Convalescent home: Status update

So the vet thinks Tessa had a back problem, maybe a disc injury. She did some manipulations to her and Tessa yelped when she tried to turn her nose to touch her ribs on the left, indicating she has some pain around her cervical vertebrae. I was actually kind of relieved to hear that…that’s something we can treat and allow to heal and she can recover from. When you have a 15-year-old dog, every time you take her to the vet you expect the worst: I’m always expecting to hear, “Sorry, she’s riddled with cancer, in terrible pain, prognosis is about 24 hours.” So now Tessa’s taking a pharmaceutical cocktail of pain meds and muscle relaxants, and on strict regimen of rest and no stairs while she heals. Although she seemed even worse yesterday morning, today she had some of her old pep back and was interested in eating breakfast and trotting around the yard a bit. She’s loving her heated bed and I bought her a raised food and water bowl, as well as lots more cans of tasty tuna/salmon/venison dog food varieties that she likes so much.

In other dog news, today I checked out a local coffee shop that allows dogs. I had been planning to meet my friend B and her twin babies at the dog park, but due to Slushmageddon 2012 over the past two days it was most likely a muddy quagmire. Turned out that we weren’t the only Seattle weenies with that idea: we ran into Jessica of AdventureWeiners and four other dachshunds! Unfortunately Ted was harassed by a small black dog (Ted is a breedist and can’t stand black dogs. It’s quite embarrassing). He lost his shit at this black dog and had to wait in the car. I was harassed by a small boy who demanded my potato chips and terrified Ardie (Ardie can’t stand small children, their unpredictable lurching movements and high-pitched squeals freak him the f*ck out). But other than that it seemed like a pretty cool place, I’m sure it’s not always so chaotic, so I’ll definitely go back.

And now for a completely unrelated shameless plug: check out my fiance’s podcast, where he and his buddy discuss cult movies,


Atomic Ranch Convalescent Home for Dachshunds

It’s been a rough week here at the Atomic Ranch…I’ve been playing nurse to dachshunds in various states of illness and recovery. Ted had major abdominal surgery on Friday, to remove bladder stones. Like the medical geek that I am, I asked to see the stones after they were removed. One of them was the size a marble, and when your bladder is the size of a large walnut that’s pretty darned big. Ted came home the same night, and he’s been a wonderful patient. He never lost his appetite, doesn’t really seem uncomfortable or in pain, and tolerates the Cone of Shame very well. It’s a foam “Comfy Cone” and Ted is just so sweet and simple that whatever happens to him he just accepts it his reality. His incision looks great, there are no external stitches for him to nibble on. On to the next patient…

Tessa woke up two mornings ago with weakness in her back legs, lethargy, and loss of appetite. She refused her breakfast and dinner although I eventually coaxed her to eat a few bites of some tasty canned food. Instead of trotting around the yard she just stepped gingerly and wouldn’t go up or down stairs. The next morning I gave her one of Ted’s pain pills and she ate some of her breakfast, seemed to get a little more pep back but was still moving slowly. I tried to get her an appointment with the vet but we happened to be in the throes of Snowmageddon 2012 so the vet office was closing ended up closing early that day. The vet advised to continue the pain pills and bring her on Friday.

And Ardie? Oh that little scamp…he’s just fine. Frolicking in the snow and driving us all a little bit crazy with his cabin fever. Check him out, mugging for the camera, over on our friends’ Chester and Gretel’s blog, You Did What With Your Wiener.

Snowpocalypse 2012

Weather in Seattle is very temperate and for the most part quite pleasant. Summertime temps hover in the 70s with no humidity. Wintertime is mild, with the temps rarely dipping below freezing. Sure, it rains quite a bit and even worse than that it’s cloudy and gray the majority of days, but I’ll gladly trade a bit of sunshine for the extremes of weather they suffer in the flyover states and on the least coast.

But about once a year, it snows. Not very much actually, it may dump up to 6-8 inches during a storm but by the next week it’s gone. It’s usually gone within a day or two. Temps don’t dip below 30, and there isn’t much windchill to speak of. By Wisconsin standards, it’s downright balmy and pleasant. The problem lies in Seattle’s response (or lack thereof) to the snow, and the reaction of the locals.   Seattlites can’t drive on the best of days, but on the worst of days they will just get out of their car, leaving it in the middle of the road, and walk away. Unless they’ve already spun out into a ditch.

Oddly, there is no snow at our house although the rest of the city got several inches yesterday.The Big Storm is supposed to start tomorrow night, they’ve probably already cancelled school for the whole week. I made it to the grocery store today to stock up. My plan now is to get a pot of ragu simmering on the stove, then curl up on the couch with my knitting and the latest Downton Abbey.

2011: The year in review

2011 was a pretty good year.

We rang in the new year with a housewarming/NYE party at our house, I made Indian appetizers and burned myself with the hot oil, as usual. In January, I was still working in home hospice and not yet miserable there. Lil’ Ardie was about four months old, scampering around the house, and frolicking with his buddies as often as possible. I reminisced about my 2008 trip to Egypt while watching the riots in Tahrir Sqaure.

In February I had a fun trip to Vancouver with another hospice nurse/friend for a conference. We shopped, ate Japadog, ate at Vij’s, ate Japadog again, knit, and watched many hours of crime dramas on TV. We even made it to some of the conference lectures. Matt and I spent a weekend in Bellingham visiting my folks at the end of the month.

Matt would probably rather forget March, as he had to travel to St. Louis twice in two weeks for work. We got a major bit of landscaping done in the backyard when Matt’s parents helped us build our fence. The photos of homeless dogs in Japan, following the tsunami, left me a bit verklempt.

April started out with some nice weather allowing extra trips to the dog park for the weenies. I spent nearly a week in Bellingham after my mom’s knee replacement, to help out around the house and remind her to take her pain meds on time. Little Ardie gave us a scare when he ended up in the doggy ICU for a couple of days, but with some IV fluids and antiemetics he recovered well. I didn’t stay up till 2am to watch it, but of course I DVR’d the royal wedding to watch in entirety. I loved Pippa’s dress and was aghast at the hatless audacity of Mrs. Cameron.

In May we celebrated Matt’s birthday at Sun Mountain Lodge in the beautiful Methow Valley, I got to go on a private trail ride and we pretended that not having a television in our room was really relaxing. I was really starting to have a hard time with the long hours and poor management at work, so I applied for and was given a position as a float nurse (still with home hospice), a welcome change from the responsibilities and overtime I was putting in as a case manager.

June was a weenie-ful month. Steph and I did the Furry 5K in Seward Park with the weenies, then headed to Ellensburg for Weenies on Parade and found ourselves surrounded by hundreds of dachshunds. Matt flew off to St. Louis again, but maybe the successful re-pipe of the house made up for that? I passed the CHPN exam for working, adding a $1/hr and more credentials to my  job title, but I was miserably counting down the days until I could start my new role as a float nurse.

Although July brought Matt to St. Louis twice, we did get to go to Ashland, OR for the Shakespeare Festival on my birthday. I ostensibly transitioned to ‘float nurse’ with home hospice but was immediately told that my first duty as a float nurse was to be case manager for a team in Renton. Time to look for a new job!

August brought many fun weekend jaunts…to Bellingham, Sun Mountain Lodge, then Whidbey Island with Steph and the weenies. Then I quit my job.

In September I started my new job at the cancer clinic and instantly felt happier and less stressed. I’m pretty sure Matt did too, despite his continued scheduled of twice-monthly trips to St. Louis. We spent a wonderful weekend on the Rivett’s sailboat in the San Juans and little Ardie looked especially jaunty in his float coat.

The highlight of October (and the year!) was our trip to Maui, where Matt finally popped the question and we got engaged. We spent a wonderful week in our condo on the beach and the first-class flights were icing on the cake.

November was uneventful, with weekends full of wedding dress shopping. And I wrapped up the wedding plans with lightning speed!

In December we visited my parents in Bellingham then spent Christmas in Palm Springs with the Rivetts.

…which brings us up to date. My highlight is definitely the trip to Maui and getting engaged, the lowpoint(s) are the probably all related the home hospice job. I can’t wait for 2012, now that I have a job I love, and because I’m getting married this year! And best of all, we’re going to Scotland.