here. We are getting a second opinion (and hopefully a second, more reasonable quote) from another vet surgeon. We are fortunate enough to live near one of the best vet schools in the country (NC State) and I am trying to get Bean seen there for another evaluation. I am thinking that maybe a teaching hospital will be a little cheaper than a private practice. The lower the goal, the easier it will be to reach it, right?

Dang! I wish we had bought that pet insurance. It's probably too late now. Bad, Bad pet owners!!! Oh well, let's not give up hope!!

Today's photo:

You mean I have to go to the doctor AGAIN?! Bummer.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: Day 4

Okay, we are still at 17%, but we have had even more email "pledges," so I think when next payday rolls around, we'll see a big spike.

Today's photo is of Bean napping on my husband's crotch (which is oddly one of her favorite places to nap):

Wha...Huh? Oh, it's you. Again with the camera??

Clearly she is not worried about the recent lag in donations. Bean is, as always, sure that things will come out all right in the end. And so am I.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: Day 3

Well folks, it's day 3 of the campaign for a new knee, and we are still holding strong at 17%!! I just know that more will come though. I have gotten a few "pledges" via email. I have decided that we will take a cue from those NPR pledge drives and just post every day till our goal is reached. Of course, not much happens in the life of a house-bound hurty-legged dog to warrant such frequent posts. Therefore it will mostly be cute photos of Bean with shameless pleas for donations underneath.

Today's photo:

Puh-Puh-Puh-Pleease help my leg feel better....

Bean has somehow convinced us that her leg feels much better when she is on our bed. This is usually not allowed. But now, Bryan can often be seen carrying her up the stairs and placing her in the center of our bed. It's funny, because even though Bryan is the one lugging the 57-lb dog up the stairs, Bean grunts the whole time. Apparently, it's hard work being pampered like that.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: Day 1

I can't believe it's been just one day (less actually!) and already we are 17% of the way towards getting Bean a new knee!!! I don't know what to say. Really, I am just so thankful for all of you.
And so is Bean:

Thank you peoples in the Internets!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Worst. Day. Ever.

Yesterday sucked.

Our Bean has been limping for a while now. She has been reluctant to put weight on her back right leg. At times it has been hardly noticeable, but in the past two months, it has gotten worse. She had been evaluated by her vet, who is wonderful, but none of the standard tests revealed anything. So we were referred to a veterinary surgical practice in Cary. We had an appointment with them for an evaluation on Friday, the 13th of April. However, on Tuesday night, Bean came hopping into the office on three legs, refusing to put any weight on her hurt leg at all.

It was such a sad, pitiful sight to see her crippled like that. It just broke my heart to think that she might be in that much pain, and be unable to tell us about it. And to think that if we did nothing, she might be crippled for the rest of her years....I burst into tears, and called the surgeons first thing Wednesday morning, wanting her to be evaluated that day.

It was a cold, rainy day here in Durham. I strapped Bean into her seat belt in the front seat of my car, threw her x-rays from her regular vet in the back seat, and we set off for our 2:00 appointment at about 1:15. I don't know Cary that well, and don't like driving in the rain, so I gave us a little extra time.

I don't think that bean has ever ridden in a car in the rain before. We learned something new. She really, really hates windshield wipers. At first, she would give a little start and a jump every time they swished by. She was so scared of them, she was shaking in her seat. Eventually, she realized she could just look out the side window:

We pulled into the parking lot of the clinic at 2:03. It was a large building, with a lot of other veterinary specialty offices in it, and it wasn't obvious from the outside whether the surgical practice was in there as well. So I decided to leave Bean in the car while I ran in to confirm that we were in the right place. Turns out we were. I told them that we were here and I would be right back with the patient. I ran back out to the car to get Bean and the x-rays, and that's when I realized it.

I had locked my keys and my Bean in the car.

I was pretty close to tears at this point. I ran back into the clinic and called a locksmith, who said they could be there in "thirty minutes or less." I gave the dispatcher the address. Now, there are only about ten parking spaces in front of the building, so I didn't think that she would need that much info to tell the locksmith which car was mine. But she wanted to know it all, so I said, as calmly as I could,

"Oh, Okay, it's a white Toyota Camry, two doors, a '94, and let me see... oh yeah.....There's a giant F%*ING RED DOG in the FRONT SEAT!!!!!!!!!!!"

To which, the lady on the phone asked, I swear to God, "Ummmm, kay.....and what's the license plate number?"

After I get off the phone with that woman, I take a position outside where I can see Bean but she can't see me. I know it will only make her more upset and confused if she sees me but I don't come let her out. All I can think is how thirsty she must be. It was a long drive and I had the heat on, and I noticed she was thirsty on the drive over. I just know that she is locked in there and scared and thirsty and possibly in pain and looking for her mommy to come rescue her.

By now I am crying like a baby.

At 2:23 I call the locksmith again. The dispatcher says she will radio the driver and see where he is. He calls me on my cellphone about 3 minutes later. He is at the corner down the street, but doesn't know which way to turn from there. Neither do I, so I give the phone to the receptionist inside the clinic, and she cheerfully directs him to the parking lot.

I rush out to meet him. He approaches the car, takes one look at Bean, and tells me he won't unlock it. "WHAT????" I ask. Apparently, he believes that if he unlocks the door, Bean (the vicious pit bull who is presently wagging her tail and licking the car window) will get out of her seat belt, open the door, leap out and bite his jugular vein. Seriously.

I offer him more money. No dice. "That would be against company policy." At this point I am really about to lose it, and I think he can tell too. In the end, he decided he was more scared of me than of Bean, and he unlocked the door and jumped back into the safety of his truck. I walked Bean and her x-rays into the clinic, them came back out to pay the man. I had to give him my license to prove I was the owner of the car. It's an old photo of me in the license. He looks at me, standing there in rain, crying, clutching my purse and says:

"You know, you looked much better with longer hair"

Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh, well you know what asshole? FUUUUUUUCKKKKKK YOUUUUUUUUUU!!!!

Back in the clinic, we meet the wonderful Dr. Clarke. He is the kind of doctor I want to be someday. He took all the time in the world explaining the problem and what our options were. Basically Bean definitely has one problem, and possibly two.

The first one that we know she has is a luxated (displaced) patella. This means that her knee cap has a tendency to pop out of it's groove now and then. This is probably due to the fact that she has very very powerful quad muscles and is bow-legged. They can surgically deepen the groove in the bone to help it stay in place and do a few other nifty tricks to fix this problem.

The second one he suspects might be an issue is a torn ACL. Again, this is probably exacerbated by her size and bow-legged-ness. This can't show up on X-ray, and he saw only slight signs of it on physical exam. This is more of a "We'll know more once we're in there" kind of problem.

One option would be to do the surgery for the patella, and then while he's in there, repair a torn ACL if he sees one.

He said another option would be to wait a month and see if one or the other diagnoses became so pronounced as to pinpoint itself as the reason for her lameness. Then we would know which problem needed addressing first.

Either way we are looking at 6-8 weeks of rehabilitation where Bean must be confined to a space no more than 3 times her body length 24 hours a day, with leashed bathroom breaks three times a day. Anyone who has ever met Bean will understand what I meant when I said "Well, you're going to have to sedate either her or me for that to work." He laughed, and said that he will sedate the crap out of her. I actually made him promise.

"What's your decision?" he asked.
"Let's do it. Let's do the surgery."
"When is good for you?"
"Your next available"
"How's Monday?"
"We'll take it."

He shook my hand, said he admired my decisiveness, and sent me out to the front desk, where the lady very cheerfully explained that even if there is not ACL involvement, and only the patella needs to be fixed, the surgery will cost around fourteen HUNDRED dollars.

I walk out in a daze. We were a sad, sad pair on the drive home. I am crying, and Bean is trying to lay her head in my lap and fall asleep. I called Bryan on his cell phone. He had puked at school and was coming home early. Just a wonderful day for us all. I told him the situation. "We'll do whatever we have to do. She's our baby Bean." I love him so much sometimes, it just makes me cry harder, you know.

But the thing is, I don't know what we're going to do. I am a medical student who is currently on medical leave, so my even my negative income (loans) is gone. Bryan is a public school teacher, who doesn't get paid in the summers. Our savings are almost gone. I'm really scared.

And so I am asking all of our family and friends and our friends in the Internet to help us if they can. Bean shouldn't have to suffer just because I suck and can't get a job, and her dad has decided to work in public service. I have set up a dropcash fundraising account (funds collected through paypal, but you don't need a paypal account to give) and I am begging you all to give a little bit each. If everyone who ever read this blog would give $5, we could do this. There is a link to the campaign on the top left corner of this page, and a bar to track it's progress. I have rescheduled the surgery for the 3rd of May, and Bean will be on pain killers and joint protective supplements in the meantime.

Please help us. We would do the same for you. And you will have Bean's love for the rest of her pain-free life.

What a crappy day, huh mom?

Monday, April 09, 2007

no-bahhhhh-deee knooowws, thah trouble iiiiiii seeeen.....

A friend of ours recently moved to Durham, and has been storing stuff in our spare room while her living situation gets all settled. During the moving process, we had to prop open the front door. So Bean had to be either locked in the back yard or baby-gated in the bathroom. I thought she'd prefer the bathroom, since she could at least see what was going on.

The second I put her in there (with food, water, treats, a bed, and chews.....all for a 15 minute "lock-down"), she started crying like we were torturing her. And she bent her head down (so as to best convey her broken spirit) and peered through the "bars" at us when we passed by.

We definitely have to keep Miss Bean out of trouble, because I don't think she'd last an hour in real doggie jail.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!!

Bryan spent Friday night with his parents in Virginia. When he came back last night, he brought three easter baskets full of goodies from his mom: one for him, one for me....and one for Bean! I gave her hers this morning.

I think it was a big success!!

Thanks Grandma!!!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Sometimes Bean likes to insert herself into the smallest possible nook or cranny to sleep. I think she finds it warm and comforting. Although it doesn't look very comfortable, does it?

(Please forgive the recent silence here. My computer had to be shipped off to Memphis to be fixed. Turns out it needed a new CPU, which the IBM people made sound like a pretty crucial part. We're all fixed up and ready to blog now though!)