09 November 2008

Apologies for being a Dog Bore

I wish to apologise to my readers for the number of posts about my dog's current predicament. I realise that it may be a bit much. My only defence is that I think it is a bit much and I have to get it out of my system somehow... I'm sorry for inflicting it on you. Thank you for your compassion and understanding.

Anyway, there are different things to read in other parts of my Bloggery (see the side-bar for details). I hope you can forgive my excesses and keep on coming back. Don't worry, the current phase will pass and I will get back to my normal self again. Whatever that may be...

Wales 15 South Africa 20

By accident of birth, I am an Englishman. It would be difficult to be more English, having been born in Birmingham, about as far from the sea as one can get in these islands. However, having grown up in that city and been sustained by water collected in the Elan Valley, one wonders if something Welsh has seeped into one's being...

Anyway, I watched the game yesterday and, as an Englishman, and without the slightest intent of patronisation, I wish to congratulate the Welsh team (the Six Nations champions, 2008) on their excellent performance against the South African team (World Cup winners, 2007).

Hold your heads up, boys! You outplayed them in everything except luck. Had the game been ten minutes longer I think you would have had them. Unfortunately for you, the luck went their way. You have a terrific squad, and a fighting spirit to be proud of. Build on what you achieved yesterday and I'm sure you will emerge as force to be feared by Southern Hemisphere sides.

This Englishman will always support you (unless you are playing England, of course) and be willing you on to success. You are a pleasure to watch.

08 November 2008

Still Minding the Dog Some More

Last night, I had the night off.  I went with a friend to see the new Bond movie (well worth seeing), leaving my beloved in charge of the dog (with her full agreement, of course).  Max's wound had stayed closed all the previous night and the dressing that I had left on overnight was clean and dry yesterday morning.  We had felt confident enough to leave the dressing off for the rest of the day.  His knee was rather swollen with fluid however, and we were rather hoping that his body would start to re-absorb the fluid and that the swelling would go down.

There had been no great change during the day but on my return from the cinema, part off his wound was looking swollen and angry.  We feared he had an infection and that the wound might burst open.  We resolved to call the vet's first thing in the morning and to put a dressing on his leg overnight, just in case.  My beloved took the air-bed so that I could get a decent night's sleep upstairs.

The night passed quickly and I dreamed about trying to contact the vet's but being cut off all the time. I was awoken before the alarm went off by my beloved climbing the stairs to the bathroom.

'What sort of night did you have?' I asked.

'OK but a bit eventful.  He got up in the middle of the night and started strutting around the room.  His wound had popped open and he was dripping all over the place.  I wrapped extra dressing on and cleaned him up as best I could.'

Downstairs we went and I was relieved to see that my beloved's 'all over the place' was typical female hyperbole, as in 'You never clean the toilet' or 'You always burn the toast' or 'there's mud everywhere': none of these expressions is true.  We cut the dressing off and were relieved to see that all that had popped was a recently-healed suture hole.  The removed dressing was sodden and his hitherto swollen knee was back to normal size.  The dressing had no smell to it, so infection seems not to be a problem.  Apart from the suture hole, the wound looked intact. 

All-in-all, a trip to the vet's seemed to be pointless.  We redressed the wound, my beloved went shopping, and I settled down to a cosy day at home in the cell, sorry, living room.  I've had to change the dressing again after four hours and he seems a bit uncomfortable but is quiet.  Meanwhile, we're keeping a close eye on him.

We're feeling quite anxious that he is not walking on the repaired leg as well as he did last time.  I guess it must be quite sore.  As I write this, he is stretched out on his bed looking quite relaxed and at ease.  It will be wonderful to see him swimming and charging about again...

06 November 2008

Minding the Dog Some More

Well, I am very pleased to announce that we seem to be making some progress with our doggie.  As I lay on my air-bed next to him last night, I prayed for all I was worth that his wound would mend.  Since we are told that God is kind to all he has made, I thought it a not unreasonable request. 

I must admit, it was a prayer of desperation, as we have been in constant supervision of Max since his operation.  It is very important that he does nothing like leaping onto the furniture, or climbing up the door to see the postman off, or spending the whole night licking his wound.  He came home after surgery on 21 October and so, for the last 16 days, one of us has slept beside him on that air-bed I mentioned.  We had hoped this miserable situation would cease after ten days when his stitches came out but, as I explained in the previous posting, that was not to be. 

It is not just our sleeping arrangements that have been thrown into disarray.  During his first week back home, I took half-days off work to keep an eye on him during the mornings while my beloved went to work.  When she came home at lunch time, I went into work for the afternoon.  I can tell you without any doubt that there is a limit to how much daytime TV a man can take.  After the first week, I began working from home for half days, and then going in after lunch.  Life has been far from normal, and all three of us feel like we have been imprisoned in the living room.

This morning, I removed his serous-stained dressing to replace it with a clean one.  Guess what: the wound was looking pretty good and showed no sign of weeping.  I cleaned it up and left the wound undressed for about half an hour, just to be sure.  I did put a dressing on, just in case, but I am happy to report at the end of the day that the same dressing looks clean and dry, whereas previous experience gave the expectation that it would be obviously stained and damp.  It is so clean that I decided to leave it on overnight so as not to mess about with his tender tissues any more than is necessary and with the hope that we can dispense with dressings altogether tomorrow.

On the downside, his reluctance to walk on the leg has continued if not increased.  As I have mentioned previously, this may well be a result of the aggravation caused by handling the wound, something that has had to persist by virtue of the need to change dressings and keep the wound clean with salt-water washes.  An additional factor may well be the absence of pain-relief, since his medication ran out about the same time as his stitches were removed.  We've organised some anti-imflamatory pain killers now, so we hope he will begin to feel more comfortable and start using the leg again. 

As I lie beside him on my air-bed tonight, you can guess what I will be praying for...

01 November 2008

Still Minding the Dog

Well, Max's early phase of recovery went better this time: he soon remembered how to poo and wee in the garden - something he would normally never consider an option - and we got his stitches out on day 10. The removal of the stitches and the ensuing couple of days are the subject of this communication; the squeemish should look away now (no, there are no pictures, that was a joke).

We went to the vet's on Thursday with a dog who was doing very well and was walking fairly comfortably on his leg after not using it much at all for the first few days after surgery. In we went, with Max's usual, 'I know where we are! This way! Follow me!' attitude. Once inside, we got his predictable, 'What have you brought me here for?' stance, his ears down, his tail between his legs, his legs quivering. We sat waiting long enough for Max to become resigned to his predicament and then the nurse called us through.

The wound looked pretty good on removal of the dressing, and the stitches came out fairly quickly and easily with not much objection from Max. He was pleased to be heading out of the consulting room so soon, and amused himself by saying hello to a Weimarama in reception while we procured worming tablets (for him, of course).

We went outside to the car and I lifted him into the back (he's not allowed to jump in while his bone mends and the leg is meanwhile held together by a small metal plate) and sat with him. It was at that point that I noticed my hand was wet. A quick inspection showed me that his wound was leaking serous fluid; it was odourless and only slightly pink, demonstrating the absence of infection and no serious bleeding. Max was a bit confused by our response, which was to lift him back out of the car and to take him back into the vet's.

It appeared that the leakage was from the suture wounds that were now open, having been plugged hitherto by the sutures. There was quite a large seroma (a serous-filled cavity) around the site of the surgery, and the nurse and vet spent a bit of time applying gentle pressure to express as much of the fluid as possible before putting a new dressing over the scar and letting us go again. No-one seemed too worried at what they saw.

Unfortunately, since then Max seems to have been quite subdued and uncomfortable, hardly using his wounded leg. I suspect that all the manipulation to get the fluid out has aggravated his tender tissues and made the wound quite sore again. The wound was dry the next day so we were quite confident that a satifactory resolution was emerging.

This morning, a different picture presented itself. The wound was leaking again, and his leg looks as though he has been licking it during the night. There is a small hole through which the fluid is leaking. I'm not sure if it is a suture wound or first indication that the wound has begun to break down as a result of the fluid inside and Max's attention from the outside. Max is still reluctant to walk on his leg. We dried the wound and then dressed it to keep it clean and dry and to discourage licking, and plan to keep a close eye on things and return to the vet's early in the week if there is further deterioration or no improvement.

We now have a quiet, house-tied weekend ahead of us just when we thought we might be getting a bit more freedom, although my beloved has gone shopping for the day to try and shake off the stir-craziness induced by the last week of confinement. It's my turn to go loopy today... Max is also looking a bit sorry for himself and will probably feel even more so when he discovers that he has to sleep with his lampshade on again...