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?

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