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Josie The Greatest Dane

Josie's Journey with Osteosarcoma

Josie The Greatest Dane

It is Official….Josie is a Tripawd Dog

March 19th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

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Tuesday March 16th 2010  Surgery Day…..

I load Josie up in the jeep and off we go to Madison. We pick up Brittany and we head to the hospital. We wait in the waiting room with an array of other dogs and a cat sprinkled into the mix. A cute young girl walks in wearing her brand new light blue lab coat. She introduces herself to us as “Lisa”. Lisa also has a long name and I immediately forget it. Lisa walks us down the hall to our room and begins to examine Josie. I immediately warn her that Josie hates the vet. I suggest that maybe she removes her lab coat which she promptly does. She lays it on the floor on the other side of the room and continues her exam. She completes the exam and leaves….only to return with two men, neither of which are students. Both doctors examine Josie and then proceed to tell me that surgery will be tomorrow… response is “WHAT????” They tell me that if I would like to, I can leave Josie overnight…..I am at a complete loss for words…we just drove for 2plus hours for another exam? I don’t understand what just happened. We thought she was going in today….but apparently that is how they schedule things here. They see the patient the day before and then if there is room in the schedule they squeeze them in, but if not, they do it the following day. The surgeon apologizes for the confusion and tells me to make an appointment for 7:30 am the following day.

I head to the reception desk feeling so bad for Josie…she must be starving by now seeing as they told me not to feed her after 10pm the night before. But, we schedule our appointment and leave. The day is gorgeous and and we spend it with Brittany and my nephew Nathan walking along Lake Monona. Oh, and I feed her….her very favorite…gravy food.

We spend the night at Nathan and Nora’s house. Josie is in heaven laying on the couch with Nathan. He is like the dog whisperer and puts a sleep spell on her which turns her into putty on his lap. Josie and I sleep together in the guest bed and wake early to head back to the hospital for our appointment. This time we have to go without Brittany. She has to work today and had to give her last hugs and kisses yesterday.

Wednesday March 17th 2010 Real Surgery Day….

We wake up and drive to the hospital and I get lost….of course….but thankfully I left early enough to give us a little extra time and we arrive exactly at 7:30.

Lisa comes out and we go back to the kennel area or the “ward” as they politely call it….it still looks like a kennel to me…like the ones at the humane society….dull, drab, hard, cold. I lay her blanket on the pad tell Josie to go in. She looks at me like I am nuts, so of course I go in first, and my loyal pal follows. I hug her and kiss her and tell her I will be “right back” only because she will have no concept of time once she is anesthetized. Lisa explains that the surgery will probably be late morning or early afternoon….”WHAT????” comes out of my mouth yet again….Now why did they have us come at 7:30? She explains that anesthesia will have to come see her and it will be more convenient if she is there when they have time. I ask her if I can sit in the kennel with her until she goes into surgery… I don’t mind sitting on the floor… and I know Josie would be more comfortable with me no matter where we are. Lisa tells me she will check and let me know. So I leave and wait in the waiting room. Almost immediately the surgeon comes back with Josie……she can stay with me until she has to go back!!! Yay!!!!!!!  Josie is much to large to sit in the chairs of the waiting room and usually never lays on the floor so I get a blanket from the truck and lay it on the floor for her so she has a soft place to sprawl out.

10:30am Lisa’s face appears around the corner….it is time. I ask if I can walk her back but she tells me that it is too busy  “back there” and would be better if I stay up front. I say good bye to my baby and tell her to be a good girl. Lisa puts a rope around her neck and tries to lead her to the back….Josie, will have nothing to do with it. She takes a few steps and drags the little vet-to-be right back where she started. This goes on a handful of times and finally Lisa sub-misses and asks me to walk back with her.

I walk her to the double doors and hold them open and tell her to go….she is so dang smart, she refuses to go through until I do. So I trick her and walk in first and once she clears the door, I turn around and hide behind the door. My heart breaks as I peek through the glass window on the door and watch her walk down the hall with Lisa, confused and looking for me…..I had to do it….but it breaks my heart.

I walk back to the lobby, sobbing….I go to bathroom and compose myself. I go to my truck, get my chair and my ipod. I put my chair in the sun, turn on Norah Jones and get lost for about an hour….I wake up to a diesel truck idling about 5 feet in front of me, waiting to unload his horse in the large animal area of the hospital. I cant believe I fell asleep, but knowing how I have been sleeping lately, know that it was needed.

The surgery should take 2 hours is what they told me yesterday. At 1pm I figure she might be getting close to being done. By 1:30 I am beginning to get antsy. I ask the receptionist to see if there are any updates. She comes back to tell me that they just started her surgery at 1:25. WHAT???? I am thoroughly disgusted with the lack of communication and express that to the receptionist. She apologizes, as do I, and tells me that she works until 3pm and will do a final check before she leaves for the day and report her findings to me immediately.

2:55 Reception advises me that Josie’s limb was just removed, she is doing great through the surgery and they have just begun closing the area. She tells me to check back with her replacement at 4pm.

4pm Dr. Danielson appears around the corner. He is the surgeon on the case. He is not a student, but he appears to be about 14 years old. Even though he looks so young, he is very professional and articulate when we speak. The first thing out of my mouth is how freakin’ pissed off I am about how this was handled and I warn him that I am about to cry, which I do. He apologizes completely and explains everything in great detail which immediately calms me. I have great trust in him and the staff at the hospital but my emotions definitely took over me today. He explains that most “owners” usually drop their dogs off and come back later and he wasn’t aware that I was waiting there all day….another break in communication on their end. I in turn tell him that I am not her “owner” but her “Momma”, and clearly not your average client. It was one of the most stressful days I have had and now all I want to do is see Josie. He tells me that she was just put in ICU and I could possibly see her in about an hour when she comes to. I thank him and tell him that “its all good now”.

4:15pm Dr Danielson comes back and asks me that if I want to come back to see her but warns me that she is pretty fresh out of surgery and still heavily sedated. I jump out of my seat and follow him to ICU. She is laying in another large kennel, covered with her orange blanket from home…the one I slept with for a few days so it would smell like me when we were apart. She is laying on her good side, her tongue still hanging out the side of her mouth and her eyes covered with a petroleum substance so they don’t dry out. She sees me and jerks a bit. I tell her over and over what a good girl she is and kiss her face a million times. I look at her bandage and all her other limbs. I cover her up and just stroke her face and neck. I get close to her and remind her of all the people who love her. They allow me to stay sitting on the floor of the ICU with the door propped open for about 15 minutes. I am handed a small tray of cotton soaked with water. I drench her tongue and dab her dry nose. There are students coming and going…tending to animals and cleaning cages. I ask them if I can come back once more before the end of the night and Lisa says yes. She is done between 7:30 and 8:00 and she will come back to get me about 7pm.

As I walk to the waiting room, I realize…it is official… Josie is a Tripawd Dog….

7:00pm arrives and Lisa shows up again…as we walk to the back she briefs me on her condition. She is doing great. We get to the ICU and as soon as Josie sees me she attempts to get up but seeing as she is still a bit sedated and the fact that she doesn’t have her left front leg, she fails. Her tongue is no longer hanging out of her mouth but when I open her jowls to look at it, the front is flipped on itself which I immediately fix for her. She is happy to see me even though she doesn’t wag her tail or lift her head, she does make a few sounds…and knowing Josie as well as I do, she only talks when she is happy. Her eyes are wide and she watches all the activity in the room, I assume she is thinking….probably hoping….that none of those lab coats come near her.

I decide to leave her, to rest, I don’t want to excite or upset her. She needs to get strong so we can go home early. I once again put my head close to hers and whisper in her ear, telling her that I love her, that I will be right back. I tell her to lay down and go to sleep now…that she such a good girl. I kiss her snout, the area right above her nose. It is my favorite spot to kiss her, it is soft and my lips fit there perfectly. I close the door to the kennel and say good bye to Lisa and thank her for allowing me the second visit tonight. I leave the unit and cry as I walk down the hall. It is amazing how much I love her…..

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Mackenzie's Mom

    Your post brings tears to my eyes – all the things you describe and talk about are all the same things I went through when my Mackenzie had her surgery. That was 4 months ago. I can totally relate and remember so vividly what you describe here. When Mackenzie first hopped out to me (the next day after her surgery) I was ectastic beyond belief – a true miracle happened. I’m sure you’ll have your same miracle if you haven’t had it already. I really appreciate you sharing this and I wish you and Josie all the best for a full recovery! BTW – Mackenzie is the puppy dog she was a year ago. No regrets and I’m so happy 🙂 Kami (Mackenzie’s Mom)

  • cemil

    Josie, what an awesome Mom you have. It sounds like your surgery went well. Wishing you good healing–let us know how you’re doing.
    Mary and Cemil

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