December 9, 2009

Apollo Drama! Part Two

Tuesday:
That morning, he didn't seem much better, but didnt' seem worse either. Apollo was very quiet and did not want to budge any more than he absolutely had to. After talking it over with Betty, I decided to come in again to take a third set of x-rays. It showed that the bubble hadn't moved along much.

Betty was pretty concerned, and she recommended ultrasound. However, her clinic's ultrasound specialist was out, so she called Alameda East to see if they could pinch-hit. Alameda East - the very same hospital that's on Animal Planet channel. Apollo and I went there, we were in and out in 20 minutes. I didn't get to see any familiar faces from the show. Alas!

Betty got the info about the ultrasound results over the phone, and relayed it to me. "Possible foreign body, very suspicious." At that point, she recommended exploratory surgery. This is where, today, I'm a little angry about. Betty explained to me that the estimates for doing the surgery at her clinic would be between $3k and $4k. However, she said, her clinic has no overnight care. Which means I'd have to take him to the ER, and pay, probably around $1k or so for them to monitor him.

The other option, she said, was to take him directly to the ER, have them do the surgery and monitor him overnight. ERs for animals are notoriously expensive, and if I agreed to this, I was looking at a tab of nearly twice as much. Yes, you read that right. $7k-$8k. To make matters worse, the way Betty was talking about this, she made it sound like a do-or-die situation.

Being hit with that was...just stunning. I can't imagine ponying up that much. And for a surgery that may or may not find anything. I asked Betty to check at other hospitals to see if anyone would be willing to do the surgery for less than $3k and include overnight ICU. She reluctantly agreed. She called Alameda East, who never got back to us, and a couple other hospitals. I settled on one that was a bit closer to my place because I'd heard they were pretty good and their price range was far far less. I told Betty to call them back and let them know we'd be coming in.

At this point, I was pretty shocky, worrying about losing my dog. To make matters worse, as we were leaving, Betty kept apologizing. Profusely. I'm sure she was just feeling badly for not being able to help, but in my addled mind, it felt like she really thought Apollo would die in the surgery. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." Over and over.

I managed to hold things together until we got to the latest hospital, got into a room to wait for a vet. And in walks the vet. We'll call him Doc. He introduced himself, and something about him...he just put off this calm, confident vibe. I stood up stuck my hand out and said, "Hi, I'm...wahhhhh!" When I'm really upset, my sinuses get all stuffed up, my face's red and blotchy and I have a hard time speaking clearly. Oh, why can't I cry like they do in Hollywood flicks with delicate tears and a sniffle here and there? Poor Doc, he must've been wondering why I was so upset.

After a couple minutes, and several blowing of nose, I finally managed to calm down a bit and explained what had just happened with Betty, how she kept apologizing and made me think Apollo was on death's doorstep. Poor Doc. He was such a champ. He looked over the paperwork, explained things, said it wasn't quite so bad. Basically talked me out of panic mode.

He also seemed a little irritated with how Betty handled the situation, said that he was not confident in her diagnosis and took all the paperwork and copies of the xrays and ultrasound to consult with a radiologist and two other surgeons. Doc came back, and they all said they wanted another ultrasound, and when he told me it'd be free, I could've kissed him. He explained that he wanted to figure out the cause before immediately jumping into surgery, unlike Betty.

The latest ultrasound, again, showed what looked like a suspicous foreign body, but again, noone was really 100% sure. All 4 vets agreed it should be checked out. Amazingly enough, this didn't upset me terribly. Probably because I was feeling good about these vets. So, last night, at about 5 PM, Apollo went into surgery. It should've taken an hour and half, but he got out at around 5:45. It went very smoothly.

1 Comments (Click here to comment):

Anonymous,  December 10, 2009 at 6:42 PM  

My goodness - what an ordeal you & Apollo have been through! So, what did the vets find? Was it a foreign body or a gas bubble? Whatever it was, was it removed? I hope Apollo is feeling more comfortable. Can't believe how that witch put you through all that. I'd have slapped her silly.

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