January 23, 2013

The Day My Life Changed Forever by @RockyTheDogg

Rocky and his wheelchair
Saturday, October 29th, 2011 started out to be such a normal day. The sun was out and I went on a brief adventure in the morning not being gone too long since I knew Daddy was making pancakes – my favorite. After breakfast Daddy took some pictures of me which turned out to be very good timing on his part.

Later that day Daddy was working on the tractor in the goat corral and I was on another of my great adventures which I loved so much. Wandering our seven acres is fun with great smells and things to chase. Suddenly -- I dropped! Oh no! What happened to me? I cannot move my back legs. I am shaking! I start crying and when Daddy turned off the tractor he can hear me but he doesn’t know where I am. He finally finds me and carries me back to the house. He is very scared and yells for Mommy who immediately calls the vet. They say to bring me right in.

At the emergency vet’s office I was not in the mood for them to mess with me so they gave me a very potent shot of something that made me relax. After several tests and x-rays they recommended I be transferred to another emergency hospital that would be able to do a more thorough neuro work-up on me. So off we go to another hospital. On arrival I was greeted by a very nice vet who was extremely concerned and called in a neurosurgeon who was unable to get there for 3 hours. Mommy and Daddy went home crying, of course. The neurosurgeon would call when he arrived. At 1 a.m. the neurosurgeon called and said he had done a myelogram and found I had ruptured a spinal disc that had penetrated the spinal cord. He stated there is a 95% chance of a full recovery within 6 weeks. Naturally my parents said yes, do the surgery.
My incision

The 3-1/2 hour surgery went well. The neurosurgeon said there was a lot of bleeding in the spinal cord, and also clots but he was confident he got it all. He did say they found no evidence of trauma. It was a spontaneous rupture, not uncommon in German Shepherds. They kept me heavily sedated all day Sunday. I wasn’t allowed visitors but the staff kept in close contact with my parents. On Monday morning I was transferred to the neurosurgeon’s office and rehabilitation clinic where I was slowly brought out of sedation. I was kind of cranky when I woke up because I didn’t know what the heck had happened to me or where I was! On Tuesday they started me on physical therapy and laser therapy, which continued on Wednesday. The neurosurgeon said I could go home on Wednesday night, but had a lot of restrictions.

When my parents picked me up I was so happy! The vet gave them LOTS of instructions and exercises I had to do – boy were my parents in for a big surprise.
Going home from the hospital!

With no feeling in the back end of my body and legs, I can’t go potty on my own, which means I get the old bladder squeeze 4-5 times a day – how humiliating! I can hold it all day unless I drink way too much water which causes the old tank to overflow. I have straps for my back legs that allow Daddy to lift my back end up and I walk with my front legs. You can imagine this is not an easy task with a 95 pound dog.

We went for weekly visits to the neurosurgeon who stated he saw progress, but less than what he expected. I had some feeling in the lower spine and legs, so in December 2011 it was decided I should do hydrotherapy once a week. I sort of enjoyed it, but it was a lot of work. The doctor was pleased with my progress. However in late September 2012 my progress stalled out. Everyone became frustrated. We returned to the neurosurgeon and he performed more tests that involved pinching me with these pokey things. He determined I had recovered feeling in my back 5 inches below where the injury to my spinal cord was, but most likely would never walk again. That was a very sad day for me and my parents.
I can stand for about 4-5 minutes by myself.

If my Daddy stands me up, I can stand for about 4-5 minutes by myself, but the connection from my brain to my legs and feet is just not there. However, my hydrotherapy vet gave me a wheelchair and I love it. Since I can only use it outside, Daddy takes me for walks during the day on weekends and while it’s still daylight after work. Being able to get out and smell things and visit with all my critter friends helps keep my spirits up. My days are spent at home in the family room where I have lots of toys and I get a stuffed KONG every morning when my parents go to work. I watch Animal Planet everyday, which is great stimulation for me. Also, I can scoot around the house quite well and am actually very fast. How fast you ask? Well, apparently stair surfing is heavily frowned upon, and one day I took off from the back deck, scooting down the gravel hill, across the drive way. Why? I was chasing a deer! I got a little banged up on that excursion but it was well worth it.
Going for a wheelywalk.

So there you have it. My life will never be the same, but I am determined to be happy, healthy and keep on rollin!!!! And yes, we still do my exercises without fail, because you never know, there just might be a miracle around the corner for me.
Watching Animal Planet...and Tweeting!

My wonderful Twitter followers have been such an inspiration to me. I love them all and without their love and support for me and my family I don’t know where I would be now. My parents have given up so much of their lives to take care of me, including vacations! They tell me I’m worth it. And I tell them, the best way I know how, that I’m very lucky to have them for my family.
My last photo when I could walk.
Please follow me on Twitter at @RockytheDogg and also check out my blog, http://rockythedogg.wordpress.com/ for a post on how I got adopted. Thanks for your #pawprayers.

Don't Mess Wif Me!