Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Day 3071

As usual, Dash was not a model of good behavior this morning. He barked at the vet and pooped in the lobby. Dash used to be so well behaved, but now he's old and cranky. I'm glad everyone is patient with us. We couldn't trim his nails this morning, because Dash wouldn't let anyone get near his paws. We did get all his vaccinations though, and that's what we came for. Dash's vet was pleased at how well he was responding to the antibiotic, but warned us that it wasn't a good idea to take Rimadyl with blood thinners. This was our fault. Actually, Dash's other vet did recommend stopping the low dose aspirin when he initially prescribed the Rimadyl. All this got forgotten because we didn't give Dash the Rimadyl anyway and tried the safer Movoflex supplement instead. When Dash's blood clot appeard to dissolve and disappear, the doctor wanted to continue the Plavix and low dose aspirin combination because it was working. When Dash became painful, we remembered we already had the Rimadyl, and forgot the complicated path we took to get where we are. No harm was done because Dash only took the Rimadyl for three days, but it was a good reminder to check and re-check everything when it comes to a change in medication.

I thought that Dash would be tired after his trip to the vet, but he was surprisingly active. Even though it was later in the day and things were starting to warm up, he took a very long walk. He was actually a little too active, because we lost a shoe. I eventually found the rubber boot, but it was hard to get Dash to turn around and retrace our steps. It was important to find the missing boot, because these little things are way to expensive to leave them lying around in the park. I've got to figure out a better way to keep the boots secure. As his rear legs grow weaker, Dash seems to loose these shoes more often.

I looked like a dork this morning. I wore both the Fitbit and Jawbone trackers on my right wrist to compare the way they counted steps. After wearing them together most of the morning, they were only about 75 steps off. The surprising thing was that my Apple Watch counted over 1500 extra steps. It was way off. I would have thought that the watch would be the most accurate but that didn't appear to be the case. Since your natural arm movement is part of the algorithm that is used to calculate distance, I wonder if any of my trackers are even close. When you are holding on to a dog leash, your arms don't tend to move back and forth at all. With an active dog, they are often straight out in front of you.
  
Our mild Winter has been a bonanza for biting insects. I don't think I've ever gotten so many mosquito and chigger bites this early in the season. I have to worry about spiders too. When I leave my dog walking shoes outside to dry after our walks, I always check to make sure no spiders have crawled inside before I put them on again. The spiders are everywhere. I dream of a place with cool, dry air, infrequent rain, and an absence of insects. I wonder where that would be?

I'm looking forward to a new episode of The Expanse tomorrow. This shows just how slow and uneventful life has become. I shouldn't be waiting all week for an hour of TV. Oh, well. That's the way it goes. I suspect that waiting for your favorite TV show is a lot more normal than spending the morning comparing fitness trackers.

Dash has been in good spirits all day. Maybe being bad at the vet was fun for him.

Rosco is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, May 21, 2018

Day 3070 - Dash's Birthday

Dash is a trooper. Despite some serious medical problems, we made it through another year. Dash is not as strong or as agile as he used to be, but he is still a happy dog. On a good day I think Dash will be with us for many years. On a bad day, I wonder if he'll make it through the night. Luckily, his birthday was a very good day. Dash ate well today and took two walks. He didn't stumble too much and really enjoyed the little party we had for him after dinner.

Janet and I used to bake and decorate special cakes for each of our dogs. We don't have the energy now, so I just went to Sprinkles and got him some Pupcakes. He seems to like these just as well. Hopefully, we'll be able to celebrate again next May. Tomorrow morning we have a vet appointment so he can get his annual Leptospirosis vaccination. We'll find out whether the infection on his lip has cleared up and if we can discontinue the antibiotics that upset his stomach. Next month, we will see a different vet at the cancer center for a follow up exam and an echocardiogram. It's not surprising that Dash doesn't enjoy going to the vet anymore, but he wouldn't be alive today without the excellent care he receives.

I got a surprise in the mail today. It was a rather large bill from the roofer. There aren't supposed to be any bills for repairs necessitated by defective materials. The roofers have been out many times before to repair the faulty elastomer coating and this is the first time I've received a bill. The roofer eventually agreed that I didn't have to pay the bill, but I could tell that he's getting tired of dealing with me. Hey, you and me both. I'm not really enjoying this either. Now, I'm wondering if the roofers will ever come back and finished the rest of the repairs as they promised. Today was definitely a setback.

I got a Fitbit today and when I went to set it up, the app said I already had a Fitbit account. Hmm. This was confusing, since I don't think I've ever owned a Fitbit before. Maybe I have though. These activity trackers don't last very long and I've owned quite a few. When I was setting up the device, I remembered why I started using Jawbone trackers in the first place. It's too bad that Jawbone made poorly constructed, flimsy equipment and went out of business. Their software was always the best.

Dash drags his rear legs so badly now that repairing his rubber boots has become a full time job. I hope I'm not pushing him too hard, but it's really important that he keeps moving. I wish he would let me take him for water therapy in the underwater treadmill like I did with Dot. Unfortunately, riding in the car has become too stressful for him. We limit car rides to essential vet visits now. There's just no point in stressing out a dog with a bad heart.

I called an electrician today but he told me that it would be two weeks before he could come out and fix my backyard security light. Hey, two weeks is fine. If he actually arrives in two weeks, this will be the fastest repair I've been able to arrange this year. I'm still trying to get the landscaper and the tree trimmer out here and it appears that all bets are off with the roofer.

All in all it was a good day. I had some frustrating encounters with suppliers, but Dash had a great birthday. He's sleeping it off now. Hopefully, we'll both sleep well tonight and be ready for another day tomorrow.

Casey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Day 3069

Today was dominated by the weather. We watched as a surprise storm approached from the West as we were walking Dash this morning. Dash doesn't have a high gear anymore, so we kept inching along as the rain got closer and closer. We almost made it. The rain arrived when we were about 200 yards from the house. We all got wet, but it wasn't so bad. Now that the temperature and humidity have increased, a little cool rain felt kind of nice.

I went to the gym, even though I knew the car would get muddy. There is very little to do around the house on a rainy day. I'm sure there were things to be done, but my brain goes into hibernation when it rains. I didn't feel like thinking today. Exercise is a good substitute for thinking, so off to the gym I went. I was a little disappointed that there was a basketball game underway when I got there, but the game concluded by the time I was ready to shoot free throws, so all was well.

I stopped at the REI store on the way home to look at activity trackers. Should I get a Fitbit or a Garmin?  I'm still irritated that I can't glue my Jawbone UP3 band back together, but I've just about concluded that repairing this thing is a lost cause. Maybe I should just calibrate my Apple Watch. I learned you can do this today by syncing your watch to your phone's GPS for 20 minutes using the workout app. Who knew? It's weird that I'm so interested in activity trackers since I'm not much of an athlete. I guess I just like to track things.

I watched a documentary called Elizabeth at 90 while Janet was fixing dinner this evening. It was basically watching 50 years of the queen's private home movies. What a fascinating life the royals lead. They aren't like ordinary rich people. Unlike typical people of privilege, the royal family seemed very disciplined, polite, and in private led unassuming, seemingly normal lives. Maybe we need more people like the queen and fewer people like our own celebrity royalty.

I need to call the electrician. Every evening I wade through the thick ground cover in the back yard to turn on the security light manually and in the process get eaten alive by mosquitoes and chiggers. It's going to be a bad mosquito season this year. I am convinced that there are snakes hiding in the Asian Jasmine too. I definitely don't want to run into a snake at night.

Tomorrow is Dash's birthday. We need to do something really nice for him.  He's such a great dog. For most of his life, tasty food gifts were the preferred choice around our house, but I'm not so sure this year. You never know what Dash is going to eat on any given day. He might even turn up his nose at a doggie birthday cake. Who knows? Maybe we'll have a good day tomorrow. Today was certainly encouraging. Everything went well with Dash today.

Harley is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Day 3068

Janet enjoys watching royal weddings the same way I enjoy watching NASA launches. I think we've seen most of them. It doesn't seem that long ago that Charles and Dianna got married. It's easy to forget that William and Harry weren't even born then. Now, they're both married themselves. It's things like this that make you feel old.

I remember watching earlier royal weddings on a big, heavy Sony Trinitron with a CRT tube. The Internet and flat screen TV's didn't exist yet, but the queen looked the same and the cathedrals looked the same. Even the queen's royal Rolls Royce and the palace guards looked the same. I wish we had some traditions that stayed the same for thirty years. It doesn't take thirty minutes for something to change in this country.

I should be used to change after spending all these years taking care of Dot and Dash. Every day is a new day with Dash. I never know what he's going to eat, or when he's going to have enough energy to walk. Dash didn't eat much today, but at least he didn't throw up. We decided to try to finish his antibiotics, even though they might make him nauseous. If we stop the antibiotics now, they won't do any good. We've only got a few more days to go anyway. I though that it might be easier to feed Dash now that Janet is home, but she's having just as much trouble as I did. He's become an incredibly picky eater.

I went up to the Land Rover dealer this afternoon to get my oil changed, but the service manager said it would be better if I just waited until July when my next major service is due. "But the little sticker on my windshield says it time to change the oil now," I said. Apparently, the sticker means nothing. "Your oil is good for a year," the guy said. "Just come back in July. It's just as well that I did nothing today. The price for an oil change has doubled since the last time I had this done.

I'm going to have even more questions when I return in July. Why do I need a 90 thousand mile service when I've only got 47 thousand miles on the car? Apparently, the dealership wants to charge me a lot of money at least once a year whether I drive the car or not. I've only driven 3 thousand miles since my last major service. That isn't very much in a year. They need to have a special plan for low mileage drivers like me. I'll be dead before I put 90 thousand miles on this car.

I'm really getting sick of having heartburn. I found an old bottle of Protonix and took a pill this evening. I'll ask my doctor if it's OK to start using the Proton-Pump inhibitor again for a while. I took the drug for over ten years and it worked great, but new research indicates that long term use can cause bone density problems in older people. It's always something. I can't even remember what I started eating to make the heartburn go away. It was probably something I hated.

They say we're having the warmest May on record. I can believe it. It was really hot this afternoon. It's a shame that the weather isn't being cooperative. We have a hard enough time walking Dash in cold weather.

Holly is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, May 18, 2018

Day 3067

Janet is back. I think Dash and I did OK on our own, but taking care of this dog is definitely a team effort. We certainly had our hands full today. Dash isn't eating again. It was really hard to get him to eat enough this morning so he could safely take his pills. He didn't finish the rest of his breakfast until around 3 PM. Right around sunset, his appetite seemed to return, but then he threw up everything right after we finished a short evening walk. It is really frustrating that there doesn't appear to be a solution to this ongoing problem. He'll seem fine for a week or two and then he'll start throwing up again. I guess we could keep him on the Cerenia anti-nausea pills indefinitely, but there's a downside to that as well.

Dash has reached the point where everything he does can have serious side effects. The antibiotic he's taking to clear up the skin infection on his lip appears to be working, but one of the side effects is vomiting. Do we continue the antibiotic? Who knows. I'll contact his vet and see what she thinks. Dash sleeps so much now that he really needs the limited walks he gets to maintain his mobility. He's so fragile though that every time we walk I worry that he is going to injure himself. Maybe I worry too much, but I think I'm just being realistic. Dash is a very high maintenance dog.

I was sad to hear that Tom Wolfe died this week. You could not read something by Tom Wolfe and not be influenced by it. He was one of the most prolific and talented writers I have ever encountered. To this day, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and Bonfire of the Vanities remain in my top ten list. John Fowles is gone too. I used to eagerly await anything new from these two authors. Maybe John Kennedy Toole would be right up there with them if he hadn't committed suicide before A Confederacy of Dunces was published. I wonder who the amazing writers are these days? Sadly, I don't read much anymore.

My friend in Kentucky has finished making an inventory of my collection. Seeing everything on paper makes me realize that I had assembled a much better collection than I realized. I was well suited to being a collector. I had good taste and enjoyed the process of finding a needle in a haystack. It's weird though. The process of collecting had a lot more meaning for me than the objects themselves. Once I stopped collecting things, the objects lost their meaning. Over time, the collections just became a lot of dusty, useless stuff.

I've got to find something to replace all the things that kept me so busy when I was younger. How did I ever find the time to do so much reading, collecting, and exploring new boundaries? Today I'm just tired. A lot of my friends have died. And every time I turn on the TV, I realize that the world has gone to hell in an handbasket. I'm still curious though. That's why I keep writing. Maybe that's why you keep reading too.

Skippy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Day 3066

Dash has the weirdest eating habits imaginable. I feel like I'm feeding him little mini-meals every ten minutes. He never eats the same thing twice, but by the end of the day he has eaten just as much as he used to when he was younger. Janet thinks Dash always wanted to eat this way, but ate quickly because he was always afraid that Dot would grab his dinner. Dot would have too. Now Dash doesn't have any competition for food. He eats a little, then goes back to the bedroom and sleeps a little, then comes back and eats a little more. This is how we spend our day. It's all eating and sleeping around here.

Dash has been surprisingly good about walking while Janet is away. We walk right after we wake up in the morning, while it's still cool outside. It's a little hard to get his protective boots on, but we manage. Somebody needs to make a better boot sock for dogs. The boots aren't waterproof and when the grass is wet the moisture causes the socks to come loose and bunch up in the bottom of the boot. Today the entire boot came off before we had gone 500 yards. I was able to get the boot back on again, but I still need to come up with a better solution. Dash is becoming an expert at losing his shoes.

I was going to call the roofers again today, but I was glad I didn't. I just noticed that there are thunderstorms in the forecast for next Monday. There's no sense being a pest if it's just going to rain anyway. I wonder what it's going to take to get an entire week without rain? That's what I really need. Of course, all the roofer's other customers probably want exactly the same thing. Fickle weather is one of the main reason that it's hard to pin a roofer down.

I think I'm going to have to call an electrician. The security lamp in the back yard isn't coming on automatically at sunset anymore. The sensor is probably just covered with spiderwebs again, but I don't want to climb up on the pole and clean them off. The lamp is mounted dangerously close to where the electricity comes into the house. I'm clumsy and I definitely don't want to electrocute myself clearing away spiderwebs. Too bad I've gotten hooked on having this lamp working normally. Without it, I can never see where Dash is pooping at night.

I'm hooked on too many things I never thought I needed. It's looks like I'm going to have to get a new fitness tracker because my attempts to repair the silicon band on my Jawbone tracker have been abysmal. I wish I could get my money back on the special silicon glue I ordered. It doesn't work at all. I've been reading reviews about other trackers and nobody seems to be happy with theirs. Either the heart rate monitor is too slow, or the gadget doesn't count the correct number of steps. Some people say their tracker still counts steps while they are sleeping. Others, like me, use two different trackers and can never figure out why they don't agree. I really like my UP3 tracker. Too bad the build quality is terrible and they only last about six months.

I remembered to take the trash out to the curb this evening. I've got lots of reminders so I'll remember to give Dash his pills in the morning. I'm not sure I'll go out to breakfast though. Breakfast isn't as appealing as it used to be. Maybe I should start eating little mini-meals too.

Susie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Day 3065

I voted today. I don't always vote in primary elections, but I took this opportunity to vote against the candidates who irritated me the most with their incessant robocalls and spammy brochures. I still don't understand why politicians of the same party spend so much time trashing each other in primary elections. Both parties do this. All it does is leave voters trusting nobody when it's time for the general election.

Dash is still getting used to our new schedule. I was pleasantly surprised that he stayed still enough for me to put his leg brace and boots on by myself this morning. He was actually eager to go on his morning walk. Unfortunately, he wasn't so eager to take his pills and eat breakfast when we got home. This was equally surprising because usually a nice walk will give Dash an appetite. I had to experiment to find something he would take his pills in, but eventually we succeeded. He didn't seem very hungry this morning, but eventually he finished his breakfast around 11 AM.

It looks like we're going to have clear skies for the next week. There is no rain in the forecast at all. Now, all I've got to do is get the roofers to come back and finish the job before the next thunderstorm arrives. I tried to contact the foreman and schedule something but I kept getting a message saying "mailbox full" and the call would hang up. It's like pulling teeth to get these repairs completed. I feel certain that when the roofers eventually do return, it will rain the next day.

I went to the grocery store this morning to buy some more Chicken Tenders. When everything else fails, Dash will still usually eat Chicken Tenders. He'd probably like a bucket of KFC too, but I've got to draw the line somewhere. The store was out of Chicken Tenders, so I got some Steak Fingers instead. They might not taste the same, but they certainly look the same.

The temperature was in the 90's this afternoon. I didn't even try to take Dash on an evening walk. He just can't handle the heat anymore. As the temperature warmed up, I could tell he was reluctant to even go out in the back yard and pee. Thank goodness it is still cool around sunrise. We need a cool morning breeze or we won't be able to walk at all.

I set the DVR to record tonight's episode of The Expanse. I might as well just watch the show live. There isn't much else to do this evening. We've still got to take our evening pills. I'll do fine with mine, but I'm not so sure about Dash. He certainly wasn't very enthusiastic this morning.

Liberty is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Day 3064

Dash and I have a new schedule for a little while. Janet is traveling and I need to remember to do all the things she usually does. Janet usually prepares Dash's meals and gives him his pills. The meals are a guessing game, since you never know what he's willing to eat on any given day. No matter what his mood is, he always has to eat something early in the morning, because he can't take his phenobarbital on an empty stomach. Dash used to take his pills in a dog food meat ball, but now we have to resort to more exotic temptations. Today, I hid the pills in soft slices of banana bread with a little peanut butter on top. This worked pretty well. Meals are just as challenging. I opened three different cans this evening before I found something he would eat. When a dog turns up his nose at fresh chicken breasts, you know you are getting desperate.

Luckily, we were able to give Dash a good walk early this morning before Janet left for the airport. I knew I would have trouble with the afternoon walk, and even though I tried, we didn't even make it out of the back yard. Dash turned around and threw off one of his rubber boots before we even reached the back gate. When I got the boot back on again, he refused to move at all. Hopefully, he will still walk with me in the mornings. Morning walks are an essential part of the feeding routine. Without a walk, he rarely has much of an appetite.

It's not normal for a Dalmatian to lose interest in food. Something is definitely wrong, but so far his veterinarians have not been able to pin down a cause. We've done every type of test imaginable and so far the only plausible cause for this loss of appetite is the nausea that is commonly associated with vestibular disease. So far, we've always been able to get Dash to eat something, but it's getting harder and harder.

I think I got lucky with the roof. The rain that was supposed to arrive today never materialized. The area the roofers patched yesterday has had a full 24 hours to cure, so I think the elastomer coating is stable now. We may still get some rain later tonight, but if the roof stays dry, my next job is to get the roofers back to finish the rest of the repairs.

I paid some bills this afternoon and picked up the new antibiotic that is supposed to cure the infected area on Dash's lip. Hopefully, this pill won't interact with any of the other pills he's already taking. Dash takes so many meds now that it gets complicated. I always hope that we'll be able to reduce the number of pills at some point, but that's probably being realistic. Dash hasn't had an epileptic seizure in year, but he will always need to take phenobarbital to prevent them from reoccurring. Even though the blood clot in his heart has seemingly dissolved, he will need to continue taking Plavix to keep new clots from forming. The list goes on and on. He has to take thyroid medication because he doesn't have a thyroid anymore and he takes blood pressure medication for the same reason I do.

I think we're going to go to bed early tonight. Why not? We've both finished our dinners. Dash has taken all his evening meds. And I'm almost finished with tonight's blog post. We're probably going to need a good night's rest. Tomorrow might be challenging.

Sadie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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