Wednesday August 21st: Ninja is yelping and seems to be in pain. I take her to the vet, they run blood work and take x-rays, and there's nothing...she's fine, according to the tests and they tell us it's a pulled muscle. They give her an injection of a muscle relaxant, and send me home with anti-inflammatories and more muscle relaxants. I take her home, but she's still acting like she's hurting.
Thursday August August 22nd: Ninja is lethargic, she isn't eating or drinking. Ryan and I are both afraid to handle her due to the supposed pulled muscle, but at lunch I roll her over and gasp out loud....her chest is black and blue. The muscle relaxant should have worn off by now and the bruising is really scary. Ryan takes her back in to the vet and they tell him it's either a spider bite or rat poison. He calls me and after we talk about it for 10 minutes or so, we realize that she got in to almost 8 ounces of rat poison....on Sunday. I immediately call the vet back and they start pushing Vitamin K right away. At 3, Ryan and I take off work and head to the vet to visit Ninja. She's on fluid and Vitamin K via an IV, and she looks awful. The light is gone out of her eyes. I cry and cry, and the vet goes over treatment with us-Vitamin K, with a transfusion being the worst case scenario but the risks right now outweigh the benefits. We leave her to be monitored overnight. They all us at 5:30 and tell us that she drank some water and she's perking up quite a bit.
Friday August 23rd:
7:30 a.m.: I am at the vet as soon as they open to see Ninja. She looked much worse than the day before:
Unbeknownst to me, the vet doesn't arrive until 9 a.m. I drive to work, crying the whole way. She just didn't look good. I should have spoken up at this point and advocated for my girl, but I didn't. I didn't catch the rat poison earlier, how did she get it off the shelf, I can't believe I let her get in the basement.....
9:05 a.m.: Ryan calls. The vet called him the second she walked in the door and said that if we want what's best for Ninja, that we have to take her to St. Louis for a transfusion. Or we put her down. I run out of work, go home, meet Ryan and we go straight to the vet's. There the vet tells us that if we want Ninja to make it, we have to take her to this emergency clinic in St. Louis, about 1 hour and 45 minutes away. They're one of the only 2 vets in the state of Missouri that have blood and plasma on hand. They've already called and everything will be waiting for us there. I look our vet in eye and ask her if Ninja will make it to St. Louis. She says she will, no worries.
9:20 a.m.: Ryan is in the back seat with Ninja, trying to get her swollen body comfortable while I'm driving 80 mph on the interstate. There's no music on, we're hardly talking, and I can't stop crying.
10:00 a.m. Ninja's breathing starts to become more labored. Her neck is so swollen that she's having a hard time breathing. I call the vet in St. Louis to make sure they're ready to go when we arrive, and that they have permission to do everything they need to do.
10:40 a.m. Her breathing sounds awful. I really don't know how we're going to make it to the emergency clinic.
11:00 a.m. I know in my heart we're going to lose her.
11:16 a.m. We finally get to the vet. Ryan carries her in and her head rolls back. I think that I didn't drive fast enough. They take her back and get her on oxygen and the transfusion going within 60 seconds. I'm hysterical and trying to fill out paperwork, Ryan can't stop pacing.
11:30 a.m. They put us in a room and the vet comes in to talk to us. He's worried that there's been bleeding on the brain, that she won't be the same dog if she makes it. He tells us that she is critical for the next 24 hours, that she could crash at any moment, that we need to stay close so that if she takes a turn for the worse, we'll be able to get there in time to say goodbye.
1:00 They let us back to see Ninja in doggie ICU. She raises her head and wags her tail when she sees me and I lose it again...tears tears tears. We get to put her blanket from home in there with her, and the vet tech, Kim, tells us that she really didn't think Ninja was going to make it that first 10 minutes she was there. Kim is great and tells us that she gets off and 4 will call us with an update.
1:30 p.m. We leave and have lunch (at the bakery we got our wedding cake from). My appetite is non-existent. Just waiting. Ryan's Aunt and Uncle live 10 minutes from the emergency vet, so we contact them-they're out of town until Saturday night, but give us the code to their house and tell us to make ourselves at home. We wait.
4:30 p.m. Kim calls, as promised. Ninja was in such rough shape that they set the transfusions to run for 3 hours initially, but she was doing well enough that they slowed them down. Still a waiting game.
6:00 p.m. We go in to visit with Ninja. They put us in a room.....and WALK her in! Such a huge improvement from just 6 hours before.
The waiting game continues to see if her body will break down the new blood cells from the transfusion; if so, the poison might have destroyed her body's ability to work the way it should, and we have some decisions to make. When she arrived at the emergency vet's, her red blood cell count was at 11%....it's up to 32% after the blood and plasma transfusions. We head out to have dinner with Ryan's family to pass the time while we wait...Ryan wants to be around family with all this stress too. And I get to love on my niece, Brynley, and I'll never say no to that!
5:30 a.m. After being up since before 3 berating and blaming myself over and over, I call the vet's for an update; she was sleeping so well that they didn't wake her up to do a blood test. They'll do one around 8 and the vet will call us when he gets the results in.
9:20 a.m. The vet calls; his voice sounds disbelieving when he tells us that she's doing great, that her blood count had held (!!!!!!!!!) and that we can come pick her up in the afternoon!
3:00 p.m. We go to the vet to see if Ninja is ready to be discharged; she's responded incredibly well to treatment and is ready to go home! A full recovery is expected, and the vet tells us that once they respond to the transfusion that they don't go backwards...for the first time since Thursday, my heart lifts and I feel like I'm not going to lose her.
Ninja is SO Ryan's dog, I love that picture!
Ryan and I decided to take Ninja back to his Aunt and Uncle's house just to be close to the vet's just in case...more for our peace of mind than anything else. We head back there and get Ninja settled. Ryan goes out to get pizza for dinner and special food for Ninja, and when his Aunt and Uncle get back around 9 they start spoiling Ninja, who loves to have the air blowing on her face:
Their hospitality was a godsend that weekend. Having a homebase only a few minutes from the vet, and they immediately started taking care of all of us the second they got back from their trip (Uncle Joe was receiving an award at a conference). We were so grateful for everything they did for us.
We stuck around Sunday morning and had a really nice visit...here's Miss Ninja on Sunday:
Then we headed home. Ninja's stamina and energy level gets better every day. I am humbled and so grateful for her health and her recovery.
There's no more rat poison in my house. As much as I thought it was out of their reach and in a basement they're not allowed in, accidents happen....we hosted a BBQ for Ryan's Cross Country team and they got tables/chairs out of the basement and that's when Ninja slipped in there and got the poison off the shelf.
I'm grateful we were able to get up to St. Louis when we did, that Ninja is such a trooper and hung in there for us, that we have savings to pay for whatever it took to make her well, that Ryan's family gave us a place to stay, that people who I have never met were pulling for Ninja....we're so lucky. She's our little ray of sunshine and we are just so lucky.
Ninja last night:
She's still not eating as much as we'd like her too, and she isn't at 100% quite yet. She's definitely on the mend though and getting better every day.
Thanks for all of your kind thoughts, words and prayers. They meant a lot to me during a really scary time.