St. Patrick’s Day. The day my life became an emotional roller coaster. Even more so than it already was.
This is the downhill part of the roller coaster. Straight down.
At 6:45am, after dozing very briefly, I checked on Josie in her bed. She had peed in her bed. I cleaned her up, and tried to get her to drink some water. She would NOT open her mouth. I could NOT open her mouth. I mean it was clamped shut. My first thought was lock-jaw. She sat by the water bowl like she wanted to drink, but she just sat there. Well, I lost it. I seriously thought her jaws were locked. I picked her up, held her close and cried, and cried, and cried. I mean, I sobbed. And then Josie was licking my face. She comforted me with her kisses, so now I knew she was capable of opening her mouth. I put her down to see if she would drink some water. She just sat there, so I brought it to her mouth, and she drank a good bit. Went outside, but she just sat down and stared at me. I knew something was not right.
We went straight to the vet, even though we weren’t scheduled to go back until Friday. We saw Jeff this morning and he did another blood panel on her. Her PCV was 12.
Jeff said it was critical that she get a blood transfusion NOW. I was shocked that her health had deteriorated so rapidly. She stayed at the vet for the day. It was the longest day of my life. I cried all day long. I was totally numb. How could this be happening? Katherine came home to be with me. At 4:45, we went to pick her up at the vet. Jeff thought she would do better at home under my watchful eye. I wouldn’t have left her there overnight no matter what he said. I needed her as much as she needed me. She was a little jaundiced, but was happy to see us – her tail was wagging non-stop. She attempted her little happy dance as best as she could. Her eyes told me she was happy to see me. She seemed more alert.
These are the last pictures I made of Josie – at home after the transfusion.
From this point forward, I noted every single move, and my observations so I could talk to the vets about it on Friday. When we got home she had an insatiable thirst, and over did it. She threw up. Josie is raising her head, and responding to our voices. She actually growled at Katherine when she came back from Las Palmas, and even spied a stray dog walking by before we did. She growled at him of course, but no barking. I am trying to remember the last time she barked. Sunday? She wants to stretch out flat, can’t seem to get comfortable. She is really drooling. Around 9pm she appears to be comfortable. I continue offering her ice cubes, and she is licking them until they are gone and keeping it down. I don’t know if she is trying to get comfortable and is using her tail to shift around or if she is randomly wagging her tail trying to reassure me. I will always think it was the latter. She is still drooling, bad, and her breath is horrible. Her breathing is wheezy on the exhale. Stomach is growling, but she won’t eat. I offered her ice cubes all through the night. She is very restless, and so am I.
March 18, Friday – First thing in the morning we are back at the vet, and we saw Lee. The good news – Josie’s PCV was up to 35, yay! Good donor dog! The bad news – her total bilirubin had gone from 1.5 to 130. Not good. She is very jaundiced. I told Lee about her drooling and wheezing, he checked her and said her lungs sounded fine. Drooling could be from upper respiratory distress. So Josie settled in once again to stay for the day for IV fluids. 300mg. She did not eat. She had her second shot of prednisone for the day before we left. I brought Josie home, but she is still not eating.
She tossed and turned in her bed, and then abruptly got up and walked to the water bowl in the kitchen (the first time she has gotten up and walked somewhere in days!) But she just sat there and did not drink anything. I walked away thinking she might want some privacy, but I still did not hear her drink. When I came back into the kitchen, she wasn’t by the water bowl. She was by the back door wanting out. She walked around on the deck, lay down, and watched the birds and squirrels. She didn’t bark as usual, she just observed and soaked in the scenery. She got up and then tried to wedge herself between the railings and the fireplace. That gave me a heart attack – she could fall through the railings she is so wobbly. We came in when it got dark. She is not interested in ice cubes, and I forced water into her mouth with a medicine dropper. I was desperate for her to eat, so I mixed in some of the A/D prescription food with the water. I felt like she needed something to eat – her stomach was still growling so. She did not throw up. I am frustrated.
I decided she didn’t want to open her mouth because something inside was making her NOT to want to open it. I pried her mouth open and started with her teeth. I discover a loose front tooth. It looks like her gum is swollen beside it. And there is a horrible, big brownish ulcer on the side of her tongue. This has to be why her breath smells so bad. Bless her heart. I know that has to hurt like hell. She was walking all over the place during the night – at the water bowl in the kitchen, by the bed in my room, in the cat carrier, in the girls’ room, under the kitchen table, etc… at one point during the night I couldn’t find her anywhere – and she was lying on the rug in the bathroom by the tub. It is great that she is so mobile! With her new mobility, I am even more convinced she is pulling through this, I continue to think positive.
This is the uphill climb on the roller coaster.