Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bad Dog Day

Katie the cockapoo, woke up at 8am on Wednesday and proceeded to go into a seizure that did not stop. At the 10 minute point, I rushed her to the vet (fortunately, just a few blocks away) and they started working on her but it took another 3 hours before they had them stopped.

By this time, she was in la-la land from the meds. They watched her all day, called me with updates and arranged for her to go to the NCSU vet school emergency room for the coming night so that she would be under full observation.

We picked her up at 6pm, drove her to the school emergency room and finally left her there about 8pm. She was resting when we left but very drugged. We should know more sometime Thursday about whether she will go into surgery for the liver shunt.

The liver shunt problem is thought to be at the bottom of her seizures. Of course, no one can give us a 100% guarantee that fixing the shunt will fix the seizures, too, but all the doctors have been very confident that it will and that the seizures will stop once she has recovered from the surgery.

We are facing a very challenging set of problems, here. Our travel plans for at least the next few years include a lot of time "off the grid" and away from civilization. Vets are not going to be available in many of these places and should she still be having seizures, even occasionally, there is always the possibility that she will go into another unstoppable one that will kill her or leave her with permanent liver and even brain damage.

At the very least, if she is still having seizures she will have to be on meds the rest of her life and that will require regular monitoring by doctors to make sure she is not going into liver or kidney failure territory with the side effects that these meds cause. Again, this will be something that will not be possible with her traveling with us on the road. So I see some hard choices looming on the horizon and I don't like the list of actions we will have to choose from.

On a more (or less) positive note, on my rush to get Katie to the vet this morning, I blew some hose or fitting under the hood of the Aerostar and lost the power steering just as I had to make a sharp tight u turn into the doctor's parking lot. Boy! That is a really small steering wheel when the power is off. Unfortunately, traffic was coming and I thought the engine had died so I had to take it hard and sharp to coast out of the way of oncoming rush hour traffic and that tossed the still seizing Katie off the seat and onto the floor of the van.

She was not hurt but in her condition she could not right herself and it just added to the severity of her struggles.

The vet took Katie back right away and started working on her problem and eventually said she should stay there for the day so I left for home. The van ran but had no power steering. It turns out that it was losing fluid somewhere and the belts had all gotten coated and slick. Once back home I was not able to see where it was coming from but it did not smell like coolant. This may be the last straw for the 93 van. It has served us well but is so decrepit now, that running to the grocery store in it is a little scary.

The more positive side of this was that now, I had to get Clifford running in order to get around town on other errands of the day. I have been wanting to take him out for a nice drive for a few weeks now, but just never could get around to it because of more pressing business.

As soon as I got him started, I felt better. And once warmed up and checked over for problems before pulling out (I always do a pre trip inspection (PTI) before moving him, even if its only been sitting unattended for a short while in a public parking lot. It is surprising the pranks that some people think are funny.

I drove Clifford to have lunch with Merrily, Randy (#3 son) and a friend of his, Ryan. By the time I had gone 2 blocks from the house, I felt a lot better and a lot more in control. Folks can say what they want about driving a HDT for a tow vehicle and daily driver but it always makes me feel back in control no matter what else is going on in my life. It has a theraputic value to me that even Sigmund Freud could not connect to my mother or penis envy. It just feels RIGHT!

Merrily has known how much I have been wanting to get out in Clifford and she suggested that I go home "the long way" which was just what I needed to hear. I had planned to check out a place that had cheap diesel fuel on and it was kind of out of the way home, anyway. At current fuel prices, $2.21/gallon for diesel would save $10 per 100 gals over the next best price in the area and more than pay for a slight detour on the way back home.

The short story is that the price had jumped to $2.39/gallon so I did not buy any but it gave me a chance to take the really "long way" back home... and I did.

By the time I reached home, all was right with the world again and the day of Katie was just a small speed bump and not a show stopper. We will deal with whatever needs to be done next.


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