Wednesday, December 7, 2011:
Thursday, March 1st, 2012:
HANNAH AND THE BATTERY . . . .
What an exciting and scary couple of days I’ve had….Around 9:45 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28th, I was upstairs in the bedroom. Hannah came up to me and dropped something silver on the floor in front of me. I just got a quick look at it --- at first it looked like a button, but then I realized it looked more like a battery --- one of those “button” batteries, about 1/8” tall and 7/16” in diameter. Before I could respond and grab it, it was gone; Hannah had swallowed it! (What I think happened was, it had been in one of my jeans’ pockets, from when I had taken it to find a replacement a while back, and I had forgotten to get rid of it. Hannah must have rooted through clothes she had pulled down in my closet ---- she seems to get a kick out of doing that occasionally --- and must have found the battery that way.) It was lucky, though, that she had brought it to show me, or I would never had known she’d swallowed a battery, and that would have been potentially much more dangerous. I don't think she chewed on it, because it disappeared so fast.
I immediately called the local emergency animal clinic and they said to bring her on in. They x-rayed her and, indeed, she had swallowed it. They tried for an hour-and-a-half or so to get her to eat and vomit it up, but it wouldn't come up; the vet said it might have been lodged somewhere near where the stomach exits into the intestines, and that's why it wouldn't come up. So, the 3 options were (1) surgically remove it, (2) wait for it to pass naturally (but I didn't want to take a chance that maybe it might have been chewed or punctured --- they couldn't tell for sure on the x-ray --- and that would be bad if it were in her system for too long), or (3) use an endoscope to try to remove it (but they said that may or may not work, depending on where it is). Anyway, I went with the immediate surgery --- I just felt better not taking a chance with the other two options --- even though it was the more expensive option. I just wanted to be safer and more sure about it.
I opted to have her stay there after the surgery (instead of transferring her to my regular vet’s office), even though it would be more expensive. I just felt better about having it all done at one place with the same people.
They did the surgery around 1-2 a.m. on Wednesday. When they first opened her up, they couldn't find the battery, even though it clearly showed on the x-rays. So they closed her up and took another x-ray, and, sure enough, it was still there! The problem was, it was at the juncture between the stomach and intestines, so it was a bit difficult to find by feel. I was really worried, because if they couldn't get it, that would mean they'd need to just try to let it pass naturally, which would be not so good an idea if the battery were punctured (and it was hard to tell whether or not it was, from the x-ray). So...I was kind of anxious and didn't really sleep at all that night, waiting to find out. They went in again, and, when I called them at 5 a.m., they said they had been finally been able to find it and remove it. I was so relieved! Luckily, it wasn't punctured, and only had been blackened on the outside by her gastric juices. Here’s a lovely photo, of where it was (they now give you copies of their x-rays on a CD!), and of the infamous culprit (originally, remember, the battery was silver!):
I ended up staying home from work, just because of the uncertainty of it all. Every few hours they updated me on how she was recovering from the surgery (pooping, peeing, eating, etc.). They said her spirits were good, and she finally did manage to eat a couple of tablespoons of some baby food. I picked her up at around 5 p.m., and was given antibiotics and some stuff for her stomach for the first couple of days. She has a pain medication patch on her leg that will last a few days. In around two weeks, she should get her stitches out.
I took the day off today (Thursday), too, to watch over her, and my Mom will come on Friday. Then the weekend will be here, so that will work out fine, for these first few days of Hannah’s recovery.
She seems to be recovering well. She’s kind of stumbling around with her E-collar, bumping into things with it. But she’s getting better at gauging how to maneuver with it, to get through doorways and around things. She’s been enthusiastically eating the bland diet I’ve been instructed to give her --- boiled rice and chicken, low-fat cottage cheese, baby food, and so on. Every so often I take her outside for her to do her business --- so far, she’s peed somewhat regularly, but not pooped yet. Her spirits are good. My main job right now is to keep her from jumping or running or playing, so she can heal well from her surgery.
<----------------- LOOK TO THE LEFT TO SEE HANNAH IN HER E-COLLAR!!!
It turned out to be a really, really, really expensive" adventure", but it’s all worth it. She’s worth it….