Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Bier

After a couple days of yard work and dog walking this is a welcome
sight!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Peachy Rabbit

Just made this peach, carrot, yogurt, stevia smoothie in my Vitamix
blender. 1st time using it for blending baby carrots and was amazed
how it pureed them! Veggie smoothies, anyone?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

In the mail today...

A wonderful and touching card with notes from the staff, his pawprint and his collar.

I should also mention that several of our friends and family sent us sympathy cards which we really appreciated.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Landscape flowers

The grasses planted in our landscaped areas are blooming.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Garth Nature Preserve & Dog Park

While in Columbia we took Baby to the dog park for the first time
ever. She did so well! She ran around with the other dogs, got into
the pond a little bit, and basically wore herself out. She stayed
close by and was so cute watching the other dogs swim.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Up up and away

Saw this while walking Baby.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Aftermath...



Just chillin at home and unpacking. Smothering Baby dog with love and treats. Thanks to all who sent their support and condolences. A wise woman recently summed it all up by saying "it sucks"...too true.

Everywhere we look is a memory...
Remember when Linus chased his toy down the hall? Or how he would roll on his back and squirm like a puppy? How he would follow us with his eyes? Or how excited he got at walk time?

I like to think that every "hole" created in our hearts simply heals into a stronger spot so that we may love that much more next time. Of course right now that sounds like mooshy hooey from a Hallmark card writer, but it works for me.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Rest in Peace

Linus (The Wonder Dog)
1996 - 2009

Time...

We're waiting to see Linus one last time. We are letting him go as
there's no more they can do. We are very, very sad to say goodbye to
our sweet pup. We know we and all the staff here have done as much as
possible to try to overcome the odds.

This is all I can write at this time.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Disappointment...

Well...Linus's blood results have taken a downward turn. I've never
seen people try so hard to help an animal. They are at a loss as to
why he gains ground then loses it. They're not giving up but we've
instituted a DNR. There is only so much we feel we can put him through.

Now his blood sugar is high so they're giving him insulin. Plus
Oxyglobin to boost the O2 transport in his blood. Plus more fluids.
They've pulled fluid from his abdomen but it keeps filling back up.
They think it may be pancreatis so he'll be getting some pain meds too.

We'll visit him in the morning. We've accepted the possibility that
this may be our last visit. What sucks is that he is so alert it's
just his body that is failing to overcome the immune response.

Visiting Linus

videoHere's a short video of Linus in the comfort room at MU. The red tube
on his face is for oxygen. They've sutured it to his face to keep it
in place but he still tries to knock it out of his nose!

His edema is much less but still in his abdomen and his front legs.
His pulse-ox drops after about 20 minutes off the O2 but he no longer
needs the "tent". The tent consisted of a clear plastic "funnel"
collar with the open end covered in plastic wrap. I have no idea how
he even put up with that!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Chillin' in Columbia, Mo with DH & Baby. Linus is still in ICU but his
edema is better. He is still fighting pneumonia and is on oxygen
therapy but breathing well. Everyone at MU is pulling for him. They
are all in love with our lovable lug.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Heidi 1998 - 2009

My Mom's beloved dog Heidi had to be put to sleep today due to seizures and a stroke. She was a cute mini schnauzer that Mom had for nearly 11 years.


A Place Called Rainbow Ridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to
someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are
meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can
run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and
sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to
health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made
whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our
dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and
content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone
very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all
run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly
stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are
intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run
from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs
carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special
friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion,
never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your
face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look
once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone
from your life but never absent from your heart
Then, you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author Unknown

Thursday - Day 11 *updated*

Lorie called this morning and said Linus finished the albumin and so far so good. It could take 24 hours for the edema to resolve. Dr. Selting had him up and out of his cage this morning, going outside and then walking him through the halls. Lorie said he was greeting all the other dogs and when they got back to ICU he went to each of the other cages as if to say "hey, what are you in for?". She said she only has one case today so she'll have a lot of free time to walk him around and massage his extremities to help get the fluid moving. We're planning to go up on Friday afternoon and stay the weekend.

**3pm call from Lorie**
Lorie called with the same story, good news and bad news...

Linus's HCT is up to 20,000 and his platelets are up to 100,000. He's walking and interested in other dogs around the hospital. His neurological symptoms have resolved! Unfortunately, the fluid has moved into his lungs so he now has pneumonia! He had some labored breathing so they tapped his lungs and pulled out the fluid to give him some relief. He's on nebulization every 4 hours and they've lowered his regular fluids via IV and added two antibiotics. They are running another kidney profile and may end up infusing him with another dose of albumin. When will this dog catch a break?!!?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wednesday - Day 10 *updated*

Lorie called this morning but we were driving in a signal free zone so we just got a voicemail. It said that Linus still had fluid around his lungs and had some labored breathing. She was going to consult with Dr. Selting about the next steps for Linus.

Dr. Selting called this afternoon to report that Linus's platelets were up to 69000 and his HCT was at 18000 last night but down to 15000 this morning. His kidney function tests were slightly improved. They were able to put the jugular catheter back in place with no problems.

She said he had lots of swelling this morning but that is was a bit better now although still swelling in his front legs and around and under his chest. So after consulting with the critical care staff they've decided to try to infuse some human albumin which will do a better job than Hetastarch at drawing fluid out of his tissues and into the bloodstream. Unfortunately there is a chance for allergic reaction again so they are giving him Benadryl and infusing very slowly over the next 6 to 12 hours.

We are trying to stay optimistic but its really hard considering the decline of his health and all the things that are being tried on him. We can't say for sure whether it was the Interleukin, the fever, or his body's reaction that caused his decline.

Our other dog, Baby, is beginning to appear depressed. I tried to play with her last night a little but she was only interested for a bit then she headed to her bed in our bedroom and stayed there for the night. Usually she's out in the living room a couple of times pestering us for petting or water or going outside. Is she sensing our feelings or does she miss Linus?

***4pm Update from Lorie***

Lorie called to give us a quick update. Linus has been receiving the human albumin for 4 hours and has not had a reaction to it. That is good news. They gave him Benadryl and he is still on corticosteroids so hopefully those will keep his immune system from reacting. The infusion will take 6 to 12 hours total. She's going to give us a call this evening with another update before she leaves.

ICU staff are checking on him every few minutes to make sure he's handling the infusion okay. I feel that this step will either make or break his recovery. Human albumin can cause a severe reaction in dogs and can only be used one time because after use the dog develops antibodies and a second exposure is very likely to trigger anaphalactic shock. I think the Vet chose this as a last resort for addressing his worsening edema.

***7pm Update from Lorie***

Linus had a reaction to the albumin right when Lorie was calling us earlier. They stopped it for a bit then started it again more slowly and he's been fine ever since. They are feeding him 1/2 can of food every four hours and he is accepting it via syringe and keeping it down. She's left them strict instructions to make him walk out to the fenced area (no gurney) as he can be stubborn. They'll monitor him closely overnight for any issues.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Discount Grocery Stores

Here's a list of discount grocery stores in Missouri, listed by city. If you're looking to save money on groceries with only slight defects in packaging then one of these might be the place to go.

There used to be what we called the "dented can" store on Hwy 100 between Gray Summit and Manchester but I don't think that place is still in business. You may want to call ahead to be sure that these places are still open.

I'm thinking of possibly hitting the one in Rolla with my Mom sometime just to see what they have and stock up on some canned items. Also with all of our trips to Columbia, I'm wondering if there are any on the way to or from there.


Ava
P G’s Salvage & Surplus Grocery, 300 North Jefferson, Ph 417-683-5654

Birch Tree
Beavers Salvage Grocery, Highway 60 West, Ph 573-292-3664

Cabool
Shetler’s Discount Grocery, 200 Industrial Park, 417-962-2251

Clark
Terry’s Country Store (and Bulk Foods), 4646 Audrain Road, Ph 573-819-2730

Fair Grove
K & M Grocery, 701 Red Top Road, Ph 417-759-9024

Grandin
Second Chance Market, RR 2 Box 142-En, Ph 573-593-4542

Hollister
Taney County Damaged Freight & Grocery Outlet, 184 Industrial Park Rd, Ph 417-335-4056

Houston
Stilley Discount, 1591D North Highway 63, Ph 417-967-0253

Humansville
Mill Street Market-Discount Grocery, 508 W. Mill, Ph 417-754-8787

Jackson
Lane’s Salvage Groceries, 1227 Old Cape Road, Ph 573-243-1805

Jamesport
Hutch Brothers Outlet, 208 West Auberry Grove, Ph 660-684-6324

Mountain Grove
The Discount Grocery, 6893 Outer Rd., Ph 417-746-4233

Oran
Dent N Save, 23146 US Highway 61, Ph573-262-2345

Piedmont
Janet’s Salvage Grocery, Junction 34 & 49, Ph 573-223-7420

Rolla
I-44 Surplus Discount Grocery, Exit 189, 11101 Old Highway 66, Ph 573-364-6006

Salem
Carolyn’s Discount Grocery, 300 South Main St., Ph 573-729-2946

Sedalia
65 Discount, Inc., 5150 S Limit Avenue, Ph 660-826-9242

St. James
J & J Distributors Salvage & Surplus, 138 West Washington Street, Ph 573-265-6084

St. Louis
Cherrick Distribution, 4215 Clayton Avenue Ph 314-652-3636
Friedman RR Salvage Warehouse, 5149 Mlk Drive, Ph 314-367-5464

Thayer
Lane Salvage Groceries, 105 Holmes Rd, Ph 417-264-7997
Martin Salvage Grocery, Nettleton Road (Route 3 Box 3030) Ph 417-264-7699

West Plains
Corner Salvage Grocery, 1026 Saint Louis St., Ph 417-255-9188

Winona
Ken’s Good Stuff Store, 303 Ash St, Ph 573-325-4437

Also, check out this post on Get Rich Slowly which talks about the concept of a grocery price book. Something I too just read about in The Complete Tightwad Gazette....thanks to the Lampe's for the book loan! I ll need to check the iphone app store and see if someone has come up with an "App For That"!

Tuesday - Day 9 *updated*


It's been 9 days since Linus was treated with Interleukin. Our call this morning from Lorie said that he is getting more alert and he even picks his head up now when she comes in to get him. He's also happy to wander the yard and sniff at flowers and grass. His edema is still bad and they are considering increasing his steroids. His bloodwork showed his anemia is worse than yesterday so another transfusion may be in the works. Dr. Selting is calling NIH to see what other supportive care can be done to speed his recovery.

Yesterday, Dr. Selting indicated that NIH is very optomistic about Linus's recovery and that it will be 24 to 48 hours before things start turning around. I sure hope that is the case...


***3pm Update from Dr. Selting***

What's better:
He got up on his own when it was time to go out.
Reduced edema in right rear leg
HCT at 14000 up from 12000 this morning. (normal range 35800 to 60000)
Platelets at 52000 up from 26000 2 days ago (normal range 200000 to 500000)
Low pressure but improved from before.

What's worse:

Swelling (Edema) in front legs
Swelling in chest (not lungs so no distress).

What the plan is:
Increase Hetastarch
Increase steroids
Push food via syringe.

Possibilities: Remove leg vein cath and insert a jugular cath. This will faciliate blood draws and be less painful than leg cath at this point. Implement a feeding tube. Only done if he starts refusing syringe feeding or they can't get enough calories in him via syringe.


***7pm Update from Lorie***

Well no major breakthroughs...but Lorie said that everyone is pulling for Linus! Dr. Selting did put in an order to push the calories into him as much as possible. Lorie said that he has been lifting up his head for her and got up in his cage on his own twice today. They think that more activity and walking will help his edema so after he went outside today she walked him through the hallways, the long way around to ICU. She just wishes that his blood tests reflected the improvements in his energy level.

Lorie asked if we were able to visit again. I told her that we would consider it if we could come in the evening otherwise we couldn't come up until the weekend. She said not to let anything stop us and that she would be willing to come up in the evening if we felt like we needed to check on him. DH and I will talk about this and figure out when we can head up there.


***Important Tip....Take a video of your dog regularly! This way you can show the Vet what their normal behavior is like. Also, if you switch Vets, like we had to due to a rotation change the new Vet will have an idea of how your animal behaved prior to the onset of the injury or illness. The Vet and Vet student we are dealing with have no idea how lively Linus was when he came in because they were new to his case. I only have short videos of Linus on my phone and I so wish I had taken some better ones while he was out running in the yard.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Monday - Day 8

Interleukin 12 is Linus's kryptonite...

We got to visit Linus twice again today. He's still weak and wobbly. We brought Baby in to see him as well but didn;t get much response. They opted not to take a biopsy so we were able to feed him today, again via syringe. When he goes outside he tries to eat grass.

We did see him perk up when they brought a dog into the yard. He even tried to follow it!

Back inside he just chilled with us in the comfort room, but at least he was able to walk back to ICU on his own with a little prodding.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Visiting Linus in ICU - Day 7



Today we drove up to Columbia to visit Linus at MU. Our original plan was that we would stay overnight and take Linus to his Monday appointment. When it became apparent that Linus would be staying in ICU we decided to come up anyway and visit him. The Vet and Student both thought it would be beneficial for him. They said he seems really sad and still won't eat.

We brought Baby with us, checked in the hotel and got her settled then headed over to MU after the Vet Student, Lorie, called us. We got to go back to ICU where Linus was laying in his cage getting a blood transfusion. He's been anemic and they finally decided that he needed assistance. The theory is that the fever may have aggravated some stomach ulcers. They've been giving him Pepcid and also a pepto bismol type medicine as well as the anti nausea med. He still hasn't been eating so we brought an array of treats with us; hamburger, baby food, Beneful soft dog food. They opened his cage and let us comfort him. Darrin offered him a bit of hamburger but he didn't want it. I opened a jar of baby food, chicken puree yum yum, and the Vet suggested using a syringe. So she filled one up and pushed a little into Linus's mouth. He seemed to be able to eat it so I got down and fed him two more syringefuls, then he ate a couple of bits of hamburger! They suggested we leave it at that so as not to upset his stomach. They wanted him to finish the transfusion and we agreed to return 3 hours later to visit him again.

At 6:30pm we showed up and they brought him out from ICU and we walked him out to the fenced area. He was walking pretty well but still seemed weak and a bit disoriented. He was able to pee twice and then we got him back inside into a "comfort room". The comfort room had an area rug, two couches, a TV, and a hassock. We all filed in there to see if he would relax and eat more food.

I should mention that at our earlier visit we were asked if we would participate in a research project called Caring For Both Ends Of The Leash: Effects of Owners Visiting their Dogs in an Intensive Care Unit. Basically, the researchers take pulse and blood pressure as well as pain scores just before we visit, 5 minutes unto the visit, 20 minutes into the visit, then 5 minutes before the visit ends. Then we have to fill out a questionnaire. Of course we agreed since we are all about contributing to science! Plus it is interesting to know that visiting a pet in ICU may have a measurable and positive effect.

So the Vet, Vet Student, Researchers, us, and Linus all went into the comfort room. We got Linus to lie down on a a mat on the carpet and we petted him and offered him more hamburger. No such luck. So we got the syringe out and I fed him 3 or 4 syringes of pureed chicken baby food. He drank water and just kind of hung out. They left us alone with him and it was nice to just relax and observe him. He really is out of it. He would look at us or what we were doing but mostly he would just put his head down and rest. Hopefully, the transfusion and bit of food will help him perk up some more.

I guess we spent a little over an hour with him then they told us he needed to get back on his IV fluids. We got him up but when they tried to get him to walk back to ICU he got stubborn and flattened down to the ground refusing to go. So they had to carry him. We finished up our questionnaire and headed out.

Basically, he appears to just need some supportive care and will hopefully begin feeling much better soon. We are supposed to get a call in the morning. They're not sure if they will be able to complete the tests for the melanoma trial. They don't want to do anything to jeopardize his well being. Also the tests are quick, blood draws and needle biopsy; they would need to sedate him. We're hopeful that he will stabilize enough that we can bring him home for some TLC.