Exactly one month after Josie and I first walked into Dogwood, we found ourselves there again. The surgeon insisted on talking to me prior to performing the biopsy. The conversation was brief, and it re-enforced the stereotype that surgeons are dicks. He walked in and tried to convince me yet again that his first suggestion was the better option. He even made a condescending comment about respecting the oncologist’s opinion, “but my idea is better”. I really didn’t pay attention him at that point. I wanted him to do what the oncologist recommended. She was the expert in cancer – not him.
I left Josie in their care. As they took her away they asked if I wanted to hug her goodbye. I patted her on the head, said “see you soon.” I realized – we are a high five kinda family, not huggers and cryers. They probably thought I was a heartless owner, but really – ask my friends – I show how much I care by actions, not a hug or a tear. She’d be fine, and she knew I was watching out for her.
She would be in surgery until around 1230, then recovering from the anesthesia for a couple hours. We were becoming old pros at this. I left to go find an internet connection and get some work done and meet up with some friends for lunch.
When I returned, Josie was ready to go. Before bringing her out, a vet tech went over the discharge instructions – there was a lot of them. Using a harness to walk her, keeping her calm for two weeks, icing her nose for 5 days, using tranquilizers to keep her calm and keep blood pressure down, removing stitches in 2 weeks time. She also warned I had to watch for swelling at the incision site – but there would be swelling that was normal – swelling of her head. She warned it had already started.
I wasn’t prepared for how rough Josie would look when they brought her out. Or how long her recovery would be. The incision was a lot bigger than I expected. Her face looked like she had been in a boxing match. What had I done to my dog? She was great this morning, and now – she had two weeks of recovery ahead of her – minimum.
She slept most of the ride home. As we pulled into the neighborhood she woke up and started whining. When we got home, she continued to be vocal and refused to settle down. I found it odd for a dog that is still suffering from sedation. I quickly realized I needed to keep her contained, so I used some cardboard boxes to create a boxed in area – complete with the comfy dog bed. She wasn’t quieting down so I called the surgeon to determine if there was something I could do for the pain. They explained it most likely wasn’t pain, but the effects of the drugs they had given her. She was that way for about another 12 hours. One more thing to add to the list of things I did to my dog.
I spent the night on the couch, half sleeping through the night – aware of every move Josie made on the floor right next to me. When morning arrive, Josie had quieted and had settled but her face was a giant melon. She also would have sneezing fits – rough sneezing fits. It made me nervous for the stitches. Luckily, bleeding was minimal (I credit the Yunnan!). I tried to keep Josie as quiet as possible – the tranquilizers helped. When she would get up, I swear the swelling would get worse. The sneezing definitely did. By the end of the day, she has eating a little, drinking a little and had peed. She was slowly getting back to normal.
Josie got better, slowly, day after day. When she had enough strength to paw at her stitches I had to start using the cone of shame. It made her look more pathetic. Since it was easier for her, I kept her in her makeshift confined area and sleep right next to her on the couch. By Monday morning, the swelling was all but gone. And I was thrilled when she finally pooped. Although she was eating, she was slower, almost as if she was forcing herself.
After a few days, she started to get restless – tired of her confinement. But I left nothing to chance – she was going to stay confined, wearing the cone of shame until the stitches came out. Bear also was not thrilled with this arrangement. He missed sleeping on the dog bed. He learned to deal with it.
Was this worth it? Ask me when the results come back.