Bowling for blind dogs…

Piper has a new game. She spys Cliio down the hall and then runs into her full bore. In short, the pug is an asshole. Poor Clio is blind and can’t see her coming so it is really not fair. I am not sure why the pug is doing this to her except maybe jealousy. Of course, all that happens is Clio then gets more attention and Piper gets in trouble. She likes to harass Mabel too but at least Mabel has the ability to sort of see it coming (Mabel is a little blind and a little deaf). Piper leaves Mollie alone because I think she is not sure what Mollie will do to her. Mollie has this fierce shark attack routine she does where she jumps out of her bed and barks and growls like a demon. What the rest of them don’t know is that Mollie has no teeth. it is really kind of funny. They all think she is crazy and they give her a wide berth. Mollie’s favourite creature to shark attack is the cat. Mollie weighs 7 pounds and the cat about 27 pounds. It is really quite hysterical.

Life with 9 dogs can be very interesting. Sometimes, no most of the time, I feel like a slave. It is like this house is run for the sole convenience of the pets. It is not far from the truth. They go in and out as they would like, they eat when they demand it. Well, Mabel anyway. She barks and we have a Pavlovian response to go and look for chicken. I guess when you are 17 years old and you have a cancerous tumour on your leg you pretty much get what you want. Here is a great pic of Mabel doing her thing:

Mabel really enjoys going out on patrol in the yard. Even if she goes all the way to the back of the yard she seems to find her way back into the house. For a dog who was quite ill when she came here a year ago she is doing just great now. She is bright and alert and doing well on tramadol to manage her pain. She is still very engaged in life (when she is awake) and makes her needs known.

There is never a dull moment when you live with 9 dogs.

Plague of locusts??

As many of you know I have been dealing with major health issues since the end of November. It all started with loveley Dr. M…who took me off asacol and set this chain of events into motion. You see he decided that because of one symptom I had that I did not have colitis that I had irritable bowel syndrome. Apparently one can have both but he was positive that I had IBS rather than ulcerative colitis (UC). He was so sure he was the most condescending bastard doctor I have ever dealt with. I told him that I had seen 5 doctors and no one had ever suggested IBS that everyone said I had colitis. He scheduled the colonoscopy anyway. I also told him about difficulty I had taking asacol and that I was unable to take the full dose as it made me very sick. He told me I just needed to to go off of it and eat more fibre. Well, for someone with UC eating more fibre is a recipe for disaster. But I believed him and I followed his instructions.

On November 23, 2007 I had the colonoscopy and he says “oh, you have colitis” I said, sarcastically, “really??” I never would have guessed. So he hands me a prescription for double the amount of asacol I had been taking. I told him I could not take that amount. He said well eat more fibre and play around with the dose. I asked him about immunosuppressants as I had not gotten anywhere with my colitis for 2 years and he laughed and told me I would never get those drugs because they cause cancer. I asked when I would see him again and he said never, my gp could handle it. I was almost in tears. This colonoscopy and doctor were supposed to fix my problem and instead he left me feeling completely dismissed and helpless.

A couple of days later I developed what I thought was a boil under my right eye. So, off I go to the doctor who prescribes keflex. The week goes on, my eye gets worse so that I can barely close it. I go back to her on Friday and she sends me to the hospital to have it lanced and to get IV antibiotics. Well, let me tell you that was no fun. I am not sure what hurt more the needle to numb it or when she cut it open. Anyway, they immediately cultured the stuff that came out and started me on IV antibiotics. At first I only had to go once a day. Then I developed a lesion on my stomach and they changed the antibiotic and I had to go twice a day. Now, I have crappy veins and it takes a long time to get an IV in me. We did this for 10 days. I was not amused. Finally, when they could not get any more veins they let me take them orally and sent me to the home care nurses who realized that we were not dealing with an infection but with pyoderma gangrenosum. It is a wonder no one else figured it out because they kept culturing all my lesions and nothing grew. I kept asking what this meant and all they would say was that it was not helpful. I am so grateful to those nurses!! I went to see a dertmatologist and he put me on prednisone to try and calm it down. I still had to have daily dressing changes for about 2 months and could not shower for the longest time.

My colitis continued to act up all through december and january. By the end of january I was close to hemorrhaging. I had lost a lot of blood and could barely stay awake. Off to the hospital we went where I spent 12 days on huge doses of prednisone and morphine. Apparently so much morphine that I was hallucinating but I don’t really remember much about it. I spent the next couple of months weaning down from 290 mg of morphine twice a day and 80 mg of prednisone. I off the morphine but still have 5 weeks of prednisone to go.

So, just when things are starting to get better. I am out walking 3-4 times a week I get shingles. I had this weird pain in my back which I thought was just a knot and could not wait to see my massage therapist to get it worked out. It had been bothering me for about 6 weeks and was very sore. Then I get this rash. Deb says: “you have shingles“. I say no, couldn’t be. Saturday morning i checked the mayo clinic website and sure enough i have shingles. Off to the walk in clinic where I am told yes, you have shingles and how long have you had the rash and why did you not get this looked at 3 days ago. Sigh. Can’t win. So now I am on anti-virals, atarax for the itching, gabapentin for the nerve pain and amitrityline for the severe pain at night. Oh and morphine to take the edge off because I have it here.

So, not wanting to invite trouble but what could happen next?? At least I know now I don’t have breast cancer because the pain I was feeling in that area was the shingles. My ashtma is not acting up it was just hard to breath because I had a band of shingles around my lungs. So feel free to guess in the comments what could possible plague Chris next!!

The Stench!

Ok, I am now convinced that I live with a woman who has gone over the edge. Deb loves her dogs, we all know that. But the question is: How much does Deb love her dogs? She decided that they needed homemade, dehydrated liver treats. This involved boiling liver and then drying it in the oven all night. I got up this morning and was retching from the smell! I am not sure how Angelina slept all night through the stench. Even our most powerful incense has not been enough to kill the smell.

One might ask why Deb is making these treats. And somehow I get factored into the reasoning. She claims to be doing it so that Piper will stop fence-fighting with the new neighbours dogs. So, there it is now all my fault that the house smells so bad.

Crawling out from under…

Well, it has been a while. As many of you know I have been quite ill with a colitis attack from hell that landed me in the hospital for 12 days. Well, it would appear that was only the beginning. I have spent the last two months weaning myself off the various drugs they started me on in the hospital to try and get this under control. I have been making good progress. I am down from an all time high of 290 mg of slow acting morphine twice a day to 30 mg twice a day and the prednisone is down from 80 mg to 20. It has been very slow going. I am now at the point where I am able to get out and get some exercise and try to rebuild some strength after basically spending 2 months sleeping. The good news is that all colitis symptoms seem to be gone. I am sure this is a result of the imuran (which is an immuno-suppressant). It is thought that colitis is an auto-immune disease whereby the immune system attacks some part of the body (in this case the colon) and toning it down leads to a reduction in symptoms. The large doses of prednisone also do this but I was still having symptoms at 40mg so I am thinking it is the imuran. Let’s hope. I intend to write a whole lot more about this ordeal – most likely in an open letter to the doctor who set this course of action in motion but that is it for now.

Other updates. We have new neighbours who are more worried about us reporting on their barking dogs (and trust me they bark alot) than we are about them. They are also over the limit so we actually feel some security for a change. All the dogs are doing fairly well. Mabel has a cancerous tumour on her leg so we have to keep it covered and give her pain killers. She is now palliative. She has done really well especially given the fact that she was coming here to die a year ago as she was peeing blood and they thought she had bladder cancer. Madison is still struggling with her leg. She has a torn cruciate ligament and you can’t do surgery on a 14 year old dog for a torn cruciate so she is on meds and anti-inflammatory and a pain killer. Kirby is great. The punk (AKA Piper) lost her toilet training for a brief bit of time but that seems to be over now. Molly is great still doing her stretches. Clio still does not know she is a dog but that is ok. Keifer is a big pain in the ass. Mackenzie has been making Deb crazy getting her up in the middle of the night to pee and not coming in. Sienna has singlehandedly convinced 4 home care nurses that pitbulls are the best dogs in the whole world. She is a great breed ambassador. I sure hope I have not forgotten anyone!

This last several months have been rough for us. I have been sick since November. We also found out that Deb has MS. She may also have rheumatoid arthritis. It never fails to amaze me that no matter what confronts us we deal with it and come out stronger the other side. After almost 10 years together we have discovered cuddling. We cuddled before but not like now. It is a daily thing and we go to bed early just so we can cuddle and talk. It seems we fall more deeply in love with each other everyday. I feel very blessed.