Friday, September 26, 2008
Diary Of A Dachshund Back Injury - Part 2
The day after Greta's spinal surgery, we stocked up on supplies in anticipation of her homecoming. Our most useful purchase turned out to be a pair of cat litter pans that we referred to as the “cribs.” These were to contain our patient in a portable fashion, while protecting furniture and bedding from inevitable accidents.
The first few post-surgery days were agonizing. Poor Greta looked terrible with her partially shaved fur and big black row of sutures. Even worse, it was apparent that she felt as awful as she appeared. The narcotic pain patch seemed to make her disoriented and she couldn't keep any food down. We tried our best to keep her as comfortable as possible, but it was a continuous, exhausting challenge.
Potty time presented an especially tricky new challenge. Our veterinary surgeon felt confident that Greta had bladder / bowel control, despite her immobility. Since she couldn't stand, though, we had to hold her up and try to cajole her into going. As anyone who's familiar with Dachshunds knows, they are notoriously picky about "doing their business." This had been true for Greta before her injury, and it was even more of an issue afterward. Our struggle was compounded by the fact that we lived in a second story apartment and had to take her down a flight of stairs to get outside. More often than not, she began to pee on the way down - always before we actually made it outside. This where the cat litter pan "cribs" came into play. We lined them with pee pads and began to carry our patient around in them. That way, if she had an accident (which occurred regularly), it was contained and easier to clean up.
At night, though, there was only one option: diapers. To save money, we chose to forgo expensive doggie diapers and bought generic infant pampers instead. The only necessary modification was the creation of a tail-hole, which was easily accomplished with scissors. Keeping them on, however, was an entirely different challenge. No matter how tightly we secured them on Greta before bed (I even tried packing tape on a few occassions!), she always seemed to wiggle free by the morning - don't ask me how. As a result, we lined the bed with several layers of backup towels. All of this added up to create quite the complex sleeping situation and neither Michael or myself were getting much shut eye during those weeks...