August 28, 2019

Stella's Back To Normal

After a good solid Monday afternoon siesta after her surgery, along with a solid sleep on Monday night, by the time Stella woke up on Tuesday she was back to her normal self with a bright reddish pink bandage on her rear paw. She whined and woke me up for breakfast with Heidi in tow. Then when she saw I was making coffee before her walk she whined and gave me this look. "Where's my walk?"

After all it was a bright sunny morning, it was time to leave before the kids flow down the sidewalk to the school bus.

Plus the weather couldn't be better than this with the Aerostat airborne. Why aren't we walking?

She gave me one more look pleading to take off on the walk or at least go outside through the front door to act like we were taking a walk ... but she settled for a day of rest, and sleep. I don't believe the word 'NO' is in her vocabulary.

This morning it was a different story with the weather but not with Stella. All things are normal ... water intake, appetite, no limping or signs of pain from the removed growth. Of course she is not doing any trotting or running but did catch me with the front door open yesterday afternoon ... where she bolted outside faster than I could call say her name. She just wanted to stand in the driveway and look around. Maybe there would be someone taking a walk with treats in their hand for her.

She practically owns the neighborhood now as her reputation is spreading.

I forgot to mention that on Tuesday morning, the day after her surgery I got a call TWO MINUTES after the vet office opened, asking me how Stella was doing and what was her night like? Did she mind the bandage? Is she eating normal and any issues with the medication she is taking?

We go back on Friday morning for them to remove this bandage, inspect the surgical area and I am guessing they will put a bandage over that area leaving her paw free and clear. That will only have Stella thinking that she has the 'green light' to get back to her morning walk.

Remember in early June back in 'the tropics', she was  boycotting the morning walks and stood at the corner of the house and not moving. Now she whines to let me know we are late for the walk.

With the skies getting dark quick this morning, the lightning moving closer to the house with the thunder louder ... It was loud enough for Stella to wake up. She listened to what was going on outside but she showed no signs of stress or fear of the storms about to arrive. I guess we had a little higher percent chance of rain than the 20% the weather apps were showing.

Or course Heidi has no fear of any kind of storm and besides, it was during her normal morning time for a deep sleep. Sorry for the blurriness ... user error.

Rain toward the Mule Mountains.

Raining down in Mexico. I'd venture to say the current highway resurfacing on Hwy 92 in that area is called off today.

I took this photo just to prove that we actually do get rain here at the house sometimes. Too bad the camera did not catch the big rain drops I was seeing.

I would normally be riding my bike in that area or driving the car to the top of Carr Canyon Rd ... not today.

Just a few miles to the left and I can see blue skies trying to peak through. The rain has had its five minutes of fame this morning ... back to normal stuff. That normal stuff will have the hounds sleeping until lunch is served. I'll be reading my latest book by heart surgeon Dr Grundry, written in 2008 but someway found its way from the library shelf to my coffee table.

I mysteriously cut my finger the other night deep enough I thought I might need stitches. I was picking up Heidi and am not sure if her fingernail caught me. It doesn't seem like it based on the type of cut. I've looked at that small metal hook on her collar that holds the rabies tags .. no blood stain there ... so there are not many other choices on what slashed my finger open. Due to that, plus trying to stay home to keep an eye on Stella ... I've not ridden the bikes yet this week.

I feel antsy because of the lack of riding and can literally feel the pounds combing back ... of course that small container of Ben&Jerry's Ice Cream I've been nibbling has not helped. At least I didn't eat the whole container in one setting.  LOL

No matter what the injury, what kind of weather ... it's all good this morning in the Wild West.

August 26, 2019

Stella's Home And Resting

They said she was a great bloodhound all through the process, some will resist and put up a fight under stressful situations. She was still groggy when I picked her up but she did wag her tail when she figured out where the car was. I backed it in where I could lift her into the back of the 4Runner from their sidewalk by the entry door.

Her blood work came back normal. They will call me with the histopathology results in 7-10 business days. She walked with no limp and slowly to the car but her "walking days" are suspended for 10-14 days. She has become addicted to her morning walks so I am not sure how she will react to the change in her routine.

It didn't take her long to find her spot in the computer room. She had no trouble getting down and only sat there a few minutes trying to decide which position she wanted to sleep in. She will feel the affects of the sedation and anesthesia and might be groggy for as long as 12-24 hours, although it didn't affect her long last September. Then she had a small grown inside her eyelid removed.

The bandage will stay on until this Friday when they will check the area they removed and to change the bandage.

I have a feeling for the next few days, taking walks will not interest her too much.

Once she stretched out in this position I knew she was in a deep sleep, hopefully for a few solid hours. It was kind strange but when the tech was explaining that they used an endotracheal tube during the anesthetic procedure I immediately saw the tv show Dr Jeff ... the vet in Denver. There were always good endings on those tv shows but I had to stop watching that show because there were just too many surgeries to see.

Im not sure what Heidi was doing with her mouth on this picture because she was making no sounds and had just curled around to lay down. She sniffed Stella when we walked inside but only for ID purposes as she didn't show the excitement I had seen in the past from other hounds when one of their roommates returned home. I have a feeling that Heidi has always been a 'loner'.

It did not take too much time to rack up some dollars on that itemized list. I am beginning to wonder if it's time for me to start looking deeper into pet health insurance since both hounds are older. I have spent more money on vet bills in the last 12 months than I have in many many years combined. Hard to say what to do but I bet the worse case is I'd break even after paying monthly premiums and part of the bills. Or ... I might save some money after all the dust settled.

When I told some old stories of different lumps I'd seen on my hounds in the past, including this lump ... all vets had different theories, even in June. This tech did not hesitate to tell me New Frontier Animal Medical Center does not like any lumps of any kind and prefers to remove them. Some of my past vets would hold off to see what it would do ... why?

Needless to say for the next 10-14 days any blog posts photos may not be from anywhere but the house and backyard ... "Resume normal activity after 10-14 days" and "Confine your pet indoors for 10-14 days" will be a huge change in Stella's daily routine ... even though a lot of her routine is sleeping.  LOL

After a couple of hours of sleep she stood up and whined a little, walked behind me to the corner and then under the computer desk finding a new spot to sleep, facing outward. That was an hour ago so she is sleeping well ... good sign.

Everything turned out good in the Wild West today.

Stella Had Unexpected Surgery At Noon

Today started like any other morning. Up at sunrise, now taking Stella walks before I even make coffee. She was highly energetic on the walk, her typical self. No signs of any kind that anything was wrong. Yet bloodhounds have a very high pain threshold and don't recognize pain in most cases. So we finished the walk, came home, made coffee and watched the morning skies.

She was laying by my chair sleeping during the first cup of coffee. Nothing out of the ordinary. Even when she raised her head up to lick her rear paw I didn't think anything of it.

Looking closer as she licked I was seeing blood. Not enough blood that it was running onto the patio but enough to be noticeable. While leaning over her to get a closer look, it looked like a cut between her pads on her right rear paw. I did see a growth there above her pads on the inside of her foot but I had seen that before. It had been there quite a while.

Looking up the vet office hours, they were not going to be open for another 2 hours and as long as it was not bleeding all over my floor I didn't feel it was an emergency but was something that a vet needed to look at instead of me just trying to stop the bleeding. Having it get infected was my main concern.

I got an answer at 8:02am when I called checking to see if there were any available appointments as soon as this morning. This would be the first time I would use this vet, walking distance from the house. That wasn't the main reason to use them. They are known to be the best vet in town. She had to wait for the doctor to arrive and would call me back to let me know when they could see Stella.

Now that it's cooler later in the morning, Heidi is spending more time outside roaming the back yard as if it were all green grass.

They had an opening at 9:20 ... we were on our way. Only to find out within the 5 minutes it took us to get there the doctor was in emergency surgery so Stella laid down in the waiting room. Yes, I thought she may have stepped on an infamous goathead thorn. That would be something I could take care of but this looked much worse than that plus she did not yelp this morning if she had stepped on a thorn nor limped.

After a doctor's thorough examination she found out it was not a cut in her pad but that growth had gotten large enough where Stella was putting her weight on it when she walked as if it were a paw pad. This is the same growth I had the other vet look at in June during Stella's annual shots and even asked them if they thought it should be removed ... they answered no.

That other vet will have it's own separate post after what I found out this morning. I am sure that any of you, like my friend in Chicago, that has used a vet under the VCA corporate tag already know what I am going to say and may have even had the same experience.

If you look at the photo above at the inside of her right rear paw you can see that growth. It is above ground level. This was taken last spring when we lived in Indiana.

Again looking at the inside of her right paw that growth is still above the floor, not touching it and I don't see where Stella is putting any of her weight on the growth. This was right after we moved in June and a day before she went to the VCA Vet - Apache Animal Hospital.

Looking at this photo I took just 15 days ago I should have noticed just how much bigger the growth had become and in fact it looks like it is at ground level when she is standing as if it was an extra pad. Looking at this photo this morning I cannot believe I didn't notice the change in size. The thing is, it does not and did not have the same tough rough skin as a paw pad so this morning it was raw and bleeding after her walk.

You have to look close but this photo shows that growth inside her right rear paw. Still I cannot believe I did not notice the change in it on the August 11th photo above. This photo was taken just a few days ago.

We were directed that all walks were cancelled until further notice. She would be given some antibiotics with plans for removing the growth sometime this week, or ASAP. They were booked up solid for surgeries so that date was an estimate. Stella will be doing a lot of daily morning whining if she doesn't get that walk and I joked with the doctor about that.

So we headed in the waiting area until they gave us the bill for today, some antibiotics and a possible appointment to have that growth removed. With four receptionist working at the front desk and a LOT of vet techs in the building working I could see just how popular this place was. It was non-stop traffic with patients going to and from.

Well the news came ... they could do the removal today if I wanted it done. I was then given a line by line explanation of everything that surgery would entail, before and during. For the first time that I can remember in the 32 years I've had hounds ... I was told how many people would be in the operating room and that two techs would be monitoring her heart at all times. Each line on the estimate was described in detail with reasons why they were doing each thing.

She will NOT like wearing that famous white cone around her neck for 7-10 days, until the healing process is finished. Another option is the inflatable donut as a substitute. I actually saw one of those on a German Shepherd the other day on my bike ride. The dog and owner were just coming out of the dog path onto the country road as I rounded the corner.

I doubt that Stella will be happy wearing that option either.

Since her last food was at 5am this morning they wanted to wait another couple of hours until they sedated her for surgery. So that would put it a little past noon and they will call me between 2pm-5pm to pick her up after a 5-10 minute surgery to remove the growth. The growth will be examined to see if it is cancerous. 

Blood work will be done before surgery just to make sure that everything is working normal inside her. The vet was very happy with her weighing only 84 pounds and said she was the best looking, and in shape bloodhound she had seen. The whole staff loved her of course when we walked in. They all needed to pet her and were not concerned with any kind or amount of bloodhound drool they might receive. 

They discussed and listed on the estimate so many things that I can't remember some of the other things they would be checking before and during surgery.

Last week as Stella and I was finishing our morning walk with a trip to the mailbox which is in a cluster of other boxes around the turn and down the block from the house, a lady walking through the neighborhood stopped to pet Stella. Without knowing me or the dog she offered to dog sit anytime I needed her to. Stella is shy when she first meets people and will not come close to them at first ... until curiosity wins out.

This morning as I rolled my oversize city provide trash can to the curb from the garage, Stella followed me and stood in the driveway watching what I was doing. She was unleashed since it was very early and no traffic. Who do we see but the lady we met last week. Only this time she had two small dog treats in her hand to give Stella who walked right up to her. (food) The other bone was for Heidi who she has not met yet.

There are friendly people in this neighborhood and many of them have more than one dog.

So ... I will post any updates I might have on Stella's surgery. I have no doubt that everything will be good and she will come home a little dazed but happy to be home. I am not sure what we can do about the large white cone she will come with. Yet at 10 years old and the word surgery ... there is that little twinge  of "what if" hits your brain cells. Especially when they explain that as I sign off or initial off on the waivers for surgery.

I could tell the house was already too quiet when I returned this morning. It is only Heidi and me and she went back to sleep as soon as she was finished exploring the yard. Stella is quiet during the times she is in the house but it seems even quieter than normal.

Note: 12:39pm -- I thought I had posted this earlier but found it in my 'draft' folder when I went to post this update. The vet office just called and said Stella was doing fine and just coming out of anesthesia. They said I could pick her up at 2pm. 

August 24, 2019

Beautiful Day Today

After a few days of bad weather only starting in the early afternoon, the rain finally showed up at the house last night with strong winds. I watched a little of it, it wasn't anything major compared to what I saw this past spring in Indiana. With that rain, the temps dropped from 94° to 62° just like that. It wasn't even 7pm yet and the cool breeze felt fantastic. Stella is getting use to the loud thunder and only looks at it to analyze instead of whine.

The mornings were the typical sky show and great weather but if I did not get home from my morning bike ride by 10am, it was already up to 90°. A couple of mornings I didn't get back before then. After the snake by the garage door last week I aways look at the base of the garage door now when I pull in with the car or the bicycle. These storms would show up around between 1pm-2pm, after bright sunny skies just a few hours earlier.

No hiking this week. There were to days this week where I was set to go but a final check on the weather radar and looking outside cancelled them. These storms were moving in fast and covered all of the mountains in any direction. I've seen photos on Facebook of flooded streets in Bisbee, Douglas and Benson.

For those that are into bike riding, I added my bike blog on the side bar. I had been keeping a training journal on my computer but once again decided a blog format was better at retrieving past information instead of looking through Apple Pages for information I may want a year from now. Plus there might be something I write about that will help someone over 65 years old wanting to get back into cycling or just starting.

I have never felt better and rode 5 days this week with plans of getting my 6th day of riding in tomorrow on a week ending easy ride. Plus my Strava app uploads my rides automatically on the new blog on the left side. You can click the map for a more detailed view, along with a scale below the map, showing how much I rode 'up and down.

This morning's sunrise was fantastic. Stella and I were on the walk barely after sunrise and it was a little dark. Cold at 64° but great weather.

The moon was still there when we got back ... it was time for coffee and 32 miles of bike riding.

With the cooler temps Heidi spent more time than she ever had since moving, exploring the backyard. With the cooler temps those stones are not too hot to walk on like they were before this morning.

For the first time that I can remember she sat on the patio while we were all outside enjoying mid-day sunshine.

Besides her walk, this is all Stella did today. All these photos were taken within 10 minutes ... that's all it took for her to decide it was too hot to sunbath any longer. Time to head inside and enjoy the AC. The temp had just crawled above 80°.

Her tongue hanging out of her mouth means she needs or wants air conditioning.

College Football 2019 has started today with only two games that I am interested in watching. With all the things to do outside my days of watching 13 straight hours of college football on Saturdays like in past years are over ... you've heard it here first. I'll watch only a few different teams and will put a lot of them on DVD to watch later when I am not outside enjoying the day. IF the fall weather is like today ... I'll never be home.  LOL

My neighbor brought over a baby rat snake he found in his garage ... so that vent in the lower garage wall for ventilation will be their entry way.  One thing strange I have noticed, on two separate occasions I have had birds banging their beaks on my windows as if they are trying to get inside. They are very loud and almost as active as a woodpecker. Once I tapped the window or pulled the blinds back, they flew away.

I continue to lose weight daily and feeling stronger riding the bike. Yet, the best new thing may be the massage bar and massage roller I bought a week or so ago. That takes away a lot of after riding pain, moves the bad stuff out of the muscles. All good stuff. Is it a coincidence that I have slept every night since using the bar and roller, through the night and do not get up?

A great Saturday here in the Wild West.