The Dark Cloud Returns...
Around 2:00 pm I called Dr. Brantly's office and they told me he was out of the office all day. The receptionist seemed shocked when I told her I had not heard anything all week even after having left several messages on his voicemail. She checked the record and there was no notation that he and Dr. Sears had touched base, so she told me she'd make a point to tell him on Monday when he got in that we were still trying to reach him and needed some follow-up. At that time there was nothing new to report other than the fact that Carmella's jerking had not disappeared.
Later I went to pick up Carmella's refill for Zithromax at Dr. Norwood's office. Almost as soon as I sat down in the waitingroom the receptionist, Felicia asked if I would please come over there, then asked me how I wanted to pay (even human doctor's offices wait until you're finished to accost you for money). I humored her rather crass request as I waited for the vet tech to prepare Carmella's antibiotic. Felicia swiped my CareCredit card and tore off a receipt for me to sign. I scrawled my name and sat back down opposite my friend. The antibiotic was nearly $50.00 for a ten day's supply and I commented to my friend that I wondered once again whether the Baytril and Penecillin G for 7 days would have cost the same and cleared up her pneumonia faster. It seemed Carmella's lung congestion was clearing only by millimeters, incrementally taking its time leaving her body as though making a stubborn political statement that it would not depart without a fight.
The vet tech called us back to a room, formulated the antibiotic, and then placed it with a syringe with which to squirt the liquid into her mouth in a paper bag. I told him the latest about Carmella's visit at the other vet and how things were still up in the air with the CSF procedure, and said that Carmella's pneumonia was still not gone after this many weeks and that after this next 10 days if it was still not gone that Dr. Norwood should really consider trying another antibiotic. The vet tech nodded as if to say they were starting to get now what Dr. Sears had been trying to say all along. This drug, while considered a pretty strong broad spectrum antibiotic, still didn't out-perform the Baytril and Penecillin G combination, and for secondary pneumonia was tantamount to trying to scrub the floor with a toothbrush. Why these doctors want to reinvent the wheel is beyond me. Had my careful reading of the variables of those studies proving their blanket conclusion predicting joint damage was based on higher dosages for longer periods meant nothing? Had Dr. Sears' long years of experience using these drugs on the many dogs who'd passed through his office fallen on deaf ears, written off as just one vet's biased opinion?
I went home and gave Carmella her daily dose of Zithromax. She swallowed it down as though it were liquid candy, liking its cherry flavor. Then she ate her dinner, drank some water, and set about her nightly shenanegans attempting to chew my pants leg, and rotating her attention between overturning her bed and playing with her various toys; a squeaky stuffed rabbit, a long stick-like rawhide chew, a tennis ball, a rubber ball with a bell inside, and a miniature rubber tire.
After roughhousing for awhile she plopped down on the floor next to where I was sitting on a towel in front of the sink. I noticed that her right front leg was jerking again, this time much more conspicuously. Previously the jerking did not happen every time she was lying still but now it did. I watched her throughout the rest of the evening and like clockwork it started each time she became still. Until now it never happened when she was standing on that leg but tonight it continued to while she stood, only slightly less pronounced then. I checked on her an hour or so later and found her lying down and that leg was jerking harder than it ever has. It was jumping so much it seemed to take on a life of its own and that really began to scare me! "That does it", I thought, "that vet cannot put this off any longer." I was not about to wait until she was convulsing at 9.9 on the Richtor Scale before something would be done about this. It seemed perverse to wait around for "The Big One" in order to justify the situation as "urgent enough to act".
One of my friends had a haunting dream the other night that I called her at some unGodly hour crying and telling her that Carmella had just died. At the time I just wrote it off as her anxiety with all the suspense going on, but tonight I really began to feel ominous again, as though maybe it was an omen.
I always hate when these things happen on the weekend because I never know whether it will get worse or stay the same and what I'm going to do in the event of an emergency when nobody's in their office.
Needless to say, I'm a little afraid to go to bed, although I'm not sure how much longer I can stay awake. My own muscle inflammation is getting the best of me at this point, so I'll have to get some sleep soon if I am going to be any help to Carmella. I just hope she can hold on until Monday and not get any worse before Dr. Brantly is back.