Monday, May 28, 2007

Project recovery: Day 25

I am almost ashamed to admit this one. Given that I have several years of medical training under my belt, you would think I would have figured this out much sooner. Let's see how you do:

Say you had surgery (let's call it knee surgery, for the sake of this example) that would decrease the amount of your daily physical activity by over 90% for about 12 weeks. Say that after said surgery, you continued the same caloric intake that you were eating pre-operatively. You would expect your weight to:

a) decrease
b) remain constant
c) increase
d) explode exponentially

If you chose "d" , then congratulations! You are smarter than we are! We noticed a week or so ago that Bean was looking a little ....well..."husky." She was also getting way too tired after even the short 5-minute walk she gets three times a day. Then one day, while we were watching a movie in the living room where her dog-prison is kept, she sat up to reveal an unmistakably rounded belly. After laughing for a few minutes, I jumped up and got the camera. Here is Bean's first fat photo - a milestone in any girl's life. I am so proud of my baby!

We have since cut back on the amount of food we feed her.

I am NOT fat!! I am just big boned.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Project Recovery: Day 23

Forgive the lack of posts this past week. Things have been going so well with Bean, I actually got to catch up on my non-Bean life. That's progress! I did take some very cute pictures of her which I will be posting here over the next few days. They are too cute to post all at once. So you'll just have to come back, won't you? :)

As you can see from the photo below, there are two things that we no longer have to deal with. Can you tell? No more diapers and no more E-collar! You would think that this would make Bean happier. And for a day or two it did. But now it just seems that all of her attention is focused on the last obstacle, that final frontier of this whole process - the confinement.

What can I say? She wants out!! And if I dare to open the back door (which leads out to her "room" - the fenced in backyard) she starts crying so loudly that I feel like an asshole for rubbing it in her face and I immediately shut the door again. It's just like a teenager shrieking, "Moooooooooommmm!!!!!!!! Stay out of my rooooom! .......... GAWD!!"

But seriously mom, stay out of my room, OK?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Project Recovery: Day 14

Things have improved drastically in the past week. Out of the 3 things that were making our lives suck, I am thrilled to report that we have made serious progress on all 3 fronts:

1) Diarrhea
Gone! Our vet cured her. She is down to one poop a day (two if it's a big day). The process of deep cleaning the first floor of our house has begun. I wonder if you can buy Soft Scrub by the case?

2) E-collar
The staples came out on Monday, but since Bean just can't leave well enough alone and was licking at her incision, she has to wear the E-collar until Saturday. But then we will be rid of it! She has been clumsy with it on (understandably), and can't see where she is putting her front paws. She has twice now accidentally stepped in and overturned her water bowl. But I am not complaining. I would much rather clean up spilled water than poop!

3) Confinement
Bean is two weeks out from her surgery, and the doctor says she can now have three 5-minute walks per day. This means going to the end of our street and back. At the end of the street is a little grassy area, which we spend some time in before heading back. Bean, the little angel, has figured that we want her to poop and pee here on this area if she can. So we have had no more poops in the house, and only one pee. We can increase her walks by 5 minutes in 2 weeks.

Things are looking up! Thanks for the kind words during the rough patch. And keep checking for updates.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Project Recovery: Day 7

Things here are really hard right now. I am feeling a little desperate. Issues include:

1) The diarrhea.
It's still here. We have switched antibiotics. We have de-wormed her (did I mention the worms? No? Well, that was for your own good then.) We have given her bowls of Kaopectate. We have done 5 loads of laundry a day. There is still poop everywhere.

2) The E-collar.
She still needs it. She still has her staples in over her knee, and what's worse, she tends to lick her butt if it's off. Her butt, which is now absolutely raw from the non-stop pooping. So we have to keep the E-collar for the next week at least.

3) The confinement.
The sedatives she was sent home on weren't cutting it. Yesterday she was switched to valium, but last night was just as bad. She wants out. She doesn't understand why she can't run around in the backyard and have unlimited access to the house. She doesn't understand why she has to spend all day in a little hexagon-shaped plastic jail. She voices this frustration (literally) by wailing and crying at all hours. Bryan and I switch off "sleeping" downstairs on the couch next to her. It doesn't matter though, because she still cries and neither of us gets any sleep.

For all of these reasons (and probably more, I can't think right now. no sleep) I have had to take Bean to our regular vet almost every day this week for day-boarding, so that I can get some sleep, and make some progress on laundry and de-pooping of the house. Then Bryan picks her up at night, and we start another 12 hours of sleepless, poop-y misery. I feel so guilty for not being able to take care of her myself. I am sitting here in tears as I write this. I didn't know this would be so hard. I definitely would have waited until Bryan was out for the summer (he's a school teacher) before having the surgery done.

This is not a one-person job.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Project recovery: Day 5

I haven't posted in a few days. Why is that, you ask? Well folks, although I will explain in further detail below, the reason can really be summed up in one short word.


Poop everywhere. Magical Poop that defies the laws of physics as I had understood them up until this point in my life. Poop that can separate itself in order to fly through the small holes in the walls of a dog play pen and then reform into one giant ball on the electrical socket of the far wall. Our lives these last few days have consisted of little more than laundry, wiping dog butt, laundry, sleeping in shifts, and laundry.

We now know the reason for this. When Bean was discharged after her surgery, she was sent home on an antibiotic called Cephalexin to prevent infection of her surgical site. Apparently, somewhere along Bean's intestinal tract there is a small faucet. What Cephalexin did, basically, was to get into our dog, locate that faucet, and switch it to the "on" position.

On Saturday night, it was so bad that she was just leaking poop up to 5-6 times an hour. At 3:00 am we took her to the emergency clinic, which is no more than 4 miles from our house. She pooped twice in the car on the way there. The doctor there stopped the Cephalexin and switched her to another antibiotic, Metronidazole. They also gave her IV fluids because she was so dehydrated, and switched her to a special diet of bland canned food for a few days.

I am thrilled to report that she is improving, and the worst seems to be over.

We have learned several new and highly marketable skills during all of this. I myself now have a spooky ability to tell when she is about to poop, even before she goes into the telltale "squat" position. We also can both put a diaper on a dog while she is walking away from us. Didn't know they made diapers for dogs? You lucky, lucky thing. Yes, they do. And yes, they have a hole for the tail to poke through. I used to see them in Petsmart and giggle to myself, thinking what kind of sad person would actually diaper their dog. Not me. Oh no, I'd just let the thing run around in the back yard till it felt better, then hose it down before bringing back in. Well, I am here to tell you people, Karma is a B.

A diaper AND an E-collar? What fresh hell is this?

Please tell me you are NOT going to post these on the internet!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Project Recovery: Day 2

I know I should post an account of how last night went for Bean, but the truth is, I don't really know. The reason? Because I have such a wonderful husband.

Let me explain. I didn't sleep a wink the night that Bean spent in the hospital. I was just too worried. So, soon after we brought her home yesterday, I became exhausted. Bean hates the e-collar, and had forgotten that she can lie down while wearing one. The poor thing was almost falling over from fatigue. Her eyes would start closing, and she would get closer and closer to the ground, but as soon as the rim of her collar touched the blankets, she shot back up. This went on for-EVER.

I finally got into the pen and lay down with her, trying to soothe her to sleep. This didn't work either. Eventually it was time for her nightly dose of sedative. We gave her that, and she fell right asleep. At that point, I was so tired I couldn't see straight. Bryan told me he would watch her and I should go ahead to bed. Which I did, and I slept like a rock.

When I woke up this morning, I was surprised to find that he wasn't in bed with me. That's when I came downstairs to find this:

How cute is this? He opened the little fold-out futon couch and incorporated it into the recovery area. If he is half as good a dad to our actual human baby as he is to Bean, that will be one lucky kid.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Project Recovery: Day 1 (Welcome Home Bean!)

Well, we just brought Bean home from the hospital, and she is pitiful!!! She has a shaved leg, about 15-20 staples over her incision, an e-collar (cone) on her head to keep her from messing with the incision, and a fentanyl patch for pain. She is most miserable about the e-collar. We know this from previous experience. All she does so far is stand still in her "recovery area" and cry a really, really sad cry. It's kind of like a chirp. I got some of it on video, but it's too dark to see anything. It's really too sad to even post.

But she is home!

Oh, and you know how I was freaked out about the 8 weeks of this I have to look forward to? Turns out I needn't have worried about that, because is not 8 weeks of recovery. It's TWELVE WEEKS. That's 3 months of this. Someone help us! Please keep us in your prayers. Bean will miss the whole summer at this rate.

I am going to lay down in the pen with her now, and see if that calms her down any.

Whew! Now for phase II - Healing.

Thanks again everyone!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: The Big Day! (update)

I just spoke with Dr. Clarke. He said the surgery went well, and Bean tolerated the anesthesia as expected. She is awake and in recovery. Thank God!!

He also said that when he went into her knee, he saw that she had both the patella problem (which we knew about) and a torn ACL (which we suspected). He was able to fix both at once only because all of you have been so generous. If we had not been able to raise enough money to cover both procedures, we might have had to have the two surgeries separately, and that would have been awful!!!

Why? Because now we are in for a long, hard 8 week long recovery process. We haven't even begun it yet and already I know that it is something I don't want to go through more than once. Thankfully, soon school will be out and Bryan will be home to help me with her.

Tonight we are going to go get supplies and come home to set up her recovery area in the living room, to which she will be confined for the next 8 weeks, excluding bathroom breaks 3 times a day.

Tomorrow we get to bring her home! I will post pictures of the homecoming, of course.

Thanks again!

Project Bionic Leg: The Big Day!

I dropped Bean off at the surgical practice this morning at 8:00 am. She was so excited to actually be on a leash, leaving the house, that she didn't pay me any attention at all. She was looking out the window and licking the glass on the way to Cary. It was a nice enough morning, so I let the window down. Then she stuck her head out and "smiled" at passers-by in other vehicles. Now, to a non-dog-lover, a pit bull smile can look terrifying, and more like an attempt to show all their teeth before they eat you whole. So we got some scared looks, but mostly she got smiles in return.

By the time we got to the clinic, she was so excited her entire body wiggled from head to tail. I anchored her leash to the check in counter to register her and take these pictures. She had a smile and a squeal for everyone that walked by, and the vet tech who came to take her back was almost overpowered by kisses and licks.

All this made it easier for me to stand leaving her there. She looked like I had dropped her off at Disney world, not like she was going to go have painful joint surgery. But still, as soon as I got back to the car, I started crying.

She is probably having the surgery this very minute. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. My sweet little Beanie-Baby. Mommy loves you so much.

Today's photo:
Where are the toys? My doggie camp, the one where I get to spend holidays while mommy and daddy visit their two-legged relatives, has lots of toys. And a pool. Maybe the pool's behind that door over there....

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: 1 day till surgery

Ding Ding Ding!! We did it! The goal has been reached (and then some!!)

There were times in the beginning that I thought, "man this is a long shot!" But we did it! I still can't believe it. I am amazed at how many people from all over the country got involved in this. And now you all get to sit back and watch the results of your generosity. I will be documenting both the surgery and the recovery on this blog, so please keep on reading. I predict that in 2 months you will see a picture of a healthy, happy dog being taken on a real honest-to-goodness WALK, outside of the house!!!

Thanks again everybody!!!

Today's photo:
Ughhhhhh. I am soooo bored. I remember back when I was younger, years ago I think, mom and dad used to do this thing where they would attach a stringy thing to me and we would go patrol the neighborhood together. Man, that was fun. I guess that's just history now. But I remember. Je me souviens!!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Project Bionic Leg: 2 days till surgery

It's kind of like the calm before the storm around here. After some very helpful comments folks made to yesterday's post, I am much more ok with the idea of Bean staying overnight in the hospital. I am sure it will be the safest thing to do. We are going to spend Thursday night (the night she will be in the hospital) setting up her "recovery area" in the living room. I want to have everything ready for when we bring her home on Friday. Today when Bryan got home from work, we all hung out on the front porch for an hour or so. Bean enjoyed watching the neighborhood, Bryan read, and I cleaned. You would be amazed to know how dirty a front porch can get! I don't think ours has ever been cleaned before. At least not since we moved in.

As far as fundraising goes, we are sooooooo close, at 98% of the goal. If you are reading this and you haven't donated yet, now is the time! YOU could be the one to put us over the top!!

Today's Photo:
I love hanging out with my dad. He is the coolest dad ever. I'm not even scared of his new rocking least not anymore.