Feeling better, behaving worse!


Sunday morning, and Charlie is very obviously feeling more himself. He is alert (though you can still see his huge dilated opiate eyes!) and curious – see here him investigating the camera. His wrap has ridden up a bit and a couple inches of his staple line show at the bottom, but he hasn’t shown any interest in that area at all. He does try to groom his good leg and can lick over the part of the bandage there, but doesn’t turn toward the bad side at all so far. I may try to put him in a t-shirt or onesie just to add a layer of further protection as he gets more active, because he seems not to mind the wrap and HATED both e-collars with a passion.

The downside of his new sprightliness is that he is growing more intolerant of getting his pain meds with every dose. He won’t even let me near his mouth with the syringe anymore and his incision is so large that I worry I’ll hurt him if I try to hold his body. At first he was letting me hold his head but now as soon as I approach he starts flinching away. Fortunately there are only three more doses, and we go to the vet again tomorrow – I will ask if they have an option I can put in his food, because he is eating super well still. There are plus sides to owning the furriest piglet on earth…

He also isn’t loving bathroom jail, but I go every few hours and sit on the floor with him for a petting session so he won’t get too lonely. I can’t wait for him to heal up enough that he can go back to a more normal catly life.

Charlie 2, Cone of Shame 0

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So I went in on Saturday morning to give Charlie his breakfast and saw that he had managed to work off the second e-collar overnight. Fortunately, the vet wrapped him so snug and secure that he can’t bend his neck or torso enough to reach his incision area, and he’s actually a lot quieter now that the cone is off – he kept flailing around trying to get it off. So I’m letting him keep it off as long as he isn’t bothering his stitches.

You can see how tiny he looks in the front with his leg gone. I suppose this is what the vet meant by it being a “less cosmetic” amputation. He’s also bald along that whole side because the vet wasn’t sure if she would need to do skin grafts. Fortunately she was able to tug his loose belly skin forward enough to close the incision without it being under too much tension. So I guess he got a tummy tuck as well!

Cone of Shame 2: now with even more shame

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It turned out that Charlie had popped a few of his sutures and some others were starting to work loose, so they had to sedate him, redo the whole line with staples instead, then wrap him up even more than before and add a new, extra-large e-collar to discourage him from messing with it. He was at the vet all day Friday and got another 24-hour pain shot. This cone was so big that I had to hold his food and water for him. He also REALLY hated it. The blurry pic above is him trying to shake it off.

The other conclusion is that Charlie needs to stay confined until he’s more healed, because he kept trying to jump up on furniture and such (even when I tried to make him some steps!) He needs to stay still and NOT MOVE AROUND so his incision can heal. So Charlie is sentenced to bathroom jail until further notice.


Charlie comes home

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I went to pick Charlie up late on Wednesday afternoon. He yowled piteously the whole way home; it was heartbreaking. He was obviously groggy and unhappy. He’d had a 24-hour opiate pain injection right before he left the vet; I was given a bunch of buprenex syringes to start the next day. The instructions were to rub it on his gums; he wasn’t supposed to swallow it but to absorb it through his mouth.

Charlie ate some dinner, though I had to hold it up for him, and then was mostly interested in sleeping. His wound was still seeping a little, so I was supposed to take him back to the vet on Friday and Monday to have it looked at. He mostly wanted to curl up in his little den, but several times tried to clamber up in my lap. I didn’t know whether it would be better or worse to try to help him!

On Wednesday night and Thursday, we shut Charlie in the small half bath while we were sleeping and let him out while we were awake. Unfortunately, as he got more awake, he started wanting to do more, and also started trying to work off his e-collar. I turned it around so that it faced down toward his body rather than up around his face, which seemed to settle him a bit.

Friday morning, I could tell that he had been bleeding a little, so I took him in to the vet early.

Charlie’s surgery

I dropped Charlie off early Tuesday morning, then went to have surgery of my own–a root canal. All in all, not a fun day. The vet called in the afternoon to let me know that Charlie had come through his surgery fine and was awake, though she had him on the good drugs and he would be pretty groggy for the next few days. They wanted to keep him overnight, which I knew was a probability.

She was “80% pleased” with how the surgery had gone. Her one exception was that part of the tumor had grown too close to Charlie’s jugular vein to be able to get as wide a margin as she wanted (she tries for 5cm.) She wanted to send the entire amputated limb to the pathology lab so they could see whether they got all the cancer. I agreed. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, I should expect the results to be somewhat delayed, though.

I comforted myself by buying Charlie two new beds and a new fuzzy blanket and a pop-up dog kennel to make a little den for him under the table where he likes to hide from the vacuum cleaner. At least that way I felt like I was doing something.