Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Two Weeks Out

AP here:
It's been 2 weeks since the original Neurological appointment and I have had the boy on leash walks and a ton of medication. I actually have an excel spreadsheet to track it all which in and of itself is disturbing. I have had to modify the  household schedule (including sleep) to try and keep the boy on some sort of normal routine. He cannot use the stairs so every time he needs to be shifted to another level of the house we have to use the ramp off of the porch outside the kitchen door. Just getting him to the door is a 5 to 10 minute process while he thinks about it. If you try to get him to go somewhere that doesn't suit him its another 5-10 minute process to talk him into it. Needless to say I spend a lot of time waiting.
Our morning goes something like this:
Unlock the kitchen door. Go downstairs and spend 10-15 minutes lying next to him petting him (checking his heart rate) and getting batted at with the giant paw. Give him his 2 pain pills and 2 pepcid in some sweet potato. Throw on sweats, a Jacket, shoes and a hat, run out front and unlock the gate. By now he is up and at the basement door so I put on his collar and leash and out we go to the end of the porch where he stops to sniff for a few minutes before actually setting foot out on the lawn. Then around the house we go and out the gate to the front where he stops at the end of the driveway to sniff again for a few minutes. We have a small court up the street to the left and down the street to the right so once we pick a direction the goal is to walk around the court, go to the bathroom and then home. That sounds like it should not take long but it never quite goes as easy as it sounds. Once we get to the entrance of  a court he puts on the brakes. He wants to walk the big 2 mile loop like we have almost everyday for the past 2 years and he knows he is being short changed. Tonka does not care that he is hurt he just wants his routine and he wants to go meet and greet all his regulars on his walk. I cannot force him to turn down the court without pulling him and possibly hurting him so we have a standoff. I at one end of the leash headed into the court and him on the corner at the other end refusing to move. This is where a little dog would be nice, you could just pick them up and walk on, that is not practical with Mr. 130lb stubborn boy. After 5 minute or so and with me getting down and explaining in his ear that he does not have a choice he will usually give in.Once around the court the same routine plays out again because he does not want to go home.  On my lucky mornings one of his favorite neighbors will happen to come by and will sweet talk him into going around the court or home. Usually it is Marie and he adores her and will willingly go wherever she wants. It is very nice of her to detour from her walk to help us and makes my day start off a little less frustrated. It is also nice to have a second person on those walks where he does not stop to squat but keeps on walking because I have to go back to pick up the poop. If I have a second person they can keep walking him while I double back. He refuses to go back so if I am alone I have to tie him to a mailbox and then go back. He is a good boy so if it is real  early and no one is around I can tell him to wait and he will stand still while I go pick up.
Once home we go through the gate and up the ramp to the kitchen door and inside. Thank goodness for the ramp but it is still hard for him going down as his hind end starts to go sideways and come around on him. He settles down in the living room for a little while and I get his breakfast and his Thyroid pill.
He eats in the kitchen and then we go out the kitchen door where he stands for a few minutes deciding if he wants to go. Then its back down the ramp and out the gate to the front door and the landing which is where he would love to spend most of his day. While he is lounging I give him his anti-inflammatory which is a liquid and a stinky treat to wash it down with. When I am ready to leave for work I have to coax him to get up and come back around the house, though the basement door and to get into his crate.

His crate is 4x6 and is constructed from 2 exercise pens put together around a PVC pipe frame with 2 Layers of carpet and 2 canine coolers. See Canine Cooler

The Tonka support team comes by midday and lets him out to go potty, gives him his next rounds of pain meds and takes him around front to lay out for a while. They come back again in the afternoon to let him out and stay with him until I get home. He loves to lay out on the driveway and listen to the kids come home from school. He is usually still out there when I get home and we go in and he waits at the landing while I get changed and text his Aunt Carol to bring Nala by for our short little walk. When she gets there we head to one of the courts and go through the same routine as the morning. He is a little more accommodating because of Nala but he knows he is getting shortchanged and will stop on all the corners.

Once we are home it is back up the ramp and through the kitchen to hang out in the living room for awhile. I fix my dinner and then go fix his and he eats in the kitchen again and takes his 2nd thyroid pill. His favorite part of the evening is after dinner when he gets to have a frozen peanut butter kong as a treat.
If he is feeling good he will go and surf the counters and the recycle bin or perhaps stand in the kitchen and bark for treats. Once he gets tired of that he comes back toe the living room to settle in for bed and belly rubs. He starts off sleeping upstairs and then wakes me up between 1 and 3 to take him downstairs, which again is 5 to 10 minutes to decide to go down he ramp. Once inside the back door he has to get settled and then I get to go back to bed for a few hours until 5:00am when the cycle repeats.

During the 2 weeks I have seen improvement, although not "leaps and bounds" but rather small "baby steps". He postures in a semi squat at least for part of a bowel movement now instead of just walking and pooping and he does not drag his toes as much. He still drifts sideways and a hard sneeze will cause him to stumble. We are going to do the MRI to rule out anything degenerative which would leave just Orthopedic and that we can deal with. The surgery for the Lumbar Sacral Stenosis also known as Cauda Equina Syndrome
or anything with the nerves and the spine does not read like something we want to have to go through. Read all about it here

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