December 30, 2009

I just found the perfect job for me

Wind turbine cleaner.

Seriously. Ok, not really. It's one of the few actual rock-climbing related jobs that I've heard of, and it pays pretty well. However, I'm far too out of shape to consider pursuing it this year. But maybe next...we'll see! I kinda want to get this job, if only to freak people out. I can picture myself at top and texting people. "Guess how high I am now! Ha ha." "Oops, I fell 100 feet. Just kidding. Ha ha."

Pics here: Green Clean


December 28, 2009

Assignment Monday


December 25, 2009

How I spent my Christmas Day:

I watched an elephant eat poopy snow.

Merry Christmas!


December 21, 2009

Assignment Monday

What's up with this? Well, because I work out of home, I don't get out much other than to run errands or for an occasional gig. This translates into a boring Jenny who has little to talk about other than inane personal stuff that few people really want to read about other than mommy (Hi, mom!). While I make an exception now and then - case in point: Apollo's recent surgical drama - that isn't something I typically want to share on World Wide Web for all the world to see.

The very first Assignment Monday is a bit of a cop out. I had planned to take a certain photo in a certain setting, and I was excited about it. And even put some thought into how to stage it. And what happened? I forgot the damned camera.


So, I prowled my sparsely furnished apartment for something semi interesting.

Infrared Ice in Water Glass


December 18, 2009

Friday Franken-Dog Apollo

Appearances are deceiving.

This innocent, confused looking pup is in reality a Franken-dog!

See the staples?? (Click the pic for a better view)
The incision is about eight inches long. My hand is about eight inches long too, so I put it in shot for comparison.

P.S. I am adding a new picture of the day - it'll be dubbed Assignment Monday. Unless I think of something more creative. More on that on Monday.


December 11, 2009

Inside Friday Apollo

Bear with me, I vaguely remember what the vet said about Apollo's innards.
These two are the first set of the X-rays we took on Monday.

The dark gray diagonal area near the upper-middle is the gas
Side view - it's on the left. The dark gray intersected by white on right is poop/gas.
Closeup. The gas part is the one that looks like a tubey hook. I am not sure what the white blobs to bottom and left is. Edited to add: someone thinks the bottom white is liver.
This is the second set we took, after we gave Apollo barium, to help track the progress. The barium is bright white (upper right corner). If you compare this to the first, you can see it has not progressed very far.
Third set of X-rays, taken Tuesday morning. Gas had not progressed very far since Monday late afternoon.
Bright white is barium. Gas is just ahead of it in left portion.
To the right, the squiggly area is his intestines.


December 10, 2009

Apollo Drama! Part Four - Short, I promise.

Thursday. Finally.
After waiting not so patiently for the vet to call me this morning, she finally called with good news. Apollo could come home!

I picked him up this afternoon. He's pretty sore, but is considerably better than presurgery; he was all flirty and playful with the female techs. His to-be scar looks pretty nasty and Frankenstein-ish with the staples.

The vet I spoke to said it wasn't really 100% conclusive that he had a foreign body. It may be one of those things we never really know the cause of. Ah well. I've put a t-shirt on him to help keep his shaved belly warm.

I am supposed to make sure he does eat, and he has eaten a little bit for me. He's a picky bugger, though - wants the good stuff instead of rice. When I put out a bit food for him this afternoon, he picked out the burger and chicken and left the rest.

I'm one happy ducky right now. It's been so weird not having Apollo here.


Apollo Drama! Part Three

The surgery went smoothly; however, they didn't find anything. There was no foreign body, nothing suspicious other than the gas bubble and inflammation in sections of the colon. They kept Apollo overnight to monitor him.

One of the vets on the case (not Doc) on the case called me that morning and left a message; he had diarrhea overnight, which is good because it means everything's working again. They gave him anti-diarrhea medicine and were going to try feed some diet food. She told me that if he held his food down, that he could go home with me that night. I asked how he was acting, and she said he was alert and watching the ongoings in the lab, standing, walking, pottying.

But later that day, I got in touch with her, and it turns out Apollo still wasn't eating. She wanted to keep him overnight, and said we should still come in under the estimate (the surgery went really well). I said okay. We discussed some options regarding his not eating, and I suggested that I come in with some bland food that he might like. She thought it was a terrific idea.

That evening, after the visiting hours re-opened (they bar visitors from 5 til 7), I went to see him.

His scar is about 8 inches long. And his entire belly, halfway up his sides was shaved. They used staples to close the incision. It looked pretty angry pink-red. I'll take pics when he comes home to show off his macho new scar.

When it was just us in the visiting room, he was pretty quiet, just wanted to rest. Just lovin' my attention. But when the very pretty tech came in after an hour, he was all "I'm fine, let's play!" - he always puts on a good show with other people, especially the ladies. I told the tech that she shouldn't be fooled by his act. And made sure he was on pain management - tramadol? I don't remember how to spell it.

They let me stay an hour - normally visitors can only stay 15 minutes, but I think they gave me some leeway because they wanted to see if he'd eat for me. He, at the time, didn't want to eat much, but I got him to take a few bites of burger. I left the rice, burger and some of his kibble with them. She said they will continue try get him to eat overnight.


December 9, 2009

Apollo Drama! Part Two

That morning, he didn't seem much better, but didnt' seem worse either. Apollo was very quiet and did not want to budge any more than he absolutely had to. After talking it over with Betty, I decided to come in again to take a third set of x-rays. It showed that the bubble hadn't moved along much.

Betty was pretty concerned, and she recommended ultrasound. However, her clinic's ultrasound specialist was out, so she called Alameda East to see if they could pinch-hit. Alameda East - the very same hospital that's on Animal Planet channel. Apollo and I went there, we were in and out in 20 minutes. I didn't get to see any familiar faces from the show. Alas!

Betty got the info about the ultrasound results over the phone, and relayed it to me. "Possible foreign body, very suspicious." At that point, she recommended exploratory surgery. This is where, today, I'm a little angry about. Betty explained to me that the estimates for doing the surgery at her clinic would be between $3k and $4k. However, she said, her clinic has no overnight care. Which means I'd have to take him to the ER, and pay, probably around $1k or so for them to monitor him.

The other option, she said, was to take him directly to the ER, have them do the surgery and monitor him overnight. ERs for animals are notoriously expensive, and if I agreed to this, I was looking at a tab of nearly twice as much. Yes, you read that right. $7k-$8k. To make matters worse, the way Betty was talking about this, she made it sound like a do-or-die situation.

Being hit with that was...just stunning. I can't imagine ponying up that much. And for a surgery that may or may not find anything. I asked Betty to check at other hospitals to see if anyone would be willing to do the surgery for less than $3k and include overnight ICU. She reluctantly agreed. She called Alameda East, who never got back to us, and a couple other hospitals. I settled on one that was a bit closer to my place because I'd heard they were pretty good and their price range was far far less. I told Betty to call them back and let them know we'd be coming in.

At this point, I was pretty shocky, worrying about losing my dog. To make matters worse, as we were leaving, Betty kept apologizing. Profusely. I'm sure she was just feeling badly for not being able to help, but in my addled mind, it felt like she really thought Apollo would die in the surgery. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." Over and over.

I managed to hold things together until we got to the latest hospital, got into a room to wait for a vet. And in walks the vet. We'll call him Doc. He introduced himself, and something about him...he just put off this calm, confident vibe. I stood up stuck my hand out and said, "Hi, I'm...wahhhhh!" When I'm really upset, my sinuses get all stuffed up, my face's red and blotchy and I have a hard time speaking clearly. Oh, why can't I cry like they do in Hollywood flicks with delicate tears and a sniffle here and there? Poor Doc, he must've been wondering why I was so upset.

After a couple minutes, and several blowing of nose, I finally managed to calm down a bit and explained what had just happened with Betty, how she kept apologizing and made me think Apollo was on death's doorstep. Poor Doc. He was such a champ. He looked over the paperwork, explained things, said it wasn't quite so bad. Basically talked me out of panic mode.

He also seemed a little irritated with how Betty handled the situation, said that he was not confident in her diagnosis and took all the paperwork and copies of the xrays and ultrasound to consult with a radiologist and two other surgeons. Doc came back, and they all said they wanted another ultrasound, and when he told me it'd be free, I could've kissed him. He explained that he wanted to figure out the cause before immediately jumping into surgery, unlike Betty.

The latest ultrasound, again, showed what looked like a suspicous foreign body, but again, noone was really 100% sure. All 4 vets agreed it should be checked out. Amazingly enough, this didn't upset me terribly. Probably because I was feeling good about these vets. So, last night, at about 5 PM, Apollo went into surgery. It should've taken an hour and half, but he got out at around 5:45. It went very smoothly.


Apollo Drama! Part One

I try to not make this blog an All-About-Apollo extravaganza, but given the events of past three days, it seems appropriate right now.

Short version: Apollo got sick - seriously sick. We don't know what caused it, but it looks like he's on the mend now.

Here's the long, drawn out, gory details. Who knows, maybe this will help someone if this happens to their dog.

On Sunday morning, I woke to Apollo looking pretty miserable. I have no idea how long he was feeling that way, or if he tried to wake me. I sleep so soundly that it's pretty difficult to wake me. I feel guilty about that, but 'nuff said on that. Anyway, he would only walk a few feet, then lie down for a few minutes. He refused to eat. I thought, because he kept laying down, that he had jumped off the bed during the night and injured himself. "That's ok, it's just a back strain, if he doesn't get better, we'll go to the vet tomorrow," I remember thinking.

Thinking that it was just a sore back, I let him mope around all day, and went to bed as usual. During the night, the poor hairy guy vomited a few times. Again, didn't wake. In the morning, I found a few piles, and started deliberating on whether to take him to the Vet or wait it out. I had given Apollo a raw egg recently, and thought maybe it had upset his stomach.

When he vomited water, that cinched it. I called the vet clinic we had gone to last summer, I liked them. The vet, who we'll call Betty, was naturally concerned, but felt it was minor. She recommended a wait-and-see with some light medicine to help the pain. She offered to do an x-ray to be on safe side. I agreed to the x-ray. It showed that there was a very large gas bubble in his colon.

That made us concerned, and when I saw the x-ray, I realized that Apollo's wanting to lay down was probably due to this, not a back injury. The vet wanted to see if the gas was moving along so she suggested another set of x-rays 2 hours later; I suspected it wasn't, because it was pretty close to his stomach, and it'd been at least 24 hours since the onset.

I'm really glad that I work from home; it gave me the flexibility of dealing with all this. Two hours later, we took another set of x-rays, and it showed that the gas bubble was moving but very slowly. Betty suggested wait-and-see, she thought that with anti-nausea medicine to help keep the food down, Apollo's gas bubble would move along with food's help.

That night, I slept on the floor with Apollo, keeping one hand on him so that if he got up, I'd definitely know. He didn't budge all night. I think he was exhausted from the ordeal.

To be continued tomorrow.


December 4, 2009

Friday Apollo in Pieces


December 3, 2009

Behold the Giant Toe!

I had a couple people asking me what that pic in the header was. It's my toe! Isn't it pretty?! It actually took me about 20-odd shots before I nailed the one I wanted. It was surprisingly difficult.

I wanted a quirky subject, something most definitely unChristmassy, in black and white.

Enjoy the Giant Toe for the rest of the month.


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