Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our little invalid

Last Saturday (4/9) we were finally able to pick Callie up from the vet's office after her operation. She actually looked much better than we expected when she greeted us - ears up, eyes bright! She was clearly freaked out, but otherwise seemed very happy to see us and quite alert.

We had a meeting with one of our vet's assistants, who walked us through our responsibilities for the next couple of months, and then we paid our bill at the front desk. Looks like prices went up since last November - the total bill came to $2,020.63! If you are curious what that bill looked like... here you go:

So yes, it was about $500 more expensive than we had hoped! They said that the prices of some things had doubled since last fall, and although Callie still received the less intensive (cheaper) version of the surgery that we had hoped for, the price of that surgery had gone up from the $1500 we were previously quoted. But the rock show fundraiser by itself raised enough to pay for an amazing 25% of the operation, and thanks to so many donations and our own savings, we were able to pay what we needed and take our little lady home! It was worth it.

As you can see, Callie came home with a bright pink cast with a blue/green star on it. Pretty cute, really! It's made of a thick gauze bandage, wrapped with that rubbery plastic kind of bandage that sticks to itself. I know Callie doesn't like it, but she seems to be adapting to it pretty quickly.

Sometimes she even sleeps with her head resting on it, which is kind of sad and adorable all at once.

Callie spent most of the first day just sleeping. In fact, that's pretty much the pattern every day! She is still working out the various ways to rest with that big ol bandaged leg, but she's doing well. When we take her out to go to the bathroom, we have to wrap the bandage up in plastic to make sure it doesn't get wet. Naturally it rained a lot the last couple of days, so "wrapping the bandage" involved a few twist-ties and grocery bags! Even though it looks huge and ridiculous, thankfully the wrapping doesn't seem to get too much in the way. In fact, generally Callie is much more mobile than we expected! This is great, because it means she is feeling all right, and also problematic, because it means we will have a hard time keeping her SLOW once the bandage comes off.

Callie gets a few medications each day. One is the glucose supplement that she has been taking since last November, which should help her joint heal and strengthen. Once a day she also gets an analgesic (painkiller) that comes in these little single-serving tubes. There are no needles - it's just syringes! She really dislikes taking this one, because I sort of have to force-feed it to her, but thankfully it dispenses quickly and is abruptly over. Only 5 days to go!

Lastly, she also gets an antibiotic twice a day. I have to give her 3 mL of it at a time, which may not sound like much but I guarantee is more than Callie wants to take. I fill up the syringe with this pink-orange goo that smells oddly like banana, and then I have to sort of wedge it between her teeth and dispense it gradually. Yuck!

We are halfway through the medication period, and in just a few days we will get the bandage removed. On Thursday we'll drive back to the DMV Center to get it taken off, and we'll also get a quick checkup and instructions on how to do physical therapy with Callie. She will hate it! But we'll get through it. Callie will have to go one more week after that with the staples in her leg, unbandaged, and we'll need to watch closely to make sure she doesn't lick or bite at them. Once those are finally removed on April 21st, we will keep doing physio and keep trying to restrain our pup from running and jumping! And then it's the slow road to eventual recovery.

We will have our first evaluation with Dr. Planté on May 4th, when we will do a round of x-rays and he will tell us how Callie is recovering. Hopefully 2-4 weeks after that he will give us the all-clear, when Callie will at last be free to run and hop as she pleases! We have been forewarned that probably within the next 3 weeks Callie will start to feel like she can move a bit quicker, and in fact we have already seen her trying to hurry from place to place even WITH the giant bandage on her leg. Somehow we will need to contain the little cutie, until her leg is ready to keep up with the rest of her furry little body. Although this worries me a bit, for the most part I am just extremely thankful that the surgery is done and that Callie is doing such a good job. Seriously guys, you wouldn't believe what a tough little pup she is.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Surgery Day!

Today was surgery day. Last night I sat on the floor and tossed Callie's very favorite toy (a bright pink ball) with her over and over and over again, sending her running up and down the hallway, long ears flying. I think I was trying to make up for the fact that I'll have to hide that ball from her before she comes home from the vet with her gimpy leg. While she's healing, it will be too much of a temptation to run and scamper around after the ball, so we will just have to remove it til she's all healed up. In the meantime, her dozen or so stuffed animals will just have to suffice. I snapped a few pics of her last night because she was so clean and pretty looking - I figured I might as well give her a bath before we took her in!

At 6:45 a.m. this morning, David and I hopped into our rental car and drove Callie way across town to the Centre DMV. As always she shivered in the car during the ride, but it was more a generic stress response to driving than any awareness of the surgery to come, I think. Mostly she just curled up in my lap and tried to doze until we stopped the car.

She was well-behaved as always, and we ran around a little in the parking lot before taking her inside. Her last run in the grass for a few months! When we finally headed through the doors, Callie was greeted by an absolutely huge brown dog, but he was friendly and they had a nice little sniff. The girl behind the counter surprised us by asking that we pay a deposit of $1,000 up front for the surgery - I guess that's how you know you're in for a serious operation. (We won't know the total cost until Saturday.) While we were completing the transaction, one of the veterinary assistants came up and gently took Callie from me, and before I knew it she was whisking her away! David didn't even have a chance to pet her goodbye. We figure they do that so that owners won't get worked up and add any more stress for the animal, but it was still pretty tough to see her go so quickly.

When we had finished paying, they told us we could go and that we'd receive a call later to let us know how everything went. We drove back to Montreal, dropped off the rental car, came home and ate some cereal. Then we both got to work, and I tried not to think about it for the whole entire day.

Finally at around 4:30 I got a call from Dr. Planté's assistant, who told me that Callie was starting to wake up from her surgery and was doing well. She told me that because Callie got a bit cold, they had put her in an incubator, but I still don't have an explanation for that one. I'll make sure to ask about it at my next opportunity. She said the surgery lasted only about an hour and a half, and that Dr. Planté would call me soon.

Around 6:30 he did call, and gave me all the details. He did the x-rays and apparently the femur and tibia were both very, very curved (a problem), but they curved in different directions and he decided that trying to "correct" them could create as many problems as it would fix. Thankfully, he ended up doing almost exactly the surgery that he described to us last November. He made the groove for the kneecap much, much deeper, and did a bone transplant (to hold the muscle) on the tibia, which is now held in place with 2 pins. He said repeatedly that the end result was very good, that the kneecap is stable and the joint is strong!

At present, they are observing Callie for the next day and a half. I will get a call to update us tomorrow, but Dr. Planté said he expects we can come pick her up on Saturday. She will have a bandage (maybe a cast) on her leg for a week, but once it comes off we will need to do physiotherapy with her every day to help heal the leg. She will get antibiotics and pain pills for around 10 days, and of course the big one: no jumping, running, hopping, or any activity but gentle hobbling for 6-8 entire weeks! I even have to hide her fluffy dog bed, because the uneven (squishy) surface could make her lose her balance and mess things up horribly. So we will just have to be extra careful for a couple of months.

Finally, Dr. Planté said they also did x-rays of her pelvis and right leg. I'm extremely happy to report that he said they found no signs of arthritis or problems in either place, so she should not need any surgery on her other leg! What a huge relief. He also said if we had any questions at all, we should call him directly at any time. Seriously - he's amazing! Dr. Planté, if you ever read this, thank you!!

Now I just have to wait a day and a half before we can get her home, and the long healing process will begin. I will keep everyone posted on Callie's progress, and I'm sure she'll be back to hopping in a HEALTHY way before we know it!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rock Show Recap

I am happy to report that the rock show was a huge success!!! Both bands put on amazing shows, and we had just under 50 people who came in and donated the cover charge. Pretty impressive for a Thursday evening at the end of the school year! Because of all the people who showed up, plus everyone who donated through paypal, we have now raised enough money to be able to pay for Callie's surgery! (If everything goes as planned, anyway.) I was so impressed by the turnout at the show, and I want to thank Brian for his incredibly hard work, Ghost Before Breakfast and The Easy Offs for such fun music, Elephant Mauve for donating such a cool door prize, and ALL the people who contributed to our fundraising. It really exceeded my expectations, and I am just so pleased that everything went so well! I hope everyone who came out had as much fun as I did. (: Also, congrats to the Easy Off's drummer, who won the raffle for the Elephant Mauve photography package! He DID pay the cover fee to get in, and he was super excited by the prize! I think we all agreed it was nice to see the drummer win one for a change. (:

As I mentioned in my last post, Callie's surgery is this Thursday - less than two days away! We will take her to the DMV bright and early in the morning, since she has to be there before 8 a.m. If everything goes well, we should be able to pick her up on Saturday, and then we begin the healing process. I will of course keep everyone posted when I find out how the surgery goes, when I get her home, and as she starts to recover. Thank you for all your support and kind wishes!

And now, some photos from the show! You can see more pictures from the evening at the end of the album here.

Ghost Before Breakfast

Ghost Before Breakfast + Crowd

Brian, who did such an amazing job!

Dan & David enjoying the show!

My announcements (not singing)!

Me with Andrea from Elephant Mauve, choosing a prize winner

The drummer wins! (:

Crowded bar

The Easy Offs

The Easy Offs