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Upgrade Equipment or Save My Dog?

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  • #46
    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!


    • #47
      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...

      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...

      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...

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

      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.


      • #48
        How's Pepe?


        • #49
          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.
          Last edited by Hedgemaster; 04-13-2012, 09:24 PM.


          • #50
            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.


            • #51
              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.


              • #52
                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.


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