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After surgery, Day 1 & 2

April 6, 2017

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Day 1 – Surgery day

So got the afternoon call that she had done well during surgery and everything looked good, but eventually ended up being encouraged to pay for her to spend the night at emergency vet to be monitored.  I felt that was a good decision, and totally in support of it but did make me nervous why it had just come up vs. being discussed before.   If they said it to me before then I totally missed it but anyway turned into can you come pick her up and drive her down to the place about 30 mins away and bring her back in the morning.  And boom goes the paranoia.

While happy knowing she wouldn’t be alone on her first night it sent me on a little emotional overdrive as I had dropped her off yesterday morning thinking I’ll miss the worst of it and see her half bouncy by Friday. So I had about 10 minutes to try to mentally prep myself to see what I expected to be my very pitiful dog.  She did not disappoint, poor girl was sedated (good thing) and eyes barely showed recognition.

It was explained to me at emergency vet that first 24 hours are usually roughest in terms of pain, she was on some strong meds and should be monitored for the side effects and to make sure she had a comfortable and peaceful first night.  No objections there even though my pocket keeps getting lighter and lighter at this rate, but she’s worth it and I felt better understanding the reason behind the trip now.

Here’s her same day surgery pic.  The bad was what felt like a last minute plan change, but the good was seeing the wound which actually looked better than I thought it would.  And was good to be able to look in her doped up brown eyes and be reassuring whether she recognized me or not.  Fortunately friend once again accompanied me and kept me nicely distracted through the drop off process and back home so I only had a little cry time that evening, 2 nights of minimal sleep is not helping.

Day 1 following surgery – Pickup and return to vet

So drove back down solo to pick Ginger up and transport her back to the vet, finally feeling a little more calm after seeing her and that while still obviously a little doped and know we have a long road ahead she was generally alert and already on the hop. Went in last night on stretcher, walked out this morning and just needed some help into the car.   They said she was a little whiny but already eating/drinking again and had walked out and done her business. But apparently GSD’s are known for being a little dramatic, I figure she handled it a lot better than most people would have though, she’s entitled to a little drama right now IMO :).   She was a lot more cooperative going to the car than she was getting out of it and going into vets office again.  Think she’s ready to come home, but glad she will be spending another day with vet while I get that petsmart run in that I missed last night due to moving her around.    So from this morning….

Let me tell you how I really feel about this walking thing… anxiety shining from her eyes but she made it with some coaxing and help

Ahhh, back in the car with Mom, oh happy day, the meds working right now and no one expecting me to walk

And back at vets office, shoot I’m having to walk again, why must you take my picture now, I refuse to look at camera. Must focus on ground.

 

I may be biased and not really sure on this but that leg placement looks pretty darn good in her learning to do the tripod walk.  Anyway practically had to carry her from car into office but think it was more anxiety than ability, was telling her “it’s ok they won’t take anything else”, she was pulling back towards the car from the vet porch, still has a pretty good pull all things considered.

So recovery process starting, Ginger making progress, and mom getting a little less prone to feeling uncharacteristically emotionally unstable thanks to Ginger’s progress, a good support network of the real life friends providing supportive distraction and then coming to Tripawd site and just cutting loose with others who have been on similar journeys.  Been referred here twice by both vet and the emergency clinic, so word is out there.

 

And that will probably wrap it up until the weekend.  Thanks to all commenting, sending PM’s and on the forums who keep lending their support to Ginger and I.


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Surgery day

April 5, 2017

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I had been fairly content in decision up until last night when 3 hour chat with vet friend in another country shook my faith a great deal but in the end the surgery went on as scheduled.  While I loved the suggestions of trying to save a leg from afar, I had not been receiving much encouragement in that strain here and being in the 11th hour I tearfully proceeded with taking her to vet as planned.  I had stopped and talked to another vet, and emailed pictures to another orthopedic surgeon who also said surgery might work, but probably best to proceed with amputation so had felt I was making right choice until that chat session.

I was wrong however in my prediction yesterday that I wouldn’t start crying until dropping her off at vet.  I had curled up to sleep with her all night, woke up at 5 a.m, and snuggled with her until 6.. and then till almost 7.  Couldn’t manage to take a selfie of both of us, not that I’m a big selfie person anyway but sat back and snapped a picture of her as she slept for most of night spooned up against me, probably not the clearest picture but closest I can come to illustrating the absolute delight of sleeping snuggled up against my baby and stroking her fur as she just soaked it up in a half sleep.  One perk for her she is being spoiled rotten.

So contrary to my prediction that I would be ok until leaving the vet, I woke up, stroked her head, and started sniffling.  I start getting my car ready to load her up, and kept sniffling.  The friend who helped me with her calls to check in on us, I can barely speak as sniffling graduates to urge for full out sobbing as I simply try to talk.  Load her in car, drive to vet, alternately sniffling, doubting self and trying to reassure her as much as myself.

This is truly an emotional experience, mainly for the human but even though I kept reciting “be like the dog” it didn’t kick in as well while I was going through the motions of getting her to vet and still having the rhetoric of “what else can you do” looping in my head.

Here she is loaded in the car, her last 4 leg picture.  Seeing her sitting there so trusting again triggered those compulsions of wait, where else can I take her, we can’t do this.  But again logic intervened.

So got to vet office, helped her in, sat and sniffled, vet tech arrived, composed self briefly, told them of conversation night before.  They were very professional, reassuring, I still felt like dirt but went through the motions.  Broke down again giving the dog goodbye, said silent prayer she would make it safely through surgery as I just waved at staff unable to speak as I cried my way to the car.  And again it strikes me how unprepared I was for this event.

I’m usually on a pretty even keel, even now had those intermittent rational thoughts attempting to break in like “it’s a dog, and a leg, you aren’t having her put to sleep, best choice for leg or not she’ll still be happy and healthy, look at all the real world human suffering around you and snap it into perspective.”  Then thought yeah, we’ll be rational later when she’s home safe. *sniffle.*  In a way I feel silly for being so torn up about it, but on the other I remind myself that there is nothing wrong with a little falling apart before pulling it all back together which will be so much easier when I bring her home and we work on the adjusting.  Also had a round of self loathing as I texted my friend about what a horrible human being and petowner I was for not getting the collar fixed sooner, and not taking more time to exhaust the treatment options.  Again I know this isn’t entirely rational, just chronicling the process for memory preservation as well as possible reassurance that this is part of the trip, assuming it’s not unique just to me.

So now going to distract myself by switching from the research into leg treatment options to retail therapy as I research tripaw supply options and get that orthopedic bed picked out along with a couple other necessities.  Looking forward to getting to know our tripawd site pals better as Ginger and I continue our journey.  Now trying to stay optimistic and wait for that “Ginger did great with her surgery” call from the vet, refuse to entertain the idea right now that it will be anything else.  :).

A little nauseous while waiting for the call, not sure if it’s nerves, too much chocolate therapy or probably some of both, will shoot out one more update on this post when I get the news that surgery went ok.

 

Afternoon update that vet called, Ginger did very well and is now officially tripawd.  Still a little sad but no more worrying about the decision.


Hello Tripawds!

April 4, 2017

Ginger’s  Tripawd Story, The Beginning

Long post alert, I assume they’ll be shorter after this

Saturday Morning, April 1, 2017.  A day that everything would change for me and my running/hiking pal, much loved pet and companion Ginger.  For introductions Ginger is a 2 1/2 year old German Shepherd, high energy, still much a large puppy.  Adopted year and a half ago, still working on socialization and manners but she was coming along nicely.  I left her in the house while I went on a 5k run with friends.  Sometimes she runs with me and sometimes not, sure wish I had taken her that morning.  But trying not to get caught up in the what if’s, should have’s, and if only.

Below is her typical how she appeared before that fateful morning when on the way back from the run I got that dreaded call from a neighbor asking if my dog was home as there was one laying on the side of our little private road and it was pretty beat up.  We live out in a rural area, so it’s not uncommon for them to run free some, my aunt had let her out but this time she had streaked down the road vs her usual lounging in the yard.  But with a temptation to self blame she had an electronic collar, though I knew it was time to replace the battery I hadn’t seen her running off so had procrastinated, kept planning to stop but kids, medical appointments, life, etc., I had resolved to go Sunday after forgetting to stop by Friday since the Home Depot is a town over, big ouch there but again, can’t go back and change anything so trying to keep focus forward.

While there was no one to report what happened I’m going with the safe bet she was hit by a car, and they kept driving, was mad about that at first but finally moved on.  An accident, purposeful, animal control even wondered if there was an attempted dognapping since collar was missing?  But however it happened I was fortunate a neighbor was out walking their dog to notice her laying there with a couple who had stopped to check on her.  Thank goodness for neighbors who track all the dogs on the road and who their owners are and had my number in her phone.   I spent the 15 minutes of the heart pounding drive right after phone call trying not to break speed limits, not knowing if she was dead or alive and working my phone to set up an emergency vet appointment assuming she wouldn’t be dead in the ditch when I got their since all I heard is “yeah she’s pretty banged up, can’t walk, bleeding from mouth (turned out to be scratch on nose).”  I try to remember these panic feelings as something to be grateful for, I prayed for her life as I drove, just didn’t think to pray for life AND limb.

Glamour Shot

 

She’s been my hiking buddy, and I was in process of grooming her for traveling companion and some long backpacking trips.

Learning to backpack

 

After rushing to find her on side of road, with help of neighbors and a very good friend who had been with me on run then had me let him out to get his pickup truck, he and neighbors got her loaded up in his truck and I laid with her while he drove the short distance to the vet, while I worked as hard at calming myself as I did her.  Fortunately it was the one Saturday of the month for our usual vet to be open and they were expecting us so had stretcher and staff ready to assist.  Couldn’t have asked for better care and my prayers were answered when the vet came back and delivered the mostly good news about her condition beyond the crushed front leg.  I have to admit to being fairly useless at first, focusing on trying to keep my emotions in check and to comfort my dog when I could due to the shock of trying to process everything going on, fortunately vet made their recommendation, gave us pills and scheduled surgery for Wednesday.  At first wondered why she was going to have to suffer so long, then followed up thinking glad I have some time vs. having to make that kind of decision in the moment.  Vet consulted an orthopedic surgeon they used, I consulted another with the pictures I had (isn’t technology grand), and consensus was lot of money and no guarantees with all the splintering.  So with no clear direction to try any other approach the surgery is still on.

Leg not looking so good

 

Finding Support

While coworkers, friends, family and all were most supportive I was quite happy to find the Tripawd website which I stumbled across while researching what to expect with dog amputations.  Great supportive group, helped me remember to see it from the dogs perspective vs. being too wrapped up in the human emotions.  And while Ginger had a pretty rough first day from accident, here we are day before surgery and she’s trying to play fetch again, already walking around on 3 legs and just keeping the bad one off the ground.  So I’m getting more confident she will adjust, and is already handling it better than I am and I assume she will continue to surpass me in the coping skill department.

Night before surgery

And here we are the night before surgery, 99% sure I’m making right decision except for vet friend in the UK having fits about my description of her treatment and telling me to pursue specialist orthopedic treatment… well maybe elsewhere….. but here in rural GA and after feedback from two different orthopedic surgeons and in the 11th hour I don’t see a clear path to change course so going ahead with it and trying to find peace with the decision.  Trying to fight the seeds of doubt starting to appear from vet friends candor though and prodding to try and save the leg,

Anyway have already taken up her food, fighting the jitters.  Cuddling her lots for what I know will be some rough days ahead for her and already anticipating bawling all the way to work after I drop her off.  And probably all the way home Friday when I pick her up.  Going to spend the couple days she is gone getting mattress and elevated food bowls and whatever other accommodations I need to make. Already slept on floor with her since it happened (she used to share bed with me) and assume I’ll be spending a few more nights down there when she returns.

I know we’ll be ok in the long run.  So this intro just to cover the first few days, will try to keep the updates coming after she is home, as recovery process starts, etc.  Will help me to track it if nothing else but hopefully others can benefit as well.