Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Now scrub good an' hard

So, I’ve washed my hands with Dettol, TCP, Hibiscrub and bleach, but they still feel unclean. The reason is that Clover’s very ill indeed; yesterday morning she didn’t finish her breakfast, and was reluctant to go for a walk. Ned took the others and she and I ambled on a short walk, but plodded slower and slower until she finally ground to a halt and had to be carried home. Her temperature at that time was 103.2°; a dog’s normal temperature is 101° - she wasn’t well. Of course, surgery in the village was over, so I called the main surgery in Leamington and told them we were on our way.

By the time we were seen her back legs had given way completely and her temperature was up to 104. Bloods were taken and AB and anti-inflammatory injections given and we came away with a further supply of tablets. Yesterday lunchtime she had a little drink then went back to sleep. When I got home soon after six there was no improvement – in fact she’d continued downhill and was barely conscious, so again I warned Leamington we were on our way. This time we weren’t expecting to bring her home so I rang Boy to warn him.

When her temperature was next taken it was 105.6° - the vet was surprised she was still alive. His examination of her tummy (it's not easy trying to hold up a dog who's legs are like a puppet with cut strings) released a flood of wee (the second of my dogs to wee on him!) but no hint as to what was wrong. The bloods had shown normal apart from an extremely low white blood count pointing to a massive infection. But he still thought there was hope, so we came back again (Boy was relieved – we got Clover when he was six and she’s more his dog than anyone’s) with instructions to keep her hydrated. It’s not easy syringing fluid into someone’s mouth when they can barely swallow.

At 5.30 this morning when I woke she was still alive, which was a pleasant surprise. Her temperature was down to 102.6° and she was a lot more responsive. The day’s been spent squirting hydrating fluid into her and buttering AB tablets to make them slide down her throat. She’s certainly stronger this evening; she’s managed to stagger round the garden and squat for a wee, and best of all went over to the bowl for a drink of water all by herself. Unfortunately the action of taking fluid in one end causes the most disgusting vileness to ooze from the other which needs immediate mopping up, hence my obsessive hand-washing.

She’s by no means out of the woods yet; we can but hope.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Brewing up double all those tiny little troubles

Oops! I seem to have got myself a second part-time job, again doing something I've never done nor ever really wanted to do before. Nothing like adding to mental pressure when you're feeling fragile. :) Especially when you seem to have been employed by the husband of one of your friends who's in the middle of an acrimonious separation. And it was her job.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Do the mashed potato

For the past I-don't-know-how-many years, every time we've been to a food show or farmers' market or somewhere there's been a stall for the Supreme Sausage Company Ned's always said that we really must sign up, because the sausages are really very very good; very meaty and not full of fat and cereal. And a few weeks ago he finally put his money where his mouth is and signed up - our first 6-month supply will be made and delivered next week.

The day after he arranged this delivery a farmer friend of ours phoned asking us if we wanted half a pig for the freezer (Gloucester Old Spot), reared not half a mile from our house, at a good price. We know how good the meat is from Andy's pigs and sheep so naturally agreed, and twenty minutes later he arrived on the doorstep with a box of pork joints and ...... about 25lb of sausages!

Guess what's on the menu tonight. And tomorrow. And the day after ...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Harp and carp along wi' me

In the ponds in the garden we have fish. The small bottom pond has five golden orfe, which went in at about two inches long and have now grown to about nine inches. The top pond has regular goldfish; a big mummy fish and her babies (daddy fish died). Over the years the babies have mostly changed from black to gold, and most are about three inches long in comparison with their mum who's about six or seven inches. One of the baby fish, however, is very much bigger than the rest and is about the length of the mum and is now enormously fat. She (I'm assuming it's a she-fish who's full of spawn) seems to be expanding by the day and is beginning to resemble a startled puffer fish even down to the spiny appearance; she's so fat that all her scales stick out instead of lying flat. We've called her Mrs Creosote and are searching for the piscine equivalent of a leetle waffer-theen meent to offer.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It's where we stop and look around us

In a light-hearted moment of frivolity I completed an internet questionnaire about mental health. The result was that apparently I'm suffering from 'moderate to severe depression', which sounds like a forecast of stormy weather ahead, possibly over my Dogger Bight. I told Ned what it said and he first checked my life insurance document, then got out a bottle of gin and arranged the paracetamol attractively and temptingly in a bowl beside me. I'm a very lucky girl to have such a thoughtful and considerate husband.

Addition: Ned's just done the test too, and got the same score as me. I'll go and get another glass and a larger bowl.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Do you promise not to tell?

Big Boss Vet – the one who was recently up to his elbows in Piglet’s innards - has issued an edict invited all the staff to lunch at a bistro in Leamington in a couple of weeks’ time, refusing to divulge the reason other than saying “It’s a celebration, there’s only one other person involved, and I’ll be glad when it’s all over”.

Is Mrs M pregnant? No.
Are you selling the practice? No.
Are we all getting the sack? No.
Are we all getting a payrise? NO!

Some staff reckon it’s an anniversary, but that seems a little mundane for all the secrecy – unless it’s to avoid people feeling they ought to get a present. My money’s on him being selected as a contestant on 'I'm A Non-entity, Get Me Out Of Here' and he’ll get to eat witchetty grubs and kangaroo’s danglies.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Playing silly games

When two people of a certain age dance giggling through the shopping centre avoiding treading on the cracks and stepping only on the white stripes of the zebra crossing (run and jump!) because they don't want to be eaten by bears, other people stop and stare as if the loonies were out. I wonder why?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Another one bites the dust

The dogs barked as the boy pushed the local paper through the letterbox. I went to collect it and scanned the headlines while I prepared supper. "New bridge not wanted, say residents"; "The Mop comes to town"; then, in a corner I saw "Village youth dies on B4451" It was a shock to read that yet another young village lad has been killed in a car accident.

I read on - who was it? Then I spotted the name - not a lad I know personally but I know his dad and we always chat whenever we meet. The boy was his only child, and like many teenage boys had been 'challenging' for some years and had been living on the edge, as they say. His father is an honest, hard-working man who really doesn't deserve this blow.

Is this a national phenomenon or is this village cursed in some way? With a total population of only 3,000 we lose on average one teenager a year killed on the roads, and always around this time of year. It affects the whole village, because when you've seen them grow up from babyhood they become part of your extended family, and the whole community mourns.

Rest in peace, Craig.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I know you've deceived me, now here's a surprise

There was a trailer on TV about the recent publication of political diaries about the rise (and fall? we can but hope) of New Labour, described as being by the man who ‘Saw It All’.

I laughed more than a little. Surely that's not merely a careless choice of words? The diaries are by David Blunkett – probably the only man who Saw Absolutely Nothing.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'm so dizzy, my head is spinnin'

We’ve now got the results of the analysis of Piglet’s stone from Minnesota (100% ammonium acid urate, which was pretty much expected) and a report on how to manage the situation. You’d think that’d make it simple, but in fact it only creates more dilemmas (dilemmae?). Encourage him to drink as much as possible – not a problem; he’ll drink a couple of pints of water containing a hint of milk, then an hour later go out and pee for England. We should allow him to urinate as often as possible – see previous answer. Prevent him getting overweight – if only! It’s always been difficult getting him to put weight on! Then it gets tricky. The recommendation is that he should be fed exclusively ‘Brand X’ food with only distilled water to drink. No chance. That food would cost a quarter of our gross income, even with my staff discount. Even more seriously, I’ve been sent a report which states that the long-term feeding of this diet (and others severely limited in protein) has been linked with several cases of congestive heart failure (in the dogs, not the owners!); out of the frying pan into the fire.

So my chosen task, with the help of others who’ve been in this situation as well as the UK and American breed clubs – because this is a breed trait – is to devise a diet which is low in high-purine proteins but can be fairly high in low-purine proteins. Yes, exactly.

It's also suggested that fewest crystals are found in the urine if the dog is fed once (in the afternoon, not the morning) rather than twice daily. But feeding once daily increases the risk of gastric dilatation and torsion, which is another emergency.

Nothing's ever simple.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Sports prepare, the laurel bring

What's wrong with 21st century children? There are several horse chestnut trees in the village and, even after school's finished and all the children have walked under them to go home, there are conkers still lying uncollected. The world is turning upside down. (Non-British readers will find this enlightening.)

*The title must be one of the worst puns I've come up with to date. I feel very proud*