Home from surgery on Thursday afternoon.
Who knew that I would still be writing about a seemingly minor eye issue months later? In review, here are Part I and Part II. Boca Face had her conjunctival graft surgery last Thursday. She was her usual wonderful, cheerful self at the vet hospital, but I had an especially hard time seeing her led away. General anesthesia is always a worry, and I just didn't know what to expect with regard to how her eye would look afterward and if it would finally be the end of this long process. Adding to my uncertainty was the fact that for the day or two before the surgery, her eye had been doing much better and her comfort was increased, so here I was making her worse again with the hope that it would then finally swing the other way. She was squinty again on Thursday morning so ultimately I still felt I was making the right decision.
I was told that Boca's would likely be the last surgical procedure of the day because it was the longest, and not to expect a call until after lunchtime. I was surprised to get a call from Dr. N. at 11 o'clock reporting that Boca was out of surgery and doing well, and that I could pick her up later that afternoon. Boca was groggy and disoriented when I arrived, and I was given her new medications and discharge instructions. I wasn't able to see much of her eye because they put one stitch in the outer corner of her lid to hold it partially closed. She whined most of the way home and seemed happy to be back in familiar surroundings, where she immediately laid down in the dining room. Ruby needed a walk and I intended to let Boca rest, but she pretty much insisted on coming along, so we kept it short.
She continued to improve over the weekend, wanting to play with new toys we got in our Bark Box and enjoying a beautiful spring weekend. She is a fairly low-energy dog to begin with, so pain medications really knock her out. She spent a lot of time laying on her bed on the patio and snoozing on the sofa. It's hard at this point to tell how her eye is. It is still watering a lot but I was told that is normal. The graft is supposed to integrate with the cornea within about a week, and we have a re-check appointment on Saturday. I don't know when the eyelid stitch will be removed. Complete healing can take up to eight weeks. She holds it open just a little when we are walking or when she is getting a treat, and I have glimpsed part of the graft, a thin layer of semi-opaque tissue. It so far looks better than most of the pictures I've seen online. I hope it will soon feel better, and am maintaining my faith in the skill and confidence of the professionals.
A note about pet insurance: I'm in the process of developing a full post on pet insurance, but for now I will just say that it has been a lifesaver for me. While the claim was initially denied, their decision to accept the appeal based on my vet's analysis was very fair and since then they have paid every line item from every invoice, responded quickly and compassionately to all my questions and pre-certified Boca's surgery. I was even able to make arrangements for the insurance to pay the vet directly. My first claim payment was direct-deposited into my bank account nine days after submitting the invoice (all the rest of the pre-surgery charges went toward my deductible). I really don't know what I would have done without the insurance and will always consider it an essential part of pet guardianship.You just never know what can happen - I considered Boca my "low-risk" dog and so put her on a high-deductible plan, then ended up having a multi-thousand dollar claim within the first year. I'm so thankful that I was able to make treatment decisions for her without feeling constrained by finances.