Truman Update: Sunday, July 29

Considering what he’s been through, Truman is faring well.

If you’re just coming to the story now, here’s how it started.

As mentioned yesterday, the surgery went well and Truman slept comfortably through the night. There was no air leakage in his lungs overnight (which is a sign the surgery was successful!) and so they removed his chest tube on Sunday morning.

Not long after, his breathing became a bit labored. So they ran an X-ray and found he had developed a mild case of pneumonia. This is not unusual in large dogs, especially older ones, that have been under anesthesia. While under, they cannot/do not swallow and so saliva can leak into their lungs. Thanks to the quick action of the amazing team at Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center, they immediately administered antibiotics and put him back on oxygen. By the time I saw him in mid afternoon his breathing, while still a bit labored, was markedly improved.

He’s still not eaten anything and isn’t really drinking much water, but they are being attentive to his staying hydrated intravenously. He’s also on a pretty substantial fentanyl IV drip, which is making him a bit nauseated and also killing his appetite, so it’s not unusual for a dog that’s getting this pain treatment not to eat. He did eat dinner the night before the surgery so we’re still well within reason for his skipping meals. (To be honest, he’d put on a few pounds this summer so this may be for the best …don’t tell him I told you, he’s very sensitive about his weight).

When I visited this afternoon he was drugged pretty heavily but did pick up his head and when I shifted to sit closer to him looked to make sure I wasn’t leaving. His wonderful aunt, Michelle St.Angelo, also came to visit and played one of Truman’s favorite classical music pieces for him on her phone (incidentally that is Brahm’s 4th Symphony … hear that Donato Cabrera?) Before I left, I laid next to him for a while and he put his head into my hand and that seemed to calm his breathing a bit.

As he’d not eaten, I headed out to pickup some bougie, high-end wet food. When I brought it back they offered to let me sit and try to feed him, so I grabbed the chance for another visit and sat with him for about another hour. No luck on the eating, but he now has something better than hospital food at the ready for when he wants a snack.

Sitting with Truman and watching the team at this hospital work has been an amazing experience. These are not veterinary care folks who build long term relationships with most clients. They see emergencies, do triage, see animals that are in acute distress. Regular vets see that too, of course, but working in a specialty clinic, especially on the emergency room side, might incline them to perhaps keep a bit of distance with patients. Not what I saw. They love these animals and for anyone whose pet is in their care, you can rest assured that they are getting constant attention — both medical and emotional.

Even with that. Even with knowing that he’s in the best possible hands, I can’t lie. While I know that he is now going to be on the road to recovery and being better, it was harder to see him today. Seeing him in such pain and so out of it, it just wrecked me. Though I’m trying to be strong and focus on making this about him, not me.

I also have three other furry family members to consider and last night they began to come to a more deep realization that Truman was missing. The first night was okay — he’s been away briefly before. By end of day yesterday that had changed. Bridger skipped eating entirely last night and wouldn’t touch breakfast either. I tried to incent him with some fancy food in his regular meal at dinner, but ended up having to hand feed him and even that was a push. Inigo ate (he can always eat) but turned away the usual post breakfast chew treat all the kids get. Same with Harlow, who also just picked at her meals.

When I got home tonight after having been with Truman they all leapt into my lap and began sniffing me furiously … each of them taking a limb and burying their nose into my clothing. Their tails would wag madly … and then pause. They’d look up at me, confused, and then go back to sniffing.

Right now as I type Bridger is in the office with me, wedged under the desk (eschewing his usual spot on the bed in the corner). The others are sitting in the doorway. Staring at me.

I wish I could communciate to them that it’s going to be okay. It would be hard to do even if I could because no matter that the doctors are positive and he’s in the best of all hands, I’m still worried. It’s impossible not to be at least a bit so.

And so I do what I do when in this situation … I get busy. My home office has never looked so good.

Thanks for all the continued well wishes … more tomorrow.

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