An Up-date on the Lulu Crisis…

Happy Sunday everyone!  I hope you are having a leisurely, relaxed and happy day.  It’s beautiful here, I haven’t even had to kick on the air conditioning units today at all.  Lower humidity combined with a little lower temperature have made for an almost perfect weather-wise day.

Now to the heart of this post:  Lulu.  For those who don’t know, Lulu is my teacup Pomeranian dog and we had a major health scare on Friday.  She literally died on me and had to be revived by the veterinarian.  And let me tell ya, it was one quick trip to that vet office in town!  Luckily I got her there in time and she was able to be  brought back with CPR and intensive vet care.

Lulu then spent the night at the Port City Veterinary Referral Hospital in Portsmouth New Hampshire, which is just over the bridge from where we live in Southern Maine.  At the PCVRH, they had her in the critical care unit and did extensive treatments and testing.  Happily their treatments worked and she survived, and is thriving now.  The unfortunate part of this whole thing is A-that it happened, and B-we don’t know WHY or WHAT caused this to happen.  So I am petrified that it will happen again, and if it happens when I am not here it could be a fatal event.  That scares me and makes me sad too.

I picked Lu up at the hospital at 10am Saturday. She was soooo happy to see me; all wiggly and trying to jump from the technicians arms to get to me.  You would never know that a mere 18 hours earlier that this little dog lay dead in my arms….it was a miraculous that she survived and recovered as she did.  And it was all thanks to the veterinarians at the Kittery Animal Hospital and the Port City Referral Hospital, their professionalism and care and modern medicine.  Also, much credit for keeping me in one piece during this whole horrible ordeal goes to my friend Jen and my sister Patricia.  They were my anchors in the storm so to speak.   I am especially indebted to my sister, who helped me financially cover this sudden, tragic event.  I do have Trupanion pet insurance on Lulu, thankfully, but I have a $1000 deductible, and then they reimburse me 90% of costs after that.  So I had to pay up-front and will have to file the claim to be reimbursed.  The outcome and choices may have had to be very different if I had not had the insurance and the help from my sister, God Bless her.

At this point Lulu is stable and doing quite well.  We don’t know if this will happen again because we don’t have the answers as to what caused this episode.  She will be going to see a neurologist in the near future.  I am researching which one of the two recommended I will be going to see.  It’s either the sister clinic to Port City, which is called MVRH (Mass. Veterinary Referral Hospital) in Woburn, Massachusetts or MVMC (Maine Veterinary Medical Center) in Scarborough Maine.   I have a letter of referral for the insurance company and since it’s part of the care for the same condition/incident whatever it costs will be covered at the 90% figure.  Again, I cannot say enough how lucky and happy I am that I kept this sort of emergency medical insurance on Lulu, and I recommend that everyone with a pet check out Trupanion.com and get the catastrophic coverage at least.  My coverage on Lulu is only $21. a month, less than a buck a day.  I can’t stress enough how much peace of mind this can be.

Nola seems happy to have Lu back.  Even though she is a real pain sometimes to Nola.  She really loves Nola and likes to play with her, which sometimes is not what Nola wants to do.  Lu jumps all over Nola, kisses her good morning and tries to play the chase game when Nola is in the mood.  They are good at fetching balls together, I use two balls.  One larger one for Nola and a tiny one for Lulu.  We’ve gotten into the routine of playing out on the big part of the lawn around sunset every night.  It’s good for us all.

I’m doing pretty well.  Considering that this was a very stressful episode for me.  I managed to keep my cool and focus on Lulu’s needs.  It wasn’t until afterl that it really hit me as to the fact that I almosts lost my little buddy for good.  That would be tragic.

So, there’s the update.  Now I am just nervous  about this happening again.  I’m especially nervous that it could happen when I am not here to intervene and save her.  It’s a very scary position that I am in here.  I am sure that with some time I will become less wary.  But the event is so fresh in my mind that I can’t help but fear the worst at this point.

Tomorrow is Monday and I am back to work.  This will be the first time I will need to leave her.  My friend Jen is staying with me currently, so she’ll keep an eye on her for me tomorrow at least.  She’ll be staying the rest of the week I believe and then I will be forced to leave Lu alone with Nola for part of the day during my work days.  I have borrowed a HUGE dog crate from my sister and I set it up with one of Lulu’s little puffy beds at one end and her wee pad at the other.  There’s plenty of room for her to move around and be happy for the few hours that she might be left unattended.  I set it up so that it faces the couch where Nola lays when I am gone.  That way she can see Nola and be reassured by her presence.  I will be a virtual mess when I have to leave her without supervision.

Thanks to all of you who commented and shared your concern and support for us.  I especially thank Kathy, Bert, Jamie Ray, JFulbright, Jadescastle, and Bisexual Butch for their comments on my last blog.  Many of you also commented on my Facebook updates, and I thank you all for the prayers and good thoughts sent our way, we needed them all !

I am off to read my book and relax for the night!  Peace.  ~MB

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Dog Crisis

I had a day from hell yesterday and last night.  The morning was fairly normal, I worked and work was fine.  I got home at noon, went into my room and Nola and Lulu loved up on me, giving me lots of doggie kisses and wrestled with me on the bed. It was a super love fest of dog and human bonding.  Then I went and got on my computer in my office for a few minutes.  I was looking at new vacuum cleaners  and dog steps for them to get onto the bed easier – and so I don’t have to continually lift them up onto the bed which is fairly high.

AS I sat there shopping and playing on the computer the dogs wanted to go outside so I opened the door to the back yard, which is in my office.  I let them out.  A few minutes later they came in.  Lulu came into the office and whined a little, then she laid down…and looked funny…she got up and then laid down again…she collapsed.  I quickly scooped her up and ran to the living room, yelling for Jen (my friend who is temporarily staying here) and for help.  Lu was completely limp, and I was petrified. Jenny grabbed her and started trying to revive her, She lost her bowels all over, and then I called the vet = but he had left for the day. So I yelled to Jen, we are going to Kittery Animal Hospital!!!  We bolted to the truck, Jen carrying Lu, who was completely lifeless at this point.  I drove like as fast as I could through Friday afternoon tourist traffic down Route 1 in Kittery to the animal hospital.  We ran into the hospital and blurted out that my dog has collapsed and needs help    The women in the hospital immediately took her from Jen and whisked her away out to the back room where they work on the pets they see.  They made us wait and try to tell them about what happened, while the doctors and nurses were all hovering over Lulu and working on her furiously.

I gave them the basics, she just collapsed, no forewarning, nothing weird about her.  She was completely normal with me when I got home a half hour earlier.  Even romping and playing like her normal self.  She just collapsed and stopped breathing, her eyes rolled back in her head, her tongue hung out and she lost her bowels. She basically died in my arms.  I thought she was gone for sure.

The doctor at the animal hospital came out after about 15 minutes to see me and Jen.  We were in the waiting room, crying and wracking our brains for what she could have gotten into at the house.  The doctor said it didn’t look good, that they got her back, that she was not breathing on her own, but had to be intubated and was being kept alive via a breathing machine at that moment.  Her heart rate was half of what it should be, 50 bpm, when it should have been closer to 120 bpm.  She asked us repeatedly what happened just before the dog collapsed, we told the story over and over, she was fine one second and in a heap on the floor the next….no physical explanation visible.

Finally she started breathing on her own again and they had put in an iv tube in her little arm and had catheterized her, now it’s time to transport her to the Port City Referral Hospital for intensive care and possible diagnosis.  I took her and she was just limp and laying in my arms, her eyes were all weird and her tongue was hanging out of her mouth abnormally.  It was pitiful.  My sister Patricia had arrived at the vet clinic by this time to help me out….thank God.  She is well schooled in dog/cat veterinary stuff and has a calm and control demeanor.  At that time I was basically losing my cookies, I was worried to death and heard about every 3rd word.  Patty drove me and Lulu to the hospital in her fiancé’s truck, and Jen went back to my house to check on Nola and make sure she was okay. Poor Nola didn’t know what was happening, except that I was upset and yelling and her little sister was nowhere to be seen.

Patty and I drove over to Port City…the drive was excruciating.  Poor Lulu just laid there, and little whine noises would escape her occasionally.  By the time we got to Port City I think she was again on the brink of death.  We ran inside with her, up to the desk and explained who we were.  An intern immediately came out and took Lulu and rushed back into the triage room.  She needed immediate help breathing again and was in critical condition.

Patty and I waited in one of the private vetting rooms.  Room 4.  The doctor, a young woman of about maybe 28-30 came out a few minutes later to meet us and tell us what was up with Lu.  Her name was Shannon Moynahan, DVM.  She explained in detail that Lu was in serious condition and they were doing all they could for her.  Then she wanted to know what she got into, or could she have gotten into something poison.  I explained that I didn’t see her get into anything, and that she just collapsed unexpectedly.  The doctor said she was presenting neurological signs, her eyes were rolled back in her head, her tongue was hanging out and she had not body control whatsoever.  She was just limp and at the mercy of God and these veterinarians.

Over the course of a couple of hours the doctor came out to update us a few times.  She was going to give Lu some medication that would help with swelling in her brain, and fluids to flush out her system.  The neuro symptoms might indicate a congenital defect, maybe hydro incephelitis (sp?) or maybe her cranium was growing wrong around her brain.  She looked like she was going to be really compromised neurologically.  I cried some more.

What did I want to do if she took a turn for the worse?  That was Dr. Moynahan’s question…my answer was no heroic efforts were to be made, if she turned for the worse let her go and cross that rainbow bridge peacefully.  I had to make decisions.  I had to think and my brain was just mush from all of this.  I didn’t want to lose Lulu, I didn’t want her to be in pain and agony, or live a compromised life….my choices were 1, monitor her for a few hours, transport her to a neurologist in Boston for specialized neurological work up to see if it’s a brain issue.  They could not do that work at the hospital where she currently was bing cared for.  2) euthanasia.

I was devastated.  I cried some more.  Patty cried with me.  We asked a million questions of the doctor.  We looked up things on our phones, conditions the doctors said were possible…like liver shunts, hydro incephalitis, and heart issues in Pomeranians.  We discussed and we cried.  We wanted to give her a chance.  It was going to be really expensive but Patty agreed to help me out with the initial expenses, thankfully, and we decided on a 3rd option.  let them keep Lulu over night, see if she improves and make a more concrete decision in the morning after I had some time to think and talk about it with the important people in my life.

In the meantime the Doctor came out again and asked what we wanted to do, and to tell us that she’s pleasantly surprised to say that Lulu was responding well to the treatments she was receiving, and was awake and alert.  She wasn’t out of the woods, but it looked promising.  We discussed our plan to have them take care of her over night and for us to revisit the whole thing in the morning after I had had some time to think and plan.

The doctor agreed that this was a good plan.  Especially since Lulu was responding.  I didn’t want to make the harsh decision to put her to sleep without giving her a chance to fight whatever was wrong with her.  Again we discussed toxins and poisons with the doctor, we had to figure out if she got into something.  Only a visit to the neurologist would tell us if she had a congenital defect.

I got to go back and see her before I left to go home.  She saw me and her eyes lit right up and she tried to get to me. She was weak, and hooked up to a bunch of tubes and iv’s and the such.  I hated seeing that sweet little dog like that, but I knew she was right where she needed to be at that moment.  She was in serious trouble, and she needed intensive care.  There were two girls there with her, one was holding her down sort of with a heating blanket over her.  The doctor said her heart rate was slowly coming up, it was about 70 bpm at that time, still not up to 120 where it’s supposed to be, but improving.  Lulu obviously knew me, so if there was brain damage it didn’t cause her to forget me.  Thank God again.  It was a true miracle that she was even alive, after dying at the house and being rused to the vet to be revived, then making the trip to the bigger hospital, and going through all the testing and stuff they were doing.

The did a full blood panel and everything came back normal.  No abnormalities at all.  The doctor said it was amazing that she was basically a very healthy little dog, what was going on was a baffling mystery to all of us.  She was receiving fluids to flush toxins and stuff out of her system.  I tried to keep from crying again, and tried to be strong for her.

I went home.  At about 7:15 pm the doctor called to update me on Lu’s condition and progress.  The doctor was truly amazed, the little dog was responding terrific to the treatments and was up and walking around, she had eaten dinner and had gone outside to pee with one of the technicians.  She was no longer presenting the neurological symptoms, her eyes were normal, pupils were back to normal and her tongue was back in her mouth.  She evidently looked quite good.  The doctor was very pleased.  Given all that had gone on, and her response to these medications the doctor was quite certain that Lulu had been exposed to some sort of poison or toxin here at the house.  It didn’t look like it was a neuro problem after all, but we might want to still go ahead with the MRI in Boston to make sure – and since this incident is covered by my Trupanion Pet Insurance I do want to get it all done, a full work up in Boston.  Yes, I had insured the little dog.  I bitched every month about the $21 payment, but now I was super glad that I had this coverage on her.  I have a $1000 deductible, which we more than met today, and then I am covered at 90% for evcerything above that.  It’s a per incident/condition coverage, so everything related to this particular incident will be covered.  Thankfully I kept up with the payments on this policy.  I now truly recommend that if you get a young dog or cat you consider doing the same.  Trupanion.com has all of the information on how to get your dog or cat covered and have that peace of mind.

I didn’t sleep all night.  I am very worried about Lulu and the house seems empty without her little paws tapping around the floor with Nola’s.  Nola has been moping and not wanting to do too much herself. She seems a bit out of sorts, I am sure she is wondering where her little sister is and what’s going on. It’s been too quiet, and too lonely.  I miss the little bugger.  Miss Lulu Palulu…Osama Bin Fuzzbutt….the shit house Rat….Lulu Belle.  Yes, she’s got a few endearing things that we call her, and she responds to them all!

I am going to visit her at 9:30 am this morning.  I am hoping for a good progress report and to see her doing well, maybe even acting normally and back to herself.  I am praying that it WAS a poison or toxin and it’s NOT something more serious – although this was serious enough !  But at least if it was a toxin I can figure out where she got into it and what it was perhaps, eliminate it and go on with life with Lulu….if it’s something more serious I’ll just have to deal with that as I am able and as she requires.

So, that was my afternoon and evening yesterday….hell day.  I thank God that Lulu is alive and hope she is going to be okay in the long run.  I will keep you all updated with posts and pictures.

Peace.  ~MB