Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm grateful my sick dog is the smallest.

I don't know how I would have handled it if one of the bigger dogs had gotten Valley Fever.  Rags is my littlest fur child at 20 pounds.

This makes it easy to pick him up and put him on the kitchen counter where  I can over power him to force him to take his pills.  I am grateful he fights and fidgets instead of bites.  Size isn't as much of an issue with sharp teeth.

His size makes it possible for me to carry him up the stairs when he doesn't have the energy.  Or to carry him part way around the retention basin when he wants to come, but can't quite make it.

And because he is small, I can stick globs of peanut butter in his mouth to give him some protein on the days when he won't eat.  He's lost 3 of 21 pounds in 2 weeks.  That's almost 15% of his body weight. 

This morning was another not eating day.  I was able to force feed him some liquid food with a syringe.  It was messy.  I don't hold him so tightly that I hurt him.  But I did get some food into him.  Onto him, onto the counter, onto me.

If it had been either the 40 or 70 pound dog that got sick and they resisted as Rags has, I don't think I would come out the victor.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Just" doing paint touch-up

On my list of to-dos was the seemingly innocuous "Touch up paint" in  the pecan color that makes such a wonderful accent wall.  The white nicks and dark scuffs look glaringly obvious against the pecan.  At least to me.

This is a quick chore.  Open the leftover paint, stir it up, grab a paint brush.  Touch up scuffs.  Easy, right?

Not the way I do it.  Oh, the first three steps were as described.  Easy.  But after that, things got more involved.

The major scuffs were from the couch rubbing against the wall.  The couch itself was quite easy to slide away from the wall, since it sits on a tile floor.  But moving the couch displaced a plethora of lost, half-chewed rawhides.  I picked those up and threw them back into the open.

A throng of dust bunnies and dead bugs remained, requiring that I get out the broom and dust pan to sweep.  This seemed easier than dragging out the vacuum.  As I dumped the dust and debris into the garbage, I noticed how dirty the broom and dust pan were.  So I washed them.

Back to the wall where some of the nicks needing painted were on the window sill.  I conscientiously pulled up the wooden blinds, so they wouldn't get accidentally painted.  The window was adjacent to a relatively dust free entertainment center.  At least, that's what I thought until the sunlight exposed the inaccuracy of that belief.

So I dusted all of the shelves in the entertainment center.  And part of the wall that needed touched up.  After all, paint won't stick to dust, will it?

Pulling the couch away from the wall also exposed the hole in the back created when the couch had been pushed up against an extended electrical outlet.  Seeing the hole reminded me that I had wanted to try to find matching fabric so I could repair it.  I snipped a small piece of the torn fabric to put in my purse.

Then I touched up the paint scuffs.  Done.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sookie Stackhouse

I recently picked up an omnibus with the first three books of the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris because I had heard the trailers for the HBO series, True Blood.

I started with Dead Until Dark.  It was interesting, but didn't grab me enough to want to continue.  However, since I had the omnibus, I read the next, Living Dead in Dallas.  And then I was hooked.  I picked up the rest of the series through the latest, Dead in the Family.

What do I like about the series?  Well, for one, I like the way the story line builds from one edition to the next and the way the people change from their circumstances.  In Dead to the World, Sookie and a suitor's girlfriend have an unfortunate encounter.  This echoes through 2 more books.  The rescue of Bill from his maker in Club Dead has repercussions in the last book.  

Sookie goes from being ashamed of her telepathy to almost seeing it as the gift the vampires and Weres think it is.  There is the progression from her discovery of vampires to shapeshifters to Weres, weres, witches, demons and fairies.  And the realization that she herself isn't entirely human.  People live, people die, even people we don't want to die.

Through it all, Sookie maintains her belief in tolerance, in trying to do the best you can to help others.  The intolerance and fear of those that are different are realistic.   Sookie's fears and doubts are realistically portrayed.  She tries to help others who have the gift avoid the problems she has faced.  

Bad things, sometimes very bad things, happen to and around Sookie.  She is a catalyst, often seeing the situation in ways those more intimately involved can't.  In this way, she reminds me of Sheriff Carter on Eureka, without the super intellect, but with the common sense to see a problem to its resolution.

I've enjoyed these books very much and anxiously await the next installment.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

My poor Rags

I'm very worried about Rags.  He will be 13 in November.  I lost my last 2 Lhasas at 13.

And he's sick.  Very sick.

He was at the vet in June for annual boosters.  Since he is geriatric (the nice way of saying 'old'), they did a blood workup.  Slightly high liver proteins, probably from too many 'Meat-in-the-middle' rawhides, but other than that he was in good shape.

I cut back on the rawhides and bought some low fat treats.  But he's been lethargic the last couple weeks.  Normally he follows me everywhere I go.  But he's been staying out until he knows I am not coming back to the room.

I attributed it to the humidity or his arthritis, until he wouldn't eat his morning treat.  So Wednesday I took him back to the vet.  They did a bunch of tests, but since the results weren't conclusive, they sent the blood work to another lab for analysis.  We left without any medication.  

I felt helpless knowing he was hurting.  Friday morning I remembered I had some leftover canine antibiotics and I gave him one in the morning.  In the afternoon, the vet called with 2 prescriptions of antibiotics.  His liver numbers were better.  The urinalysis came back normal.  But his white cell count was double normal.  With no indication why, they suggested I bring him in yesterday for x-rays.

So he spent the whole day at the vet.  The x-rays were inconclusive.  They did show he has bladder stones again, so surgery is in his future, but since the urinalysis was normal, they aren't the cause of the white blood count.  There was a slight shadowing on his lungs, like a fluid build up, which would maybe indicate Valley Fever.

They reran the blood work.  His white count was now triple normal.  They are sending the blood work to be analyzed more thoroughly.  Since a simple infection seems to have been ruled out, at this point, the best case scenario would be Valley Fever.  The worst case would be cancer - again. 

In the meantime, he sleeps a lot.  He is sweet and loving and I wish I could fix him by waving a magic wand.

Updated - 8/6/10
The test results came back high positive for Valley Fever.  He's on 5 different medications for 2 weeks, then down to 3.  And since he won't eat, I have to force feed him.  Peanut butter on the roof of the mouth works.  And using a syringe-like utensil to squirt pureed dog food down his throat.  Poor baby.