A reminder that my agent, Jenn Jackson, is offering a critique (partial novel ms, up to 50 manuscript pages) in exchange for a Hurricane Sandy relief donation to the Red Cross. The current high bid is $1000, which is awesome. If this is something you’re interested in, please check out Jenn’s guidelines/preferred genres, and maybe give it a shot. Bidding ends at 5pm EST on Monday 5 November.
In other news, it was a Drivey McDriverson day for me. Took the pups to the regular vet–Gaby for her heartworm test, and King for his Adequan shot. Given how the last month has gone, I had my fingers crossed for Gaby’s test result even though we were mosquito-lite this summer and her coat is so thick that the little buzzy bastards would have needed miners’ gear to get to her skin. Lucky for us both, results were negative.
Took the pups home, then bashed off to run errands–post office, gas station, pet supplies big box for pup food, then grocery store for my food. This was the grocery store with the good fish, which is way the hell away from the pet supplies big box. Tollway time. Almost 60 miles round trip, which is a lot of driving for me on a weekend.
Lunch was sautéd sockeye salmon (say that 3x fast) with sautéd spinach and kale and some couscous. Broke out the Ghost Hill pinot noir blanc. Bit fancy for a Saturday, but it’s been a month, dammit.
King continues okay. He acts like an old dog, not a sick dog–a little slow in the mornings, sleeping a bit more, stiff in the hips. But he still loves to eat and bark at the mailman. Still plays with Gaby after dinner. Still acts like King the Love Sponge–pet me, love me, and you may kiss my nose. Let that continue.
In other news, we get our phantom hour back tonight! I missed that thing. Took me weeks to adjust when we lost it last spring.
…today, a squirrel.
Payback is coming, for tomorrow morning it’s the groomer’s!
Posted in life with dogs
So today I took King to the vet’s for an ultrasound.
Good news: nothing leapt out and said “Houston, we have a problem.” Liver appeared okay. Possible cyst on one of his kidneys–vet wasn’t too concerned. Bladder appeared okay. Gall bladder was partially filled with what was described as “sludge,” thickened bile, which the vet said probably resembled sand in water.
Iffy news: a half-inch wide darkened area on the spleen.
For now, we’ll treat the gallbladder–King’s on ursodiol, a med that will dissolve the sludge. In a few weeks, we will redo his bloodwork and see if the liver enzymes have lowered. Fingers crossed that’s the answer.
As for the spleen…spleen cancer is a possibility, especially in older, large-breed dogs like my guy. We may redo the ultrasound in a few weeks to check if the thing has gotten any bigger. Depending on the result, we may biopsy. Not looking forward to the prospect of King going under the knife. But spleen cancer isn’t often diagnosed in an early stage, so we would have to press the advantage if we have it.
King was a good puppy during the testing. He did receive a mild sedative, but even so he could have been twitchy and he wasn’t. The tech said that he lay perfectly still, and she didn’t need any help holding him.
He ate a good dinner. He’s sleeping now.
Tomorrow, it will be four years that the Mickster went in for an ultrasound as preparation for pancreatitis treatment. The vets found tumors in his liver and bladder. They gave him a few weeks, and he lasted six days.
Which was why the prospect of this ultrasound made me a little edgy.
But it looks like we may have options, room to maneuver. Nothing is definite–it could be nothing. We have some time.
Dragged myself out of bed at 6 this morning so I could get Kuro-shinju to the service garage before it opened. It was time for his 90K overhaul, and I confess I was a little worried. Older Subarus are prone to head gasket issues; 1 in 3 were the last odds I heard quoted. With that in mind, I braced myself when the service manager appeared with the written rec for additional service.
Guess it was my lucky day. Kuro just needed some additional filter and fluid changes, some of which will help head off any future head gasket issues. The service manager agreed that while there are known problems with older models, regular maintenance helps prevent or mitigate them. I confess I’m not one of those oil-change-every-3K drivers, but I have taken Kuro to the garage at least a couple of times a year and made sure he had his 30K, 60K, and now 90K overhauls. He’ll crack 100K sometime in the not too distant future, and I would like to see if I can keep him going for another few years. I can think of a few types of cars I would like if I ever hit the lottery or write that major bestseller, but until then I would like to sail the Black Pearl for as long as possible.
And no, I didn’t name him after Captain Jack’s ship. Kuro was christened soon after acquisition in 2002, and he is named after his official paint color, which is Black Diamond Pearl.
Anyway, after three hours at the service center, I did a grocery run. Then home, where I shall remain for the balance of the weekend because I have Things To Do.
In other news, IT RAINED YESTERDAY!! Nor enough to close the inch-wide cracks in the ground, but enough to cool things down, perk up the flowers, and allow for some easy weeding. It looks like a little more rain could be headed this way–there’s a wodge of green on the radar that’s headed my direction, and thunder is rumbling in the distance. Illinois is officially under state-wide drought conditions, and it would take a solid week of showers to close the cracks and revive the lawns around here, but I will take whatever I can get.
In other other news, fingers crossed where King is concerned. He has been much perkier over the last couple of days, and is just about back to his own self. Whatever the ultrasound reveals, let it be readily treatable, if not curable.
So the good news is that King “passed” the LDDS (low-dose dexamethasone suppression) test. He responded normally, which means he does not have Cushing’s disease. Unfortunately, this means we don’t know what’s causing the elevated liver enzymes.
So, Monday will be Ultrasound Monday. After work, I will take King in to get shaved, gelled, and buzzed. It could simply be age-related changes. Bile-duct irritation/inflammation, leading to liver inflammation (Mickey had this. Cholangeohepatitis. I will add, though, that King isn’t showing those symptoms. No vomiting, and though he is slow some mornings, his appetite is generally good. He just doesn’t want to eat his food as much as Gaby’s food and extraneous treats).
Could be Worse Things, too, but we don’t want to think about those right now.
I will also try to not beat myself up over the fact that I considered starting King on SAMe–another liver supplement–after Mickey died since I had so many blasted bottles of the stuff and the supplementation wouldn’t cause any harm even if King didn’t need it. Maybe I could have headed this off.
Oh well–Life does not come with a reset button. I have been researching liver disease diets, just in case a change is called for. And I happened to have a bottle of milk thistle in the cupboard, so I gave King one. Can’t hurt. Might start to help.
Vet phoned this morning. King’s liver enzymes are still high.
Wednesday morning, I take him in for a day-long test which will, I hope, tell us 1) if he has Cushing’s and 2) whether it’s adrenal or pituitary.
Vet said that if it is Cushing’s, it’s likely very early because King isn’t showing symptoms other than the bladder infection and wonky bloodwork. However, when I look at this list of symptoms here, I can point to a few more things that may be happening, but are so damned subtle that they could be attributed to old age, arthritis, or any combo thereof.
Anyway, good thoughts appreciated. I know that if he does have it, it can be managed.
If he doesn’t have it, it’s back to square one to figure out what in hell could be going on.
Amazing how they keep turning up like clockwork. Every seven days.
I have avoided eBay for the last couple of years, but I cracked earlier in the week when some Marimekko bedding came up for auction. I have a comforter in a rare discontinued pattern, and now I’ve found a duvet cover and pillow shams to match. Wrong size, but I can adjust. The bidding ends tonight. Keeping an eye out for sniping.
The pupsters’ vet clinic held a bath & nail clip fundraiser to help cover costs of care for strays and rescues, so I signed my two up. They came home smelling quite fresh. King also had follow-up bloodwork for his thyroid, as well as to check to see if his liver enzymes are still whacked. If they are, we may need to consider further evaluation for Cushings Disease. Keep your fingers crossed that they’re normal, and that his thyroid is the only thing that needs treatment.
Looking forward to Tuesday evening. A friend and I are going to see Natalie Merchant at Ravinia. Funny that I own no 10,000 Maniacs or Merchant recordings, but I like some of the songs enough that I think I will enjoy the concert. Plus, getting out for the evening. I don’t do anywhere near enough of that.
Finally bought some tahini yesterday and made a fresh batch of hummus. I think I prefer the peanut butter version. A bit more depth of flavor. I also added Indian curry paste for heat. So inauthentic, but pretty good. I need to use up the tahini before I switch back to peanut butter, but the combo of that + curry paste should be pretty awesome.
We’ve had a welcome break in the weather. Low 80s yesterday and today, with a light breeze. Unfortunately, 90s again by next weekend, and no rain predicted. We need rain.
ABC Family is holding its monthly Harry Potter Weekend. I think Molly Weasley should be held to account for some of the clothing she inflicted upon her children.
The day started sunny and warm, but now clouds have moved in and the temp has dropped below 80F. Could get rain later. We could use it. They could use it even more south of Chicago–the ranch from which I’ve purchased my beef and chickens for the past couple of years emailed to let customers know that they’ve cancelled all 2012 orders due to drought. They received less than an inch of rain in May and nothing so far this month; their usual rainfall total for that time period is around 10 inches. They’ll resume filling orders if/when things improve. This year, if possible. 2013 more likely.
I am disappointed, but I still have beef and chickens from last year’s order and have access to stores that sell grass-fed/free range. I am more concerned about the ranch. This is the second hard year in a row for them. Last year, they were able to fill some orders, but this year conditions are worse. I hope they are able to weather this blasted weather and stay in business.
It was a kitchen morning. Cleaned and cut up one of said chickens for tomorrow’s dinner–it’s now marinating in dumpling sauce with garlic, onion, and ginger. Made hummus with sun-dried tomatoes, dried basil, and…peanut butter. This was done because I once again forgot to buy tahini. Two weeks ago, when I made hummus and realized I had no tahini, I decided that nut/seed butter was nut/seed butter, and natural peanut butter (read: peanuts, salt, stir before use) would be worth a try. And it did work fine as far as I was concerned. I know it isn’t authentic, and I can detect a hint of peanut flavor in the finished product. But it works, there’s a lot of peanut butter in the pantry, and sometimes tahini is hard to find. Or I keep forgetting to find it. Whatevs.
Strange day. Sun’s like a bulb shining through a lampshade. Pups are quiet–they both ate breakfast but turned up their noses at lunch. I’m used to Gaby being picky, but I still can’t adjust to King not eating everything in sight. He still licks the rugs, eats treats, and goes after Gaby’s uneaten food, so he does have an appetite. Maybe he just doesn’t care for the new dry food, the roasted bison/roasted venison stuff that he loved to snack on before he got sick.
He wraps up the antibiotic tomorrow. I really hope that helps.
The last few days have been beastly hot and windy, but things cool down enough in the evenings that I can spend time outside.
I watered plants tonight. That led to some fun with Gaby, who likes to chase the drops. I train the stream back and forth across the lawn, making sure to hit patches of taller grass or–ahem–weeds so that they flutter. I don’t know if Gaby goes after the fluttering leaves in the hope that there’s a critter beneath, or if she wants to capture the drops themselves, but she followed the water back and forth across the yard, tracking and pouncing. It was like a cat chasing the light from a laser pointer.
Had a visit from some birds I don’t recall seeing before. Because of the way they darted and swooped back and forth, I thought “swifts,” and sure enough. Looked like cigars with swept-back wings? Check. Flying together/high-pitched chipping sound/sharp, angular turns? Check. Loud little things. Cool to watch. They’re “Near Threatened” according to the article in Wikipedia, which made it especially nice to see them.
Last but not least, onion blossoms:
Back in April, iirc, I was digging through the onion bucket and found a red onion that had sprouted. Stuck it in the ground just to see what would happen, and well:
I have to wait until the flowers brown and dry out before I harvest the seeds. Assuming the onion wasn’t a hybrid, I could be planting onions next year.
Wackiest dream last night.
Not sure if it was daytime or dusk because a storm was blowing like whoa–horizontal rain, trees bent double by the winds, a real Max and the Typhoon scenario. I opened the back door to let Gaby outside, and the wind caught her as she stepped out onto the deck and carried her off. She was airborne. Out of sight. Gone.
I stood in the doorway and called her name. Not sure how long I was there, but next thing I knew, I could see her flying toward me, still carried by the wind. I caught her and brought her inside. End of dream.