Read the title carefully:
When A Little Bit Of Knowledge Can Be Dangerous And Heartbreaking.
Little is the key word here.
As a vet tech I have a small amount of knowledge in veterinarian medicine. I am by no means an expert and would never claim to be. Each day I go to work and I learn something new. What I know is from what I have seen and been taught by licensed veterinarians who went to school for many years.
Vet techs and assistants see crazy shit all the time which in turn, I believe, makes us one of the more paranoid pet owners in the world when our pets get sick. Of course I can only speak for myself here, but I have seen other techs act the same way as me.
Sometimes we know just enough to make things complicated when our pets get sick. We have just enough resources available to us to induce panic. We are able to read our pets report from the lab before the vet ever sees it. We are able to analyze and over analyze everything because it’s right at our fingertips.
When we are left with no answers, only questions about our pets health we are left with an undetermined amount of time for our minds to wander.
Hence the situation we have going on with Sherman……………..and me.
Before I get to the latest debacle, let me say that Sherman is doing well, he is not any worse than he was, and I would have to say he has improved. He has never stopped eating during any of this and over the last few days has showed interest in wanting to play. He is getting around fine, without any signs of limping in his back legs. He has become even more of a velcro dog than he was before and is constantly following me around the house. I’m pretty sure at this point in time, he is more worried about me than I am about him, if that’s even possible.
Despite all of this we still have no answers and the more tests we run the more questions we are left with. Recent lab works show mild kidney and liver elevations. And when I say mild I mean barely out of the normal range.
Not enough to suggest anything but enough to watch, and induce panic into a concerned owner.
That would be me.
Concerned owner with a wandering mind and just enough knowledge to be dangerous which brings me to last Saturday when I came home from work and noticed Sherman chewing on his back leg. I immediately went over to check out the situation and as soon as I saw the ulcerated mass that he had been chewing on my heart broke into a million pieces.
The mass was about the size of a superball and it was hard and painful to the touch.
Osteosarcoma. Sherman has Ostersarcoma and we found the metastasis before we found the bone cancer.
Everything fit now. The fluid in the chest, the limping, the elevations in his lab work. The cancer was taking over.
I was devastated.
I spent the whole rest of the weekend a sobbing mess.
I wasn’t even a hot mess, just a sobbing mess.
How was I going to tell the kids? How much longer did we have with Sherman? How did I miss this? How much pain is he in? Why? Why? Why?
I told my husband.
He asked what the next steps were.
I told him nothing, it was already taking over. We probably only had a month or so left with Sherman. An x-ray of his leg would confirm that the cancer was eating away at the bone in his leg.
I texted the vet. She told me to bring him in on Monday and she would take a look and not to worry, we could handle this.
Monday came and I reluctantly took Sherman into work.
The vet looked at his leg as soon as we walked in.
With one look and one touch she said that it wasn’t Osteosarcoma and then she flicked me.
“You didn’t tell me the exact location where the mass was on the text. If you would of told me that I could of saved you a lot of tears and me a lot less panic..”
Then she flicked me again.
I work in a hostile environment.
We took 2 x-rays of his leg just to be extra sure, and the bone was “unremarkable in appearance”
The ulcerated mass is an infected lick granuloma. It’s the same one that keeps coming and going for the past 2 years, it’s just infected now.
I went a step further after we took the x-rays and asked the vet if Sherman could have a tick embedded in his leg, and have Lymes disease.
That’s when she stopped in her tracks, whipped around and said, ”Are you asking me if Sherman has a tick embedded in the infected lick granuloma. The same granuloma that we dealt with a few months ago?” Do you work here? Are you the same Jen that I have worked side by side with for the past seven years or have aliens abducted her? If aliens have abducted her can you please tell them to bring me back Jenny Jugs and take this person instead?”
Which was when I responded with, “Hey lady! Are you the same vet that has been seeing my dog for his WHOLE life and now you can’t figure out what is wrong with him? He was fine four weeks ago and now he’s a mess and nobody can tell me why!”
Yep. I said that.
It was like an out of body experience. I was floating above myself watching the words come out of my mouth and I couldn’t get back in my body fast enough to shut my trap.
That’s when my vet put her hands on my shoulder and said, “I’m sorry Jen. I’m doing my best to find out what’s going on with Sherman. I love him too. He’s getting better Jen and that’s what matters. We just need to be patient and continue to monitor him and not jump to conclusions.”
And then we hugged, cause that’s what friends do.
I called my husband and told him the good news.
“I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong!” I told him
He was happy too, very happy, but later that night he told me I wasn’t allowed to handle any of the dogs health issues from now on because I induce to much panic into the family and I completely ruined the whole weekend.
He told me I had just enough knowledge in my head to be dangerous and from now on we must wait for the vet before I make any deadly diagnosis.
As I said before, we still have no more information on Sherman. He continues to improve and we continue to monitor him. We were suppose to repeat chest films on him yesterday and run a few more tests but we decided to give him and us a break for a week. The vet feels the same way so we’ll repeat the chest films next week sometime as long as Sherman continues to move in the right direction.
Oh, and I sincerely apologize to my bowling team. Sorry I cried for most of the night Saturday. I told Bob beer wasn’t going to help, but he insisted. It’s his fault.
It’s a dangerous thing if you only have a little of it.
***I feel the need to point out to anyone who is new to reading this blog that I work side by side with Sherman’s vet on a daily basis and we are good friends. We associate outside of the workplace which is why we share such a demented dialogue with each other. If your vet ever flicks you and calls you an alien while you are talking to her I suggest that you find a new vet and I highly discourage anyone from addressing their vet as “Hey lady!” This is not proper etiquette and it’s just plain wrong if your vet is a man.