The Gable Files

Yesterday morning started like any other (sounds clichéd but clichés are typically cliché for a reason…). I got up after a 10 hour day of filling in for one of the other hygienists, glad that I didn’t volunteer to do the same thing the next day (was going to, but something told me not to…good thing too. Always trust that gut). I had slept well so I was relaxed and woke up a few minutes earlier than normal. Walked the dogs. Routine stuff. Dogs poop, dogs pee and we head home. Right at the 3/4 walk mark, Gable starts falling back and to the ground and whimpering. I look back and usually when he does that it’s just a gumball stuck in his foot. Did the usual sweep and realized to my horror that between his toes was a GIANT squishy, red mass. Walking was painful and I kept dragging him forward, because he’s, well, 82 lbs and Liana was on the other side. Quickly quickly come one Gable! Then he falls down again and BOOM it erupts and blood flies EVERYWHERE. His face and everywhere. The pain it caused him but all I could do was force him to walk home. He had trouble getting up the stairs and the instant he got in he  ran for his bed. Blood. Blood and more blood. I yelled for my mom to come help me, my panic level at full power. Going over work, vet in my head. I put pressure on it but it didn’t seem to do anything and the blood just kept gushing and gushing out. I called work in a panic and then the vet. They get me in at 8 and so I task my mom with Gable as I take the fastest shower ever and clean up. She was able to get him to lay down and cleaned his face, but she couldn’t get it to stop either. We wrapped it up and I left for the vet. Thankfully there was no traffic. As we got there I saw that the blood was ignoring the bandage. We go in and each step he took was blood. They rush us in and the Dr. cuts off the bandage, but he’s uncooperative because it’s painful. Blood EVERYWHERE, so much blood and it wasn’t stopping. At first she thought it was just a cyst but given the anticoagulation they took him back for sedation and put an herbal in it. She sent me to the emergency vet, suspecting hemangioma. I came in with the worst possible scenario playing out in my head and how much it would cost. I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford it, but what choice did I have????

So I go and manage to get lost. It’s in Manassas and I ended up in Bristow and Nokesville. PLUS it’s amazingly difficult to get into so I managed to park behind it walked into the wrong office first. Once again everywhere we went it was just blood. Blood in my car, blood on the sidewalk. Blood. Blood. Blood. They had to clean everything. They rush him to the back and after a quick preliminary exam, Dr. Henderson comes out to talk to me. Said he was a very good dog, that it was a lot of bleeding. She was surprised when I told her it popped up overnight because he was perfectly fine the day before. My brother had seen something on his feet so I had examined each foot with no problems. My sister hadn’t even seen anything. She went to talk to the specialist and start preliminary blood work. As I was sitting in an exam room I could hear them say all hands were on deck, and repeated mention of “Gable” or “the greyhound.”

The waiting. Oh the waiting. I hate waiting. Waiting allows for all sorts of thoughts. And that active thought process is what causes depression. That is my problem. Tears. Games. I was throwing out Facebook updates every few minutes. It was the only way I had to help cope with things. I finally remembered work too as I got to the emergency vet. Work has been a disaster this week.

Finally she comes back in and they want to go right into surgery as the bleeding hasn’t let up at all even coagulant medications and such. I give the go-ahead, fill out paperwork. They go over money with me and it’s staggering, but they didn’t anticipate the higher end of the estimate. At that point he’d been bleeding for 5 hours straight. I go back and say goodbye before they put him under. At first he didn’t even register that I was there. He was in pain, scared and who knows what else he was thinking. Finally he sees me and I didn’t want to hold anyone up, so I leave. What else is there to do for 12 hours?

I go home, but for the rest of the day I am restless. GOD I was restless. Tried to stay busy cleaning the blood off things. My mom was also keeping herself busy to keep the worry away. I’m so glad she was home yesterday because Liana didn’t know what was going on. She was worried. Tried to eat food. Dr.’s first call says he was out of surgery. It wasn’t a tumor. It wasn’t well defined enough. Turns out it was this giant blood clot with a strange consistency like a balloon, granulation tissue in there too probably back from the race track. No bone involvement, but the BLEEDING. She’d keep me updated but his blood pressure came back up. Tried to watch TV. Tried to play video games. Then M texts me and I jump on him to unload. I feel bad about that now. He felt useless and didn’t know what to do. More tears. I overload him. Phone calls. She calls me again to say the foot is still oozing…not nearly as much as it was, but she needed my permission to proceed more aggressively with blood transfusions for clotting factors. She was very cognizant of cost, but I was already so far in…WHY NOT. And I was obviously not doing well from worry. I just wanted him home and better. I’d be in later to see him.

THE WAITING AGAIN. Always the waiting. 7pm could not come fast enough for me. Had my brother take me since it was so dark out. I go in and get to see the donor greyhounds. The first one jumps on me and licks my face. The other was busy being uncooperative in the back as I make my way over to Gable. He was heavily drugged, but when he saw me he tried to get up and out. Got him to lay down, and spent the next hour just sitting there with him. I could see him feel relieved to see me. My Velcro dog can’t even stand when I’m away overnight. Brought a toy for him. I get up to leave with high hopes for the transfusion. I get to see the uncooperative donor greyhound on the way out and he jumps even more enthusiastically onto me licking my face than the first one (who was now back there being amazing). Drive home feeling much better than I had been all day.

I go to sleep and drift in and out all night long. I wake up with my eyes completely encrusted with sleepies, so I can only assume I’d been crying in my sleep. I vaguely remember trying to feed him in my dream. I try to nap some more, but it wasn’t coming to me so as I was contemplating calling the emergency vet for details, they call me to say Dr. Smith wants to discharge him! The transfusion worked! I walk Liana, shower, and clean up and head on over. Got to talk to the Dr. They go over discharge info and medications and out comes my boy ready to GTFO. We have to sit in traffic on the way home, but he lays quietly in the back, also still on medications. I get him home and I get yet another scare: BLOOD. The worst part about having a townhouse are the stairs. He must have knocked his foot on something and there it went again. I call back to the clinic and the Dr. asked me to monitor the bleeding but to definitely go pick up the last medication later.

So far so good. I got him to eat some food, and he’s been busy sleeping. Liana was very very excited to have him home. She had been busy destroying things in the house, collecting shoes, and knocking over paper towels she was so anxious. The paw was bleeding for a bit, but the coagulation is working.

I would strongly recommend his emergency vet to anyone in the area. This experience was 10x better than the other emergency vet with Tristan. Wonderful doctors, wonderful staff. I will be in debt for months on end, but they’re great. Now…to worry about work and paying off all of that. I have to talk to them about more hours. On top of it all I have to get the bandage removed tomorrow and so had to move patients around AGAIN to come in a little later. M has repeatedly asked me if I need the financial help, but unless I am in dire straits I can’t bring myself to use someone else’s money. Like I would never even think about a GoFundMe unless it was completely out of my league. They are my dogs and my responsibility.

In two weeks I need to have the stitches removed too…so have to figure that out. I might be doing that one after work.

It’s amazing to think that when I woke up yesterday I had no inkling of the whirlwind I would’ve been thrown into. I feel like I’ve aged 5 years. I spent the entirety  of yesterday shaking. And these at my DOGS. I know they’re effectively my kids, but I can’t even imagine if it was my true child. I was complaining to M yesterday how I used to think I could handle any emergency situation given my strong inclination towards the biology/health field…until things started happening to the people I care most about. Then suddenly I know nothing. It’s terrible. I still know things, and it comes to me naturally, but the immense emotion around it hinders my ability to deal with it. I guess dealing with it more often will make it easier, but man….

Hopefully everything is fine. Going to go pick up the last medication now. I’m a littler nervous about leaving him at home, but he’s really tired and is sleeping soundly.


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