Monday, December 5, 2016

Holly doing well, knock wood

Almost afraid to post this because I don't want to jinx her, but Holly is doing considerably well. DH continues to give her 200 ml of fluid sub q each morning at 5 a.m. She is eating well, GD mixed with chicken. I have a Ninja blender and blend the food together. Last night she ate rotissaire chicken wit the GD, a treat, and she ate it without the appetite stimulant.

Three weeks ago, or was it two, we had to take her to the ER again! Stomach pain, she yiped. I had forgotten on and off to give her meds, and her body wasn't processing the food. She was gassy. Plus she had eaten a whole quarter slice of watermelon.

$1400 later, which included an overnight stay in the hospital to give her fluids, and an argument with them about giving her a dewormer, which set her back in August!!!!!!! she came home. So far, so good and crossing our fingers. But the cost has seriously drained us this year. In the past four months we've spent about $3000 on Holly for ER visits and even a regular check up with the internal medicine vet. It's really pinched our pockets, but we have managed to pay it. It's the only reason I suspect she's still with us. We love this dog so much, both of us do. DH is crazy aobut her and formed a bond with her with doing her fluids each morning.

I wasn't certain back in August if she would even make it to December, so this is a gift, and each month she's still with us and perky and chasing toys is a gift. We had to remove "her" chair from the window to put up the Christmas tree, but she's still lively. Loves her walks. I was exhausted this weekend from our party and all the social activity, but she wanted to walk!

One day at a time.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday, Sept. 17

I can't believe I haven't journaled in here in nearly a month. Holly is still hanging in there, doing OK. Some days are better than others. She's so freaking funny, that dog. Last night DH gave her a blueberry, she didn't want it so he put it in her mouth. We find sometimes that if you put food in her mouth, she'll chew it, like it and eat more.

She spit out the blueberry. Zing!

And before that she ran off with a piece of bread in her mouth. She likes to hide food.

She ate a lot of blueberries last night, though. Just a bit of turkey. But the other night she ate a bunch of the venison. Each day is different. One day she will like the cooked, boiled chicken, teh next she doesn't want it. Last night she wanted my dinner...grilled hamburgers. So I got the grease off one quarter of the burger and gave it to her.

She had to go to the ER again two Fridays ago... DH picked her up by the paws and she howled and bit him. Xrays and ultrasounds and an overnight stay, $800. But we found out nothing was seriously wrong...she has arthritis.

I'm hoping that she doesn't have to go back to the hospital until her check up late next month. I hope...

One day at a time.

She is back to lying on "her" chair now. I took it away after the ER visit, but put it back yesterday with lots of pillows around.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday, August 28, 2016

I'm almost afraid of jinxing it, but Holly has been doing exceptionally well, all things considered. She did NOT like being boarded at the animal hospital and when I got her into the car Monday afternoon, she howled and howled. would not calm down until I had her in my lap, petting her as I drove.

When she got into the house, she calmed down and then became her old self. We are not traveling any more this year. It's too tough to leave her there, though they take great care of her.

Anyway, today was a great day with Holly. She went for a short walk, and really had a good appetite at lunch with the stimulant, so much that she ate KD rolled up in ham slices. And then she was still hungry so DH fed her some GD in Cookie's bowl, and she ate that. I cooked chicken, boiled, and she ate that as well. We tried to feed her little portions throughout today.

Last night and the nigth before she really loved all the blueberries we gave her, she gobbled down about 25 each night. I hope this keeps up. We are doing our best with all the meds and fluids, and hopefully, she is more stable now and will continue to improve. One day at a time.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday, Aug. 22, 2016

We made it past DH's birthday. Since we went away for three precious days to the west coast, we had to board Holly at the animal hospital. Our good friend pet sat Cookie at the house. I worked half a day since I could not pick her up until noon, and then went straight to the hospital. She's lost weight and she was very very agitated, excited but more agitated. I couldn't even keep her harness on, she lost so much weight. I got her into the car and she was howling. It was heart wrenching. I had to keep her in my lap, petting her as I drove as she finally calmed. When she got home, she was OK.

She even ate! Part of my fish sandwich (she hates fish) and a huge handful of roasted chicken.

Now she's snoozing on the spare bed as I write this. Her breathing is labored, as it has been lately when she lies down. Another reason I know the kidney failure is getting worse. I don't need the numbers they will give me from the bloodwork they did while she was at the animal hospital.

But she went for a walk, and she seems happy to be home, the best place for her. We are not traveling anymore this year, unless it's absolutely necessary. IT's too tough. We had a wonderful and much much needed relaxing time at the beach, getting up early and walking along the shore, and swimming in the Gulf. It was a little mini vacation we both needed.

When she was at the animal hospital, they told me she hated being caged. Duh. I could have told them that. I don't think they fed her much...not their fault... but they must have just tried and tried the KD. Dog is smart. Dog knows when the ham is hiding the KD.

One day at a time. We do all we can. It's all we can do.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Still Sunday, Aug. 14. V. frustrating

We came home from breakfast and shopping at Target to try to give Miss Holly her pills. DH got one down her throat. Then I decided to try the Nutracal. Lo and behold, she ate the pill with the Nutracal. A small success. I just cooked chicken, but I have no real hopes that she'll eat it. Cookie is getting fussy, too. I pray she doesn't have kidney failure as well. DH and I are both worn out from caring for Miss Holly, who gets pills 4 times a day, 5 if we give her the appetite stimulant, plus fluids, plus trying to get her to eat. We both love this dog so much.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Not such a great day feeding wise yesterday on Saturday. She started off well enough - had a major poop on her walk. Didn't really want to walk, though. But she jumped into her chair a couple of times.

Lunchtime, meh. Ate only ham, the Boar's Head ham. No interest in anything else. So I gave her sweet peas and squash ... hard to get her to eat that. She is now fighting me.

We had friends coming over last night, so I cleaned teh house and then ran and got her meds from the animal hospital and then spent an hour at home depot tryingg to get teh flooring quote straigtened out. Did that and we are saving money - it's $324 for everything instead of almost $500.

We went to dinner and by the time we came home, it was almost 7:30 when our friends came over. Holly hadn't eaten yet. Big mistake. We spent the next 30 minutes trying to feed her. Our friends helped. Holly only wanted cheese and ham, and we force fed her pumpkin and carrots baby food. But she was really playing with us. The manager of the restaurant was nice enough to give us a free hamburger, so Holly ate only a littel of that. She took a piece and ran around the house with it as if it were a game! She had lots of energy last night.

No luck with teh renal food. Big disappointment. Not sure how they will get her to eat when she is boarded next week, but we need a break and our mini vaca for dh's birthday. The hospital is the best place for her in case she needs extra care. I just want her to stay with us for a few more weeks. She still has much quality of life.

It's been wearing, exhasuting, caring for these days the past month. Heartbreaking as well. One day at a time.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A little hopeful Friday, Aug. 12, 2016

Yesterday morning was not a good day. She refused to take the meds, so I had to dissolve them into water and then half an hour she threw up an ungodly amount of yellow bile. I cried and cried.

But I managed to get her to eat a little Nutracal, and then half an hour later she ate a piece of turkey. I hand fed her a handful of turkey, and then some baby food (apples carrots pumpkin). V. encouraged.

At night, NO appetite stimulant. DH held off on giving her fluids. Instead, we ate turkey after my meeting for the creative circle and my friend KK came over for a glass of wine. Holly was begging, so I coaxed her into eating a handful of new baked turkey and the boiled turkey. And then we did the pumpkin in the new baby food dispensers.

And then the most encouraging thing... she wanted to beg as we were eating dessert and watching tV, so I fed her two cat kibble pieces. Thought maybe she would eat teh feline renal food...holy cow, she did! She ate about a half a cup! Ffrom the plate. She was really hungry! And then we gave her some watermelon as a treat.

V. Happy about that. So happy that when DH's work called him in at midnight, I almost wasn't po'ed. Almost.

This a.m. the mobile groomer showed up an hour early, at 9 a.m. So while Cookie was being bathed, I squirted Holly's meds down her throat and then walked her. She did not want to walk. But she pooped a little.

Then she got groomed. AFter, no interest in food. So I gave her a teaspoon of Nutracal, waited half an hour and she ate a handful of turkey, hand-fed, and then I squirted more apple carrot pumpkin baby food down her throat. Now she is resting.

Not sure what will happen next week when she is boarded. One day at a time.

Monday, August 8, 2016

More roller coaster ups and downs

I clocked out for lunch and went home to meet the pet sitter. Holly was snoring on the pile of laundry, her fav. place to nap. She woke up, saw us and wagged her tail. Seemed quite animated. N. walked her and Holly pooped again. She still doesn't want to walk, but N will carry her and then she'll walk on the way back.

Then we tried to get her to eat. She ate about 1/2 cup of perdue chicken, honey baked ham and some watermelon. N. was encouraged. Mainly bc Holly looked so perky and alert. N said Holly looks better today than last week. N. also gave her the B12 shot, and asked for my help. She said lately when she holds her by the scruff at the back of the neck, the dog flinches. She is expecting pain. She also yelped when N. shot the meds into her mouth by holding the side of her jaw. Maybe she has an infection? N says its from grabbing the scruff...where she gets the sub Q fluids. That is what she thinks.

I know Holly hasn't shown any other signs of pain.

Maybe DH giving Holly only 100 ml of fluid this a.m. has made her less sluggish and more alert. Hard to tell. BUT N was encouraged to see her eat. She thinks Holly did well. She said this dog is not at death's door. You should have many more weeks with her.

I hope so. I hope so.

Monday, August 8

Yesterday was not a good day. We could barely get her to walk, though once we did, she did have a nice, healthy poop. Yup we have been tracking her stool. That's what we do... after she had one that was pure black a week ago.

Could not get her to eat much, despite the appetite stimulant. At lunch, barely got her to eat watermelon and some honey baked ham with some pumpkin. So we gave her another pill. She ate a little more. At night Frank fed her four strips of Perdue chicken short cuts and more watermelon. She likes the watermelon.

He gave her 200 ml of fluids and she was restless all night, snoring when she lay down. She has breathing issues. This morning she was restless on the bed. I managed to get her to eat the pills with a little fried chicken. Then I took her outside and she did not want to walk at all. It is really humid out, too. I dragged her to the grass and she pooped, but only a little.

The desperate, horrid sinking sensation of trying to save something that is dying. Holly is in the end stages of renal failure. I just want three more good weeks with her. I do not want to face putting her down the week of Frank's birthday, which is next week. 

But after we came inside, she showed energy, and even jumped up in her chair. So, who knows?

I am leaving work this morning to go home to meet the pet sitter to show her how to do the appetite stimulant. Not that it will help. But we will do what we can and struggle on, thru the heartbreak. I am just trying to hold it together at work and not cry. I need a happy distraction. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday August 7, 2016

More frustration with trying to coax her into eating. Watermelon, yes. Six blueberries. No low salt ham with pumpkin or sweet potato rolled up. Even with the appetite stimulant. Gave her another 1/4 a tab. Maybe her stomach is upset. We don't know.

DH pointed out that when we board her for 4 days in two weeks, how will she eat? She has to eat. Has to get another med to trigger her appetite. I don't even know how Nicki will feed her tomorrow while I am at work, or Tuesday or Wed. V. Frustrating. I love this dog so much.

The journey from Thursday

Her general decline started back in July 24, after she threw up. She had a great vet visit July 22, and then saturday I fed her chicken broth with kibble and she threw up and had diarheea. And then she went on deworning meds on that Tuesday, because the vet intern said she had worns. That started her general decline. Blood in stool, etc.

We took her back to the vet Thursday a week ago, then last Sunday and then on Thursday again of this last week for an ultrasound.

Saturday, Aug. 6: Well, Holly seemed to be doing poorly, but then I dissolved her appetite stimulant in water, shot it down her throat. Half hour later, she ate some chicken by hand, but then I fed her the low salt ham from Boars head with sweet potato and pumpkin "burritos" and she ate like about a cup of those. that was v. encouraging, plus suddenly after she drank water, she wanted to play! her tail was up after being droopy all morning. I wonder if holding off on the fluids has helped. Maybe she drank so much water yesterday she felt bloated? One day at a time, but it was v. heartening to see she had energy back. I'm doing these private posts to keep track of what works. On the down side, cookie doesn't want to eat! She is drinking a lot too, so I fear she may have kidney failure as well. I don't know. It's a challenge, always.

Aug. 6: Can't stop crying. Damn. I have to stop this. Life goes on. I love my dogs so much, they are family, and watching her decline reminds me of watching my mom die from cancer. So many I've lost to disease. Frank is rattled, very much so. But we have to go on with our lives. I think we will take her back to CSAH and it will be the last time. She is not getting better. She never will. She will join Dolce in heaven, and Tiger, Tia, Rainy, all the other dogs we have loved and lost. We are not adopting anymore or getting any more dogs. It's too heartbreaking to watch them decline and then have to make that terrible decision to put them to sleep.

Aug. 6, 9 a.m.: Sitting outside, waiting for the guy from home depot to measure the guest bathroom. V. Depressed. Holly isn't doing well. She drinks too much water. She woke me up twice to get down so she could drink. Now, although she had a nice poop outside, her tail is down and she looks depressed. She ate a little fried egg from my dunkin d sandwich. No fluids until noon in hopes of getting her to eat. I'm worn out, emotionless and physically, trying to cope with the fact that our beloved dog is dying and nothing we can do will stop it. But at least the pumpkin she ate yesterday did help.

Sat. August 6: Rough rough night. Holly would eat only ham with a little pumpkin in it, hand fed, despite the appetite stimulant. She kept drinking and drinking. . I cried. I fried turkey and she ate only a little. Sent frank to the store for low sodium ham and she wouldn't eat that. I fear she is declining. Told frank she would not be with us thru christmas. Cried again. I just know.

Aug. 5, 2:44 p.m. Friday: The BW from August 4 is "normal" except for the creatine, of course, and the BUN. Creatine was 2.1. the BUN is very high, alarmingly, 104. It was 74 on Sunday and 51 on Thursday. Still, Dr. Perez isn't worried because that fluctates. She thinks it means a GI bleed. But her other BW is fine. Normal. No anemia or anything. So that was good. I'm going to try not to worry. Try.

Aug. 5: Today was a fussy day. Holly ate a little chicken, but didn't want her pills. Wanted the Boar's head ham, so I fed her appetite stimulant pill with it. An hour later, she was hungry but fussy. Would not eat the chicken nor the boiled egg I bought. Or the sweet potato mixed into the chicken. So i mashed sweet potato and pumpkin, and then mixed ham. Still would not eat that. Then I made "burritos" out of the sweet potato and pumpkin and rolled the mixture into the ham. She ate that. About a cup of that, and then some ham. No blueberries. No interest in applesauce or carrots. I think she has a blockage. It could be a bleeding tumor not picked up on u/s or bloodwork. But I'm going to keep trying the best I can. I am worn out from shopping, cooking and trying to feed the dog. It's 2:40 and all I have done is manage to clean up the fridge. But if it means restoring her to some health, it's worth it.

August 5: Friday: We took Holly to the vet yesterday and the ultrasound is clear. BW shows normal too, except for the kidney failure, of course. Fecal was negative for parasites. Vet thinks she has a GI bleed, and that is causing the poor stool output and the poor appetite. So she gave us a slew of meds.
Already Holly's appetite perked up on the appetite stimulant yesterday. Still can't get her to eat her kidney dog food, but she ate a lot more chicken and blueberries than before. The vet is cautiously optimistic that Holly doesn't have cancer. The only way to tell, of course, is an endoscopy, but that means anesthesia, and we can't do that to her with the kidney failure.
She has more energy, and seems perkier, playing with her toys, so we are hopeful the GI bleeding will resolve with the meds. We are pretty much emotionally wrung out, thinking the worst, and now that we have a plan to restore her back to health as much as possible, we are feeling more optimistic. The photo is the dry erase board I bought yesterday to keep track of her meds. Yup, there are a LOT.

July 28: Writing has presented a huge challenge this month after I turned in the last book. I am burned out, but I finally managed to finish the synopsis and the first chapter for the next proposal for Book 3 for HQ romantic suspense. Two more chapters to write! The painter stripped off all the wallpaper from the guest bathroom and tomorrow he will paint. He did all that, I finished a chapter, and I'm still waiting on the vet to call back about what I can do for Holly. I managed to coax her into eating a handful of whole grain noodles, some boiled chicken and five blueberries. I don't know if it's the kidney failure OR the deworming medication she's on. Or something else. She was very sick Sunday with vomiting and diarrhea, which might have been caused by her diet. And she was just at the vet last Friday for bloodwork and her physical.

July 27: Both Cookie and Holly are sick with diarrhea. Cookie's is worse. holly's may be from the deworming meds. I'm very very late for work because I had to clean the rug and throw out ALL the dog food and make them chicken and rice. The good thing is my boss is a dog person and understanding.

July 26: Thank you, everyone who posted about Holly. She is eating again and stable. Tests indicate she may have worms, so she starts a new med tonight. It's always delicate with her kidney failure. The good news is she is finally stable after the incident that put her in doggie ICU for a week in April, when we almost lost her. Creatine is 2.2 and BUN is 50. But she will still need supportive SQ fluids each day.

July 22: Holly at the vet for her kidney checkup. Physical went well, hopefully the bloodwork will be good.

Day one of journal

Our neighbor moved out yesterday. Jan has Alzheimers disease, and two weeks ago had to put her beloved dog to sleep. I don't think she even remembers it, nor how much she adored Beau, who had been keeping her company since her husband died a few years ago. Her adult children came to help her pack a few things and then she was gone. So sad. I am glad she is finally getting the care and constant attention she needs, but I will miss seeing her putting around the garden and outside walking Beau. Sometimes she would see me outside on the porch and come over to chat.

Life goes on. Constant changes, and challenges.

Holly, our beloved rescue dog, has kidney disease. She was diagnosed in April of 2015 with stage 3. Her creatine was 2.0 and her bun was around 40. We suspect it was caused from age (we don't know how old she is) and the chemo she underwent Sept-Dec of 2014 to kill any stray cancer cells. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in August of 2014.

We have done so much for her, but now I fear we are watching her end days. So I have created this journal of her journey to cope with my own feelings of loss, sorrow and anger at losing our friend. And probably to remind myself to not do this again, because we have lost four dogs to cancer. Dolce last June to a tumor near his heart that caused heart failure, and Tiger, Tia and Rainy.

Only Cookie, 13 going on 14, are left and Holly, the rescue who was living in a cow pasture.

One day at a time.

Yesterday was a fairly good day, considering. She was so bloated on Friday night that we didn't do the fluids twice a day. Instead, we did the ulcer med in the morning, and then I dissolved her pills in water and shot them down her throat two hours later. Those are the meds to reduce stomach acid. The meds have to be given two hours after the ulcer medicine or they won't work. Then I gave her lunch. She wouldn't eat the boiled chicken, nor the low salt turkey from the deli, nor the fried turkey, but she wanted watermelon and ham. So I made little appetizers of ham with pumpkin in them, rolled up, and fed those by hand. She ate about a handful of those. No blueberries.

We were worn out and needed a break from the trauma of Thursday, so we went to a movie at 3:30, after he gave her fluids. She is still drinking a lot and I fear it is the ham. But it's all she will eat. So we went to see something stupid - 9 lives with Kevin Spacey, and then to dinner at Champs. Karen wasn't there, so we ate quickly and came home. I wanted to get home to her.

And then we realized we had never given her the ulcer meds. So at 7:30, ulcer meds, and then the other meds at 9:30 and dinner at 10. The appetite stimulant kicks in 30 minutes later. She ate another handful of ham, and more watermelon and managed some blueberries. She also ate watermelon before the stimulant. After talking with his cousin, Bunny, DH realized she may have throat ulcers that are causing her pain and make eating a challenge. Thus the watermelon, which is sweet and soothing.

This morning she got her ulcer meds, and her fluids and now she is sleeping/snoring behind me on the pillow in the computer room. Her snoring has gotten worse, too. I pray she will hang in there for the next four weeks. I don't want her to go more south during DH's birthday in two weeks. We are going away for four days and really need this break for his birthday. WE will board her with the specialty vet, the best place for her while we are gone. I don't know what we will feed her, but one day at a time. All we can do.