By Thursday night it was clear to me that Midge wasn't going to get any better. She was not only vomiting, drooling, and panting, but she was having trouble getting up stairs. I had hoped that my husband could take her in to a vet Friday morning, but he was on call with his job, so I had to take her in, despite me being sick myself. It turned out that she had a fever of 105 degrees and needed to be hospitalized. The vet asked me to go home, gather her insulin and other medications, and bring them back to his clinic.
Later that day he called to tell me that a different vet would be on duty the next day and she would take care of Midge. That vet called me super early in the morning and told me that Midge was perky and eating. Then she asked why she was there and what the plan was for her care -- not very encouraging questions coming from the person who is supposed to be saving my dog's life that day. I thought, "Don't these doctors communicate with each other? Don't they keep records?"
I suspect that because Midge has been sick so many times, her records are so thick that the vet didn't want to bother reading them. I get frustrated with my own doctor when he asks me questions like, "When was the last time you had x, y or z done?" and he's got my medical records sitting right in front of him. I usually tell him to look it up, because I'm not in the habit of memorizing dates. I have to record birthdays and anniversaries on calendars, because I will completely forget about them if I don't write them down.
I tried to fill this vet in, but she was asking me what the other doctor did, and I couldn't tell her, because he's not the kind of vet who goes into great detail about treatments. I also felt like hell and was drugged out on pain killers and NyQuil, so answering simple questions about my dog was like taking the SAT. I finally cut off the vet and said, "I'm sorry, but I'm sick, so I can't be of much help."
She told me she'd be glad to keep Midge in the clinic another night so I could rest. I appreciated the offer, but didn't want to have to pay extra if my dog was ready to come home. I told her we should see how Midge is doing, and make a decision based on that. She called me a few short hours later with a completely different story, saying that Midge was not eating, and there was a problem with her kidneys. Then she took me by surprise by saying that she needed me to come pick her up.
Huh? One would think I should pick her up when she is well, and leave her there if she is sick. I was paying them to take care of her, because I couldn't take care of her myself.
She said she was too sick to be left at the clinic overnight. I probably mumbled something incoherent, thinking I was hallucinating. She said that she was worried that something might happen to Midge during the night and no one would be there to help her, so I either needed to bring her home and watch her myself, or I needed to provide transport to a 24-hour veterinary hospital several cities away. I was in no condition to do either, and my husband still could not help me because of his job. I thought about sending my daughter to pick up the dog, but if they needed to be paid, and she couldn't sign for my credit card. So, I just got out of bed and drove over there, taking my daughter with me to help carry all the stuff.
I had paid in advance for two days and two nights of care, and despite her coming home early, they charged me more money. I thought there was a mistake, but was too tired to argue. I thought the vet would send me home with some medications for my dog, but she didn't. When I asked her about it, she said I would have to bring her back at 8:00 AM for the other doctor to decide on her treatment. I nearly passed out. I was desperately trying to get some rest because I was suffering from headaches, a sore throat, runny nose, toothaches, earaches, nosebleeds, cracked and bleeding lips, nausea, fever, chills, and painful cysts. I obviously had some kind of infection. My health is like a house of cards. Knock one down and they all fall down.
But, what could I do? The dog was sicker than me. So, I got up with the roosters and took her back to the clinic first thing in the morning and no one was there. I sat in my truck and waited for someone to show up. The doctor walked past me on his way to get a cup of coffee at a store and came over to talk to me in the parking lot. He apologized for the other doctor putting me through all that. He said that Midge should have never been released, because she was very sick, and we may have lost some ground in her treatment. He carried her inside for me and said he wanted to keep her another couple of days.
I had already paid over $2,000 and though they succeeded in bringing down her temperature, she was still in bad shape. I told him I was tapped out financially and could not continue to pay $1,000 a day. He said he'd work with me on that. He reviewed what I was charged the night before, and said I would be credited some money, because some of the charges were made in error. I asked him what he was doing to help my dog, and based on his answers I decided to give him more time. I did tell him that if her sudden illnesses continued, we would have to consider putting her to sleep. Keeping her alive was exceeding our capabilities and was just too stressful for everyone, including her.
That day he called to inform me there had been no improvement. I prepared to say goodbye.
The next morning he called and said that Midge was now eating, perky, and even playing with toys. He said that I could pick her up that evening. He was kind enough to only charge me a fraction of what I was charged over the first two days. All the girls in the office came in to say goodbye to Midge, because she was going home. Midge ran to me and jumped all over me. I picked her up and hugged her while she squealed.
She was so excited to be home that she celebrated by peeing all over the floor. All three dogs did a happy dance and piled on top of each other. Then things had to settle down quickly because I have to keep her quiet for the next few days while she recovers. We still don't know exactly what she is recovering from. The results for the Valley Fever test haven't come in yet, but the doctor's guess is that she had an internal infection that resulted in Pancreatitis.
Now I just have to get some rest so I can heal. I was planning on riding with the horse trainer, but still felt too shaky and weak, so I asked him to take Bombay out on the trails in search of hikers, horseback riders, and bicyclists, and help him work through his fears. I also told him that Bombay still needed to be ridden across busy streets. So far I have only led him across them. When he returned, he said no one was out in the desert, so he just worked on crossing the main street where most people drive about 45 mph. At first Bombay refused to go through the gate. He's not afraid of gates, but the gate represented the boundary of his comfort zone. Once the trainer got him through the gate, Bombay refused to cross the white line on the road.
The trainer filmed it with his mobile phone and showed me that a truck hauling a tractor on a trailer roared past and Bombay didn't care in the least bit about that. He was just worried about that white line on the road. He encouraged him across the street with the help of his split reins smacking Bombay on the butt, and they made it. Bombay was nervous and trotted across, but the trainer just kept crossing with him in different locations until he was comfortable with it. I wish I could have been there, but it's good to know he's making progress rather than just standing around in the barn while Midge and I recover.