Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Full and Exciting Weekend

This weekend's been great. Well, more from last Wednesday onwards really.

Dad took me in to work again on Wednesday so I could remind him to call the vets about my blood test results. The vet said that unless I have any more seizures they don't need to see me as the results show that the KBr (Potassium Bromide) levels are within the therapeutic range. They are on the low end of the scale, so we can increase the dosage as required. Which I'm not at all sure about. The fact is that the seizures have occurred every three-four weeks and the drugs don't seem to be doing anything.

Squirrel NemesisOn Friday dad finished work early and was home just after lunchtime, not mine - his... I don't get lunch. We then went on a great long walk for about two hours all around the canal. I got a bit bored and just plodded along behind dad for much of the way. It's just too much like exercise and not enough trees to hunt squirrels in.

Saturday was different as dad took me to Doggy Disney and I made up for squirrel hunting by running off and chasing as many as I could, real or imaginary!

When I got home mum and dad fired up the barbecue and cooked me lots of nice lamb and chicken. I let them have the left overs as I was too full to manage all of it.

One thing I neglected to put into my blog last week was Dave and Grandma, Ian and Anita came over for a barbecue on Sunday. One of the things that made it especially memorable is Grandma did the driving and Dave got pretty squffy on wine, an as yet unheard of event. The other thing is they are getting married later in July this year. I think that should be just enough time for me to get my outfit and a peticure.

My new collar
Mum bought me a nice new collar. It's very, very pink and apparently glows in the dark! I wore it to work on Wednesday and one of the guys that works for dad made a comment "How gay is that collar?" Now, I must agree that whilst not exactly a politically correct statement, I can think of no other way to express just how gaudy and... well, pink that it is.

Make mine a pint
But the highlight of the weekend has been mum and dad taking me out for a walk around the canal again. This time they stopped at a pub for a swift pint, or two. So I got to take a break and lounge for a while.

On the way we met my friend "Horsey" again. I went over to say Hi and catchup with all the horsey goings on. She came right over to the fence and put her head out the gate to give me a big sniff. I tried to get her to chat a while but seems she was just happy to munch the plants whilst I gave her a big kiss. Tastes kinda funny for a dog though.

Me and "Horsey"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Moulting & Time Travel

A strange topic you might ask but dad really believes the two are related. He tried to explain it to me. It seems it's completely possible to travel forward in time as long as the right set of conditions exist. This is where having a dog comes in.

Back to the Future
Last year mum decided to remove all the carpets and get the whole ground floor of the house tiled. She took dad with her to find a tile she liked, what that had to do with dad I don't know. When it comes to opinions relating to decor dad's learned to keep his head well down. For some reason he'd suggested a dark slate coloured tile, and quickly realised he wasn't there for his opinion - basically, shut up and drive.

So now mum makes the decision and after much frustration at the "professional" who came to fit them - the standing joke is if he's a tiler it's only by name, hence his nickname "Bonnie Tyler", mums selected tiles were finally laid.

Now we're coming up to summer and I'm starting to shed some fur, well it ends up quite a lot really. So much so, dad recons he could knit another dog out of it. Mums choice of a pale yellow tile throughout is now proving to be a little questionable. She seems to be constantly mopping up muddy footprints and worse to come, complaining about the very noticeable and big tufts of black tumble weed that drift across the floor.

Heart Rate Monitor
So where does time travel come into the equation? Well dad recons that it's a bit like the Wizard of Oz and Dorothy's ruby slippers. All he has to do is utter the magic words "I told you so", there will be the clang of a skillet and dad will awaken in the distant future to the sound of the beebeep, beebeep of a heart monitor in a white room, labelled coma patients.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Anti-blogger

This site was and is a reference for me and hopefully some interest to others. I do it for my benefit, not to raise cash for me or any other organisation. But somewhere along the line it seems there are way too many people out for a fast buck.

I'm no social networker, just a schlub who figured I'd use the Internet for something useful - to me that is, and if anyone else got some joy or, god forbid, something helpful from my efforts, then that's just great.

I never signed on to be some Internet mogul aiming for millions from something that to be quite honest, has cost me nothing to provide. Sure, I invest some time, but I'm not paying anyone to host my site. So why should I expect a return on my lack of investment?

But, if you spend a few minutes going around looking at blogs you'll see many have been lured into the quick buck, money for nothing schemes. Monetise your blog and grab some wealth. Well not for me.

Bill Stickers is Innocent
You won't be seeing any advertisements on here from me... maybe Google, the provider of this free resource, may feel like getting some payback someday, but it won't be through my doing.

Spend some time writing your own blog and you'll find masses of people just trawling the net to get you to come visit their site, raise their sites visitor count to attract more revenue. They'll play the "I visited your site, now please visit mine", or "I voted for you will you now please vote for me?" games, well that's not a game I play. So thanks for the visit, or vote, but don't go expecting any guilty feelings from me for not returning the favour.

If you have something on your site that is relevant that you think I'd be interested in then that's different. You'll demonstrate this by having read some of my sites content and then brought to my attention something that you have on your site that may be of some further value. But dropping by to say "Come visit my site about solar powered rollerskates" shows you've no interest in the topics contained within my site and are what I would call a "Fly Poster".

The frustrating thing is that I'm sure many people who put ads onto their site don't even give it a second thought. They just throw them on thinking of the money rolling in. But what about those other people like me? I'll just ignore the advertising and if it's too much just won't go back to that site again. Then you've lost a reader of any article you may have actually thought useful and lost any revenue you thought you were going to get.

So if you're a social blogger, drop the ads and go back to having some fun.

The Joy of Not Being Sold Anything

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe ...

Dad took me over to Doggy Disney again today. He's off work all week using up the vacation time he can't carry over into next year. We had a great time meeting some friendly dogs and especially a lady who did doggy day care. She just loved me and thought I was great.

I got the chance to have some great muddy baths in the pools in the woods and got nice and wet and muddy. Dad had to dry me off before I got back in the car. He'd cleaned it this weekend and then today even polished the windows on the inside so they were sparkling and clean. I soon sorted that out though by sticking my wet nose on them and leaving smears and nostril prints all over.

Brain Neurons15:00 After we got back I lounged around drying out and generally barking at the guys making a noise in the building opposite. I thought we'd come through the cluster as nothing happened yesterday, turns out we were wrong.

At 3:00pm whilst snoozing in my bed I had another big seizure. Dad shook me out of it later and I got up and scoffed my left over breakfast. I'm wondering if all these drugs are actually doing anything other than putting my liver at risk? I'll get dad to talk with the vet and see what gives.

Hindsight's a wonderful thing. Over the past few days we've been thinking that Roxy's not shown any signs of going into a cluster. Usually her behaviour is a bit off, and we'll have a clue. Today, I think I missed the signs completely. After the walk she'd been coming up to me and mouthing my hand and putting her paw on me repeatedly. I couldn't understand why. Maybe she was trying to tell me something?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Visit from the Easter Bunny

Easter BunnyEaster brought more that chocolate for me. It looks like my cluster's going to continue like the previous ones. Although the period in between seizures is longer than usual they are still coming.

Last night was a very sleepless night. I howled quite a lot, probably on 5 occasions. Which is unusual for me as once I'm told to be "quiet" and I realise there really is someone else around and I'm not all alone, I tend to go on back to sleep and not do it anymore.

I eventually came upstairs and lay down and slept on the landing. Again a little unusual as normally I'd wake mum and dad by scratching at the door to get in and sleep with them.

05:10 Dad had to get up and take care of me as I lay on the landing having a seizure.

10:50 I'd just been walking around downstairs whilst mum was in the kitchen and I started chomping and went into another seizure.

Later today we're having a barbecue so I hope this is the last of them for this cluster.

19:50 Well today just keeps getting worse. Whilst mum and dad were next door Blaine banged on the wall which meant there was something wrong and dad came to find me in the usual unconscious post seizure state. I was jammed in behind the back door, my favorite sleeping place, so dad had to come in through the front door. Whilst unconscious dad gave me two tubes of Diazepam to see if this would break the cluster. He also cleaned me up and gave me some chicken so I'd calm down after the seizure.

The diazepam doesn't seem to have any obvious effect. Dad thinks maybe I was a little more drowsy than usual and as it would turn out didn't go as expected.

23:50 I was in a deep sleep behind the back door when dad heard me chomping and my collar jingling. I then went into full seizure and because unconscious. Dad shook me awake and as I came to the end I was more disorientated than previously. Probably as bad as it was after my first/early seizures. I was blind for a period, bumping into things, and so confused I couldn't find my way outside. I left mum to clean up where I'd wee'd (sorry mum) and went outside to pace for a while longer.

After an eventful day or so mum and dad let me sleep in the bedroom with them. I think dad wished he hadn't as I was restless all night. I kept him up by panting and then just as he'd drop off to sleep I'd go stick my nose in his ear or eye to wake him up.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Guardian Angels

Guardian AngelSince my first seizure dad’s been trawling the Internet for information to help him to cope with and understand my condition. He spends ages online anyhow, but this was different. The Internet is a fantastic resource full of useful information, the problem is mining for it effectively. You can dig and dig and miss all the great stuff that you’re really after.

Well recently dad encountered a particularly useful website that anyone with a dog suffering from Epilepsy must add to their favourites list.

The site is a vast seam of knowledge in regard to canine epilepsy. Quite simply it puts in one place almost all of the knowledge dad spent so long to gather from many, many resources over several months.

But there’s one other factor that makes this site so good, and that’s the people behind it. After dropping a brief line of hello and thanks for a great resource, we got a friendly reply offering support should we need it. What a kind and valuable gesture.

So the site’s not merely a “Read This” but it’s driven by people who have been or are in the same predicament as us, with more experience to share. They've been there and seen it and done it. Access to that kind of feedback would have proven extremely valuable in the early days where dad really was finding his feet.

Your vet is a useful resource and very knowledgeable and nothing should detract from that. But it can be a little clinical and you can feel isolated. Just knowing there’s someone else out there who’s been through what you are going through can help enormously.

So if you've come across this site looking for answers about your pets condition, by all means come back, but first visit Guardian Angels and whilst you’ll spend hours reading – you’ll still save days of mining, reading, mining, reading, getting frustrated and feeling alone.

Early Morining Wake Up Call

Time to Get UpFollowing yesterday's seizure I figured we'd gotten away with it for a long time. The usual 4-5hours between seizures had passed a long time ago.

05:30 Chris was sleeping on the sofa and shouted to wake dad nice and early at 5:30am as I lay in my bed having a seizure.

It was the typical chomping and flailing followed by paddling and then unconscious sleep. Once that was over and I came to I was just the usual hungry and thirsty. Despite being on my diet dad gave me half a tin of food anyhow.

I finished up sleeping upstairs in the bedroom so mum and dad could keep an eye on me. I still woke mum up to get me some breakfast though... even though I'd eaten already.

Strange Big Dogs - called Horses
This afternoon I've been out with dad on a really long walk all around the canal in a big circle and came back very tired. As we walked round we encountered a field with two big funny looking dogs, dad called them horses. So we went over to say hello. Dad took me up to them slowly making me sit at each step, just so I didn't scare them off. I so wanted to go an play, but I had to make do with just sitting and talking to them.

17:10 Later in the day Grandma and Caz came round to visit. They were talking about a barbecue tomorrow, yay! Shortly after they left, I was snoozing in front of the TV mum and dad saw my head twitch and turn to look behind me. Sure enough it was the start of another seizure.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Not So Good Friday

Lost in the WoodsWell it turns out that Good Friday is not such a good day for me. I pestered dad to take me out for a walk so we got in the car and headed off to Doggy Disney again.

14:25 It wasn't very long into the walk when I got separated from dad. He'd taken one branch of a path and I another. Normally that's not a problem as I can find dad by the sound of the jingle of the choke chain. Dad says he started whistling me and shouting me then eventually came back along the track I'd taken.

He found me lying on the path in the post-ictal unconscious state I've been getting into recently. The earth and leaves around me were scattered so it looks like I had another seizure. Once dad arrived I was out of it instantly and back on my feet, almost like nothing had happened. I guess we're lucky I was in a good place to be found.

Dad then turned us around and we headed back for the car and drove home. Back at home I had a sausage, despite being on a diet, and I'm just going to snooze for a while now.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

KBr Bloodtest Day

Today's the day I got to visit the vet again and get a blood test to check the serum level of the KBr (Potassium Bromide) in my system.

Blood Test
11:00 We saw a lady vet that hadn't met me before. She was nice and friendly, but as most are when they first meet me, a little wary of my size. I can't blame her, it must be quite regular they get a nip from those a little more scared than me, and with my jaws and teeth a nip would be a serious offence.

She went to take me off into another room away from dad to take some blood, probably to put me in a restraining cage to do so. Dad just laughed and said it shouldn't be a problem that mostly when I get blood taken he just holds onto me, just in case.

So off she went to get the clippers, vial and syringe (the only word that "does" rhyme with orange). When she came back dad held me and she shaved a patch on my leg. Dad put some pressure on the inside of my elbow and she stuck in the needle and took some blood. Not a whimper, twitch or so much as a reaction what so ever. I could tell dad was impressed.

We'd also had to get some of those pesky things that wind dad up so much... prescriptions. This time we needed three so £12 for the first, then £6 each for the other two. Once we get balanced on the serum levels I'm hoping we can get to the point where we can get a 3 month prescription as this is proving costly each month. Even though we'd phoned them in and ordered the prescription the day before they weren't ready. So dad had to go back after work to collect them.

But... there was some good news. They'd over charged us. Turns out that the Epiphen prescription, whilst there are two of them - one for 60mg tablets and one for 30mg tablets - they consider this one prescription. So now we're £6 in credit with the vet. Can anyone guess just how long that will last?

We'll have to wait until next week for the results of the test.

Ginger Cat
Whilst in the waiting room there was a cat in a bag! I was trying hard to get it to say hello - I've never been so close to one before. It kind of ignored me as it was very sleepy - I suspect that had something to do with the vet.

I also got weighed and whilst I'm a lady and would never disclose my weight, dad will no doubt tell you I'm now 47kgs, up from 43kgs last time the vet weighed me. I guess the barbecue sent me over. Dad's now put me down to half a tin of food in the morning and evening, from half in the morning and a full one (1200g) at night. He'd like me down to 44-45kgs. Not at all fat, in fact mum and dad like the way I look, but dad would like me a bit leaner to stay healthy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I'm Stuffed!

Bar-b-queWell dad managed to get mum to agree to a barbecue this weekend - the weather was great. As usual mum gets far too much food and it's always more than everyone can eat. That's where I come in and help tidy up, I like to do my bit.

Sunday was a special day overall. Before the barbecue dad took me out to Doggy Disney again. I had a great time. We met a few new friends after I'd gone puddle jumping. I was particularly muddy and wet and insisted on saying hello to the people out with the Labrador and Beagle. I'm not sure they appreciated the mud I left with them though.

As we were getting into the car to go out Grandma and Dave were back! But I was far to excited about going out and pretty much ignored them, and got all conflicted as I should say hello, but I just must go for a walk.

Thankfully they came round to see me after we'd cleared up the barbecue. There were loads of really great things to eat. Huge chicken breasts and plenty of lamb. I even got stuck into the potatoes mum had made, so I'm getting my five a day.

Trouble is, when Grandma and Dave came around mum kinda regretted letting me have the boiled eggs. I sat there all inocent pretending it was someone else. I think I got away with it.