Goodbye 2020 – Part 3

The Long Goodbye…
2020 came crashing down on December 1st.
While I was downstairs folding laundry and leveling my shaman on World of Warcraft, Bella got into a bottle of ibuprofen. I caught her mid act and called our vet immediately. My son and I took her right in. 

They emptied her stomach, gave her medications to protect her stomach and fluids to help flush her out.  The next day we went back to have her kidney levels checked.  They were going up. The recommended that we bring her to the 24-hour ER/ICU vet. I headed there immediately. I could not handle thinking that I was going to lose my sweet Bella. Due to COVID-19, I had to drop her at the door at the ER.  I couldn’t even go in with her. She tried to dig her feet into the floor and kept looking back at me. She looked so scared and confused.  My heart shattered, and the tears came gushing out.  

We waited in the parking lot for the call from the ER doc.  They suggested continuous fluids and blood tests every 24 hours to watch her kidney levels.  That night we had to make a $2000 deposit to start her care. I was so scared and worried about her.  So many questions rushed through my head. What if she did not make it and we weren’t there with her? Was she ok?  Are they watching her?  Are they being nice to her? Is she alone? Will she ever forgive me? Will I even get to see her again?

Bella in ICU

It was late when we got home. The ER vet was about 45 minutes from us.  Here it was, December 2nd, our son’s birthday was coming on the 5th, and Christmas was on the way. All I could think about was my poor puppy. I was a total wreck. I laid in bed and prayed. I prayed until I couldn’t pray anymore and finally fell asleep. 

Thursday, December 3rd.
At around 7am we got a text from the ER vet. She was doing ok, handling the fluids and ate a little, but her kidney were still going up.  They planned to continue the fluids and start checking her every 12 hours.  The next test would be a little after dinner. It was the longest day I ever sat through. I managed to get a birthday cake made for my son’s birthday. A small victory. My heart was not in it at all. I felt horrible…like I was failing as a mom.

That evening the ER vet called and the numbers went up again.  The vet was genuinely concerned. Her BUN level hit 69.  She was close to kidney failure.  I hung up the phone and broke down. I was angry. I was sad. I was worried. All I wanted was to hold my sweet pup and tell her I loved her, and I couldn’t. We had to make another $2000 deposit for her continued care.

She was not happy about getting her vitals checked!

Friday, December 4th
Another call, more bad news. Her BUN level hit 81. She was on the verge of total kidney failure.
I frantically started researching to see if there were other options out there for dogs. I wasn’t even thinking of cost. All I wanted was for her to be ok and make it through this.

Friday night, I lost it. The ER vet called. Her BUN level hit 87. Creatinine was over 6.
The vet didn’t sound very hopeful, but did say that this was the smallest increase and maybe she’s finally hitting a plataeu. The next test would tell us how bad the kidneys were. I sat on my couch and cried. My husband was still at work. I felt utterly lost and helpless. My dear sweet son sat with me. I yelled out, “WHY ME?! My dad died from kidney failure, diabetes and heart disease. My mom was diagnosed with kidney failure in August, and now my puppy. Serisously!” My son wrapped his arm around me and hugged me. There have been so many times he has been my rock. I so blessed to be his mom.

Saturday, December 5th.  My son’s 17th birthday!  Early in the morning the ER vet called.  I had my husband answer the phone.  I couldn’t handle more bad news.  However, we finally received some good news!  Her kidney values improved!  The next recheck would be that evening and if she continued to improve she could possibly go home Sunday. 

We had a great birthday night for our son.  We ordered Olive Garden To-Go.  He loves the lasagna from there and who doesn’t love the salad and breadsticks. We watched The Mandalorian and had birthday cake.  He said he had a fantastic birthday.  That is all that really matters. 

I finally felt like I could take a deep breath.

Sunday morning test results came back.  Her numbers were continuing to improve!  We brought her home Sunday night. They were worried about her not eating.  I could tell she still wasn’t feeling well and was very unsure about what was going to happen to her next.  She wouldn’t sleep in her kennel.  My amazing husband slept out in the living room with her on the couch. I made her boiled potatoes and chicken to get her to eat.

I brought her back to our regular vet on Monday for another recheck.  Her numbers were still elevated.  They expected a small rebound after being taken off fluids. They recommended we come back the next day to check her again.  Tuesday it was the same thing.  Her numbers went up.  They kept her all day on fluids hoping to help flush her kidneys.  She was perky when I picked her up.  I guess she got a little feisty with the IV so they had to put a cone on her. I was feeling a little better that she was going to pull through all of this. They sent us home with some anti-nausea meds to help her eat. That night I gave her all of the meds she needed.  The anti-nausea med came right back up.  Later that night she started drooling and crying.   We returned Wednesday morning.  I’m not sure why I decided to go with my husband that morning, but I’m so happy I did.  Her numbers increased again.  I crumbled.  They suggested that we take her back to the ER vet and to be prepared that things might not go the way we all want since she was still struggling.  

Off to the ER vet once again.  We were not sure what the cost was going to be this time.  How much more could we afford? We were already at about $6,000 in combined vet bills. We didn’t know what kind of continued care she was going to need if she made it through all of this either.

Poor Bella was drooling and lethargic the entire way there. We arrived that the ER vet and checked in. We waited about two hours before they could take her in.  Shortly after they called us. The ER vet wanted to do an abdominal ultrasound to see what was going on inside of her.  It was the only way to check for blockages, inflammation, her liver and pancreas. They also planned to run a full blood panel to check everything. Another $1200.

A couple hours later we received another call.  They didn’t find any blockages, and everything looked good!  Her blood work also came back better than it was at our regular vet that morning!  As far as they were concerned, she was healthy and was recovering, but still drooling like crazy. The conclusion was, between all of the different medications to protect her stomach, her digestion was super slow, and she was feeling sick all of the time.  All of the car rides, stress, and vet visits had her super stressed out. They gave her an injection of a different anti-nausea medication and sent some tablets home incase we needed it. 

I sat in the back of our SUV with Bella on the way home. All I could do is pet her, tell her how much I loved her and how worried I was. I made her boiled chicken and potatoes to eat for the next few days. Slowly she started eating her dog food again with a little help of chicken baby food put on the top. Now both Bella and Jaina wait for that tiny bit of baby food. I don’t mind it taking the extra step for them. I love them both so much!

A few days later we had to take Bella back to our regular vet for a follow-up. I was so nervous to put her in the car again and stress her out. She was such a trooper hopping in. Thankfully, it was a very short visit. Her blood work came back normal! I almost started crying at the vet I was so happy! We headed home and I snuggled with her as much as she would let me!

The first couple of weeks of December were very emotional and now I had to worry about getting ready for Christmas in little over a week. We didn’t have our trees up, I didn’t even attempt baking anything yet, and all of the presents were stashed away waiting for wrapping. The coutdown begins!

See you all soon!
Love, Sota

1. How early do you start getting ready for the holidays or Christmas?
2. Do you get a fresh cut tree or have an artificial tree?
3. What is your favorite Christmas or holiday treat?

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