Archive for September, 2008

Nakota Nuku Nuku Morris Chandler

Posted: September 11, 2008 in Life


   Nakota had been Jenn’s long time constant companion and watchdog. I first met Nakota when I first met Jenn. After chatting with Jenn via email and telephone for some time I drove out to where she lived to go see an all day festival as our first date. Upon entering her home, I was smothered by a puppy parade. There was a giant beast with a fifty foot tongue covered in slobber, a medium sized dog that just looked up at you with huge brown “love me” eyes and a smaller dog that carefully ducked under the front legs of the slobbering beast to inspect the stranger.
   And then there was the one in the back. She was
The Mamma.
   Nakota pushed her way through the pack and, with me now seated on the floor with my back to the wall, sniffed me up and down. She then gave me a look as if to say that I was now allowed to scratch her ears. When I had done that, she walked over to where Jenn was getting some stuff together and laid down beside her… Leaving me to the slobbering tongue and the “Love Us We’re Cute” brigade.
   I was later, much later, told that this inspection by Nakota was one of the reasons Jenn knew she could trust me. It turned out that Nakota had a habit of vetting Jenn’s boyfriends. Sometimes the vetting was rather painful it seems. Nakota apparently knew what male genitalia was for. It was for target practice if she didn’t feel that you were an acceptable suitor for her person. Family legend has it that she even sent one poor dope to the hospital.
   Despite what that line may suggest, Nakota was actually a very gentile dog. When she had her litter of puppies (three of whom were in the attack pack I mentioned above) she adopted Jenn’s new kitten Nio into the litter. Years later when I got Jenn a kitten for her birthday, Nakota adopted Rikki like he was her own puppy.
   It was endearing and hilarious on several levels. It was cute seeing Nakota as excited as she was. Her tail would wag ferociously and she would get a happy “I’m a Mommy Again!” look in her eyes. She treated Rikki like a puppy that needed protecting whenever anyone came into the house. She also tried to pick Rikki up and move him to safer locations with… mixed… results.
   Jenn had told me once that Nakota was a good mother to her puppies, but that she was also a bit unsure of herself in some regards. One of these areas of uncertainty was in picking her pups up to move them when they went where they weren’t supposed to go. She would act like she was afraid of biting down on them too hard and would basically just keep gumming them. Well, that’s what she did with Rikki. She would walk over to Rikki, reach down and place her jaws gently around the loose skin at the nape of Rikki’s neck and gently lift. And Rikki would stay exactly where he was on the floor. She would then try again and Rikki would again stay were he was at. This bit of comedy would repeat itself several times over the next minute until Nakota would give up and simply plop down next to Rikki and Rikki, now covered in dog slobber, would look up at Jenn or I and let out a quiet, pleading mew.
   She was that way (minus the picking up attempts) with children as well. Jenn had Nakota when she worked at a day care center and Nakota grew up around small children. She was happy to play “pony ride” whenever she could or to simply play tag with children. Amongst Jenn’s nephews, nieces and nieces by osmosis; Nakota was one of the favorite attractions of any visit. Everybody loved her.
   Nakota also had a tic that I loved to tease her with. Nakota loved to have her belly scratched. Scratch her belly and she was a happy puppy. And it didn’t matter what positions she was laying in. If you reached over and scratched her belly she was going to shift over and lift one leg to expose that belly. She even did it in her sleep. If you just brushed against her belly when she was sleeping she would lift her leg in her sleep. So, of course, when Jenn first moved in and I discovered this I would reach over and touch Nakota on the belly, saying the word belly in a silly, child like voice, about a hundred times a night. The leg would go up and stay there as she waited for the scratching to start and would only slowly begin to fall back into place after ten or so seconds. I would then wait about five seconds and do it again. After five or six times of this Nakota would shoot me a look like I should sleep with one eye open and I would make it up to her by scratching her belly and her chest. Long before Jenn was even pregnant I was jokingly threatening to teach any and all kids we had how to do that.
   Good to my word I started trying to get Ian to learn how to say belly while poking Nakota’s belly in the week before we left for Dragon*Con. Ian never got to learn how to do that trick.
   Two days ago Nakota starting walking funny. She didn’t want to move her rear legs and when she did she walked slowly and swung her legs in an unusual gate. Jenn was worried about the possibility of hip dysplasia coming on but hoping it was just bad arthritis combined with the weather fronts shifting as violently as they were. It’s unfortunately an all too common problem for an older Husky and Nakota was approaching ten years of age. My mom came over and watched Ian for us while I went out and got some over the counter stuff from Pet-Smart. We gave her some hip chews and senior vitamins, kept her comfortable and she actually seemed to be doing better by bed time.
   Yesterday morning she didn’t want to get up at all. She wouldn’t move her rear legs and just wanted to lay in the floor. We took her down the street to the local vet and came back home while they examined her. Shortly after we got back home the vet called and said that Nakota was bleeding into her stomach from unknown reasons. They knew there was a problem, but they didn’t have the equipment to really tell us what. We got my mom to come by and watch Ian and take care of Jenn (who could barely move around with the knee pain she was experiencing) while I went back to the vets to get her and take her to the emergency vet in town. The vet had pumped her full of vitamin K since she believed that the bleeding was caused by the ingestion of rat or groundhog that had been dosed with high amounts of rat poison. Good news since that meant the problem could be cured in a day or so.
   I was at the EV with Nakota for less than 40 minutes when the vet brought me in to a side office and told me that there was a lump of some sort in Nakota’s stomach and that they needed to perform $4,500 to $6,000 surgery, but that the surgery might only give Nakota another 60 days of life in discomfort. Jenn told me over the phone to let Nakota go. I asked the vet if Nakota was in pain at that moment and he said that there were no signs of pain. I told him to wait while I went to get Jenn and bring her to Nakota. He said he would but asked that I sign off on one piece of the treatment schedule. He wanted to run the full scans of Nakota to get a better idea of what was wrong with Nakota before Jenn got there. Maybe he would find good news.
   When I got Jenn back to the vets they moved us into a back room. The scan showed a number of growths in Nakota’s stomach, liver, spleen and surrounding tissues. The largest was the one in her stomach and it was causing the bleeding. Nakota had widespread cancer and there was nothing that could be done at this point. They brought her in to us so that we could hold her one last time. When Jenn was ready she gave the vet permission to inject the sedatives into Nakota’s IV. A few seconds later she had quietly slipped into unconsciousness. A few seconds after that she was gone.

   She’s now at rest on the family land next to her daughter, Jenn’s mother’s dog Gidget, who also passed away too early. She had been a constant, loyal and loving companion to Jenn for ten years. She’d become a much loved member of my household for over four years. She was a wonderful, smart and loving soul who will be greatly missed by many.


Jenn’s Knee… Again.

Posted: September 8, 2008 in Life
AKA “Why Doctors are Useless Idiots!”
   Ah, the fun just never ends. One of the things that the doctors warned Jenn to be on the lookout for was if she started running a high fever. They said that it would be “really bad” if the her temperature was floating at 101 or above. So, of course, Jenn decides to start running a fever of over 101 Sunday morning.
   So we called the emergency number they gave us. They said that we would get a call from a doctor on duty in about thirty minutes.
   Jenn called again. They said we would get a call from a doctor on duty in about thirty minutes. We didn’t have to wait so long this time. However, by the time the conversation was over we were wondering why we even bothered.
   Jenn was told that the usual advice was to take an aspirin, but since her pain meds had Tylenol in them it wouldn’t do any good to take an aspirin. Their advice? Keep warm and call back if the fever got too much worse than its present 101.5 reading.
   Uhm… Yeah… Ok…
   Today she’s still floating around 101 and the leg still flairs up in really bad pain from time to time. We’re watching for any obvious signs of problems (swelling, red streaks, drainage, etc) with the area of the operation, but everything other than the fever and the pain seems normal. Hopefully things with her knee will be calming down a bit in the next 24 hours. I have to go back to work on Wednesday of this week and I really don’t need to be zonked out of my mind Wednesday night due to another ER trip unfortunately timed for around Tuesday night.

Jenn’s Knee Surgery.

Posted: September 6, 2008 in Life
   The annoying thing about life is that it likes to let you go to sleep on a high note only to wake you up to a low note. Or, as the case was this morning, a shrill note.
   Yesterday was Jenn’s scheduled knee surgery. We went in at just before noon for the run of the mill question and answer sessions that hospitals love to do and got to wait for what seemed like forever for her 2:30 surgery. The surgery itself only took about half of that time and seemed to go pretty smoothly. They were going in to repair a torn meniscus tendon but they found that it wasn’t torn. The pain and swelling issues, along with the knee actually failing to support her standing up from a seated position from time to time, were actually the result of a minor worn spot in the tendon caused by a “stress fissure” on the underside of Jenn’s kneecap. It was something like a crack from the way they described it, they just don’t classify it as such.
   Jenn surprised them by coming around before they had wheeled her back to the recovery room and they watched her closely since her readings (blood pressure, respiration, etc)  were all on the low side. Didn’t surprise her in the least. They’re always low and she told them that before the surgery. After an hour’s worth of extra waiting they finally called me and told me I could come back to the waiting area.
   We did the mandatory sit around and do nothing before they finally let me get the car and load Jenn up for the journey home. Once home, we set Jenn up with a comfy recliner and a comfy bed and let her relax. Last night we waited until midnight for Jenn to be able to take her first pain killer and rack out for sleep.
   About 4:30 this morning Jenn woke up in extreme pain. Her leg was getting worse and worse even after taking another pain pill. She got up and called the hospital about the pain. They told her to take another pain pill and wait an hour or two.
   Now, you have to understand something about my wife and pain. She doesn’t really notice it that much. Because of several medical issues she has she’s been living with a low level of constant pain for over half of her life now. She’s also had two knee surgeries, a broken back, a botched cesarean section that came open the day she was supposed to come home from the hospital and various other painful things in between. She knows pain, she knows what is and isn’t supposed to be right and wrong pain levels when under medication and she usually has a high level of tolerance for it.
   That tolerance was getting slapped into the dirt this morning. After her third (recommended by the doctor on the phone) pain pill in three hours she was in tears and clutching my hand so hard that she was about to put her finger nails through my palm and out the back of my hand. She decided that she wasn’t waiting any longer and that she was going to the ER right then and there.
   Jenn’s mom took her in (she was staying with us to help out) as Jenn wanted me home for when stinky butt woke up a couple of hours from then. The plan was for me to get him up, changed and fed and then go on in to the hospital. Well, three out of four ain’t bad.
   Jenn called a little bit a go. She’s headed for a spot of breakfast with her mom and then coming home. The surgery went a little farther than it should have and the extra work caused some additional pain throughout the leg. The doctor also prescribed the wrong pain medication. On a scale of one to ten he prescribed a pain medication that was around a little over a one.
   Jenn and her mom are picking the new meds up after breakfast. Hopefully, this evening won’t be a repeat of last night and this morning and we can all get as much sleep as stinky butt. We need it to keep up with him.

Dragon*Con 2008.

Posted: September 5, 2008 in Dragon Con, Dragon*Con, Entertainment, Holidays
Dragon*Con 2008

Dragon*Con 2008

   That was freakin’ awesome. This year’s Dragon*Con was the largest yet and it had more to offer than ever before. It, unfortunately, offered a few lows as well though.