Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What a Nightmare!

I went to Dublin's vet appointment today and they told me they had forgotten some things that were done with the surgery and had updated his bill.  Some type of tissue that the vet's wife had pulled out thinking they would use and hadn't was being charged to me and some other unknown hidden costs all came to a total of $2000.  I freaked out!  Let's just say that I didn't sleep well after having had this horrible dream...

Yes, it was just a dream but I woke up this morning nervous for Dublin's actual appointment and what I was going to find there.  It was a simple appointment to have his staples removed but after this dream, I wasn't sure what to expect.

Well...I am home now with a "shadeless" dog.  He had his staples removed and his "cone of shame" was allowed to be removed and left behind.  It was really quite a simple visit where the vet wanted him to lay down.  He physically wanted to help Dublin sit.  I asked him if he wanted him to lay down and so I told Dublin down and down he went.  The vet said he wasn't used to dogs that cooperated so well.  :o)  I told him that if he really wanted Dublin to lay on his side which he had already helped Dublin do, all I would have had to say was "BANG BANG" and he would have gone down.  I guess the vet didn't know all of our tricks we've got up our sleeves!  Kenna and Trevin were there as standard operating procedure.  Dublin did well laying on his side even though the vet was taking staples out and Trevin kept moving about his upper region.

Dublin is officially cleared to be a "real" dog again - free to run and jump throughout the backyard as he pleases.  This not only excites Dublin, but Judd and I as well.  For the past ten days, we have had to take him on leash outback (which is fenced) to take him potty.  While he carried the "cone of shame" around, he would poutfully walk around the house, following us wherever we went like there was some invisible string attached to us, hoping that we would save him from it.  Then there were the countless episodes of Dublin running into and knocking over kids because of the lovely lampshade.  We had to leave Dublin behind the baby gate in the kitchen at night so that he wouldn't wander aimlessly around at night near sleeping babes bedroom doors and collide with the wall with the lampshade.  And of course the whining to be fed his third or fourth "mini meal" of the day or whining to be let outside off leash.  ::Sigh::  Who knew ten days could be soooo miserable and finally being set "free" feel like you're floating on air. 

Thank you so much for your concern for Dublin and our family.  It is greatly appreciated...so until the next post...  (Which had better be filled with more good news and not of how the stars misaligned causing craziness to ensue, right?!)


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Update on Dublin

Okay.  I'm sure everyone has been wanting an update just as much as we have!  I first want to thank everyone who spread the word and prayed for Dublin's recovery.  It means a lot to us...thank you.

We just got home from the vet clinic after a whopping $1091 bill.  However, the prognosis for Dublin is looking MUCH better than his bill!  :o)  He's actually kind of a clown (lampshade maybe) right now!  It was good to visit with the vet and to hear his positive thoughts regarding Dublin.  Dublin came out from where they had him as happy as could be, with tail wagging madly back and forth.  He's a clown for the fact that he doesn't maneuver very well with this lovely lampshade around his head. 

The vet feels that Dublin is out of the woods and should have a good recovery...IF we can keep him calm and not pop his staples out!  The vet said that he figured Dublin probably didn't have another twelve hours in him with the condition he was in.  His incision goes the length of his abdomen and we need to keep him from jumping, running, etc. to make sure his staples don't pop.  We were sent home with antibiotics and anti-nausea medication with a strict, bland diet.  They provided us with cans of dog food to give to him throughout the day, broken up into quarters - one can a day.  This is to help his digestive system slowly work its way back into functioning order.  After four days on the can, we can begin to add a little bit of his normal dog food into the quarters we give him to help him ease back into his regular diet.  Dublin may have diarrhea for a while until things start running at full speed again, especially knowing that his colon had been hemorrhaging and is very bruised.  The colon may sluff off some of what was within it as the healing process continues.  We do have to watch for any sudden changes in Dublin's demeanor as that obviously doesn't bode well considering how happy and lively he is now.  The vet feels good about where Dublin is especially considering he checked on him yesterday and Dublin was still feeling pretty cruddy.  Between yesterday and today is a big change, hoping to signify a full and easy recovery.  The vet figures we won't see him for another ten days, when he will then take the staples out. 

I feel relieved that I made the decision to take Dublin to the vet when I did, especially knowing now just how bad off he was.  It is nice to see Dublin back to his vibrant self, only being frustrated at running into everything with his lampshade.  I've got a busy ten days ahead of me with a dog that is going to have a lampshade around his head and feeding him four times a day. 

The kids were excited to see him when he came home.  Jacey gave him a big hug and Trevin keeps going up to him, patting him on his head and giggling.  And with Dublin's collar on him for the next ten days while he is home, I think Jacey is going to have a heyday hauling him around the house!  Thank you again so much for everyones concern and prayers. 


Friday, October 19, 2012

Pray for Dublin Please...

 Dublin is a very happy, hyper dog who loves food.  He knows he can sometimes get away with not being on "place" when the kids are eating breakfast if I'm not in the room.  He likes to sneak in and get the little pieces that fall on the floor.  Well, last Saturday I wasn't in the kitchen when the kids started eating breakfast.  When I came out of my room, I found all of the kids around the table.  What surprised me was Dublin wasn't even in the kitchen.  He was on the opposite end of the house by my bedroom door, just laying there.  I thought it was odd but let it go.  Between Saturday and Sunday, Dublin ate twice I believe.  THIS IS NOT NORMAL FOR DUBLIN.  He typically sees the kids go out to the garage to get his food and goes SPASTIC.  He won't leave Jacey alone until she has fed him, running around the house and hyper as ever.  Well, not Saturday or Sunday.  I kind of figured that he had eaten something that he wasn't supposed to (aka - little girl panties, a bib with food smeared on it, etc), which wouldn't have been the first time.  In typical fashion, I ran all of my laundry Monday and folded it on Tuesday.  What I found different was that I never found that half eaten bib or anything with chew marks on it. 

Dublin was definitely off.  He is such a social dog that he only wants to be let out back long enough to do his business, maybe take a few loops around the yard and then whines to be let back in the house.  None of this was occurring either.  Sunday night he did eat dinner but had not touched his water all day.  Monday morning came and he decided to guzzle a bunch down.  He then proceeded to go into my family room, over my carpet, and throw it all back up along with Sunday nights meal undigested.  This just confirmed there was something he had eaten that was backing him up.  In the past several experiences of this, we would just wait for him to either work it back up or eventually download it from the other end.  I was really quite mad at the dog Monday morning because I had to leave in thirty minutes for half the day.  Instead of getting a few things finished and tidied up around the house, I spent my time trying to get the stain out of my carpet from his upset stomach.

We didn't attempt to give him much food or water from Monday on in hopes that he would work this thing out of his system and that he would start being his normal self.  By Wednesday I was beginning to think I was going to have to take him to the vet if things didn't start looking up soon.  I gave him some water while he was outside and it didn't stay down for even five minutes.  I knew then that he had to go see the vet. 

So Wednesday afternoon I dropped him off at the vet clinic for them to take a look at him while I ran kids to the dentist in town.  I came back afterwards thinking I could pick him up and they would have answers for me.  But this is what happened instead....

The vet gave Dublin barium to work its way down and through the intestines to highlight any blockage.  After a pile of x-rays scattered throughout the day, the mass that they saw in the first x-ray had still not moved nor had the barium moved much.  They decided to keep him over night to monitor him more the next day (Thursday).  I talked with the vet Thursday morning to learn all of this regarding the x-rays and the blockage that wasn't moving much.  He said that he had Dublin tentatively scheduled for a five o'clock surgery if things hadn't changed by then.  I about freaked hearing the cost of all of these things but after freaking out to Judd on the phone, he calmly reminded me that we had to do what was best for Dublin and to let the vet do his job.  :o) Thankfully, I followed Judd's direction, calmed down and let the vet decide what was best - more x-rays or not.

Well, I got the phone call last night from the vet to tell me they had gone ahead with the exploratory surgery and had come across something he had never seen before.  I told Judd all that was explained to me and he just didn't get it.  I made him call the vet back to hear it for himself and to have it explained in greater detail.  It was while Judd was on the phone that all of the questions started flowing for me and the following is based off of both of our conversations we had with the vet...

The vet made a small incision enough to pull the section of blockage out to examine it.  He found that he couldn't pull it out which is not normal and had to open Dublin up a little further to take a look inside.  What he found was the a section of the small intestine had fused together creating a loop/noose shape.  He said he has seen many dogs that have adhesions with the intestines that have never had issues before.  But for some reason - gas buildup, the lining up of the stars, the moon being just right, or whatever - Dublin's colon went through this loop of intestines and became stuck and the small intestines began to strangle it.  There was absolutely nothing in his intestines causing a blockage.  It was simply a freak thing with his intestines and colon that caused Dublin to become sick.  The vet had never seen this before and actually had to look at it for a while after opening Dublin up to take in what he was looking at.

Because of the strangling of the colon, the colon is not looking well.  During surgery there was some hemorrhaging of the colon and it is extremely bruised and does not look good.  The vet says he does not take it lightly when he considers removing a dogs colon.  He left it in hopes that it will recover.  A dog without a colon has no control of their bowels, causing diarrhea and frequent infections. The intestines were not moving like they typically do causing further concern, hoping that Dublin's body will jump start them back into working order as he heals from all this craziness.  The vet said that due to blood flowing into the intestines but not leaving like it should, there is some concern for a blood infection.  Dublin will be there for at least a couple more days.  They have him on IV's with antibiotics in hopes to keep away a blood infection, which is fatal for a dog.

So what does this all mean for Dublin?  Dublin is a lively, young dog that hopefully will be able to fight all of this that has transpired in such a short period of time.  There's essentially only two ways for him to go - get well and recover or....you get the idea.  We need his colon to recover, his intestines to begin functioning again, and for his blood to stay clean with no infection.

This is a crazy post that I would never have imagined having to type.  Like the vet said, the stars must have aligned or the moon was just right for all this craziness to have happened.  Very freak deal that he had never seen before.  I feel horrible for all the times that I have gotten mad at Dublin especially after he threw up on my carpet, assuming he had eaten something he shouldn't have.  I feel horrible that he is all alone at the vet clinic and that he feels like garbage right now.  I asked the vet if we could come see him and we just need to call ahead to see how Dublin is doing before heading down there.  I will do my best to keep you updated with how Dublin is doing.

So, at this time, I ask you to please pray for Dublin....


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Where Has the Time Gone?!

It is hard to believe that we are going on two years since we went to Ohio to get Dublin...

It's not so hard to believe that it has been a year and a half since I've posted on this blog...sorry...time flies when you're managing chaos!!!

I admit that I still find myself not being a "dog lover".  He is a lot like another child at times - he wants to eat, can be selective in obeying if he thinks you're not paying attention, brings mud in the house, wants to play when I want to mellow out, throws up on my carpet etc.  :o)  We did find Sasha, our white dog, a new home because she continually jumped our fence and would not come when we called her.  Judd made a fabulously HILARIOUS ad on Craigslist to find her a new home, but was continually flagged and deleted.  (Want to see the ad, email me).  :o)  We eventually simplified it and found her a home with a loving elderly man that needed companionship, which Sasha was great at.

It is amazing to look back at previous postings that I've made on this blog and to see where we are at today.  Jacey is an incredibly blessed little girl and I am grateful for the things she teaches me each day. Patience is one that she continually works with me on!  :o) 

Jacey started Kindergarten at the end of August in a fully mainstreamed classroom at the same school Bailey and Carsten attend.  This was one of my biggest goals that I had from the beginning of this "Autism" journey.  There are a total of 19 kindergartners that they have split into two classes - Jacey is in the class with 12 and is with the same kindergarten teacher that Bailey and Carsten had.  I know it hasn't been a piece of cake for the staff at the school seeing that Jacey is their first student with moderate Autism.  It is a learning experience for them and I appreciate their hard work, dedication, and loving hearts. 

It was a year ago that we had an Autism expert, Ann Garfinkle, come visit us through Jacey's waiver program she is on.  Ann was in our home to observe Jacey and to answer any questions we might have.  At that time, Jacey was still frustrated in her lack of communication skills.  Ann told us that for most children on the Autism spectrum, once they hit fifty words in their vocabulary, their language would explode.  From that day on, I tracked each and every word Jacey knew and used.  And as Ann said, once Jacey hit fifty words, the list began to expand even faster than it previously had.  Today, Jacey uses full sentences and can usually tell us what she wants.  She still has difficulty when she is upset to verbally tell us what is wrong or what she wants.

Because of Jacey's growth in communication skills, her meltdowns have become fewer and farther apart.  She is a very happy little girl for the exception of those few days where she has an "off day".  It is interesting to see her relationship with Dublin as these few meltdowns occur.  Dublin will come running if he hears her cry and want to lick her face or hands.  With her ability to communicate, she will often times stop mid-meltdown and tell Dublin, "No kiss my face/hand."  After that, it seems her meltdown is pretty much over. 
I have also learned so much more about Jacey since beginning this waiver program.  I can now tell when Jacey is under stress and I shouldn't push her in the things that I expect of her or ask her to do much more than her preferred activities.  It's called "mottling" of the skin.  Her arms and cheeks become blotchy.  My other kids do this when they get cold.  However, Ann Garfinkle told me that this is a sign that Jacey's body is under stress in possibly a different way.  It is the body's signal that something is wrong and for children with Autism, it is a good indicator that they have reached their "breaking point".  That if you push too much further, it will result in a meltdown.  I've learned that at some of these meltdowns, Jacey needs deep pressure hugs and that she is calmed by them.  Schedule, routine, and knowing what is going to happen in the upcoming future is HUGE for Jacey.

Her desire to run off has decreased as she has gotten older.  Doesn't mean she never goes down our road a ways before we realize it or that she has the ability to escape out of our fenced yard.  But the fear of her running has decreased greatly!  I am happy to say that we have yet to use Dublin in a "real life" track...knock on wood!

Dublin gets soooo excited when Jacey wakes up each morning and when she comes home from school.  He is still so much a puppy with the level of energy he exhibits throughout the day!  I love it when we go to town with him and people ask how old he is (two years old) and how amazed they are at how calm he is.  He just stores all his energy until we get home!

Overall, things are going well in our home.  Our children are heatlhy, Jacey has made huge gains, Dublin loves his girl, and life is good.  Thanks for being a part of our journey....


Wrestling Tournaments for Carsten - March 2012

"Look how big I am!" - April 2012

Jacey and Dublin are off to cook! - June 2012

Took a walk while camping this summer - July 2012

Chillin' with Dubbie - July 2012

Getting some loves... - July 2012

LOVING the petting zoo at the State Fair!  What you can't see is Dublin outside the fence looking at the goats trying to figure out what type of dog they are! - August 2012

Jacey was the happiest at the petting zoo - August 2012

FIRST day of Kindergarten for Jacey! - August 2012

Getting ready to watch for the bus - August 2012

First day of school.  Being shown her new visual schedule by the school's Speech Therapist. - August 2012