Tag Archives: Pets

A small miracle

Here is some great news on the Frankie front. Weeks ago, a piece of a toy went unaccounted for. She was chewing on it when I spotted the rubber arm of this squeaky toy missing. My wife and I looked everywhere for the missing piece, and decided she had to have swallowed it.

She vomited in the middle of the night about two weeks later, and aspirated some of it. Bulldogs are notorious for breathing issues, and this is about par for the course. She wound up with pneumonia from this and was really sick for a day or two before the meds kicked in. I mean middle of the night emergency vet sick.

Two rounds of X-rays, plus an ultrasound later, and there was no sign of this missing chunk of rubber. We knew rubber wasn’t likely to appear on an X-ray or an ultrasound, but the vet said other things like blockages and stomach lesions would show up. Nothing did.

Earlier this week, a big chunk of pink rubber appeared in our back yard. The culprit was Otto, and it passed through. I was not convinced, because the chunk wasn’t big enough.

Otto is huge, 65 pounds. Frankie is pretty tiny. She weighs in at 35 pounds, but bulldogs are so dense that it equates to about the size of a Scottie. (She was the runt of her litter.)

Last night I woke up to the sound of a dog horking on the floor again. I jumped right up, because she had that emergency trip recently. This time, I found more than froth to clean up.

The squeaky toy was some kind of monster, with rubber arms that ended in crab claws. That’s my key ring for perspective. I can’t believe she swallowed the damned thing in the first place, and it’s a miracle that it ever came back up. It would have had to line up perfectly just to fit back in her throat. If it had started out the other end, it could have killed her.

Surgery to remove a swallowed item starts at about $1500, but bulldogs need special intubation to make sure they keep breathing. We may have dodged that bullet.

Oddly enough, she had no other symptoms. I’m sure the aspiration pneumonia is related, but she’s been eating like a little horse, playing hard, and going potty regularly.

Now all we have to do is worry about the next damned thing. She and Otto chewed up the backing underneath one of our rugs yesterday. Underneath.

Our daughter swears she picked up handfuls of the stuff, and doesn’t think they ate any of it. This is all Frankie’s doing, no doubt. She’s psycho, but Otto will play her games if they look fun. I swear I need to start tranquilizing them when they’re out of my sight.

But we love you, Dad.

Note: I wrote this about 2:00 this morning, because up is up at that time. I scheduled it for tonight so Joan got to be the spotlight post of the day. If you missed Lisa’s show, check it out by rolling down the page to the previous post.

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Writing hazards

I don’t play golf, but I know they have hazards on the course. There are sand traps and water hazards that can mess with your game. My writing days are full of hazards too.

The main one is my daughter. She likes to talk — a lot. She talks for hours about her job to the point where I feel like I was there with her on her shift. Today, she has a new topic though. Enter Jackson.

We’ve never owned a cat. In her entire life there has never been a cat. We’re dog people. They aren’t foreign to me, my mom had cats at various times. It’s something new to my daughter, and she’s really excited about it. I refuse to stop her chatter, and try to be a good dad. Things change and young adults have been known to move halfway across the country on short notice. We spent a lot of time letting the animals get used to each other.

My big concern is dogs and cats together. They get supervised time together and are doing really well with the situation. Otto wants to sniff him, but that’s about where his interest ends. Frankie is the one to watch. Jackson likes to sneak up on her and bonk her on the head.

I’m still being diligent, because Kipling taught me The Female of the Species is more Deadly than the Male. This certainly seems to hold true with my dogs. Otto is a big hugger and lover of all things. Frankie is psycho and I don’t completely trust her around Jackson.

After my daughter goes to work, and Jackson goes to her room, I get a chance to write new words. There is still the bulldog hazard, but I’ve gotten pretty good at writing around it.

This one is Frankie, and I can get an arm around her and still type. I can’t quite reach around Otto in the same fashion.

Still, all progress is good. I wound up with around 2500 new words on the day. Skulls were bashed, shackles were fitted, and the big abduction happened. Aside from this, an ugly fish bit one of the supporting characters. My next move will be to define the stakes for the characters, imprison the love interest, and force the men into a task they don’t want and are ill equipped for.

Unfortunately, my own servitude is calling. Tomorrow begins the work week for me, so it will be Saturday at minimum before I can write again.

In other news, I got three more nice reviews for The Hat over the weekend. People seem to really be enjoying it, and that’s like rocket fuel to my writer brain. I haven’t sold a copy in days, but there is lag time between purchases and reviews. Reviews can lead to sales, so I hope it keeps up a bit of momentum.

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A blogging kind of day

I didn’t set any gigantic goal for this weekend. Life has been throwing me curves lately, and plans seemed like a bad idea.

Today was a day to pick something up, finish it, and move to the next project. With that in mind, Lisa Burton Radio is assembled and scheduled for Thursday, and so is the following Thursday. This actually feels kind of good to get ahead a tiny bit. I used to track every questionnaire I sent out, and do appropriate follow up, but I stopped doing that this year. People seem to be benefitting from the interview slot, but they need to have some skin in the game too. There are probably ten or more questionnaires out, but it’s up to them to respond and get back with me. Makes my part of the process less stressful, and that’s a good thing. I’ll be here for you from now on, but I’m not twisting arms to fill the interview slots.

I also spent some time writing, assembling, and scheduling my next post over at Story Empire. It’s up on Wednesday, and I hope it comes across well.

Oh yeah, there is this post too.

Life continues to throw us curves. The range decided to go out, including the oven portion. We’ve been doing without it for a couple of weeks now. Between the barbecue and the microwave, we’ve survived. Now that Frankie seems like her old self, today was time to address our appliance problem.

The old range was original to the house, so seventeen years old. In this day and age, that’s a good run.

The debate of the day was whether to pay for the range or finance it. Holding back a tiny bit of cash seems like a good idea in light of current events. Free delivery swayed us to use our Sears credit card. In event of another emergency, we have a few bucks available, and can make minimum payments if we have to. If everything evens out, I’ll probably take two months to pay it off. That way we get a couple of paydays in there and don’t strap ourselves.

Delivery will happen next weekend. At that time, I’ll probably wake up Tituba, my sourdough starter and christen the new oven the right way.

To her credit, Old What’s Her Face chose a very reasonable range. There was a time when both of us did a lot of cooking. As the kids have moved out, the appeal of a Wolfe gas range isn’t there any more. We wound up with a decent Kenmore electric that matches all the rest of the appliances. Honestly, I’ve always had good luck with Kenmore stuff.

After signing the papers, we walked over to Old Chicago for pizza and beer. We called it an early night, because my wife has to work this weekend. A few Winter Olympics and I’ll figure out what tomorrow has in store. I might even add some new words to my work in progress. Maybe I’ll paste together a new background for Lisa’s Facebook page. I have some new images that might be fun to use as Polaroids on her table.

The dogs are getting some ball time right now. All posts are more popular with a picture, so here’s Otto being a crazy man with his oversized tennis ball.

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A small update

I’m still not getting anything done. That stresses me out, but life comes up sometimes and we have to deal with it.

Frankie is on the mend. I was at the vet before the sun came up for her ultrasound. The ultrasound is kind of a mixed bag, because there is a chance of no answer at all. The missing part of a toy is either hard rubber or plastic and that rarely shows up on an ultrasound. There are other symptoms that can show up during the procedure.

Our vet was training on the ultrasound, or he was updating his skills, something to that effect. He said he would only charge us about 60% of normal if they could look at Frankie as part of this. That’s a bonus for us right now. I also had the expertise of the trainer to go along with our own vet.

The results: They did not spot the piece of the toy. This is not definitive. The device could have missed it because of its makeup. That leaves us with exploratory surgery, or watching and waiting.

The doctor said they saw no lesions, no hot spots, gas pockets, or anything else that would indicate a foreign body. He recommended the watch and wait method. This drives me nuts, because I like real answers. We discussed the likelihood of this thing passing into her bowel. It is 2.5 to 3 inches long, so it would have to line up perfectly before it could move on. He said he’s removed objects that were in the stomach for six weeks or more.

I asked about the possibility of it digesting, at least in part. He said it would not, but it might lose the bright pink color, or even become softer like old gum. That might make it easier to pass. Or… it isn’t there at all. The only thing we know is she was chewing on the toy and the piece is unaccounted for. For all we know, Otto could have swallowed it, and as big as he is it would likely pass.

Here’s my thought tonight: It isn’t there. However, I wouldn’t like to have an emergency situation while we are out camping a hundred miles from town either.

The aspiration pneumonia happened. Frankie was like a bear rug for a couple of days. She barfed up a piece of cloth about five days ago, something like the tag off a tee-shirt. It’s possible she aspirated some of this, and caused the bigger problem. She got an injection for that yesterday and we brought home some pills for her. Today, she is not her old self, but she is happy and animated. (She’s normally bat-shit crazy, and climbs on the back of furniture like a monkey. I expect my monkey child to be back tomorrow.)

We simply need to be better pet owners than we have been. Frankie is limited to her ball for brief periods and a few Nylabones that she can only get tiny slivers off of. We aren’t ready to turn the whole house into a white-room, but that’s about what she needs.

I was sick all day yesterday too. My nose ran all day, I had chills, aches and pain. I actually went to bed about 7:30 and don’t regret it all. I feel better today.

Some of this put me behind on Lisa Burton interviews. I now have two complete ones to schedule, but it won’t slow down my guests at all. I’ll just have to schedule two of them on Saturday instead of one. Eventually, I’ll get some new words of fiction down.

Back to the paycheck job tomorrow.

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Dialing it in

Today was one of those days. It all started in the middle of the night when Frankie, our bulldog, decided to be sick. About two weeks ago, she decided to swallow a piece of a toy. I know the risks, and this is serious stuff. There is a watching phase, but there can also be an emergency phase. She’s been her normal crazy self this whole time, until last night.

We’ve been on poop patrol for weeks, and no sign of this chunk of toy. Last night she took a tough turn. She tried to vomit, but it didn’t do much more than make her pass out. This has to do with the bulldog breathing system being all squooshed together. We got to the emergency vet sometime after midnight.

A pile of x-rays later, and no determination of anything, they told us to take her home. She spent the rest of the night panting and staring off into space. This morning we ran her to our regular vet. They kept her, did more x-rays, and I have to take her back for an ultrasound tomorrow.

They really can’t see things like plastic or rubber on an x-ray, and there is a pretty good chance it won’t show up on an ultrasound either. The punch line is that the ultrasound will confirm the need for a surgery, or the need for exploratory surgery. Seems like surgery is the end result in either case.

Right now we are hemorrhaging money, and there is no end in sight. I transferred what we had in savings to cover the costs today. Payday isn’t until Friday.

We were also afraid Frankie aspirated something from last night, and one x-ray seems to confirm some of that. They gave her some medicine.

So for today, I had to call in to the office. Sleep deprivation is no way to get work finished. Not to mention the need to run Frankie 20 miles one way through heavy traffic. The emergency vet is only half that far, but there is no traffic at midnight.

I surfed through a few blogs, and hit a few like buttons. My heart wasn’t in it, so I’m sorry if I didn’t leave a comment.

My regular day off is tomorrow, so that worry is off my list.

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My new pillow

You get a little bit of everything when you visit Entertaining Stories folks. Tonight, I want to talk about pillows.

Guys never really worry about stuff like this. It’s wives that are the catalyst for change over such things. New sheets, towels, that kind of thing. In early Fall, Old What’s Her Face said we needed new pillows. I think I may have answered something like, “Uh- huh.”

I’ve used the same old pillow for years and years, and had no problem with it. One day she met me at the door and said, “Our new My-Pillows are here.” You know the ones they advertise on TV and radio with those annoying ads. I think I said something insightful like, “Cool.”

We both commented about how awesome they were. Truth is we both hated them. I caved first and told her I hated my new pillow and asked where my old one was. She breathed a sigh of relief and admitted she hated hers too. These things are overstuffed, smothering, heat retaining, torture devices.

I happily went back to my old pillow. Then fate struck me a cruel blow. See, the dogs like to play on the bed. They’re fun, they bounce around and act all crazy. For some reason (I wasn’t home at the time) my pillow didn’t have a pillow case. Frankie had been outside and didn’t properly clean herself. I wound up with a large fecal stain on my pillow; the one without a pillow case. After playing Taps over the garbage can, I sadly returned to My-Pillow.

Really sorry, Dad.

It took me one night to realize this was never going to work. Somewhere about this time, I started sleeping in a chair because I hurt my back. This means it had to have been about early December. When I finally returned to our bed, I grabbed an ancient throw-pillow and used it. It was so much better than My-Pillow. It was old enough that I could fold it and sleep on my side, or use it as-is to sleep on my back.

Still, this isn’t a long term solution, and I needed a new pillow. About twenty years ago I heard of this odd pillow that always intrigued me. Lo and behold, they were still around on Amazon. I showed my wife and she secretly bought me one. I am the proud owner of a new buckwheat hull filled pillow.

Unfortunately, she measured and ordered one that is too small for our king-sized bed. The pillow is about the size of a big computer screen. Not to be deterred, I had a new pillow and needed to try it out. It’s still bigger than the throw pillow I’d been using.

I love the damned thing.

First, they shipped it with extra hulls in case I need to add more. It comes with a zipper that is well hidden and I can remove hulls too if I want. I haven’t done anything drastic, but I may remove a cup or two. My-Pillow should have thought of that. I would have gutted it like a fish and tried it again.

This thing shapes to my head, then stays there. I can punch it up or spread it thinner depending on what I want. This is a big plus because I sleep on my side and my back. Here is another fun thing. I may be unique here, but I’ll admit it anyway. Sometimes I wake up with a pain in my ear from sleeping on it. It folds or crushes, etc. Like I said, I could be unique. The buckwheat hull pillow takes one more small dent with a finger and leaves a place for my ear. It’s awesome, I’m telling you.

Finally, this thing stays cool all night. I hate hot pillows, and the promos say it’s because air can circulate around the hulls during the night. Whatever the reason is, I’ll take it.

I’m still in the test drive phase, but one week in this is looking like a winner to me. I’ll give it more time before deciding if I’ll remove some of the hulls.

It’s kind of like a sandbag, but buckwheat hulls are larger than grains of sand and lighter too. You can bet it’s in a frigging pillow case now too.

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Friday night

I’m trying to save any good stuff for 2018. I’ll not donate anything else to this lousy year.

Old What’s Her Face and I used some gift cards and went to dinner at Old Chicago. We’ve been living close to home, but Christmas provided us a way out. It was just beer and pizza, but it was nice to get out.

Right now, I’m camped on enough stuff to post another Idea Mill post. I’ll hang onto it until the new year, but it will be coming soon.

In other news, I finished the beta reading project I took on and delivered the notes to the authors. This leaves me a day or so for my own writing, and I need to get on with it. Aside from that, I need to start writing some guest posts for my new release.

I’m trying to keep things short tonight, so I’ll leave you with this. Some people like Shit Tzus. I prefer Shit Heads.

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