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 Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury

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Something_To_Believe_In
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PostSubject: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:44 pm

I am putting this here because I need/want to chronicle what is going on here.

**************************************
Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013

While spending time with my family, I received a phone call from a vet office in Dalhart, Texas.  They tell me that the day before, there was a fatal car accident on the highway outside of town.  The car accident killed a 29 year old woman and her two dogs and injured 4 other people.  Along the side of the road, first responders found one male sugar glider and rushed him to this vet office.  This particular vet does not treat exotics, and through sheriff and vet contacts got in touch with me asking if I would take possession of the little glider, who they believed to be injured.  

I met them at 2:00 that afternoon and met the little guy for the first time.  He looked pretty bad.  He was unable to use his front arms/hands at all.  He could push with is back legs, but was weak.  Ears were down, eyes were dull and he was breathing heavy.  Penis was extended.  Left eye is swollen shut.  He is intact.  He has a few scratches that are very minor and he is lethargic.  The vet tech who assisted with his transport to me said that he had eaten cantaloupe the night before and that she noted him to pee and poop.  

A local vet took some x-rays, gave us a shot of Convenia and some metacam, and sent the x-rays to Dr. Walsh for reading.  I took the little one home.  He ate a few yoggies and then ate two full servings of my staple mix and one of veggies/fruit - hand fed to him throughout the night.  I got up every other hour to feed him a little and to reposition him.   He never made any sounds of any sort and I did not see any movement in his arms at all.  

Dr. Walsh sees irregularities at the spine in the neck area and advises to get another set of x-rays (better ones) later as there is so much swelling that the x-rays (which weren't great in the first place) are very difficult to read.  Maybe there is just swelling (I hope) and maybe there is spinal damage.  

*********************
Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013

The little guy has taken a turn for the worse.  Half way through the night, he began to show signs of damage to his back legs.  His little feet curled into balls and he pulled the legs up to his body.  After this, he stopped using them at all.  He was given more metacam as prescribed.  He continues to eat well and to pee and poop.  He is otherwise paralyzed from the neck down.  Hopefully temporarily.  The theory is that if it is just swelling, then when it is reduced, there will be progress and maybe even return of function (I am reminded of my Nugget and how well he recovered).  

In the afternoon, I laid him on his side in his little carrier and took a shower.  I returned to check on him to find that he had curled into a ball and chewed off two fingers on his right hand and was working on one on his left hand.  This is bitter sweet, because it indicates both discomfort and some forward progress in terms of neurological function.  Hands are cleaned up and QuickDerm is applied.  Dr. Walsh is consulted and it is decided that we will take a "wait and see" on the neurological/spinal issues before addressing any amputation that might be needed of the fingers.  

Penis is still extended.  Eyes are bright and the swollen one is no longer swollen, but is now watering constantly.  Ears are perky and alert.  He moves his head from side to side and eats well.

We continue his medication and add Critical Care to his diet.  He only sleeps soundly when wrapped like a burrito and placed in my bra.  So, that is where he stays most of the day.  When I go to feed my dogs, I place him back in his carrier/bed.  I return to find that finger on the left hand badly damaged and bleeding.  So, we begin the same struggle that I have had with every one of my gliders with spinal injury - this SMing every time they are making some progress.

Same schedule throughout the night as the one before, except feedings and checks are spread out 3 hours.  He eats well and enjoys 2 yoggies in the morning.  


*************************
Monday, Dec. 30, 2013

Pretty uneventful day time.  I heard from the best friend of the human mom who passed away today.  It is horribly sad to deal with this family and friends.  They have lost so much.  They are all pulling for the little guy.  I forgot to ask while on the phone, so I sent them a message asking if they could let me know this little guy's name when they get a chance.  Otherwise, I will choose one for him.

Still no movement of the legs other than some occasional stretching/kicking.  Both front hands/paws are pretty swollen today.

However, after a late afternoon feeding, I lay him on his side to prepare to clean a little more of the dried blood off of him (there was a lot of it all over one whole side of his body, so we are gently and slowly removing it in stages just to be sure we don't upset anything or cause his body temp to drop).  While getting supplies ready, I look over and see him grooming his hands!  Not chewing, but grooming.  This is the first grooming I have seen from him, so I let him do it until he began to mess with the wounds on the worst of the fingers.  Also, his penis has retracted! And later in the night, he uses his back leg to scratch at his neck once. Just briefly, but it happened. Also, he pops and chirps when I give him yoggies now.   These are positive signs.  I took the opportunity to video tape a little of his activity at this time.  Some day I will learn how to post video here.  LOL

He ate very well and then settled in for a really deep sleep.  As I type this, he has been asleep on my lap for 3 hours.  I have decided to give him 5-7 days before I make any big decisions.  I am also respecting the wishes of his human mom's parents and family and consulting them with his progress or regression.  I know that if permanent paralysis below the neck is to be his future reality, then that is no life for a glider and I won't make him live that life.  I also know that Jackie Chan was not able to move well in his first month or so with me, but as his swelling was addressed, he began to SM AND to make improvement in his movement.  I remember so much of my first days with Jackie Chan and with Triscuit in working with this guy. The little glimpses of movement he has remind me a lot of Nugget when he first came to me.   They give me hope, these gliders who have been my heroes for many years.

Little man just woke up, so I'm going to feed him and then take a long awaited bathroom break.  :)

Please say a prayer for him if you get a chance.

-----------♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥-----------
~*~ Val ~*~
Passionate = one step down from crazy

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures - Thornton Wilder

We are what we are, no matter what we might wish to be, or pretend to be. - Dean Koontz in The Face

My favorite color is orange - I'm the normal one.


Last edited by Something_To_Believe_In on Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:17 am; edited 2 times in total
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Critter Hill
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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Tue Dec 31, 2013 3:27 pm

Made me cry reading that. So sad for the family and hope this little guy pulls through. :( HUGs thinking of them and you and this little one.

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Catherine
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Usha77
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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:07 pm

Oh, Val.    This little one and you and his human family have been in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to be. I am so hopeful that the SMing means the feeling is coming back. Do they know if he was in a cage or anything when the accident occurred? I am so glad that you are chronicling this and I am hoping and praying things will continue to get better and this poor sweet boy will heal well. No matter what happens, this gives me hope in that I am honestly always worried when I have my gliders in the car with me - what if we are in an accident? What if I am incapacitated? Will my gliders be found? Will someone know enough to find help for them? I want to thank you for all you do and I also want to thank the first responders who brought the glider to the vet and to thank the vet for reaching out for help.
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BCChins
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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:56 am

It brings tears to my eyes to read this.

Prayer's for all those involved. I am sorry to the family and friends.

I am thankful to the responders who took the time to help this little one. Not everyone would be kind enough to try and help such a little not so common pet.

Val my heart goes to you for not only taking in but DEVOTING every spare minute you do to help not only this little fella but all the animals you do. You are one amazing person and I am so glad we all (two legged and 4) have you in our lives. Love You

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Brenda
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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:17 am

Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013

No major changes this date.  Swelling in his hands is down a bit, so I'm hoping that the swelling internally is also down a bit.  I can feel some of the swelling around his spine, and to me it seems no different, but I can't see what is going on in there.

He did not eat as well as he has in the past few days.    Not an alarming decrease, just making note.

Every time I set him down, he attempts to chew on his hands.  I am discussing the possibility of using a medication for neural pain with Dr. Walsh and Dr. Pearson. I also scheduled another vet visit with Dr. Pearson for Friday.  Assuming he makes it till then, we will attempt better x-rays with the dental x-ray.  Dr. Pearson has been great and is very open to doing anything he can to help this little guy.  I can't go to Tulsa right now because my mom is out of town with my brother (who is having surgery in a few days), so I have no one to help with the rest of the rescues/animals for the day I would have to be gone.  So, Dr. Pearson is working with Dr. Walsh and I'm confident that this team is a winning combination for this little guy.

The sister of his deceased mom posted on my Kingdom Kritters wall yesterday, and two of her friends contacted me via PM.  It is heartbreaking to communicate with them.  They do not comprehend the extent of his injuries or the likely final outcome here.  Also, no one seems to know the little guys name.  I'm going to wait another day or two to see if they come up with it, and if not, I will give him a name.  I am trying to be respectful of all that HE has lost as well by keeping his name (I usually say "new life, new name").  

I am increasing time between his feedings and repositioning to 4 hours because he is sleeping soundly between them and sleep/rest is necessary for healing.  I would let him sleep all day, but because he can not move and because he has no real bladder control, he sits in his own waste/pee and I can't have him getting a wound or urine burn from it.  Yes, he is on fleece, which absorbs some, but nonetheless, he needs to be repositioned out of any urine.  Also, repositioning decreases the risk of any pressure wounds forming.  So, in this case it is best to disturb his rest briefly every 4 hours or so.  

Hoping for a more positive update tomorrow. Until then, here are a few photos of the cutie

His right hand when I found him chewing/SMing:


A little cutie (excuse our scabs and mess) You can see his right hand swelling here.


Feeding time:




-----------♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥-----------
~*~ Val ~*~
Passionate = one step down from crazy

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures - Thornton Wilder

We are what we are, no matter what we might wish to be, or pretend to be. - Dean Koontz in The Face

My favorite color is orange - I'm the normal one.
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kyro298
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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:03 am

So sad on so many levels. We all know he's in the best possible hands. I wish I were in a position to help you so you could get to Tulsa!

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Kylah, That's K-y-l-a-H (Take note of the "H"!) My favorite color is pants, which is perfectly normal.
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bjve
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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:10 pm

So very sad for this little guy & his human family. You are an angel for him, Val. I will say some prayers and send them your way.

-----------♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥-----------
Bobbie    


Mom to 2 humans, wife to 1, -- and "mom" to 1 dog, 2 horses,
and 12 of the sweetest gliders!

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DCMuffin
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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:16 am

He's just such a doll, I love his little face. He's where he should be, and the minor improvements are major milestones, and for that, I'm happy.

He's got all my thoughts right now - well, okay, I've saved a few for you, too. :)
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Something_To_Believe_In
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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:26 pm

Time is just flying by for us.... and each day is something new for the little guy.

********************
Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014

The little guy - who is now officially named Dillinger (he has not stolen any money, but he has stolen my heart) - is now much more agitated than previously, leading me to believe that he is having some pain.  

This afternoon, he began moving his back left leg - stretching it out and then holding my finger with it while I fed him.  He is eating very well again and all other things are unchanged.  It does seem (appearance wise) that the swelling is slightly less on his neck and back area.

A new behavior has begun when given more solid foods - he kind of looks like he is struggling to swallow it.  I'm not sure what exactly is going on, but will have it looked at with our appointment tomorrow.


*******************************
Friday, Jan. 3, 2014

Today the little guy is moving both back legs - stretching out and scratching himself with them.  He has also crabbed once today, which is the first I have heard since picking him up.    

On a more grim note, we did go see Doc Pearson again.  I'm happy to report that Dillinger's swelling had reduced substantially, so we were able to get a clear x-ray with the dental x-ray and a fairly good one with the regular ol' x-ray.  
What we were able to capture in images is that Dillinger's neck is broken.  He has a very distinct break/dislocation in the cervical area.      Needless to say, the outlook is not very good here.  However, the fact that he is making improvement and has SOME return of movement does not seem to "fit" with neck injury.  So, I am going to try one more week of drug therapy to see if further reducing the swelling results in any functional improvement.

I am staying realistic, but can't help that I love this little guy.  I truly want the very best for him and I truly want to be able to tell his deceased mom's family that we did everything possible for the little guy.  I can do this for one more week.  It seems the least I can do for Dillinger and for the family that is still grieving so strongly.

I have changed to feeding and repositioning him only when he wakes. He wakes up each time he pees or poops, so I can reposition him then. Otherwise, he sometimes sleeps 3 hours and sometimes 6. It has allowed me to have a bit more rest at times and is better for him.

I'll get that x-ray photo posted soon.

-----------♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥-----------
~*~ Val ~*~
Passionate = one step down from crazy

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures - Thornton Wilder

We are what we are, no matter what we might wish to be, or pretend to be. - Dean Koontz in The Face

My favorite color is orange - I'm the normal one.
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Something_To_Believe_In
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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:43 pm

I should also mention that my mother and brother attended the funeral of Dillinger's previous mom today (as representatives of Kingdom Kritters). They are just amazing like that.

Here is Dillinger's full body x-ray

-----------♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥-----------
~*~ Val ~*~
Passionate = one step down from crazy

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures - Thornton Wilder

We are what we are, no matter what we might wish to be, or pretend to be. - Dean Koontz in The Face

My favorite color is orange - I'm the normal one.
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BCChins
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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:45 pm

Continued thoughts and Prayers for Dillinger. . He is giving it his all Val. Glad you are going a bit further for him.

Has he had any movements at all with his front legs?

Thank you to your Mom and Brother  

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Brenda
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Usha77
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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:54 pm

Definitely continuing my prayers here!    
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bjve
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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:00 pm

Sending more prayers your way, Val! He has come so far - I pray that he continues to improve!

-----------♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥-----------
Bobbie    


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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:27 am

I have not updated in a while simply because this has been a super horrible week for me. It also has not been that great for Dillinger.

Though he continues to be able to move those back legs, there is no functional use of them. In other words, he can't support his weight on them, use them to propel himself or upright himself with them. He just stretches them out at random times and scratches himself at random times. His front legs/arms remain completely paralyzed and are now developing contractures.

The good news is that he has stopped going after his hands, which is a relief.

Other than that, the spark has gone out of his eyes, he is not eating as well, he has started to have a few minor complications from not being able to move (that are all adding up) and he shows no interest in pretty much everything. I feel like he is telling me that he wants to be with the family he lost. I can't allow him to continue living this life. It seems cruel now to keep him alive just for the sake of keeping him alive in a "wait and see." It has been two weeks since the accident. Two weeks of being completely unable to do ANYTHING for himself. Can you imagine how he must feel?

So, this afternoon we have an appointment to help him cross over peacefully and painlessly. I know it is best for him, but I am super sad by it. This has been a very difficult week of loss for me and this one will be no easier. I am so grateful for the time I had with little Dillinger and hope that I learned enough from this experience to make it a positive thing for gliders in the future.

-----------♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥-----------
~*~ Val ~*~
Passionate = one step down from crazy

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures - Thornton Wilder

We are what we are, no matter what we might wish to be, or pretend to be. - Dean Koontz in The Face

My favorite color is orange - I'm the normal one.
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BCChins
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PostSubject: Re: Paralysis due to cervical (neck) injury   Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:40 am

Dillinger you fought hard and Val did all she could for you. Glide little one and be free from pain.

Val you did all you could for him.
Shoulder's are for leaning on if you need them.
A big ((Hug)) for you

-----------♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥-----------
Brenda
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