Google+ Badge

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Post #41: PD’s Third Miracle

PD’s third encounter with near death was also his closest call.  PD was eight years old.  Wife and I were trying to live in two places in two cities.  I had closed my private practice in Rockport and began a full-time position as faculty at the University of Houston – Victoria.  I would stay in Victoria for three or four days a week, and then would stay in Aransas Pass for three or four days.

PD began acting strangely on one Sunday in Aransas Pass.  He was depressed, not moving much, and looked like he was in pain.  This was too soon after Henry went down, and we were still very much worried about dachshund back injuries.  Our first thought was that PD had hurt his back.  Our regular vet was closed and not available. 

I drove PD to the veterinary hospital in Corpus Christi.  I expressed my concerns about PD’s back to the person who did the intake.  The tech took X-rays, the vet looked at them and said she could see some places where he had inflammation of his disc.  She gave PD a shot for his pain.  PD and I left the hospital with a bottle of pain medication, advice to keep him in a crate, and instructions on when to give him his medicine. 

I was supposed to be in Victoria on Monday, and Wife and the dogs were coming with me.  So, we crated PD, packed our things, and headed north.

PD did not get better.  PD continued to be lethargic.  He threw up a couple of times.  He refused to eat.  That was a really big thing.  PD has always been food motivated.  So, any time he refuses to eat, we know something is really wrong.  He also refused to drink.

Wife forced his pain medicine down him, and he threw it right back up.  We decided not to force him to take it again.  By late evening, PD had not had anything to drink.  I took him to his water dish, but he just looked at it.  Then I put some water on my finger and rubbed it around his lips.  That triggered a gagging reflex.  PD was warm and seemed to have a fever.  It was late Sunday evening, and we had no vet resources in Victoria.  We decided to wait it out, and hope that PD would be better in the morning.

He wasn’t.                                                                                                                     

Wife was headed to Temple to spend some time with our grandchildren, but we both knew we needed to get PD back to our vet in Rockport.  

I put PD in the car and drove south to Rockport, while Wife headed north to Temple.  Both of us with prayers for the safety of the other, and for PD to get well.

The vet examined PD and ran some blood tests.  He told me to leave PD with him so they could start him on an IV and get some fluids in him.  He was dehydrated and in pain.  The vet wanted to wait for the lab results and check some other things.  I left and went back to Victoria without PD.  When the vet called, the news was bad.

PD had pancreatitis.  His body was digesting itself.  His liver had shut down.  His kidneys had shut down.  The vet wasn’t sure that PD would live.  He told us that on paper, PD was already a dead dog.

The vet withheld all food and water.  Any food or water consumed by mouth would trigger an enzyme action against his organs.  This is why PD was vomiting and gagged when I forced him to put water in his mouth.  This enzyme action was the means in which his body was digesting itself.  Any fluids or nutrition that PD got would have to be through his IV.

PD stayed at the vet’s for several days.  We spoke to the vet every day.  At first we got encouraging news.  He seemed to be getting better.  But then, PD seemed to be getting worse.  The vet asked us to come and talk to him about taking PD home.  The vet didn’t think that there was anything else he could do for PD.

Wife and I drove to Rockport, to the vet’s office.  We went into the examination room and waited while the vet told us about what he had done for PD.  He told us that PD wasn’t “out of the woods, yet.”

The tech walked in carrying PD.  He saw us and began to wag his tail.  The tech put him on the examining table, and PD was all over us with kisses and tail wags.

The vet smiled and said that was the best he had seen PD act since he had arrived.  He knew that he had done the right thing to get us to come and get him.

PD is now on a low-fat diet, and has not had any further problems with his pancreas.  He is 11 years old now, and is losing some of his eye sight.  He is often in pain because of his back, but Wife does a great job of managing his pain.

As he gets older, he accumulates symptoms that slow us all down.  We do not know how many more years we will have with PD.  We are simply grateful for all of the years that we have had.  We count each day that PD is with us as one more blessing.