Friday, July 24, 2009

Krispy the Konehead

Krispy got her tubes tied on Monday (among other minor procedures). She did well but was groggy the remainder of the day. The doctor warned that she’d be instinctively trying to scratch the itches of the stitches and staples on her belly. (No luck getting them to do these serious underbelly procedures via the back of her neck where she can’t reach to scratch!) Sure enough, when I turned around for just a moment, Miss K was all teeth at work on the temporary staples. Grrrrrrrrrrr! I neatly flipped her over (gently) and swabbed away with hydrogen peroxide to clean up the irritated tissue. Where did I put that cone?

There’s nothing quite like the feel-bad status of the family dog to make you give up on those set-in-stone rules. OK, she can sleep in the bed while she’s in recovery. After all, if she stays in her crate, with the cone on, she’ll be banging against the sides of the crate all night trying to get it off so she can scratch the itch. I'd never get any sleep. So for purely self-preservation reasoning, I opted to let Krispy spend her first night in bed. And she did just fine. No attempts (that I can remember) to lick or chew the incisions. No middle-of-the-night wandering or restlessness.

On Tuesday it really sunk in that I was going to need to change my plans for the week. Although Krispy didn’t need 24/7 attention, she was not to be trusted not to pick at the incisions. I did not want a visit to the vet to re-do stitches or staples! Having located the cone Monday evening, I now had to find an appropriate collar on which to attach it. With great difficultly I slipped it on Krispy, trying not to jostle her too much less than 24 hours after surgery. I fastened the buckle and stood back. Krispy looked as if I just made her life twice as miserable. What was this giant thing I attached to her head? How could I? It’s heavy. I can’t move my head properly!

I was attempting a dry run to see if I was going to be able to make a run to the grocery store. She moved around the office floor awkwardly, as if I’d just attached a ten pound weight to her head. She was very discombobulated! To make matters worse, the weirdness of the cone put her into a bit of a panic attack as she worked feverishly to remove it. I found out quickly I hadn’t tightened the collar well enough since she proceed to pull it over and off her head. Oh, well.

With one dry run of Krispy the Konehead down – none too successful—I opted to wait until she’d calmed down before trying Konehead 2.0. And to make matters worse, on Krispy’s first full day home from the hospital, she had no interest in food or drink and remained fairly groggy (except when suited up with La Kone). I waited another day before attempting a grocery store run when I could Konehead and Krate her.

The best sign was when she consented to eat a full meal late Tuesday night. On Wednesday she was rebounding. Her energy was returning, and she started to gingerly test out the front stoop stairs by herself. There remained minor attempts to lick or chew at her stitches, but most of the time she was good at refraining from the gnaw.

The bulk of each day was spent with Krispy in my lap from morning to evening. This was and is a bit trying on the leg muscles, requiring shifting my four-legged lap warmer from one side to another when one or the other hip or knee gets sore. Why don’t dogs know their butts are sliding off your lap? Can’t they feel they aren’t there a hundred percent? Is it because dachshunds are so long? Is the message not getting from the back end – so far away – up to the brain? I shifted her again so I didn’t have to squeeze my knees together to keep her in place….

Further Konehead attempts were met with better results but also posed new problems. Krispy was a like a broken bobble-head. Most often the cone dragged on the floor when she walked. And then she’d run into something (a little peripheral vision problems with this thing) and get stuck. The cone’s bottom edge got stuck under a table leg. She got stuck against the coffee table. Against the door jamb of the bedroom. Under the bed. And against the side of the crate. She was flummoxed to be sure!

On Thursday she got a slightly better handle on using the cone. She looked more like a functional bobble-head when she trotted towards me with the cone swinging from side to side in her gait. She almost had it down to a science…until its edge caught on another piece of furniture. Phoom! Then she was unexpectedly stopped in her tracks. I guess dogs really aren’t set up well to adjust their spatial relationship thinking for the completely different size of a cone. The problem would repeat, but she didn’t recognize it or make any effort to learn how to correct it.

It’s another five to eight days before the stitches and staples come out, so more cone-time will be in order. In the meantime, it’s a lot of lap time. But as each day passes, the incisions heal better and better so I have less worry about having to start over from torn (or chewed) stitches. And with family visiting over the weekend, there will be more eyes to help watch Krispy the Konehead keep away from the licking and chewing activities that are…inappropriate. Take a look.

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