Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day Three - Second time around is no easier

Well, last time, Heisman had a really smooth first few days and then a hellacious (see staph infection entry) middle period of recovery. I can only hope that these first few days mean that we are going to "flip flop" that history.

Heisman is in a good bit of pain. She's whimpering and moaning, despite being willing to do some toe touching/weight bearing when she goes outside. When she is sitting still/laying down, she can't seem to get her leg into a comfortable position, so she just moans and whimpers. So sad.

Also, there is a good bit of swelling that we did not seem to encounter last time. There is even a gathering of fluid down by her ankle - all supposedly "normal," but nothing like last time.

I just want to be on the other side of this. Can't it be July soon? That "8 week" appointment can't get here soon enough.

Friday, May 15, 2009

We got tagged! The Honest Scrap Award

We got tagged by Heisman's buddy Parker who had a TPLO in November of 2008. Since his surgery was before Heisman's, we followed his journey a lot to see what was to come. Heisman has quite the crush on this pretty fella!

So, I am supposed to tell you 10 things about Heisman and then tag 3 of her friends to do the same. Heisman decided that she would take control of writing this article:

1) Well, since you are blog readers, you know that I am a genetic mutant. Sorry, a precious genetic mutant. I, obviously have the genetic predisposition for bad knees, but I also have horrible allergies and get some nasty skin infections - I actually have one right now! You will see my red polka dot tummy in some of my recovery pics!

2) I only missed 2 Georgia Tech home games last year. Mommy and Daddy take me to tailgate with Mommy's family and at Daddy's old fraternity house and then take me to daycare down the street right before the game starts. I love the Yellow Jackets, and am excited that both of my knees should be well in time for football this fall!

3) Mommy and Daddy got me exactly one year after they got my sister Hamilton - we were both birthday gifts to Daddy from our Grandaddy Massengale.

4) One of my very favorite snacks is tortilla chips! Yummy! Taqueria del Sol is my favorite.

5) Before my knee surgeries, my favorite way to walk was backwards. If I want to go back to where I came from, rather than turning around, I will walk backwards the whole way!

6) I have a newfound fear of the air vent in the hallway of our house. I just decided one day that I am terrified of that thing!

7) Frosty Paws are delicious treats, but I love tearing up the container even more than eating the ice cream. Mommy knows that I am not feeling well if she gives me a Frosty Paws and I don't tear up the container when I'm done.

8) Boxers are my favorite breed of dogs (other than labs of course). I have been drawn to them from day one!

9) When my knee surgery is healed, I want to volunteer for Reading Paws and hear stories from lots of children! Mommy says I will get a super snazzy vest, too!

10) My sister Hamilton is my best friend - but sometimes I have to growl at her anyway. She has to know who's boss!

And now...who to tag...

1) Koda - Koda had a TPLO on the same day as me in February and her second TPLO yesterday - the day after me!
2) Ivy - Ivy also had TPLOs, but she is all better now. She is such an inspiration - already going for hikes and playing on the beach!
3) Mesa - Mesa had a tightrope procedure (another way of fixing a torn CCL) just after Heisman's TPLO.

Surgery 2, Day 2

Of course, Heisman is already making our second recovery day interesting. Check out the progression of this bruise...

Yesterday, see the small area that is a little bit darker than the rest of the redness:
This morning, the area is darker and larger:
And now, tonight, nastiness:
It is so hard to see this on my sweet girl!! I have posted pictures on the OrthoDogs group hoping that someone with a similar situation will see it and have some advice. I called the vet when it looked like pic #2 above. They said it was probably a bleeding bruise and were happy to hear that it was going away from her heart - likely a result of gravity. However, I don't like the fact that it is getting so progressively worse. Heisman is definitely taking after her Granny Massengale with her bruising!

Other than the gnarly picture above, recovery for Heisman is going well. She's a big eater, has been drinking a lot, slept 14 hours last night (this is typical for my lazy girl), and has been toe touching and even bearing some weight on the leg.

She has POOPED twice - once yesterday on our first trip outside after surgery and then once again today. I can't believe it - usually the wait for poop is a timid time for mommies. I know, TMI.

How about some more fun pictures?!? Here are a few of Heisman and her nurse Hamilton cuddling today on Heisman's new orthopedic dog bed... I am so thankful for my two girls.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

So, not exactly what we planned...

...but, we're on the road to recovery again!

Hi loyal blog readers - It's been a while. Well, yesterday, Heisman went in for her second TPLO - this time on the left knee. Thank GOODNESS we only have 2 knees on this dog (apparently, the front legs have elbows!).

So, yes, not exactly what we planned. As we have rehabilitated Heisman's right leg from TPLO #1 (on 2/5/09), her left leg has continued to deteriorate. This past weekend, if she had any activity, she wouldn't even use the leg leg for the following 24 hours. So, back to Dr. Greenwood we went. We had been trying to hold off the second surgery until early/Mid June to give her right leg a full 16 weeks to heal, but her left leg was just not willing. We saw Dr. Greenwood on Monday, she went in to surgery on Wednesday, and she is back home today. What a whirlwind!

Long story short, Heisman's left knee was even "slopier" (they measure the slope of the bone) than the right, despite the fact that the right required surgery first. Not to worry, Dr. Greenwood corrected that - from a 33 degree slope to 6-7 degrees! Hooray!

I cannot quite believe that we are "right back to where we started." Completely confined (both of us), in pain, going to the bathroom on a leash, no walks, etc. I know it is the best for Heisman, and there is a big piece of me that is excited about doing the surgery earlier, as I know that only means we will be done with recovery earlier, but there is a (selfish) piece of me that really wanted some more "normal" time with Heisman - hanging out, taking walks, going out to eat, etc.

Our last weekend before surgery was nothing short of meant to be. Though we had no idea that the surgery would be happening so soon, we spent the whole afternoon with Heisman on Saturday. First, her daddy and I took her to City Dog Market to pick out some new treats. We just discovered City Dog after her last surgery, so she had not been "recovered" enough to visit on her own yet. She loved it after that, the 3 of us went to our favorite Atlanta barbeque place - the Old Brick Pit - to eat. We sat outside (obviously) and all 3 had some delicious GRUB. Once we came home, we spent the rest of the afternoon outside enjoying the Georgia Summer. It was amazing. Here are some pictures from our first "recovery period." Heisman wanted me to show all of her readers what she has been up to - and that she really knows how to have a good time!

Go Jackets! Heisman went to the Georgia Tech Spring Game to cheer on the Jackets at their last open practice of the Spring!

That's right - Heisman has her own GT jersey. She shares a number with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.

Heisman and Daddy played some guitar in the backyard.

Mommy and I watched for stuff to bark at!

Now for the graphic Day One of surgery photos - these are a bit grizzly...

Swollen, bruised, and frankensteined....

Incision and skin infection (per usual)

And the obligatory "Hi" from Hamilton...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Swim Therapy with Eva

Heisman just got home from swim therapy with Eva. She had a BLAST. The water was a very warm 96 degrees and salty, which will help her skin! For a dog who has not had any activity since at least October, Heisman didn't want to stop. Eva said that she will be VERY sore for the next few days and recommended that we bring her back within 72 hours to continue to build the muscle mass. Heisman wants to thank her Great Aunt Myra for contributing to her therapy fund - she is SO lucky to have such a supportive family!

There's not much to report beyond the fun that she had, and she really did well with the swimming - got right in the pool without any coaxing! I have put together a video with some swimming clips and the best pictures from today. I am not looking forward to seeing Heisman sore, but I am so happy that she had a fun day of just being a dog!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Week 8 - Check Up and WALK!!!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...just check out the picture to the left!

What a wonderful day we have had!! Heisman had her 8 week appointment this morning with Dr. Greenwood - my fellow TPLO moms can attest to what a milestone this is! Dr. Greenwood x-rayed Heisman's leg, and determined that her bone is healing - and may even be ahead of schedule! While this may seem like the best news of the day, I am sure that Heisman would disagree. Due to Dr. Greenwood's clearance today, Heisman is now able to go on 10 minute walks every day - increasing the distance by 5 minutes every week! She has not been able to go on a walk since October!! The picture to the left is of Heisman right before we left for the walk. SHE WAS SO EXCITED!!! I am just thrilled to finally have a happy dog on our hands. Below is a quick video of her walk:

Hooray! Tomorrow, she is going to the canine water therapy center Wag n Swim so that she can have VERY SUPERVISED swimming with Eva - highly recommended by our great friends over at CityDog Market. It is dangerous to "free swim" a TPLO dog, but Eva has a lot of experience with Ortho-Dogs, and swimming is one of Heisman's favorite things to do. The swim center at Wag n Swim has a salt water pool that is heated to 96 degrees, which will also be wonderful for Heisman's skin. I will be sure to take a lot of pictures and video and post back tomorrow. I am SO EXCITED!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Ortho Dog 12 Step Program

I have shared a lot on the blog how much support I have received from the OrthoDogs yahoo group. They have been an amazing source of support and a WEALTH of knowledge. Tonight, I stumbled across a file on the site that gave the "12 Steps" of being an OrthoDog mom. I think it is not only humorous, but also give great insight into what we got through for our babies!! ENJOY!


SHOCK AND ACCEPTANCE: Getting over the initial shock and accepting that your perfect dog has developed a pretty severe injury. Reactions may include: crying, denial, blaming self (maybe if I had done this or not allowed that), wondering if you vet (whom you’ve been using for years) is suddenly confused and has no clue what he/she is talking about.
REFERRALS AND CONSULTS: Visiting every possible vet with every possible background (hopefully, you’ve discovered ortho dogs by now), getting really confused and feeling like you never really knew anything about taking care of your precious pet. Questioning everything you are being told (oh, this is such a good thing so you are really starting into recovery). Oh yes, there is some shock again at this point once we get the estimate. Make sure you have someone with you for that in case you faint and need to have someone catch you so you don’t hit the floor.
DECISION AND MORE QUESTIONING: You’re now beginning to accept the diagnosis and have made a decision on a course of action. You feel good that you were able to sort things out and have made that decision. Well, you think you have, maybe, there was so much information, now what did that other doc say, but is it the best one? Oh gosh, what will I do if it is the wrong one? At this point I think we are all still hoping we’ll wake up and it will be a bad dream or maybe it was a mistake.
BUILDING THE RECOVERY FACILITY: You’ve probably all ready started this but it is a separate step. Gathering up the throw rugs, pumpkin, xpen, crate, ecollar, and bed for you, ramp, and sling, and supplements. Oh these days are so busy, but we’re still not sure we really want to have surgery. Perhaps while we’re doing this our dog will heal, they do seem to be doing better with the confinement,
PRE OP NIGHT AND SURGERY DAY: Oh my! What an experience. I just can’t even come up for words for this one except HELP! WHAT AM I DOING? WHAT HAVE I DONE? WILL HE/SHE BE OK? OH GOSH, AM I REALLY READY FOR THIS?
COMING HOME: Oh they are so happy to see us. It doesn’t look as bad as I thought, Wow, that wasn’t difficult at all. UH OH! We’re home now, is he/she in pain. Oh what can I do, I don’t speak dog, Oh gosh, I’m not capable of taking care of this, where is that emergency phone number to the vet?
TOE TOUCHING AND WEIGHT BEARING: Oh, yes, maybe we did make the right decision. Things are going to be fine, just fine. OH NO! Today no toe touching. Where is that emergence phone number to the vet?
FIRST BOWEL MOVEMENT: Ok, here is when we know we’ve got a problem, because we’ve most likely never been to concerned about our dog actually having a bowel movement and it somehow seems strange that we should be so excited and that others are excited for us. Oh, we are in such a new and strange place in life. By the way, co-workers and friends can imagine why you are so excited about this event, they smile, say oh that is great, wonder what the heck you’re thinking and may whisper politely behind your back.
SUTURE REMOVAL/TWO WEEK CHECK UP: Oh yeah, we can do this. Life is good! Oooops, was that a slip, a pop, a creak? Where is that emergency phone number to the vet, better get on Ortho Dogs and ask some questions. Oh, I’m not sure I made the right decision.
AREN’T WE FEELING JUST WONDERFUL: Oh No. Keeping him/her quiet is harder than I thought, Kongs and toys, treats and TV. Oh you’re not as healed as you think you are. Oh, why have I tortured myself like this? I’ll surely go nuts trying to keep this dog from hurting himself/herself again! Better log on to Ortho Dogs and ask some more questions.
8 WEEK XRAYS/CHECK UP AND BEYOND: Oh yeah, life is good. Got the bone healing going on! Can smell the roses from here. Gonna be back to normal in no time now. WOW, was that me so frantic only a few weeks ago. Better answer the Newbie’s post and do some reassuring. Things are going so wonderful. UH OH, A little limping, where’s the emergency phone number for the vet?
RELEASED FOR A LIFE TIME OF FUN: Oh, that really was nothing. Better post my success story on Otho Dogs for all to read. We did a great job and things are wonderful. Should I really let him/her play so hard, or be off leash, was that a noise I heard from the knee? Limping on the other leg? Ugggggggg! Where’s that emergency phone number for the vet?

Week 7 - Quick Update

Not a major update, but wanted to keep everyone in the loop.

Heisman has seen continuing progress on the Cipro for the staph.  We have no bruising, no swelling, and, best of all, NO LIMP!

On Friday, Heisman goes for her 8 week appointment, where she will be sedated and re-x-rayed for the first time since surgery.  I have always known that this is a milestone for her, but not exactly sure what it will entail for the days following the business.  It is very clear that life cannot return to "normal," but I hope that Heisman can start regaining some of the freedom of life before surgery (that is, before we take it away again for the second surgery).

She is beginning to become "used to" this lifestyle, very lazy all day and very accustomed to sleeping at all times.  I am very anxious to get her out of this house some, even on short walks - just so that she has SOMETHING to look forward to.

She is limping some on the other leg, and alternates which leg she will "tuck under" her when she sits.  That's another question that we will have to ask on Friday - how long until surgery number 2?  While I want to give her right leg long enough to heal, I am anxious to have both surgeries behind us so that we can fully resume a "normal" life.

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers - look for an update when I get home from work on Friday, and keep praying for good news!

Friday, March 20, 2009

6 weeks post-surgery: Infection Update

Hello blog readers!  I know, I know.  It's been a really long time AGAIN since my last post, but this hopefully I can make this update interesting enough to be worth it!

Honestly, I haven't updated because I have been so down about Heisman's recovery.  Dr. Greenwood called us last Saturday telling us that Heisman's blood culture had come back, revealing that she has MRSI, or methicillin resistant staphylococcus intermedius.  Yes, a staph infection - the most resistant to antibiotics.  This strain of infection is only in animals, so Harding and I cannot get it, but Hamilton (the cat) could.  We have desperately been trying to keep their shared water bowls separate!

Dr. Greenwood changed Heisman's antibiotic to Cipro - a human strength antibiotic.  I went to Wal-Mart to pick it up and had to sign away her medical rights as her guardian.  It was pretty hilarious to pick up a prescription for Heisman "K-9" Brannon at a normal pharmacy.

Anyway, I was very disheartened to learn about Heisman's prognosis, and even more upset as she did not improve over the next 4-5 days.  However, I can officially say this morning that I think she is responding.  Over the past week, I have communicated with the wonderful people at the Bella Moss Foundation who are dedicated to research about staph in dogs.  Though they are based overseas, they were able to put me in touch with an expert at UGA who does a lot of staph research - Dr. Steve Budsberg.  Dr. Budsberg was nice enough to call Dr. Greenwood and review Heisman's case, reporting back that, from everything he can tell, we are on the right track.  Today, Heisman's demeanor is better, her lameness is slightly improved, and the swelling is reducing!!  HOORAY!!!

On another note, I was talking to my husband last night and told him that I really wished I could "remember" Heisman's limp in January before surgery so that I could at least feel like I had done something if improve her quality of life.  It has been so awful to watch her in pain with the infection and know that I put her in this position!  Well, talk about answered prayers, I was packing my Flip Video camera for a trip this weekend and found a 3 second video of Heisman walking away from me from 1/1/09.  I think that this clip must have been a fluke, but it was amazing to see!  Check it out!

I also took a quick video today so that you can see the surgery leg.  Then, thankfully, she heard something at the door and got up to walk towards it.  Even with the staph, the improvement is remarkable.  I really needed this - an answered prayer indeed!

Well, that was JUST what this mother needed to see!  This weekend, I am headed to the North Georgia mountains, for a girls' weekend in a cabin for my best pal Jen Crews' bachelorette party!  I am nervous to leave Heisman, but her daddy will do a GREAT job keeping her on track with her pill regimen (back to 16 per day) and loving on her.  I will try to keep updates coming more regularly, but please know that the thoughts and prayers are most certainly working!  Keep them coming!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Week 4.5 - Setback #1

Warning: graphic images in this one - they look GROSS!

Well, we have had our first surgery setback, but not nearly as major as I thought. Last Tuesday, Heisman's daddy and I took her to get her stitches out at the 4 week mark (she got these after she got her staples taken out). As she got out of the car, she had her first "OOPS" moment. She slipped and fell right on her bad leg. Talk about breaking a mother's heart! She would not put her leg down, but we were glad that we were at the best place in the world for it to happen - Dr. Greenwood's office! Dr. Greenwood took out the stitches and assessed the "structure" of the leg. Everything was FINE and we were on our way!

Well, Friday evening (3/6), Harding and I both noticed that Heisman's limp was getting worse. We also noticed a small bump (not discolored, not weeping) forming just below her knee joint. Safe to say from the picture at right that the "small knot" developed into something much larger and quite discolored. When I called the surgeon first thing Monday morning, I heard the words that the mom of an "OrthoDog" dreads, "When is the soonest you can get her in?"

My heart dropped. At this point, Heisman, who was bearing weight on Day 2 after surgery is now bearing no weight on the leg, and has this NASTY lesion on her incision site RIGHT over the plate. I was terrified that the surgery was ruined AND that it would be something that somehow was MY FAULT!! Lucky for Heisman, it is her Granny Massengale's Spring Break, so we had some company (and support for ME) for our trip to Clarkston. Dr. Greenwood was off today, so Heisman saw his partner Dr. Corse. He was AMAZING and so great with Heisman. He took some x-rays to make sure that we are structurally sound. WE ARE!!! What a relief. He also saw some "new bone" formation, which is rare to see at only 4 weeks out of surgery. This was the good news. The bad news is that Heisman has an infection of the surgical plate that was inserted during surgery. Heisman, my precious genetic mutant, in addition to being predisposed to the ACL tears, also has HORRIBLE allergies and has suffered from skin infections from birth. After surgery, she was on 2 weeks of Clavamox (antibiotic) for her skin infection, but, apparently, as soon as she got off the Clavamox, she got a skin infection, and that led to the infection of the plate.

Dr. Corse said that there is no need to panic yet, just to watch Heisman VERY closely. She is on 1000 mg of Clavamox per day and back on Tramadol to help her with the pain. He also took a blood culture from Heisman so that he could determine the type of infection and, if necessary, adjust her antibiotics accordingly.

I guess the moral of the story is that we are back on the road to recovery. My mom (Granny Massengale) asked Dr. Corse if he could give ME a shot of Valium. I just can't get past the everyday worry of Heisman to relax into the recovery phase. It also doesn't help that I know the 2nd surgery for her is imminent. I see other dogs running and playing with their owners and turn green with envy - it is hard to imagine the "other side" of surgery after a setback of this nature AND an impending surgery to the other leg. I want MY dog to run and play and be normal with her friends. I know that day is ahead, somewhere. I am going to try to make "mini-goals" for Heisman - the first one being that she can come with us to the tailgate for the Georgia Tech vs. UNC game on September 26. She LOVES football season and seeing all of the people, so I would hate for her to miss one. She is TWO YEARS OLD and I hate that so much time is going by when she would normally be so active, but can't be.

Enough worry, here are some fun pictures:

It SNOWED IN GEORGIA last Sunday!! Here are Heisman and Daddy in the snow!
And Heisman and Mommy in the snow!!
A long trip to the vet and some x-rays is nothing that a nap with my sister can't cure!
Finally, Hamilton wanted me to let you know that she is doing just fine, thanks for asking. Here is our cheap, low maintenance animal.
Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers - we're still hanging in there. I will try to do a better job of keeping the blog up to date - especially with this recent complication.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2.5 weeks out...feeling GOOD

Well, the good news is that Heisman feels GREAT, and the bad news is that Heisman feels GREAT!  Harding and I are having such a hard time keeping her quiet and still it is getting ridiculous.  She would be running at a full sprint if I would let her.

We saw Dr. Greenwood on Thursday - Heisman's "Big Daddy" Massengale came up and went with me to the vet, since Harding was in New York on business.  Heisman is so lucky to have such an attentive grandfather.  He carried her EVERYWHERE!  Heisman really wished that she were not an 80 lb. dog - she LOVES to be carried.  Her tail was wagging the whole time.  We got to NVS and she sat in the car with Big Daddy until they called her name - then Big Daddy carried her all the way from the car into the exam room so that she wouldn't have to walk on the slick waiting room floor!

She got all 21 staples out, but ended up getting 4 stitches - a "net" win, we think.  The area that I thought looked "a little" gross turned into a gaping, bleeding, DEEP hole once the staples were removed, so Dr. Greenwood added 4 stitches in that area - necessitating ANOTHER trip to Clarkston in 10 days to get the stitches out.  I asked about the clicking, and he wasn't worried AT ALL, but Mommy still is.  It sounds gross and happens every time she puts her leg down.  Supposedly (from OrthoDogs) it is only scar tissue or an internal suture, but I hope it goes away soon!

Depending on when Heisman gets these stitches out, we start physical therapy very soon at Caring Canine.  We can't wait to meet these people as they have already been so helpful on the phone!  I will have to take my Flip camera so that we can get some awesome footage of Heisman in the underwater treadmill and doing all of the other fun activities at physical therapy.  Hopefully, we can get her surgery leg strong before the CCL on the other leg completely gives out!

Thanks for all of the thoughts and prayers.  We are still doing great!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

One and a half weeks since surgery!

Obiviously, I had to go back to work - though I delayed it until last Friday - but blog updates have been sparse.  Heisman is SO BORED - just look at the above picture!  She is feeling great, which is AWESOME, but she doesn't understand why I keep asking her to lay in her bed and be calm.  My saving grace is pictured at right - THE SARGE.  This is a 4-in-1 bone from Merrick Pet Care, which means that it has jerky, tendons, bone, and marrow.  It has been about the only thing that keeps Heisman occupied, but it does not go very well with the beige rug covering our wood floors!  I should be vacuuming, not blogging!  She also got an awesome Valentine's Day package from her "Granny" and "Big Daddy" Massengale that had new treats for her everlasting treat ball as well as a few other goodies.

I have two main concerns with Heisman's knee, despite all going smoothly.  The upper area of her incision, where the knee bends and above, does not appear to be healing very well.  The bottom area of her incision is fully closed up and looks like the staples could come out today.  However, the top part is still wide open between the staples and a little red in places.  She has been on antibiotics, and I have started a thorough cleansing routine with Chlor-Flush and Neosporin.  Hopefully, this will improve.  If it does, we will be STAPLE FREE come Thursday - exactly two weeks after surgery.  My husband has to leave on a business trip, so my dad is coming up to help me carry Heisman down the steps of our house and keep her still in the back of the SUV all the way to Clarkston.

I am excited to see the vet due to my other concern.  Before the surgery, I heard a constant clicking, or quiet popping, in Heisman's knee joint before the surgery that I assumed was her meniscus.  However, the surgeon said that her meniscus was fully entact and he made a releasing cut to prevent the meniscus from interfering with the bend of the knee.  Regardless, I still hear a popping every now and then.  I was thinking that it may be coming from the other knee, but I am almost positive that it is coming from her "surgery knee."  This makes me really nervous, so I am glad that the surgeon visit is in store for Thursday.

Due to the new "cleansing routine," Heisman is keeping her incision from my sight, so I only have one to show from the last few days.

Also, Heisman has a pretty precious new habit.  Rather than sleeping in her dog bed in the kitchen at night, she has started curling up with me on the TWIN SIZED air mattress.  Check out the picture that Harding took the other night after I laid down and he told Heisman to "go to bed."

Finally, here is a precious picture that I got of this spoiled puppy the other morning after she spent the night with her daddy in the living room.  She LOVES sleeping on pillows now!

Thanks again for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers!  We are hanging in there!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Recovery Day 6 - More Cone Drama

Well, everything is going really well still, except for all of this drama with the stupid cone.  Heisman is more tolerant of the "Comfy Cone," but she still does everything she can to get it off.  I feel awful about this, and I really don't want to go back to work tomorrow.  To get her to keep it on, I feel it's too tight, but if I loosen it at all, she can get it off.  I just feel so bad leaving her at home.  However, Mommy and Daddy both certainly have to work to fund all of this orthopedic surgery.  I also don't know the protocol for once the staples come out - does she get to come out of the collar immediately, or does she have to stay in it?  I am kicking myself for not ordering the BiteNot collar - but I have heard that in some cases, the dog can still get to the wound.

She licked at the incision site again last night.  After I cleaned it some with Chlor Flush, she would not let me see it again to take today's picture.  I will try to update the incision shots tomorrow.

I love this sweet puppy so much.  I wish I could work from home with her until she is fully healed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Recovery Day 5 - Mail and Cones

Hi friends! As I am sure you can see from the above picture, this doggy has been cracking me up today! Our experience with the Bonafido was truly hilarious. So, not exactly what I was expecting. When my mom looked at the pictures, she made a comment that I was essentially ordering an inner tube. I did not buy this at all. When I looked at the pictures, I thought I was ordering a "floppy" or "soft" ring that would not blog Heisman's peripheral vision. NOT TRUE!!!!! Chalk this one up to a toal cone FAIL. Mother knows best - and mine was right this time! I think that this thing could keep a 500 lb. man afloat in a swimming pool. To say that it did not work would have been the understatement of the century. Not only does Heisman HATE it, she can get it off in seconds flat. I will be sending it back PRONTO. Needless to say, I had to find a new solution FAST if I am ever going to go back to work.

Enter The Comfy Cone. I left Heisman alone for the first time since surgery - coneless - and rushed to East Atlanta to Park Pet Supply - the only place in the city that carries the Comfy Cone. It looks quite humane now, and I have it at home, but the Bonafido experience has Heisman quite leery of any new "hats," so we are going to wait for Daddy to get home to try it on. I mean, just look how peacefully the cute dog in the ad is sleeping. This is TOTALLY going to work, right? We'll see, and I'll report back for those of you who will be going through a TPLO in the near future.

On to more exciting things...Heisman got her first piece of MAIL today - all the way from Charleston, South Carolina from her cousins Sully and Tail Biber!! She was THRILLED! Sully and Tail sent FOOTBALL TREATS - perfect for a dog named Heisman - and one of Heisman's personal favorites, the Busy Rollhide! They sent the sweetest card and the gifts and treats really brightened Heisman's spirits. I just had to snap a quick picture of the envelope so that we will always remember Heisman's first piece of mail...Thanks, sweet cousins!

While I was out shopping for the Comfy Cone, I was able to swing by the City Dog Market and pick up a deer antler for Heisman to try. She loves it! A total success - she chewed on it for about an hour and was plum tuckered out. She is passed out on her bed right now with the antler still in her mouth - I will have to get a picture of that! The wonderful owner at the City Dog Market also offered me a piece of shark spine and stingray tail to give Heisman - it is a great source of Omega 3 and will help both Heisman's leg and her skin! They are so cool looking, so we are saving it for when Daddy comes home from work, but I can't wait to see what she thinks of them!

Finally, I must mention the pet product that has gotten us through these first few days - Greenies Pill Pockets. Heisman's Grandma Brannon picked these up for her because of the quantity of pills that she has to take. Because of her chronic skin problems, the surgeon could not discharge Heisman with the typical pain management protocol - a Fentanyl patch. Rather, Heisman had to be on oral pain killers, Tramadol, with a dosage of 3 pills 3 times per day. In addition, she gets 2 Benadryl every 4 hours, 2 antibiotic pills twice a day, an anti-inflammatory pill every day, and we recently added a Pepcid AC ever day because - imagine this - all of these pills upset her stomach. Heisman HATES taking pills, so getting them down her was really an almost all day process. Greenies Pill Pockets are like dog gummy bears. You can mold and shape them however you want. I can get 4 or 5 pills in one pill pocket, and Heisman will still swallow them with no problem. Trust me, this is an AMAZING product.

And a few more pictures from today - though none can top the Bonafido...

Day 5 Incision Shot

A look at my "office" for the week. There's no place I would rather be... Please note the greasy potato chips and Frosty Paws cup in my tennis shoe. Heisman and I are clearly coping with recovery the same way - junk food! Also, check out the fortress we have built to keep Heisman off of the sofa and "her armchair."

More antler chewing

A good look at the antler

Shark Spine and Stingray Tail

Loot from the Sweet Biber Family: Sully, Tail, Ella, Elizabeth, and (last but not least) Jay

Monday, February 9, 2009

Recovery Days 3 and 4 - POOP!

Well, we are still having a delightfully uneventful recovery.  Heisman had her first post-surgery poop.  I officially feel motherly because I never dreamed of seeing the day where I would be excited about poop, but HOORAY!  (In case you are interested, post surgery poops #2 and #3 were equally celebrated).  She's doing great in her harness and walking really well.  Harding and I agreed last night that her limp is already better now that it was pre-surgery.

I called the surgeon this morning because we were told when we picked her up that she may not put the leg down until 2 weeks post-surgery and not to worry.  Well, we are having the exact opposite problem - she feels great - wanted to take off after a squirrel yesterday!  The vet assured me that this was perfectly normal and could have been expected with Heisman being so young.

I have hit the first point after this surgery where I feel unprepared.  I did not expect for Heisman to need to be entertained so much this soon after surgery.  I thought I would have a long period of "puny!"  I have some toys for her, but not nearly enough.  The City Dog Market is closed today, but I am headed there first thing tomorrow to get some deer antlers for her to chew on.  You read that correctly - deer antlers.  They are supposedly great for dogs to chew on and also have good "stuff" in them for joints.  We'll see what Miss Heisman thinks about those tomorrow.

We had read that the medications and post-anesthesia period could alter Heisman's mood and demeanor, but have not seen that.  The only change in her has been the clinginess.  She wants to be with either Harding or I AT ALL TIMES.  She has always followed us around, but this is a bit more extreme.  I can see the concern in her face when I leave the room, and it breaks my heart!  It will be very hard for me to go back to work on Wednesday and leave this precious face behind!

Here are some more pictures chronicling the last few days...

A look at the shaved area of Heisman's leg and hip.

Incision Day 3

Incision Day 4

Spooning Sisters

The "Canine Genius" stumped by her Kong...

A "hello" from Hamilton!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Recovery Day 2 - So far, So good!

Presents!!!  Heisman's Grandma and Grandpa Brannon and Aunt Mary dropped off get well presents for Heisman, doggie chicken soup for her dinner, and chicken tetrazzini (Mommy's favorite) for Heisman's parents for dinner!  How wonderful!!  As you can see from the picture at right, Heisman wasted no time "unwrapping."  I have never seen a dog so aware of presents - a wrapped box or a gift bag, doesn't matter - she knows how to take care of business!!  Inside she found a brand new Kong toy, Kong Stuff'n treats, and Greenies Pill Pockets to house the 17 pills per day that she is taking!  We are very excited and incredibly appreciative of the generosity.

Recovery is still going very well.  Heisman really feels great today, which is wonderful, but makes me very nervous.  She is not wanting to let her knee hold her back at all.  I will say, the phase we are in is nothing like I expected.  Except for the occasional burst of energy, it is nothing that I can't handle.  I am totally speaking too soon - I just know it.  She's using her ramp successfully outside and has not had a problem using the restroom.  She has even starting bearing some weight on her surgery leg, which pretty much gives this mother heart failure.  When she is standing now, she is putting just her toes on the ground, but outside she is bearing a little weight and continuing her regular routine of finding the perfect pinestraw to grace with her scent.  I did not expect any weight bearing at this point.  Again, probably a good sign, but I would like to put this leg in a plastic bubble and allow no harm to come to it ever again.  Don't worry - all of this movement is under close supervision and while she is in her harness/"backpack"/"pretty necklace."  I also had my first night of sleeping with Heisman in the kitchen on an air mattress.  Other than discovering a tornado of draftiness in the kitchen that about froze us, we did just fine.  Heisman woke up 5 or 6 times, but just to lick her stitches.  She slept from about 1AM until around 10:30.  I had 4 dreams that she woke up, broke out, and made a 3.5 foot leap to get in bed with her daddy.  Crazy woman.

We are going to have to invest in an E-Collar (cone/lampshade).
I ordered one today from Bonafido that is soft and floppy and doesn't restrict Heisman's vision like a true E-Collar.  It should be in Tuesday afternoon, in time for me to go back to work on Wednesday.  The vet did not expect that Heisman would have trouble licking at her staples, so he didn't send her home in one.  However, Heisman assures me that of her 21 staples, she is equally annoyed with each and every one of them.

Hamilton continues to be a supportive big sister.  She could not STAND the stinkiness of Heisman and was continually trying to bathe her - which was wearing on Heisman's nerves.  Just for Princess Ham, I gave Daddy a "Heisman shift" and ran up to City Dog Market this morning and picked up "Waterless Bath: For Clean, Fresh Smelling Pets."  She seems pleased with the results and is letting Heisman sleep - for now. 

A look at the incision and some bruising on Day 2.

Thanks for my presents Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Mary!

Finally, Heisman's good pal Ruby Holt had to head off to the emergency vet last night after a late snack on some dark chocolate.  All seems well now, but Heisman has been keeping her paws crossed for her!