I have realized something in the last couple of days. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we decided to have TPO surgery done for Lucy’s hip dysplasia. I started to come to this realization while reading through the after-care and physical therapy information on Saturday. I couldn’t keep it all straight, so I made calendars. Lucy’s physical therapy requirements take us well into August.
I thought we were doing okay over the weekend. Mark and I were both home all weekend (a rare occurrence.) We had plenty of time and little more to do than pamper Lucy and cater to her needs. But things started to get dicey when Monday rolled around and everyone had to go back to work.
Lucy’s activity restrictions include keeping her confined to a small area and using caution on bare floors for two weeks. That’s not all. For the next three months she’s not allowed to go up or down stairs, wander the yard freely, play, run or jump. She must be carried up and down stairs. When she needs to do her business, someone has to take her out in the yard on her leash and wait for it to happen.
Normally, when I get up in the morning, I let Lucy outside and she hangs out in the backyard for up to an hour, watching birds, sniffing the yard, chewing on pine cones and what-not. She does her business when she feels like doing it. Now I get to hang out in the back yard until she feels like doing her business. And you just never know when that will happen. I’m juggling getting ready for work with multiple trips down the deck steps with a fifty pound dog in my arms for fear of her having an accident in the house.
This is a lot to ask of a young, energetic dog, and we’re doing our best to make this less difficult for her. But we’ve quickly come to see that what we’ve gotten ourselves into is no small undertaking. When we went to work yesterday, we closed Lucy into the lower level so she could lay in the family room. She likes it there. We closed all the doors to other rooms and blocked the stairs. We put laundry baskets on all the furniture so she couldn’t jump on or off it. We put her doggy bed and some blankets on the floor for her. We thought this worked pretty well and she did fine while we were away.
Mark stopped in at the vet’s office yesterday afternoon. I’m not sure why because I didn’t bother to ask once I’d heard all he had to tell me. He said he told our vet how things had gone the first few days and what we were doing. When she heard how we had confined Lucy while we went to work, she scolded Mark. She said Lucy should not be allowed that much room (one carpeted room and a small carpeted hallway) to roam while we are away and that she should be locked in her kennel. She should be locked in her kennel all day.And at night, she should also be locked in her kennel. That’s a lot of kennel time for a one year-old dog. And the 40-foot cable we hooked up to Lucy’s collar so she could be in the front yard with us? Also a no-no. No cables. She can only be outside if kept on a short leash. For three whole months.
I know this is all in the best interest of my dog, so that she can heal properly and get better. But I’m frustrated and upset. We talked to two vets before agreeing to this surgery. I specifically asked questions about the level of care required after surgery. I specifically stated that I had concerns about leaving her alone at home while we were at work all day and that we didn’t have the luxury of taking time off. I specifically asked what would be required of us afterwards. And do you know how our vet responded to those concerns? She said there would be some physical therapy requirements and that we could just do the exercises with Lucy when we got home from work. That was the extent of the conversation.
After Lucy had her surgery, we were given the extensive list of dos and don’ts. It is definitely not as simple as doing a few exercises after we get home from work. At times, there are as many as three different exercises a day and many of the exercises must be continued for weeks at a time. Again, I love my dog, and there’s no question that we’ll work her medical needs into our daily routines. I just don’t understand why I wasn’t provided this list in answer to my questions in the first place. Yes, I know I should have done more research on my own. I should have taken it upon myself to make sure I was more informed. But our vet played it off as no big deal. She’s been the vet to our pets forever and I trusted her. Now I feel as if our concerns were addressed in such a way as to steer us toward making the decision the vet wanted us to make. And I’m frustrated about that.
Actually, I wasn’t just frustrated. I was mad. Mark and I got into it over this. He said I was overreacting and I know I sort of am. I love my dog and I want her to be better. I just wish I had been more informed before we made our decision. Right now all I can see is my poor dog who is slightly depressed because I’m sure she thinks she’s being punished. No running. No chasing. No playing in her new pool. No more sleeping on whichever bed she chooses with whichever family member she feels like cuddling with. And just when she can start running and playing again? Just when I can start taking her out for walks again? We’re supposed to get the other hip done and start all over again. It will be December before we’re done with all of this.
I know, I know. In the big picture, what’s six months if it means my dog will be healthier and happier?
I was spouting off my mouth yesterday in frustration. I told Mark I was really unhappy with our vet and really didn’t want to go to the follow-up appointments, so he better plan on doing that. He told me not to be like that. He told me it would all be okay. I said no it wouldn’t. I know I was being unreasonable. When I get like this I need time to stew about it before I can face reality and move forward like a rational person. But I didn’t feel like being rational last night. Lucy and I slept on a pile of blankets on the family room floor last night. (Yes, with all furniture and stairs and other rooms blocked off.) She never moved from my side, so I don’t feel too bad about breaking the kennel-at-night rule. I woke up feeling pretty stiff. I love ya, Lucy, but don’t be expecting anymore doggy slumber parties with me!
I wanted Mark to understand my frustration. I didn’t want to be reminded that I was being dramatic, which I clearly was when I opened the patio door to hand him something for the grill and he tried to comfort me again, saying, ”It’ll all be okay,” and I said again, “NO it WON’T,” and slammed the door shut before he could say anything more. (God knows why that man puts up with me sometimes.)
Lucy and I slept on it. We feel a little better today. At least one of us knows that as much as I want to make sure she’s happy, right now it’s more important to focus on her health, even if she doesn’t understand why we’ve taken all her fun away.
And will I let her have the second surgery? Probably. I’m still not real happy with our vet though. But I’ll get over it.