At last! Bryson is back!! Adios, hospital, hope I never see you again!
We got the call in the middle this morning that we've been desperately waiting for- that he finally turned the corner last night, with his fever subsided, his electrolytes normal again, and his chest x-ray showing that his pneumonia is responding to the antibiotics- it's time to go home!
I was sooooo excited as I drove to the hospital to pick him up, it rivals the day we took him home from the breeder some 3+ years ago. And he knew he's going home too. As soon as we slipped his regular collar and leash on, he pulled so hard towards the door he almost yanked my arm out of its socket. Just look at that huge smile on his face :)
I can't tell you how relieved we are that we finally have our boy home. He zonked out almost as soon as we walked through the door (he's snoring next to me right now...). Can't blame him, even though he was stuck in this hospital cage all day, it must have been hard to rest when there's 24/7 action going on around you. I had to wake him up for this picture under the "welcome home" banner I made for him (you know, Eva had a banner, so he now has his own too), which he evidently wasn't too happy about...
So, what's the final diagnosis? The internist seems to think that he must have been really stressed when he had his bout of giardia a few weeks ago (don't ever let your dog drink stream water!), even though he was treated adequately with antibiotics and double-dosed on his steroids, that his Addison's rendered him unable to deal with that extra stress and developed ulcers in his stomach. She believed the electrolyte changes are consistent with the vomiting ("3rd spacing") and nothing to do with his Percorten dose, and the pneumonia as we have speculated was due to aspiration of the vomitus into his lungs.
We still have at least 2 weeks' worth of antibiotics to finish off at home, a follow-up chest x-ray, and a whole new regimen of steroid dosing that will help us better cover him during stressful times. Oh, and life-long Pepcid to protect his stomach (coz higher doses of steroids can precipitate ulcers). Oh steroid, steroid, you're such a double-edged sword- too little, he gets bleeding ulcers, too much, he gets bleeding ulcers. A necessary evil, I guess.
At least he's looking much better, other than being real tired, he almost looks like his old self again.
And now we've got to deal with the aftermath- the hefty vet bill. We do have VPI insurance, which we bought before he was diagnosed with Addison's. I've always thought that even though it doesn't cover everyday garden-variety pet expenses that well, that it'll "save" us during catastrophic events. Well, looks like that isn't the case either. I looked at our coverage yesterday, and looks like we'll be lucky if we get our premium back. Why get pet insurance when it doesn't really protect you on rainy days?
Anyway, insurance or not, we'd have treated him with whatever it takes. Our furry kids really are like our real kids- I've always known that in my head, but now I really feel it in my heart.
We went out for a nice, short walk at Point Isabel this evening, the weather was warm and the family is back together. I can't be more thankful.