|Arayo poses with Oswego Buffalo and February Daffodils|
She seems to be healing nicely, this sweet Arayo of mine. A month and a half after surgery, 70 staples are removed from her belly and the docs at Missouri University have taken her off the pills she has depended on for years to keep her from leaking. Now we see if the occluder attached to the base of her bladder free us from the drugs which have always worried me for their long term effects.
We make the 5 hour journey to Columbia and Arayo spends the day in the hospital as they test various amounts of fluids in the urethral occluder to try to find just the right amount of pressure to give her control of her urine without creating a blockage. At my cousin's that evening, Arayo shakes her head and urine splatters everywhere. We obviously have some bugs to work out.
Daily we visit the hospital. They put in a bit more saline and we watch to see if the dam will hold. When I'm comfortable we've hit the perfect balance, I plan to drive back to southern Kansas, only to awake to find Arayo will not get up. She can't get up. Her head seems frozen to the floor and it hurts to move. When she finally gets to her feet, she walks as though she has aged 50 years in the night. Her step is slow and I get the sense she doesn't want to let her feet touch the ground.
Have we overfilled the occluder and her entire belly is inflamed or something? We head back to the university for another appointment.
Arayo is a people slut We walk in the door and a handsome man sits between us and the reception desk. She suddenly doesn't feel so bad. She rushes to him, wiggles her tail and lays her big head in his lap. (Yes, this is the same dog who couldn't bend down to drink water 30 minutes ago.) She rushes to the reception desk where she jumps up on the counter and stands on her rear feet, supporting herself with one front paw.
Arayo had refused to pick a treat off the floor if one is dropped because it hurt too much to bend that far down. I demonstrate this to the vet by dropping a cookie at her feet. She immediately grabs it and looks at me for more. (Damn dog!) The vet palpates her belly and it is pronounced fine.
Five days ago I had mentioned to the vet that Arayo flinched when I grabbed the rear leg that the occluder port is attached to and asked them to check it. Perhaps the port has caused an infection or something. The news was not good. She has apparently torn the ligament in her knee and they suggest another major surgery and 8 weeks total confinement to put the knee back together.
But the front leg is the concern today. The vet pushes and pulls and pokes and prods. Arayo may have a bit of arthritis in the joints but nothing major. She hits the top of the shoulder and Arayo flinches. Given Arayo's age and breed, the vet wants to rule out bone cancer - which, if not spread, would require amputation of the leg.
2012 isn't stacking up to be our best year - my poor sweet Arayo.
Saturday I load the Subaru and prepare to make the long drive home. As I head Arayo to the car, she stops for a final pee. One can never be sure about her - she's a low squatter. The dripping seems to have totally stopped - but have we created a damn and when she's trying to go, she really isn't?
She takes position for her final pee and I swoop in, run a hand under her tail and am rewarded by the feel of a hearty stream of warm urine falling on my hand. Only a mother would stoop to such lows, but it does my heart good to know that at least THAT is functioning properly.
In the meantime we ask for prayers and good thoughts sent this way. I've had Arayo 7 1/2 wonderful years but I'm not ready for this ride to end.