Bam Dog Update

Thursday 4:30 p.m.

Call my Aunt. Tell her there has been no word from the vet so Bam must not have been seen that day. I couldn’t imagine them getting him in any more today. They were keeping him overnight in the hopes he could get his MRI after all and if not, he would there for the next morning to receive the MRI without me having to get up and drive at 5:30 a.m. just to check him in at 7:30 even though he won’t be getting the MRI until 10.

Phone rings at 5:30 p.m.

Vet student informs me Bam was able to get his MRI and he is in the process of waking up. He is cold so they are trying to raise his body temp, which is all normal. I am totally amazed they got him in that late in the day. I also think she has had a long day because I saw her at 7:30 this morning and she is still there and will be there until Bam is awake and temps are normal. Thank you Stephanie (her name is Stephanie too!).

I am eager to hear what the preliminary findings are of the MRI. I have to teach class so I get my teacher hat on and get to work. I informed all of my students I may get a call from the vet and if I do, I will need to take it.

6:55 p.m.

I get through the first class and at the very end the phone rings. It’s the clinic informing me about Bam’s MRI preliminary results. The official results will come on Friday morning when the radiologists have a chance to review the prior day’s findings. She went on to say they saw no masses, nothing unusual except for two very slightly slipped discs. She said they could have been that way for a long time and it’s so slight it would not be giving Bam the problems he is experiencing now. It is so slight surgery is not recommended. My heart sank. The big ‘C’ is out and Lumbosacral Disease is out. There were only three things it could be. I guess we are left with DM, Degenerative Myelopathy. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. You are still teaching. LOCK IT UP!!!!!

They did a spinal tap to see if there is an infection in his spine that may be causing a problem. They also took a blood sample to send off to test for DM. The tricky part about testing for DM is that if it comes back positive, he has it of course. However, if it comes back negative, he still could have it because the test only tests for one gene and not the second gene. Any further testing would be need to be done postmortem.

My baby has DM. Oh gees. Dogs with DM live 6 months to a year. Charlie, a hospice dog I cared for lived a year and a half and she was already in a wheelchair when I got her so who knows how long she had it prior to her arrival. Will this be Bam’s experience too?

I closed the doors of the studio and lost it. I cried turning off the lights. I wanted to drive straight to WSU and pick him up right now. I cried locking the doors and driving all the way home. Warren greeted me as I got out of my car and happily told me what food he brought home for me (he is a chef and often brings me food because I don’t cook). He is telling me mashed potatoes and salmon and then bends down to look under my hat as tears are steaming down my face. Bam has DM. I was done. Sick. Tied. Sad. DONE!

I fell asleep in my mashed potatoes and salmon. Just done. I will drive to WSU and pick up my boy in the morning. We are at the end of the road.

Friday 9:30 a.m.

Head to WSU to pick up my boy. My Aunt Lu and I arrive shortly after 11. After about a half-hour they bring out Bam. He is pink from panting and has been clearly anxious or overstimulated which is to be expected since leaving him overnight. They say they will be back to talk with me and to get me my medications. She also mentions the spinal tap results came back clear which means there is no infection in the spine causing the problems. All signs point to DM. Sigh.

Bam Spinal Tap
Where they did the spinal tap.
Bam Asleep Snoring
Sound asleep and snoring

Bam was so excited to see me and finally settled down after being manic. I got down on the floor to help settle him. He crawled in my lap and was snoring in no time. He was exhausted! He simply fell asleep in my arms as if a lap dog in the middle of the waiting area. We sat there for another hour and a half waiting for our bill and medications. So much waiting. We just wanted to go home.

Finally, we got all our things and I paid which was surprisingly low given what was expected. Not having surgery had something to do with it but we added on the spinal tap and sent blood off across the country and had an xray, so I was bracing for more of a bill. However, I didn’t argue, paid and headed quickly out the door.

I ran into a former student before leaving. They were there because their pup slipped a disc and was paralyzed. They had no idea what the prognosis would be but they were given an $12,000 estimate to get their 5 year old active girl back on four legs. My gut sank. I was very grateful for what I just paid. It certainly keeps things into perspective.

I loaded Bamarama up in the car and he went straight to the dog bed and went back to sleep. He didn’t make a peep, nor move, the entire ride.

As we drove back, I got to thinking how many things I have to be grateful for even if this was a week I don’t wish to repeat. As I was dealing with Bam, a friend of mine was putting her dog to sleep. Although I was having a pity party for myself and Bam, I wasn’t having to make that choice. I am grateful. I am grateful the roads were clear, my car hummed back and forth without fault. I am grateful for my Aunt Lu who went with me every day to sit with me, offer up random conversation to pass the time and offered to drive if I was too tired. I am so grateful to have her in my life. I love you to the moon Aunt Lu. I am grateful for all who came and got their pup’s photos taken in support of Bam’s procedures and mounting vet bills. I am grateful for my vet who kept in touch each day I was at WSU. My vet pretty much rocks. I am grateful for Charlie Girl who taught me so much about DM that I am going to be even better for Rama. That darn dog taught me so much. I am grateful Bam is happy and has no idea what is before him. I am grateful he isn’t in pain or suffering in the least. I am going to be more like a dog and just be in this moment now and try not to cry over something that hasn’t happened yet. There will be plenty of time for tears when he leaves me. Oh my goodness, there will be no “locking it up”. The flood gates will be wide open, but today is not that day.

In the meantime, I am gathering up information and making a plan to help keep him strong, happy and healthy be it with vitamins, supplements, booties, exercises, games and massages. I will still be putting out my future blog post on enrichment for dogs post-surgery even though Rama didn’t have surgery. It is still great information and should be shared. How would a drill and a colander help your healing dog? Wait for it! It will be out soon.

Love on your babies. I will be loving on mine. In this moment, everything is fine. -Stephanie

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