First and foremost, thank you so much for warming my heart with your messages of support while I was worried sick about K. What a morale booster!
K is home! Finally, this afternoon, our wonderful vet released her to me. K is pumped full of fluids and seems more exhausted than I've ever seen her.
I visited her at the vet hospital this morning and walked her outside a little bit. Her agitation level was off the charts - she whined, pulled, fidgeted, and was constantly distracted. Apparently, she's an 'opiate-sensitive' dog who becomes jittery when she takes pain medication. She couldn't focus on me for more than an instant this morning but I did get her to sit still for a photo.
Finally, about 16 hours after her last opiate dose, she settled down enough to come home.
She and R greeted each other with tails wagging wildly on the deck.But, within seconds, K had curled up in her favorite spot, on the deck next to me. She snored audibly.
It made me slightly concerned that our vet waffled about whether to take her IV catheter out. Apparently, pancreatitis dogs often need to return to the vet for more IV fluids within a day or so of release. However, in the end, the vet pulled the catheter. I'll take that as a vote of confidence.
Now, my job is to consult a canine nutritionist to figure out how to feed K a pancreas-friendly diet despite her food allergies. For the rest of her life, K will have strict rules about what she's allowed to eat.
One aspect of this ordeal that I didn't mention previously was our emergency vet fiasco. We initially went to the same emergency vet that we've visited for years. However, almost immediately, we started feeling uncomfortable with the atmosphere. Moreover, we didn't click with the on-duty vet and felt that she was not being inquisitive enough about oddities in K's blood work. As a final straw, K seemed afraid of the vet - a reaction that I've never seen in K in any past vet visits. However, K's condition was bad enough that we agreed to have her hospitalized.
After leaving, I sat in my car and struggled with a terrible gut feeling that leaving K in that particular hospital was not good and perhaps not even safe. And, I remembered hearing that a new emergency vet hospital (Alpenglow) had opened. After searching for it based on a vague recollection of the address, I stumbled in, still possessed by a feeling of impending doom, and asked for a tour of the facility. Then, I noticed the names of the vets. One of them had saved S's life a few years ago, and I knew what an awesome vet and person he was.
The best course of action was obvious. I went straight back to the first place, had K discharged with her IV intact (one of the most socially uncomfortable things that I've ever done especially since they wanted a full accounting of why I was doing it), and drove her to the new place. It turned out to be the best decision that I could've made - the vets, the techs, and the facilities at Alpenglow are absolutely top notch. I felt a serene confidence when I left K in their obviously capable hands. For K's sake, I'm glad that I found the guts to 'make waves' by yanking her out of the first hospital. It's a lesson that I'll remember - making waves and hurting people's feelings is sometimes necessary to take care of someone you love.
K and I won't be having any adventures aside from short walks for a little while. But, we can enjoy the blaze yellow aspens nearby our house on our short rambles.
And, R might even join me for a bike ride or two like he did this morning. Although I was sad that K wasn't with us, I enjoyed getting to know our little guy even better by sharing a ride with him alone.