Saturday, September 24, 2011

the (never-ending) tulo saga

...Or so it seems.

Sit with me a minute as I let out one giant, heavy sigh.

This has been quite the month with our window-jumper. Part of the reason I took a break from writing is because I was so exhausted I could barely lift my head at the end of the day. I'm still exhausted but we are managing.

Since Tulo's accident, he continues to earn his title of "Most High-Maintenance Dog EVER" award on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Four days after the accident Tulo decided that it was time for his drain to come out. It just up and disappeared. We were unsure if he ate it (EEEWWWW!) or if it retracted and was inside of his leg. We were hoping for the former (though major EEEWWW!) because we knew that if it was inside of his leg that soon enough, and infection would develop and the vet would need to do some exploring.

Two weeks ago his drain site was nearly healed over and our fingers were still crossed that there was no drain in his leg (which, by the way, is a very thin, elastic-type of material). We had seen the vet for a dressings change under his cast which was looking awesome. She kept the stitches in for another week or so to ensure maximum healing and bid us ado.

The next night we peeked over at Tulo in his little caged area and his drain site was leaking this watery-looking blood. That was at 8pm in the evening. For two hours B and I took turns keeping pressure on the site, doing warm compresses above the area and keeping his grubby little tongue away from it. Thank goodness Logan was sleeping or it would have been even more stressful.

I finally decided at 10:30 that it was time to call the e-vets and see what they say. The leaking would only let up for a few minutes and if Tulo moved his leg it started all over again. It was not a "gusher" or anything like that. It was just a slow leak that clearly was not all blood.

The e-vets advised us to bring him in, free of charge, just to check it out. One of my least favorite things to do is to change out of my pjs so late in the evening, but that I did. For a dog. B stayed home and thankfully the clinic was not too busy. His surgeon came out and could not believe how well his incision site was healing. She took pics on her phone. The tech had been sitting with his for a few minutes prior and was concerned that there was some kind of infection going on. She was urging me to let the vet "take him back" and do more damage to our bank account. When the vet came out, she simply said it could wait until the morning. No biggie. I love her!

The next morning I made an appointment for Tulo and since I had been taking him to all his appointments and B was home, he took him and I got a break to hang out with Logan. B returned with antibiotics and a clear "Yes, he has an infection and oh-by-the-way it could be the drain but let's wait and see". Awesome.

For five days Tulo was on some super strong antibiotics which were not doing much in the way of helping the site heal so we got another seven days. Cultures came back positive for infection so we all kept crossing those fingers (and toes!) that the drain was not the big, fat, ugly white elephant in the room causing this chaos.

A few days ago, the drain site healed over and the scab fell off. We rejoiced! But not so fast. There was a very odd spot not half an inch from the drain site that was all red and puffy. Tulo had been doing an awesome job of not messing with his leg (we know-we watched him like a hawk and if he was alone he wore a muzzle). So what gives?

On Thursday we had an appointment set to *hopefully* get the cast off that was protecting and healing his severed tendon. Not five minutes into the appointment our incredible vet voiced what we'd been cringing to hear: "I think the drain is up in there somewhere. He needs to stay for the day." Our hearts sank. But oddly enough, we knew it was coming. I insisted on an xray before doing "exploratory surgery" with the doubt that the material of the drain is so fine it may not show up on an xray. We left Tulo with the nurses and I waited for the phone call confirming what we all knew to be true.

Clear as day, that drain was in his leg not an inch above the drain sit. It had created a pocket, aka abscess, which caused the infection. It's amazing, really, how our bodies, human and animals alike, try to let us know something is not quite right. For three weeks Tulo's body was trying to expel the drain. We waited, though, because the trauma to his leg could have caused an infection regardless if the drain was in his leg or not. In fact, the vet would have been surprised had he walked (err, limped) away without one. He has been on antibiotics since the day of his accident to prevent this from even happening. I don't believe that we or his vet did anything wrong in waiting out what we inevitably knew could happen.

After the xray the vet gave Tulo a sedative, not general anesthesia, and some local to numb the area. She created a new incision, cleaned out the area, fished out the drain, and gave some pain meds. She sent the drain and a swab of the area off to pathology to ensure Tulo is on the right antibiotics.

Since then, Tulo has been resting. He wants so badly to play with Butte and lick Logan's face. He sneaks some in when he can, but for the most part we keep him confined.

Now....we need prayers that this is the LAST optical we will have to face with Tulo's injury. He did get his cast off and now  just has a sturdy bandage on his leg which will hopefully come off completely this coming Thursday. Other than that, we might do one session of physical therapy to learn what we need to do and hope that his  leg will heal normally.

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