November 8, 2010

falling into nothing as the earth stops rotating

My life has come to a complete halt.  A week ago, I woke up early to find my puppy had an extremely swollen face, muzzle and neck.  She was having trouble breathing.  The world began to revolve a bit slower at that moment.  I rushed her to the vet ER and they said she had a severe allergic something.  They could not say what, but they expected after a steroid shot and benadryl, she would be fine.  And she was. For four days.

Andrew found her the second time, again it happened over night.  I was away for work and he called me early.  As I slowly woke from a deep sleep, he left me a voicemail that I'll never forget. "It happened again. We're on our way to the ER. Pray for Emma."  At that moment, I felt so helpless.  I was a four hour car ride away and could do NOTHING but wait for the verdict.  Would my puppy be ok?  Andrew called me 90 minutes later, saying they gave her another dose of benadryl but couldn't give her a steroid because she had a mite on her back.  Fine, whatever.  As long as she's safe.  By the time I heard from him, I was already on my way home from the coast.

The very next day, I noticed her muzzle and neck starting to clear (yay) but that she had a bunch of patches of raised hair all over her back.  Then her neck.  Then her chest.  Eyelids.  Forehead.  Muzzle.  I thought I was seeing what had given her a swollen muzzle.  It must have been bug bites.  Right?  As the  day progressed, the "bites" got bigger and bigger.  Until I realized.  It wasn't bites.  It was happening again.  Except this time, it was everywhere.  Our third trip to the ER left us feeling helpless and hopeless.  The only thing the doctors said was that things like this were rare and hard to diagnose.  It could be anything.  It doesn't have to be something new to her.  She could have developed a new allergy to something that has been around since she was born.  Dogs can be allergic to bug bites, vaccines, medications, food, dust, pollen, other dogs and even people.  ALL of which she has been exposed to in the last week.  The only thing we can do is monitor when the breakouts start and count back twenty to thirty minutes to see what she was doing then.

At that moment, the earth stopped rotating.  I stopped breathing.  Nothing else mattered except keeping Emma alive and figuring out how to stop this terrible thing from ever happening to her again.

The doctor said to think about what happened each time she broke out in hives.  So that's what we've been doing.  Each time, she was sleeping.  Soooo, she's allergic to sleep.  Or not.  Right now, we think she may be allergic to her blanket or the detergent used to clean it.  But that is only a guess.  We really have no idea, to be honest, but clutching at something is better than falling fast into nothing.  My dog is my child.  We don't plan to have kids, but I treat Emma like the daughter she is.  If you don't like dogs or don't understand the connection, go back through this post and insert the word "baby" for the word "dog".  If you have ever had a sick child, think about if the doctors told you they couldn't figure out what was making your child sick.  It would kill your insides.  That's how I feel right about now.  I hope that my happy ending to this awful week will come in a blog post soon.  If you are a praying person, please pray that we figure all this out and that Emma returns to her normal, not so puffy, self.


  1. Something similar has been happening to my neighbor's dog. After two ER visits the vet gave them an epipen.

    I had something similar happen to myself several years ago. I would break out in hives, swell, tongue would swell, etc. I would journal and try to figure out what was causing but never had any answers. Finally, all of the symptoms went away.

    I hope your little one is ok.

  2. Ugh, I'm sorry you've had to deal with this yourself! I can't imagine how awful it must have felt. Emma is thankfully feeling much better and we are crossing our fingers that she doesn't break out again. We have no idea what we may have changed that hurt or helped, but at least it's not happening right now!


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