I Need Some Sleep

Last week was very stressful.

Wednesday at the lab my hemoglobin was 9.0 so I got an Aranesp shot, first one in a long time.  Of course I got the Velcade shot too. Man, that Aranesp shot made my arm very sore, which is unusual.  Usually those shots only hurt during the administration, except my stomach is sometimes sore if I forget and lean against a counter or something.  But my arm is still sore.

I’m looking forward to my appointment with the oncologist this Wednesday. My feet are so uncomfortable!  The tops of my toes really hurt, and at times I get a stabbing pain in my feet. You know how when something hurts you’re just aware of it all day? That’s how it is with my feet. I’m just constantly aware of them because they keep sending out little electric jolts to my brain—even while I’m trying to sleep.  And I have to walk SOOOO slowly. I’m 100 years old.

I completed the 24-hour urine test for the oncologist, and the protein in the urine was right at 2000 mg, higher than the last one done a couple weeks ago. At that time it was 1700 mg. I don’t know the significance of an increase of 300 mg—another question for the doc this week.  I need to forward those results to the nephrologist as well.

I got my lab results back from my endocrinologist, and most were within the normal range but one was pretty far outside normal. However, it seems to me that when you’re a post-thyroid cancer patient, one is supposed to be abnormal but of course I can’t recall if a) that’s actually correct, and b) if it IS correct, which test that is. I need to message her today and get more information, as well as ask her to send the info to my nephrologist. The endocrinologist’s office called me and scheduled a follow up (in person, even, wow!) with her in September. So… she must not be too concerned about anything since she requested the appointment for several months from now. And I still haven’t looped in my local nephrologist to my latest test results and such. It’s on the list.

One thing that’s REALLY annoying about the myChart app is that it blocks screenshots. Uh… hello… it’s MY information. If want to print it off and plaster it on telephone polls in my neighborhood, I should be able to. But of a more practical nature, it would be nice to be able to just take a screenshot and send it to the various doctors who need it. But nope. Kyle says there’s a snipping app for the phone but I just haven’t looked for it yet. Instead I usually just take screenshots on my computer and forward those, but it’s just one more step, you know? I mean, at this very moment, I have a no-show patient at work. How convenient it would be to just get this all done via my phone right now.

That’s really all I have to report regarding my test results and such, but if you wish to see why my week was so stressful, read on…

On Tuesday, my dog Zeke had his second knee surgery. It wasn’t supposed to be until July but he healed SO quickly and so well (surprising even the surgeon) that we were able to move his second surgery up. While I hated to put him through that again I knew that he’d be much happier on the other side of it when the majority of his pain was gone.

He was released from the vet on Wednesday so I picked him and took him back to Kyle’s, where I’ll be staying during his recuperation. Kyle works from home so he has the day shift, and I have the night shift. The first night, Wednesday, he slept really well but Thursday was a challenge. That’s pretty much how it was the last time so not a big surprise. But if Zeke doesn’t sleep, I don’t sleep. So I was pretty much exhausted Friday. Luckily I wasn’t working.

And then I realized his knee was bleeding—not a lot, just a tiny trickle. I called the vet, and they said if I was comfortable leaving him for a couple hours I could drop him off and they’d check the incision. No problem. I took him back and ran errands. After several hours, I hadn’t heard anything so I texted them. “He hasn’t been seen yet. Dr. should be getting to him soon.” What the hell?? It had literally been five hours, and he hadn’t been seen.

I have to bitch about this vet practice. The doctors and their medical expertise are superb. They saved Zeke’s life once already back in 2017. And his first knee surgery went amazingly well. But they way they run their practice SUCKS, and their inability to communicate is ridiculous. They’ve tried to blame it on COVID (seems like every business blames everything on COVID) but I told them, “Nope, I brought my dogs here four years ago and you sucked then.”  I don’t go there for any routine visits, only specialty stuff such as his knee issues—and they came very highly recommended for that from someone I trust wholeheartedly.  I have a very long list of complaints I will be forwarding to them once he’s completely done, and then I hope I NEVER have to take him (or any of my dogs) there again. It’s so damn frustrating.

In addition to his having been there all day without being seen, he also didn’t get any of his pain meds. So three days after major knee surgery and no pain meds. Nice. He was finally discharged at 7:30 that evening (I dropped him off at 12:30) with three additional staples in his knee. SEVEN HOURS for three staples. The vet added another antibiotic to his meds so I went to Walgreens to pick that up, and by the time we got back to Kyle’s, it was about 9:00 PM.

And then all hell broke loose.

We brought Zeke in, and he had some water then went outside to potty. As soon as he came back in, he regurgitated all that water and started making the most horrific noises. He just kept trying to throw up but he of course he hadn’t had any food that day so nothing but water was coming up. And he just kept crying—it’s the best way I can describe it. It was an absolutely awful sound, which I can still hear ringing in my ears as I type this.

Kyle said we needed to take him back to the vet, and luckily there is a 24-hour emergency vet just a few minutes from his house. I called them as I was on our way and told them he had been vomiting and was now having trouble breathing. He was just in agony. The staff there sprung into action and within a very short time we had a diagnosis: GDV, sometimes commonly known as “bloat,” although technically they are two different things.

Basically, he had a build up of gas in his stomach that caused his stomach to twist in on itself (“gastric dilation volvulus”). When this happens, it cuts off the blood supply to the stomach and other organs and can collapse blood vessels. If it’s not treated immediately, the dog will likely die. The vet said he probably would not have made it til the morning had we not brought him in. He was “very critical,” she said, and needed emergency surgery.

Oh my god, this poor dog—two major surgeries in four days! She prepared us that he might not make it, just given the nature of the surgery as well as his age. The on-call surgeon was on her way in, and he was being prepped as we spoke. We were able to spend a few minutes with him before we left. I think at this point it was maybe about 11:00 or 11:30? It’s all a blur. The vet called us at 12:30 and said he was going in for surgery right then, and it would take about an hour. They actually untwist the stomach and then sew it to the stomach wall lining so it can’t twist on itself again. They wouldn’t know until they got in there if any other organs (most commonly the spleen and/or the intestines) were affected, or if there was any necrosis of the stomach.

About an hour later the surgeon called and said Zeke made it through just fine, and there were no complications. No other organs were involved, which was very good news. She said, “We’re not out of the woods but he did well.” Big big sigh.

The next morning she called again and said she was surprised he was as awake and alert as he was, given his age and such, but when she went in to check on him, he was looking around. He can’t really sit right now due to his knee surgery but she said his eyes were very bright and alert. She opted to keep him for one more night because his kidney function was a little off (great… It was actually kind of funny as she explained creatinine and BUN levels to me. I stopped her and told her I was all too familiar with that!) but she hoped that was just temporary due to dehydration. His liver looked a little odd too so she took a biopsy of that. She didn’t suspect cancer, more likely a chronic condition or possibly just due to old age. We’ll get that results back on that in about 10 – 14 days.

We were able to visit him that day, and of course he was just exhausted and out of it from the pain meds but he was certainly much improved from when we last saw him. I’m very lucky that my friend works as a vet tech at that clinic. She was working that day and kept a close eye on him. We were able to bring him home yesterday. He ate and drank (good signs) and of course slept. But unfortunately, he hasn’t peed. The surgeon said that if he hadn’t peed by this morning he needed to come back in. So at this moment, Kyle is taking him back up there. Hopefully it’s something easily treatable. I’m sure he’s really uncomfortable.

I know not everyone is into dogs—but most of the people in my circle are. As a matter of fact, many of my close friends are people I met at the dog park or through dog rescue groups. I’ve had lots of people pulling for this pup over the weekend. I told him he needs to live another 15 years or so (he’s 12 so that’s unlikely but I can hope). As one friend joked, “RIP to your bank account.” No doubt, but what better to spend it on?

Hemoglobin: 9.0
Protein in the urine: 2000 mg
Creatinine: 1.8

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