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As some of you might know already, I have been Mr Elastoplast-Ear for more than a month. And I have been self-debating for a long time WHEN I should write about it or should I even write about it.

After much thoughts and deliberations, I finally decided to write about it just because the road to recovery has been one arduous (and may I add painful) journey and no short of an amazing healing, thanks to Him.

And here's my story of THAT Iffy Aural Haematoma and His Healing Touch.

WARNING:
DO NOT TRY ANY OF THE PROCEDURES AT HOME. Always seek professional advise and help from your Veterinarian should your dog develop aural haematoma.

Aural haematomas usually occur as a result of local irritation to some part of the ear. When something irritates the ear canal, a dog is likely to respond by scratching or shaking the head. Excessive shaking causes blood vessels to break, resulting in bleeding. An understanding of the ear's anatomy makes the sequence of events more logical.
(extracted from vetwest.com


It all started at the end of February 2017 when this iffy little bulge appeared on my right ear. Mummy felt the lump and got really upset. She said to me, "Why you? I always expected Frodo to get this but never did I expect it to be you."

Please do not mistaken. Mummy is not cursing aural haematoma - let's just call it AH! - upon Frodo. You see, Frodo is the one with the skunky ears and persistent ear infections. He is the 'dua-hum-bao' (big crybaby) whenever mummy needs to administer the ear drops. 

Mummy always laughs and says, "I think the neighbours probably think I'm murdering my dog."'

And the way Frodo shakes and scratches, mummy has mentally prepared for the AH! to pop out.... any time.

So when she discovered that AH! had found me instead, she got very upset. AH! is not a life threatening condition but just plain annoying and an eye sore. It can cause discomfort to us, dogs, as well. The thought of AH! repair surgical repair and all that bandaging made mummy go "AAaaaaHHHHHhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!"

Mummy immediately took a ear swab to see if I had any infection that she might have missed and got even more upset when it came out pretty clean.

She glared at me and grumbled, "It must have come from all your rubbing ways."

And she sighed.

AH! surgical repair was not her preferred choice.


As(s)piration and Exasperation... AH!

When AH! was first discovered on my right ear, it was truly an ah!... a small ah!.

And since it was a small ah!, mummy decided on attempting aspirating the fluid out even though it is know that, more often than not, it does not resolve the AH and the fluid/blood build backs up very quickly. Mummy thought that since the ah! was still a small, MAYBE I can get away with this aspiration route. The recommended route for AH! is surgical repair but with that said, no procedures ever guarantee 100% of no recurrence. And AH! is one of those annoying conditions that CAN recur.

The virgin draw was the best draw. About 1.5 ml of blood/fluid and that was that. Even though my ear appeared all nice, flat and normal after the first aspiration, mummy was worried about tthe 'air pocket' (thus the surgical repair of slicing the ear open and tacking the space down to prevent the fluid from building up again) and hoped that because it was a small ah!, the bloody fluid (literally) will behave and not build up again.

Then exasperation began.

Mummy's attempt at illustrating aspiration of the AH!

The ah! came back to haunt me with a vengeance. After the first aspiration, the fluid built up with a vengeance - from 1.5 ml to 10 ml worth of fluid.

Her next attempt was to 'Emla the shit-out-of' the pinna area and slice it open. She did not have Lidocaine injection so she could only numb it topically. HOWEVER, there are certain regions of the ear that even Mr High-Threshold-of-Pain (me) can feel and that brand new blade did not cut well when needed most. So mummy only managed a small incision which was useless because it would close up very quickly and the fluid party would start again.

I think she was ready to bang her head against the wall then.

Before you think mummy mad or "torturing" me, do note that she constantly seeks advise from her trusted advisors and yes, I could hear her constant whinings, "I'm angry because I was not expecting the AH! to occur on Flapper".


Let It Flow, Let It Flow

So after attempt #1 and seeing how the haematoma came back to haunt me with a vengeance, it was back to the drawing board for mummy.

Two options:
  1. Aspirate my ear every day; or
  2. Create a 'drainage' system to [hopefully] consistently drain out the fluid and let the air pocket slowly reduce to recovery.
She was clearly reluctant to poke me with a needle everyday to draw the fluid out so she started thinking about a drainage system - something that was easy to manage yet able to resolve this nagging haematoma.

Just when she was mulling about using an IV catheter, her trusted advisor suddenly said, "Why don't you try using the IV catheter?"

She went on instructing mummy on the 'How-To' and cautioned about being very careful as this method could induce infection in the long run which I was promptly put on a course of antibiotics.

Then there's the 'flying catheter' when I shake my head too....

That was all the affirmation mummy needed to know that she was on the right track. She started visualising in her head HOW she was going to secure the IV Catheter in place such that it does not fly out when I shake my head.... With the IV Catheter insertion plan panned out in her head, she approached me fully-equipped to execute the procedure.

By now, mummy knew exactly where to poke me so I do not feel the pain although I still do not fancy consistently getting poked by needles.

Getting the IV catheter in was the easy part. Securing the IV catheter was also the easy part. The difficult part was.... THE BANDAGING.



Giving mummy tragic face about getting head-wrapped.

It did not take long before I managed to shake my ear out from the bandaging. And well, I managed to get the bandage out of place too. That's my secret. No one else knows how I did it but me.

After a few attempts at re-bandaging to try to keep the ear in place, mummy gave up and decided, "You know what Flapper? If I'm going to need Elastoplast, I'm just gonna Elastoplast the hell out of THAT ear and that's that."

Disclaimer:
For all procedures shown, proper surgical prep was done. The catheter was replaced every 3 days to minimise the risk of infection. Bandage was changed daily too. Mummy seeked advise from her trusted advisor before proceeding so all procedures were executed with care and caution.

Not a recommended bandaging method for aural haemotoma treatment but ah well! At least I still got to go out to play!

No Elastoplast ear is gonna stop me from playing!

Exactly Two Weeks Later And It Looked Oh-So-Promising....

15th of March 2016 and I had an appearance to do at daddy's office - The 'Meet Flapper' Fundraiser. It was also time to remove the IV catheter from my ear. Up till then, the treatment seemed to be working and resolution of the aural haematoma seemed promising.

Mummy checked on the fluid excretion everyday. It looked healthy and not a whole lot of fluid excretion. And because of the constant drainage, the haematoma did not make its appearance.

Everything looked good.

So I was finally Elastoplast-Free and donned by best PR-look for the event.

Elastoplast-Free and the recovery seemed promising... PR-Face full mode on as I attended the "Meet Flapper" event at daddy's office.
I even managed to do a #LAB-Test with Uncle Nic on that very day after the event.

It Came Back To Haunt Me... Fast And Furious.

It only took just about two days before the annoying haematoma came back to haunt me with a vengeance - BIGGER but not better.

My ear, by then, had developed a sensitivity to the elastoplast and mummy decided to go back to good 'ol fashion aspiration (method #1) to manage the haematoma for the time being.

24th March 2017 and it was Frodo's Pre-Birthday celebration! Mummy only decided about two days prior to that that we shall go have a good swim. No thanks to my iffy ear, we had not swam in about a month. Mummy said, "Flapper, since your ear is all iffy anyway, might as well go knock yourself out and have a good day of fun."

I'm not complaining! Frodo and I made it down to the sea as fast and furious as my haematoma was haunting me.

If you can't beat 'em, joing 'em. Ain't no haematoma is stopping me from having a good time! Actually, if you stare at my ear hard enough, you can actually see the bulge.

Weekend came and mummy decided to let Frodo have his much-anticipated PJ-party with grandpa. Mummy forgot to pack the syringes and needles so she decided to let it be for the weekend and see what happens.

By Saturday night, the haematoma had packed itself to the brim and mummy was very very sad. She looked at me and said, "Surely I don't have to choose surgical repair route."

While Frodo was happily indulging in his grandpa love time, mummy was busy thinking about what to do next. She decided to give the IV catheter method another go. If it still doesn't resolve this round, she would call it quits and surgical repair it shall be.


Because of how my ear was reacting to the Elastoplast, mummy did not want to use back the same method of pasting the entire ear. So she decided to just use that bit of Elastoplast just to secure the IV catheter in place and I was cone-head once again - to prevent me from scratching or rubbing off the catheter.

As per the last time, a bit of anti-inflammation drug was injected in but I responded poorly to it this round. My ear became hot and inflammed. On that Wednesday, the fluid that was pulled out started to look a little wonky and mummy became very suspicious (and highly worried) that it have gotten septic.

By Thursday, Mummy pretty much knew we had hit dead end on treating this haematoma without surgery.

On Friday, the trusted advisor took time to come visit me and mummy presented the fluid to her.

Bad news.

The verdict was out.
The appearance of the fluid drawn out was worrying.
Surgical repair was necessary.

Surgical repair was the necessary evil but mummy could not help but still feel devastated. She had thrown in the kitchen sink in an attempt to resolve this damn aural haematoma without surgical repair but to no avail.

Mummy also had to admit that age has indeed caught up with me. Recovery has become sluggish. Her once problem-free boy... slowly but surely, little issues has started to creep in.




I Surrender All

That very night, mummy surrendered. To God.

She could not accept that in all her humanly ways possible, the aural haematoma could not get resolved and my ear could not escape the knife.

Daddy and mummy spent a good portion of their Quiet Time praying for me. That was the only thing mummy could do now. Just surrender to God and leave me in His hands. I heard their prayers and perked my head up. I snuggled in next to mummy and joined them in their prayers.

What happens next, I leave it all to God.


His Healing Hands and The Road To Recovery

The next morning, which happens to be April's Fools Day, we woke up to our usual routine except that no breakfast for me because I had to be fasted for the surgery.

Mummy checked my ear and her eyes opened up wide.

"Flapper, either I'm dreaming or wishful thinking...... but your ear actually looks better!", mummy said excitedly.

Mummy thought the inflammation and fluid collection looked like it had gone down by more 50%. Since I was already booked in for the surgery, she decided to take me in to the clinic anyway and let my trusted advisor have a look. Mummy daren't put her hopes up as she was afraid it was her eyes playing tricks on her.

We arrived at the clinic and mummy gushed to my trusted advisor to have a look at my ear. She agreed that the inflammation and the swell looked reduced. She asked mummy, "So how? You still want to proceed?"

Mummy was, without doubt, on the edge in making the decision. Superficially, my ear looked a whole lot better compared to the past three days. But based on my iffy ear's stinkin' record for the past month, she was also worried about "what if".

My trusted advisor said, "Look. He seems comfortable, the ear does not seem to be bothering him, eating well... he looks clinically well. You can still choose to monitor a few more days and if it recurs or gets worse, then book him in again for the surgery."

Mummy was still tentative.

Then she proposed, "Shall we pull the fluid out and do a cyto(logy) first? If it is septic, then we go ahead and do the repair."

Agreed.

The Cytology-Queen aka My Trusted Advisor went through the slide under the slide very carefully and blah blah blah.... "pretty" neutrophils = inflammation... blah blah blah.... no apparent sepsis. I think that's what she said.

I was too busy being a social butterfly to really hear what she was saying.

So it was decided then that the surgery was tentatively postponed.

Mummy had two options:
  • Start me on another course of antibiotics immediately; or
  • Bring a fresh batch of fluid on Monday and send it out for Culture and Sensitivity (C&S) to confirm yes or no infection and then start on the antibiotics I am sensitive to.
She decided on the latter, I paw-printed in the appointment book for surgery on Thursday (just in case) and mummy happily took me home to monitor my ear in the meantime. 

Most of all, I could celebrate Uncle Choo's birthday in peace without everyone worrying and fussing over me post-surgery.






HEALING
adjective
1. curing or curative; prescribed or helping to heal.
2. growing sound; getting well; mending.

noun
3. the act or process of regaining health:
(extracted from dictionary.com)

The lesson about HEALING is... it takes time. Yes. Like many others, mummy wished upon a one-touch miracle that I was healed. IMMEDIATELY. But I was already very blessed to have been touched by His Healing Hand and was miraculously made better overnight.

By Monday, my ear actually - once again, by God's grace - looked normal. The inflammation was gone but the fluid build-up was significantly lesser. So mummy decided to skip the C&S and antibiotics as my ear looked markedly improved.

And it was also on that very day that mummy issued a no-play order to me. She said SHE (note it's she, not me) had to be good and not cave in to my masterful emo-face. Based on previous experience, she noticed that each time we went out for wild play, the haematoma would haunt me further.

No play.
Now I'm depressed.

By Wednesday evening, my ear appeared a promising road to recovery and I had to go erase my paw print off Thursday's surgery booking.

By Friday, I had to make it known to mummy that I was not happy about the 'no-play' order.




Today.
10th April 2017

Even though it has only been a week but Frodo and I are actively shooting smoke out of our heads from MY no-play rule. Sorry Frodo! My bad that you have to suffer with me.

My ear is healthily recovering though I still get the 'attack' of the needle as and when required - every two to three days or so. The fluid volume is markedly reduced and it has been breathtaking to see the daily improvement of my iffy right ear since that miraculous Saturday.

Mummy and daddy continues giving praise and thanks to God while praying for me. I lift my paw to put on mummy's hand every time they pray (no bluff about this). I pray with them. I pray for the no-play rule to be lifted.. SOON!

My recovering ear today. It is a long road to recovery but boy am I happy it is finally getting there.

This has been such an amazing, almost unbelievable, journey of faith. I did wonder, "Would God lay His hands on me and heal me... a mere dog? A big blonde dog."

All praise to the mighty Father for listening to our prayers, not despising me for being a mere dog and with His grace, my ear escaped the knife and is healing well.

It took me a long time to write this story as it could sound pretty ludicrous. But all that I've shared is the truth and nothing but the truth.

The Tale Tail Of My Iffy Ear And His Healing Hand.

Thank You God.

And not forgetting as well... a big humongous special thanks to my trusted advisor for being there with me through this journey.

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