Day of Surgery

We arrived at our vet’s office bright and early, at 7:20 am, only to find that the office manager was running late and there was already someone waiting outside the door upon our arrival. We spent the next 20 minutes pacing around the premises, trying to convince Tucker that there was nothing out of the normal going on, that we were just up at the crack of dawn to go take a walk in a different neighborhood. Finally the staff arrived, and we were able to make our way in and begin filling out the pre-operative paperwork. The first form I was given was an authorization to perform pre-op testing, including bloodwork, that would help the technicians to be sure that Tucker would have no adverse side effects from the anesthesia. Of course we went ahead with this, although I was a little perturbed that this was an additional $300 some odd dollars on top of the estimate of $1200 we had already been given for the surgery. Moving on…

I signed the other forms releasing Tucker into their care. After another 20 or so minutes of waiting, I was approached by a technician that let me know she was going to be taking Tucker into the back to be prepped. She said I could call in the afternoon and check in on him, and she also invited me to stop in during the afternoon to see him before I took him home tomorrow. TOMORROW?! I, as calmly as possible, explained to her that there must be some sort of misunderstanding, that I had spoken to the doctor during our last visit, and that he ok-ed us to take Tucker home this evening, the same day of the procedure. She proceeded to argue with me, speaking in a very condescending manner, informing me that she had never heard of such a thing, and that she would go and call the doctor to confirm with him that she was correct.

This was when I lost it, I had done a really good job of keeping my composure to this point, but to be treated so rudely during such a major event really broke me down. Like clockwork, the arrogant receptionist reappeared, telling me that the veterinarian did want Tucker to stay, but that I was welcome to check back in during the afternoon and see how he was doing. In hindsight, I should have walked out, but again, we had already been down such a long road with Tucker’s recovery, and here we were, in the waiting room, the day of the scheduled surgery, and I just felt we needed to get this done. I kissed my puppy goodbye and let my husband walk him back into the OR suite, I could not see him, but my husband told me later he relieved himself right before being taken through the doors. My poor, scared baby.

The rest of the morning and afternoon are a blur. I tried to sit down and work, but I could barely focus on reading CNN. All I could think about was Tucker, how scared he must be, how angry I was at the office for going back on their word, and how much I wanted to bring Tucker home for the evening. I called around noon and was told he was still in surgery. I tried to eat some lunch, but my appetite evaded me and I instead opted for a glass of milk. I called again at 1:00 pm, he was out of surgery in recovery, but she did not know much more, she would let the vet know I called. I called again, 1:30pm, was told Tucker was in recovery, breathing on his own, and doing well. 2:00 pm, finally, the vet called, wanted to get my ok to put a modified Robert Jones bandage on Tucker’s leg as he felt it would offer him more protection for the first week or so after recovery. I agreed, and asked when I could come in to pick up Tucker, the doctor told me to hang in there and that they would be in touch again before the office closed.

Modified Robert Jones Bandage

3 pm, 4 pm… No call. I called them, AGAIN at 4:30 pm, and much to my surprise, a very friendly technician picked up and let me know that I could come in and pick Tucker up anytime before they closed at 5:30 pm. I did not even question it, I got the keys, threw some blankets in the car, and was off to get my boy. When my husband and I arrived at the office, Tucker was in pretty sad shape. He had just gotten the last of a morphine drip and was pretty well out of it. He was unable to hold himself up, and about 3 young girls were bringing him out, limp as could be, with a towel wrapped around his midsection. He had a pretty purple bandage on the surgical leg, and his front paw was shaved a bit where they had inserted his IV, doped up and out of it, I just wanted to get him home and make him comfortable.

My husband and I tried to get him to walk out to the car with us, but no offer of treats or kisses was getting him to move an inch, so my husband just hoisted him up, all 90 pounds of him, and put him in the car. I stayed inside to get all his medications, review instructions, and schedule his next appointment. He was given Tramadol for pain, Acepromazine for a tranquilizer, and Cephalexin for an antibiotic. They told me that the morphine in his system should last until the next morning, at which point I could start him on his regimen for the three medications. We were also told that he had not urinated all day, so to be prepared for him to possibly wet himself during the night, and to call them if he had not gone by lunchtime the following day. They gave us the contact information for a 24 hour emergency clinic, should any complications arise, and we were out the door.