Thursday, May 28, 2009


Today brings us to 21 days post-op. Reyna’s incision looks great. In fact, I think its time to stop calling it an incision and start calling it a scar.

Reyna is doing very well. She’s been completely off the pain meds for several days, and she’s barely limping. She’s been doing so well, in fact, that I decided to start her walks a bit early. This morning, we went for our very first “real” walk – meandering around the yard during potty breaks doesn’t count. We didn’t walk far, just up to the cul-de-sac, down to near the intersection (we didn’t go all the way to the intersection, since I didn’t want her spazzing out if a car went by), and then back to the house. We went at a pace that was much slower than our normal pace, but not so slow that it wouldn’t count as exercise. I was sorta hoping she'd be so unused to the exercise that the walk would make her tired, but no such luck. Reyna was limping less when we were done than she was when we started. We were supposed to wait one more week before we started walking, but I don’t think it will hurt to ease into it slowly.

The only downside is that Reyna is feeling so good, she’s in full fidget mode. Its getting much harder to keep her relaxed and quiet without just locking her in her crate. She’s demanding a lot more attention and entertainment, as seen by the number of squeaky toys (and these aren’t even all of them).

Marie gave Reyna several books (thank you, Marie!), and I’ve been reading to her when the squeaky toys don’t seem to work. I don’t know if Reyna’s all that entertained by the stories, but Duncan certainly is.

Thankfully, though, Reyna hasn’t really tried to incite Duncan to play, and she’s not spinning, bouncing at Niko, barking (much) at passing vehicles, or walking herself outside. She’s still being very good about all of that, although she has tried to run down the hall at the cats a couple of times. I’ll take what I can get.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Book-Sharing Ponzi Scheme

I’ve been recruited for a book-sharing club - I have to mail one (1) random paperback book to someone and, in theory, I’ll get 36 books in the mail. This is the type of ponzi scheme that I can actually support. Of course, for it to work, I have to recruit 6 other people. And for it to really work, those 6 people will recruit 6 more. After all, this is a ponzi scheme. If you’re interested (and I hope you are), send me an email or let me know in the comment section and I’ll send you the details.

A Comparison

This was Reyna’s incision on Saturday, May 10, two days after the surgery.

This was Reyna’s incision on Friday, May 15, eight days after the surgery.

And this was Reyna’s incision yesterday, 14 days after the surgery.

A huge difference in only two weeks.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

14 Days

At two weeks post-op, we’re doing much better than I ever thought we would. Reyna’s incision is healing nicely, and she’s not even bothering to lick it anymore. She’s moving easily, and the limp is slowly fading away. I’m amazed every time I realize that she’s limping less now than she did before the surgery. She’s even down to a quarter of the pain killers she was taking before the surgery and showing no indication of pain. It’s like watching a miracle in progress. An expensive miracle, but a miracle nonetheless. Generating even more amazement for me is the fact that she’s still having no problem with the confinement. She still wants to be entertained more than last week, particularly in the evening. And she REALLY wants to get the squirrels that taunt her every day from the safety of the back yard. When I take Reyna out for her potty breaks, she’s definitely eager to go farther and faster than I’ll let her. But then she comes back in and goes straight to one of her beds. She’s not even bothered by hearing all the strange voices over the speaker of my phone (courtesy of all the conference calls I’ve had this week).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ties That Bind

Reyna’s stitches are out! John came over yesterday evening to mow the front yard for me, and while he was here he fixed a problem with my computer and kept Reyna calm while I removed the stitches (he’s a man of many skills). Reyna was very good for most of the procedure. The two stitches near the bottom (where there had been some oozing) were a bit painful because they were stuck. But we made it through it, and her incision already looks so much better. What little redness and irritation there was yesterday is gone now, and Reyna’s only made a few half-hearted attempts at licking it. She’ll still be wearing a cone to bed for a few more nights, just to make sure its completely healed.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Easy No More

Looks like the rumors I heard were right – week one is the easy week, and the work starts during week two. Yesterday, Reyna actually got up, left her crate, and walked out the dog door. I was in the back of the house, but Mary was in the living room and alerted me to what was happening. Reyna made it out in to the yard, but didn’t seem too bothered when I got the leash on her. I ended up keeping her shut in her crate most of yesterday, just because she kept trying to get out – the first time she’s made that kind of effort since the surgery. She’s also been getting up more today, even walking into the kitchen while I was fixing her dinner without waiting on me to go and get her.

This morning, I came into the living room to discover that Reyna had managed to remove her cone at some point last night and spent a fair amount of time licking her incision. Thankfully, she kept the licking to a spot that was already pretty well closed up. This was particularly important since she removed several of her stitches in the process. Good thing I’m planning to remove the rest of them tomorrow or Tuesday.

Reyna hasn’t tried to lick too often today, but she has demanded a lot of direct entertainment. She’s spent most of the day making her toys squeak and then methodically ripping them to shreds. I hopped online and ordered more, and I'm sure I'll have to do that again before this is over. She’s napped some, but no where near as much as last week (or even two days ago). I’m sure this is a combination of time and meds – she’s starting to feel better, and I’m lowering the Tramadol dose so she’s not as drugged up. I’m glad she’s feeling better, but I’m a bit concerned about the next few weeks. After all, I’m scheduled to start working a few hours each day tomorrow. Clearly, I should have worked last week and planned to take vacation time this coming week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Little Cat Feet

Reyna’s incision looks like its healing well, but this morning I noticed just a bit oozing at one spot. It looked like it was coming from a hole created by the thread, rather than where the skin was closing. I wasn’t too worried about it, but since it just started today, I figured I’d check with my regular vet to see if I should be concerned. Based on my description and the fact that Reyna’s pretty much left the incision alone, the vet wasn’t concerned. He said that’s part of why he doesn’t like stitches just staying in too long, because they provide more openings for bacteria to enter. Thankfully, the oozing stopped by early afternoon and hasn’t come back. Of course, not long after telling the vet how good Reyna was being about not licking the incision, I walked into the living to find a guilty look on her face. The incision was wet and red, and she’d obviously been licking it the entire time I was out of the room. Figures. As you can see, though, Reyna is clearly not bothered by her current circumstances.

Its been so quiet the last few days that the cats – particularly Belle – have been experimenting with the idea of coming into the living room. When Reyna was at the vet school, I encouraged the cats to come out. After all, Duncan is terrified of them and wouldn’t bother them. Reyna, on the other paw… Well, lets just say that a cat visit is not the way to keep her calm and quiet. Belle came down the hall and was not happy to discover just how close she was to Duncan.

And she was even less happy when Duncan realized she was sitting there.

Thankfully, Reyna was working on a bone and facing the back wall during most of that time, so she didn’t notice Belle. And then something happened, I don’t remember what, and Reyna flipped over and started to get up, aiming for the hall. That was enough to keep Belle on the far side of the baby gate for the rest of the day.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

7 Days Post-Op

Surgery was a week ago, and Reyna’s still doing very well. This basically means she hasn’t started going bonkers yet. She’s still resting most of the day, if not actually sleeping. I have had to start giving her treats to keep her a bit more occupied, but I knew that would happen. She particularly loves the peanut butter kongs, but she was also happy to eat the kangaroo leg bone. Unfortunately, the leg bone didn’t last as long as I’d hoped, but that’s okay. The peanut butter is cheaper, anyway.

The incision is healing nicely, and the stitches will come out next week. Amazingly, Reyna really isn’t interested in licking the incision – and I hope it stays that way. I’m going to start weaning her off the tramadol (pain killers) tonight. Give her half a dose at night for a couple of nights, and then start giving her half a dose in the morning, and see how she does. Of course, since I’m lowering the tramadol, I’ll be raising the trazadone. After all, just because she isn’t hurting, it doesn’t mean she can start being crazy.

Reyna is still moving pretty easily, putting a bit more weight on the surgical leg. She’s still limping, which is normal, but she’s eager to walk around in the back yard. The last couple of days, she’s decided to spend most of her time in her crate – I think it’s at least partially because her squeaky toys are in there.

Duncan’s a bit quieter than usual; I think he’s still missing his sister. He’s tried to play with her outside a time or two, but that just gets him fussed at. He’s decided to handle the protection work, since Reyna’s not quite up to snuff (although she certainly tries). It’s really cute, because he’ll start barking at the kitchen window and then he’ll run to the front door, where he’s immediately stymied. I have tin foil taped to the bottom half of the door so Reyna can’t see people walking or driving by, and Duncan keeps forgetting that he can’t see out, either. But he definitely gets cookies for stepping up to the task.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Here's the picture of Reyna's shiny new bionic hip. If you look closely, you can see that her left hip doesn't fit in its socket anywhere near as nicely as the right hip fits in its new cup.

Her new hip has three sets of wire wrapped around it because of the 35mm crack that happened during the surgery. The surgeon said her bone structure caused the implant to go in at an angle, and the pressure of that caused the crack. I was surprised to discover that the crack happened at the top inside, just above the top wire. The middle wire is at the bottom of the crack. The bottom wire adds a bit more stability. The surgeon did warn that there's still a chance Reyna could crack her femur at the base of the implant, because of the angle of the implant. Its not likely, though, as long as we do as we're told.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ruff Nights, Better Days

I was planning to post last night, but the storm knocked the out the power at 6:45, and it wasn’t restored until after midnight.

Reyna’s been doing very well the last two days. She’s still limping and she’s a bit wobbly when she first gets up, but she’s moving more easily. She’s napped most of the time (thank goodness), and she’s been very accommodating about the confinement and bed rest. She’s more relaxed on one of the dogs beds than in the crate, so we’ve come to an agreement - I let her snooze on the dog bed as long as she stays quiet, and she only goes in the crate when she wants to (like right now), at night, or if I need to be out of the living room for more than a couple of minutes. So far, that’s working for us. We might have to renegotiate that when she starts feeling more energetic. She hasn’t shown too much interest in licking the incision, either, so I’ve only been coning her at night and when I’m out of the living room for more than a few minutes. Again, I’m expecting that to change in the next few days. The incision looks pretty good so far; no sign of an infection or other problems.

Going out for potty breaks has been interesting. I control the pace, but I let Reyna choose the path. She likes to go for a short meander every time we go out. Sometimes, she heads for the fence and just stands there looking out at the neighborhood. Other times, she does a loop of the yard. She’s been very good about coming in after just a few minutes with no prodding from me.

We’ve had a couple of visitors since Reyna came home, and she’s good about staying relaxed with someone who just quietly comes in the house. A stranger knocked on the door yesterday afternoon, though, and she tried to bolt out of her crate, barking and growling. And a little bit ago, someone turned around at our driveway, which set Duncan to barking, and Reyna thought she had to participate. Of course, her bolt these days is a lot slower than it used to be, so its easy for me to catch her before she goes more than a couple of steps.

Duncan’s been leaving Reyna alone except when we go outside. Then he gives her kisses and sniffs all the important parts. Reyna snapped at him once yesterday morning, and I think that hurt his feelings a bit. The poor boy’s been off his feed, only eating about half of each meal. He’s been pretty clingy with me, even sleeping on the couch with me at night. And let me tell you, there is not enough space on my couch for both of us to stretch out.

Speaking of sleeping…Friday night was a bad one. Reyna’s on a 12-hour med schedule, and we seem to have settled on 6am and 6pm. I slept on the couch Friday and Saturday nights so I would be available if she needed me. Friday night, she woke up several times, not necessarily in pain but obviously agitated. We got up about 5:30. Last night was a little better, as she didn’t wake up as often, but we were still up before 6:00. Both nights, we ended up napping together on the floor before bedtime. I’m planning to sleep in my own bed tonight, but I doubt I’ll actually sleep very much. One ear open at all times, you know. But I need to get back in there, because the cats (Belle) are starting to get very annoyed about their lack of Mommy & Me time.

Here's Reyna when she got home. Those bandages came off on Saturday. We use the leash and sling everytime Reyna's walking or standing for an extended time, like when she's eating.

Before her surgery, I wrote "Not This Hip" on a piece of surgical tape and stuck it on her left hip. They laughed at the vet school and said no one had ever done that before. But they left it on her. The bandage on her front leg is where she ripped out her cathater without waiting for medical assistance. They prefer to take those out when someone is around to stop the bleeding.

Poor Reyna, in all her shaved, naked glory. Its amazing how skinny she is without all her fur.

Here's a close-up of the incision. Its not too bad; not as long as I expected.

I hate peas, but for Reyna, I bought two bags. I've been using them to ice the incision every few hours. She's been remarkably tolerant of it. I don't plan to continue, since the incision doesn't seem to be swollen.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Reyna’s Home!

Reyna was back home by a little after 4:00 today. She’s moving around extremely well, already putting quite a bit of weight on the surgical leg. Even the surgeon seemed a bit startled by how eagerly and quickly she moved to get into Mary’s car. She’s been pretty relaxed in her crate, occasionally shifting to a new position, but generally just resting. Reyna doesn’t seem bothered by being confined – and I hope that continues. We just took a potty break and had dinner. Surprisingly enough, she meandered around a bit outside, but then came right back in with no urging from me. She took her meds, scarfed down her dinner, and then headed back to her crate. Thankfully, she does not appear to be in a significant amount of pain, although I could tell earlier that she was becoming uncomfortable. The evening meds seem to have already kicked in, which is nice.

Duncan is so happy his Reyna is home that he doesn’t know what to do with himself. He’s been moping since she left Wednesday, and he’s definitely happier now. When I let Reyna out of the crate, Duncan kissed her every time he could get close enough. Until she gave him The Look. That made him back off.

I’ve got some pictures of Reyna in all her shaved glory, and I’ll post those tomorrow.

Morning Update

The student called this morning at 9:05 to let me know how Reyna’s doing. She’s very alert and cheerful (except when they take her temperature), and she tried to get out of her crate when they opened it to check on her. The student said they’ve iced the incision this morning, and Reyna didn’t show any significant discomfort when they poked and prodded. They stopped her IV meds this morning, and she seems to be doing well with the oral painkillers. The student said if she gets worse, they’ll call and let me know, but I can plan to pick Reyna up this afternoon between 2:00 and 4:00.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Evening Update

The student called at 6:20 to let me know the Reyna was awake and moving around, although still drugged to the gills (gotta love IV painkillers). They took her out for a walk and she’s moving as well as they’d expect, touching her toe on the ground but not bearing any weight on that leg. They’d given her some water, and they were going to try giving her a bit of food this evening. The student said I should hear from them between 8:00 and 9:00 tomorrow morning.

Surgery Update

Okay, I don’t know who decided I needed to be in meetings all afternoon, today of all days, but that was just silly. Finally, I have a few minutes to post the latest...

I got a call at 1:28 from one of the student on Reyna’s case. Surgery was over, and she was starting to wake up. According to the student, the surgery went well, and the surgeon was happy with the alignment and stability of the implant. They were able to use the cementless implant, which is what we all wanted (lower risk of infection, compared to the cemented implant). The bad news is that they cracked her femur during the implantation process (a known potential issue), so she has three wires wrapped around the bone to keep the crack from turning into a fracture. The good news is that the wires make the bone more stable than it was before the crack, so we shouldn’t have to worry about a post-op fracture. And its much better that they find the crack during the surgery, because if Reyna’d done that after the surgery, she’d be going back in for a follow-up surgery to get wires wrapped around the bone. And I’m just not ready to deal with that.

I should be getting a call later today from the surgeon, and possibly another from a student letting me know that Reyna’s completely awake. They’ll call me in the morning when she’s up and moving around, and as long as she’s starting to bear some weight on that leg and doesn’t seem to be in excessive pain, she’ll be coming home tomorrow afternoon. I’ll post more updates as I get them.

So Far, So Good

Just got my pre-surgery update call. Reyna’s blood work this morning looked great and she’s being prepped for surgery right now. For the next few hours, no news is good news. If I hear from them in the next hour, its because they weren’t able to go ahead with the surgery. The student I spoke to said they’re running just a bit behind schedule, so I should be getting my next call between 12:30 and 1:00.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Big Day…Almost

Reyna has one last pre-op appointment with the surgeon today at 11:30. I’ll leave my little girl at the vet school after that appointment, and spend the next several hours stressing myself silly. The surgeon reserves the right to postpone the surgery if they shave her hip and find some type of skin lesion – like an allergic reaction or injury. If that happens, they’ll put her on antibiotics and tell me to bring her back in a couple of weeks. Assuming that doesn’t happen, though, someone from her surgical team will call me tomorrow morning before the surgery (9:00ish), after she’s up and moving around (12:30ish), and after they bed her down for the evening. They’ll call again Friday morning to give me an update and schedule a pick-up time (likely between 2:00 and 4:00). I think they’ve learned that calling on a frequent schedule like this cuts down on the number of times people call them asking for updates.