This was me in hospital in April this year. I have never been so scared in my entire life and I hope I never have to go through such a horrible experience ever again.
I'd like to tell you about it but as I really don't want to relive it all again, I'll let my human do the talking.
As Abbey says, what happened to her in April is something we really and truly never want to have to go through again. You've probably gathered by now that this little dog is super special to our family. She is the tiniest little thing with the personality of ten of her kind put together. She rules our household and she literally is my shadow, never letting me out of her sight.
We live in a double storey home and because she is so tiny, she NEVER goes up or down stairs.
One late afternoon in April this year I was watching TV upstairs while the dogs were having their supper. My husband came upstairs a while later and, as usual, brought Abbey up with him as she doesn't do the stairs by herself.
He put her down at the entrance of the room and continued on to where I was sitting. After a few minutes of not seeing Abbey, I asked him where she was. My words were hardly cold when we heard a loud thud downstairs. We were both puzzled as we were both upstairs and with only the other dogs downstairs, the noise was a mystery.
My husband immediately went downstairs to investigate and the next minute I just heard him screaming, in fact almost crying, in absolute horror.
Abbey was lying on a coffee table on the ground floor, absolutely comatose. She had clearly fallen down the stairs from the first floor and landed on the wooden table that was situated next to a window on the ground floor, next to and below the staircase.
My husband went into such a state of shock as this was like a horror movie playing itself out right in front of our eyes. He picked her up and screamed at me to come down. At this stage I was halfway down the stairs and I thank God for filling at least one of us with a sense of calm and clarity of mind.
I grabbed her little body, grabbed my car keys and ran to the car as fast as I could. Only after I raced out of the the gate did I realise I had no shoes on and as it was after 6:30pm, our nearest vet would be closed for the day. I felt as if my mind went into autopilot then and in seconds, flipped through the information that it needed to find for me in that moment. I remembered that the vet in a suburb about ten minutes drive away had a 24 hour clinic.
In fact, Abbey had been there for a while about a year earlier when she had quite mysteriously developed problems with balancing. A proper prognosis was never made as the condition disappeared as fast as it appeared.
I drove like a lunatic to get there, praying out loud the entire time. At times I couldn't feel her heart beating anymore and I actually shouted out out to God, bargaining with him, pleading to have her survive this unthinkable horror.
Her tongue was hanging out of the side of her mouth, she wasn't blinking her eyes and she was making the most horrific sounds every now and again.
I got there in record time and stormed into the packed waiting room. Bless the souls of the wonderful reception staff who immediately got us into a room with a vet.
They put her on a drip immediately and managed to stabilize her a little. I just praised God that she was still alive and luckily nothing seemed to be broken. She slowly came out of the shock she was in but continued to make the horrible sounds. When we tried to get her to stand, she would fall over almost immediately. I decided to stay with her as I knew that the trauma of being left alone, locked up in a cage, after everything that had happened to her, would traumatise her beyond what she might have been able to handle.
So I stayed with her the next two days and nights, going home only to change my clothes and sleep for an hour or two. She continued to be disorientated, hardly ate and was obsessed with being able to see me. In fact, I held her almost the entire time as putting her in the cage upset her tremendously.
By the middle of the second night the vet on duty said to me that it's really bad and they are at their wits end as to what to do. She was almost gasping at times, couldn't walk without falling over and things were not looking good at all. I seriously thought at that point that she was not going to make it.
If you thought I did some serious praying in the car, that evening I took it to a different level! With Abbey in my arms I called upon God like never before! As always, my prayers were answered, as the next couple of days proved beyond a doubt.
By the third day we sent her to a human hospital for a brain scan. The scan revealed that she had a massive cyst above the cerebellum. This was putting pressure on her little brain and was the cause of her loss of balance. The scary part was that the cyst was filled with fluid and the question of course, was how to get rid of that fluid.
Now this is the part that makes me smile. The vet wasn't sure which route to follow but he informed us that the very next day, 7 of the top veterinary surgeons in our country, would be attending a conference at their practice. He asked our permission to have them all look at her scans and see if they could all agree on what course of action should be followed. What a question! Of course we said yes.
The decision was made to insert a syringe into the cyst and attempt to drain it.
The next afternoon she went onto theatre and he successfully drained 6,5 ml of fluid from the cyst. This was a feat of note, as he had to somehow find his way into her little head from the back of her neck and trust he had it in the right position when he started extracting fluid. The other challenge of course was when to stop!
The fluid was sent to the lab and sadly, it was determined that it was indeed cerebrospinal fluid, which means that the fluid in the cyst was coming from the brain.
The good news was that Abbey was a changed dog after the fluid was drained and she almost immediately started walking better, looking better and even started eating her food without us forcing it down her little throat!
They concluded, based on the scans that they took, that the condition is most likely a congenital anomaly. That of course explains the earlier incident of about a year ago as well.
I'm happy to say that our little Abbey is back to her own self and is doing just marvelously. The cyst is there. We can't do anything about it. What we can do, is pray that it doesn't fill with fluid again.
Our option, if that ever has to happen again, is to have a stent put in that will drain the fluid to another part of her body, so that it can get rid of it via another route, as it where.
I'm not even going to think about that possibility as I know she's going to be fine.
Some people don't understand how and why we get so attached to our animals but for us, that is just the way it is. The joy they have given us over the years, an continue to give us every day, is something that money can't buy.
Understanding now why Abbey turned around and ended up going down the stairs instead of walking into the room, as she always did, has helped my husband deal with what has happened. He is just as attached to these little dogs as I am and together we decided, as that cyst is still sitting there, we are not taking any chances. We've had the stainless steel ropes that we had along the staircase removed and we've replaced it with shatterproof glass panels.
Now you know why, even though I have four dogs, I chose Abbey to be the star of the blog. Our tiniest but at the same time our biggest miracle doggie!
This is where I fell from - down the top and through the opening on the left. I landed on a little table that used to stand just below that window.
This is what my humans have done for me since my fall. They said they don't care that it's maybe not as aesthetically pleasing as before, as long as it keeps us safe!
Ok. I'll say it out loud.
They're pretty ok for humans. And yes, I love them. :)