Sunday, January 27, 2008

How will I know when to panic?

Butch's surgery didn't happen today. He fasted all night (so did Kadi) so I could take him to the animal hospital first thing this morning, which I did. They told me they do surgeries between noon and 4:00 p.m. and would call me as soon as they were finished.

I got a call around ten saying his pre-surgery blood test results were in and everything looked fine. The next call came a little after two, and the news was not so good. The way I understand it is that after the pre-surgery drug was administered -- not the anesthetic, but the canine equivalent of "twilight sleep," I guess -- Butch stopped breathing. They couldn't get a breathing tube down his throat and didn't proceed with the anesthesia. I didn't have the presence of mind to ask how they got him breathing again, but my next-door neighbor, who's a nurse, says they must have had to resuscitate him.

The vet said they'd wait a few weeks and try again on the anal sac removal, using a different "protocol," one that wouldn't put him under quite so far. She assured me that he's okay and told me I could pick him up after 4:30. That's exactly when I arrived to pick him up and bring him home.

We've been home since 5:30, and he's spent the last two hours crying (a soft whimper), pacing, crashing into furniture. He doesn't seem to have any concept of where he is in the house, although when he finds himself at the back door, he asks to go out.

I fixed him a little soft food, which he ate greedily, but he's not interested in drinking water at this time. I don't want to give him too much and make him vomit.

I tried to hold him on my lap to settle him down, and that worked for about two minutes, then he wanted down and began pacing again. I'm telling myself this is just a residual effect from the medication, but it's scaring me. I'm gonna give it a couple more hours, and if he hasn't settled down by them, I'll take him to the emergency vet.

Please send prayers and good thoughts his way.

Wednesday morning update: Butch is doing better this morning. As I write this, he's scarfing down food from his dish (which he found on his own), and his navigational nose seems to be functioning better. He's bumped into a couple of things this morning, but they were soft bumps, subtle miscalculations, nothing like last night's disorientated crashes.

I decided about nine-thirty last night to see if nighttime procedures would settle him down, and they did somewhat. He didn't want to stay on his bed, so I put his favorite old bedspread (that he slept on when he was a puppy) on the floor by my bed, then pulled the T-shirt off my back and gave it to him. He held the wadded-up shirt between his front legs and drifted off to sleep.

He woke up just before three and began crying again, but after a brief trip to the backyard, he came in, settled down quickly, and slept until the alarm went off a short while ago. He isn't whimpering now.

I think he's gonna be okay. Kim is coming over early this morning to keep an eye on him while I'm at work.

I'll keep you posted.

(First published at Velvet Sacks on January 22, 2008 and updated on January 23, 2008.)

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