Friday, February 26, 2010

Post-Op Update

Bear had his surgery on Tuesday. Thanks to all of you who are in good with God, Bear sailed through both procedures. The endoscopy showed nothing going on in the gallbladder to account for his pain, which we expected. Since there are no growths or infections in it, Bear can have it out any time he wants. The doctor told Bear to let him know when he's had enough and the gallbladder will come out. That is a comfort to both of us. While Bear doesn't have bad attacks, he does have pain every day. I'm comforted that they will still take it out, even without stones or attacks. It means something when a hospital staff believes their patients.

As for the knee surgery, we know some things and don't know others. We know that it "went well" - there were no complications or accidents during surgery. We know that he is healing very quickly, thanks to the kind words of Bear's physical therapist (whom we met yesterday). We don't know exactly what was repaired, what the sum of all the damage was, or if everything got corrected. Bear has an appointment to discuss the surgery in depth with the surgeon on Monday. I'd like to go too so I can hear what the surgeon has to say. He gave us some pictures from the inside of Bear's knee and although I have no real idea what I'm looking at, I can tell that there was a lot of messed up tissue in there.

Bear is handling this all very well, and is trying to rest as much as he can. He has napped each day (so have I) and has been a good boy about taking his meds. His knee is swollen but the incisions look great and he has very little bruising.

As he lay in the hospital bed in the recovery room he looked at me and said, "I wanna milkshake. Can we get a milkshake?" He hadn't had anything to eat that day and that was all he wanted. The nurses said it would be fine, so on the way home we stopped at McDonald's and got a large chocolate milkshake and a large fry. Not the healthiest of recovery meals, but he'd been so good about the surgery I just couldn't say no. He enjoyed it tremendously and I was happy to be able to help him at least that much.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Take That, Sinister Insurance Company!

Way back on October 19 of last year, I blogged that Bear had fallen in the kitchen and hurt his knee quite seriously. I later blogged that the insurance company refused to pay for an MRI (that his doctor ordered because Bear needed it) until at least "eight weeks of 'conservative treatment' had been applied". I remember how frustrated I was that my husband who has finally begun to take care of himself medically and actually GO to the doctor when he's hurting received such a slap in the face. So Bear went back to work, in pain, and we waited.

And waited.

Finally Bear got in to see the specialist at the end of January. The specialist immediately ordered an MRI. Reluctantly the insurance company paid for it, since it had been three months since his original visit. THREE MONTHS of daily pain, of doing a demanding job on a knee that at times hurts so badly he can barely move.

The MRI results came back - Bear has a torn meniscus (the cushion between the two leg bones). There are actually TWO tears. He also has some severe bone bruising on the side that he didn't hurt, and the specialist doesn't know why it's there.

I'm so sorry he's hurting, but I'm so glad they found something. I feel so vindicated - I don't care how much "conservative treatment" he received - nothing short of surgery will repair those tears. Surgery that bear could have had MONTHS ago if the insurance company wasn't such a bunch of money-grubbing ASSHOLES.

Bear is having surgery to repair the tears on February 23rd. While the surgeon is in there, he will use the camera to investigate the entire knee to see what else may be wrong. If something else is wrong, the surgeon may fix it there or it may mean more surgery in the future. At this point, we aren't really sure.

On the same day as his knee surgery, Bear will also be scoped for his gallbladder. It's causing him pain but they can't take it out until they can see something wrong with it. The poor man will be poked, prodded, scoped and cut on both ends of his body. We're hoping that he gets some really good pain meds to help him deal. I'll be with him for a few days during his initial recovery and will try to blog an update then.

For all of you who are in good with God, please keep Bear in your thoughts on February 23rd. He and I both appreciate the warmth and support we have always received from our blogoshpere friends. If he is up to it, I'll try and convince him to guest blog his thoughts at least once, as he's a great writer and it's past time that you heard from the Bear himself.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Story

Yesterday I posted a picture of Jackson as we were coming home. Today I'd like to tell you all about it.

We arose Saturday morning at 4:45 and blearily got into the truck to begin our journey South. we had to be at the breeder's by 9:30 in the morning and it was almost a four hour drive. I stayed awake the whole time which is something of a feat for me. I was just too excited and keyed up to sleep. I'm horribly sick right now, so much of the journey was spent blowing my nose. As the miles slipped by under the truck tires I thought about all the great adventures Jackson and I and Bear will have. I worried about how the cats would treat him, and I hoped that everything would go smoothly.

We arrived at the breeder's right on time. When she brought Jackson into the room, I wondered where my little ball of fur had gone. In his place was a rugged tank of a dog that had doubled in size in the last three weeks. Jackson had become a bruiser! As soon as he was placed in my arms, he snuggled his nose into the place between my ear and neck, sighed, and settled in. My heart flipped over in my chest and I fell in love with him all over again. This, I thought. This is my baby. Totally black with deep chocolate eyes and the biggest, sweetest paws imaginable ... perfect in every way.

We chatted with the breeder for a while and learned that the vet gave him a clean bill of health and he was all ready to go. She said goodbye to him and as she did I heard her whisper, "you're a good dog, Jackson. A good good dog. You were my favorite." Tearfully, she handed him off and we settled him into the truck for the long journey North.

The original plan was to take him to my parents' house and leave him there while we went to the Shinedown concert we'd had tickets for since before Christmas. As the day wore on, however, I was feeling worse and worse. Soon the combination of worry about leaving the puppy and my cold drove me to ask Bear to find someone who'd want the tickets for the show - I was too sick to go. He was relieved, and even my parents said that was probably best. I looked and felt pretty awful. Jackson, for his part, was sleeping on the livingroom floor behind the coffee table. The stress of leaving home and being in a vehicle for the first time combined to exhaust the poor little guy. Mom said he was boring. Both parents were amazed that he wasn't a crazy ball of energy. I couldn't blame him, really. The most disappointed person was my parents' boxer Ivy May. She took one look at Jackson and wanted to play. He just wanted to find a quiet corner to crash in. She just didn't understand why he wouldn't play with her.

Since it was afternoon and we'd given the tickets away, Bear and I decided to head for home. I did manage to sleep this time since I had no energy left at all. Jackson slept most of the way, too. We got home around 7pm and brought him inside. We gave him food and water, spread his blanket on the floor and just watched him as he slept. We were concerned that we'd stressed him out with this very long journey, glad that we'd gotten him home, and absolutely in love with our new family member. The family felt complete finally. We went to bed that night and fell into an exhausted slumber.

That morning we were greeted with the traditional puppy - wagging tail, jumping energy, and lots of wiggling. He'd messed a bit on the floor, had put all his toys in the box of shavings in the place we'd thought he'd use to leave his messes and generally mussed the kitchen about. It was impossible to be upset. What was a little bit of puppy poop when its maker is just so damn cute? We cleaned everything up and set about housebreaking the little guy. He'd never been outside in his life, but he adjusted quickly. Soon he was doing his business quickly and then cavorting about in the snowbanks. Jackson loves the outdoors. We grinned to each other as he jumped and played. This is a dog made for us. We spent the day with him yesterday and learned that he likes to eat, wants desperately to be friends with the cats (who have been standoffish but not agressive at all), and loves to take naps in warm nests of blankets and people feet.

Every time I look at him, snuggle him, play with him, or hold him, I fall in love again. He's perfect in every way and I'm glad that I waited so long to get a dog. He was worth the wait. I hope that as he grows he'll continue to be the happy loving guy he is right now.

Because I'm totally in love with this pup.