Today was a good day. Patches got to go for his first R-I-D-E in the car since returning home from surgery. And, despite continued claims by the primary veterinary specialty center that the next closest veterinary oncology practice is in Phoenix or Los Angeles, Patches started chemo today… locally… in a comfortable, caring, and safe environment.
We were able to park directly outside the entrance. We were able to wait in the car until an exam room was available, and then someone from the staff held the door open for us. We walked through a calm reception environment with attentive, communicative, and friendly staff. It was only a few yards from the entrance to the exam room, with an easy pitstop on a nearby scale. 62.4 lbs (10 lbs lighter).
Yoga mats were already on the exam room floor when we entered… without even asking… although we had also brought our own. We sat by each other, and Patches laid down. Calm. Secure. I was moved to tears.
The vet tech arrived informed, knelt down on the floor with Patches, and had treats! She listened. She understood.
The vet walked in and immediately sat on the ground with Patches throughout our initial consult. I feel so grateful and simultaneously enraged that all the other veterinary practices — yes, including the AAHA facilities — refer to the specialty center. Reviewing the organizational structure on the Secretary of State portal reveals the specialty center is actually under the umbrella of a veterinary referral LLC. We had a delicious vegan lunch while Patches received his first dose, and began to strategize how we might best spare other families and pets from the unnecessary horrors of the specialty center (and ourselves from libel claims); rather than enable and ruminate on our guilt around what we and our Baby Dog have been through over the last 45 days.
Maybe a reprieve. There are 2 oncologists in our giant urban area.. and we were looking to leave one of the practices. The second oncologist is only here 3 days a month. However, we were able to sneak in, because of a last minute cancellation. We are keeping our fingers crossed and trying not to hope. But the receptionist for the new practice actually answered the phone, and told us we could leave Baby Dog in the car until the room is ready, and that they had blue mats they can lay down in the exam room to make the dogs more comfortable on tile floors. Just someone being kind, and calling us back, and trying to help, made us break down.
We are on day three of Amandatine – prescribed only after we begged, and then called in under the wrong pet name (“Captain” instead of “Patches”), and wrong DOB, causing me to have to be at the CVS for an hour, and going through 3 different vet techs, after a 10 hour day at work.
He has calmed though, and today an extra wide yoga mat arrived via Amazon, and Baby Dog is relaxing more – dreaming, cuddling with Dad, and tonight he lay down on his side -something he had not done since we came home. We changed pill administration to peanut butter and tonight, ground bison and a whole head of spinach. His appetite is down, but he is still eating, though only half of what he ate before, so I am using a lot of tupperware, and we are all adjusting. As I write this, Baby Dog is on the couch in the other room, and Patches Dad is finally taking a shower. I washed the sheets lining our couch, with a little laundry sanitizer, and may have had an extra glass of wine or two. We are trying to relax, and seeing the dog more calm is helping us try to get there.
Here is the Baby Dog on his Extra Wide yoga Mat, modeling a fresh “can’t wear this anymore” undershirt from Dad.
It’s been a tough week. The Nocita given to Patches during surgery wore off on Monday, and we went through a week of sleepless nights. Patches has been struggling with pain, and we had to fight with our vet about additional pain solutions. They were hesitant to given anything to us, claiming it opiates are not the standard of care in veterinary science, despite protocols we sent to them and specific requests we made for post op pain relief. Instead, they believed we were overdosing him on the Gabapenten, causing dysphoria. We sent video of Patches whimpering in pain, and relayed that these whimpers turned into full-on screams of pain – we knew something was wrong.
We are looking for a new provider. When we picked up our dog, freshly tripawd, they had just waxed their floors. This caused a Bambi-on-Ice moment, when he attempted to move and his legs just slipped. We have not had this problem at home, because we purchased puzzle, interlocking play mats off of Amazon to lay around the house. The whole experience has felt lousy, and we are just trying to reduce as much stress on our Baby Dog as possible.
We have been using rotisserie chicken to give Patches his pills, but we think he is on to us. He has never been a picky eater, but he has taken to just throwing the chicken or any treats on the floor. We are trying to find new treats for him. Ridiculously, the elk burgers are still working for him, and if I mix one or two in, he will eat. This lack of appetite is a recent development – he ate well in the days immediately following surgery. We fear he is depressed.
We have one more week to go in this post operative restriction on movement – then we are going to try to move him lightly into more activity. Poor Baby Dog loved his walks and rides in the car – lived for them – and being homebound is his special form of torture.
If this helps someone else, we get the Elk Burgers from Northstar Bison. Quick turnaround and shipping, and he loves them.