Sleep-deprived with more to come
Thursday, July 21, 2016
I had a shocker of a nightâ€™s sleep â€“ woke first at 11pm, then 3.30am and couldnâ€™t get back to sleep.
It was the morning of Thursday, July 21, and Gracieâ€™s right eye was glugged up with conjunctivitis, so I rang King Street Vet HospitalÂ for an appointment.
Just a tick â€“ or two
The vet, Sam, who had rented the chalet at A Slice of Heaven, found Gracie had two bush ticks on her â€“ one under her collar and the other in her right eye.
When the tick was removed from her eye, a nasty ulcer started to form on the cornea, which Sam didnâ€™t like the look of.
One sick little dog
She said sheâ€™d searched Gracie but couldnâ€™t find a paralysis tick, even though Iâ€™d noticed she had been off-balance and very wobbly on her feet â€“ most unlike my graceful little girl.
Sam suggested Gracie have a â€œtick cutâ€ â€“ a very short haircut â€“ so I said the other two should have them too, and went back to the property and got Carla and Evie.
AllÂ for one, one for all
I left all three dogs at the vet to be washed, clipped and Gracie was being treated for paralysis tick as a precautionary measure, even though we didnâ€™t find one on her.
It was 5.30pm before Gracie was ready to be collected from the vet. We left there loaded up with medication (eye ointment and drops for the ulcer), which needed to be administered hourly until I took her back at 9am the following day.
Iâ€™d been invited up to John Williamsonâ€™s property at Springbrook viaÂ John’s manager, David Woodward, but Woody got back to me and said weâ€™d have to take a rain check as John and Meg had to be in Sydney on Tuesday for urgent commitments.
Just as well, really. I wasnâ€™t going anywhere with a sick puppy dog.
Lucky Iâ€™m made of money â€¦
Hereâ€™s a small irony. I found my tax cheque among some paperwork so I banked it (just over $500).
Paid my first vet bill for Gracie and the two other girlsâ€™ tick cuts – $783.15. Iâ€™m already a few hundred bucks in the red.
An alarming, very familiar sound
Poor Gracie. She was very unwell. All of us â€“ Carla, Evie, Gracie and myself â€“ were sick to death of the sound of that bloody alarm on my phone going off every hour through the night so she could have her medication.
Cramped conditions and a close call
I didnâ€™t even go to bed that night. I stretched out as best I could on the couch alongside Gracie. I was propped up with pillows, very uncomfortable, but I didnâ€™t want to let Gracie out of my sight.
At one stage through the night, when I tried to rouse her for her medication, Gracie didn’t move.
For one horrible moment I thought the worst. I felt her little body and then shook her and she slowly opened her eyes.
Thinking how close I was to losing my little Gracie was not anything I wished to dwell on at that point in time.
The next morning I got up and showered, had brekky and took Gracie back in to the vet for a check-up.
The ulcer had grown much bigger overnight and they were quite concerned she might lose her eye.
At this point they put a bucket over her head as Gracie had been scratching at the irritated eye and they feared an infection would only make matters worse.
She wasn’t at all fussed on her new look. Call me Mrs Boo-kay – not Bucket!
What choice did I have?
More medication. Her bill was now over the $1000 mark.
I really hadnâ€™t planned on making such a sizeable donation to veterinary science at this point of my journey, but I didnâ€™t have too many options.
I couldnâ€™t bear the thought of losing Gracie.
Taxing times amid the crisis
That afternoon, sis and I made a start preparing my income tax and got four monthsâ€™ worth of income and expenditure documented.
Another sleepless night with that darned alarm going off every hour and we were back in at the vet again on Saturday morning.
She’s not getting any better
Emma, the other vet, called Sam in on her day off as she was so concerned at the look of the ulcer, which was still growing at an alarming rate.
Sue, one of the vet nurses, was on the phone ringing around to see if any ophthalmologists were available for a consultation, but of course, being a weekend, that wasnâ€™t a possibility.
Our next best option was to take Gracie up to Carrara (on the Gold Coast) to the Animal Emergency Service, where they had a good relationship with the local ophthalmologist.
Crying like a baby
I totally lost it when I got into the car outside the vet. Bawled like a baby while I was telling sis what the situation was, but she was wonderful.
She said she was dressed and ready and would take us up to Carrara â€¦ I so love my sister.
I left Gracie at the vet while I went back to A Slice of Heaven to get sis and the other two dogs.
Gold Coast, here we come
Our good mate, Angela Daly rang and said sheâ€™d meet us up at Carrara, which was lovely. Thereâ€™s nothing quite like the company of good friends when youâ€™re in a whole pile of misery.
The vet at Carrara said the ulcer was very nasty and would need to be debrided, which required local anaesthetic, so we should come back later.
We spent the afternoon with Ange and went back to the AES to get Gracie after Ange left for home.
The vet bill keeps growing
Another $483 donation to veterinary science and we were on our way back to Stokers Siding about 7pm.
They did offer to keep her in overnight, but faced with a possible $400-$500 bill for that, I declined.
Had a cup of soup for tea and an early night â€“ as early as you can get when youâ€™re up every hour, that is.
Surprisingly, I managed to take some short naps through the night between meds.
Think Iâ€™ve just about earned my merit badge for veterinary nursing by now.
Getting meds organised
Gracieâ€™s eye was very gluggy from the three or four different types of medication I was administering â€“ from liquids to ointments and tablets.
It was quite a balancing act, really, but I think I channelled my â€œinner Melâ€ (my good mate Melissa Crowell, one of the most organised people I know), and drew up a chart/list with all the different meds, and what time they were due.
It worked, so Iâ€™m grateful.
Rewarded with prawns
By 6.30am on Sunday (July 24), Iâ€™d bathed Gracieâ€™s eye with warm water, made myself a hot honey and lemon juice drink and prepared to face the day.
Gracie was looking much better after her treatment at Carrara, so sis and I seized the moment and got stuck in and finished the rest of my tax.
Thatâ€™s another tick off the to-do list, so in celebratory mode, sis and I bought some prawns, avocados and lychees for tea. Yum!
A light at tunnelâ€™s end
The girls and I are, by this stage, more thanÂ ready to throw that rotten alarm out the window, but we feel the end is in sight.
I actually slept in my own bed for the first time in three days and it was bliss.
Even though that alarm woke me each hour, I still managed to get straight back to sleep.
ExhaustionÂ kicks in …
Who remembers being a new mother/father and being totally sleep-deprived? I thought those days were long gone.
Whatever the reason for it â€“ exhaustionÂ or otherwiseÂ â€“ I had the best nightâ€™s sleep in ages and I was stoked.