Saturday, March 31, 2007

How much does time cost?

We went for a dressing change and a recheck today. The wound still looks very "angry" (the vet's word) -- which is probably why HRH still isn't putting weight on that leg. The vet also explained that she will take some time to learn how to distribute her weight over three toes on that paw. But at least she is using that paw to scratch, so it's not so bad.

We will go back every three months to recheck and keep an eye on things. The vet says he has "probably" got everything with the amputation of the toe. But of course, he won't guarantee anything, mast cells being what they are. Even if we had taken the most drastic option and had the whole leg amputated above the lymph node, I don't think he would guarantee anything either, it'll be against his integrity. If the growth recurs, it may happen in six months. In which case, he has "bought her time" and we will readdress the issue then.

If it happens. I want to look at it as the glass being half-full.

Six months is a long time for a dog; he reminded us that one year for us is seven for them. But there never is enough time when it comes to your baby.

Biopsy, including dressing change: $538.65

Toe amputation: $601.20

Queeni home: Priceless

Friday, March 30, 2007

Centre of everything

Most dogs would be happy just being allowed to sleep on the bed. But I guess royalty is more demanding. A mattress on the bed is not enough, HRH needs to lie on a soft pillow over the mattress.

Now Rupert, however, has no sense of his body. After all, he's the one who runs into walls, trips over his own feet and rolls off the couch. Only the other night, L fished out from under that sleeping puppy a hard bone. Rupert had been sleeping with it rammed against him and probably never felt it. Unlike HRH, he's definitely no prince who can feel a pea 100 mattresses under.

We used to jokingly say he's austitic. His vet calls him a nuthead, remember? We joked about the same with the senior vet who is seeing HRH and he quite seriously thinks there is a case for autism. Or well, being different. He pointed out that in World War I, fox terriers were used in the trenches to deliver messages. These were the only dogs that would run undeterred through bullet fire. So if bullets won't stop the likes of Rupert, that baby gate has no chance.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Queen is back in her palace

... and is all doped out. She's using her favourite toy as her pillow. Her bandage this time is red -- they must've switched from the spring to summer collection at the vet's.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

@#^$&!! %^&&*$W!!!

When HRH saw us from her pen at the vet's she shrieked at us at top volume. All the techs looked up from what they were doing to see what was being done to this poor animal -- you'd would never have thought this was a dog that was being released. The shrill scolding continued at top volume for a good 10 minutes as we sat down with her in the waiting room till she ran out of bad words to scream at us. I'm pretty sure we got all the Schnauzer cusses.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Preferred customer

You know you've been too often to the vet when your dog goes in for surgery -- again, and major this time -- and they now waive the deposit because they just know you're going to be back.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Things I have learnt from my dogs, past and present

From Schwarz: Even though you ask for nothing, you will still receive a lot.

From Spock: Do everything with gusto, you don't know how little time you may have to do it.

From Queeni: It's OK to just sit around and do nothing, you don't know when something may creep up on you.

From Rupert: It's OK to be a silly nuthead, people need to remember to laugh.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

And it goes on

This morning when I woke up, yesterday seemed like a bad nightmare, especially with HRH curled up peacefully on the pillow next to me. Maybe everything will go away, the way bad dreams melt when your consciousness takes over.

Nope. Another day, more decisions.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The C word

HRH's bump is a mast cell tumour. When L took the vet's call and I heard "mast cell", my heart sank and well, it's been sunk since. We go back to the vet on Friday, get some counselling and discuss options.

By and large, amputation is one of them. Because of the site and the need to remove tissue surrounding the tumour just so you know you got it all if it had spread, HRH may very probably lose the whole leg and not just a toe, as we at first feared. And depending on the spread, chemo may be necessary.

It is a lot to subject a little dog to.

I'm not sure if we're handling this well. A. happened to be here when the vet called. He was quite a brick, just very calmly and quietly sat on the couch and occupied the dogs while we huddled into the bedroom, shut the door and wept. We're both complete basket cases today, and I'm not going to be much good at work, so took the day off.

Later, L went to the supermarket and came back with ice cream for HRH. I guess there's something to be said for retail therapy.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


More than a year ago, HRH's groomer had a Schnauzer pup for sale and L was then so taken in by it and almost wanted to get until I put my foot down and said I'm not buying a pet shop dog. We actually took Kayla home with us one afternoon -- HRH was not amused and certainly not gracious and welcoming at all.

Well, the groomer never did sell Kayla and decided to keep her for herself. Kayla is now a year and a half and is going blind from bilateral cataracts. Just like what Queeni went through. Only Kayla is so much younger. And Y has five or six dogs and doesn't have $5,000 in loose change for the cataract removal op (and that's supposed to be at a discount, $3,000 for one eye and $5,000 for two). She may be forced to let Kayla, well, go blind. It's making me very, very sad. There's a breeder out there that needs to be shot.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

These boots were made for walking

Actually, not really. They don't even keep moisture out from wet grass very well. All the same, it hasn't stopped HRH from walking all over us.

We got her the booties to keep the op site on her paw dry and free from any irritation grass or sand might cause, now that her dressing and stitches have been removed. Just to be on the safe side, although the site has healed over and soon, she will have no excuse not to have a bath. She's taken well to the booties, probably because we're not making her wear all four at a go, just one on the paw where she was used to a bandage anyway.

And since she's being subjected to footwear, she might as well wear disco boots -- I picked the ones in a glittery, silvery pink fabric. They cost me $30. L was horrified. You could buy a pair of human shoes for that sort of money. Real shoes, with straps, buckles, soles, heels, uppers and insoles. These booties are just glorified socks, with a stretchy band round the leg and velcro to hold it in place. There's a plastic material sewn on the base but it isn't entirely water-proof. And just because they come four at a pop doesn't justify the cost.

We got them from the groomer's shop. She would have been happy to charge us a fourth of the price for just one boot but she didn't think she would have a three-legged customer wanting the shoes we didn't need to take.


You know I work for a newspaper and media company. And that I work nights and take the company transport home after midnight. So it stands to reason that the people who get on the transport at that time of the night are fellow journos, the marketing and admin people having fled the building at 5pm. And journalists, whether print, online, photo or infographics, are people whose jobs require observation and sensitivity.

So why is it that night after night, there are people giving directions to the Malay bus driver in Mandarin?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I have to take back what I said

... in the earlier post about not feeling poorly even though I'm off sick. On Tuesday night, as I was lounging on the couch watching TV, I got hit by a wave of dizziness so bad, I rolled over and almost passed out. I went straight to bed, thinking it was just fatigue as it was quite late at night.

The next morning, I was still so dizzy that when I got up to go to the loo, I got all nauseated and dry-heaved into the sink and the bath tub. I lurched all the way to the doctor, walking like a drunken sailor, with L helpfully propping me up. Walking straight was OK, turning round corners made me feel like everything was spinning.

And we don't know why I'm off kilter. The doctor thinks maybe after that respiratory infection -- which actually cleared up very fast -- my system took a whacking and went off-balance. She gave me some little beige pills which stopped the room from spinning. Only they probably worked by knocking me out. I was drifting in and out of sleep on the couch the whole day. The dogs were very sweet, they took up sentinel positions on either side. Rupert came up to lick my face every now and then and Queeni came to sniff me. L said she did that all through the night too, getting up to sniff the top of my head. How nice to be looked after.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Rupert's new nickname

We were back at the vet's today to for HRH's stitches to be removed. She sat on her daddy's lap, glowering and growling when the vet entered the consultation room.

Rupert, however, bounced up to her and jumped up to say hi. "Hi, nuthead!" was her cheery response.

Nuthead, it is. Suits him well.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Enjoying a day's MC

The only way to get the most out of a day off sick is when you're not too sick to enjoy it.

I had a bit of a sore throat and sniffles yesterday. It didn't develop into anything bad, in fact I feel better today than I did yesterday. But since it was Sunday and the doctor's wasn't open, I self-medicated and went to work.

So being off sick today only meant that I'm getting more out enjoyment staying out of the office today than I would have yesterday. Does that make sense? It sure does to me when I'm cuddled up on the couch with the dogs and a bowl of throat-soothing pear sorbet with the new season of Desperate Housewives on TV.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Doesn't this look like an Esther Williams water ballet type formation? Wow, we're leaking artistry in our sleep! :)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Growth spurt

Rupert seems to have had a sudden spurt of growth almost overnight. He's so chesty now, I've had to let out his harness and collar. So macho and such a far cry from the thin puppy with the spindle legs when he first arrived. Now, he's more like a little horse. Trots around like one, too.

HRH does not care that he is now much more bigger than she is. She still humps him. As every good monarch must.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ready to rule

I don't know how HRH got herself into this human baby-like sitting position on our bed but she sat there that way for quite a while. Like a little teddy bear on the bed. OK, OK, like a little queen on her throne, that she is. Funny girl.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Rest and recuperation

HRH is recuperating, I am resting -- from cleaning up her vomitty bouts, the poor thing is having a hard time post-op. And Rupert is just being Rupert.

It will be a long two weeks' wait for the biopsy results and I'm scared half to death already. We went back for a dressing change today and the vet is very kind and trying not to scare us by saying let's not talk options until the pathology results are in or we'll only get stressed. But we are already stressed!

The bump is a definitely a growth, she discovered as she debulked it, and not a callous in my clutching-at-straws hopes. So the only issue now is what sort of growth. And even if it is benign but growing at a fast pace, it would probably still need to be removed or it would impair Queeni's walking once it grows into the paw pad. And being sited in that awkward position, the vet fears that Queeni may lose a toe. But she will still be able to walk, the vet was quick to reassure us. But that still feels so drastic. And given her less than happy camper post-op recovery, I hate to think that she needs to go through it again. Poor little thing.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Medical supplies

We need to keep the bandage on HRH's paw dry as it has to stay on for 3-5 days till we bring her back to the vet for a follow-up. And then they'll either change the dressing or remove it entirely, depending on how the site is healing.

We've been having thunderstorms most afternoons and even if it's not raining, the grass is wet and somtimes muddy. How to keep the paw dry during HRH's constitutional? We found the solution in clingwrap. You think it should be an item in every first aid kit? With a roll of bright blue bandages.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Back from the wars

Here's HRH come home, all wrapped up in matching blue bandages. At least the colour suits her, though I think she'd be prettier in pink. Hey, they do come in pink. Spock was wrapped up nicely in pink once, and the vet then apologised for dressing a spunky boy Jack Russell in that shade.

The bandage on the front paw has been removed since. It held the catheter for her IV drip. The bandage round her abdomen was to hold a painkiller patch against her flank (which had been shaved for that) but didn't do its job very well as she has worked the bandage off and I found the patch folded into itself and hanging by a corner onto some hair so I don't know how much benefit she got from it.

In any case, she is on oral painkillers and is mostly walking normally on the affected hind paw, lifting weight off it only when she changes her pace. And she's not whining so hopefully, her paw does not hurt her much.

Rupert tried to welcome her home by wrestling but she is growled at him to tell him that she's not ready for that yet. I hope he got the message. She is still very drowsy and will probably need another day to sleep things off.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Waiting, again

This time, it is Queeni who is at the vet. She's just had surgery -- which she went through very well, the vet called to tell us when it was over. There's a bump on her paw and the vet wanted to take some tissue for a biopsy. And since she was removing tissue, she debulked the bump as much as she could without going into the paw pad, which would hurt.

The biopsy results will take about two weeks. The worst case scenario is to have a toe amputated. But that sounds so drastic. I'm hoping it won't come to that. Queeni's only turned six years old, which is still very young for her breed, way too young for these old dog lumps and bumps -- which was why this one caught me by surprise. And then her groomer scared the beejezus out of me because she felt that it was gianormous whereas to me, it was so small, I thought it was a callus, especially as there was no fluid.

Queeni's being kept over night just so she can get some rest as she is still rather woozy, without being bothered by Rupert. Or bothering Rupert. He's not wandering round the house or looking out the window the way she was when he stayed at the vet's for his neutering. Instead, he has been following me about the house -- which he usually does anyway -- and when I got into bed for a short nap, promptly leapt up on the bed. He's not allowed on the bed, partly because I don't trust his bladder control fully but mostly because Queeni headbutts him off the bed. That's where she sleeps with us, and if she didn't want him there, then we're merely enforcing Her Majesty's rules.

It will be funny not to have her hogging the duvet and the pillows tonight.