Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Libby's Knee Surgery

Meet Libby: the picture of cuteness. Or as I call her affectionately, "rat". lol

On Tuesday, my parents little Yorkie, Libby, underwent her first knee surgery. My parents found out from Libby's vet, whom my parents have been going to with our pets for over 15 years, informed my parents after they purchased Libby that she would have trouble with her knees. Toy breeds tend to have a problem with their back legs - their knee caps move. It's called luxating patellas. The vet then informed my parents that it cost $1,500 per leg.

I'll wait until you're able to replace the jaw that just dropped onto the floor.

Yes, you read that right. In total, it was going to cost my parents $3000 to fix Libby's knees. When Dad first heard that, he said, "I can live with a bow-legged dog."

Libby didn't start having issues with her knees until about a month or so ago, when my mom signed her up for puppy training class at the Petsmart in Redding. They evidently have a concrete/tile floor and Libby couldn't catch her footing on the floor. Suddenly, Libby's knee caps start moving. Once Dad witnessed it, he couldn't stand it. Neither  Mom. Neither could I. In the beginning the knee cap would right itself and she could use her leg. But she stopped jumping on everything (and everyone). She stopped trying to stand up on her hind legs. It eventually got so bad (in only a month) that her left hind leg (the worst one) wasn't usable. And the right one is barely usable.

Mom asked me if I could ask Dr. J at my vet clinic what it would cost up here for such a surgery. Obviously I said yes. So the next time I saw him, and I told him the problem with poor Libby's knees, and asked him what he would quote my parents. I also asked him if the clinic had done many surgeries on luxating patellas. He quoted $500 per leg, and said that they do several, and in fact had already done a few this year.

Did you notice the price difference? Perhaps an employee discount was wedged in there, but either way, my clinic was one third the price of the vet in Redding. Now, I'm not necessarily dogging the Redding vet because I used to work for him; he was my first vet clinic job. However, the price difference is outrageous.

I schedule the surgery date and Dr. J promised he would do it - bum arm and all (he's still in a sling after his quading accident). Dad drove up on Monday, and Dr. J popped in on his day off to not only load a shipment of cattle mineral, but to also so take a quick peek at Libby. I met Dad at the clinic, and Dr. J watched Libby walk around (by this time it was more like waddling), and felt her back legs and confirmed, "she has medial luxating patellas." Meaning, her knee caps had moved to the inside of her leg. He explained the surgery and even drew a diagram for us - which Dad took home to show Mom. Basically, the knee cap is supposed to sit in a small groove on the end of the femur (thigh bone). Libby's femurs don't appear to have that little groove, so those knee caps have nothing to help hold them in place. So what Dr. J was going to do was cut a groove at the end of the femur for the knee cap, and then run a stitch around the knee cap and tie the stitch to a bit of knobby bone that is there naturally to hold the knee cap in place permanently. Once that's healed up in about two months, she can have the other knee done.

Now he did say that Libby hasn't been in any pain, that it's a mechanical problem that a lot of toy breeds have developed. That because her knee cap has moved, the support structure doesn't work, so her leg can't be used to stand on.

Dr. J did the surgery on Tuesday morning, and called me just before 10am to let me know everything went well and to, "let your pops know". Libby stayed a total of two nights at the vet's office, and Dad picked her up this morning to take her home. As I type this, she's sitting on Mom's lap at home, and according to Mom, Libby does not like taking her meds at all. (She was sent home with a pain med and an anti-inflammatory med).

The bonus to Dad driving 3 hours to get Libby's surgery done for less? I got to have dinner with him twice.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend. Plus some extra.

I hope that all of my American followers had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I myself had a nice relaxful one. My grandparents were awesome and gave me the day off, so I didn't have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to go feed some hungry cows. That and I was still a little limpy on Wednesday. I slept in until like 9:30. OMG. It. was. freaking. awesome. K's parents came over for dinner - the traditional turkey dinner with stuffing, cranberries, corn, green bean casserole, roles, and the like. With pumpkin pie for dessert.

I've had a few things I wanted to post about, so this is going to be a hodge-podge of stuff. You know you like it. ;o)

A couple weeks ago, it was freaking cold. And snowy. And it snowed the day before I drove over our lovely mountain to go to work on that Saturday. Which meant the road was . . . well . . . white when I went over it. The speed limit was listed as 35mph (about 55kph for my international friends), so it was icy.

Yes, it was as cold as it looks.

The entire pass looked this way, both sides. Luckily it didn't look anything like this on the way home.

When I made it over the hill to work, the temperature had dropped significantly. Oddly enough, our little valley is about 10* warmer in winter, but 10* cooler in summer than Town on the other side of the hill. Very strange. So, this is what my temperature gauge in my car said (and it's pretty accurate):

Yeah. 7*(F), which is about -14*(C) for my international friends. The parking lot at work was pure ice. I sprinkled ice melt all over the parking lot. I skated while doing it. And I'm no skater. Just sayin.

Luckily, it hasn't really snowed since, so most of the snow has melted. At least in the valley. But it's only a matter of time before it comes back.

Now, also, a couple weeks back, I had two very large dogs come in to be neutered. Now, this gal had brought in a dog the week for that, and she was at least 100lbs. She'd never been off the ranch so the woman and I had to literally carry the dog inside the clinic. Well, when she brought the two boys, they were larger and just as determined not to go anywhere. She'd loaded them in her two-horse trailer, and it took her, myself, and the tech that came with the injured doctor to carry these two monsters into the clinic. When the tech and I had to do it alone after they'd been sedated, we could hardly do it. The injured vet who isn't supposed to lift anything, had to grab the middle with his good arm so dogs wouldn't become frozen in a permanent "U" shape. They were so sweet, but seriously, WHO needs dogs that freaking big??? Okay, I understand that these dogs are great at fending off coyotes (which can be a problem for those that raise smaller livestock like sheep or goats, but geeze!

Anyway, the two boys slept the entire day, like comatose sleeping. They were just content and couldn't be bothered. I finally went in and snapped a picture of them sleeping to show you how big they are. Now they don't look like they each weigh 125-150lbs, but trust me, they really do.

They are Akbash/Kengal crosses. The one in front looks like a polar bear!

And the weekend after Thanksgiving was busy! On Friday we weaned the calves in our spring herd. There were quite a few, that in the end we had to split them into two groups for feeding and space purposes. We moved the fall herd to a new pen and that went swimmingly, and they even got a bull put in with them. All went off without a hitch. Then it was time for a quick spot of breakfast.

There was our problem. By the time we got to the spring herd to move them, they were no longer that hungry and therefore were not so interested in the feed truck. So when we hit a nice spacious pasture, they decided they'd go spread out and graze and ignore said feed truck. K and I were the herders on our ATV's while Papa D was driving the truck. I know K cursed a lot, because I know I was cursing a lot. We would just get the cows to start going the right way, when one cow bold said, "Whatever", and went the opposite direction, so then every other cow followed her. K and I whipped around on our ATV's and when that didn't work, we jumped off and ran after cows with whips, screaming "SHOO!" or whistling. (Now just for clarification, the whips are not used to beat the animals with, they are used as a tool to block a hole to hopefully prevent said cows going through said hole. Often times just swinging it and using it to make a noise to get the cattle to move where we wish).

Now, I'd only been walking normal since Thanksgiving, the day before. So there I was running around these fields trying not to twist it again by slipping on a cow-pie, or stepping in a hole. Again. Eventually grain worked to entice them, but by then they were completely scattered. But, K and I were finally able to keep them in a group and once in the lane to the corrals, it went perfectly. Then we sorted the cows from the calves, which actually went pretty smoothly. Then we started working the calves - they needed three vaccinations and a few had lost their ear tags, or had mean mothers and couldn't be tagged, so needed new tags.

We filled up the syringes, and K and I both wound up piercing ourselves with new needles. I later went and got a tetanus shot to be safe, since my last one was when I was 16. The swelling is already gone and it's only slightly tender.

K and I got into a really good rhythm of getting a calf into the chute, handing off syringes, and sending the calf on it's way. We worked until about 12:30pm and then it was clean-up and splitting the calves into two groups. That went really well, too. Then we finally had lunch. Sitting down never felt so good.

Sunday was a busy day as well. K proclaimed it a perfect day to do yard work, so that's what I did all day. Well after feeding the cows, that is. I borrowed some old laupers from K, and trimmed my roses back. Papa D brought over empty protein tubs for me to put my yard trash in, so then I had to chop up the roses even smaller to fit them into said tubs. Then I raked my front lawn to get rid of leaves, and put them in a tub as well. I washed my front windows, swept my front porch, and cleaned off cobwebs off it, too. Then I set to work in the back yard, in which I raked up pine cones. I also pulled out my Christmas decorations and started working on that. Somewhere in all that I had a spot of breakfast and lunch. I was soooooo sore at the end of the day.

Me after my day of yard work. Yikes - no makeup!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sprains and Holidays

So I really did something stupid yesterday (Monday). I sprained my right ankle while feeding yesterday morning.

It hurt so bad. I hadn't sprained an ankle since high school; I forgot how bad it hurts when you actually sprain something. I cussed. A lot.

We had just finished feeding a bull and cow in a pen. I slid off the truck on the opposite, away from the bull. The ground in the pen is fairly uneven, so I sat down on the bed of the truck first, and then just slid my butt off.  My left foot found solid ground, but my right foot didn't. It found some kind of rut or hole. I stumbled, flailed my arms a bit, but remained upright. Unfortunately, my actions still startled the 2,500 pound bull.

I looked at him, thought up a lot more curse words, and hopped behind my side of the truck and stood there quietly, eyes down, so as to not "challenge him". He stared a moment longer and then went back to his food. Only then did I finally start breathing again. Now, he's a decent tempered bull, but in the end, he is still a bull. And you don't mess with the bull. Any of them.

Papa D got out of the truck to see what was taking me so long, and I told him I'd just sprained my ankle. He told me get in the truck, and he'd open the gate. Unfortunately, when it gets as cold as it has in the mornings, it's hard to open the truck door from the outside. It's hard enough when it's warm out. He opened the door from the inside, and I literally crawled into the truck on my knees because my ankle hurt so bad to put any weight on it. The pain seemed almost unbearable. My worst fear was that I'd actually broken it.

We found K by the grainery, and told her what happened. Then he drove me home in the feed truck. When I got out, I was able to hobble. He waited until I got up the steps to my back door, and then went back to finish feeding.

I took my muck boots off in the guest bathroom, which is right by the back door, so I didn't get mud and snow and cow poop on my carpet.  I hobbled to the other end of the house to my bathroom for a shower and had never been more grateful for the handicapped rails in my bathroom and shower! I spent the rest of the day on the couch with ice on my elevated ankle. I've been able to kind of hobble around, which is good. Not sure I could keep up with a feed truck, or be able to climb up on it just yet, but at least I can limp around.

The best part of yesterday was the two hour phone conversation I had with my BFF. The last couple times we've talked, we were kind of limited on time as one of us had to be somewhere. We had both been hoping that we be able to get together for Thanksgiving, but I won't be able to drive to Redding for the holiday this year. It's supposed to storm this week, and I'd have to drive 4 icy mountain passes to get there and back, in the dark both ways. If the weather was good, it would be easier to do, but with storms, I just don't want to risk it. She already has plans for the weekend I will be in Redding, her friends are doing her birthday part that weekend in the bay area. It will probably be Christmas before we see each other. Which means it will probably be 6 or 7 months have gone by before we have seen each other again.

And now . . . . since it's Thanksgiving on Thursday, I probably won't be posting until next week. But I did kind of want to list a few things I'm thankful for:

~ I'm so thankful that I took the leap of faith of quitting my job in Sacramento to come up here to Sticksville. It was a scary decision, but I don't miss the stress of my old job. I don't miss the city, apartment living, or the cost of living.

~ I'm thankful that in this economy I have three jobs. I admit, two of those jobs are for my grandparents, but still, in total it's three different jobs. I enjoy the diversity the jobs offer me.

~ I'm thankful for my friends and family and all their support. They know how much thought went into my move up here, and I couldn't have done it with support from each and every one of them.

~ I'm thankful that the vet's up here can and will do the surgery my mom's dog needs for half the cost of what the Redding vet said. The surgery is schedule for next Tuesday.

~ But mostly, I'm thankful for my family and my friends. They mean the world to me, every single one of them. I love them so much.

And now I'd like to wish all of my American followers/readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for your comments in my year and a half of blogging. Thanks to those that have participated in the Postcard Campaign, it's so much fun!

Happy Thanksgiving and my love to y'all.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

An Open Letter to Disrepectful DVD Renters

Dear Prior DVD Renter from Netflix:

After having a movie from Netflix waiting by my TV ever so patiently for a few weeks, I finally had an afternoon to watch it. Uninterrupted. Being that it's about 28 degrees all day long (that's roughly -2* C for my international friends), I decided I'd cuddle with Miss Harriet (my cat for my new followers) under three blankets, and watch my movie.

I have my old Toshiba DVD player, which I got probably ten years ago now, and I can tell it's on its last legs because it makes all kinds of noise. Last year for my birthday, my parents bought me a Blu-Ray DVD player. I use that one most often as it doesn't make the odd sounds the old one does. However, I keep the Toshiba handy and ready to use in case I have a DVD that has a minor scratch and the Blu-Ray can't handle the pressure. More often than not, the Toshiba can save the day and get me through my movie.

Not today, Prior DVD Renter, not today.

The Toshiba fought the good fight. The Blu-Ray couldn't even load the DVD. The Toshiba, though it kept stopping, got me just over half way through my movie. And then I got the gray screen of death. I knew the disc was scratched, and that's why I switched from new to old DVD player. I'm not mad at either disc player - please make note of that.

I'm mad at every other Netflix user (aka YOU) who can't handle a DVD properly to save their own lives. And it's not just those who use Netflix. I once had a DVD I rented from a Blockbuster down the street from me in Sacramento. I didn't check the disc until after the fact, but about 3/4 through a movie, it just stopped playing. When I check the back of the disc it looked like someone had taken said disc to a rough surface (read: sandpaper) and tried the whole "wax on wax off" trick. I had to go to Blockbuster and show them the disc and suggested that maybe they check the condition of each disc once returned (I was agitated, but civil. Mostly agitated.).

I know minor scratches happen over time. Even some of my own DVD's that I'm very careful with manage to get something. But I take care of my discs. And yes, I'm aware that things happen during shipment and sometimes, maybe (just maybe), that's where some of the damage is from. What is it about renting something that makes people (like you, Prior DVD Renter) think they can do whatever the hell they want with the stupid thing? What, just leave that huge 3 inch scratch for the next sucker?

If you're old enough - if you remember VHS, do you remember that old corny logo that was stickered onto to every rented video? "Be Kind, Please Rewind". Yeah, that one. How badly did it irk you when you rented a movie and were all ready to watch it (all comfy on your couch or recliner with the popcorn ready and lights out) only to find out that the jerk who rented it before you "forgot" to be kind and rewind? And I'll age myself here, but did you have one of those VCR's that did not have a remote you had to pry yourself out of your comfy pose, cursing the whole way to the VCR to press "rewind", and then wait (still cursing, of course) until it stopped so you could hit "play". Or you had a remote, but it had to be plugged into the VCR and the cord was only 3 feet long, and your living room was 10 feet long? Yeah. How much did you love the previous renter of that movie, then?

Seriously. You're not the only one renting these movies. Netflix, as much as I've enjoyed it, doesn't allow you to watch just any movie online. And not all of us are so fortunate enough to have those really expensive game consoles (that we'd never use because we don't play video games), just for the purpose of streaming movies directly to our TV's.

Just in case, Prior DVD Renter, that you are unsure, here is a list of what the discs should not be used for:

~ Frisbee
~ Coasters
~ Litter box cleaning
~ Cat toys
~ Dog toys
~ Cutting boards
~ Cat scratching post
~ It should not come anywhere near sandpaper
~ Getting things from high places
~ Nail file
~ Ice skates
~ Dartboard
~ A place to test your pens to see if they still have ink
~ Smacking people or other objects
~ A TV tray
~ An ash try
~ Ninja style fighting tool

So, if you're one of those precious few who still has to rent the physical DVD (which I'm guessing you are by the shape of the innocent DVD), please, for the love of all things Holy, please be kind and treat the DVD's with some respect. Have some mercy on the next poor soul who has to rent the physical DVD (like me).

Because let me tell you, there is nothing more aggravating than thinking, "Yay! Movie time!" and finding out two and a half hours later when you're only an hour and a half into said movie that you've received the gray screen of death and your DVD player is flashing "ERROR". And you're forced to wonder if the Decepticons finally won, or if the Autobots kicked their robotic asses again (I'm quite sure it's the latter, but hey, you never know).

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go pick from my own collection that I've seen hundreds of times for something to watch because the snow has blocked out my satellite dish and I can barely reach it with a broom and jumping like an idiot. Oh and because some rude DVD renter prior to me had the audacity to treat the disc like crap.

Thanks a lot Pior DVD Renter. You suck.



Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I have done yet another lil' happy dance at the post office. I received my postcard from CWMartin over at Tilting at Windmills.

Thanks CWMartin for the postcard - it put a smile on my face!

Now, if you're new here or just happened across my humble corner of the web, you may be wondering what I'm jabbering on about. I'm talking about The Great Postcard Campaign, where we spread some mailbox happiness around the globe by sending postcards. Each month I choose a member of the Postcard Campaign to send postcards to everyone on the list. The whole idea behind this is to bring a smile to someone's face, and we all take turns sending and receiving postcards. Each time we receive postcards, you link back to me and the person who sent them to you. If you have any questions about it, there's a link up top to the Postcard Campaign page, or you can shoot me an email.  If you want to join up, shoot me an email with your real name, snail mail addy, blogosphere name and blog website.

On the subject of postcards, my BFF sent me a couple not too long ago. She dubs them "antique" postcards as she's had them for quite sometime. I sent her a cute one just to say "hello" and she returned in kind.

I about peed my pants in sheer excitement when I found out these were from her. Its been months since we've seen each other, and I miss her terribly.

So, NOW I get to announce the next person to send postcards for DECEMBER. So, I don't know about anyone else, but being that it's the month of CHRISTMAS, I'm expecting some super-dee-duper postcards from the lovely:

Jewels, I shall email you the addy's on December 1st.

I had an impromptu weekend off. And when I say "weekend", I mean Sunday and Monday. I drove to Redding after work (a lovely 3 hour drive in the dark where the deer lurk) on Saturday evening. I slept in until about 8:30 on Sunday, which was awesome, and treated Mom to the movies. Now, I treated her to a movie she had already seen, however, she was more than willing to see it again. Actually, I believe it was her idea to see it again. "Real Steel" with Hugh Jackman. It won't be in theaters much longer, but if you can, go see it!!!! OMG, awesome movie. And not only because my boyfriend Hugh is in it (*sigh*), but because it's a feel good movie.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Something unexpected dropped by the clinic today

Sometimes you just get something cool at the vet's office.

It's a Great Horned Owl. These folks rehabilitate wild birds, and they think this guy may have seen the wrong end of a barbed wire. It's also possible he was bitten by something. They wanted the vet to take a look at his leg, because the wound wasn't healing properly - too much proud flesh. Proud flesh is a normal part of the healing process, but on occasion, too much builds up and the skin can't grow up to get over it. So you have to "debride" the proud flesh away on a regular basis to get the wound to heal properly.

The gal was putting vet-wrap over the talons, so the bird didn't accidentally slice the vet wide open while working on the would. The vet cut away some of the proud flesh, then sutured it up.

And while I'm writing about the vet clinic, I should make it known that the vet that had the quad accident is back at work. Can't keep him down, actually. He's in a neck brace and his arm is in a sling, but he still manages to do a lot.

I'm just thankful he brings an extra tech so that I'm not alone in the heavy lifting. Plus it's nice to have someone else do stuff in the back while I take care of people up front. Usually, it's just me and the vet, and I have to help him during exams, check people in and out, answer the phones, and grab stuff for him during surgery. Oh, I also try to draw up the vaccines before the clients & patients show up so that everything is prepared for when they show up. Yeah, it gets a little hectic around there.

Next week we have six surgeries, which is . . . how should I put this, only about 4 more than we typically do over here in Sticksville. Occasionally we'll have four, but only two that require surgical packs. Feline neuters don't require them, and they only take about 5 minutes each, so they hardly count. I have two dog neuters, two dog spays, and two cat spays. Every single one of them requires a surgical pack. So I put in a request for two more packs, and I can clean some in the meantime.

Oh and the two dog neuters? Each dog weighs close to 100lbs (or about 45 kilos for my international followers). Yeah. Fun.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm thinking winter is here . . .

I have been trying to not freeze to death for the past week. Seriously, it went from 60s and 70s to a balmy 30 degrees (F) with some snow scattered in. I think the highest high this week was maybe 45. Yep, it's gettin' cold 'round these parts.

The vet that had the quad riding accident is already back at work. His left arm is in a sling, and he's in a neck brace, but he's doing surgeries and seeing patients. Apparently, he only took one whole week off before working half-days. While he can't do too much in the large animal arena, he can do most small animal stuff, as long as he has a tech with him. Last week he came to the Sticksville clinic with an extra tech in tow. Which I was ecstatic about, considering I had a 100lb dog to spay and I had absolutely no idea how to get that dog on the table by myself. At first I thought I could lower the table and have the dog jump up on it, and raise it for the doctor. Then the dog showed up. The owner and myself had to literally drag the dog out of the back end of the truck, carry it inside, and then push it through the clinic and into the kennel. Um, call me crazy, but there was no freaking way I was going to get that dog to jump onto anything. So when the doctor arrived with an extra tech, I was nearly jumping for joy.

The new doctor was on this past weekend, and she tried my cell phone while I was driving over the mountain to work. Naturally my so-called smart phone didn't buzz me that I had a missed call or voicemail. So she walks up to me at the clinic with a Starbucks cup in hand, and says, "It's Starbuck's Saturday. You didn't call me back, so I got you a Chi Tea." When I looked at her funny she told me she called my phone. Yeah, there's no cell reception on the pass I climb to get to work every weekend. I tried the tea. Bleh. Next time I know she's working a Saturday I'll text her and ask her for a hot chocolate without the whipped cream. It's only thing I will drink from Starbucks. Because coffee is gross.

I had one of my uncle's over as a house guest this past week as well. He was on his way home from a hunting trip and stopped in Sticksville to visit, and was convinced to stay the night. K texted me and asked me if he could use my spare room. After dinner, my uncle came over and we watched part of a movie on TNT before bed. He asked me to get him up at 7am when I got up. I got up and knocked on his door, and didn't get a reply. So I pushed open the door, and he wasn't there! K told me later that he had shown up at their house to help with feeding about 6:30. Sheesh.

Now, if you don't mind, I am going to sit my butt in front of my heater and try to get warm with a steaming cup of hot chocolate.