Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sucky number 3

Three is the worst number there is.  Seriously.  Ever notice they always say that bad things come in threes?  Well I am at the beginning of [what's shaping up to be] a really crappy week.  

The good stuff: Avelyn isn't sick anymore, which is great.  She's still a little congested and coughy but I can handle that.  Kevin is back in town, which is great, because last weekend was really hard being away from Avelyn at the hospital and knowing he wasn't there to take care of her.  And... well I don't have a third great so phooey.

The downers: I have 3 care plans due tomorrow at 6:30am.  You nurses will understand what that means when I say I haven't even started.  (Although I do have good reasons.)  I have a big test next Wednesday that I'm totally unprepared for because of all the other stuff I've been dealing with.  I also have clinical again on Tuesday.  Now the kicker - my dog is really sick and she may be dying.

It's funny how Kevin and I compliment each other.  I'm usually worrying/freaking out/crying about little and big stuff all the time, every day, and Kevin is my rock of wisdom or annoyance given my mood that day.  However, in times of great stress or situations you would think might break me, I tend to be the voice of reason and strength while he falls apart.

She didn't appear sick on Thursday.  Maybe she started to show signs Thursday night and I was too busy to notice.  I was busy yelling at her to get off the baby's blanket and too busy typing my post partum care plan until 2am to play with her.  She's always hairing up Avelyn's blanket which means Avelyn gets haired up which means it's in her mouth, her eyes, her bottles and I hate it, so I make her get off.  She was probably trying to tell me she wasn't feeling well and I put her on the back burner.  I should have realized something was up when she slept downstairs, alone, Thursday night. I didn't.  I feel awful.  

Friday morning she just didn't seem right.  She usually runs outside and walks around forever looking for "the perfect spot to pee".  It drives me crazy.  Friday she walked really slow, seemed reluctant to do anything and Avelyn was spitting up on my shoulder and it was 900 degrees out and I was yelling at Etta to hurry up and pee and get back inside.  I even jokingly said to my mother on the phone "Want a dog?  She's driving me nuts."  Now I feel like the Worst Dog Momma EVER.

When Kevin got into town Friday afternoon I told him how funny she was acting.  I realized how lethargic she'd been all day and that she hadn't touched her food and I'm too busy to notice if she was drinking these days.  We took her to a vet (our normal one is in SA) who found nothing big but wanted to run lab work.  I took Avelyn for a walk around the neighborhood and Kevin waited with Etta.  And waited and waited.  He finally called me with the results.  

"She has some type of autoimmune disorder."

"What?" [I didn't even know dogs had those!]

"Some type of anemia, I think, and it's attacking her red blood cells."

"WHAT?!" [I'm running through all my nursing knowledge imagining worst case scenarios.]

"Her RBC volume should be 35-55 and it's 18%.  He wanted to keep her overnight but we decided we could start her on the steroids and keep her at home tonight and bring her back Monday to work more labs."

He was really worried about her.  I was too, but not in the way I thought I would be.  

Etta was my first "baby".  She was my "baby substitute" when we weren't in a place to have kids and I stopped being a nanny and missed my nanny-baby Mae.  Since Avelyn's come along I know that I have neglected Etta.  I'm caring for a newborn and I'm in school and I've made excuses that now seem really stupid and mean.  It's not like I'm a dog beater or anything but she was used to being the baby, and she was replaced.  Ugh, I deserve the Bad Dog Momma of the Year trophy.

Cut to today (Saturday) and she looked AWFUL.  She barely moved at all and could only walk a few feet before stopping.  We would have to pick her up to carry her back inside or take her to her water bowl in a futile effort to get her to drink.  She was like a limp noodle in your hands and her gums, belly and ears were WHITE where they should have been pink or red.  Of course, we didn't notice it was that bad until 4:30, after I had been to the hospital to do clinical work and after we'd gone to lunch and to Target... we are now OFFICIALLY Worst Dog Parents of the Year.

To cut this long story short, we called the vet who said to take her to after hours emergency.  The doctor there did nothing to lift our hopes.  He told us the first 96 hours are the most critical and that she didn't look good.  He was very thorough and very gentle and I liked him a lot (except for that HUGE EC bill we had to pay upon leaving!).  We decided to leave her in the hospital until Monday morning so they could give her steroid injections and fluids and monitor her packed cell count.  If the count gets down to 11% they will do a blood transfusion.  

The idea is to pump her full of steroids to suppress her immune system and keep it from attacking her own RBC.  Unfortunately, until that happens her count will continue to fall.  We hope that the steroids kick in before they have to do a blood transfusion because if her immune system is still attacking then it will eat all the new blood too.  But if they have to do it, they have to do it.

So now my poor little puppy is all alone hooked up to an IV, getting blood draws every 4 hours and feels so sick.  We let her sleep with us last night, for the first time since Avelyn was born, because she was sick and since Avelyn's pediatrician gave me permission to spoil her and continue to bring her to bed with me when she couldn't sleep I figured it was okay for a dog too.  I told Kevin that when she comes home she can sleep with us for now on.  
The doctor called at 9:00 and said her count was down to 16% (from 18% yesterday) but that her platelets are still high, which is reassuring.  Her kidneys and liver so far are fine so that is also good.


  1. oh my god oh my god oh my god i'm so sorry and this is making me cry. give her a giant hug for me.

  2. I hope Etta is okay!

    And how does one come down with autoimmune issues anyway?

  3. I know how awful it feels to see the pet you love suffering. I hope she is much better today and that you lighten up on yourself! The winner of The Worst Doggy Momma of the Year Award definitely wouldn't foot the bill for Doggy Emergency Care. Keep us posted.

  4. Jennifer, I'm so sorry! I totally understand your feelings about Avelyn and Etta. Turbo was our first born..then came Tyson...then came Tucker. The dog is lucky if he doesn't get kicked out of the way in a day. Anywho when I was pregnant with Tyson, Turbo ate a sock and we almost had to put him to sleep. It was awful. I know that whatever happens with Etta James she will feel better. You are NOT a horrible/bad/worst ever doggie mom. You are wonderful/loving/caring and amazing. Good luck with your crappy week!

  5. Oh, I'm so sorry. Poor little puppy. I hope she makes it through. I know how you feel as far as the guilt about ignoring her. I know I have done the same thing with my 2 puppies and I feel terrible about it :(

  6. I hope Etta pulls through this! She's got to...Taylor loved her! Hang in there. You are not a horrible doggy mommy!


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