Thursday, March 18, 2010

Help Heal The Damage

Want to know how you can help?

Jenn of likealilyamongthorns featured these Delia Earrings, part of my Carmella Collection yesterday in her wedding blog, "The Adventures of a modern Housewife". They'll make a wonderful addition to any bride's outfit on that big day!

Read the write-up, and purchase, and or send the link to your frends and help Carmella in the process.

 If you have a wedding or formal occasion coming up I have an intrigueing variety of jewelry pieces that are sure to make your experience one-of-a-kind and extra special! I also take custom orders if you have specific colors or styles in mind for the bride, bridesmaids, and any others who require something you don't already see in my etsy shop;

You can also purchase one of the ad slots to your right in my sidebar (click on the link at the bottom for instructions on how) at a cost of $5.00, or donate in any amount with a credit card or Paypal account through Paypal by going to the link that says "Please Donate To Carmella". I still have a long way to go to pay off her medical costs.

I just returned from GA. Veterinary Specialists after a long day. While we were there Carmella was excited at all the other dogs coming and going and whined almost non-stop wishing she could play with each one of them. The building was a large gray stone-looking brick structure with what looked like a cast iron sculpture out front of a tree and boys climbing up it after a cat that was perched on the furthest limb. Surrounding that on two crossing sidewalks were tufts of long ornamental grass growing like tentative topknots in hard-packed soil bogged down slightly by the recent rain.

My friend and I entered through the front entrance with automatic doors and made our way through a series of wooden benches to our left and right up to the reception desk in the center of a large atrium. Carmella could hardly contain herself and pulled almost hard enough to knock me down. It was quite a feat holding onto her leash and signing in, then filling out the preliminary paperwork. Tying her leash to a bench on the right I managed to complete the form and return it to a staff member as she walked by but not before Carmella began dragging the bench part-way across the floor. I caught her just in time and pulled her back. She was intent on making contact with an elderly Golden Retriever who sat nervously on the floor at the adjacent bench her owner was sitting on.

Unsure of Carmella's intentions she wimpered and looked up at the woman who looked back at me a little awkwardly as Carmella shreiked loudly at her dog in malamute-like tones tugging so hard at the leash she nearly choked.

My friend went outside to answer her cell phone and it wasn't long before Carmella and I were called back to wait in a room for the neuro vet. I think it must have been 30-40 minutes before she was ready to see us and in the meantime Carmella had to go to the bathroom, so I took her out front among the sparse tufts of grass. She peed and pooped without much delay and was then ready to go back inside. My friend came out just as we were headed for the front door and we went inside, she in the waitingroom, and Carmella and I to the inner room where we waited for the doctor.

The neuro vet looking to be in her early thirties, slim, with long dark brown hair pulled back in a long ponytail came in soon after trailed by a vet tech and an intern, and shook my hand a little too hard as though to convey something, though I'm not sure exactly what. Something about her seemed too deliberate but she smiled and introduced herself and the intern and asked how Carmella was and inquired about the symptoms that brought her in. Just as I came back into the room I'd heard her discussing Carmella with a man in the next room whom I supposed was Dr. Johnson (the male neuro vet who had refused to do the CSF procedure back before Carmella had started jerking and languished over his decision for weeks while Carmella began developing neuro symptoms that increased by the week). I just caught the tail end of their conversation but I'd heard him say something about Dr. Sears to the female neuro vet. I wondered whether he had told her that he'd refused to treat Carmella 17 or some months ago and why (that it wasn't in the medical literature).

This new vet asked me lots of questions about her myoclonus and any other neuro symptoms, and also asked whether she had any more respiratory symptoms. I thought "why would she now?" Then she did a thorough neuro exam checking her reflexes, looking in her eyes, looking to see whether she responded to sharp objects, etc, as the vet tech and intern looked on. Eyesight was good, reflexes good, other than the leg and the myoclonus all alse checked out. That was the good news. Then came the bad.

She asked me whether Carmella was on any medication for the myoclonus and I told her no she wasn't. She admitted that there wasn't much that would work for myoclonus and that the only thing she knew of that worked enough to really reduce the jerking significantly was a drug called Procaine which she said could have cardiac side effects so the dog needed to have an EKG prior to starting it and that it comes in injectible form or pill form. The pills have to be given 3 times a day.

She went on to say that not much else that she knew of could be done and that myoclonus wouldn't show a lesion on an MRI because any structural changes would be on the cellular level and microscopic if any, and it could be caused by purely electrical disturbances originating from possibly neurotransmitters in the nerve root "or the invironment around it" (where it meets the spinal cord in the shoulder).

She seemed to be extrapolating from what she'd read; things I've also read in medical journals. Her phrasing was "They think it's caused by that". She seemed to be reaching for answers that weren't verifiable by any tangible means like one who has heard a myth passed down by their ancesters and tells it again from old stories one heard as a child, so certain of the truth of this theory through sheer faith, yet so uncertain by any accepted scientific standards of proof. It is one of those theories accepted by the specalty more by default than by reason. She seemed to want to leave it at that and think no further. She said that she didn't "want to biopsy the nerve root"; that "that wouldn't be fair to her" as if to imply that would be the only way to find a focal point.

I mentioned the possibility of a stem cell transplant and she replied that was not being done yet outside a lab and that she couldn't do it. I told her that I didn't think she could but that there are two vets that I know of in town already doing it on dogs and that one in Alpharetta had been on the news just recently. The other was on Hwy. 78. I silently wondered how she could have been totally unaware of this great discovery hitting the market when it's all over the internet now and on the local news. It's even in journals, (but I guess not the ones she reads).

She seemed embarrassed or irritated; one or both by my giving her that information and said she would be really glad if there were a cure, but her words had a hollow ring to them as though she didn't really mean it if she couldn't have known it first.

I had the sense that she was paddling hard trying not to drown in her own cluelessness, covering it up with a guarded and clipped defensive demeanor as the conversation got more specific. Her friendliness quickly faded to a tense and deflective stance in which she resembled a bird perched high atop a way-too-slender limb on the verge of cracking beneath her feet.

She said that the fallen arch in the leg was, as I thought, due to the jerking, and that it probably wouldn't get better but if the jerking was lessened it might prevent it from getting worse. Without controlling or stopping the jerking it would certainly continue to deteriorate. The ligament has been stretched too much; not her specialty she said, but an "orthapedic problem". I asked what could be done about that part of the problem and asked if a splint would work and whether any sort of physical therapy could prevent further damage. She responded by telling me I'd have to ask an orthapedist and a physical therapist. That sounded kind of smart-alecy to me, as she did not recommend any names, just left it at that and stared back at me almost defiantly as if to say, "So there!"
I told her that I really don't know what to do with that information. She continued to flounder.

(I'd assumed they had those specialists there but felt it was futile to ask at that point as she seemed to be taking every one of my valid questions as a personal attack. As she offered no help hooking me up with them I did not want to take another trip out there across town on a maybe). She did sign my insurance form, handed me a card and a one-page typed report, shook my hand hard again, and I checked out and put the papers in my briefcase.

My friend was waiting in the atrium and I told her what happened. She was flabbergasted. that she was just dismissing us like that with no follow-up. I said, "Well at least this documentation will help somewhat when I approach the stem cell transplant vet. It may not need to be pinpointed exactly if she's right that it's coming from the nerve root in the shoulder. Stem cells could probably be put there and they'd migrate directly to where they're needed, and since this is already shown to be successful for ligament regeneration it might help in that spot at the wrist too!"

Perhaps despite her uncooperativeness and lack of preparation this vet had really given an answer anyway although mired in layers of porcupine quills. If she's right that its cause is due to problems with neurotransmitters I don't know whether stem cell transplant fixes that or not. I'll have to do some more reading about that to determine if it would. I still have access to some of the top specialists in that field on the committee I spoke of in one of my earlier posts. They are likely to be a storehouse of information since they are doing alot of research on various stem cell techniques. As I recall some mentioned in their bio that they sub-specialized in neural cell regeneration! Perhaps they will know the missing piece. Armed with that specificity I can then approach the stem cell vet and discuss the best way to go about it.

This dog didn't deserve what happened to her and deserves to be restored to complete health again. Because so many dropped the ball I am now paying to correct the mis-steps they made, as is Carmella.
My goal this year is to sell all my current inventory, help Carmella with the proceeds, and begin to phase in all new pieces! With the community's help I know this can happen! With Love and Action All Things Are Possible.


Ms.T. Fishstabber said...

She is lucky she has you to take care of her!

Giftbearer said...

Thanks! She's so worth it!