(warning – this gets kinda graphic)
I had spent Sunday, January 25th helping a friend install flooring. When I came home, I noticed Josie’s nose was bleeding slightly – something it hadn’t done since the biopsy. But, I didn’t think anything of it – she was still off meds, so it was bound to happen.
Monday morning rolled around and it started normal. By that I mean I got out of bed at my usual time. I went into the bathroom at about the same time I heard Josie sneeze. Loudly. Followed by sounds of her licking the carpet.
That could only mean one thing – nosebleed. As gross as it is, Josie would always clean up the blood. But it was usually a few drops. This time, it was not. This time was different. This time was the worst of the worst so far.
I grabbed the tissue box and ran over to Josie, attempting to at least contain the blood flowing out of her nose. She didn’t like that – kept trying to lick everything up. And she didn’t like me holding a tissue over her nose. For the first time, blood was flowing out of both nostrils. I knew that wasn’t good. I also knew I had no idea how to stop this, and no amount of me holding a tissue on her nose would help. Then the sneezing started.
With every sneeze, blood splattered everywhere. As much as she hated it, I had to contain it. I picked her up (luckily she is only 45 pounds) and tossed her into the shower. As much as she hates the tub, it is easy to clean. I’m not sure how long her nose bled for, probably about 30 minutes. But, it finally slowed to a trickle. I cleaned her up. Took her out of the tub. Washed it down. Cleaned myself up. And got ready for work.
I had no way of working from home, so I knew at a minimum I had to drive in to the office and pick up my laptop. 1 hour trip minimum. Josie seemed ok for now, so I decided to risk it. I contained her in my bedroom. The carpet there was already ruined, so it wouldn’t matter if it got more blood on it.
I got to work and I remembering a feeling of shock as I walked up the stairs. If only – if only – these people knew what I had woken up to. For all I knew, I still had drops of blood on me that I missed when cleaning up. I could still see the bloody mess in the tub that I had cleaned out. I needed to get my laptop and get home as quickly as possible and hope Josie had just been sleeping while I was gone.
I got home, a little bit later than I wanted. I rushed upstairs and found Josie and Bear safely contained. Josie seemed ok. Quick glance – I saw nothing. I grabbed my laptop and decided the best place to work would be from the bedroom – keep the dogs contained and they love sleeping on the bed.
Then I spotted it – the blood stain on the bed. It had soaked through two sheets and the mattress cover. So much for Josie begin ok while I was gone. I took the sheets off and threw them in the washer – hoping the blood would come out.
I then covered the bed with thick, cheap blankets I use for the dogs. Helped Josie up on to the bed and settled down myself to get some work done. Shortly after, she sneezed. And it came back. Worse. I didn’t hesitate in grabbing her and chucking her back in the shower.
Imagine a faucet you turn on high. That was her nose. Which caused her to sneeze. Which caused it to go everywhere and more bleeding. And then there was the reverse sneezing happening at the same time as it would run down the back of her throat. At one point, she was sneezing out tissue as well as blood clots and blood. That just made it even worse – as if it was clearing out the path for the blood to flow. And she would open her mouth, to breath and I could see blood on her tongue.
So much blood.
Knowing that trying to use tissues to help her was not helping, I pulled the shower curtain closed to help contain it and got my phone out. I called my primary vet to get tips on how to stop it – knowing there was little to no chance I could. I also knew, if I had to take her somewhere – I could not do it alone unless I wanted the interior of my vehicle to be splattered with blood. Unfortunately, she was out of the office that day, but the receptionist would touch base with one of the other vets in the practice and hopefully get back to me.
The bleeding subsided around noon-ish. We settled down on the bed – Josie at the foot of it, exhausted. Bear jumped up next to me – jealous of not getting attention, but I’m sure he sensed something was wrong. I managed to get some work done.
Josie spent the rest of the day panting, whining and sleeping. I knew she was in pain. I knew she was scared. And I knew I still had no idea what to do.
During the worst of it, I kept wondering – what do I do if it doesn’t stop? What if this is the end? What if today is the day I loose my dog. My only source of comfort was knowing this was probably all caused because she wasn’t on any medicine. If I could just get her back on some medicine, that would help – right?
Late that night, I finally got a call from my primary vet’s office. Although I had just called for tips on how to stop the bleeding, she had taken the day to familiarize herself with Josie’s case, including contacting the internal medicine vet in Richmond. She was officially awesome. She gave great advice on how to proceed and at a minimum to get Josie started on an NSAID. She helped get the ball rolling again – which is what Josie needed. She even called and followed up on Friday to see how everything turned out. Best vet practice ever.
She also gave me the name of the treatment I’m most interested in: metronomic therapy. the surgeon had suggested it, but glossed over the name. There was a possibility that an oncologist would agree to the treatment even without a cancer diagnosis. I just had to find an oncologist willing to do it – or talk to me at the least.