Pixie had her eye surgery yesterday. It wasn’t so much a ‘surgery’ as an injection, called an ‘intravitreal injection’, in which they inject a chemical designed to destroy the cells that produce ‘aqueous humor’ (how’s THAT for a Shakespearean-sounding medical term?). Aqueous humor is the liquid which inflates the eye and provides nutrients to the tissues, but if it isn’t draining properly, it just keeps building up, causing pressure. If this pressure can’t be controlled, it will permanently damage vision. Apparently, this inevitably happens, and Pixie had a pretty good run of about two years living with glaucoma before it got to that point.
Anyway, so the injection makes the eye stop producing that liquid. As you might imagine, since the liquid is in part responsible for inflating the eye, without it, the eye may shrink slightly. When I expressed to the tech yesterday that the ophthalmologist’s use of the word ‘raisin’ to describe one possible outcome was inexpressibly horrifying to me, she jumped on the computer to pull up an image.
May I suggest that you never do a Google image search for anything remotely medically related?
Anyway, after trying to shield me from several revolting photos, she finally showed me one that she said would be the typical outcome. It wasn’t particularly pleasant, but it was distinctly un-raisinlike. Her comment, “Yeah, I don’t know where that ‘raisin’ terminology found its way into the dialogue. It’s not an accurate description.” The picture she showed was of a very cloudy, slightly red eye in which the third eyelid was protruding over about half the eye. [Pause, here… did YOU know that dogs had three eyelids? ‘Cause I didn’t until Pixie first started having eye troubles and hers kept staying partially out over her eye. I kept calling it a nictitating (which I pronounced ‘nictating’ ’til I looked it up just now) membrane, which was my only frame of reference, but the vets insist on saying ‘third eyelid’.] I felt better able to handle something like that picture rather than what I was imagining, which was essentially [SQUICK ALERT] a raisin hanging from her optic nerve.
Anyway, the surgery went perfectly, and she’s pretty much recovered today:
Yesterday, she was so groggy from the post-surgery pain medication injection, that she was befuddled by everything. When we exited the door to the clinic, she started walking straight toward the car. “Don’t you need to go pee?” I asked, tugging her gently toward the grass. She stopped in her tracks, staring at the ground for a moment, before finally taking a few slow steps over to lean on my leg. She kept contact with me as we wandered over to the grass, but when we got there, she stopped again, staring at the grass. It seemed like maybe she were a dog who’d never seen grass before. I walked out onto it, encouraging her to come too. She stared at the ground, legs splayed in the same position in which she’d stopped. Finally, I said, “Well, do you wanna just go home?” She turned immediately toward the car again, and began walking that direction very deliberately.
When we got home, we experienced another very similar moment with water. “Don’t you want some water? You thirsty? Wanna drink? Pixie? Water?” I wetted my fingers and ran them around the inside of her lips, which were bone-dry and kept sticking to her teeth in what struck me as a very uncomfortable-looking way. She just stood there, staring at the floor. Finally, “Well, do you wanna just go to bed for now?” She walked to her bed, figured out after a little wandering how to lie down in it, and slept for four hours straight.
When she woke up, she was not nearly as confused. She had some water, greeted Spriggan briefly, and went back to sleep on the floor for the rest of the evening. At bedtime, she was happy for some food, and even jumped over the suitcase we use to block Spriggan from the bedroom. This morning, she’s still a little sleepy, but basically back to her own personality.
She isn’t always the most photogenic dog, but she certainly tries, posing awkwardly for each shot like a teen before prom.
I realize she looks sad in these photos, a phenomenon I’ve noticed with many bull-type dogs. They have a sort of sad, wistful quality about them… I think in part due to wrinkly foreheads and having their ears back instead of perked up. Pixie’s visage only reflects her demeanor when she’s panting, during which she looks like a smiling, dopey, happy, slightly clueless girl. That’s a good deal more accurate than ‘wistful’. Unbelievably, I have no pictures of her in this state. So I offer this instead:
Also, I just noticed that I was apparently having a prescient moment when I created the Pixie-and-Gryffon-as-pirates photo. Notice which eye is covered by the patch?