"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jezebel died on the table - they brought her back

I wasn't sure how to title this without sounding dramatic. But that is what happened and the staff and the rest of us are in shock. It is touch and go and she is certainly not out of the woods.

They were late getting to Jezebel to put her under for the biopsy. The plan was to send the tissue to Colorado, which is about the best place in the country for "strange" cases. About three minutes into the procedure, Jezebel had a bad reaction to the anesthesia. She died. Heart stopped, breathing stopped. She was gone. So says the doctor.

The ER doc and staff raced to work on her. They defibilated her and got the heart back but her blood pressure was nearly nonexistent. They had her on a respirator because she was not breathing on her own. Her temperature began dropping.

The oncologist raced to come get us. I took one look at her face and knew. I recall thinking that she hadn't been doing this long enough to mask the, well, horror. She told us what happened and wanted us to get back to see Jezebel. I asked her if we were going to say goodbye and she hemmed and hawed then said that hardly any dogs come back. Maybe 1 or 2%. They let us take Evelyn with us.

When we went in, she asked us to go talk to her, which I did. Her blood pressure continued to crash and they weren't getting anywhere. She was not breathing, there was blood from the biopsy, no response whatsoever. They kept pushing things with syringes hoping to get the blood pressure up. The staff kept exchanging glances (possibly hoping we wouldn't notice) as if to say it was hopeless.

I kept talking to Jezebel. I wondered if this was the way it was going to end but at the same time, I felt completely at peace. I had a very strong feeling that she was going to pull through. But not 100%, for sure. I thought about panicking but decided I could do that, later. After about 10 minutes, her eye flickered. I showed them and she did it, again. They frantically started messing with her feet and nose, testing for responses. The oncologist looked in her eyes for dilation and Jezebel clamped her eyes shut. The oncologist seemed giddy. Her blood pressure stabilized and her heart got stronger. About that time the tech said, "Look! She's breathing on her own!" We all looked over at the respirator and could see the bag going.

Jezebel started breathing more normally and began coughing periodically. That got them all (happily) excited everytime she did it. She began drawing up her legs from time to time and when they would pinch the webbing in her toes or take her temperature, rectally, she'd react. Not much of a reaction, but a reaction

I tried to think of all the phrases that get her excited, i.e., get the squirrel, where's dad?, Get up on the bed!, Want something to eat? She seemed to breath slightly faster and nominally responded to them. Her eyes flickered more frequently. Her heart rate got stronger. Her blood pressure became normal.

About that time, Husband took over to give me a break. Evelyn was an utter angel throughout. For about an hour and ten minutes, he and I took turns getting in her face trying to keep her with us. The ER doc was matter-of-fact and business-like. Once she began responding, the staff was completely invigorated. The oncologist was pretty much a wreck, throughout. They'd flip Jezebel to stimulate her every few
minutes and rub and pound on her.

After about an hour, Jezebel coughed out the respirator tube (which they'd been hoping she'd do) and proceeded to cry and cry. They said that was normal - that dogs do that as they come out from under anesthesia. She held her head up by herself and kept drawing up her legs as if she was trying to stand but never opened her eyes or
focused on anything. Poor thing.

About that time, they said that they needed to take her to ICU and that we could come say goodnight in about a half hour. We came back a half hour later after sitting in the car in the parking lot (which allowed Evelyn to take a nap) but they never came to get us. Finally, over an hour after we came back, they took us back to see her. She'd been in pain so they gave her pain meds and a (different) anesthesia. They didn't ask us if we approved. They'd intubated her, again, and she was out of it. Her vitals signs were a little unstable - primarily a fast heart rate. We don't know that she will make it through the night but we've already gotten our gift from
God. Everyone there seemed stunned that she came back in the first place.

So now, we wait, dreading for the phone to ring. With good luck, we will bring our darling home, tomorrow. The results of the biopsy are not heavily on our minds, right now. If it is a recurrence of the melanoma, she's done. It would mean the vaccine didn't work and further radiation is not in the cards. But if is something else, well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I just called to check on her and they couldn't give me any information because, "they were working with her." Of course, that makes my blood run cold.

More when I know more. Pray for our girl.


Stephanie D. said...

Oh, Penny, my heart almost stopped, too, when I read your topic. I'm at work so will be checking in periodically. I do hope she gets better quickly. Beyond that, I don't know what to pray for except that you all be wrapped in peace and love. Big hugs to you and hubby, and tummy rubs for the girls.

Linda said...

I don't even know what to say. I'm sitting here with tears running down my face. All my thoughts are with you.
Lurking Linda

Lisa said...

Oh Penny my heart dropped when I
read the title... Prayers that every will be ok with Jezebel...


ranette said...

Penny, you and Jezebel have been on my mind and my heart all day today. I have been prompted to pray for you several times throughout the day and I will continue to do so.


jacquie said...

oh my goodness...my heart hurts for you and she has my prayers.

everythingquilts said...

Oh Penny, how horrible that must have been. I sure pray your baby is alright. My heart goes out to you.

Patsy said...

Penny, my prayers are with you all. Please keep us posted.

jessicasews said...

My prayers join everyone's.

We'll be keeping you in
our thoughts.

~ Jessica

Diana said...

Penny, my prayers are with you all.

Paula said...

Hubby was reading over my shoulder and both our hearts stopped when we read the title. Praying hard that Jezebel pulls through this.


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. This is so sad.


Anonymous said...

I am so so sorry, too. Will keep you in my thoughts.


Owens Family Adventures said...

Oh Penny, I don't even know what to say. You know, I woke up this morning thinking about you and wondering how Jezebel was doing. You are the first blog getting checked on today. To say I am sorry that you went through that seems kinda small. Just know I am praying for you and for her and you will be in my thoughts today.