Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kazia's Last Photo

Taken January 20, 2010, with both fluffballs on their bed in my cubicle at the office.

Pneumothorax Round Up, and What I'd Do Differently

So now we all know that the pneumothoraxes did, ultimately, kill my dog, even if I was the one that decided to put her out of her misery. She had a third pneumothorax on Feb. 5 while I was at home, which announced itself by her coughing 19 times in a row (yes, I counted). I called the vet specialty hospital immediately and told them I was bringing her in. She was there in under half an hour, and they tapped 2 liters of air of her, the most to date. That was what made my decision. They were either occurring too frequently that they would rip open her lungs, or they were getting bigger, or both.

Air removed from Pupgirl: first pneumothorax: 1.5 liters; second pneumothorax: 700 milliliters; second penumothorax, part b: 500 milliliters; third penumotjhorax: 2 liters

What would I do differently? I would insist they tube her rather than just tap the air out of her lungs. Why? The surgeon at the specialty hospital told me that tubing is more stressful on the dog, so they prefer tapping. but he also talked at length about negative air pressure. I think tapping, which is just needle aspiration, didn't get all the air out of her lungs after the second event, and that created constant pressure that could have caused the third pneumothorax. When she was tubed at the first emergency hospital, it was on her for three days, and allowed all the air to escape. I don't think the tapping did, as the critical care vet at the specialty hospital admitted they can never tap all the air off. So I should have insisted on tubing. It might have given me another month with her. It might not, But since I'd give my own lung for another day with my precious girl, I'd risk it.

Her ahses came home Wednesday, and I ordered her a red glass box from Rays of Joy (who made a kelly green box for my cats C and G years ago). When I picked up her ashes, I found that the hospital had made a cast of her pawprint. The bag in which was the cast had a date and time stamp on it, so I know the cast was made 25 minutes before she died. I always thought these things were cheesy, until I held her pawprint in my hand and bawled. I will get a kit and make a cast of Mr. Big's paw, since I don't know how and when he'll die, and probably the girl cats' prints, too. I now wish I had C and G's paw prints.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Darling Kazia

I lost my best friend and best pupgirl last week, on Saturday, February 5, 2011, at 3:15 p.m. She had a third pneumothorax, her second in a week, and I couldn't put her through the tapping, the week-long hospital stay, to come home for a few hours or one night and have to go back again. When I can face the ordeal, I'll write about the third incident so that information is out there to help anyone else who has to face this awful, dreadful, untreatable thing. For now, I just want to look at her beautiful face and remember her. Her AKC name was Promise's Sonora Desert Star, and I know she's up there now, the brightest star, but I would give anything, anything, to have her with me, even for just one more day.

Her sweetness, her fearlessness, her joy, her incredible intellect, her playfulness, her kindness, and her beauty. She was my once in a lifetime dog. My heart broke Saturday and will never heal completely again.

Until we meet again, my sweet Kazia.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Second Pneumothorax Follow Up

The veterinary specialty hospital sent Pupgirl home Sunday, 1/30, even though I repeatedly asked if that was too soon. She came home at 2 p.m. and went back at 9 p.m. when the labored breathing started again. The emergency room doctor looked like he was 12, but was far more sympathetic than the other 2 I've dealt with, and told me that bulla can erupt in several ways, including a flap burst where it partially erupts, the tissue flaps down and closes, but then the burst continues later. He totally understood my quandary, saying "Look, she's standing there wagging her tail while this is going on. Clearly she's in stress, but not in distress."

Monday I asked the critical care doctor if she was sent home too early; if it was a third incident or the second one from Friday, unresolved; do bulla burst only catastrophically or in different ways; and was it likely it was the large, plum-sized bulla that erupted. Her answers: no; probably a new one; no, they just explode; and no, the plum-sized one would have killed her.

Then she asked those questions at rounds on Tuesday morning, and these were the answers of the surgeons, which to her credit, she told me (after saying she asked my "very good questions"--a change in attitude based on the answers or someone else agreeing that was a good question? Snarky me wonders.):  yes, she admitted they sent Pupgirl home too early; it was the Friday event, that had not resolved itself; and the surgeons all agree that, lack of CT scan diagnosis to confirm it, they all think it was the large, plum-sized bulla that erupted.

So I explained to her that my reason for caring if it was large or small is simple. The vets have no idea how these bulla develop and grow. That large bulla could have grown over 6 months or 6 years. If their rate of growth is slow and continues to be slow, the existing ones notwithstanding, perhaps Pupgirl can have a closer to normal life expectancy with the large one now gone. Obviously, I know she can die any time, but since we don't know how long these take to grow, how can we assume that she'll have another episode next week or next month or even next year? She might, she might not. And I cannot put her to sleep with that uncertainty.

MoM said she's never forgive me if I put her to sleep. MoM told me as a child, there was nothing I could do that would make them stop loving me or that they couldn't eventually forgive, so to hear her say that reinforced my opinion.

Anyway, the hospital is being very conservative now and keeping Pupgirl still. She has been resting comfortably, although when she is awake she pants (Could this be stress? Panting and yawning are two doggy stress signs.), and has been having diarrhea during this hospital stay.

I want her home, of course, but I want her burst lung completely sealed. It's already going to take me two years to pay off the credit card bill--what's another 6 months?