I’ll Never Eat Corn on the Cob Again…

Before I get into the details, I will start by saying Grits is home and feeling MUCH better than she was two days ago… but not before much drama and a couple of rather emotionally draining days.

Sunday night Chris and I got home from hanging out with Matt in Etowah to find two rather foul deposits of diarrhea upstairs. No biggie, Grits has gotten into trash before that’s made her sick to her stomach, and to her defense she had been in the house for about 11 hours without going out. We didn’t think too much about it and got ready for bed…and to paint a picture, Grits has her bed at the foot of our bed, but normally she sleeps under our bed for the first hour or so, moves to her bed for most of the night, then jumps up on the end of our bed usually just before sunrise. Well, this night she was pacing around the room, occasionally whining, huffing, or moaning, trying to get our attention. She does this from time to time, but she was particularly persistent so Chris and I took turns getting up and letting her out four or five times. Now, we live at camp and she thinks the whole thing is her backyard, so each time she would kind of wander around, at times where we would have to go look for her with a headlamp. One time I found her behind the house eating grass like a little moo cow and she would NOT come inside. It wasn’t a defiant “I am not listening to you” refusal, she just didn’t want to come back inside. When we would finally coax her back in, she went in the bathroom and slept on the tile floor. This went on all night, every few hours…

So, around 8am Chris and I awoke to the horrendous sound of massive amounts of vomit being released on our bedroom floor (thank God, seriously, for hardwood floors). We both sprung up, Chris took Grits outside in case she was going to continue to be sick, I buried my head in my pillow in disbelief and exhaustion after a long night. They came back in, Chris began to clean up the mess, Grits stayed downstairs… where she continued to be sick in the kitchen. I went down to tend to her, letting her out on the back porch for some fresh air and hopefully some water that would relieve her stomach. She just got worse. She continued to be sick (sparing you the details), couldn’t hold down even water, and quickly becoming withdrawn from me. After she would “get sick” she would have drool and foam on her mouth… at this sight I knew in my gut something was really wrong. I went to the kitchen to get a wet towel to clean her up and I LOST it. Absolutely fell apart. Chris came running downstairs, thinking I was now throwing up or that Grits has passed out, unresponsive, or something along those lines.

While I was losing it downstairs, Chris discovered (after bravely dissecting the specimen) not only a LOT of grass, but 2 pieces of corn on the cob (one about half, and the other about a quarter) and some waxy paper used to package meat. This was not good. We decided that we would try to keep getting her to drink water and watch her the next couple of hours before we took her into the vet, but I went ahead and called Heather to get the number to the clinic in Knoxville where she and Mike have vet school friends, just in case.

I decided I would head back upstairs and try to nap for a bit, which I did for about an hour when Chris woke me up. He said we needed to go ahead and take her, she wasn’t getting better and she was becoming more lethargic as time passed. So I quickly showered, trying to wake myself up, and we loaded up the car and headed into town. It was going to take about an hour to get to the clinic so I made all the calls on the way… it was about 12:30 and I had just set our appt. with Tracy for 3:30 when Grits “got sick” all over the back of the car. We stopped at the Mom and Pop store about 10 min from the house and cleaned out the car, now contemplating if we could wait until 3:30 to take her in. We continued on, stopped for lunch, found the clinic, and shortly after decided that we couldn’t wait another hour and a half, she clearly wasn’t getting better and was obviously dehydrated at the least.

So we took her in to the Central Vet Hospital (highly recommend it for Knoxville locals) where they worked us in immediately. At this point, Chris is having to carry Grits in and out of the car, really having to make her walk on her own. I am still on the verge of meltdown when they call us back… I take one step into the exam room and walk right out, bursting into tears in the waiting room. I am sure the folks in the lobby were a little nervous to see the very pregnant lady sobbing in the waiting area…and it seems the first Dr. who looked at her said “Yeah, that’s probably best…” when I walked out. 🙂 They examined her, I gathered myself, went in and heard that she is in shock, her gums are cold, and she’s very dehydrated. They took her downstairs immediately, hooked her up to IV fluids to try and get her stable enough for further exams and x-rays, then Tracy would be able to look at her.

They carried her back up and we followed her into Tracy’s exam room. There he told us he was fairly certain he could feel the “obstruction” in her intestines, but wanted to see x-rays to make sure. If in fact she had corn cob in her intestines, she would have to have surgery to remove it. After a little while of waiting, we went back to see the pictures, and sure enough, plain as day, there was a corn cob sitting in her little intestines. Her stomach, which is supposed to be about the size of your fist, was swollen up to about the size of a large pancake. She was headed to the operating room, we were headed home, and Tracy would take her to stay at the Emergency clinic overnight where they would tend to her and watch her until morning. I was very upset, but very confident that Tracy would take good care of her and that she was in the best hands this side of the NC border. 🙂

So we are almost home and get a call from Heather telling us that she had just gotten off the phone with Andrea, Tracy’s wife, who is also a vet. She came over to the clinic to ultrasound Grits’ tummy, but before she could get there Grits took matters into her own hands and decided to pass the corn cob out on her own. So Andrea went ahead and ultrasounded her to see what she could see, and was pretty certain, along with Tracy, that she no longer had an obstruction. Now, leave it to my dog to say “Heck no, you aren’t cutting me open. I will get this thing out right NOW…”

No surgery, two nights at the clinic, lots of IV rehydration, potential need for blood transfusion (because the corn cob wasn’t too nice coming out on its own), lots of TLC from the Drs. and staff at the clinic, a shaved tummy and front legs, four prescriptions, a basketcase owner, and a corn cob later and she is now back home with us resting and recuperating.

I think I was given just a taste of motherhood during this adventure and ya’ll better start praying now for Noah’s emotional mama. Chris will have to be holding my hand and his every time we go to the pediatrician. I will conveniently blame this emotional breakdown on the pregnancy hormones…

A big thanks to Dr. Tracy Matthews and his crew at Central Vetrinarian Hospital for the support and comfort. Apparently, in Grits’ fashion, she quickly stole the heart of all the staff who worked with her. We are very thankful for them all and especially for the Drs. Matthews who went above and beyond… apparently this could have been really intense and could have turned out not so good, but they never let on.

Thanks, family & friends, for praying for our Grits. You all know how much we love her and how much she is part of our family… though I never thought I would be someone to say that, they make their way into your heart and you just can’t help it.

Oh yeah… we now have two big galvanized trash cans with serious lids…so hopefully there will be no more corn cob incidents in our future.

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