Sunday, November 27, 2011

Yeah, My Dog’s Name is Pig – Part 2

I received a call from the hospital around 2 pm on Wednesday. She said he did well with the ultrasound. They did have to give him a mild sedative but they were comfortable with it since they had a good understanding of where he was at with his heart and lungs.
She said they were fairly positive that the fluid they found in his lungs came from CPR and not from a heart disease. This was confirmed by a heart doctor.

But they did find that he had a large mast in his intestines which was being tested but she was sure it was cancer. Later the tests came back and showed that it was in fact lymphoma.

We were given three options

Option one – surgery, however he was not really a candidate since he should not be put under. Also, since the cancer is right where his large and small intestines meet the surgery is very often attempted and then aborted due to complications. That one was out.

Option two – Chemo. We just went through that with Daisy and we knew Pig would not handle that well. All it would do is shrink the tumor, not kill it, and his quality of life during chemo would be very poor.

Option three – take him home, give him a steroid twice a day, and let him life out the rest of his days at home.

We went with option three.

The doctor wanted to keep him one more night but we wanted him to come home so she discharged him to us and he came home on Wednesday night.

When the doctor was explaining his at home care she mentioned that he would be taking a steroid twice a day. I asked if it was important for her to know that he had been on and off steroids for the last two years due to his extreme seasonal allergies. She said that it was important and they were probably inadvertently shrinking the tumor for some time now.

The first night home was a little scary since even though he was off the oxygen for most of the day he still had not eaten or taken any medicine in a pill form. That was something we would have to do.

I figured if he made it through the night we would be in good shape for the next few weeks.

And he did make it through the night. And he is still making it.

They gave us a “few days to three months” life expectancy and we will do everything we can to make him happy and comfortable during that time.

He is extra thirsty but he is going outside normally so that’s great.

He is eating a bland diet so I cook him chicken and rice. This kills Daisy who thinks he is getting treats and she is getting dog food!

I will post updates if things change but otherwise we are now a hospice center for dogs with Cancer.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Yeah, My Dog’s Name Is Pig.

For the last few days Pig, our 11 year old English Bulldog was not feeling well. We were coming home to piles of poop by the back door. We were waking up during the night to let him out and still waking up to poop by the door.

Saturday night he was throwing up.

Monday we decided he should go to the doctor.

Tuesday he had an appointment at 10.

Just before his appointment I was following him around the yard trying to get a poop sample, and in true Pig fashion, he went in a pile of leaves and then buried it, making me dig it out. ICK!

Shawn mentioned that Pig was looking skinny so when he weighed in at the doctor’s office I asked what he weight was against his weight the last time he was in back in August. He was down seven pounds. For Pig, that is alarming because he does nothing but eat and lay around. Not really the best way to lose weight…

The Doctor was concerned as well and wanted to take an x-ray of his abdomen. She took him to the back room and returned a few minutes later to ask if he could have a mild sedative. I asked if she thought this would negatively affect him in any way. Strange thing is I have never worried about that before. I really don’t know why I asked but she said that it would be fine and gave him a very low dose.

Within minutes she returned to the room and said “You need to come back here, he is not doing well.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“He’s not well, you need to come with me.”

I typically concerned about where I leave my purse, my kindle, my cell phone. In this case I just dumped it all on the floor of the room and ran out.

Pig was laying on the table hooked up to many monitors and every nurse and doctor were gathered around him trying to get his heart to start beating again. They were doing chest compressions and I am sure other things but I was just standing there at a total loss of what to do or think. I rubbed his head and hands and kept repeating his name.

I finally got my act together and realized I needed to call Shawn. He answered the phone and I said “You need to come here right now.” That was about all I could say. He was in the room in under 10 minutes.

They were able to get Pig breathing again and he started to vomit. Out came the vegie’s he ate that morning and a lot of other nasty stuff.

When Shawn got there he was still on the table but he was breathing on his own.

They still had not gotten the x-ray so Shawn suggested that they try to do it now that he is calm since we would not be giving him a sedative again. They did what they could and were able to get two decent films but they were not perfect.

We reviewed the films and didn’t see anything.

They sent Shawn and me home and kept Pig to run blood work and keep him on oxygen for a few more hours.

They called around 2:30 with the news that the blood panels all came back perfect. At this point the next step was to bring him back on Wednesday for an ultrasound of his abdomen.

Then at 4 they called to say they were not happy with his breathing and we needed to take him somewhere he could be observed overnight.

The only place I will take my dogs, besides their clinic, is to the University of Minnesota Small Animal Hospital so Shawn picked him up and drove him out there. He was not at all comfortable in the car and the ride was very hard on him.

They admitted him and put him right into an Oxygen Chamber.  Shawn talked to the doctors about what the chart said and what he knew. They got Pig settled and then sent Shawn home.

At 8:30 last night the doctor called to give us an update. She was taking about how he was doing okay and explaining what the next steps were. Then she put Shawn on hold and came back a minute later to tell us that he was not well, he was coughing up blood, and maybe we should come out there right now. At that point she was thinking there was a 20% chance he was going to make it through the night.

We dropped Heidi off at my parents and headed up to the U. By the time we got there Pig was stabilized again and resting in the Oxygen Chamber.

The Doctor sat us down and explained that at this point she wasn’t interested in talking about end of live plans. She wanted to talk about the fact that he was stable and that in the morning we would do the ultrasound. She also explained that what happened to Pig today was not something normal. And she also said that whatever this underlying issue is, the issue that had us bring him to the Doctor in the first place, was not what caused his heart to stop and most likely is not something as simple as the flu.

We were able to spend about 20 minutes petting him through the little arm holes in the Oxygen Chamber. We talked to him and told him how much we love him and that we were doing everything we could to make him better. Then we had to leave so he could get some rest.

I told the doctor that I would feel better leaving if he would just lie down. She was saying that he wasn’t going to do that as long as we were there just as Pig laid his head down on his water dish.

We were sent home and told they would call if he had any trouble overnight.

The phone didn’t ring until 8 am so that was a huge sign.

The 8 am call was positive. He was showing significant improvement from when he was admitted last night. He was on fluid and a water pill which made him pee in the Oxygen Chamber most of the night. They could not walk him because his oxygen levels were so low. But this morning he was able to go out to the yard and they were able to clean him up.

The ultrasound is scheduled for 10:30 today. Right now, it’s 10:23 so I am sure they are prepping him.

Daisy is very sad and worried. Every time I come into the house she has to sniff me. Even when I came home from dropping the carpool at the school. She has been there. She has a right to be worried.

But for right now, I am cautiously optimistic. I know he is in good hands, the best for that matter. If anyone can fix my Pig, these Doctors can.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What's For Dinner? Stove Top Chicken Bake

We made this easy dinner last night and it was a hit so I thought I would revisit the blog and post it! This is a nice quick meal for a busy family. I honestly felt compelled to make this because it has been in my coupon book from the paper for the last month and this week it came on a really nice sheet with a great coupon. I honestly thought there was a force telling me this was something I had to make!

Oh, wait. There was! Their name is Kraft...

Since we needed more than six 1 and 1/3 cup servings I sort of doubled it. I will post my doubled version here and the link to the original recipe at the bottom.

3 large chicken breast or one 1.25 pound package of chicken breasts - diced
2 16 ounce bags of frozen vegies - use something sturdy like a corn, carrot, green bean mix
2 10 3/4 ounce cans of Cream of Something Soup. I had Cream of Mushroom on hand so that's what I used.
2/3 cup sour cream
2 packages of Stove Top Stuffing, prepared

Prepare the Stove Top Stuffing by following the directions on the box.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Mix the diced chicken, vegies, Cream Of soup, and sour cream in a large bowl. And really, use a large bowl because this will be a lot more then you expect it to be! Trust me on this...

Place the chicken mix in a large casserole dish. I used my 9 by 13 dish.

Spoon the prepared Stuffing on top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Check the center to make sure it's hot. If the stuffing is starting to burn or get to crispy, cover with foil until the dish is completed.

I haven't run the nutritional value on this variation but I can't imagine it's super low cal. I served it with Pillsbury biscuits and a salad.

This is the link to the original version that I modified:

I am completely out of the habit of taking pictures of my food so no photo today!