What happened thereafter has been nothing short of a miracle, thanks to those attending on her at the CGS Hospital, particularly Dr. Salisha and her colleagues, and a host of caring attenders.
During her regular walk a Sunday morning, Siri was bumped by a car as she and Loki, her partner in crime bolted from the untrained hands of my domestic help; since the trainer does not come on Sundays, the domestic help decided to take them out for a walk.
Since she was just bumped lightly, and there were no signs of external injury, and no visible change in the way she moved about, no alert was raised and nothing was done. I was out of the country, and they felt there was no reason to alarm me over this.
The next day, the regular trainer took her out for a walk and noticed that she was not peeing. And one of the vendors nearby enquired how she was doing after being hit by the car the previous day. Learning just then of the mishap, and as someone who’s trained and walked dogs for nearly twenty years and understanding the gravity of the situation, he called and alerted me and immediately took Siri to our usual vet to be examined. Again, on physical examination, noticing nothing amiss they gave her a shot of painkiller and sent her home. The following day she had slowed down, was dehydrated and weak. Again, on visiting our vet, she was given IV fluids, and blood test ordered. The results that came later that evening showed very high kidney values. Our vet blamed the high values on her dehydration and painkillers are given two months earlier, and he assured us with the further intake of IV fluids these values would come down. And he advised us to take an ultrasound, which was scheduled for the next day.
The next morning Siri was in a much worse condition. Her stomach had bloated considerably and she had a hard time breathing. The trainer, who usually comes at 6 to take out both Loki and Siri for their walk, called me to say he was taking Siri to this big hospital he knew in Gurgaon. I hadn’t even heard of this hospital before and was reluctant to shift from our regular vet. But the trainer would have nothing of it and immediately rushed Siri to CGS Hospital.
Within an hour of Siri reaching the hospital, they placed a drain in her stomach to relieve her of the fluid accumulation there and provide her some quick relief. Then they focussed on diagnosing the cause of the problem. First, they did an ultrasound and could not trace the problem. Then they went back and did a contrast ultrasound, and eventually spotted the tear in her urinary bladder. Nearly three days after it had happened, and despite everyday visits to our regular vet turning up nothing, within six hours of reaching CGS Hospital, Siri was finally diagnosed with what was ailing her.
However, because of her sinking health condition, nothing could be done immediately to rectify the tear. Meanwhile, I rescheduled my return and landed in Delhi at 2 in the morning. I went straight to the hospital, where the doctors had left special instructions with the night watch permitting me a late-night visit to see Siri.
There she lay in the emergency ward. Breathing heavily. No sign of excitement at seeing me. She just looked at me and looked away. After nearly ten minutes of me standing by her side, she lifted her paws and put them in my hand. This was our game. Back home whenever she wanted me to pet her, she would come near me. And while I worked on the laptop, she would put her paw in my hand as if dragging it to pet her. I would stroke her head a couple of times and get back to work. And she would do it again. And this went on and on until one got tired. This was our game. And as she lay in the hospital hardly able to move, she was at it again. I knew then, I can’t let her go. Not yet. Not without a fight.
I went back to the hospital in the morning and met with the attending doctor, Dr. Salisha. She briefed me that Siri was still in a very critical condition and she explained what they were doing to stabilize her. The hospital has a nice enclosure with trees and plants where they let owners meet with their in-patient pets. Siri was brought there and I could spend some time with her. She still looked very weak. Until she stabilized, they would be unable to do the surgery.
The next day, five days after the mishap, Siri was in very poor condition. She was slipping away. Her kidney and liver parameters were still very high. With all the organs soaking in urine in her stomach, she was heading towards toxic shock. Her potassium values were equally high, increasing the risk of a heart attack. She was clearly in no position to undergo surgery involving anesthesia.
Dr. Salisha and Dr. Mahendran laid out the options before me. Despite 48 hours of trying to stabilize her, Siri was still too weak. One option was to put her down and end her suffering right then. Another option was to take the risk and do the surgery. There was a danger that she might not survive it. Or when they opened her, it was quite possible that the damage was more than what the ultrasound indicated, and they might have to put her down on the operating table. And it was also quite possible, despite the surgery, her condition might not improve, and I would be faced with the decision, yet again, to put her down.
I recollected Siri’s paws in my hands and remembered our game. I can’t let her go. Death - not today.
I asked Dr. Mahendran what he would do if it was his pet. He said he’d take the risk of operating her. That’s what I wanted to hear and asked them to proceed with the surgery.
Before taking her for surgery, they let me spend some time with Siri in the visitor’s area. There was a good chance that I might not get that opportunity again. I hugged her, preparing for the worst whilst hoping for the best.
After waiting for a few hours, Dr. Salisha informed me that the surgery went well and they managed to mend the ruptured bladder. I got to see Siri again as she came out of anesthesia. It was still too early to say if she would make it.
By the next day, the blood test showed good results - her kidney and liver values were climbing down. For the first time since she was admitted to the hospital, Siri wagged her tail on seeing me. She was finally on the road to recovery.
After that everything seems like a breeze. The hospital permitted me to bring Loki along to see Siri during visiting hours. He went berserk on seeing her, which was to be expected. (The day I had arrived, he was so upset with me that he went and peed over my suitcase - perhaps his way of showing his anger at me for not being at home when Siri’s condition was worsening). Siri recovered quickly and within a week of being admitted in such a critical condition, she was back home.
I had to take Siri back a couple of times to the hospital for review and for removing the sutures. And it was only during that time I paid more attention to the hospital, it’s modern infrastructure, and the dedicated team of doctors, their committed assistants, and the caring attendants. Siri is up to her mischievous ways again, only because of the specialized care provided by those at this hospital, and I am ever thankful to them for it.