The surgery was Thursday Sept 30. Friday morning he was doing so well, they felt he could come home. We were so excited he could be off the pain meds finally! Past the risk of ulcers and all the collateral damage from meds!
Friday was good. We helped him down the steps to go pee and he would take off ahead of us! We thought wow! this is great! I didn’t expect it would be this good so fast! He slept a lot through the day, but when we took him outside he was happy to lie in the yard. When we weren’t looking he would move around, so we really didn’t get a good look at how he was moving.
Early Saturday morning I was out with him and he got up to pee. He wouldn’t let me help him. As I was watching he leaned so forward he hyperextended his ankle. I ran over and lifted his bum to relieve the pressure as he was still going. It seemed from there he went downhill.
As Saturday progressed he wouldn’t eat or do much of anything – he just lay there. Sunday was worse. He wouldn’t use his remaining leg. We carried him outside. He dragged himself under some bushes near the house where he liked to hide and didn’t move. I thought oh no, we’ve ruined it – it’s dislocated or damaged, now he’ll be virtually helpless.
Sunday we dragged him out onto the deck. He ate lots of ice for me. In the afternoon he threw up. It was all blood, a bit of meat he had eaten – and a drainage tube from the amputation. He had pulled that out and eaten it! I thought at the time that it was all blood he had consumed from licking the drain tubes. (The vet had told me there were 2. I had seen just one – 2 ends – I thought maybe the vet didn’t want to confuse me!) Achilles didn’t eat any food the rest of the day and barely drank any water. He did eat some ice cubes.
By Sunday night he was dying. He had nothing left. He lay there nearly lifeless for hours. My husband was crying. My teenage daughters asked what was wrong. I told them I didn’t think Achilles was going to make it through the night. They asked to come downstairs I said “absolutely yes!” As they sat near his head petting him he seemed to perk up. He looked at each of us directly and deliberately. He ate some ice cubes and drank a little water. We slept next to him through the night on the dining room floor.
Monday (Oct 4, 2010) morning we took him to the vet.
He had a gastric ulcer and was bleeding internally. This was life or death. Additionally the amputation was infected -remember the drain tube he ate?! We were devastated – to get to this point – where he would no longer need the pain meds – we thought we made it in time! – and now the ulcer happens. The doctor said he’ll be here for several days to get the ulcer under control. Then we could look at the other leg later to see how it was and why he wasn’t using it.
Tuesday (Oct 5, 2010) He seemed to be stabilizing but still a very sick dog, and he’s anemic.
Wednesday The vet called and said the bloodwork was better but not great – “we’re going the right direction but very slowly. The thing is we don’t want him to give up” I asked if it would help if we came to visit him. Dr. said it wouldn’t hurt! So I immediately got myself together and went to visit. Achilles ate his food for me by hand, and was happy for me to hold the water bowl so he could drink with the cone of shame. He really seemed to be perking up.
Thursday – The Helpemup.com harness arrived (that I wished I had ordered BEFORE the surgery but didn’t know it existed) I took it and some food and treats that Achilles liked to hopefully entice him to eat Thursday morning. The harness was a huge help for the staff and I promised to order one for them for other big dog patients. He cheered up when I came in and I sat with him for about an hour. Dave went to visit him in the evening and Achilles ate for him.
Friday – neither Dave nor I could visit due to work. The vet called and said good news / bad news – The bloodwork is improving, he’s using his leg some, but the kidneys are failing. right now I have to flush the kidneys. We lose the kidneys we lose the dog. – I found myself desperately seeking anything for hope – I searched for St Francis medals and prayers. Sometimes we aren’t in control.
Saturday morning – I went up to visit first thing in the morning before work. Achilles looked great – bright, happy to see me. – Dr. said He’ll get more attention from you at home over the weekend than he will here. I think he can go home with you. I’ll give the meds he needs. We’ll give you our numbers – if anything goes wrong we’ll leave the catheter in you can call us and bring him straight in.
WOW! Didn’t expect that!! So happy – we get to take him home! I called Dave and asked how close he was – he asked why is something wrong? I said ‘he can come home today!!!’