White Dog sat with me in the darkness. "What a day, momma! I think we are past the danger now. I feel it in my soul." I wrapped my arms around her and looked at the soundly sleeping YoYoMa at my feet. "I sure hope so, Little White Dog of My Heart. I was really scared and am sure not ready to lose the tender, smart, goofy one who can always make me laugh." She laid her head against my heart. "Rest now, he is on the road back."
Last week when Yo, who has anemia, went for his routine blood check, his numbers were slightly down. Dr. Julia was not concerned and explained that there is a certain swing in the nature of the disease. To be proactive, however, she added back in a steroid to prevent his numbers from dropping further and instead of a two-week span between tests asked to see him in one week...today.
Sunday was a hectic day that was out of normal routine so YoYoMa's extra nap time did not ring any alarms.
This morning Steve and Yo, as is the protocol on test mornings, left early to go to the vet's office where the tech drew blood. Steve and Yo then come home and we eat breakfast. When Dr. Julia gets into the office later in the morning, she reads the tests and calls with the current numbers and update.
I could tell by her greeting when I answered her call, that the train was about to derail. "Um, we need to get your boy into the ER for a transfusion," she started. "He is down to 18%." "OK, who has blood and can they administer right away?" I asked. our usual casual conversation was replaced with the emergency at hand. Steve had been about to leave for the office and pulled up short. The White Dog Army crowded around; Yo was fast asleep. "Let me call you right back; I'll have my staff get it set up. Meantime get ready."
In five minutes we got the return call that VCA Emergency Hospital was waiting and our office was faxing files. We hopped into the car with YoYoMa stretched out on the dog mattress in the back. He was awake and curious.
An Intern, Sunny, came out and met us. Yo went to the back, after a million kisses. Dr. Sunny was young and passionate and took a lot of time sitting with us to make sure we understood what was going on and what her action plan was. She was even more enthusiastic when we shared that we had 11 pups and the mission of Paws To People. It turns out that her hope is to specialize in veterinary oncology and her college is CSU, one of the original schools to embrace translation medicine. We had a kindred spirit working on our boy!
She promised that we would be able to take YoYoMa home for the night and we left him in her capable hands.
Yo took the transfusion well until just before we were scheduled to pick him up. He had a bout of vomiting which was treated as a transfusion reaction. Dr. Sunny asked for a bit more time just to make sure the medication had calmed the issue.
Mid evening we arrived to bring our boy home. The White Dog Army was anxious to see him; it had been a long restless day of waiting and worrying for them. Treats and celebration were already planned despite my caution that he might not be up to a conga line or rich food.
We went over all that had been accomplished by this vet, and reviewed the meds she was sending along and she told us red flags that would require him coming back immediately. It was agreed that first thing in the morning Yo would go to Dr. Julia's for blood work and IV fluids. Our beloved vet would see him when she got into the office. Then we drove my happy but sleepy boy home.
He was greeted like a returning hero but was content to lie on the kitchen floor near the water bowl and eat a bit of his normal dinner. YoYoMa was not up to treats but encouraged the rest of the Army to enjoy. He was clearly glad to be home.
Through the night I rose to check his breathing, and gum color, and felt to make sure there was no blood at his rectum or vomit at his mouth. He made it through the night just fine.
When day breaks we will continue what is hopefully a journey to bouncing back...after all, before his life with the White Dog Army, YoYo was known as Yo-Yo Bounce Right Back, his call name.