Monday, June 29, 2015

Surgery Day

In the weeks leading up to this day, I alternated between wishing it was further away and wanting to just get it over with.  Almost daily I searched for information about what to expect, and found very little.  I didn’t know how debilitated she would be or how much I would have to care for her and her wounds.  I wrote a long email to our surgeon with some very tough questions, and, bless his heart, he answered every single one in great detail.  This gave me much more confidence and relieved a great deal of my apprehension.  Still, I didn’t know what I could do to prepare.  I put a crate in the living room and washed all of our dog bedding, adding a little bleach to the wash cycle to ensure that there was no bacteria.  I made a cute little sling out of fleece to help carry the weight of her hindquarters.  The night before surgery, I gave Tulla a bath, paying close attention to her feet as I was worried about the possibility of tracking bacteria into her bed and into her wound later on.  I also trimmed her nails extra short and tried to think of anything I had forgotten.  And we snuggled.
On surgery day, I took her in the surgical center early in the morning.  Just like her normal self, she bounded in the door and off down the hall with anyone that wanted to hold a leash.  Like a little kid that was ready for her first day of kindergarten, I didn’t even get a glance over the shoulder as she walked off.  And because the surgery was being performed out of town, I had nowhere to go.  So I wandered around for hours, shopping and remembering none of it.  I called a couple of times and apologized for bothering them, and then I got the call that all had gone well and the surgery was over.  I waited an hour or so (about as long as I could) and I went by to see for myself.  Still very groggy, she lifted her head when she heard my voice.  And even though I was probably in the way, I sat on the floor next to her crate for what seemed like hours. 
During this process we actually had 2 doctors, one surgeon and another that took care of everything else.  This second doctor was amazing nice and she helped me figure out how to lift her and she told me that she really thought Tulla was well enough to go home, but I said that I would feel better with her spending the night since we had a 2 hour drive home.  She also told me that our biggest problem would be getting her to be quiet for our upcoming 4 weeks of crate rest. 

The next morning, I was stunned to see a wide awake, tail wagging Tulla who was now missing all her surgical dressings (being helpful, she removed them herself!)  But most shocking was that she was standing on her own four legs.  Maybe a little shaky, but still, she was standing.  Both hips have 4-5 inch (or so) incisions that are stapled shut.  One had quite a bit of bruising, and the other had none.  Most obvious of all is her new haircut, with most of her hind end completely shaved, but with a big fluffy tail remaining.  I was thrilled to see her happy little face and I could not help but think of the “warning” I had gotten the previous day about trying to keep her quiet for 4 weeks when it was obvious that she was ready to “go.”  After a quick check of her incisions, an extra dose of pain meds before the IV came out, a big bag of pills, and a new cone of shame, we began the trip home. 

I’m sorry that I have no photos of the first days at home.  I have a few blurry shots from my phone, but that is about it.  I will try to do better! 

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