Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life, Near-Death and Death...All In One Week.

My pet sitting/house sitting/commute had all been going okay until last Tuesday. The previous weekend had been great. Saturday A came to visit me, we hung out by the pool and then went into the city to meet fellow blogger, Crystal for drinks. (Once again Crystal, it was great to finally meet you and Rachel.) Sunday I spent the day at home with A and my own crew before returning to the city to start another week. I had a busy one planned; rescue home visits, a Wednesday night concert date with A to see Stevie Nicks, a lunch date on Friday. Just busy, busy, busy...

Tuesday night around 7pm I was driving back to the house from a home visit for a potential dog adopter and A called. Her voice was strained and when I asked her what was wrong she said she was having abdominal pain. So much pain she was actually out of breath. I asked if she thought it was her appendix and she said she was sure it was just menstrual cramps. At 9pm I talked to her again and she had went to bed and said she felt much better. At 10:30 pm I was just getting ready to lay down myself and my phone rang. I answered "What happened?!" She said she was on her way (driving herself) to the emergency room. She insisted I stay put until they found out something. After blood work and a CAT scan, they transferred her to another hospital for an emergency appendectomy.

I had no choice but to call Betty's daughter to come deal with the dogs here. My crew at home had already been alone for hours and they were going to need taken care of through this situation.

By the time I made it to see A, she was out of recovery and looked like hell! I had been up all night and as we already know, when I reach that point I just can't deal with anything anymore. The surgeon came into talk to us. She was very concerned about A's condition. Her appendix had burst and by the time they opened her, the infection had spread through her abdominal cavity. She estimated her appendix had been leaking for 1-2 days and pools of infection were everywhere as well as fecal matter. Her blood pressure was dangerously low. They couldn't get it to come up and were considering moving her to ICU. Her blood work was a wreck. They were running fluids and loads of antibiotics and well as a morphine pump to keep her comfortable.

Thursday I needed to go to work (one girl on maternity leave, another on vacation out of state) and when I went to visit A that evening she seemed better. They had stabilized her BP and her color was much better but she was having trouble breathing. The next morning they diagnosed her with pneumonia. Even with these set-backs, Friday afternoon she was up walking the halls with me when I came to visit.

See that's induced by the morphine pump on the right. :)

They discharged A from the hospital Sunday afternoon. The physician's assistant came to go over discharge instructions and told us A had been the talk of the office all week. He had been there for her surgery and said when her lab work came in, the question everyone asked was "How is this person even alive?" They even had the crash team on standby in the operating room because they were sure A was going to code during surgery.

Surgery is always scary but it was shocking to realize just how close to death she was. As A would say, "I was circling the drain." Damnit, sometimes the joking is too much! But I realize that's the way she coping right now and she's trying to help me not worry. It's going to be awhile before she's 100% but so far she's listening to me and resting. Her body has been through so much in the last week. I took the entire week off and I'm splitting my time between my home and the pet sitting/house sitting gig.

We did have "the talk" about this situation when we got home. I wasn't rude or angry; just told her that she's a great nurse and does a fabulous job assessing the needs of her patients. It's time that she starts using those fine assessment skills on herself too. This is the second time I've had to pull out the "If this was your patient having these symptoms, you would send then to the ER, right?" I'm hoping she has learned because this mistake could have ended her life.

During the midst of all this drama, Betty's daughter arrived at the house Wednesday evening to find the tiny 5 month old pup Petie "The Flea" crashed in the floor. He was rushed to the vet and perked up a bit but by Friday he crashed again. Thankfully this time he was in the care of my own Tim and  Orv's foster parents. Barb, Dave and their vet did everything they could for him but unfortunately his frail little 1.5 pound body just couldn't beat the odds anymore. He surprised us all by hanging on until Sunday afternoon and then passed peacefully in his sleep. When I left the house Wednesday morning he was jumping up my leg begging for attention, giving me kisses and wrestling with his siblings. Another sitaution where it all happens so fast. I know he had been sickly since birth but he was just such a sweet cuddly little doll. It just makes my heart sad. This is the last picture I took of him.
Bless his sweet little heart.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What's Your Name?

I have quite a few animals I'm babysitting around here. Betty was kind enough to "color-code" them before she left. Seriously, she put different color collars on everyone and left a list. After a week, I've finally got it figured out who is who and learning a little about their personalities.

 Flirty Susannah who wants so much to be loved but is shy. She runs up, licks my leg then runs away. But she's quite the cutie the way she dances and flirts with that tail. Reminds me of a Geisha dancing with a fan.
 Brandi and Omar
 Suki and Gus
Naughty and rambunctious Mikey.

 Sampson living the hard life.
 Petie, aka The Flea or Flea-Bag. He's 4.5 months old and is the size of a 10 week old kitten. There's a few others that I don't have pictures of yet. Like poor Mannie who I called Sherman for days and didn't understand why he wouldn't respond. And sweet little Juno who never leaves my side and chin-spins for my entertainment. Plus Angel, Rosie, My Boy and Chumley.

There's also a beautiful blue-eyed Ragdoll cat here too. For the life of me I can't remember his name!
"Ragdoll Kitty" will just have to do.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Living the Single Life...

...and hating every minute of it. No worries, A and I are still happily together but just living apart for a while.

It's been a crazy busy week! It started over a week ago when A and I were out having dinner and I received a phone call from one of the women we work with in rescue. Betty has been the cornerstone of our rescue/adoption effort in the Twin Cities and now she was the one asking for help. She told me she was entering rehab in 5 days. She shows dogs and has 4 chin of her own plus a litter of 4 puppies in addition to the dogs she's fostering. Another foster volunteer and I were scrambling to try to figure out what we were going to do with all these dogs and how we were going to get them moved in just a few days. Aghhhh!!

I was not relishing the idea of trying to move 4-5 more dogs in my house and everyone else seemed just as overwhelmed. There was even some conversation about us only concerning ourselves with our foster dogs and Betty was just going to have to worry about her own. Needless to say, that pissed me off and so I talked to A and made an offer. I had no longer hit the "send" button on that email and I felt the ball of anxiety forming in my stomach...30+ days living in the Twin Cities; away from A and my own crew, living on my own for the first time in 10 years.

At first Betty thought I was crazy. But I convinced her I could handle the increased commute and she finally agreed. She checked herself in Wednesday and handed over her home and pets to me. Her daughter is taking care of the personal things. The first few days were hectic, the dogs/house felt overwhelming but I'm slowly adjusting. Yeah right, who am I kidding. I miss A and my crew terribly.

Yesterday I went home for the day. We had friends coming for lunch, I did laundry and cuddled with the dogs and cats. After our company left, A and I layed down to nap. It was the most relaxing and comforting sleep I've had in days. When I had to leave, I cried. You would swear I'm leaving for another country for months instead of just 75 miles for a week. It didn't help that later A sent a picture to me of Cassie waiting by the door for me to return. Now that breaks my heart.

Otherwise I've just been keeping myself busy getting this house in order. I actually had to go grocery shopping and cook for myself. Let me tell you, it's over-rated! Next weekend A will come up and we will hang out in the pool (yes, bonus we have a (real) pool here) and I will have to go home for a few hours at some point to see my own babies.

I'm slowly getting around to every one's blogs and catching up on my email. Happy Monday!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Is there anyone out there willing to help out a grad student?

Hello readers, my blog friend Crystal asked me to post this because she needs help getting participants for her dissertation examining grief following the loss of a companion animal. If you or anyone you know fits the following criteria (either A or B) and would be willing to take a short online survey, please email her for further details. Thank you!
Group A) 
You may qualify if you meet the following criteria;
  • You have experienced the death of a companion dog within the past 5 years.
  • You have attended therapy during and/or following that loss. (The therapy does not need to have been specific to that loss)
  • You are over the age of 18.
Please email Crystal at (for more information or to see a flyer click here)
Group B)
You may qualify if you meet the following criteria;
  • You are a therapist licensed either at the masters or doctoral level.
  • You have been practicing for at least a year.
Please email Crystal at
Thank you,

Monday, August 8, 2011

Nerstrand/Big Woods State Park

How can I be so tired from doing nothing? Oh yeah I'm tired form all the drama; not with A and I. We are fine as ever but rescue/friend drama. I'll write more on that later when I have a chance to sit and write it down. The last 4 days have been a blur but we had weekend plans that we weren't breaking.

We loaded up the crew and cruised to a nearby state park for the weekend. I can truly say I did nothing all weekend but sit around the fire, eat and relax.
The dogs had to do a few "time-outs" inside the RV. Here Tim watches A setting up the tripod to cook over the fire.
A was so excited to finally use her new Dutch oven. Her dad, sister and nephew came to join us for hiking and dinner. She made campfire chili and I baked the cornbread before we left home. Since the fire was going she decided to bake the biscuits for Sunday breakfast in her Dutch oven too.
We got distracted by more visitors to our campsite and the biscuits ended up a little over-done. Oh well, there was plenty of food and I didn't need more carbs in my diet.
I spotted this RV when we were pulling in and snapped a picture..."Look A, Parrot Heads!"
Later that evening the two ladies who own and painted this rig stopped by our camp site to meet the dogs. 
A's dad had to stop on the trail and read every informational plaque.
Starting into the woods. All I can think is how many mosquitos are in there waiting to feast on me. I had coated myself in DEET and even though the mosquitos still swarmed me, I came out of the woods with only one bite.
The trail we were on followed along a creek and it wasn't long before we found the Hidden Falls.
A's sister took her dad back to camp while A and I continued on another trail for awhile.
We found this interesting tree and A just couldn't resist climbing it.
I wasn't there to witness it personally, but I can't help but imagine this is what A's birth looked like. She swears her birth was more like "Alien". Whatever.
Happy Monday!