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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

K is home!

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.


  1. We were thrilled to see your note earlier today with this expekhted news!

    Ah yes: woo have to trust your gut when it khomes to 'those' kinds of feelings!

    Paws khrossed fur the healing to khontinue in the khomfortable environment of HOME!


  2. I'm glad K is home, exhausted as she is. Being that sick and in that much pain is grueling.

    The tough decision to pull K from the hospital and move her is an inspiration. Really. Brilliant, brave move!

    We'll hope she can keep her food and fluid levels high enough that another IV isn't needed.

    Hugs to all 4 of you.

  3. That's great that you were able to go with your gut feeling! I know how hard it is for me to make waves, but I'll remember how glad you felt afterwards and try to be braver. I hope you all get a good nights rest.

  4. I really admire that move you made to pull K out of the hospital. I'll admit, I can be a sometimes soft person when it comes to things like that. Luckily, I'm getting much better at telling people NO when it comes to Marge.

    Glad she's home! Looking forward to more updates!

  5. Yippee! Glad K is resting at home now! Transferring K based on a gut feeling is exactly what I did over 30 years ago with a child who was hospitalized with pneumonia. After admitting her, I felt uncomfortable, called my DR, against his wishes had her transferred to another facility, and was VERY glad I followed my instincts because of how sick she actually was. Children and animals need us to make the hard decisions - their lives may be at stake. I like the way K is smiling in the photo - glad to be outta there and going home with her special person!

  6. What wonderful news! I know there will be some rough days ahead, but it's always better at home. It's so hard to see your dogs suffer and not be able to make it better and explain things to them.

    Kudos for being such a good advocate for K's care. I learned long ago that my comfort level with the veterinarian was really important.

    Here's hoping everything will be fine.

  7. Hi Kb

    I seemed to have completely missed K's ordeal and your vigil...but am glad that you have her home and she's recovering with your care and love...

    Happy days

  8. Good news that K is home. Hoping for continued recovery.

    As for the hospital switch decision, salute. We have an obligation to our furry friends to make decisions based on their interests where they are unable to.

  9. so glad K is home! and so glad you followed your instincts with the hospital! what little i know of you :), i know your instincts and intuition are spot on....good job girl for having the balls to stand up for your girl!! she's home, and now the healing can begin....lots of love and relaxation! thanks for keeping us "posted" on K....she hasn't been out of my thoughts...hang in there KB...

  10. Whew! And yay! So glad that K is back at home to recuperate. Good for you for following your instincts on the emergency clinic.

  11. the thundering herd sent us over here... we're so glad that K is getting better. We're crossing our paws for ongoing recovery!

  12. Thanks to all of you for your support, especially on the issue of taking K out of the first hospital. I truly am usually not a wave-maker. I usually try to work out the situation without taking any abrupt actions. But, my love for her gave me the courage to do what I did. I am so glad...

    Your strength-giving thoughts undoubtedly helped all of us!


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