Thursday, August 19, 2010

Two is Better Than One??

At least in the Justus household that seems to be the mantra this summer...

For one reason or another, this summer has been all about the power of multiples. From dining experiences to family emergencies, we seem to find ourselves indugling in the same activity over and over. On some occassions, the double-dip experience has been fun and we've taken advantage of the little things we enjoy as many times as we can squeeze into a short summer - such as:

1. JJ got to run two basketball camps over the summer
2. We ate Trolley Stop hotdogs nearly everyday on vacation
3. We chose to ride the bicycle built for two instead of one
4. We celebrated our second year of marriage!!! Yeah for us!

But on other occassions, we've found ourselves in less incredible repeats. In particular, having both cars in the shop (the same week!) and our furry little baby running in and out of doctor appointments. This note is the purpose of the post.

(Sigh)...Yet again, our sweet little golden retriever has found his way back to the operating table for the third time this year. The first slicing took place in October 2009 after he swallowed half of a tennis ball into his stomach and we found it lodged in his tubes blocking just about everything that is critical to survival. He was cut open immediately. After recovering nicely 10 days later (thank you, Madison Animal Hospital!) he was back in for x-rays in December to diagnose a nagging limp in his right hind-leg. Despite hoping for a sprain, it was a torn ACL and one that was beyond natural repair.

In comes surgery #2.

Coop went in for a TPLO knee surgery in March 2010 for a full repair. Basically, a doggie knee replacement complete with a metal plate secured with six screws around the joint. (Anyone want to guess how expensive 6 tiny screws can be???). We were told the recovery time on this round of operations would be 90 days and he was to remain as immobile as possible.

Riiiggghhhtttt.....that part was hilarious.

We argued that Coop was a four year old, healthy pup and he couldn't possibly stay quiet for 90 days. With a little shake of the head and a pointed finer, the surgeon looked at us and said, "Ok, but just realize that when a dog his size tears one knee, there is a 50% chance he'll tear the other. I'm just saying be careful."

That was all we needed to do everything short of sitting on top of him all day long to make sure he didn't move. We took every precaution and kept him on doggie lock-down for as long as possible. "Just make it to June," we'd say, "And then we're home free!"

Well, June 1st hit, and we celebrated! We were in the top half of the 50% and best of all our bank account would narrowly dodge another $3,000+ operation. Time to cheers!

Then came June 4th. And the limping began.

We were sure he had just tweaked an ankle since there was no way this was happening again, but after a week of watching him limp around the house at night, we knew we had plummeted in the statistics. It was back to the doctor (our new best friend) for more x-rays and another confirmed yes, that in fact, the second ACL had been torn. By this point we were pros. No need to check the calendar at home - just give us the next available appointment.

In comes surgery #3.

August 17, 2010 - Cooper returns to the doctor for ACL surgery #2 on the other knee. It doesn't get easier on the parents, I don't think, but for some reason Coop seemed to come home in happier spirits than the first time. Despite the gigantic swelling and bruising splotches all over his knee, he seemed content. Not quite happy, but content. It was almost as if he remembered this all from the first time around and it was old hat to him...or, eh, old cone?

As I showered him with his new "surgery presents" of gourmet dog cookies and stuffed animals, he licked his lips and wagged his tail like nothing had happened. It was me who needed the relaxer meds...

Relieved to see him alive and well, I can now sit back and breathe that we're done. Hey, the dog only has two knees, right? What more could he tear?? (I'm knocking on wood).

Next on the to do list: rebuild the bank account and destroy all tennis balls that are within eyeshot!

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