loracs: (Default)

A year ago today, Gilly (our dog) was still alive. 

A year ago today, Stacy (our friend and attendant) was still alive.

A year ago today, dbubley had 2 kidneys and did not have cancer. 

The last one isn’t entirely true; we didn’t know there was cancer swimming around in her body. 

 

Gilly died Aug. 29, 2008

Stacy died last February.
Dbubley has cancer and it may be inoperable. 

 

What will this next year bring?

I'm sure I could make a list of good things that happened this last year, but I'm just not in the mood right now.

loracs: (Default)
Does anyone have a referral for a doggie chiropractor or acupuncturist in the East Bay?  Does anyone have any experience with using these methods on dogs?  Between her age and our finances, a surgical fix might not be possible, even if that is the doctor's recommendation, so I want to be ready with some alternative help for her.
loracs: (Default)

She's not doing any better and maybe she's doing a little worst.  We now have her on pain meds and we have an appointment with a neurologist tomorrow afternoon.  Crossing my fingers and toes that he can offer us some good news, but I'm preparing myself for bad news.  It is so hard watching her try to get up; sometimes it takes her 4 or 5 times to get her back legs under her.  Gilly still wants to play, but she just has no energy to put into it. 

loracs: (Default)
 I didn't make it to my friend's memorial yesterday and that makes me very sad.  I wanted to be around other people who knew her.  It was held in her art studio.  I imagine there would be a feeling of life interrupted.  When last she left her studio, did she put everything away, empty the trash?  The current work, sitting on her easel, was it almost done or had she just started it?  

I think about this stuff sometimes; if I don't come home what is the state of my space.  How much laundry is waiting in the hamper - did I actually put all the dirty clothes in there or are there any laying on floor?  What pages are open on my computer?  Are there dirty dishes in the sink?  Are there yucky items in the fridge I should have thrown out days ago?  These are safe things to think about; I don't go near how the people in my life will deal with my death.  

I've wandered away from my original thought.  I didn't make it to the memorial because we took Gilly to the vet.  She was in pain and she is a living, breathing creature.  We are responsible for her and the need to get her help outweighed every other need.  I also missed an important board meeting.  Life is one big negotiation on how to meet our needs. Some days it feels like a triage, who/what do we "save", what can wait, what do we bail on?  Yes, life as triage, that's how I'm feeling right  now.  And it doesn't feel good.
loracs: (huh?)
We're back from the vet, poorer but with more information.  They took x-rays of her entire spine from head to tail.  The vet said she has "beautiful hips" and her mid to lower back is fine too. The problem seems to be in the 4 - 6th vertebrae; there is a misalignment that might be putting pressure on her spinal cord causing the weakness in her back legs.  They took blood and urine to make sure that all looks good.  The next option is to see a neurologist and get an opinion.  Unless she goes into crisis, we will go with the most conservative treatment; surgery, for many reasons, doesn't seem like an option for us.  The good news is the vet didn't see any signs of bone cancer.  I was really bracing myself for that possibility.

She is on muscle relaxants for now.  And we need to keep her quiet, no jumping, running, pulling on leash.  We will pick up all her toys, but this girl can make anything into a toy.  One day she dragged a log into   [profile] dbubley's house to play with.  Since she doesn't want to eat much, we stopped at a special pet store and bought her some fancy food to tempt her with - venison, rabbit, duck, you know, all the stuff we can't afford to buy for the people portion of the household. 

Now, I'm going to take a much needed nap.  It's been a very long week and stressing out about our baby girl leaves me about 1/2 a straw away from breaking the camels back.
loracs: (Gilly & Me)
Gilly had her cancer surgery one year ago today. In dog years, she would be considered cured. Here's a picture of her very crooked jaw, the result of removing the cancer and most of her bottom teeth on one side. A face so ugly only the people who paid for it could love. And we do love her so. Goofy look and all.



loracs: (Gilly)

Dear Gilly Girl,
Ten years ago today you came slip sliding into the world.  It would be another 1 1/2 years before you entered our lives and clawed and toothed your way into our hearts.  It was not easy going.  You were (are) stubborn.  You were confused on where you fit into our family  and until we straighten that out, you were a scary bitch on four legs.  Once that was settled, you became the biggest, silliest, goofiest, most loving, 70lb lap dog ever.

A few weeks ago, as

[personal profile] stonebender and I were going to bed, I started a "hide the tennis ball" game with you.  There was a towel on the bed and I managed to place the ball under it without you seeing me.  For 10 or 15 minutes you searched all over.  You nosed through all the sheets, under the pillows and even under stonebender, but you couldn't find it.  You gave up, sat on the bed and stared at me.  As we continued to get ready for bed, I said "Gilly it's too bad you can't understand me when I say the ball is under the towel above stonebender's head."  You then proceeded immediately to go to the towel, poke your nose under it and retrieve the ball.  The mouths of your two humans fell open.  Good thing there were two of us there, because without confirmation there would be some doubt involved.  Did I really see you do this?  Is he spinning a fish tale?  If only we had caught this all on video, you'd be on You Tube.  From now on, when we don't want you to know something, we will have to spell out the word.  And if you find out you can spell, then we'll have to go to finger spelling.  And if you become fluent in the deaf alphabet, then we'll have to learn another language - maybe Finnish.  And if we find out you're a polyglot, then we'll have to put you outside when we need to talk.  And if you still find out, then our earliest fear will be confirmed - you can read out minds!!!  If only you had thumbs you could control the world.

In human years, you are 53.  In dog years, I am 217.  From one of your old people to you, our middle age doggy, Happy Birthday with a Big Wet Nose and Dry Tongue Kiss and Hugs!  I love you.

 

loracs: (huh?)
Gilly is very toy focused. Gilly loves her tennis ball. Regular game of hide the tennis ball makes her go all sniffy, sniffy around the house until she finds it. Tonight, while she watched, I put the tennis ball in the fridge. A frustrated doggy is fun to watch. I am Evil. 

The ball was retrieved from the fridge eventually and now the household is at peace for the night.
loracs: (Default)
Tug of War at 3 am.  Who won . . . it was a tie.  Both went to bed exhausted. 
What do you get when you pit one stubborn human against an equally stubborn dog . . . Tug of War at 3 am that ended in a tie with both of them exhausted and ready for bed. 
loracs: (Oops)
I guess I haven't posted for a while.  Short update on Betty, she came home last Thursday and all signs of infection are gone.  It's so very good to have her home again.

Gilly went in for another post-op appointment last Monday.  All looks good on her healing, the doctor is very pleased, but (and you know a "but "always means more $$) her jaw will not stay aligned.  She's our little snaggletooth baby girl, with one canine sticking out the side of her mouth.  It can look a little menacing, unless her tongue has also popped out on the same side, then she just looks goofy.  Oh, scratch the menacing - she always looks a little goofy.  And the same canine is turning purple from the lack of blood supply.  The vet recommends a root canal or she runs the risk of abscesses forming there.  And, since her jaw won't stay in place, we need all four of her canines filed down so she will not continue to create little sores where the canines hit flesh.  And, they have to remove the little metal buttons she put in for the rubber band device that didn't work.  And while they're in there, they'll clean her teeth.  All for the low, low cost of $1000 plus another vacation day off work.  

Gilly just came in to get a drink of water (oh, is she a sloppy drinker now), but first she comes and stares at me for a minute with her best goofy look.  I think I heard her jump up on the bed, which means she thinks it's time for [personal profile] stonebender to get a sloppy, wet kiss and wake up.  

doggy root canal - $1000
cancer removal - $6000
doggy love complete with kisses - priceless
loracs: (Default)
[profile] dbubley is much better.  She went in on Saturday night and on Monday afternoon they transferred her to the rehab facility (KPPACC for the local folks.)  They expect her to be in until next Wednesday.  They put a pic line in, so she doesn't have to deal with regular IV lines.  Last time she was in the hospital, several of her IV sites closed down, so they had to keep sticking her for new ones.  It was painful, but once they put in the pic line she was much more comfortable.  And since they can draw blood out of it, as well as deliver the antibiotic, it just made everything so much easy.  Her white cell count is almost normal, but because of her previous history, they really want to make sure it's gone before they stop the drug.

She's feeling fine and she is happy to be at KPPACC.  She said they have much better food and she likes the staff.  In fact, when she was checking in, one of aides who took care of her last year came over to say "hi".  Her name is Anna, but because of some in-joke between them, [info]dbubley calls her "Anna Banana".

[info]dbubley asked for a note book and some pens, she's using this time to start writing again.  Maybe this is the proverbial silver lining?

Gilly is also doing very well.  The only weirdness is how crooked her mouth is.  We put a muzzle on her as often as we can, but even with that, it goes right out of alignment when we take it off.  I don't want it on her when no on can take if off, in case she gets sick and, of course, she has to take it off to eat and drink.  That mostly leaves evening and nights.  Sometimes in the middle of the night, when she's sleeping between us, I'll pet her and feel her jaw is out (even with the muzzle on she can work her jaw off kilt after a while), so I pull it off.  It doesn't help to have it on and reinforce the wrong position.  We still have her on soft food, but I've been adding in a little of her dry food and she seems to handle it okay.  I hope we can get her back on dry food eventually - I think  it's better for her, it's cheaper and it doesn't STINK!  Her next post-op appointment is next Tuesday.

I'm crazy busy at work.  I had an all day training today (Tues.) and tomorrow I only work a 1/2 day and then my boss and I will go to Costco to shop for our department's annual full staff meeting.  It will be all day on Thursday and we're in charge of, well, we're in charge of most everything.  Continental breakfast, snacks, lunch and general organizing of the agenda.  This will be my first staff meeting in my new job.  I suggested a local Italian deli for the catering (Genova's) and did the ordering, so I'm feeling a little pressure.  I hope I ordered enough (75 people) and that they like it.  I'm prepping all the sandwich fixings the night before.  I've shifted into my hostess mode complete with my organizational spreadsheet.  Better get to bed, I've a long couple of days ahead of me.
loracs: (huh?)
Gilly had her 10-day post-op appointment today.  She is healing well.  The biopsy came back with good news - it was the type of cancer they suspected AND it was clean around the edges - they got it all.  Since the lymph nodes were clear, it all looks good for a full recovery.  I am so happy.  I don't know if we could have put her (or us) through this again. 
loracs: (Oops)

Baby Girl is miserable.  Since the pins came out of the teeth, there's no way to anchor the band to keep her jaw in alignment.  I'm sure she'd be miserable anyway, but the jaw moving in and out of alignment has got to be weird, if not painful.  I know the noise, when it pops, makes me cringe.  I try to put it pack in place, but it's not always easy.  I decided to take another few hours off and take her back up to the surgeon so she could replace the pins and band.  Dr. Lommer said it would be okay if we wanted to wait until her 10 day post-op appointment next week, but I couldn't stand it.  And, hey, we still have a few bucks in the checking account, we'd hate to waste it all on bills or gas or food or stuff, when Baby Girl needs it!

I've explained to her how many hours of entertainment and love she owes us for all this money.  TANSTAAFL I've told her over and over again.  

[profile] dbubley had her most of the day,  When Gilly was whining in pain, she would sing to her and it seemed to quiet her.  I'd try singing to her, but she'd probably leave the room.
loracs: (Gilly)

She is still bleeding a little.  And her white cell count is down 10%.  This might be caused by the diluting factor of the plasma she was given with the clotting drug in it.  They should be doing another blood test right about now (1 am Wed. morning) and if her white cell count is still down they will give her some whole blood.  The doctor will call me around 10 am with her status.  We really hope she can come home tomorrow (today).  I called my boss this afternoon and told her I probably wouldn't be in tomorrow (Wed.)  

After

[profile] dbubleydoctor's appointment,  we stopped in to see Gilly.  She seems to have figure how to keep her tongue in, so I don't think we'll have to deal with that problem.  She was looking better, but her jaw is swollen and they have it packed with gauze.  We took her for a walk in the parking lot.  They have a pain patch on her.  

I'm totally wiped out, but my hip is hurting in that "fun" way where it hurts in all positions; sitting, standing or laying down.  Where's my pain patch?  ;-)

 

 

loracs: (Oops)

She is having clotting problems.  Dobie's have this problem and she was tested for it before surgery, but they think it was such a low level factor in the blood it didn't show up.   Gilly will be in the hospital until tomorrow morning at the least.  She is getting a blood transfusion with extra stuff to help her coagulation factor.  And they're doing chest x-rays and some other stuff.  

Everyone says she is such a sweet dog - which she it.  They had her out with the office staff last night for a while.  She was whining and once she was with people, she stopped.  She's doing her velcro dog bit and leaning on everyone she can, almost knocking one of the techs over because she was kneeling down to pet her when Gilly gave her all 75 lbs of dobie girl.

Off to take dbubley to the doctor now. 

loracs: (huh?)

I went to bed at 3 am, then woke up with hip pain at 5:30 am.  Tossed and turned a little, then decided to go sit in the recliner with an ice pack.  Just started to doze off when the phone rang.  It was a doctor at the vet hospital.  Gilly started bleeding at 3 am.  Packing with gauze and applying pressure stopped it, but then it would start again.  The doctor really tried to get me to come get her and take her to the surgeon, but the surgeon isn't at the same site today.  She works 2 days at a clinic in S.F. and 2 days in Corte Madera.  I said I really couldn't do that today and what was our option.  Finally, she said they had a staff surgeon coming in at 8 am and they could look at her.  Gilly might have pulled a stitch out, but it's so swollen, they had trouble seeing.  I'm waiting for the them to call.  I suspect they will have to put her under and go in and look for the source.  More pain for the baby girl and of course, more money.  

Too wired and worried to sleep and yet too tired to do anything more productive than solitaire.

Stay tuned . . . .

loracs: (Girl with Pearl Earring)
Part gurgle, part whine, all pain and confusion.  The ride from the vet to the hospital for her overnight observation was one long needle in my soul.     [personal profile] stonebender  and I tried to lighten the mood.  We talked to her.  We made bad jokes about her and her new lispy bark.  In the rare moments of silence, I worried she had died.  Then she'd start again.  I hated that noise, but loved to hear it.  It was a long ride.  

The hardest part was seeing her after we arrived at the hospital.  Her tongue had been hanging out the whole time.  I couldn't see this as I drove.  It was purple and swollen and dry.  I immediatedly flashed on Isaiah, our first dog.  He died running in a field.  I was the only one with him.  He fell.  I managed to half pick him up, half drag him into the van and drive like hell to our vet.  I kept looking back at him and I could see his tongue sticking out, purple and swollen.  I knew he was dead, but I pushed the panic button when I opened the door at the vet (same vet, Dr. Hack).  The staff rushed him away, they tried to revive him, but he was dead.  Then I had to go home and wake up  [personal profile] stonebenderand tell him his dog was dead.  Definitely one of the hardest moments in my life.  

Today, Gilly looked bad.  She tried to sit up, but she was too drugged.  She bled a little, but not too much.  I think I would have been better seeing more blood and a normal tongue.  Blood I expected.  I'm glad I had the vet give me a copy of the transfer information, because the hospital couldn't find the fax.  As it was, it took about 45 minutes to check her in.  All the time I'm trying not to get too emotional.  It was a losing battle.  

I have to pick her up tomorrow morning between 7 and 8 am.  I hope she's looking better.  If she is still having trouble keeping her tongue in, I will have to wet it every 2 or 3 hours per the doctor's instructions.  I can only do this until about 2 pm, because I  have to take  [profile] dbubley  to a doctors appointment in S.F.  I have to make a gruel of her food and try to get her to eat.  

GOD, I hope we did the right thing. 
loracs: (Gilly)

Time to take Gilly for her surgery.  I hate this part.  I hate taking her to a place where she will be hurt.  I know it's for the best, but she doesn't understand why, she'll only know that it hurts.  And she'll be scared.  

loracs: (devil dobie)
Gilly has had an exciting day.  I wanted to get her "fluffed & folded" as we say (a.k.a. bathed and brushed) before her surgery tomorrow.  She was due at the groomers a few weeks ago when all this tooth/cancer stuff started and I just didn't get around to it.  So I decided to go to a "do-it-yourself" dog wash.  The first pet food store we went to didn't have one.  I swear I remember seeing it there, but atlas, I was wrong.  On the other hand, this gave Gilly another pet food store to sniff around in before we left for a place I knew for certain had one.  

More excitement as she sniffed the trail of every dog who'd passed this way recently.  Then it's on to the wash area.  Very nice really, with wide steps she could easily climb.  If she knew what was waiting for her at the top, I'm not sure she would have been so eager.  Once she was secured in the top by a short lease attached to the wall, the real fun started.  I dialed in the orange smelling flea and tick control shampoo and started to spray her.  She wasn't crazy about it, but stayed relatively calm for the "sudsing" and rinsing.  [personal profile] stonebender thought she enjoyed that part of it, but I'm not so sure.  The next step, the warm air blower, was not fun for her at all, but it really moved the water off her.  Then I had the bright idea I should brush her now too, so I send [personal profile] stonebenderto buy a brush.  I think she was at her time limit for being fussed with.  I only brushed her for a few minute, before she let me know how unhappy she was by twisting around and whining loudly.  Nothing like a semi-wet 80 lb dobie twirling and doing her high pitched whining to get on my last nerves.  We bought some cans of dog food and left - she was semi-dry and I was semi-wet, she was clean and I needed a shower.  

She just had her last meal - no more food until after the surgery.  Even though the tooth looks very ugly and sore, it has NOT interfered with her appetite.  For breakfast I made her a 3 egg omelet with cheese and left-over white rice.  Yesterday [profile] dbubley  made her tuna salad.  And just now she wolfed down a can of dog food.  I think that's the first can we've ever given her.  Now I remember why I don't like wet dog food - the smell lingers.  And I know it will also be on her breath.  I do think dry dog food it better for their teeth, but she'll be on canned until her mouth heals.  I think I'll need to look into doggy breath mints.

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