Thursday, 12 September 2013

Inconveniently ill

My eyes are drooping as I type this.  I had hoped that I would come in, order a takeaway, eat said takeaway and go to bed.  Instead, I came in, dithered over take away, couldn't find a phone to call takeaway, changed mind about takeaway, ordered an online takeaway and now I'm in the process of waiting for an hour for said takeaway to arrive.  By which time, I'll either have died of hunger or fallen asleep in my chair.  In the meantime, I decided to write a blog explaining why I'll be falling asleep in my chair and here it is:

Last night was hectic.  As a rule, I don't live a particularly hectic life.  I, like Caesar, like my set routine and anything out of the ordinary stresses me.  I do love a good meal out now and again but the thought of returning home later than usual is highly inconvenient as it means that I have to miss parts of my routine.  Then the question is; which parts?  What do I sacrifice?  Last night was the date of the monthly writing club that I have begun to attend.  It was my second meeting so I still felt the butterflies in my stomach as I considered reading my writing out loud.  The previous time, I had lost my balance and felt faint as I'd tried to read.  Anyhow, I rushed to my parents after work to print the chapter of the book which I was to present.  Then, not having time to go home, I rushed straight to the club.  I didn't get home until after 9.  The door was locked.

Correctly assuming that Damien was at the gym, I hunted for my key and unlocked the door, bracing myself for a cuddle and kiss from Caesar.  It didn't come.  The house was silent and there was no sign of him in the living room.  I searched upstairs and found him snuggled up on my bed - not unusual and with the cold I thought nothing more of it.  Later, he pottered downstairs and tried to climb on my knee, I gave him a quick cuddle but he jumped off a few moments later.  Then, he began hiccup-retching and licking his lips manically.  I've seen this before, it usually means that he's going to be sick.  I patted his back and waited but nothing happened.  This went on for almost an hour.  

Eventually, I resorted to the font of all knowledge - the internet.  By this point it was late and I sat in bed by the glow of my iPad.  I kept coming up with the same answer GDV - Gastric torsion.  I'd never heard of it.  The more I looked, the more I panicked.  Until, eventually, I decided to ring the 24hr helpline offered to me by my pet insurance.  The nurse at the other end of the phone (after slyly confirming that this was not a pre-existing condition with questions like 'have you currently got a vets appointment booked? - What is it regarding?') confirmed my worst fears.  "That sounds like it could be a gastric twist," she said.  By this point I was out of bed and already pulling off my pyjamas and throwing on my clothes.  Caesar, who didn't want to move, lay breathing heavily on the bed.  I could feel my hand shaking as she instructed me not to 'panic' - clearly not someone who has met me before.  If I do one thing well, it's panicking!  I can send myself into a panicky frenzy over just about anything.  In the Summer of 2005, I convinced myself I had Bird Flu just because I panicked so much about getting it.  I can panic about anything.  In fact, I now try to avoid the news as much as possible due to the fact that it has this horrendous effect on me.  

The overly calm nurse instructed me to call my vets as soon as possible and follow the procedure for the out of hours clinic.  "Follow your vet's advice," she told me.  I wasn't planning on ignoring it.

As the line connected to the vet, I began to talk hurriedly.  "He has a swollen stomach, he's shaking, he's licking his lips and doing hiccuppy type gagging noises," I told her.
"He's feeling sick," she confirmed.  This I was pretty sure of.  Before she continued, Caesar contributed to the conversation with a giant belch.  "That's good," she said.  'It might be good for you, you're not sitting next to him' I thought. 

Caesar didn't want to move; just lie on the bed.


The vet quickly explained that a gastric twist means that air is stuck in the dogs abdomen and this can be fatal.  She told me that, had this been the case, I would have seen his condition deteriorating rapidly, usually over 15-20 minutes.  She also assured me that I'd been right to call and explained that she could look Caesar over if I would like but, as he had burped and then pumped another twice since the phone conversation, she was fairly sure he was just feeling sick.  At the worst, she thought he may have a blockage.  "Keep an eye on him tonight," she offered, "then bring him in in the morning."  I kept to my word.  Throughout the night, I watched him carefully and observed his breathing and temperature.

This morning, the alarm called me from my disturbed sleep at 6:45 and Caesar bounded out of bed, tail wagging and went to wait for his breakfast.  I dropped Caesar at my parents' just to ensure that he wasn't ill while I was at work.  He had a whale of a time.  This morning, he bounded around the house excitably, this afternoon he jumped on my dad's friend's knee and knocked his coffee from his hand.  He had the time of his life all day!  I, on the other hand, struggled through twelve hours at work almost having to hold my eyes open with matchsticks!  

"Yes, he's been great all day - you sound a bit tired..."

Has your dog ever taken ill suddenly?  Was it serious or, like Caesar, did it pass by the next day?