Thursday, February 23, 2012

And I thought the flu was bad...

   I started getting sick Wednesday, with a sore throat and cough. By today, I had lost my voice. And by the time I left work today, I was sure I had the flu. Dizziness, chills, headache, sneezing, sore throat, cough, fatigue, body aches, and fever. Good times. But I simply couldn't have stayed home; I had to deliver and submit performance reviews, and attend some crucial meetings. I was too concerned about how much I'd miss. Had I realized how sick I really was, I would have reconsidered.
   So by the end of the day, I couldn't wait to get home and go to bed. At 6:15, I curled up on the couch and planned to crash there, and Mr. Tay hopped up and curled up against me.
   As soon as I put my arm around his stomach, I knew I had an emergency on my hands. He felt and looked like he had swallowed a basketball! His chest and abdomen were rock-hard, and his stomach completely distended. I'm no vet, but I knew that this could be gastric torsion (bloat),  from which most dogs die within two hours; or a puncture to a lung that was causing air to leak into his body. Both thoughts were terrifying. I rushed him to my vet's office.
   Dr. Davis felt Tay's abdomen and immediately suspected a massively enlarged liver based on how it felt. I braced, not sure of the ramifications if that were true. Only an ultrasound could say for sure. The vet tech wheeled in the machine. I got to see my boy's lungs, stomach, gall bladder, spleen, liver and intestines (which would have been fascinating, under less tense circumstances). Fortunately his liver was fine... His abdomen was FULL of air.
 Next the vet intubated him, to see if he could get the tube all the way into his stomach. If not, we were looking at torsion. It was necessary, but very difficult to watch. But fortunately, despite Taylor's discomfort, the tube went down and a little air came out.
   For some time, I've noticed that he burps a lot, retches but nothing comes up, and has a lot of gas. I had been attributing all this to: 1) he's a boy; 2) he gobbles his food and water; 3) he eat veggies with every meal, to promote weight loss; 4) he eats poop... how could that not make you gag?? I hadn't realized these were potentially dangerous symptoms of a larger issue until his stomach became huge tonight.
   Unfortunately all this may mean that Taylor has an incurable neurological problem in which his stomach doesn't contract properly, moving the contents through as it should.  Now when he has gas, it's a GOOD thing; it means things are moving through the ol' pipes. Never thought I'd wish for THAT!
   So instead of a quiet evening convalescing (aka sleeping), I spent hours at the vet. I feel so sick and uncomfortable, but my guy is alive. I need to monitor him closely and give him only small amounts of food and water many times a day, and make sure the air is expelled. I sure hope this doesn't turn out to be congenital.