Day 10: Back to the ER


The day before yesterday Roo was feeling pretty good, even if she did find herself in a cone. Last night she became progressively more uncomfortable. She kept trying to find better positions to lie down in and when she did, she groaned from time to time. This morning, she wasn’t interested in walking much at all, but by the afternoon she was feeling better and went to look around the yard. She wasn’t energetic, but not mopey, and when a squirrel appeared, Roo forgot about not feeling well and bolted into the woods behind the house where we’re camped. At her age, she knows catching a squirrel is a long shot, and when they go up a tree she gives up. She just likes chasing them. It was fun and she turned around with a smile.

But after she turned back and took a few steps, she was limping. The place where the IV was when she was in the ICU overnight nine days ago had been slow to heal, which was the reason for having to wear the e-collar. Yesterday it finally dried up, but now it was wet and clearly hurting her. I was stunned by what I saw: the scab seemed to have erupted and underneath the wound seemed unnaturally deep and it was oozing.

I called the vet and described the problem and they said to bring her right in.

Roo has a funny attitude about getting in cars. She absolutely hates to be helped. In fact, the only way I can get her to get in the car sometimes is to ask her if I should help her. She hates it more than anything. Who knows why. She wants to do it by herself. Now, though, she needed help and looked up to ask for it.

“I know, Little Bear, your arm hurts. You don’t have to worry about that,” I said. “But we have to go to the doctor.” As I helped her up she had her ears way back and wagged slowly with a little embarrassment. It killed me that she felt that way.

When we pulled into the parking lot where I camped out the night Roo was in the ICU, she looked around and seemed to think, “Well, here we go, I guess.” She came right to the door and let me lower her to the ground by her harness, and then walked right in, which is quite a testament to that hospital that after everything she’s been through there in the past 10 days. A gentle tech had a look at Roo, left us alone for a few minutes and then came back to take Roo in back. She became very worried and wanted to stay with me, but then decided to get on with it and went through the door.

The wound simply isn’t healing properly. The fragile scab layer that had popped or peeled away wasn’t forming on healthy skin. The vet told me she scuffed the skin up to rid it of a layer of grey, dead skin and to get some blood flowing. And she put the bulletproof, full-leg bandage on. There was no pus in the wound, so it’s not a matter of infection, but the failure of it to heal and the way it seems to be getting deeper is troubling.

Tomorrow Roo has to return for her third chemo treatment. When they do that, they’ll take the bandage off to see how it’s doing.

Roo did great — it may be hard to think of a dog with the fear issues she has as brave, but she is fully in possession of a dog’s full measure of bravery — but it was stressful. It would have been even without the chemo, two antibiotics and prednisone in her. She was exhausted by the time we got back to the car.

On to tomorrow.