Friday, November 30, 2007

El Fin

Ah, I hope you didn't think I didn't make it with my last post for 'PoMo (or BloMe, as Lisa says!)

Here I am, posting just under the wire. It was a full day, 5 surgeries in 4 hours, big monthly clinic meeting, full work day until 6pm, long drive home, then kiss the kids quick and get ready for a 40th birthday party. It was a great party with a full big band, playing classics from the 40s and R&B.

This is the way 'PoMo ends, not with a bang but a whimper. Good night!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lo siento

About a year and a half ago, I met this very interesting client. She was a little defensive, since her previous vet had apparently seriously insulted her, suggesting she was stupid. She's also from Spain, and I think the cultural difference was too much for them.

She had a beautiful older golden retriever and an old husky who had canine cognitive dysfunction (doggie alzheimer's). I noticed a black mass in the corner of the retriever's lip and recommended removal. It came back melanoma.

There are two really bad places for dogs to get melanoma. By the toenail, or in the mouth.

A couple of months later, the melanoma was in the submandibular lymph node. She let me remove that last December, joking that she was going to send a picture of the dog to all her relatives for Christmas, since she spent all her present money on the dog. In February we found another deeper lump, and she told me to remove it, too. "What am I gonna do, watch it grow?" she asked.

After February, things got quiet for this dog. On several rechecks and chest Xrays, everything looked clear.

In September, I had to euthanize her old husky. He was a shell of his former self, and had lost nearly half his body weight because he spent all his time pacing, pacing, pacing. Losing that dog took a huge emotional toll on my client.

Today, she brought the retriever in. He had another lump in his neck. "Just tell me it's nothing," she pleaded. The mass was firm, and this time it was DEEP. An aspirate of the mass confirmed it was melanoma again. I gave her the bad news, then sent the dog to get chest Xrays to look for metastasis (spreading tumors).

I sat in front of the computer and was looking for a time to do his surgery when the films came up. I nearly fell of my stool, and I cussed fiercely. There were at least 6 big mets in his lungs.

My staff knows this flamboyant lady who loves her dogs so much. They were all upset to see the films, too. They did not envy me having to deliver the grave prognosis.

I've really gotten attatched to my funny Spanish client. I took a deep breath, and told her plainly and honestly that it was bad, that I wouldn't do surgery on the neck if it were my dog since I couldn't get the tumors out of the lungs. Also, I had been worried that a I couldn't even remove the neck mass anyway, it was so deep.

Her emotions were all over the place. First she was asking me to do the surgery anyway, then asking me if she should just have me euthanize him now. That way she wouldn't have to see him, a "dead man walking," dreading what was to come. She cried some more. "Of course I can't do that," she said, and picked up his leash to go home.

I would much rather have spent the afternoon, cramming in his surgery...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


When I woke Anna up this morning, she told me, "Mommy, I got up to pee last night and it burned!" Uh oh. Then she stumbled into the bathroom, and it burned again. I knew what this meant, and called the doctor.

My pediatrician came into the exam room laughing, because she recently sent in some of her dog's urine to my clinic. "You look at my dog's pee, and I look at your kid's!" she said. Sure enough, there were red and white blood cells in Anna's urine. Fortunately, she had no fever or abdominal pain, so all she got was a prescription for antibiotics and a lesson on how to wipe. Oh yeah, and the flu shot I snuck in on her.

After school, Anna asked me to go into the bathroom with her every time she had to pee. "I really have to go, but I don't want to; it will hurt!!!" she said, squeezing my hands and moaning before she even started peeing. Oh man, every woman in the world knows how awful this feeling is. On the third pee, there was all the anticipation and howling, then afterwards she said, "Actually, that was better. It didn't hurt at all!" Guess the drugs and the cranberry juice were finally working.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

He'll eat you for breakfast

Today one of my surgery patients was a feral cat - a wild beast caught on a farm where his owners feed him, but don't do much else. I don't think they've actually ever touched him, and they had no idea if he was male or female. They put some canned cat food in a have-a-heart trap (the kind that slams shut when the cat walks in to get the food) and brought him in to me.

This guy was a bad-ass. There was no touching him to give him an anesthetic injection. In situations like this, we open the trap door, drop the hellion into the "box" - a modified aquarium, slide the lid in place, then gas them down with isoflurane. When they are out, we can reach in and pick up the nice kitty and have our way with him.

Interestingly, the fleas become anesthetized, too. You can easily catch them laying in the fur, instead of scrambling away from your fingers.

Today's cat lunged and spit at the glass, convincingly enough to make us all jump back. He was as tough as the Russian mafia, but even he succumbed to the gas. I neutered him, tested for FIV/Feline Leukemia, vaccinated him, and gave him a flea/earmite/deworming treatment. I also notched his left ear, so that you can tell from a distance without touching that he's been "altered."

Inside his trap was the remains of the irresistable treat that got him caught - Fancy Feast. Check out the treatment he gave these cans with his canines:

Don't mess with this m. without drugs....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving, recycled

Today, the kids went back to school (so tired! already used to sleeping in after just 4 days off!), Anthony was working, and I was doing my usual Monday chores - laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, jogging, tidying up.

I made 2 big batches of turkey broth from the oh-so-smokey Greenburg turkey. We look forward to the broth as much as the bird itself, to flavor our soups and wild rice for months to come.

Sunday, we ate the last of the ham for breakfast, and we've been dining on turkey sandwiches (so good on the rosemary ciabbata from the Farmers' Market!). I polished off the last of the stuffing and gravy with some sliced turkey for lunch.

The flower arrangements (from a client and Steph/Evelyn's baptism) were droopy and dropping petals, so sadly were dispatched to the compost pile.

The cute pineapple turkey centerpiece was carved up. The kids got a container each in their lunchboxes.

The edamame succotash, which the kids and I have been eating on for 3 days, I could not face any longer. I tossed it into the chicken yard, and watched the hens gratefully devour it. They picked out the corn first then the soybeans. I watched them for a while in the warm sunshine, the first we've had in days, and thought about how they would turn our leftover veggies into wonderful orange-yolked eggs.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More Funny Colinisms

Sung yesterday, to the tune of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer:

"Today it's cold outside,
Really really cold outside,
You have to wear a jacket,
And a puffy vest!"

Today, after I read his fortune cookie (You have an appreciation for things of beauty) and asked him, "What do you think is beautiful?"

"Turkey, and ham."

What else?


What else?

"A Train ride."

More T-day pictures and Videos at my dad's place.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Chilled produce

The cats have been super snuggly, angling for laps and huddling up together since this cold snap came. I realized that, since they are May babies, this is the first time they've ever experienced cold weather.

This morning the weather was downright wintry (for Texas). Cold drizzle was coming down and the temp hovered around 40 all day. Still, I wanted to go to the Farmers' Market. I knew that many of the growers would be out there, despite the lousy weather and recent holiday. Really, what was driving me was the desire for good local greens. We only have arugula growing so far, and I was craving some more butter lettuce.

The kids went with me, since there were likely to be scones involved, and Anthony came to, because he loves me (what a great feeling)! We did score some butter and red leaf lettuce, as well as radishes and end of the season eggplant. The English Baker herself was there with excellent fresh pear scones. She commented on Anna's nice Icelandic sweater, which my MIL knitted herself 30 years ago when they actually were in Iceland. She looks fetching in her winter outfit, don't you think?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Gratitude and Generosity

We made a gratitude tree (an idea I got from Melissa). This was a great project, especially for Anna - she cut out leaves of various shapes, punched holes in them with Henley, and we put little strings on them to hang on the "Charlie Brown" tree (as Anth called it) - a twiggy stick I brought home from the woods. Each Thanksgiving guest got 1-3 leaves and wrote something they were grateful for on it. It turned out really nice.

Before the meal, Emily told me that she has "adopted" some needy children in the NYC area. She started out with a couple from her volunteer group, then got a few more at her work, and then another at her church. She is now buying gifts for 5 needy children. She showed me their letters, and their requests were simple and humble - barbie dolls, scooters, etc. One 17-year-old boy didn't ask for an IPod or XBox, he only wants shoes and pants. Just decent clothes.

The combination of thinking about these poor children, hoping for just a few gifts from a kind stranger, and of my sister's expanding generosity soon had me overwhelmed with emotion and tears. Being surrounded by so many people that I love may have spurred my out of proportion reaction. Still, it was surprisingly touching. It seemed an appropriate way to start the holiday season.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey Day!

Here's the menu, a la Anna

1. Pumpkin Pie
2. Pecan Pie
3. Turkey and Gravy
4. Dressing
5. Edamame Succotash
6. Green Beans
7. No #7!
8. Roasted veg.s
9. Whipped cream
10. Pumpkin seeds
11. No #11!
12. Pumpkin
13. Ham
14. Pumpkin soup

I like how whipped cream is its own category. Also how she notates that there is no #7 or #11. The pumpkin soup I ditched at the last minute, since we had plenty to eat and I had plenty to do.

Here are some table photos and the food (after it was decimated).

We had a great day. More later - Turkey day leftovers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Central

In an unlikely turn of events, we have visitors coming from both sides of our family this year for the feast. I know (from talking to several coworkers) that not everyone relishes a big family Thanksgiving. It's loads of work, feeding everyone, cleaning up after everyone, never mind all the prep work! But I can't help it, I love a big, extended gathering.

At the Farmers' Market last weekend, Anna begged me to buy this ENORMOUS sweet potato. Previously I've declined, but this week is the one time I thought we could actually consume this much sweet potato.

It was SO unseasonably hot today, just miserable at 90 degrees. Finally this afternoon a beautiful cool front came through, dropping the temperature 40 degrees. This is a very good thing, so that we can use the "outdoor refrigerator."

While my MIL and I chopped and prepped, the cousins watched the very culinary "Ratatouille."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lame video post

This is what my family did today, while I was working hard at work, doing 5 surgeries in 5 hours, and discussing Thanksgiving menu plans in detail with coworkers. Veterinary medicine is serious stuff!

Tomorrow I plan on spending lots of time in the kitchen, preparing for the feast. Sorry for another boring post; I have not been feeling the 'PoMo much lately.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A matter of perspective

Anna is a precocious reader, but Colin-O is starting to sound out words, too. He loves "Frog and Toad," stories, especially the pint-sized ghost story, Shivers. (Anna is still afraid of it, and waits in the other room until it's over.)

Tonight he saw the word NO in the text and told me, "That's ON." I explained that it was "Nuh-Oh, we always read this letter first, then the next one."

He picked up the book, turned it upside down, and said, "Now it's ON."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Playing with the Mac

The photo features are really awesome. Anthony downloaded these random photos from my cell phone from across the room!

One day I took Francesca for a walk and found these. Can you guess what they are?

It's the skeletal remains of a snake. Very CSI.

Here's the Oregon wine country. (sigh)

This next one was from a night at Anna's school. Sometimes cell phone images alter the true colors of things. Not this one - check out the relish.

It was freakishly minty green. Grossed everyone out. Too much green dye #5.

Anna, after going to see the Austin Ballet.

She looks a little afraid of the fierce Angelina Eberly. She is the woman who, upon hearing the state archives were to be moved from Austin to Houston, shot a cannon down Congress Avenue to protect them. "I am woman, hear me roar!"

And that is day 18 of 'PoMo, over and out!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Farmer's Market

We had a very successful pre-Thanksgiving trip to the Farmer's Market today - buying lots of green beans, pork and chiles to make stew, tons of sweet potatoes (only $1 per pound), butter lettuce, tangerines, zucchini... The kids were so happy the English baker was back so they could eat her scones!

We didn't buy any eggs or tomatoes, since we have bags of them, but sometimes vendors hand cute kids freebies...

Friday, November 16, 2007


My Mac returned today. Anthony ordered me one but the sound didn't work. He's updating the new one, and noticed I had all the email addresses I've ever used. He's blowing away the defunct ones.

"Who's Eric L.?" We were in college choir with him. "Who's Parker F?" Our neighbor when we were first married. "Who's Mike M?" Worked with at Ft. Hood. "Who is Susan R?" She cuts my hair. "Who's Brenda Smith?" No idea.

I wonder if people run across my name in their address books. "Who is Jennifer D? I wonder what she is doing?" Living in Austin, married to Anthony, working as a vet, raising kids, trying to think of something to blog about for 'PoMo!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pet Priorities

What does your pet mean to you? I recently had a new client tell me, "This dog is the most important thing in my life!" He lives in San Antonio but travels to Austin on sales business and stays with his girlfriend here. Notice he did not say the girlfriend was number one in his life!

He brought his dog in for a nonspecific lameness, and asked me my opinion on an anal tumor his dog had. "My previous vet checked it and said it was benign, so we should wait until it is a problem, then remove it." Dogs get a lot of anal tumors; most are benign, but some are dangerous. "Is it growing?" I asked him. "You know, it is getting bigger," he said. I recommended removing it immediately. Even benign tumors can have grave effects, and I'd much rather remove it marble sized than lemon sized. I gave him an estimate for the surgery, plus taking care of a broken tooth I noticed. He immediately scheduled the surgery, and transfered all his dog's records to our office. OK, he's a little intense. But he saw the procedure as an investment in his highest priority.

Tonight a woman brought in her cat for nonspecific pain, and told me, "She is my best friend. I work nights and I cannot leave her without getting her checked out." The formerly howling feline pranced around the exam room, purring loudly. I did a thorough exam but found nothing. The owner was puzzled but happy for the peace of mind.

I love owners like that.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Did I ever tell you about the time I did surgery with a papoose?

When Anna was a babe, Anthony spearheaded a project putting a sprinkler system in our neighborhood park. A trencher dug tracks for the pipes, which were placed and glued, all in one weekend.

I went back later in the week to cover the trenches. I put Anna in the backpack, and shovel in hand, covered the ditches. A parks maintanence worker waved to me from a huge riding lawnmower.

A few moments later, the peaceful breezy afternoon was pierced with eerie screams. The maintenance man was off his mower and crouched under a pine tree. His mower had inadvertantly hit a bunny. If you've ever heard a bunny scream you know how unearthly it is. I don't know who looked more terrified, the man or the rabbit. He didn't speak eloquent English, but he did say repeatedly, "I didn't mean to! Accident!"

The rabbit's skin was flayed open in several places, but he had no other major injuries. I suspected it looked worse than it was. I took him from the horrified man and walked home with the injured bunny. I had a friend that worked at a local animal hospital, and called to ask if I could take him there. I took baby Anna out of the backpack and put her into the car seat.

My friend was happy to see me, but she and all her colleagues were very busy. Soon I was heading back home to get the backpack again. One of her technicians gassed the bunny down, and I sutured his many lacerations, with my baby in my backpack. Rabbit skin is thin as tissue paper, but I got all the edges in approximation. Anna stood on her tippytoes and watched the whole thing over my shoulder.

The bunny recovered for a few days at the clinic, then we had a local rescue group pick him up. He was probably released in a far different part of Austin. Hopefully he added something new to the gene pool there.

Thanks for reminding me of this great tale, Lisa. I wish I had photos.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What goes down, must come up.

My patients often vomit after we give them their preanesthetic medication. Since they are supposed to be fasted, usually nothing comes up.

But the sweet girl scheduled for a spay today threw something up. "She got breakfast!" my tech said. "I don't think so; it looks like cloth," I said, and went to investigate.

They were from Victoria's Secret. Embarrassing!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Beverly

My sweet cousin Beverly is turning 18. Sheesh. I remember Bev's original birthday; she was the first baby I'd ever held on the day it was born. The next one was Anna.

Beverly is loved by everyone, young and old. At the drop-in luncheon today at her house, there were no peers, just youngsters and older ladies like myself who admire her.

Colin and Graham were thrilled to find her papasan chair. They curled up together and read Skippyjon Jones. (thanks, Auntie Emily!)

Stephanie, with her typical generosity, brought a basket of loot any teenager would love (new hairdryer, make up, Venus shaving kit, fuzzy personal blanket). The basket was so big, Paige curled up in it, imitating a kitten.

We ate lots of home cooked carbs. The kids ran outside in the beautiful Indian Summer sunshine, fed the horses next door, and checked out a cool spider in the blackberry bush.

A very nice day, indeed.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Eyes Have It

Lisa recently posted about goats, and Mr Man begged me to talk about their weird eyes.

Goats' eyes are creepy because they have a horizontal pupil. So do horses and cattle.

Dogs and birds have a round pupil like ours.
Cats and reptiles have a vertical pupil.

Day 11 of 'PoMo and this is what you get: a biology lesson.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New Blood

A former co-worker gave me 2 hens that she got last year. She lives in the country, and they are trying to downsize their animal burden. She tried long and hard to get me to take their rooster, but, too bad so sad, roosters are illegal in my city limits.

She brought me the girls, each in a cardboard box. They are beautiful - a gorgeous rhode island red, and and black and white barred hen with exuberant leg feathers. Anthony and I trimmed their wings late last night, then set them in the open boxes down in the chicken yard (a fenced area behind our backyard shed). Chickens act drugged after the sun goes down, and these two clucked themselves to sleep in their make-shift shelters.

Most of the time our hens are so quiet the majority of our neighbors don't even know of their existence. Not this morning. Lots of hen harrumphing. I went down to investigate.

The 4 established hens were bunched up in a little clique, patrolling the little yard, talking smack to the newcomers. The 2 new hens were on the other end, gossiping between themselves about these weirdos. "Brawk! Brwaaaaaah! brwaah brwaah brwaah!" "Brwaaaaaaaaaaah!"

It was worse than middle school. At least these big girls aren't likely to get carted off by a hawk.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Today both the cat with the mass and dear Foxy came in for euthanasia. Both passed calmly, quickly in their owner's arms.

It was very sad to say goodbye to Fox, but my MIL has been saying goodbye for sometime. She found the strength to say she is almost ready for a new dog. Preferably a walking companion, another sheltie or a golden retriever.

I showed her all the many online sites to help people find good dogs who desperately need homes. One of the best is petfinder -- type in your preferences and zip code, and dogs in shelters and rescue groups pop up. We also checked golden ribbon rescue -- the golden retriever rescue organization we directed donations to after losing our Montana. It was staggering all of the beautiful dogs needing homes, since they were so neglected by their first owners.

Nearly all these dogs' profiles say "eager to please," "housebroken," "crate trained," and "loving." So many worthy dogs. I know she'll find the right one. Giving a good dog the home they deserve helps heal your heart. (see: Francesca, my dog rescue from the pound I got after losing Montana. She had been there for weeks.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Talk

I saw a cat today for "check mouth, and eye." That's what the appointment book said. I looked at the history and saw it was a geriatric, thin cat diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in July.

The cat I saw was emaciated. Sharp bones sticking out through her fur. At a glance, I could tell her eye was bulging, her face deformed by a mass lurking within.

But the people who loved this cat for 16 years could not see that. They saw a beloved, furry family member. "Something's wrong with her mouth; she can't eat," the owner said. "We're not ready to put her to sleep yet, but we don't want her to suffer or be in pain."

"Let's take a look," I said, and did a full exam. Her eye was pushed out of the socket and not tracking like the other eye. The iris worked, but it was injected, the sclera was red, and she couldn't blink properly. While the other side of her face was bony, this side had a firm swelling around the cheek bone. The molar on that side had a large pocket all around it where the bone had been eroded. I really don't know what was holding it in place. The tumor was also invading the TMJ, because she could only open her mouth about a half a centimeter.

Things were grim. I told him about the tumor, that it most certainly was causing her pain, in her eye, in her mouth, in her jaw. She was too emaciated to even consider the kind of aggressive surgery she would need, and frankly, I wouldn't even put my young robust cat through a hemimaxillectomy like she needed (removing basically half the face). There was nothing I could do for her -- pain meds would likely just induce coma.

I told him about euthanasia, what the process was, what to expect. He needed to talk to his wife first, of course. I hoped they would call soon.

It feels like such a defeat, to say there is nothing I or anyone can do. I hate it, and fear the owner will think I am just too lazy to properly work up and treat their patient.

However, usually the opposite is true. Owners want to know honestly when it is time. It is such a burden to make this decision, it helps when someone else shoulders a little bit of it by saying, "Stop. You could do some other procedure, but it's time to give this beloved pet the gift of an easy death. Let them go."

I didn't know, however, I was going to have this discussion tonight with someone I love, about a pet I am fond of. My MIL's old sheltie has been in decline for the past year. He has some neuromuscular disorder (probably degenerative myelopathy), making him shuffle and stumble. He grows weaker all the time.

Now his mind is going, too. He has little joy left in life, and hardly recognizes the people he's lived with for 16 years. "What do I do?" my MIL asked me. "We have to do something; he's not in pain, but he can't go on like this."

Poor old Fox. I remember when he was the young upstart, pestering Terlingua to play. Hard to believe he's so old and decrepit.

She's bringing him down this weekend. Most of Fox is already gone, and I'll help the last part of him let go. "I don't want a stranger to do it," my MIL said. Me, neither. It's the last gift we can give him.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Reading and Biking

Anna's first grade teacher is wonderful. One of the neat things she does is have a "mystery reader" every week. The kids get a clue every day, then the mystery reader knocks on the door 5 times, comes in, and reads the kids a book.

As you've guessed, I was this week's mystery reader. Anna was so stoked, and told me she acted like she had no idea who it was for her classmates, even when the clues were, "I am the parent of a first grader," and "I like to jog around the Lake with my dog."

I brought the James Herriot Collection for children (thanks, Steph!) and read them "Moses the Kitten," and "The Market Square Dog." I have to be a little careful when I read these tales, because I tend to get a little choked up and teary. James Herriot clearly loved the Yorkshire people, and speaks all the animals he treated with reverence. I spent some time with vets in the English countryside as a student, and a lot of the culture is still the same. Yet, knowing that so many family farms have changed, that the era he wrote of, nearly all the people and definitely all the animals are gone, fills me with so much sentimentality...

Also, I tend to read these stories with an English accent. But I make no apologies for this, especially when Herriot writes the farmer's words phonetically.

The kids really responded to "Moses the Kitten," where a hypothermic kitten is found nursing on a pig, an incongruous fuzzy black thing in a line of pink piglets. The first question a student asked after that story was, "Why don't you read the rest of the stories?" We did have time for one more - "The Market Square Dog," is about a stray finding a good home. These stories with their emotional hook are good for teaching all of us compassion for animals.

Meanwhile, Colin is training me for the triathlon early. Mondays and Wednesdays are my turn to drop the kids off at school, then I go directly to the Lake and jog with Francesca. This week, as he hugs me goodbye, Colin says, "Mommy, will you please pick me up on the bicycle?" and bats those eyes at me. We have a new kid's tandem bike that attaches to the back of my bicycle, and he loves it. So I've been biking on the hike-n-bike trails to his school and back (about 5 miles) after jogging Francesca 3 miles. OK, I do get a few hours recovery between, but both of them love it so much I can't say no. Especially Colin, who whoops every time we go under a bridge or over the water or see a squirrel. Plus his school friends think it's so cool.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I examined a 14 year old cat, W., about a month ago. His presenting complaint was weight loss. I could feel a large mass in his cranial abdomen. Surgery was scheduled quickly.

When I opened him up, I quickly found the ugly tumor. It looked like coagulated grape jelly, like a small misshapen spleen to me, attached to the liver.

The liver itself looked horrible. Normally a nice maroon color, W's liver was was yellow-tan, with large circles of bulging pale colored cancer cells. It looked like something forgotten in the fridge, now covered with colonies of bacteria.

Can't live without a Live-r. I could call and recommend euthanasia on the table. However, I knew the wife owner had just battled breast cancer, and this cat was so sweet. One liver lobe was much more affected than the others, and was pressing against the stomach. Surely the bulk of this cancerous lobe and the attached mass were contributing to W's lack of appetite. I decided to do a liver lobectomy, which would also remove the attached tumor.

I called the owners with the bad news after surgery. "The tumor has spread throughout the liver, but I didn't find it any where else." Given the poor prognosis, they declined histopathology -finding out specifically what kind of tumor it was, and if chemotherapy was even an option. I gave W. 3-6 months life expectancy, but silently knew if he didn't start eating post-operatively, he'd be dead in 1 month.

I heard nothing for 3 weeks. So I decided to call. My fear: did W. die at home?

"He's doing great!" his owner told me. "He starting eating the day after surgery, and he's still eating well. And, he's jumping on the counter tops and everything! We are so happy we decided to do the surgery." Me, too. I know W. is on borrowed time, but at least it's quality time.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Want some candy, little girl...?

My food blog is going to suffer during 'PoMo. I can't post everyday here and post there.

So, here is a recipe I came up with for Halloween. We were challenged to make something from pumpkin for the pot-luck at work. I was thinking about it for a few days, when I was suddenly inspired to make this.

Pumpkin Turds

1 package dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli double chocolate)
2 cups green pumpkin seeds (shelled already, salted is OK)
2 cups raisins
1 cup peanut butter or caramel chips.

Melt the chocolate chips carefully in the microwave (nuke for 1 minute, stir 1 minute, and repeat until smooth and melted). Add the pumpkin seeds and raisins; stir until coated. Finally, add the peanut butter chips (or omit, I think it would be fine).

Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper and set in the freezer or fridge to set.

MMmm, rave reviews at my house. They're like a crunchy Cadbury fruit and nut bar. Apparently, some at my work thought they were too healthy to eat. FINE - more for me!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

See ya later, Patches

My parents went on a long luxurious cruise to Hawaii. My dad asked me to take care of his little dog Patches while they were gone. She is a 3.5 lb chihuahua. I would have kept her at my house, but she tends to bite small children, and also foolishly picks fights with Francesca. She usually does this as Francesca is walking away from her, but Francesca will turn and pounce, and I'm afraid she might extinguish Patch in the name of aggressive play. So, my dad actually wanted me to board her at my clinic.

This worked out great. Patches was terrified (her state 90% of the time anyway), but we have a gentle kennel worker who would walk her for 20 minutes if that's what she needed to feel comfortable enough to poop. Many days I'd find her up front in the lap of one of the receptionists. She was weighed every other day to make sure she wasn't losing weight, and if she didn't eat her dry food, they fed her premium canned food.

Also while she was with us, I gave her a full check-up, ran comprehensive bloodwork, and did a dental cleaning. Boy, did she need it!

My parents drove up for a quick visit, and to pick up their Patch. She was so happy to see them, and her face finally relaxed into a doggie smile when she was in my dad's arms. It was nice to have a quick visit and lunch with them, and their grandkids were thrilled to get their vacation presents. Anthony and I got Kona coffee and macadamia nuts! What a deal.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!

Last night (after getting home from the teetotalin' party) Colin said, "Mommy, we got a new computer. It is SO BIG!"

Anthony's Mac arrived. Big and white and impressive.

He hooked it up, and what did we do first? Spent an hour playing with the "photo booth" -- the camera in the monitor.

Tonight I made another Farmers' Market meal - fresh green beans (sauteed in butter and garlic), oven roasted sweet potatoes, salads of arugula and romaine (with pepper and tomato condimenti from our garden) - with fish and chicken from Costco. Afterwards, the kids and I were dancing to the Little River Band CD I was playing (they'd had halloween candy, I had a martini). Their dad was whistling and doing the dishes. I swear, Anthony, Anna, and Colin are the best Saturday night date I've ever had!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Party Rules

Earlier this week we got an invitation to a block party. Our street is small, and we've had 2 new neighbors move in recently. I thought it was really nice that some of our neighbors opened their home so we could all come over.

The invitation encouraged us to bring our children, but also said in bold underlined letters "NO ALCOHOL UNTIL ALL THE CHILDREN ARE GONE (7:30)"

Hrmm. I can have fun without alcohol (although it's definitely easier for me to be sociable after a glass of wine), and I can respect anyone who doesn't want alcohol to be served for religious or personal reasons. But, I don't have a problem with people drinking responsibly in front of their children. If we brought our kids, were we supposed to leave at 7:30 so they could get this party started?

We went tonight, and it was very nice - we really hit it off with one couple. The hostess welcomed us, said we could all stay until midnight if we liked, but reiterated the no drinking in front of the kids (she has adult children herself). We drank iced tea, snacked, and everyone was outta there by 7:45 pm. Hrmm.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Here we go, NaBloPoMo!

At work today I saw a limping dog, and quickly found the problem: a fractured toenail. Ouch. The nail was broken up along the side and the "pulp" of the nailbed was exposed.

I gave the owner an estimate for a reversible sedative, nail trim, and pain meds to go home. I also applied some lidocaine cream topically before we pulled the broken nail off, and a light bandage, just for tonight.

"Geez, Dr Vetmommy," one of the tech said, "when my dog broke her nail I made my boyfriend hold her and I just ripped it off. Otherwise she would have hurt every step she took all night - although she did yelp so loudly I temporarily went blind."

So, yeah, I have done this before when I worked in a rural area and people wouldn't pay for anesthesia - it's jokingly called brutesthesia. I would not do it to my own dog, Francesca. I would wait until the morning, then bring her to work and fix it under sedation.

So, I took an informal poll of my coworkers. If your dog broke a toenail at 8:30 at night, would you:

A. Make your significant other hold your dog and rip the toenail out?

B. Pay $150 to the emergency clinic for them to take care of it.

C. Wait until the morning then bring the dog to work (or your regular vet) to take care of it.

Five people agreed with me and would wait until the morning (C). Three people would rip it out (A), reasoning that it hurts like hell, but the pain is all over in 5 minutes. But I know my dog would remember the pain for a long time and I would not want that, or to put my non-veterinary spouse in that position (handy and capable as he is!).

None of us would splurge on option B. What would you do?