Today was the surgery checkup to remove sutures and see his progress, and it was also my 29th birthday! Yay…Sadly, it wasn’t the best news, although his sutures were removed, and both his repaired muscles, plus his left un-altered side, still feel really good according to Dr. Eshelman. He spent the day at Alpenglow because they wanted to do an exam that required him to be under some narcotics. He also got a full-on bath that the tech said was so thorough that she had given him “the full monty!” I thought that was funny. The issue is that Dexter’s rectum is too dilated – open, I suppose is a synonym – and because he had about 6 months of in-between surgeries, where this issue was ongoing, the doctor is concerned that it may never fully retract to the proper position.
Recapping the last few days, briefly: Dexter’s been very happy emotionally and quite pleased with life except for one issue; he’s been pretty much incontinent in terms of passing feces, his rectum was dilated and swollen, and despite many sessions hand washing his back end, there was crusting and irritation of the area. (Now that the sutures are out, he can be bathed again, but until today, that wasn’t an option – hence hand washing.) On top of that, as I’d reduced the dose of stool softeners in order to ease this diarrhea-born surface irritation, Dr Eshelman seemed concerned that the rectum was beginning to accumulate stool within it, and thus dilating further, and not getting better… 🙁 The rectum needs to regain its normal sphincter action in order for him to return to fully normal life. Otherwise, the issue will continue where no matter if he tries to poop outside a million times or not at all, when he’s doing normal activity or even just sleeping, poo comes out of him. It’s gross and not pleasant for anyone, but it’s also scary because the ideal recovery would, by now, have him regaining this function instead of seeming to have plateaued.
Anyway, his incontinence has continued pretty much unchanged and we’d had to develop some new bathing methods. Today he had his sutures removed and now he can be bathed again, but in order to let his rectum heal, he needs to be kept on stool softeners until he’s going “as liquidy as possible” – yay 🙁
Therefore, tonight while I was having dinner for my birthday, and Dexter was still doped up from his narcotics-fueled rectal exam of this afternoon, I gave him a trial run in a doggy diaper. BOY, was this dog ANGRY!!!! He has put up with a lot, but he was in full-on sulking, whining-for-no-reason, petulant pup mode, for sure. That said, I could tell he was in no pain and it was simply an emotional response, so we went to dinner with him in the cone locked in the crate. On returning home, he was still discontent, and had managed to tug his diaper a bit low on one leg (despite wearing his usual two-cone combination outfit), but overall he was perfectly fine. At one point tonight he even gave up on sulking long enough to eat his dinner (Purina One canned food with additional unflavored pedialyte for nutrition and hydration – he HATES drinking water).
He has a long way to go still before he is out of the woods. I’m now back at the point of $350-400 vet visits for each of these exams (because there’s too much pain on his unhappy rear for them to do an exam without narcotics) and if he needs an enema over the next few weeks, then it will be the same sort of deal. I’ve decided to add a second ‘goal’ bar to my page to track donations for after-care. I know a few people have expressed the desire to help but I’d reached the goal already and so I just want it to be obvious that Dexter STILL NEEDS HELP! I hope that is understandable.
Here is a picture of him in his diaper and cone. The ultimate in Pathetic Combination Dayware: