I woke up this morning with a headache and my nose all stuffed up. The phone woke me from a sound sleep.
"Is this Ms. Carlington?" It was a woman whom I didn't recognize.
"This is Dr. Norwood's office. I'm the vet filling in for Dr. Norwood while he's on vacation. He'll be in Aruba for a full week. The reason I'm calling is that I received a strange phone call this morning from a woman who has been reading your blog and your postings on a Distemper message board. She's from Miami and she has a dog with Distemper, and she wanted me to give you her name, and contact information because her dog isn't doing well and she heard that Carmella was responding well to her treatment. I think she just needs someone to talk to who is in the same boat. Would you be willing to talk to her?"
"Sure. Yes, give me the information and I'll see what I can do to help her get some help with this, but you realize that Carmella still needs the shot in the spinal canal before she'll be finished with her treatment."
"Yes, I read her whole record. It's quite amazing! I don't hear about many dogs with Distemper. I read that she's having myoclonis."
"Yes, and it's getting worse."
"That's quite common in dogs with Distemper. Is she on any anti-seizure meds for it?"
"No, not yet. That would mask the symptoms and until we find a vet to do this procedure that would not really be in her best interest. If they don't see the symptoms they're less likely to treat her, thinking she can just live with it. That would make sense to give her that after she's treated though if the jerking doesn't resolve."
"It can relax the muscles."
"It's important that she get this virus out of her brain so it can't continue to do further damage. Where do you practice usually? Do you have experience with spinal taps? I figured I'd ask while I'm at it."
"I don't really have a regular office. I'm a floater. I just fill in for other vets, and I haven't ever done a spinal tap before."
"Oh that's too bad. Do you know what's going on with Dr. Norwood? He was talking to me regulary because this is a pretty serious situation and after UGA turned Carmella down he had his vet tech give me the news but he himself never returned my calls. Is he OK? I was wondering if he was giving up on her."
"The records really didn't say much other than that UGA said no. He didn't leave any notes. I guess is is stressed out by his job in general so that's why he had to take a vacation but he didn't make any reference to this case. Have you tried Auburn? They're really good. I used to go over there all the time. They're about as far as UGA."
"No, not yet. Is it really no further than UGA? I thought it was way far away."
"No, it's about the same."
I told her about the Fulton County Animal control and the epidemic over there, and Carmella's recovery after the first shot, and how vets really should spread the word about this and encourage their colleagues to start using it so that others would not have to go through the agony I'm going through and that this woman is now suffering. She then gave me the woman's contact info and just then a patient came in and she had to go, but told me she'd call me back to talk further.
I waited until about 3:30 to hear back from Dr. Westmoreland in Perry and then made another long distance call. Dr. Westmoreland was in with a patient and the receptionist was not the same one I'd spoken with yesterday so she knew nothing about what I was referring to. She left the phone for a long time and then a man answered the phone.
"Hello, Ms. Carlington? This is Dr. Slappy. Can I help you?"
"Yes, I was waiting to talk to Dr. Westmoreland. One of his patients told me she thought he might be open to doing experimental things."
"He's with a patient. Is there anything I can do to help".
"Well we need a vet who has had experience doing spinal taps." I gave him a quick rundown about the protocol and what it involved and about Carmella's situation. He seemed familiar with NDV.
"Do you have the exact instructions for it?"
"Yes, and Dr. Sears who developed it will be willing to speak with any vet I'm working with to guide them through it. I have his e-mail address and two phone numbers for him."
"You realize that there is a very bad possible side effect of spinal taps and injecting anything into that area...death" he said flippantly. "It's a possibility we might be able to do this. Let me call Dr. Sears and I'll get back in touch with you later on today or tomorrow."
"Also could you find out from Dr. Westmoreland whether he ever received my e-mail. I sent it twice. It has Carmella's whole story in it."
"Yes, I'll do that too. Let me get your e-mail."
I gave him my e-mail address and we got off the phone.
I told my best friend about what the vet filling in for Dr. Norwood said about Auburn being as close as UGA and she said that on mapquest it was quite a bit further than what she said and that it would be too far for her; she would get sick. She told me she really hoped Dr. Brantly would change his mind and decide to do it. There was something about the sound of this one we both weren't too sure about.
Hopefully we can get a committment from a vet this week or next because she will be indisposed for about two weeks, and I don't have anyone else to take me. The woman I've known for 20 years who lives just one mile away sure won't do it and keeps making little digs each chance she gets asking how I'm going to get here and there.
I took some more cute pictures of Carmella today. She is still falling every once in awhile, but when she's not falling she is quite graceful running around the back yard. She grabbed a big stick and dragged it around, an old dirty T-shirt someone had thrown back there, and a piece of what looked like linoleum. She was really funny dragging that stuff around with her.
Then she plopped down into the ornamental edging grass that grew around the perimeter of the yard on the side near my next door neighbor's house and near the back porch, chewing on sticks and rolling around, then bounding in and out of it.
The neighbor's brown and white bulldog breathed noisily on the other side of the fence, panting and wobbling about on its stubby legs. It was too afraid of Carmella to venture very close, but watched her from a safe distance. Carmella bounded up to the fence boldly with her tail raised in a semicircle and whined expectantly. The other dog didn't come forward but instead averted its eyes and turned away.
I was taking lots of pictures and trying to get Carmella to look at me when suddenly I noticed out of the corner of my eye the neighbor lady standing just inside her garage, staring at me. She didn't make a move to speak to me but just stood there gawking. She's a little strange. I don't know what her deal is, but it's got to be something. I didn't say anything to her because her energy gave me the creeps. I figured it best to just ignore it. She went back inside the house and Carmella resumed her playing in the long grass. It was beginning to get too dark, so after getting quite a number of good shots I decided to call it a day. Carmella was tired and hungry and so was I.
Tomorrow will be another long day trying to get that maybe turned into a yes.
If you'd like to help Carmella you can buy an ad on my blog, donate, or go to my Etsy store and start your holiday shopping early this year. I am gearing up to start some new pieces, so be sure to put me on your "to buy from" list if you love silver because some great items are coming! In the meantime take a look at the other jewelry designs I currently have available; 70 items to choose from!