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March 28, 2007

Argus update

Guess who is feeling better?

argus is better

For non-greyhound people, he is cockroaching (sleeping on his back like a dead cockroach). And he couldn't do this if his back and hips hurt him too much. No more pain pills and we are very nearly back to normal. Not quite running again or dancing a lot but we are almost there. Mini jogs and a prance or two so I think he is headed in the right direction.

The overwhelming consensus is that the veterinary hospital needs to know. So I'm going to put together sound, academic information regarding arthritic canines and forward that to the vet we love with a note that expresses my disappointment in Argus' condition when I took him home. The dehydration and potty breaks are not acceptable in any shape or form so I'll speak to those also.

I'm looking at him right now and he is pretty much a mirror image of the photo above. I'll be sure to scratch the tummy as soon as I post this.

The color continues

At the last minute, there was a reprieve for the entralac scarf. True to form for someone with an out of control stash, I found more skeins of this yarn! I'm not even sure I bought it all at the same time or if I just liked it enough to buy it two different times. The dye lots match so I have chugged along.

I did have one disappointing moment when the yarn did this:

Ugh. I haven't seen one of those again though so I guess I can't moan too much about it.

I was working on this at my grandparent's anniversary weekend when my Aunt, the intended recipient, saw it and started oooing and awing over it. I hadn't told her that I was making it for her so it was a nice affirmation. She said they are still scraping frost off their windows (she lives in England) so it may get some use this year yet.

That is...if I keep working on it. I'm going to Sock Camp in a couple weeks and one of the things we are supposed to do is bring something we knit that we are proud of. I give away almost everything so I don't have anything to bring. I have some lovely things I'm working on (the entralac scarf, the mitered squares) but they aren't challenging knitting so I'm not "proud" of them.

Shoot, can I finish a lace cardigan in two weeks?

March 23, 2007

Argus - really really long post

We have been laying low this week because we have had health challenges and needed to focus on getting better. And I've struggled a little with how to share this because I want to share but I'm still so angry I'm not sure I can write about it coherently. I'll give it a go...

Argus and Sapphire are senior greyhounds. Sapphire is 11 and Argus is 13. Argus has arthritis and we have done everything we could to maintain his comfort and flexibility without going on medication. The meds can mess with the liver and I wanted it to be a last resort. So we do frequent short walks to keep him flexible and they have "orthopedic" beds in every room of the apartment. These are high foam beds with a soft, fluffy dog bed on top. Both dogs also have free access to my bed and the couch. That isn't necessarily part of the arthritis therapy but it becomes relevant later in the story.

Argus is a little shaky in the hips and shakes a bit when he gets up from laying down. But he likes to run on his potty walks (he bunny hops which is another sign of his arthritis) and he does full, long stretches, dances and spins and pulls me around when we are walking. He jumps up on the couch and jumps out of the car and manages stairs fine.

In the last 4 months there have been a couple of incidents that made me decide it was time to add medication to our pain management program. The last incident being the weekend before last. I had a bag of dogfood in the back of the car and the dogs were anxious to get out before I could haul it inside so I let Sapph jump over it and it looked like Argus had navigated around it successfully but at the last minute he placed a back paw on it to push off and slipped and fell out of the car.

He fell pretty hard and it was upsetting to us both. He didn't have many visible injuries (I'm sure he was badly bruised) but he did have one small raspberry (about the size of a nickel) on his fanny where there isn't any padding. I cleaned it and it had almost healed completely by last Friday.

Friday was the day I was flying to Arizona for a family gathering celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of my grandparents. I had arranged for Sapphire and Argus to go to a favorite boarding place we have frequented in the past.

It is a lovely place. Dogs get their own "house" that is climate controlled and has a doggy door out to their own fenced yard. It is a treat for Sapph and Argus because we don't have a yard and they don't get to go out whenever they want. And we were having a gorgeous weekend so I knew they would love the opportunity to play outside.

I dropped them off and drove straight to the airport. When I landed in AZ I had a message from the boarding place saying Argus had fallen down and while he walked OK, because he had fallen they wanted to be careful and took him to the vet.

I called the vet back and we had a long conversation about how he was doing. She described how he was acting and I said it sounded like stress (he hates the vet) and she agreed. Then I told her how he was before and that I wanted to do whatever we needed to do to get him better. She wanted to do blood work. Did I want to do the little panel or the big one that told them more? I said I wanted to do the bigger one because I wanted to look at everything to make sure this was nothing more serious than his arthritis. I told her how I had intended to make an appointment on that following Monday to look at managing his arthritis pain.

Then the vet said something funny. She wanted to talk about his pressure sore on his fanny. I explained that it wasn't a pressure sore, it was a raspberry from the fall, etc.

Sounds OK, right?

I flew back late Sunday night and was at the vet when they opened Monday. When I told the gal behind the counter who I was picking up she got a funny look on her face which worried me. While I waited I paid the $400+ bill they had for me. I was concerned when I saw on the bill that no x-rays had been done. I know we spoke of arthritis but when I told them that the day before he was admitted he was fine wouldn't you have ruled out an injury?

It would break your heart if you saw the condition of him when they brought him out. He was stress panting beyond any stress panting I've seen him do and there was a little gal holding his back end up with a sling so that his back legs couldn't touch the floor. I was alarmed with how she was letting his back end swing side to side and up and down indiscriminately. Greyhounds have long backs and often their arthritis is in their back as much as their hips. That had to be painful for him to have his back wrenched around like that. Not to mention freak him out.

The little gal throwing his back around began to lecture me about his bed sore and how he needs a soft place to rest. I interrupted her and told her it wasn't a bed sore and he has orthopedic beds all over to use. He has nothing but soft places to rest. All the techs were quiet and gave each other smug, knowing looks. Then I realized that everyone had made judgments about my treatment of Argus, and regardless of what I had told them, they treated him based on their factless judgments. It didn't seem to phase them at all that they were giving me back a dog that couldn't even walk anymore. Somehow, they were blaming me.

Little gal (who was really in danger of getting smacked by me) walked him out to the car with me. I lifted him into the car and gently laid him down on his bed and blankets in the back of the car. I see at this point that his raspberry is almost twice the size and crusty/bleedy. He obviously scraped it again when he fell and someone shaved around it but it doesn't look very clean. I hotpack wounds like this so they don't get that crust going that can break painfully and bleed because they aren't flexible. They had just cleaned it once and left it.

I skeedaddlled out of there as fast as I could talking to him all the way. We picked up Sapph (who, by the way was allowed to run around in an unfenced area so now I'm mad at the boarding place too) and just headed home.

When we got home, Argus was able to walk from the car and up three little stairs to our front door. First chance he got he peed. He obviously had not been taken out yet that morning (it was after 10am) and his urine was orange which means he was dehydrated too. I was flipping out at this point. When we got inside he tried to drink water but was too stiff to even raise his head a little so I put the water on a milk crate for him. Then he went to lie down but couldn't so I had to lay him down (which upset him, he hates being manhandled).

I took a closer look at him and found fecal matter on his legs and belly as well as crusty stuff all over his face (Ensure?). He looked like hell.

I hung around for a while to make sure was OK, after about 2 hours everyone was asleep so, I slipped off to work. I was only gone 4 hours but when I got home, Argus had tried to get up, fell down and I found him stuck in that position lying in a pool of urine.

Argus is one of those that almost never has accidents in the house. He is fastidious.

Four days later, his pain medication has been cut in half. We do have him on anti-inflammetory meds which was my original intention. He is on antibiotics for the "pressure sore" but I continue because I'm worried he might have developed a little UTI since they obviously didn't take him out to relieve himself frequently enough.

He is walking fine, getting up and down from his bed well and he gave me a half stretch yesterday morning. He is engaging with me and his surroundings, which is a relief. When he was hurting so bad he didn't look at anything, didn't sniff anything, he was just focused on his pain. He can bring his head up to eat his food just fine.

I did find quite a bit of blood in the kitchen last night and I can't tell who it came from. Neither he nor Sapph have blood anywhere on them that I can find. I was even checking myself since I thought I was the only one in there. Who knows where this has come from. Maybe a nose bleed? It worries me.

The final story is that Argus is almost back to normal. He improved a lot when I sat down with him and cleaned him up. He really hates looking bad. The day after I cleaned his face and fur, (I didn't dare put him in the tub so he got a "sponge bath") I came home and he was sitting up in his bed (a huge victory at the time because at first he couldn't even sit up on his elbows) with his front legs crossed looking for all the world like Noel Coward.

While I'm livid at this veterinary hospital for insulting me and disregarding everything I told them about Argus. I'm most upset that because of this they didn't give him the care he needed. When I ran my hand across Argus' back I felt a hot spot. His back is obviously a problem and needs attention. And if I could find that then why didn't they? He was with them all weekend. They were so busy judging me and deciding how I must treat him, they really ignored obvious symptoms.

I'm also upset because I think basic needs he had were not met. C'mon...water? Potty breaks? These were too much for them to provide?

And then, in general, vet hospitals do not seem to be set up to deal with geriatric dogs. Even if he had been given the medical attention he needed, he still would have been kept in that little kennel which is a big reason, I think, he was so stiff and sore. Also, older dogs need to go out more frequently. And they need some kind of industrial mats for the dogs so they don't slip on the linoleum floors.

That fall-back to medication isn't enough to combat his arthritis. As his condition when he went home proves. He has been given half the medication while at home but his special needs are accommodated and he has improved 150%.

A lot of people say I should give this feedback to the hospital so it doesn't happen again but I really don't think it will be received in the spirit it is offered. OK, some of the spirit is pissed off. Argus should never have had to go through that. They should be ashamed.

Maybe I'll gather information regarding arthritic dogs and their special needs and send it to them with a note that says something like, "Look, you did what you could to help Argus but you hurt him too. Here are some of the things you can do to meet the special needs of geriatric dogs."

I should mention too, that this is actually a really good hospital and some of the best vets I've ever met. They have a stellar reputation, especially for greyhounds. And our vet who we normally see there, who was on vacations while all this happened, called and left a message saying he saw Argus had been in, he is sorry the old guy didn't feel well and wanted to check on him. I love this vet. But I can never take Argus back.

So what do I do? Communicate what happened to the vet? Send a hit and run note with arthritis information? Move on and don't look back? I'm open to suggestions.


Argus after treat.

March 19, 2007

Project Dissatisfaction

I'm being very sulky and spoiled about what I knit right now. I think I'm reading too many blogs where knitters are creating these glorious cabled sweaters in a couple weeks!

I want to work on the Hazy Cable sweater but the size seems wrong and quite frankly I hate flat knitting. I'm just bored by it for some reason! And lets face it, a sweater for me is no small undertaking. I'm fluffy, ample, whatever. I'm a lot of stitches around. So while I desperately want to crank out the lovely stuff for me, I don't seem to have the patience!

I tried to work the Bernat cardi but the yarn is terrible to work with! It has no give and it is sticky. I love how it feels in the ball. Soft, cushy and lots of texture. It is machine washable and dryable and I need a few knock-around sweaters like that. I have numerous dogs and I'm quite hard on clothes. So maybe I'll just force myself to do an inch a day. it will take forever but at least it will be done eventually. No pictures though. Too depressing.

I really wanted to do the Hazy Cable sweater in the round and since I haven't progressed far I think I'm going to re-cast on and try again. It may not be the right size but then I'll make it a gift. I haven't any idea how to alter a flat sweater pattern to on the round. Any suggestions, resources I can go to? I know there is a book out there on how to do it I just didn't jot down the name of the book.

One positive note. I re-did the Suki bag and am back on track. Cascade is lovely to work with and I am for sure going to do a sweater for one of my brothers in this. Even some of the same colors I'm using for my bag. They are wonderful. It does kind of suck that the brother I want to knit if for lives in Arizona and will hardly ever get to wear it!


I forgot I had shamrocks to share for St. Patrick's day. I hope everyone had a happy one.

March 11, 2007

Color is good today

I thought I had better share this little lovely before it gets ripped out. Yep, as lovely as it is, and as fun as it has been to make, I am going to rip it out. Turns out entralac takes a lot of yarn. This is almost an entire skein and I only have two so unless I want a nice three foot scarf (blocked) then I had better find a new yarn for this pattern and a new pattern for this yarn.

Oh, and what is the yarn and pattern? The yarn is Nashua Wooly Stripes in Jewel. It is a loosely spun wool but it is pretty soft and the color is amazing. The pattern is our beloved Danica. It is a great looking scarf and fun to knit. Not nearly as complicated as it seems like it would be and the difficulty level is tangy but it isn't tangy at all. I think the biggest challenge is keeping track of where you are in the pattern. Nothing a post it can't fix.

entralac scarf

I've been going on and on about the mitered squares and promising that I'll share. I'm certain everyone is desperately checking to see WHEN I will finally share a picture. I don't want to keep you in suspense any longer.

Here they are just thrown down on the floor with little rhyme or reason.

mitered squares

With the exception of one square, they are all Noro Kuryeon or Silk Garden which even though they have different weights are still making the same size square. Fingers crossed that won't change dramatically when they are blocked. I don't think this is how I would arrange them but you can still appreciate the loveliness in each. I think I might actually arrange them in these squares and by shade. The dark squares around the outside and work my way in so that the lightest (or brightest or greatest contrast) are on the inside.

They are a lot of fun to make because they are fairly mindless and I just get to enjoy the color transitions. It should be a pretty dramatic and spectacular blanket in the end. The ladies would be proud...

March 08, 2007

Eddie and Laurie sittin' in a tree...

My love for Eddie has been questioned. First, I have to explain that I am wildly attracted to scary-bright (and funny) men. And I'm not saying this to be hoity toity. I'm not scary-bright (I have too many dim moments. I enjoy watching the commuter train that goes by our office just a wee too much to rule out the fact that I am...simple.). I just find men operating way above my head very attractive. Case in point, Penn Gillete. I have a crush on him too and I think it is safe to say, he won't be an underwear model anytime soon.

But Eddie...Eddie is a babe by anybody's standards. The fact that he is so brilliant is just icing.

What is a few pairs of pumps and evening gowns? He is always very tasteful. Besides, someone in our relationship should be dressing girly. And since I'm going to insist on the clogs and jeans, let it be him.

I'm off to watch the pilot episode of his new show days before it premiers on TV! That is the kind of perk I get for being his lady.

Me n' Eddie. Good Times.

March 07, 2007

I heart stuff

It has been a busy couple of weeks! I had a birthday which meant I got to celebrate two weekends in a row with fantastic and generous friends. Not only did they want to spend my birthday with me, they spent entire weekends with me. I have never had such fun as with the gaggle I call my friends.

It has also been really busy at work. Not really in a bad way but certainly in an exhausting way so I come home and just veg.

So I'm resorting to snippets. I dearly love snippets when I don't have the energy to craft a real post.

I Love:

Eddie Izzard. I can't tell you how excited I am about his new series. I have such a thing for him! I mean a serious case of lust. It just isn't even funny. If I was still living in LA I would be resorting to all kinds of stalking to run into him. Rowr!

French & Saunders. Just to stay with the British theme. I saw their Back with a Vengeance DVD yesterday and it was great. I love those two women. And I liked this special better than the others because they "played" themselves more. Plus I loved the nod to the British mystery. A little cameo with the team from Midsomer Murders.

Magnums of champagne. Especially on a birthday. They just carry a certain message when they are pulled out.

Games. I love the games. I especially love it when I'm playing with smart and funny people. We just about popped someone's stitches.

When people go along, happily, with my goofy ideas. Like Knit Camp. Which pretty much consisted of a weekend at the beach, lots of knitting, chocolate and great conversation. But everyone played along like it was the best idea ever.

Celebrities that can laugh at themselves. I saw Dodgeball the other day and thumbs up to Chuck Norris and David Hasselhoff. Plus is there anything funnier than all of the cameos on the Simpsons.

A pantry full of soup after a trip to Costco.

That first night on clean sheets.

A finished project.

This little shrug and tam are for a friend's daughter who has the most beautiful dark hair and eyes. It is perfect for her even though I really did struggle with the edging. The pattern is from Debbie Bliss' Baby Cashmerino 2 and I made it with the recommended yarn. The tam is from the Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. A required book for the knitter's library. Just about anything you want to try is in there in all sizes and weights.

The edging was a strip of garter stitch that I was supposed to sew on while I was knitting it. I tried a mattress stitch but it just made the edging flip up so I had to resort to a whip stitch that is hard to see and seemed to work really well but if you look closely I think it looks a little sloppy. I honestly don't think it is the kind of thing anyone else will notice but it bothers me. Actually it bothers me a lot.

The tam had to be made to go with the shrug, don't you think?

Oh and points off for the lousy staging, I know. I don't have any stuffed animals, statues or bags of anything that I could drape this around. So I stuffed it with yarn and, shockingly, it looks lumpy and weird. Fortunately, the little girl it is for is shaped much better.

Stayed tune for next time when I FINALLY get around to taking pictures of all the mitered squares I've been cranking out...