My Day…Yesterday

Well, let me start by saying that Ari going to school is good for many, many reasons. He is talking more, listening more, playing more appropriately and learning to share, mingling with other kids, and just generally enjoying himself immensely. However, there is one very monumental downfall of school.

Illness.

We are on round 2 of the colds here at Casa Auterrific. Ari picks them up and brings them right home, just like his art work. The last time around, it was a rhinovirus for Ari, me, Josh and my mom. This time it is an unknown virus. This time it hit Ari first, then me and now Josh. It hit little bit the hardest, though. Two days ago his nasal congestion worsened. The day before yesterday he began to cough on occasion and sneeze a bit and I thought it was going to go the way of the rhinovirus. I was wrong. Yesterday morning he sounded horrible. Lots of nasal congestion, but this slight wheeze. I went about my day, but watched him carefully. At 10:30am I gave him a bottle. Right after finishing, he projectile vomitted the whole thing and his wheeze was more pronounced. At the risk of being viewed as one of those freaked out, overprotective moms by the staff at the pediatricians office, I took him in immediately. After all, the wheeze had just started. I’m glad I brought him in.

The doc’s office was really great about getting him in right away. I called to let them know I was coming and they wanted to make an appointment for 2pm, but I insisted on going right away. They were OK with that but told me that it might be a while before a doc could get to him. Fine. I just wanted to be in the doctor’s office.

They brought us to a room pretty quickly considering I knew that they only had two doc’s working. As fate would have it, Joe began his pediatric service at the hospital yesterday and our pediatrician was the one rounding with him, so I knew she wouldn’t be at the office and we would be seeing someone else. The nurse came in to take vitals and ask what was going on. I told her about the wheeze and she listened to his lungs. She said, “Wow. I’ll be right back.” If you hadn’t guessed already, if a nurse says those words and leaves the room, you know it’s serious. She came back in no more than 20 seconds with the doc. The doc then instructed a nurse to immediately get a breathing treatment set up, which took about 1 minute. I’m not kidding. They moved quickly. She told me that if the breathing treatments didn’t work, he would be admitted to the hospital. When the doc told me about the possibility of Josh going to the hospital, I told her that his Daddy was on his first day of pediatrics there and she said she’d call up there and talk to him. Apparently, she had told our regular ped, on her way out the door to round, that she might have an admission to the hospital. When our ped got to the hospital, she said to Joe, “Hey. I just saw Linda at the office as I was on my way out. Oh, and by the way, we might be getting an admission…a wheezer.” So, when the doc called Joe and he came to the phone, his first words were, “Please tell me you’re not admitting my baby.” She said no, but gave him instructions on what to look for with Josh and his care at home. Obviously, the breathing treatments worked and he got to come home. We now have a nice new nebulizer that’s ours to keep. Woo hoo! It helps having this around with kids. He gets breathing treatments every 4 – 6 hours and has to sleep in his bouncer or car seat. He still sounds kind of wheezy, though. I’m keeping a close eye on him. There was a bit of concern over the fact that he had not received his RSV shot yet, so they took swabs from his nose to determine if he has it already, and if not, what it could be. I’ll be interested to get the results of that.

Anyway, so Joe and I got home yesterday at around the same time to find a card in the mail from the vet’s office in Kentucky. Inside was condolences from almost every staff member there and a paragraph about how much Loki meant to them as well. We began to well up again. But we were overcome with tears when we saw this…

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Send Lots of Love and Happy Thoughts

Please send happy thoughts as Loki has now left for the Rainbow Bridge. Auterrific and Hubby were down here today to take Loki onto his last journey. My hubby and I loved Loki as we got to know him and he will be missed. It just wont be the same visiting auterrific and not having him barking and all 150+ pounds pouncing on you like a puppy.

As for me… look for more postings hopefully after I have successfully taken my boards on Nov. 4th. PLease keep all your fingers and toes crossed for me.

Posted in Dog

It’s Time

I’m going to write this while I can. Loki will be going to the Rainbow Bridge today. He has continually slowed down over the last week and had a hard time eating yesterday. His last bit of food, was a cheeseburger, though. We are driving to Kentucky where he can be around all of the people who love him so much (he made quite the impression at our Vet’s office there). We are glad to have gotten almost a year with him past his diagnosis with Lymphosarcoma. We are devastated, though. He’s not even 6 years old. We’ve been with him all of his life, fresh out of the womb even. We’ll be with him to the end. Thanks to all of you who gave such loving thoughts and prayers to the big guy over the last year. He doesn’t lack for love. I hope he finds that where he’s going next.

UPDATE: 10/22Loki has left for the rainbow bridge. This is the email we sent Loki’s breeder when we returned home:

Sonia,

It is with great sadness and truly heavy hearts that we are writing to let you know that Loki passed away yesterday, at the young age of 5 years & 9 months. As you know, he had been suffering through the deadly disease of canine lymphosarcoma. He had fought the good fight for nearly a year, and handled the chemotherapy better than most humans would have. A few months ago as we prepared to move from Kentucky to Ohio after my (Joe’s) graduation from medical school, we found that we could no longer afford the intravenous drugs as we had used for the previous 8 months. So, we continued on just oral meds and TLC for as long as he would last.

Over the past week, Loki began to slow down quite a bit. The enlarging lymph nodes under his chin were no doubt affecting his airway and he was starting to retain fluid. When he lost interest in eating, we knew the time had come. We drove back to Kentucky to visit Loki’s friends at our last vet so we could all say goodbye together. We were with Loki as he left this world, just as we were when he entered it. Saying goodbye was harder than we ever imagined, and there was (and is) no shortage of tears shed about his passing.

He was our best & most loyal friend, protector of our house & home, and was as dear to us as either of our children. To say that we are emotionally devastated is not doing justice to how we feel right now, and the house seems way too empty without him.

Loki wasn’t just a pet to us. He had a wonderful soul, and his main mission in life seemed to make us happy, secure, and comforted. We may someday have another dog, but there never will be another Loki. Despite our grief, we consider ourselves lucky for the time we did spend together and thank you so much for your support, and for providing him to us those years ago when we lived on the same side of the Atlantic Ocean as you.

Take care,

Joe & Linda

We miss him terribly. It’s awful. Everything around here reminds us of him in some way.

Posted in Dog

Life Update

First, no, the handyman never showed up today. I think he’s about to get a crash course in boundaries. When we say he has to be out by Friday at 6pm, we mean it. Any of the psychology savvy people here want to venture a guess at what his parental experience with boundaries was? Don’t you just hate being a parent to your handyman?

Me: The last few days have been excruciating for me physically. I’ve been having some pelvic issues that make it nearly impossible to walk. Resting helps, so I haven’t been online much at all. Last night was the worst when I cried myself to sleep and cringed every time I had to move. I was certain that I would have to go to the ER today, but the night’s sleep made it better. So, today, my mom and Joe have helped out quite a bit where I have been able to be in bed for several hours. It’s getting better with more relaxation, but I still have some things to do and I know the only way this will be resolved is by giving birth. I will talk to my doc about it on Monday, but I’m pretty sure he’ll say the same thing.

Joe: He’s finally done with block nights and in his hood with his peeps (anasthesiologists). He’s loving life right now and feels completely at home. It’s a great feeling for us all. What’s nice is that I actually get to sleep with him again.

Ari: He had his first appointment with his new pediatrician yesterday. She’s a bit older, which is not uncommon for D.O.’s (they usually choose to live life a little before heading to med school). There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just noteworthy. She did splendidly with Ari though and he really does like her. We discussed his extra tooth and developmental delays, essentially. She gave me some really good suggestions for pediatric dentistry, which was cool. She also mentioned that she had heard that the organization that offers help for kids with special needs is notoriously flawed and that many people have the frustrations we have had. One of the reasons we chose her as our ped is that she specialized in OMT (osteopathic manual therapy). We had been told by a friend who was doing her fellowship in OMT at Pikeville that OMT can often help kids with delays, special needs, autism, etc. So, we spent a lot of time talking about that. I told her that sometimes Joe and I see Ari doing things that are very typical of the autistic spectrum, but then he shows such progress. She noted that she didn’t think he was on the spectrum at all because she witnessed him not only engaging with me a lot, but her as well and that it was by HIS initiation. We’ve heard that before, so that has put our mind at ease a bit, but it is still very apparent that he has a significant speech delay and sensory integration issues. With that in mind, we are going to move forward with OMT. Ari’s first appt. for that is on Friday. We’re really excited about this. There have been huge breakthroughs for children who have this done, which suggests that there may be a connection to musculoskeletal dysfunction. In some cases, once corrected, the child actually skyrockets to meet up with their peers. Now, we’re realistic about this and aren’t expecting miracles. But we’re hopeful that this might aid his other therapies to help him thrive more quickly.

Loki: Big guy had his appt. with the last of the oncologists here in town, at Ohio State University. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE APPOINTMENT. Could I be any more excited about this? Well, I could be if Loki were remaining stable. His lymph nodes were a bit enlarged and we spent some big cash giving him his injectable chemo today, but we cannot continue that protocol because of cost. The great thing is that the vets understand our limitations and are not only willing to work with us to maintain his quality life in the manner we can financially, but mentioned how reprehensible it was for our the last oncologist to do what she did. They went on to say that they will even consider that with Joe being a doctor that there may be some injectables we can do at home. I couldn’t leave without telling them that they were 200% better than any experience we had here in Ohio regarding Loki. I was most pleased. We go back in two weeks to see how he responded to this injectable. That will guide what we do next.

So, that’s what’s new with us. If I’m not around, again, please understand I’ve been having some really rough days.

goin’ to kentucky

We have reached our final straw with the vet who is treating Loki here in Columbus. During his last visit to the vet when he received a chemo injection, it was made clear to them that we could not afford the injections long term and that we would be doing treatment by maintenance meds until his condition required otherwise. It’s not what we WANTED to do. It’s what we COULD do. Well, we called them today asking for 8 more pills of his maintenance meds so we could dose him this week and a prescription for the meds so we could order from Canada and save ourselves some money in the process. The short answer we got was, “No.” More specifically, they deny that we ever discussed with them our financial capability. They went further to say that unless we treated Loki with the injectable they felt that we were “unwilling” to continue his protocol and they would not see us. This is even after we agreed to come in for an assessment/follow-up this week so that he could get his meds. They won’t even see us to do that. Can you believe that???

So, we’ve called Loki’s old vet in Kentucky and we are striving to get him seen there as soon as possible. We at least need him treated with his maintenance meds and to get a prescription, which I’m sure they will give. This is kind of an emergency situation, so we need to be seen by someone who can work quickly.

We have the option of going to another vet here who specializes in cancer treatment, but the same options will ensue…they will charge so much that we won’t be able to afford the full treatment. Now, the further I get along in my pregnancy, the closer we’ll need to be to home…so God only knows what’s going to happen with this.

We’re just really pissed and really upset right now. Never have we had a doctor say, “Treat him the way I want him treated or don’t come in at all.” I’m convinced the vet here is one of the coldest hearted bitches on the planet.

Posted in Dog

Finally, some good news

The results from Loki’s joint tap and assessment by the radiologist came back. It is simply a congenital form of arthritis…some juvenile condition that decided that this was the time to flare up and freak us all out. So, now he is on MEGA joint support vitamins, antioxidant vitamins in addition to his anti-inflammatory meds. He took 12 pills this morning. It’s like he’s elderly. But, he’s doing very well. The limp has lessened so much that his doc feels that we dodged what could have been a major bullet in his care.

They heard from his oncologist too, and he is on a tapering dose of chemo. So, he went for chemo yesterday and will go every two weeks for the next two months. But his lymph nodes are terrific and he is responding very well to that.

We are very thankful to you all for the happy, healthy vibes. We don’t often get good news with regard to Loki, so the week has been a bit shocking to us. But, hey, if you’re going to have shock…let it be GOOD shock.

Posted in Dog