Sunday, May 23, 2010

Desperate Hours

Why is it that urgent health concerns in people or in pets only occur on holidays and weekends? I've spent many an hour waiting in hospital ERs with my mother because she always seemed to hit crisis mode when her doctor's office was closed. I've also spent a lot of time chewing my nails and fretting until the time came that I knew the telephone would be answered at the vet's.

Major deja vu. Friday when I got home, Mojo was acting a little bit odd. He wanted in my lap, but he was too agitated to settle down. I figured he was about to have one of his regular seizures. It has been about 6 weeks since the last one, so he was a bit overdue. Not to worry. I've weathered many seizures with him and I know what to expect.

But, as the evening progressed, other symptoms began to appear. He was not interested in our afternoon walk, which I still took to mean that he was anticipating the onset of a seizure. He initially attacked his supper with his usual enthusiasm, but he only ate about half. About an hour later, the vomiting began.

I still felt like we were in the prelude period to a seizure. Vomiting has become a regular component of the seizure process. We went on to bed. He woke me up a couple of times as he would leave and return to bed. About 3 a.m., he woke me up when he began vomiting before he could get down to the floor. I got up to deal with the soiled bedclothes and that's when I discovered he had also begun having bloody diarrhea.

From 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. I watched and worried. My little boy was mighty sick. My first thought, to call the vet as soon as they opened, changed to a decision to be sitting on their doorstep instead. For 4 hours, I watched him getting weaker and by the time I pulled out of my driveway, I was preparing myself to receive the worst possible news. My little boy, who hates riding in the car and usually has to be confined in his carrier to keep him from bouncing all over the place, lay lethargic in the blankets.

I am well known at the vet's. (They've been my pet care providers through 5 dogs and 8 cats.) When I walked through the door without an appointment, carrying Mojo in his blanket, they knew it was serious. We were lucky that one of our favorite doctors was on weekend duty. I was beginning to edge into the realm of hysterical mother and it helped to be talking to someone who knew me and who I trusted.

It did not take her long to diagnose the problem as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, a malady that frequently occurs in small dogs and can be extremely serious if treatment is not quickly started. She assured me that she felt he would be responding to treatment in a matter of hours and that he could probably go home the next day. I had so braced myself for bad news that it was hard to believe her. She swept him into intensive care for IV fluids and antibiotics and promised to call me later in the afternoon to give me an update on his status. On my way out, I spoke briefly with the receptionist who told me a Pomeranian was headed in with the same symptoms. How odd to never have known such a thing existing, and then to have two cases arrive at the same vet on the same morning. (The condition is not contagious, it may have some kind of bacterial or possibly stress-related cause.)

It was a long afternoon of waiting and worrying. I consoled myself with the knowledge that if things were going badly, I would hear sooner rather than later. Sure enough, when the call came about 5:30, it was good news. Both he and the little Pomeranian were responding to their treatment and she would allow me to come in on a Sunday and take him home.

In another of those little coincidences, I showed up a split second before the Pomeranian's mommy and we checked our patients out in tandem. She and I were both much relieved to see our little ones perky and alert and ready to go home.

Mr. Mojo has spent the day resting and being coddled. I've spent the day bone weary, but much relieved.

When the baby is sick, the world is a dark, unhappy place.



Sheree said...

How is amazing how our pets become our "children" instead...

MiniKat said...

I understand all too well that feeling of near terror and despair. One of my cats is currently dying of heart failure, but due to her medication she's acting like her normal self. We're just not sure how much longer she will be with us.

I'm glad that Mojo is doing well and hope he has a speedy recovering.