Tuesday, January 08, 2013
This was Sophie just before we left the field behind our house this morning. She is looking so much better - alert, happy. Still raring to go after a good romp around.
We will miss going to Highwoods for her walks, but as you can see from these pics, the field behind our house is actually quite big. Once she is up to it, and the worst of the soggy goes away (it is a veritable swamp in places), we will walk the entire circuit and see how far it is.
Anyway, here are a few pics. Those little white dots on the level area are seagulls. We have quite a sizeable flock. :-)
She is definitely having 'moments', but in between she seems fine.
Enjoy your day!
Monday, January 07, 2013
Please do read and watch this, maybe even donate a few pence if you can manage it. Such an awesome job these guys have done for a truly awesome kid!
Monday, January 07, 2013
So far, so good. Sophie hasn't had another fit. She was quieter than usual for most of the weekend, but given what she'd been through it isn't surprising. Sophie is back sleeping upstairs on her sofa in Bry's old room, with the bedroom doors open in case she needs us. We are just blocking the stairs at night so that if she does have another fit she can't fall down them. I'm going to try and find a child safety gate to put there for the future (seen one online that is made of material), but we used a couple of laundry baskets the first two nights, and we have now exchanged that for a fold up bed frame that sits comfortably across between my bedroom door and Tara's. With a towel draped over it looks solid enough that Sophie won't touch it, and is soft enough if she knocks against it she can't be hurt. And it easily slides out of the way in a second if we need to move it.
It's weird. She never sleeps downstairs, because she hates being alone, but the night she had the fit, she seemed so reluctant to come upstairs that I put the light out and left her in the sitting room, but with the door open so there was a little light coming in and so that she could come upstairs if she changed her mind. I guess someone was watching over her that night to make sure she was in a safe place when she fitted.
Clare (K9 Ambulance lady) said that she probably sensed something and that was why she stayed put, but she has been more and more reluctant to attempt the stairs at night lately anyway, and I've had to really cajole her to get her up them in the last week or two. Maybe she had been having petit mal seizures up to this point. They would have been enough to make her feel wary I should think, even if they weren't obvious to us at the time.
Tara came up with an interesting speculation that I will put to the vet on Wednesday when he rings with Sophie's blood test results. The light in the sitting room was off, but the internet was on, and in the dark the lights on the modem flash very fast and seem very bright, so Tara wondered whether the fit was as a result of photo sensitivity to the flashing lights.
Sophie was quietly sick once yesterday evening and turned her nose up at breakfast this morning, but she gets like that sometimes anyway, and it may be a reaction to a bit of a change in routine. She has to have her dementia pill half an hour before food, so she is fretting that her bowl isn't on the floor. She is unusual in that she doesn't just wolf her food down. Instead she goes to her bowl and grazes at intervals through the day.
To try and deal with her not being able to do that this morning, I gave her the pill in a teaspoon of pate, got dressed, and took her for a 15 minute walk, which is about her limit currently, and by the time we got back and got dried off it was time for her food. She picked out a favourite piece of Baker's Complete from her food bowl, put it on the floor, stared at it for several seconds, then looked at me and walked away. Hmmm...
She curled up on the sofa, looking miserable, so I left her to rest, and when she perked up a bit later, I played with her food, rolling it along the floor for her to chase, and soon she was eating out of her bowl again.
And she loved her walk. Which is a good sign. :- )
This afternoon, Tara and I barricaded ourselves upstairs with Sophie and spent some time trying to fit-proof her room in case she fits in the night again. It is a small room – about 7ft by 8ft – and has a 3ft wide single bed and a two seater sofa in it, as well as a tall, thin bookshelf and a small dining table with folding leaves. Sophie gets up on the bed to look out of the window, but sometimes when getting back off she kind of gets one of her back legs stuck behind her, which can occasionally result in a bit of a limp, so that needed to be moved. Also, if she had a seizure in there the amount of floor space is so small that she wouldn't be able to stretch out, so could really do herself a mischief.
So, after some experimenting, we have put the bed base on end against the wall, and wedged the mattress lengthways between that and the table, with the last 1/4 of the mattress bent over against the bed base, to wedge it firmly and prevent it from falling even if knocked against. It is a very old bed and a pretty solid mattress, so I'm not worried about it getting damaged this way, and it means Sophie can clamber on it, sleep on it, and generally muck about without hurting herself. I've also used a couple of old pillows to pad out the table legs. She still has her sofa. It is nice and low to the ground, so easier for Sophie to negotiate. I don't want to change more than I have to so that she doesn't get disoriented. The room is now really safe for her, and if she does have a fit in there she should be well cushioned. Plus whoever is sitting with her while she recovers will have something comfy to sit/lie on.
I had to go downstairs during the re-arranging, to get the hoover – amazing what accumulates under a bed when it hasn't moved in two years! I found a pair of nesting socks for a start! LOL I slid the new barrier aside, walked through, replaced it, and started down the stairs. As I reached the bend I turned round – and could see the tip of a wet doggy nose and two eyes peering desperately over the top of the barrier to see where I'd gone.
I told Tara to keep an eye and continued down to get the hoover. When I came back up a minute later there was Sophie wagging her tail madly. She apparently had a good sniff at the edges of the barrier to see if there was a way through, quickly realised there wasn't so she stood and waited for me to come back. This is good. The big test will be when the postman comes. LOL
Incidentally, Tara is being very brave. She was terribly shaken up by the whole experience, and I was worried that she wouldn't be persuaded to stay alone in the house with Sophie, but she is coping. Hats off to her for getting a grip on her fears for Sophie's sake. She really does deserve a special mention. :-) It is so hard for her to cope with stuff like this, especially the total unpredictability of it all. I think that getting her involved in some practical efforts to at least minimize the potential problems should Sophie have another seizure has helped her feel like she does have at least some control of the situation. I know it has helped me. :-)
In other news...
Streakwise, I'm doing pretty well.
9/9 days spinning the sparkwheel.
9/9 days at least ten mins exercising.
8/8 drinking at least 8 glasses of water and well on track today.
6/8 eating at least 5 freggies. The two fail days I ate 3 and 4, so could have been worse, and as one day was caused by a diverticular blip and the other was due to Sophie being ill, I don't feel bad about it. Besides, after being up all Friday night with Sophie, and sleeping away Saturday afternoon, I simply didn't have time to eat all my meals that day. :-) As it was, I ended up eating my evening meal at 11pm on Saturday. :-) Mind you, I kept it lightish – a piece of hake grilled, and topped with tomato salsa and melted cheese, with some broccoli on the side. Very tasty. :-)
Hoping for a good week.
Saturday, January 05, 2013
So we are back home, and THAT decision has been staved off for the moment. Thank the gods!!! You must have all been sending some really powerful vibes our way. Thankyou!
Clare, the K9 Animal Ambulance lady got here at ten this morning and was absolutely brilliant! She hauled a very reluctant Sophie in and out of her car, metaphorically held my hand through everything, explained what the vet had told me while he was in the back getting Sophie's blood taken, then brought us home, and clipped Sophie's nails for me!
It was expensive. £90 all in, including her middle of the night visit. However, she is worth her weight in gold, so I'm joining her monthly payment plan so that we have transport to the vets should we need it in the future. Currently Sophie can't walk that far, even though it is only takes 15 minutes, and with no car this was proving tricky. Paying around £8 a month means that we have transport whenever we need it. :-)
At the vets...
Once in the examination room the vet examined Sophie quite thoroughly, and explained some of the causes of fits in dogs generally, and old dogs in particular.
He also noticed some other issues that I had seen but which hadn't made me worry, like her aimless wandering about which she was doing in the vet's office and which Clare the Pet Ambulance lady noticed last night.
So, he has taken blood for a 'fits and faints profile idexx' which includes the liver test she was booked in to have on Monday. He says that these most commonly come back as 'normal' but that will at least eliminates certain causes. The blood test results will be back on Wednesday, so the vet will ring me then, to tell me the results and talk about where we go next.
He also gave me tablets in case she fits again. He says that it is impossible to say whether she will have another fit, or whether this was a one off, but that if she suddenly starts having several fits in one day, the chances are that her body couldn't cope with the strain, so she will have to take the tablets daily for life IF she has another fit. Hopefully the tablets will control the fits.
The fact that Sophie has a number of lumps that are most likely tumours does suggest that it could be a tumour in her brain that gave her the fit, in which case she will get worse as it grows. However, the only way to confirm a tumour is a very expensive brain scan, and he feels that at her age, quality of life is more important than what is causing the fits, so if the blood panels come back normal, our actions will then be dictated by whether or not she fits again and how it is affecting her quality of life.
He has also concluded that Sophie has a level of dementia. To try and help with this he has given me tablets for her that simply increase oxygen to the brain to ease her symptoms.
And she has some anti inflamatory pain meds for her arthritic back legs, which he says are significantly weaker than they were last time he saw her.
BUT I mustn't give her the pain meds unless I absolutely have to, until the blood tests are back, just in case her liver is affected.
So this is where we are. I'm now on tenterhooks in case she fits again, but hugely relieved that she is still with us for now. Hoping very much that it was a one-off fit, and that the meds help her still enjoy life, even if it is a bit limited for her these days.
And if she is going doolally in her old age, well, she is in excellent company, don't you think? LOL
Enjoy your day. I'm going to stay up a wee bit longer and then go to bed for some sleep. I can't pull all-nighters anymore.
Saturday, January 05, 2013
Around 1am ish, maybe a bit earlier, Tara and I heard an almighty crash downstairs, followed by what sounded like someone throwing stuff round the sitting room. Raced downstairs to find Sophie in the midst of an horrendous fit!
Scared me to death, and sent Tara into a total panic.
Rang for a vet and got put through to emergency one, explained situation, by which time Sophie was coming out of the fit and trying to sit up, but kept collapsing.
No transport so they rang the K9 Animal ambulance for me.
Clare, when she arrived, was brilliant. She assessed Sophie very carefully, and told me my options, and which of them she felt were in Sophie's best interest. As Sophie was able to drink water, accept a piece of Frolic, could focus her eyes, and (with a lot of coaxing) walk around, albeit with impromptu sit downs whenever her back legs gave out, we decided to wait until my usual vet opens this morning, at which time the ambulance will return and take us there, and Clare will stay with us and bring us back home afterwards.
However, if Sophie had another fit, she would come straight back and take us to the emergency vet.
Well, it is now nearly 7.30am, and so far so good. Sophie slept deeply for a couple of hours, but was wide away, panting hard, and unable to settle from 5am onwards. And as I spent the time she was asleep panicking at every slight noise she made in case it was the start of another fit, I've had absolutely no sleep, and feel lousy!
Apart from anything else, I didn't dare risk her on the stairs, so we camped in the sitting room. That thin mattress I have is all well and good for a short seated exercise, but is no cushion for a night's sleep.
The really crappy news: Clare felt Sophie over and can feel several lumps that do not feel like fatty tissue. That coupled with the fit and other recent indicators could mean we are on the slippery slope. :-(
Wish us luck please, especially if the time has come for me to need to be strong enough to make THAT decision. :-(
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