Tuesday, February 27, 2018

I'm glad I waited to post about Katie...

...because if I had posted last week, well, things were kind of grim then.  And now they're looking up!

Katie has been having some issues, which I noticed most when she was sleeping right next to my pillow last December.  I could hear her heart beat so loud, so fast, so erratic.  I did some on-line research and got advice from friends whose dogs had died from heart issues.

We were in Arizona at the time and went to a new vet to have her examined on December 30.  He wanted to do so many tests and said he couldn't give me a diagnosis unless I had all the tests performed, and it was going to be expensive.  We had a pretty good conversation about my options, one of which was to "wait and see and keep a close eye on her."  That's the option I chose.

And for a month things seemed fine.

The first week of February when we got to San Diego, Katie and I were parked in my son's parking lot for his shop.  We got there on a Sunday and Katie couldn't wait to go into the office to see Tom.  She went to the door, looked in and waited, but no one came to get her.  😟 

When we got up Monday morning Tom's car was there, so we got ready and went to the office door.  Tom saw us coming and met us at the door.  Katie was so excited.  She ran around all inside the shop office, she was so happy to see Tom.  Then when we were talking right outside his office door, I heard a strange moan/whine coming from the office, and Tom and I went in to see Katie on the floor.  She was laying on her side, making this strange noise, her four legs were stretched out and her head and neck were stretched up and to the side. Tom thought she had died.  I thought she was having a seizure.  We waited for a minute or so, talking to her and I knelt down next to her so she'd know I was there, if she was conscious.  It was pretty scary.

Slowly she came back to normal.  Her tail wagged and she got up slowly and very quickly was walking around again.

That was how it started, or at least my awareness of something REALLY being wrong.  I did a lot of on-line research and thought she had congestive heart failure (CHF).  I really thought I was going to lose her and was preparing myself.

Katie was fine the rest of the week we were in San Diego, and we left to travel to New Mexico on Friday afternoon.  All was well until the following Thursday night when I woke up at 2:00 am to Katie making that weird whining noise again, and I saw she was having another episode.

After it was over, I took her outside twice.  She wouldn't let me lift her up into our bed on the bunk, so I pulled out the couch and got the bedding and we slept on the couch/bed for two nights.  It was too cold overnight to let her sleep by herself on the couch, and I wanted to be close just in case.

The next morning I made a Vet appointment at Sierra Veterinary Services (1607 N Date St. Truth or Consequences, NM 87901 - 575-894-6773) in TorC for the following Monday.

Katie's vet there, Danielle Dawkins, DVM, examined her, took three x-rays of her chest, and said she was not yet in CHF, but she did have a significant heart murmur, it was so loud when she examined her chest that the vet couldn't hear anything else going on, but she assumed Katie also was having kidney issues and was retaining fluids.  When she showed me the x-rays, she pointed out where she could see fluid.

She wasn't sure from my explanation whether Katie was having seizures or fainting (syncope).  But after seeing her chest x-rays and the size of her heart, she said it was heart disease causing fainting, not a brain issue causing seizures.  Click on this link for a description of syncope.

She prescribed a heart pill, a water pill and Hills Prescription dog food, the k/d one which is low sodium.  Dr. Dawkins said either the heart or kidney dog food would work, both were low sodium and that's what Katie needed.

Katie has a real problem eating anything but Royal Canin dog food for Chihuahuas - anything else gives her intestinal issues, and she vomits up the food and has diarrhea.  But she has to eat a low sodium food now, so we were going to have to change things up.  This was going to be fun!  Dr. Dawkins warned me the water pill would have her drinking more water and going potty more.  Night and Day.

When she started with the new meds and food (1/3 new food to 2/3 old food to start) we were getting up in the freezing cold nights a time or two, once three times.  Then things seemed to settle down and the last five nights we've only had to get up to go outside once.

Katie hasn't had a fainting episode since that second one and it's been over three weeks.  I know there will be more and I know she will get worse, but for now the meds and Rx food seem to be keeping her stable.

I've stopped all her store-bought treats except her daily rawhide chew toy, her favorite, and substituted bananas (which I use to hide her pills in), chopped apples, baby carrots and frozen green beans.  They are all good for her and salt free, and she LOVES them.  She also gets 1/2 of a Hills k/d cookie morning and night. So everything she is eating is low or no sodium.

For now all is good and Katie has lost weight, about two pounds which were probably fluid, and she wants to walk again.  This morning we walked a mile and a half, and she is leading me now.  That's great!

Many, many thanks to Kim (The Empty Attic) for all the time she's spent answering my questions and giving me the benefit of her experiences with her beautiful dog, Doris who had the same symptoms, and who Kim and her husband John lost last year.  So, so hard to lose a dog we've had so long, and who we loved so much.  Thanks, Kim!  You were such a big help, you gave me good information and also gave me hope.  Both were very much needed.

Tons of thanks also to Sandie Dixon (WHERE ARE THE DIXONS TODAY?)  When Sandie saw on my blog that Katie was having some health issues she e-mailed me and we corresponded back and forth about meds, where to get them, the best prices, etc.  She and Jim lost their Skittles last year and still miss her like crazy.  Skittles also had heart disease and was on the same meds that our vet prescribed.  Thanks, Sandie - it's not only the information you provided that helped so much, but also knowing that someone who's been through this cares so much.  

Katie has a good prognosis, she could still be a full-timing canine for two or three years.  She turned 12 on February 20, so she's not that old for a small dog.  Hopefully she'll celebrate her 15th birthday with me.  That's my plan!

From Me and Katie, have a great week, everyone!  

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Palms got a Facelift!

Katie and I traveled to San Diego early this month - my son Tom had offered to remove the faded, cracked decals on her exterior and re-paint the same shapes so they will last (and look a lot better!).  Of course I accepted his offer.  This was last November and at that time he had a busy schedule, but he kept the second week of February pretty open for himself and his crew.

This is what she looked like before - you can see below the window they are just starting to remove a decal:

The decals were faded and cracked:

 And this is - as Kim put it - The Palms without makeup:

These are the colors they used to paint on the new decals:


Copper - I had a problem getting photos without reflections of the clouds - it's so smooth and shiny now:

 Another copper:
And silver:

Brown, silver and copper together:

Some photos when they were working on her in the shop:

And here she is, back in New Mexico, taken in our RV park - yup - you heard right.  RV Park.  With Katie being sick and having to go outside twice during the night to do her business, and the cold overnight temps, as well as as lots of wind and occasional rain, I decided I wanted electric hookups.  AND we're changing our domicile to New Mexico and this is our address for a while.

Isn't she beautiful?

I was staying at my son and daughter-in-law's house up in Carlsbad, CA and Tom's shop where he does the car/truck restorations is south in San Deigo in an industrial area.  So, Katie and I dropped off The Palms and went home with Tom that day.  I had the use of their Jeep during the week but it wasn't worth it to fight all the traffic to go back to the shop during the week while things were in progress.  I didn't drive down until the job was done.

I was pretty floored when I saw her.  I was only expecting the decals to be new looking, that would have been wonderful, but not only did they remove the old ones then paint and clear coat new decals, they also buffed the entire rig so she shines like new.  Tom said he was surprised at how great the original fiberglass clear coat is holding up.

It was amazing!  He did so much more than I expected.  In addition to replacing the old decals with beautiful likenesses, they went all over the rig where the caulking is – around all the little covers and the door, windows, the outside shower – all those places that have been caulked and have turned black from road grime – they re-caulked them all and they are white again like they should be.  

They repainted my step, the door handle/lock plate and all around the gas intake area, anything that is black, Tom repainted.  The truck grill was starting to have areas where the black had worn down and a green color was showing through.  That was re-painted black.

When they buffed the fiberglass out they got all the rest of the tiny speckles of tar that I picked up coming back from Kanab, UT when the road crew sprayed the back and side of the rig.  I had gotten what I could reach and needed a ladder for the rest and now all those speckles are buffed out.

I had two lower outside compartment doors that must have been a different material than the rest – that was too bad, because those two changed color in the sun, one on each side of The Palms - they had turned yellow.  Tom painted them white again so now they match the rest of the rig.  They also painted a big chip on my side mirror white to match.  The stove vent outside had turned an ugly yellow color, as well as the material on the top and bottom of the grab bar handle by the door.  Those are now a beautiful bright white. 

They washed and waxed the whole thing and dried it so there wouldn't be water marks. 

Tom put a treatment on my tires so they are nice and black again. 

It was unbelievable when I saw it all. 

It was a huge job, but they actually restored The Palms back to her beautiful beginnings.  It's like the pantry Tom built me for the kitchen, whenever I walk by the pantry, I still put my hand along the door, so smooth and beautiful.  Now I'm doing the same thing with The Palms.

When I go outside, or come back from shopping and see her it's like a big, beautiful present sitting there.  Sigh... I can't believe she's mine!  😊

Unfortunately this isn't a quick modification many people can do without a big hit to their pocketbook.  I am a lucky camper to have a son who has an auto repair/paint/restoration shop so they know what they are doing.  And who is willing to take the time to do this for his mom. 

Many thanks, Tom - you have no idea how much I appreciate you taking your own time from your huge work schedule and lending your crew to do this for me.

The Palms is rolling along now leaving a bright shiny trail in her dust.  Other drivers - put on your sunglasses, you'll need them when we pass you!  😎

From me and Katie, see you next time!

PS - I have news after Katie's vet visit yesterday.  Some good, some bad, but overall I'm relieved that we have a plan.  I'll tell you about it in my next blogpost.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Katie and I are fine - well...

I wanted to post to let everyone know we are still rolling along. I couldn't believe it when I pulled up my blog and saw the last date I posted something.

When I started doing the Art Challenges on other blog posts, that really got me going and most of my creative moments have been spent doing digital collage art for the challenges.  I'm still really into that, but I haven't stopped posting here, just a looooog lull.

Sorry for the "title tease" - I'm fine, but Katie is having some issues.  I think she has congestive heart failure.  She went to her vet in Arizona on December 30, but since then other symptoms have occured.  We're going to her vet here in New Mexico on Monday afternoon.  She's happy and fine and a constant tail-wagger still, but having problems sometimes.  I'm hoping medication will ease things for her.  Fingers crossed. More on that next time.

I'm making some changes to our normal travel/living routine and will tell you about that soon, too.

Just to throw in a few photos...  We drove to San Diego the first week in February for a project my son did on The Palms - here's Katie in their backyard.  She just loves it there, she has so much room, she actually runs around and seems like a pup again.   Or lies in the sun.

We're back on the road again, in New Mexico now.  Katie wouldn't let me lift her into bed Thursday night so we slept on my couch - it pulls out into a bed.  It's pretty comfortable, but there's no way to tuck in the covers and she burrows under all day, so The Palms was crowded feeling and in a state of "not neat" for two days.  Kind of drove me crazy, but Katie loved it.

In the midst of that, our campsite was flooded last night and we ended up packing and moving in the rainy dark early evening to a new site.  Such a pain!  No room in The Palms, everything was WET and SANDY that was outside, rugs, tables, chairs, her fencing, light cords, electric cord.
Geez - then I lost my keys.   It was So Not Fun!  😣

So, anyway, I left the bed this way for the last two days and we're going to try going back up to the bunk tonight.   She LOVED having covers easily available to snuggle under.  It's been rainy and cold and she was like a little bug in a rug all day.

When she wasn't laying on a heap of the covers she made, she burrowed under.

And under further... just a nose poking out:

I'll post again soon - I have a HUGE RV mod to post about and show you.  I'm SO excited about it.

Another thing that's new - that I'll just mention here but will tell you more later - is our friend Kim, you know - Kimbopolo - has a new on-line store!  I'm putting the link here, and will also add it to my sidebar soon so you won't have to search for it if you want to check it out in the future.

I purchased two things today, a spiral notebook and a coffee mug - both with her original art.  I can't wait for them to arrive!  When they do, I'll post a photo.  She has different designs and various items you can choose - I also loved the tote/shopping bags - REALLY beautiful!  So check it out, get yourself a present, or two like I did, or purchase a great gift for someone else.  She's always adding her own new, original artwork; check back from time to time to see what's new!  Click on this link to go to her shop!

That's it for now - I need to take some photos of my new RV MOD and will post again soon.  I promise!

From Me and Katie, have a great weekend, everyone!   ❤❤