Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lightning's Recovery

With a past misdiagnosis as allergies (from the Banfield in Kennesaw's Petsmart) resulting in feeding him daily antihistamines in vain for nearly a year while my sweet Lightning-bug suffered with pretty severe Entropion (inward turned eyelids) top and bottom on both eyes, he finally got the right diagnosis for his problem and had corrective surgery for it the morning of March 4th. Clay Leathers at New Hope Animal Hospital is our vet now and I like him so much I'd go to him if he'd see me! Before the surgery Lightning's eyelashes were rubbing on his eyeballs and causing a lot of irritation, swelling, tears and pain. To greatly simplify Dr. Leathers explanation: the procedure involves cutting a half moon shaped piece of skin from around the eye and then suturing it to force the eyelid into the correct position.

Lightning's got pain medication, an ointment to help with the itch and swelling while his eyes heal and an antibiotic that the pharmacy had me shaking my head over.  Who writes those drug information sheets they staple to your bag?  The pharmacist was chatty and bragging about how all that information is so helpful and they are happy to offer that level of 'personalized service' to their customers... After I gave my boy the first dose, I sat down and read it.  Adverse reactions I'm supposed to watch for: vaginal irritation and discharge.  I couldn't help but think to myself, "Now THAT would be a much bigger problem than a drug reaction for HIM!"  So much for 'personalized,' huh?

This is him (cropped out of a group photo with Jack and Gizmo) a few months ago when he was on Benadryl.  You can see there's something wrong...  It almost makes my eyes hurt to look at this again.

And this is a few days before the surgery when he'd had the ointment put in his eyes for a couple of weeks so Dr. Leathers could gage how much correction was needed.  He looks so stoic... sad but resigned to this is how things are.  Dogs have such good attitudes!

Recovery is going well, I think.

Day 1:  His eyes are open and clear but they still look mightily irritated and sore. There are 4 stitches above and (if I'm counting right - the suture is the same color as his fur) 5 below each eye. Just like Dr. Leathers indicated would be the case, his upper lids appear almost normal because gravity pulls them down and close to the eye while the bottom lid seems to sag just a little. The sagging is due to being inflamed and as he heals it will go away. Lightning is resting comfortably. He's ravenously hungry and sweet and cuddly today - it's rainy and yucky so it's a good day to curl up in the bed and do some reading anyway! And he's mostly stopped fighting the e-collar (although he's not yet figured out that big thing around his head means he needs a much wider turning radius to keep it from catching on the door frames, steps... my backside).

Day 2:  Scabs are forming around his sutures and they look a little crusty and weepy, which is normal for my experience having stitches and from everything I read about this kind of surgery beforehand, so I'm leaving it be.  Lightning is spending more time out of the e-collar... only putting it on him for a bit when he gets insistent about rubbing his face.  His energy level is up and he's running and playing with Jack and Gizmo and looking happier than he's seemed in a long time!

Day 3:  There's no visible difference from yesterday but his demeanor, energy level and patience with Jacky squirming and slurping on his face for attention are much better!  He finally got to spend the majority of the day out of the cone...

Day 4:  We're done with that oversized Elizabethan thing!  Yay!!  He's enjoying the freedom and I have to admit I'm liking not getting it jammed in my bum every few steps, too.  Lightning is walking around in wide-eyed wonder at all the things he can see now.  He's sweet and playful and all day I've only heard one minor warning growl when he thought Gizmo was going to swoop in and get his treat.  So nice to have more play and less grrrrrr!

Days 5-7:  He's still looking at things like he's seeing them for the first time and can hardly take it all in fast enough.  It makes my heart glad to see him so much happier...  We went on a little Momma/Doggie date.  He loves to be in the car and he LOVES the chicken nuggets from McDonald's $1 menu so the date was a huge success!

Day 8:  The stitches are more visible today so the swelling must be going down some.  And they have nice clean scabs.  Sadly those scabs itch and Lightning is rubbing his face a lot again.  Stopping him as much as I can and keeping a close watch on him but I think he's healed enough that they will be okay unless he gets really vigorous about it.  His eyes are also starting to lose some of their bloodshot look.  Happy, affectionate and handsome!  How did I get to be such a lucky doggie momma?

Day 9-13:  Each day the incisions look just a little bit better.  If I'd actually taken a photo every morning, as I'd intended in the beginning, you'd see the change is almost imperceptible day-to-day but looking back from now to day 5 is a huge difference!  I'm so glad we had this procedure done!!  He looks so much happier about life, too!

Day 14:  The medicine is all done and the stitches are out!  Sadly, a few hours later, right at the end of the work day, I see the incision is opening up.  A quick call to the vet and email him this picture and sure enough... back in the cone and fasting tonight and he has a 7:30 am appointment tomorrow.  No sleeping in for this boy.  Or me.

My poor lil' "coney dog!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

And the car started...

What a thankful moment that was!

Yesterday, at the end of my running around with Lightning in tow (he went with me to the Library and to deliver a loaf of bread to a friend and we stopped to explore a dog-friendly park to scope out future picnic sites - great adventures for him!) I saw that I needed some gas in the Explorer.  And so we extended the day just a few minutes more and got him some Mickey D's chicken nuggets before pulling in to the gas station.  I paid and pumped my $10 worth of regular and turned the key to start the car.  And nothing happened.

Nada.  Not a sound, grunt, grind... nothing on the dash lit up.  There simply was no power to anything.  Uh oh!  And I'd left my cell phone at home.

I fidgeted and thought, and amazingly stayed completely calm and together, and tried twisting the steering wheel hard on the off chance (I knew that wasn't the problem, but action seemed better than just stewing on it) I'd locked it up again.  Nope.  I tried putting it in gear and back to park, and pumping the gas and brake, and pushing on anything on the column or dash that looked pushable.  No effect whatsoever.

I got out and walked around the car hoping for a clue.

Or a miracle.

Or at least a jolt of inspiration.

Then I got back in and turned the key one more time.  And it tried, bless its ancient Ford engine, it tried.

And then there was, for lack of a better way to describe it, the voice inside my head telling me to open my door one more time and shut it forcefully.  It wasn't really a voice so much as a thought, I guess.  Or maybe it was a voice?  I do tend to think in my own voice.  That was the magic needed to get the old girl revved up and running!  The car runs just fine, handles perfectly normal.  It's like there is no hint at the problem ever happening.  And I'm good with that!!  It seemed like someone hit a giant reset button, though.  The stereo was asking me to set it up.  That struck a little more fear into my heart.  That is not the kind of technology I have any competence with... I want to just turn it on and have it work.  After poking at a couple of buttons, I found the tuner (the fancy word for radio) and BOOM!!  The volume, reset to level 40 from my normal of 5, about shot me out through the open sunroof!

Seriously.  Painfully loud and sudden Natasha Benefield going on about opening up a dirty window... I may be scarred for life.

After I got home, I saw a news clip about a solar storm hitting the Earth at just about the same time.  And I got to wondering if that was the cause behind my car's little hiccup.  How epically dramatic and adventurous would that be in my tales?  I'm thinking it would rank right up there near the top!

Turns out the problem was a loose battery cable.

I know.  That's kind of a deflating diagnosis after all the build up, isn't it?

But the voice.  I got my jolt of inspiration!  And I think that's maybe even more important than the car being ok.  It helps me rebuild the feelings of trust that God actually hears my prayers and cares enough to intercede with these tiny, practical, and hugely helpful personal revelations.  I have an acquaintance who records these tiny evidences of heavenly communication and calls them HFS.  Heavenly Father Stories.  I thought it was a sweetly quaint throwback to childhood when she talked about them, but doubted I'd ever experience it in my life.  Well... I'm pretty sure this surely would qualify as an HFS!