Monthly Archives: July 2010

INVASION!!!

It’s been a weird summer. In June, we had the hot temperatures more often experienced in July. Now in July, we’re getting June temps, but we had so much rain lately, the humidity is incredibly high, so we’re getting heat indexes well over 100F. The grasses have really enjoyed the rain. Between the temperatures being so dreadful, Odo’s health, and the bathroom renovation, the garden weeds have gotten away from me. Apparently the weather has also been great for grasshoppers, which, as best I can tell, eat everything but grass. I’ve managed to clear the two 16 foot gardens and one 12 foot garden, only to find the grasshoppers have stripped everything hidden by the grass.

I never even got to taste the kale before the insects stripped the leaves. They’ve started to recover, but the hoppers are just getting bigger.

My mystery melon appears to be some kind of cantaloupe, but I may not manage to try one if the grasshoppers keep eating through the skins.

My spring onions look as if they’d been snipped with scissors.

They’re even eating the holly!

The only benefit I can see from this insect invasion is the frass they’re leaving everywhere. They’re eating all the weeds and turning it into poop. If I could just get them to trim the grass. I look forward to the first frost, when I can start the gardening season over.

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Almost done

Before Odo’s health took a temporary nosedive, I managed to get the glass tile back splash installed in the bathroom. Grouting went quickly but the tile cleanup took forever. Some of the glass pieces were etched to give a really cool watery effect, and the grout didn’t want to come off. After a lot of experimenting, the only solution I could find was to scrape the grout out one tile at a time with dental tools. Luckily, I have a wide variety of shapes in my carving supplies and was able to find just the right one. If I kept track properly, it took about eight hours to clean up side panel of tiles.

When I finally got the tiles clean, I made some wood trim of the same material as the counter top. The sinks are now installed and functioning. The towel racks are back in place. We now have a fully functional bathroom. I’ve even moved the new towels into the vanity and the medicine into the medicine cabinet. The only things missing are the mirrors which are in the works.

I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to mess with the shower. Some of the old grout is damaged or missing. I have time, the mirrors will still take a few more days to complete.

Even if I am saying so myself, I think the renovated bathroom is gorgeous.

Crunch time

A little over two weeks ago, June 23rd, Odo’s condition changed. He had been doing rather well while we got his Cushings’ disease under control, although he was getting picky about his kibble, opting for a flavoring of yogurt, rather than plain. I’d noticed that he was panting more often, a Cushings symptom, and occasionally very restless, possible arthritic pain, but until June 23rd, he had shown no obvious gastrointestinal distress, which came in the form of vomiting. When his breakfast came back up with minimal digestion, I immediately called my vet. I was going to have her call me, but as the day went on and he was in obvious distress, I called the clinic back and had them squeeze us into the schedule. Odo was due for some standard tests in a week’s time, which was when his six month ultrasound was due as well. He couldn’t wait that long. After x-rays, an ultrasound and blood work, it was obvious that the gall gladder had distended greatly and that the only real fix was surgery.

We brought him home and attempted to give him some pain medication, then carefully weighed the pros and cons of putting a 14 year old dog through surgery. He could not get better without surgery, so we had to decide if palliative care for a few short days or weeks in which he would probably be in a lot of discomfort ending with euthanasia was better than putting him through surgery and postoperative discomfort for a couple of weeks to extend his life for 6 months to maybe a couple of years. We chose the latter since the prognosis after successful gall bladder surgery is excellent. We knew there was always the possibility that he could die during surgery or never come out of the anesthesia, but since he was facing euthanasia anyway, we took the chance, and gave him a chance at a longer life.

That night, Odo started vomiting again, and my decision was final. We would take him to the emergency hospital, next door to the surgical center, where they could give him relief from his pain and nausea, in preparation for surgery. I returned the next morning to get Odo checked in for surgery and consult with out veterinary surgeon. When I checked to see how Odo was doing they told me he hadn’t peed for them, and asked if I could take him out. I hadn’t planned on seeing him, because I didn’t want to confuse him, but I had to help him if I could. So they brought him out, left leg wrapped to keep it immobile for the catheter, which made his walk very awkwardly. He peed for me, of course, and I worried as I returned to the front door of the hospital, that he’d head for our car parked out front. To my surprise, he didn’t. He headed straight back to the door and when I handed the leash over to the tech, Odo led her away down the hall, back to the ward. That was when I knew I had made the right choice. He knew where he was comfortable and wanted to stay there.

Surgery took place around noon on June 24th. The gall bladder hadn’t ruptured, in fact still looked “good” despite it’s enormous size, and there didn’t appear to be any infection (a serious concern for a dog that’s sensitive to just about every oral antibiotic on the market). Odo came out of surgery like a puppy. He was ready to go home the next day, and unlike the day before was eager to get in the car. I had to hold him back to keep him from running across the parking lot. He was in some pain over the weekend, but we gradually eased him of the pain medication (an opiate derivative that distressed him), and eased him onto solid food. His recovery was amazing. Within days he looked more alert, his eyes were bright again, ears perked up. The only problem was some difficulty walking on his left foot, possibly some arthritis that became inflamed from the odd way he had to walk. Unfortunately, because of his elevated liver enzymes and his Cushing’s disease, anti-inflammatory medication was out of the question, so we opted for laser therapy and light exercise.

It has now been over two weeks since surgery and he’s mostly back to his old self. For those who know him well enough, he’s playing with his pillow again! He’s eating well, although oddly turns his nose at one particular treat (I think it was the last thing he ate before the vomiting started). He’s walking half a mile in the morning, a little bit less in the evening. The limp is nearly gone when he walks on pavement, but he still looks a little tender-footed on the gravel driveway, uneven surfaces, and when he gets up from a nap. He’s noticing the deer again and even trying to chase them.

There’s no way to know how much longer Odo will be with us, given his other medical issues, but I can say for certain that his quality of life, right now, is much better than it has been the last few months (even though we didn’t know it), and that alone was worth every penny.