Sunday, August 02, 2009
Visiting Linus in ICU - Day 7
Today we drove up to Columbia to visit Linus at MU. Our original plan was that we would stay overnight and take Linus to his Monday appointment. When it became apparent that Linus would be staying in ICU we decided to come up anyway and visit him. The Vet and Student both thought it would be beneficial for him. They said he seems really sad and still won't eat.
We brought Baby with us, checked in the hotel and got her settled then headed over to MU after the Vet Student, Lorie, called us. We got to go back to ICU where Linus was laying in his cage getting a blood transfusion. He's been anemic and they finally decided that he needed assistance. The theory is that the fever may have aggravated some stomach ulcers. They've been giving him Pepcid and also a pepto bismol type medicine as well as the anti nausea med. He still hasn't been eating so we brought an array of treats with us; hamburger, baby food, Beneful soft dog food. They opened his cage and let us comfort him. Darrin offered him a bit of hamburger but he didn't want it. I opened a jar of baby food, chicken puree yum yum, and the Vet suggested using a syringe. So she filled one up and pushed a little into Linus's mouth. He seemed to be able to eat it so I got down and fed him two more syringefuls, then he ate a couple of bits of hamburger! They suggested we leave it at that so as not to upset his stomach. They wanted him to finish the transfusion and we agreed to return 3 hours later to visit him again.
At 6:30pm we showed up and they brought him out from ICU and we walked him out to the fenced area. He was walking pretty well but still seemed weak and a bit disoriented. He was able to pee twice and then we got him back inside into a "comfort room". The comfort room had an area rug, two couches, a TV, and a hassock. We all filed in there to see if he would relax and eat more food.
I should mention that at our earlier visit we were asked if we would participate in a research project called Caring For Both Ends Of The Leash: Effects of Owners Visiting their Dogs in an Intensive Care Unit. Basically, the researchers take pulse and blood pressure as well as pain scores just before we visit, 5 minutes unto the visit, 20 minutes into the visit, then 5 minutes before the visit ends. Then we have to fill out a questionnaire. Of course we agreed since we are all about contributing to science! Plus it is interesting to know that visiting a pet in ICU may have a measurable and positive effect.
So the Vet, Vet Student, Researchers, us, and Linus all went into the comfort room. We got Linus to lie down on a a mat on the carpet and we petted him and offered him more hamburger. No such luck. So we got the syringe out and I fed him 3 or 4 syringes of pureed chicken baby food. He drank water and just kind of hung out. They left us alone with him and it was nice to just relax and observe him. He really is out of it. He would look at us or what we were doing but mostly he would just put his head down and rest. Hopefully, the transfusion and bit of food will help him perk up some more.
I guess we spent a little over an hour with him then they told us he needed to get back on his IV fluids. We got him up but when they tried to get him to walk back to ICU he got stubborn and flattened down to the ground refusing to go. So they had to carry him. We finished up our questionnaire and headed out.
Basically, he appears to just need some supportive care and will hopefully begin feeling much better soon. We are supposed to get a call in the morning. They're not sure if they will be able to complete the tests for the melanoma trial. They don't want to do anything to jeopardize his well being. Also the tests are quick, blood draws and needle biopsy; they would need to sedate him. We're hopeful that he will stabilize enough that we can bring him home for some TLC.