White Dog at about 3am curled against me and said, "Make it stop, momma! Upon whose altar do we have to lay a sacrificial chicken to make this all go away?" At that point I was praying my own prayer to the Universe, "please not my boy. Give me you best shot but leave him alone!"
It started at dinner time on Saturday when Quinn needed coaxing to finish his dinner. As Steve sat on the floor and moved his bowl under his nose, Quinn fell over on his side and went into a major seizure...not the manic focal movement seizures he had had in the past but a full blown typical spasm of rigidness, clenched jaw, teeth gnashing, eye flickering, tongue lolling, and shaking. Scared the hell out of Michael and the rest of the White Dog Army.
Steve scooped Quinn up and placed him in my arms where I sat arms wrapped around him until the tremors passed and his panting stopped. Then we gave him his Gabapenten and cooled down his body with a freezer pack. We fed him ice cream to help chill and to increase his blood sugars.
As he lay on the floor for the next hour he had "hiccups" of muscle spasms and his leg twitched. Then he had another full epileptic seizure...this one last a couple of minutes before dropping him back into labored breathing and panting. Again we tried all our tricks and gave him an herbal anxiety relaxer.
And so it went through the night...this cluster of attacks which reached their worst between one and four am. We doubled his meds, added a Valium (which Dr. Julia had prescribed for Puff) and tried melatonin. Nothing stopped the horrible seizures which during the peak were occurring every half hour. The pups were all awake and worried; Quinn was panting and his heart was racing. We were fast running out of solutions and it was clear that Quinn was in true jeopardy.
It six I became that person I try not to be...I abused the friendship of my contacts at Dr. Julia's to call them at home for help. I wanted advice on how to get Quinn through until Monday or if not possible, a script to use at the ER Hospital to avoid the wasteful nonsense of useless testing and indecisiveness. My concern at this point was the intensity and frequency of the cluster seizures and the possible cardiac arrest issue from the exertion.
Cindy advised we charge into the ER with clear directives and to spell out the history and details clearly. To demand that we were knowledgeable about Quinn's condition and were capable hospice providers. She and Coral were both highly concerned about Quinn's heart and urged us to go posthaste.
Quinn was exhausted and the extra melatonin recommended by Coral made the short trip quiet and seizure-free. We burst into the lobby and announced from the door, "we need attention right away, our dog has been having seizures for hours!" By the time we got to the counter, an ER Tech was there to take Quinn from my arms. "I need to talk to the doctor who will handle this just as soon as you get Quinn set up," I demanded. His heart rate was 200.
In a matter of minutes Dr. Russman came out; oddly the doctor two years ago who saw Quinn on the weekend he had his first seizure. She had his old file in her hand. Quinn was already on an IV drip to bring down his heart rate. No we didn't need to run a complete blood panel; we knew the issue was caused by his frontal cortex tumor and we did not need a referral for treatment. We were concerned about the change in the nature of the seizures from manic to grand mal. We needed to stop the seizing and get his heart back to a normal beat and we preferred not to add the stress of an overnight hospital stay.
We told her what we had done during the night and she confirmed that our decisions had been sound. Protocol is to keep a seizure dog 24-hours for observation, she advised. They planned to continue the heart meds, hydration, and start an liquid version of Keppra, a seizure drug not processed by the liver (important because of Quinn's chronic pancreatitis). We agreed to let him stay the afternoon and then reassess.
Gregg and Candace had called during the crises and insisted that we let them know our progress; they kindly took us out for lunch (we had not eaten since yesterday which is not good for a diabetic). Just as we were finishing we got a call from the hospital. Quinn had experienced another seizure...but his heart rate was down.
It is clear that our Mighty Boy IS going to spend the night away from his pack, despite what I told the rest of the White Dog Army, at home, restless, and filled with apprehension. We will go visit him in a bit and try to replace his fear with our love and confidence.
It will require all of my faith and hope as I think of stories I have heard about dogs who they could not stop from seizing having to be released from their agony. In my soul I will do what is best but I pray, "please, not yet."