PDA

View Full Version : Upgrade Equipment or Save My Dog?


Hedgemaster
11-12-2011, 05:40 PM
Well, it really is a no-brainer, but yesterday our dog underwent surgery to fuse several vertebrae in an effort to make this third "event" his last.

Very, very long story short, prior to last week, he has twice been left without the ability to move his extremities after his spine was pinched causing swelling that cuts off the signals from the brain to his legs/feet.
He's 7 now and the first time it happened he was not quite 2 years old.

Both events resulted in MRIs to determine the cause and took many weeks of physical therapy and steroids to reduce the swelling to the point where he could stand and eventually walk again.
The last time surgery was discussed as an option, but it's not without risk, nor is it inexpensive, so we decided to treat him conservatively as we had done the first time and while difficult, we were able to get him back to "normal" at home.

The first two times it happened as a result of him twisting his neck while playing with a ball - last week (Wednesday) it came out of the blue. I was sitting on the floor and he came over wanting to lick my face (his favorite thing in the world), but I didn't want my face licked and told him so. He simply turned and walked over to his bed where he yelped loudly/dropped and didn't move. We knew immediately that it had to be the same thing happening again - he wasn't moving.
Off to the ER.

After having yet another MRI, the neurologist spoke with us, and we all agreed that this was not going to get any better on it's own and had the potential to get even worse without treatment. Surgery was scheduled for the next day.

This really is a long and complicated story but that's the condensed version.
It couldn't have come at a worse time financially. The truck just needed $700 work to pass inspection a few weeks back, my wife was hospitalized for 4 days (although she has insurance), and my battery died one day while out working costing another $140. On top of that, the mowing season has all but dried up.

I had planned on upgrading to a 36" walk behind mower for next season, but vet bills are going to kill me. $860 from the emergency room/overnight/testing. $1,500 for the MRI and I believe the surgery is going to be around $2,500. (minimum)

Financially, there is one glimmer of hope, in that we have pet insurance.
They covered part of the bill from the first event, but due to some doctor's notes stating that his issue may have been congenital, they flat out denied payment for the second event. Gee, thanks.
The surgeon said that when he opened him up and could SEE what was going on, he believes it is not a "birth defect", but possibly an old injury from when he was a pup. (We adopted him at 10 mo. old)
Praying that the doctor can write something up to help us get this at least partially paid for by the insurance.



Here's our boy Pepe (Le Pew) in the ICU today...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3068.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3070.jpg


The surgery took 4 hours and was not an easy one. He lost a LOT of blood and the situation with his neck is so unique that there isn't anything quite like it documented anywhere. Thankfully, the surgeon is the only board certified neurologist/neurosurgeon in western Pennsylvania, but even with his knowledge, much of what he did for Pepe had to be improvised.

We are very fortunate to live close enough to this facility. It opened a few years ago and is an emergency room and veterinary specialist hospital. All the specialists form the area got together to form a group and build this state of the art facility - it's truly amazing and rivals just about any human hospital I've seen.

http://www.pvs-ec.com/tour/index.php

http://animalcarefund.org/UserFiles/File/pvsec_3.jpg

Anyway, that's the condensed version. You never know what may come along and change your plans for your business. (or your life, for that matter)

Any prayers for Pepe's recovery are appreciated.
And don't ever tell your dog you don't want kisses. I felt like hell after that and thought I'd never get a kiss from my buddy again.

bruces
11-12-2011, 06:27 PM
I certainly hope Pepe recovers fully .

B-2 Lawncare
11-12-2011, 06:35 PM
Man I am crying now thanks dick, YOU had better saver your dog, Save your dog.

Ducke
11-12-2011, 06:46 PM
Man I just want to give him a big hug .
he looks so scared in the pictures.:(
Please keep us posted.

Hedgemaster
11-12-2011, 07:04 PM
Thanks, guys. It's been a rough couple of days and he probably won't be home until Monday at the earliest.

The place seems so empty without him here.




I was looking for a pic of him in better times when I ran across the "snow fort" album. LOL! (Yes, I build my dog snow forts)

This was Feb 2010...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pepes%202nd%20Snow%20Fort%20Feb%2016%202010/104_4461.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pepes%202nd%20Snow%20Fort%20Feb%2016%202010/104_4456.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pepes%202nd%20Snow%20Fort%20Feb%2016%202010/104_4452.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pepes%202nd%20Snow%20Fort%20Feb%2016%202010/104_4311.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pepes%202nd%20Snow%20Fort%20Feb%2016%202010/104_4398.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pepes%202nd%20Snow%20Fort%20Feb%2016%202010/104_4401.jpg

JeffK26
11-13-2011, 08:08 AM
Aww..... Good looking dog you have Hedge, me, the wife and Scout, my dog send our best.

Hedgemaster
11-13-2011, 07:33 PM
Not much change from yesterday. Still just lying on his side, although they did see some movement in his back legs today.

He gave us kisses when we got down near his face.
Going to talk to the neurologist tomorrow to see what the plan is from here.

Thanks to all for kind words and prayers.

Steve
11-14-2011, 11:11 AM
I hope Pepe is feeling better soon!

Hedgemaster
11-14-2011, 10:46 PM
Day 3 - Post OP:

We went to visit Pepe today and spent a good hour and a half with him. The staff is wonderful - we kept asking if we were interrupting them, and offered to move/leave if needed, but they were fine with us being there. One of the ladies even said it was nice to see us there, as some of the dogs don't get visitors.

He looked a lot better today, and while he's still not moving much, he's off of the IV and taking pain meds orally. He still has the catheter and will likely stay that way when we bring him home until he gets to where we can help him outside to do business.

Barring anything odd, we should be able to bring him home tomorrow afternoon/evening.

It was extremely busy there tonight, but while Pep's surgeon was rounding, he stopped in to speak with us for about 10 minutes. I didn't know whether to be delighted, or offended when Pepe began wagging his tail when Dr. MacKillop came into the room - he didn't wag his tail for US! LOL! (But he gave us kisses!)
It was pretty awesome. He really likes Pep. He said he even gave him a treat before he went home the one night after his surgery. "He just looked so pitiful, I had to give him a treat!"

The doctor got down and moved Pep into another position while we talked about the plan for his discharge. We were pleased to see that he didn't protest being moved. Before we take him home we are going to have them go over what they've been doing with him in regards to physical therapy.

Hopefully I can figure out a way to post the x-ray of the screws/bands that were put in his spine. He may have less range of motion side to side now, but "up/down" should be OK.

Oh, I almost forgot - this was pretty funny...
We were lying with Pep before Dr. MacKillop came in, and one of the techs brought two Pugs into the room to "say goodbye" to another tech working there (they were being discharged). They were both on leashes and very excited, and when Pep heard their little feet clicking on the hard floor, he started to wag his tail and let out a "Wuuup-wuuuup!" - even tried raising his head a little more than we have seen him do before. He knew that there were "puppies!" in the room.

I took some more pics today that I'll have to post. A little more encouraging than the previous photos, I must say.

Thanks again to all for your continued support.

Hedgemaster
11-14-2011, 10:49 PM
Pics from this evening's visit...


He started getting sleepy and closed his eyes for a nap.

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3077.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3078.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3081.jpg


Can't a dog get a cat-nap around here? Who do I speak to about getting a private room?

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3082.jpg



After Dr. MacKillop moved him. He was a lot more alert and in this position he could keep an eye on the activity in the room...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3087.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3084.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3088.jpg



I love you, mom...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3093.jpg


You too dad, but what's up with the camera? You're not going to show that photo to anyone ARE you?

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3094.jpg


Sigh. This is going to be on the internet - I just know it...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3100.jpg

bruces
11-15-2011, 12:03 AM
looks and sounds like he is doing a little better .I bet if you gave him a cookie ,you would get the same reaction the doc got , you probably havent been slipping him cookies since he has been in the hospital ,and Pepe is smart enough to know who gave him his last cookie .

Hedgemaster
11-15-2011, 09:39 PM
Pepe was discharged today.
Still has a long way to go, as he can't really move much yet.
He has been moving his legs a little though, so that's encouraging.

Moved the loveseat out of the living room to set up a nice, big area for him to hang out.
We need to turn him every few hours and do physical therapy using an exercise ball to keep his leg muscles moving.

Goal is to get some use of legs - enough to stand with assistance. Once that happens and he can go out to do his business, we can celebrate.

Total bill including ER, MRI, and surgery - $5,715
It would have been $7,015, but the surgeon waived some of the fees for us.

Steve
11-16-2011, 11:37 AM
WOW! I never knew how much pet surgery could be!

Did they say anything about how to help prevent this from happening again?

Hedgemaster
11-16-2011, 09:15 PM
WOW! I never knew how much pet surgery could be!

Did they say anything about how to help prevent this from happening again?

Yeah, tell me about it. Part of what we are paying for though is the best facility and medical staff in western Pennsylvania.
A bunch of veterinary specialists got together and opened this facility just a few years ago. It's not a "vet clinic" where you take your pet for routine care. You either go there for emergencies, or are referred there by your regular vet because your pet's issue is beyond their scope, and requires a specialist.

If I didn't link it before, here's their website (http://www.pvs-ec.com/). Note all the specialty services along the top.

We do have pet insurance, but the last time he injured himself this way, they denied our claim (it doesn't work quite the same way as human medical insurance) due to something that was noted in one of the doctor's charts.
We are praying that with the help of the doctor making some specific notes to address the previous reason for denial, we can get a percentage of our bill paid for, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

As for preventing future injuries to his spine? That's what the reason we went ahead with the surgery. It's complicated, but his spine had too much mobility allowing for the "pinching" of the spinal cord, causing swelling which cuts off the signals from the brain that allow control of the limbs. There's also some abnormality in there, but I'm unclear if it is totally caused by the body's defenses trying to "protect" that area - there was a lot of scar tissue in there that would suggest that.

The amount of "disability" depends on the severity of the damage at the time. The first time it happened, he was really bad (all four legs were affected), but we managed to get him recovered at home with a LOT of effort and physical therapy.
A few years later it happened again when he caught his nose on the ground while chasing a ball. He twisted his neck, dropped to the ground, and couldn't move. This time he had limited use of his back legs, and the recovery time was not as long. At that time, we had discussed the option of surgery, but since it was not without risk, very expensive, and he had recovered without surgery once before, we went that route.

Fast forward a few more years and it happened again with no vigorous activity to point to as a cause - it just "happened". Any time you have a repeated injury, your chances of getting back to where you were initially are reduced. Factor in that with the fact that it could happen again at any time and we were left with three options:
1. Take him home as we had done in the past and cross our fingers.
2. Allow the neurologist to surgically correct the problem area as best as he can and fuse it to eliminate the instability in hopes that we can prevent this from occurring again.
3. Euthanasia

#1 didn't seem like the best option and while #2 was something we are going to struggle with financially, we were not about to consider #3 without trying surgery first. Only when all options are exhausted will we consider that decision that nobody should have to make.

It's not easy to care for a dog that is this debilitated, but it's what we signed up for when we adopted him. In addition to simply being a wonderful dog all around, he's gotten us through some really crappy times emotionally. He deserves as much of a chance as we can give him.

He's going to walk again. I have faith.

Steve
11-17-2011, 10:52 AM
It is fantastic that these services are available and so close!

Is there any chance they would take a swap of lawn care services for their facility in lieu of payment?

bruces
11-23-2011, 10:13 PM
whats up with pepe lately ?

Hedgemaster
11-24-2011, 02:43 PM
whats up with pepe lately ?

He's not improving as well as we had hoped.
He just lies there. He'll move his legs on occasion, but makes no effort to move or even lift his head. I try to coax him to move his neck when I'm feeding him by moving the food around.
I think his neck is giving him a lot of discomfort and the surgery has him twisting his head to the right when we stand him up. (which makes it impossible to keep his balance)

We are able to "stand" him now. He has enough strength in his back legs to hold himself up for a few minutes, but the front legs aren't doing much yet. If I position his feet properly for him, he keeps the front legs straight until he gets tired.
Unfortunately, all this effort involved in standing him doesn't make for a relaxed trip outside to "do business" and we've only been able to get him to pee once outside.

We have an exercise "peanut" that we're going to use to help do physical therapy. Drape him over it to support his weight, then by rolling it forward or back, we can get him used to applying pressure to the legs again.

It's very hard, and it's quite frustrating. Everything that needs done takes a lot of time to do - rolling him over every few hours, stretching his limbs, feeding, watering, cleaning off the pee/poop when he goes... it's very time consuming.
My back is killing me. He's only 52 lbs., but picking up a "limp" dog that has had surgery done on his neck is a lot more tricky than carrying a bag of sand.

It's going to be a long road with ups and downs. If we can get to the point where he pees outside - even if I have to carry him - it will be a start. It may be that he needs to "re-learn" that since he had a catheter in for about a week.

Anyway, thanks for asking. Keep us in your prayers.




ETA:
Heh. also had to take a cat to the vet the other day. He hadn't eaten in over 4 days and long story short/$460 later, he's doing better.
I just can't catch a break.

ringahding1
11-24-2011, 03:30 PM
Here is our dog Charlie age 11 @ the time. He was diagnosed with cancer, so the vet cut off his front leg, he beat the cancer for the next four months & then was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, we ultimately had to put him to sleep. One of the saddest days for our family in recent memory. I honestly can't tell you what to do, but I know Charlie is not in pain anymore. Good Luck man!

<iframe width="320" height="215" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/smkJKMUiAzc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

bruces
11-24-2011, 06:31 PM
Nice to hear about pepe ,even though the news could be better .

Hedgemaster
11-25-2011, 11:25 PM
11/25/11 Progress Update


He moved!

The wife and I were both out of the room and around 7:30pm, my wife called to me, "Come quickly - be quiet!"

I peeked around the corner and there he was, still lying on his bed, but upright, and turned to the left, licking his back foot!
He continued for a minute, then looked at us as if to say "what are YOU looking at?"
He then straightened out, still upright, and lay there for a few minutes looking as though none of this ever happened.

It's a milestone we needed to see. He soon lay back onto his side again and fell asleep, but that was amazing to see.

Ducke
11-26-2011, 05:57 AM
Sounding good.
Time will heal all wounds.

Hedgemaster
11-26-2011, 07:43 PM
Saturday, November 26, 2011:


More good signs!

This morning I found him off of his bed! He was out a full foot away from the edge, just lying there on his side. I thought that he had peed his bed, or even worse, on the carpet where he was lying, but that wasn't the case.

A little while later I came into the room after feeding the cats, and discovered that he had righted himself again...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/DSCI0153.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/DSCI0154.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/DSCI0157.jpg



More recently, we had him outside when he began whimpering, and he pooped for the first time while upright. I had his feet positioned so that he could "stand" while I supported his weight. He started to "sag" in the back and I thought his legs were giving out, but then realized he was trying to squat to poop. Another victory.

It's nice out, so we put him down in the grass afterward and he was able to lay in the upright position fairly well. A neighbor and his girlfriend came up to see Pepe when they saw us outside and Pep actually tried to "go" to them. He didn't accomplish anything, but his legs were making an effort to do so.

After we brought him back in, we looked wiped out and he was lying on his side again, but after a while he picked himself up and began licking his back foot! We were both standing there to see him do it this time.

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/DSCI0163.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/DSCI0160.jpg

The orange cat is Boo Boo. He and Pepe are buddies who groom each other often, but the reason Boo is in the picture here is because I had the quartz heater on to keep Pepe warm - the cats LOVE the heater. There were three cats there until I started taking photos, and they left.



Good day so far. :)

JeffK26
11-30-2011, 10:25 PM
Great news!

Glad to hear he's doing better. :)

Hedgemaster
12-01-2011, 09:01 PM
We go to see the neurologist tomorrow for a follow up visit.

He's still not able to get up, or even walk if I hold him up. The back legs are getting stronger, but the front legs don't "work" well enough yet. He did TRY to walk to someone yesterday, but his front legs didn't do what he wanted them to do and I had to catch him from going face first onto the ground.

This is an amazing challenge and if he were any heavier I don't know that I would have been able to deal with this. It's physically demanding moving him, carrying him outside, and bending over to steady/support him while he does his business.

He seems bored, so I picked up a few bone type things for him to chew on. It gives him some added motivation as well since I sometimes place them out of reach to encourage him to get them himself. You gotta crawl before you can walk, right?

JeffK26
12-02-2011, 03:12 PM
Hope the checkup went well today for the lil guy.

I came across this lookin through Dr. Foster and Smith's catalogue, wondering if it would be a help with you all.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=8082

Hedgemaster
12-02-2011, 04:48 PM
Hope the checkup went well today for the lil guy.

I came across this lookin through Dr. Foster and Smith's catalogue, wondering if it would be a help with you all.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=8082

Thanks. Yes, it went well.
The Neurologist examined him and felt that he was progressing OK. He noted the improved use of the rear legs.

They also cathed him to get a urine sample to make sure he didn't have any infections brewing as a result of (a) having been catheterized and (b) "holding it" too long. (He tries to hold it as long as he can)

One really nice thing is that the doctor told us that we would never be charged for a re-exam/checkup and that due to our financial situation he's "writing off" some other fees as "educational" since Pepe's situation is so unique. (They are actually doing a medical write-up on his condition)
We would have been charged $130 for the testing done today, but it was waived. How cool is that?


Thanks a lot for the link! We actually have one similar to that. We bought it back when he last injured his neck in 2009, but haven't used it yet this time... he's almost ready for it though!

Here he is in July 2009...

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g54/pepwalker/Pepe%202nd%20Injury/PepeDay56.jpg

Mikes mowing
12-03-2011, 07:21 PM
Well, it really is a no-brainer, but yesterday our dog underwent surgery to fuse several vertebrae in an effort to make this third "event" his last.

Very, very long story short, prior to last week, he has twice been left without the ability to move his extremities after his spine was pinched causing swelling that cuts off the signals from the brain to his legs/feet.
He's 7 now and the first time it happened he was not quite 2 years old.

Both events resulted in MRIs to determine the cause and took many weeks of physical therapy and steroids to reduce the swelling to the point where he could stand and eventually walk again.
The last time surgery was discussed as an option, but it's not without risk, nor is it inexpensive, so we decided to treat him conservatively as we had done the first time and while difficult, we were able to get him back to "normal" at home.

The first two times it happened as a result of him twisting his neck while playing with a ball - last week (Wednesday) it came out of the blue. I was sitting on the floor and he came over wanting to lick my face (his favorite thing in the world), but I didn't want my face licked and told him so. He simply turned and walked over to his bed where he yelped loudly/dropped and didn't move. We knew immediately that it had to be the same thing happening again - he wasn't moving.
Off to the ER.

After having yet another MRI, the neurologist spoke with us, and we all agreed that this was not going to get any better on it's own and had the potential to get even worse without treatment. Surgery was scheduled for the next day.

This really is a long and complicated story but that's the condensed version.
It couldn't have come at a worse time financially. The truck just needed $700 work to pass inspection a few weeks back, my wife was hospitalized for 4 days (although she has insurance), and my battery died one day while out working costing another $140. On top of that, the mowing season has all but dried up.

I had planned on upgrading to a 36" walk behind mower for next season, but vet bills are going to kill me. $860 from the emergency room/overnight/testing. $1,500 for the MRI and I believe the surgery is going to be around $2,500. (minimum)

Financially, there is one glimmer of hope, in that we have pet insurance.
They covered part of the bill from the first event, but due to some doctor's notes stating that his issue may have been congenital, they flat out denied payment for the second event. Gee, thanks.
The surgeon said that when he opened him up and could SEE what was going on, he believes it is not a "birth defect", but possibly an old injury from when he was a pup. (We adopted him at 10 mo. old)
Praying that the doctor can write something up to help us get this at least partially paid for by the insurance.



Here's our boy Pepe (Le Pew) in the ICU today...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3068.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3070.jpg


The surgery took 4 hours and was not an easy one. He lost a LOT of blood and the situation with his neck is so unique that there isn't anything quite like it documented anywhere. Thankfully, the surgeon is the only board certified neurologist/neurosurgeon in western Pennsylvania, but even with his knowledge, much of what he did for Pepe had to be improvised.

We are very fortunate to live close enough to this facility. It opened a few years ago and is an emergency room and veterinary specialist hospital. All the specialists form the area got together to form a group and build this state of the art facility - it's truly amazing and rivals just about any human hospital I've seen.

http://www.pvs-ec.com/tour/index.php

http://animalcarefund.org/UserFiles/File/pvsec_3.jpg

Anyway, that's the condensed version. You never know what may come along and change your plans for your business. (or your life, for that matter)

Any prayers for Pepe's recovery are appreciated.
And don't ever tell your dog you don't want kisses. I felt like hell after that and thought I'd never get a kiss from my buddy again.
I hope Pepe has a full recovery ,Any dog is family and should be treated as such good luck to your family

bruces
12-18-2011, 06:20 PM
Just wondering how pepe is doing hedge ? We need good news .

JeffK26
12-29-2011, 11:24 PM
Bump How's the lil guy?

Hedgemaster
12-30-2011, 01:01 AM
Oh wow, I forgot to keep this updated. :o

Pepe has a "fan club" on another forum where I have a thread that's almost a "blog" following his progress. I'll cut/paste some of the entries here.


Friday, December 9, 2011:


Breaking News!

He GOT UP and went to the door! (With some assistance)

Since Pepe seems to respond better when there's a motivating factor involved, we asked our postal carrier to "knock on the door" when he delivered today.
Earlier I had gotten him to crawl across the room to me so he could hang out in front of the sofa instead of being stuck on his "hospital bed". He was there for several hours, changing positions a few times, and at the time when the mail was delivered he was lying flat on his side.

"knock. Knock. Knock."

"Whooo-whooo-whooo!!!" he barked, as he turned, and in one fluid motion, used his front legs to STAND UP and head across the living room toward the door!
I had been sitting on the sofa, so I was able to "hover" over him in case he stumbled, but for the most part, he made it across the room pretty quickly, and under his own power! I kept him from going sideways once, and sort of caught him when he came to a stop because his front legs weren't positioned quite right, but overall, it was very impressive.

Wow. I don't think he understood why we were all so excited, but he got to get his head scratched by the mail man and got a treat, so I think he's happy.

Time to dig out the baby gates! It's only a matter of time before he wants to move about the house.


Monday, December 12, 2011:

I haven't posted in a few days because he hasn't done anything remarkable until today.
We had a repeat of the "Mail man" thing where he GOT UP and walked across the room to see the mail man at the door!
He was lying on his bed and saw the mail man come by the living room window... "WHoooo-whooo-whooo!!!", he said, but didn't get up until my wife opened the door and I told him to "GET HIM!" LOL
He got up and went right across the room without stumbling - tail wagging the whole time. It was pretty awesome.

The mail man stepped in to say hello to him/scratch his head and then Pep stuck his head in the mail bag looking for treats! I should have taken a picture - it was too funny.

After he left Pepe tried to turn around, but that didn't work out - his front legs didn't go where he needed them to go. I turned him around to see if he would walk some more, but he seemed a bit unsteady, so I picked him up, and put him back on his bed.

He can stand in place pretty well until his legs get tired. Here's a pic I took out in the front yard today...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/DSCI0229.jpg

He's never too happy about going outside because it's COLD out there!


ETA: I just got copies of his Xrays showing the screws he has in his spine! I'll try and upload them and post them later.



X RAYS!!!


Pre-Op Side:

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/Vet%20Bills%20XRays%20etc/PepeLePewXraySideBefore.jpg

Post-Op Side:

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/Vet%20Bills%20XRays%20etc/PepeLePewXraySideAFTER.jpg

Five "self tapping" (ewwww!) surgical screws and two pins/K-Wires as well as bone cement (whitish mass under heads of screws) along the bottom.
Interesting tidbit: the five screws alone cost $88.00!

Note that you can see that he was still tubed (for breathing) in this image.
Also, see that row of "things" along the bottom of his neck? Staples to close the incision!

Pre-Op View from Top:

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/Vet%20Bills%20XRays%20etc/PepeLePewXrayTopBefore.jpg

Post-Op View from Top:

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/Vet%20Bills%20XRays%20etc/PepeLePewXrayTopAFTER.jpg




Cool stuff.
The surgeon called today to update us on the results of the urine sample they took last week. Initial results were OK, but they left the sample continue to "grow" a few more days and discovered something minor that we're going to go after with some antibiotics just to be on the safe side. He's got enough going on - no need to wait until something develops and adds to his problems.

While on the phone my wife let him know that we received the xrays and he then mentioned that he had surgical photos as well. Knowing that my wife has a medical background (Nurse - on disability due to numerous work related back injuries) he asked if she was interested in seeing those as well. We have them now. There are 2 of the procedure, as well as what I believe is a 3-D mock-up of the bones for surgical planning purposes. The photos are closeups, so it's not as though you see Pepe lying there "opened up" - it's just... CLOSE. Tissue and the ends of surgical instruments. I dunno how else to describe it.
I won't post it, but if anyone wants to see it, PM me and I'll link it for you.

Hope you enjoyed the show. ;)

Hedgemaster
12-30-2011, 01:06 AM
More........

Friday, December 16, 2011:


Well, after a few days of same old, same old, we saw more encouraging progress today.

I didn't witness it because I was out doing a final leaf cleanup for a client, but my wife said that Pepe got up and went to the door when the mail man knocked today! Not only that, but he fell down and got back up on his own!

She said he stood for a few minutes then went back down and a few minutes later he got up and walked a few feet to his water bowl!

This is all pretty impressive, as he's not been very motivated over the last few days. He was even giving me a hard time when I would take him out - not holding himself up as well as he had been, and generally behaving "oddly" when outside. Part of it may have been due to the rain we've had - he doesn't like bad weather.

I'm hoping he can walk (more consistently) by Christmas - even if he needs assistance. His right front foot still seems to be the worst in that it doesn't always get positioned properly when he moves his leg forward to take a step. (still knuckles under sometimes)


Monday, December 19, 2011:

This evening, for the first time, when I asked if he had to go out, and said "C'mon, let's go", he GOT UP and slowly walked to the door!

:) :) :)

Little by little each day.

Earlier, he got up for the mail man, and then later we tried calling him to us to see if he would stand and walk - he started to, then plopped over onto his side. I will admit to laughing because he just fell onto his soft bed, and he had only started to get up, so it wasn't a complete "fall down", plus he had a look of "Oh, crap - this is embarrassing" on his face. He was fine.

He's doing better with the walking, but getting UP is still a bit tricky. He's also not ready to walk outside yet, so even though he came to the door for me, I still carried him out to the yard. Once he can master THAT, the next hurdle will be peeing and pooping without me holding him from falling while he goes.
His legs are definitely weakened and it shows when he walks, but he'll get stronger in time.

"Steps" will be the final obstacle to overcome. Our "normal" routine (pre-injury) is to go down into the basement and then out to the back yard. If we go out the front door, we still have to go down steps to the driveway to get to the back. The only alternative - which is what we will have to do once he can walk that far - is to go out the front yard to the street and then walk back the driveway to the back yard.

Today was a good day. Except for the part where I thought I broke my elbow and immediately thought "Now I'm screwed because I can't carry him!"
Not broken. Iced it and took some Tylenol - hurts, but still works. Whew!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011:

Fear can be a powerful motivator.

Today we had a strip of thunderstorms roll through. Pepe does not like storms - at all. He shakes and if it's bad, his teeth will chatter.
Like many dogs, he knows when they are coming and will often go to the basement door asking to go downstairs even before the storm starts. He feels safer down there and we have a bed set up for him with a battery operated candle nearby in case the power goes out.

Sure enough, when the driving rain started this afternoon he got up and headed toward the kitchen! (where the door to the basement is located)
I knew the storm wouldn't last long, so I told him he'd have to stay upstairs. I called him to come with me and he turned around (without falling) and followed me back into the living room. He spent a good half hour or so standing/walking/sitting/getting up. He wanted to be near us, so any time one of us would leave the room he'd want to follow. It sucked that he was afraid, but it was good physical therapy for him - he's done more walking today than he has this whole time.

It's not pretty when he walks, but he's improving. I even let him try to walk out the front door today instead of me carrying him just to see how it would go. The step/threshold is painted concrete, so I knew it would be a problem, and I was there to catch him when his front foot went sliding forward, unable to stop himself from going down. At least he tried.


I took a quick video of him walking to show his progress. It's crappy and since it was done while the rains were coming down, he's not looking too happy in it, but here it is...
(Sorry, no Youtube acct, so clicking it takes you to my Photobucket page)


http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/th_001.jpg (http://s886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/?action=view&current=001.mp4)



That's my boy. :)

Hedgemaster
12-30-2011, 01:11 AM
More...........

December 24, 2011:

Smiles all around today!

In addition to him getting up and moving around a little more today, I was able to get him to go out the front door with the assistance of the support harness!
He still isn't able to step down onto the porch on his own, but with me supporting his weight, he's able to correct his foot placement when its not quite right.
I walked him right out into the yard!

Later, I coaxed him off his bed by offering a piece of a cookie, and got him to walk across the room a few times. when I went to the kitchen to wash my hands, my wife said, "someone is following you." I turned around and there he was, head ****ed, ears perked, with that "look" that says "can I haz another?" LOL



Sunday, December 25, 2011:


Pepe wants to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/003.jpg

Taken this morning. No, it's not staged - he loves his Bo-Bos and is often found lying with one in this manner.


Our Christmas was filled with face licking and tail wagging. That was all we really wanted. :)

Thank you again to all who have been following Pepe's progress and helping us keep the faith. He's our blessing and I wish we could introduce him to each of you so you could see what a happy dog he truly is.


I don't know if it will be too long to upload to Photobucket, but today I took video of him walking in the yard today. It was the first time I tried to see if he would walk back to the porch unassisted. It took some effort since he had to walk uphill and step across a few uneven spots, but with encouragement, he did it. Like I said before - baby steps.



Wednesday, December 28, 2011:

Pretty much same old, same old, however, yesterday we went to the grocery store and before leaving, blocked off the kitchen so he wouldn't wander in there and fall on the slippery floor while we were out. When we returned (up from the garage/basement into the kitchen), he was standing in the dining room looking over the barricade waiting to greet us. (with a wagging tail)

Today, we found him lying under the dining room table - one of his "regular" spots.

Small glimpses of "normalcy".



He's coming along. It's taking a long time, but he is improving. :)

Hedgemaster
12-30-2011, 01:28 AM
As some may have noted from my other thread, I DID just end up getting an inexpensive homeowner grade ZTR.

With the vet bills totaling over $6,000 I didn't think it would be possible to get any equipment. Unfortunately, the reason I was able to, is due to a death in the family which resulted in a small amount of money coming to us. Not enough to go buy a car or anything lavish, but it eased the finances enough for me to make the small investment ($1990 ZTR) in my business. With 0% interest for a year and the additional money, we were able to make it happen.


Also (and this just blows me away), we applied for financial assistance through a fund set up at the hospital where Pepe had his surgery. They award assistance for people whose pets undergo extensive/expensive treatment and is income based. All monies awarded come from donations for this specific fund.
We were awarded a generous gift in the amount of $1,400 to help pay for Pepe's medical bills. Man, I'm getting choked up just thinking about it. I can't express how grateful we are for the help. I chalk it up to "prayers sent/answered".

As crappy as things have been, we've been blessed in a lot of ways.
I'm just so thankful that my buddy is recovering.

Ducke
12-30-2011, 06:44 AM
More........

That is awesome.
I am so happy for all of you.
Give Pepe a big hug for me he deserves it for all his hard work.:)

bruces
12-30-2011, 07:15 PM
That sounds like pretty good news .

jasonw
01-01-2012, 08:22 PM
I am so glad, When I first read the title of this post I was thinking "WTF is wrong with this guy" lol, My dog looks exactly like yours and oddly enough for the bast few years, a couple of times per year he runs in the living room dragging his back leggs behind him, eyes all glossed over, looks like seasures maybe. The vet has never been able to figure out whats wrong with him. Every time it happens we carry him out back to the fresh air and comfort him, normaly after 5 minutes he jumps up and is ready to play like nothing happened.

Hedgemaster
01-01-2012, 09:15 PM
Jason, sorry to hear about your pup's troubles. It's so frustrating that they can't tell you what's happening and it's got to be hard not knowing the cause. I wish you the best.




Today's update:

We wanted to send some video of Pepe walking to his neurologist, so I carried him to the back yard this afternoon before the rain/snow started, and shot a few quick clips.
It was REALLY windy, and Pepe doesn't like bad weather, so he wasn't too thrilled about being out.

Click the images to view the vids in Photobucket...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/th_PepeWalking002.jpg (http://s886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/?action=view&current=PepeWalking002.mp4)


http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/th_PepeWalking004.jpg (http://s886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/?action=view&current=PepeWalking004.mp4)


http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/th_PepeWalking005.jpg (http://s886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/?action=view&current=PepeWalking005.mp4)


This one is sort of funny because he's headed back toward the gate and when my wife asks if he's "ready to go back in", he picks up the pace!

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/th_PepeWalking007.jpg (http://s886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/?action=view&current=PepeWalking007.mp4)



I have another vid from a week ago that I meant to post to show his progress, but can't locate it at the moment.

Anyway, just thought his fan club would like to see him up and about!

JeffK26
01-15-2012, 09:31 PM
Anything new on the lil guy?

Hedgemaster
01-16-2012, 12:54 AM
Anything new on the lil guy?

Oh, heck yeah. I gotta get to bed, but tomorrow I'll post up some vid I think I took last week.
I put down some adhesive safety treads on the threshold and now he's able to get out the front door on his own without slipping - no more carrying him.

He's improving - that's for sure!

dpld
01-16-2012, 09:30 AM
hedge, i just read through this thread and noticed it for the first time since it was bumped.

i want to say i hope everything with your dog pepe works out just fine and and he lives a long time. he is clearly a lucky dog to have you as his freind and i must say it struck a nerve with me because i had to put my dog down last year after 13 years and your dog looks exactly like mine and even though i have a soft spot for animals in general your dog really struck a nerve with me.

i know how you feel about the finances being a burden with a illiness in the family i been there when my mon died when i was 15 and the collection agency's for the hospital were coming at me and my two older sisters that were 18 and 19 for the medical bills that had accumulated during here illness.

i wish you all the best and these times will probably make you even better in the end.

once again, best of luck for you, your family, pepe and your business.

Hedgemaster
01-16-2012, 12:06 PM
hedge, i just read through this thread and noticed it for the first time since it was bumped.

i want to say i hope everything with your dog pepe works out just fine and and he lives a long time. he is clearly a lucky dog to have you as his freind and i must say it struck a nerve with me because i had to put my dog down last year after 13 years and your dog looks exactly like mine and even though i have a soft spot for animals in general your dog really struck a nerve with me.

i know how you feel about the finances being a burden with a illiness in the family i been there when my mon died when i was 15 and the collection agency's for the hospital were coming at me and my two older sisters that were 18 and 19 for the medical bills that had accumulated during here illness.

i wish you all the best and these times will probably make you even better in the end.

once again, best of luck for you, your family, pepe and your business.

Thanks and I'm sorry to hear of your loss.
It's tough - we've gone through it twice before and it's never easy

I'll go copy/paste more of the updates now...

Hedgemaster
01-16-2012, 12:09 PM
Wednesday, January 4, 2012:

Wait until the next time I post video - he practically RAN back in the house today after doing his business! I asked him if he was "done" and he was off like a rocket! LOL! Well, a stumbly, weaving sort of rocket, but he was moving pretty quickly!

I'm still helping him out the door because the threshold is too slippery and his foot slides when he tries to step on it (bought some traction strips today!), but once we are on the porch, he's able to make the next step down onto the sidewalk on his own in order to go into the front yard.
He's still not stable enough to be trusted to keep himself from falling while he's doing business, but he is showing improvement.

More of those little "normal" behaviors are returning. He was licking one of the cats today (tastes like chicken, I always say) and yesterday for the first time, he got his front feet up on the sofa in order to give my wife kisses and "hang out". You see, according to my wife, if his back feet are still on the floor, he's technically not "on the sofa". (my rule) So I've learned to live with their little loophole in the "law" and he will sort of lay across her lap, but with his back legs still on the floor, thus avoiding a harsh prison sentence. LOL

He's been getting up and moving around on his own (without our encouragement) a LOT more and can often be found right behind you when you open a package of food.

Since he's doing better, I may start walking him out the yard onto the street and down to the driveway and see if he can walk on the gravel. If he can do it without too much trouble, we can start using the back yard again for doing business, plus that will give him more distance to walk which should be good for him now.

His right front foot seems to be the biggest "problem" at the moment. Most of the time, he's fine when he walks (aside from being "clunky"), but now and then it will knuckle under which can cause a fall.

He's a good dog. Since we've been married, we've had two other dogs in the house (one of which spent his last year or two with Pepe), and Pep is one of those dogs that you just know you'll never have another quite like him.
He's worth everything we've done for him.
.....................

Hedgemaster
01-16-2012, 12:10 PM
Monday, January 9, 2012:


Pepe continues to improve a little each day.
I REALLY need to shoot some video of him tomorrow. Since I placed the rubber tread strip on the threshold, he's now able to get out the front door unassisted! He was afraid of the strip at first and would try to step over it, but after I placed his foot on it a few times he realized he could stand on it.

I stay close as he goes out the door, as he's still a bit "stumbly" at times, but overall, he's doing well getting out to the yard, and is even peeing without needing to be supported. Pooping is a bit more tricky, and while he's almost ready to go on his own, I still help to keep him from falling over while he's getting his feet positioned.
He HAS stumbled a few times in the yard because it's a bit of a slope, but for the most part, he's walking pretty well.

We put the support harness on him a few days ago and walked him about 100 yards down the street. He was a happy dog and thought we were going for our usual walk. He did fine walking and really didn't need any help, but I didn't want to risk him falling on the road and injuring his neck, so that was the reason for the harness.

He's now able to turn around "on the spot" as opposed to making a wide arc, and he's discovered that he can now stand and/or sit with his one paw raised while begging for food! (That's just something he has always done) LOL! Actually, "sitting" is still tricky because his front feet start to slide out, but he'll get better at that too in time.

Last night he was seen "digging" at his bed before turning around to lay down in it. That's the first we've seen him do that since the surgery.
It's the little things like that that make us smile.

..............................

Hedgemaster
01-16-2012, 12:13 PM
Tuesday, January 10, 2012:


Well, I took some video of Pepe exiting and then coming back into the house, but first here are some pics of him getting attention from the mail man...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/006.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/007.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/008.jpg


Hey! Where U going?!!

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/009.jpg


I know you're out there!

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/010.jpg



I don't know where he went!

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/011.jpg








Click vids below to view:

Coming out... (ignore the cats attempting to make a break for it)

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/th_003-1.jpg (http://s886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/?action=view&current=003-1.mp4)



Going back in...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/th_004-1.jpg (http://s886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/?action=view&current=004-1.mp4)


:)


It's hard to get a good shot of him looking happy because he's afraid of cameras, but this one of him resting his chin on my hand/knee isn't too bad...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/005.jpg

Hedgemaster
01-16-2012, 12:23 PM
Monday, January 16, 2012:


Today, my wife made a Pop Tart, and as she was headed up the steps (w/said Pop Tart) to go check her email, she realized that Pepe was right behind her - he was still on the landing, but had both front feet on the first step.
I think the thought of "crusts" had him not thinking clearly. :D
We turned him around and blocked the stairs.

It's all starting to fall in place. After he masters going UP the steps, I think going DOWN them is the last big hurdle. I don't see that happening though for quite a while. I won't even attempt to have him try it until he's walking more surely on "solid ground".

He's going to impress everyone at his follow up visit at PVSEC!

JeffK26
01-16-2012, 12:58 PM
Sweet! glad to hear it! I love how a dog's tail works...he made it up those couple small steps and his tail wagged like "I DID IT MOM & DAD!! I DID IT!!"

Great news, the wife says way to go pepe!

Hedgemaster
01-17-2012, 07:24 PM
Tuesday, January 17, 2012:



Today we went back to PVSEC to see Dr. MacKillop for another follow up.

His fan club started "ooohing and aaawwwing" the minute we entered the building! LOL! The ladies at the desk got up to see the wonder dog.
"Oh - my - GAWD - Lookit him!!!", one of them exclaimed! Haha! - she said that she was excited to see his progress when she saw his name on the appointment log yesterday. The last time Pep was there, we had to take him in on a gurney because he wasn't walking yet - today we walked in the front door.


Here he is in the waiting area, happily watching the people coming and going - tail wagging every time he saw someone...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3211.jpg


I thought you guys would enjoy some "happy video" so here's a quick vid of the happy dog - you can tell when he sees mom come back around the corner to sit down with us after signing in.

CLICK IMAGE to view vid...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/th_VIDEO0238.jpg (http://s886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/?action=view&current=VIDEO0238.mp4)



:)

When one of the techs who had cared for him during his hospital stay came to get us, she was also amazed to see him up and walking so well.
She got down and let him give her kisses before we leading us back to the exam room to wait for the doctor.

There was a bit of a wait.

This is BORRR-ING...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3212.jpg



OOohh! I hear somebody! (but I'm not moving until I see the door open)

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/ac64/Pepwalker2/Pets%20Misc/Pepe%20Injury%20Number%20Three/IMAG3213.jpg


Note that the "blue thing" is a support harness - it has handles on the back. Although he's walking well in the house, the slippery floors can be tricky, so I put that on in case he started to slide, or took a stumble.
Note that Pepe did quite well walking on the tile floor and while I stayed close, I only needed to catch him once or twice, and on the way out, he was pulling me along. ;)

Dr. MacKillop was very pleased with his progress and mentioned that it's likely that there will always be a bit of a deficit with the front legs and that we will (obviously) need to restrict any "wild and crazy" activity. He gave us the go-ahead to start taking Pepe on short walks - increasing the distance over time, as this will facilitate a more thorough recovery by getting his strength built back up.

While there, Pepe was taken back for another series of films (xrays) of his surgical site. Dr. MacKillop then came back and pulled up the images (as I posted previously) taken at the time of the surgery to compare with today's films. (all on computer - not the "slap it on a light box" style)
He explained to us what we were looking at and noted that everything appears to have remained in place - as it should.

Again, we were not charged for a follow up, and he worked today's films up as "education" (they are doing a research paper), avoiding what I would assume to be a bill of a hundred or more dollars.

Dr. MacKillop stated that he would like to see Pepe again in 3 months. He then said that we could bring him in "once a day" if we wanted to. lol - He likes Pepe a lot.

We're gonna work on getting Pepe's story up on the "success story" portion of their website. ;)

JeffK26
04-13-2012, 08:59 PM
How's Pepe?

Hedgemaster
04-13-2012, 09:22 PM
He's doing pretty well, all things considered. Thanks for asking.

He seems to have plateaued in the recovery, but I'm sure he will improve a bit more in time.
He has some trouble with his fine motor skills when doing a "U turn", or other "tight" maneuvers, and we're still not going down stairs for fear of having him fall, but overall, he's good.

He's "wiggly" now when he gets moving fast. I guess if I had 5 screws in my spine, I'd probably move a bit differently too.



Oh, and insurance denied our claim (go figure), but the neurosurgeon spoke to them and is writing a letter on our behalf to explain that what they denied us for isn't what Pepe has going on. Crossing fingers.

Apex Lawn & Landscape
04-13-2012, 09:31 PM
I certainly hope Pepe recovers fully .

Hedge where are you located?I can't be too far from ya I'm 20min south of Pittsburgh, it'll be my good deed for the month, I'm sure all this on your mind has made you fall behind on some jobs, I'll come out for a day, you set me up and I'll work a solid day for ya free of charge. Let me know buddy , hope it all works out.

Hedgemaster
04-13-2012, 10:39 PM
Hedge where are you located?I can't be too far from ya I'm 20min south of Pittsburgh, it'll be my good deed for the month, I'm sure all this on your mind has made you fall behind on some jobs, I'll come out for a day, you set me up and I'll work a solid day for ya free of charge. Let me know buddy , hope it all works out.


You're a good man, Charlie Brown.

That's a heck of a gesture, but we're doing OK now. This happened in the fall and the worst part of the recovery period was during the winter.

When it happened and we found out the surgery would be around five grand, I thought "OMG, it's fall, my season is done - I'm going to have no money coming in - how will we pay for this?"

As it turned out, the timing was a blessing, as I was needed at home to care for him. My wife has a back injury and can't move/carry a 50 lb. dog, so ultimately, had this happened during the summer, I'd have ended up losing jobs and clients. I missed doing some fall cleanups, but my clients knew what was going on and seemed to understand.

As a matter of fact, I just "manned up" and walked up to a house today to apologize for a fall cleanup that I didn't get to because of this happening.
I had been approached by a neighbor of a regular client about doing a cleanup and possibly mowing the next season. I told them I'd be out to do the cleanup and never made it. With everything going on (wife in hosp/dog/death in family), I couldn't get to them, and on top of that, I lost the contact info to call them.
I felt bad, so today I apologized for it. She seemed to appreciate the apology.

Hedgemaster
06-02-2012, 11:01 PM
Thought I'd post an update...


Good news/bad news.

The bad news:
Pepe went in for a follow up last week and had x-rays taken to check the surgical hardware. There was something showing that had the neurologist "concerned", but at the present, unsure as to the cause of what he was seeing. I can't even explain what the "issue" is, but they want to recheck him next month to compare films. There was something showing that would typically suggest an infection, but it's been so long since the surgery, that the consensus is that it's not an infection.
Essentially, it's not "serious", but something he wants to monitor.


Now for the good news. And it's "plural".

- Pepe is like a rock star up at PVSEC. It's SO funny.
I couldn't go this time due to work, but my wife said one of the new techs was telling her that "now she understands" as she explained that prior to his arrival, all the other girls kept saying "Pepe is coming today!!!" LOL!
After hearing his story and meeting him, Pepe has yet another member in his fan club.

- The x-ray and follow up visit were free of charge.

- Pepe is just as happy as ever and as "normal" as can be expected after having some vertebrae "fused". We say he's "wiggly" now due to the way he moves when he's trying to go fast.
The only real deficit he's left with is going down steps - he's still not willing to try it, but otherwise, he's the same, happy, face-licking dog as he was before the surgery.

- Insurance.
If you recall, we were denied any reimbursement when we initially submitted our claim. With Dr. MacKillop's assistance, that has changed.
During the previous follow up visit, we explained that they (VPI) had denied us, stating that Pep's condition was "congenital". Dr. MacKillop said he'd see what he could do to explain to them that this was not the case.
Whatever he did/wrote/said worked because all this week we received reimbursement checks for various portions of Pepe's treatment. (They broke it all down into separate claims for different portions/treatments/surgery/etc, rather than one claim.
Insurance doesn't cover payment in full, but a large portion of what we had to pay out is coming back to us now, allowing us to breathe a huge sigh of financial relief.

Prayers answered? Perhaps. I don't personally pray for "money", or specific "things", but more of a generalized "Help us find a way to get through this" type of thing. Overall, it's been a long, difficult ordeal in many ways, but we are indeed, "getting through this".

Thank you all for your thoughts, kind words, and prayers.