We just had New Year's Eve and are starting 2022. I had plenty of ideas about things I am going to do differently in the new year. Most of those won't materialize, but maybe some of them will.
But all of that came to a crashing halt because Trevor had other ideas.
For about a month, Trevor has been eating less and less. He just had no appetite. Other than not eating and losing a bunch of weight, he seemed pretty normal. Being a paranoid dog mom and having had numerous experiences with this one, we still annoyed our wonderful vet to death about it. That poor doctor didn't know what she was getting when we walked into her exam room four years ago!
Anyway, our amazing vet had checked everything there is to be checked, but said maybe we could try one more thing, which was a cortisol test. That turned out to be the key, because Trevor's cortisol was way too low. This means we need to check for Addison's disease. Once again our fantastic vet and her staff moved some mountains to get this test done before they closed for New Year's Eve. We weren't on the schedule and they didn't have time for us, but they did it anyway.
By that evening, Trevor was barely moving. He would give a little waggle when I came near him, but otherwise nothing. He was not the slightest bit interested in food of any kind, and he was trembling. In the morning, he had only gotten worse. So I texted the vet and asked about ER and she said to go.
I loaded up my baby boy and took him to VECC and carried him in. Now, this place was hopping. There were 5-6 dogs waiting in the lobby with their humans and who knows how many already being treated behind the door, but they took Trevor back right away. I know people often complain about wait times in the vet ERs, but let I can't tell you how much I would have preferred to wait. It meant his condition was more serious than I thought. It was terrifying. They just took him and left me standing in the lobby.
They came and called me back to an exam room after a few minutes, and then I waited there feeling scared for a few minutes. I cried a little, but pulled it together before the doctor came in to see me. She explained that my vet was probably on the right track and that he looked like he was having an Addisonian crisis. This is a life-threatening but treatable condition, and she said I got him there just in time before it got really bad. His blood pressure was almost unreadably low, his blood sugar was low, his electrolytes were bad, his kidney values were bad.
She explained how they would treat him and that he would stay in the hospital for 1-3 days depending on how he responded. I could tell she knew exactly what to do for him and that he would get what he needed. It was still scary. Then she left me alone in the room again.
All through this time, Trevor's primary care vet was texting me, emailing Trevor's records and offering to call the ER to talk to them. She was supposed to be enjoying her holiday, but she was helping Trevor instead.
Then a nurse came in and went over the cost estimate and explained some more about what would happen, what to expect while Trevor stayed with them, etc. She was also very knowledgable and I could tell she would take good care of my boy. Then she walked me to the front and left me standing there to pay and go. Without my pup. It was awful.
Leaving Trevor there that day is the worst thing I've had to do for him in a long list of terrible decisions I've had to make for him. Eye removals, knee surgeries, pills, more pills, calling the vet over every single thing he does (seriously this doctor deserves a medal), more eye removals. Each time I left him in the past, I knew I would see him at the end of the day. This time I didn't know when, or if, he would come home. I cried in the car.
I know the doctors, nurses, assistants, and definitely the receptionists at this clinic were extremely busy. I know they are capable and smart and overworked and underpaid. I really needed to see my puppy in that moment and I couldn't. I couldn't hold him or comfort him or do anything except wait. It probably would have been terrifying to see them work on him, but it definitely was terrifying not to.
I don't think there is a way to make such an emergency a good experience, but I do think they are doing their best. The ER doctor called me later in the day to update me about his condition, which was stable and improving. She called me again the next morning to tell me he was improved enough to come home.
My dog is home and resting now. He looks much better, and he even ate a little bit. The people at the ER saved him. His primary vet saved him. We have a long road ahead of us to figure out his medication to manage both of his long-term conditions and make sure he can be healthy and happy. I have to learn how to give him injections. That's so scary to me; there is a reason I chose spreadsheets and not syringes for my career.
I'm grateful that I was in a position to worry about the dog and not about the cost. I know that most people would not have been readily able to pay the fees the ER charged me. Pet insurance would have been an excellent idea.
Learn where your vet ER is, if you have a pet. Learn about Addison's disease, because its a sneaky guy to diagnose. Be a little bit nice to your veterinarian and vet staff; they will move mountains to help pets. I hope I never need the ER again, but I'm so glad they were there when I did. I am looking forward to learning about managing this disease with Trevor and with our primary vet team. I'm not looking forward to whatever Trevor has planned next. Really, he can be done now.
At any rate, he sure does know how to make a New Year's Day exciting.
Hold your pets close tonight. That empty spot in the bed when they aren't there is very cold.