Sunday, October 14, 2012


The night before Amos turns 2 weeks old, I'm feeding him his late-night bottle, as usual.  All of a sudden, he stops eating and starts gasping for air.  His mouth is open and his tongue is hanging out.  Then, he falls over.  I'm usually really good in a crisis, but now, I freak!  I yell for Ed and start pounding on Amos' side and rubbing his throat.  Ed picks him up and we take him outside.  Ed holds him up and makes him start to walk around to get air into his lungs, but Amos is in a daze.  After awhile, he starts to come around.  He starts walking around and mooing (off in the distance we hear an adult cow moo in return, and I wonder if its his mother...).  He can't stand for long, so we put him back in his pen.  I sit up with him all night and again I ask for prayers on Facebook.  I know exactly what has happened.  He inhaled milk into his lungs.  I know he's going to have aspiration pneumonia. I feel so bad.  He's trying so hard to survive, and this has to happen.  I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I watch him get sicker as the night goes on. He gets colder too, so I turn up the heater.  This night seems to go on forever!  By morning, Amos is so weak he can barely stand without help. Dr. Bissett comes over first thing and my worst fears are confirmed.  He has aspiration pneumonia.  Its in the bottom 1/3 of his right lung.  That tissue will most likely die. He gives Amos an injection of antibiotic and a steroid injection.  He instructs us to give him a shot of each for the next several days, but, when I leave the room I can see him shaking his head while he's talking to my husband and I know what he's saying.  When I come back into the room he tells me how serious it is.  He says that it would be almost impossible for a healthy calf to survive this.  Amos is just to little and weak.  There isn't much of a chance he'll survive this. Because of the damage to his lungs, his organs will begin to fail since he wont be able to get enough oxygen . He said that we'll know in the next 24 to 36 hours if he'll survive.  If the medicine doesn't pull him through by then, he won't make it. He lays Amos' little head on the pig stuffed animal that Kelly and JJ bought.  This opens his airway to help him breathe easier. Dr. Bissett doesn't think he'll make it through the night. But, he said that Amos is a little miracle already, so if any animal can pull through, he can!  Ed and I discuss it, and we both feel the same.  We won't let him suffer.  If we see that he is getting worse, we'll call the vet to come back and put him to sleep. The anxiety and sadness is overwhelming.  Again, I spend the night in his pen.  Again, I asked for prayers from my friends on Facebook.  You can say what you want about the pitfalls of social networking, but Facebook was my lifeline that night.  I was so despondent.  I felt totally helpless.  I felt like I let him down.  He needed me to help him with his fight to survive, and I failed him. So that night, he slept and I prayed. I read the prayers and well wishes and words of encouragement from my Facebook family.  Over these past few weeks, Amos has really become theirs, too.  It was a long night. He barely moved a muscle.  Finally, about 4:30 am, he seemed to be breathing easier, so I went to bed to try to catch some sleep because I had to go to work the next day.  At 5:30, Ed wakes me.  He said that I better get downstairs.  I knew that Amos was dead. I can't put into words how I felt, but it was dark and heavy and sad. Instead, Ed says that somebody is waiting for me. This is what I saw:

This was Amos' second miracle!  It was the prayers and love from everybody that pulled him through!  Now Ed, of course, thinks it was the good cows milk and I'm sure the vet thinks it was his professional skill, but I know what it really was...  We have to give Amos the shots for the next several days.  Well, I should say Ed has to give him the shots.  I really hate doing that.  Ed is fine with the IM shots, but the sub q shots really give him trouble.  My friend Amye is a nurse at my work and offers to come over and give Amos his shot.  Her daughter Emma came over to help feed him, too.  Amye listens to his lungs and says he actually still has some air moving in the damaged lung occasionally.  That's a great sign!  He's still very weak, though:

The vet checks in and can't believe that, once again, Amos has survived!  If I don't update daily on Facebook, I get a ton of messages asking about him.  By the time he's 3 weeks old, Amos is starting to perk back up and even seems like he's getting stronger.  He's hungry all of the time, and drinking like crazy!  However, on his 3 week birthday I was giving him his evening bottle when he aspirated again.  He was drinking his bottle much slower than usual.  It was taking him forever and he was getting really frustrated when all of a sudden he stopped drinking and started gasping. He was trying to cough, but couldn't. He plopped down and just laid there.  I took him outside again and got him moving, and this time he seemed to recover faster.  Ed said he didn't really want his whole bottle this afternoon either.  I took him back inside and laid him in his pen.  I just sat there with him.  He wasn't breathing right and was getting weak again.  I had no idea what to do.  I felt like we were losing him.  I was sitting there looking at him and I wondered if his teeth were still loose.  I put my finger in his mouth to feel his teeth and you won't believe what I found there!  

No comments:

Post a Comment