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JVegVT
07-14-2007, 02:07 PM
It's been quite a week. Ever one to graciously accept sympathy, I thought I'd bore you with the grim details.

On Friday the 6th my husband got attacked by a kidney stone. At 3 a.m., naturally. We debated what to do and decided to call the doctor in the morning if it was still making its way (my husband has had a couple before, so he was pretty sure what was happening). We had some Percocet left over from my dental procedures last summer, so he took one and that helped.

In the morning the doctor's office said to come in. The doctor examined and sent him to the ER for tests and rapid results. Tests confirmed a kidney stone as the likely culprit. He had IV non-narcotic pain relief that worked well. By the time we went home a few hours later, he was feeling pretty well. One incident down.

Then started a period of frequent thunderstorms and oppressive heat. The thunderstorms were wreaking havok with the DSL connections in the whole area (entirely rural) and although I unplug everything, including the line to the DSL modem, whenever I hear thunder, somehow my connection got messed up to the point where I couldn't fix it in the usual "unplug everything, wait a bit, and start up again" way. The next day I worked with my ISP's tech support to get the connection restored. As it turned out, I had to do a deep reset of both the DSL modem and the router--"deep" meaning going back to factory defaults and setting everything up again. No big deal, really, but a bother. Okay--Internet connection back. But the next morning it was out again and I had to do the same routine again. This time I reset the modem myself, without calling tech support. I remembered how we did it the previous time. Didn't need to reset the router.

But then we got into such a frequent thunderstorm period that I just left everything unplugged for a day. I cleaned out some paper piles that needed it BADLY. So it was actually useful to be computerless for a day.

At about this time I woke up with a very painful lower knuckle on my left pinky finger. My first thought was arthritis, but as it went on I've concluded that it's most likely gout. I had all the symptoms: sudden onset, inflammation and swelling of the joint, very painful, sensitive to touch. We immobilized the finger with a popsicle stick and tape, which helped a lot because slight movements caused a lot of pain. As is the case with gout, the finger is improving. I'll leave the splint on for a couple more days at least. Alas, the splint makes it difficult to type and I make lots of mistakes, which I have to laboriously fix.

Almost forgot one more "fun" happening. This is a bit gross, so if you're squeamish or fastidious, stop here. Our 14-year-old dog, like many old dogs, sometimes poops in the house. She really has no control over this and doesn't even seem to know it's happening. She has also always been deathly afraid of thunder. One benefit of her increasing deafness is that she doesn't hear any but the loudest thunder claps. Well, one of our nighttime storms was loud enough even for her poor hearing. Whether through fear or coincidence, she pooped near our bedroom door with a couple of drops in the bedroom itself. It being nighttime, I didn't notice until I had lightly stepped into a dropping--in bare feet, of course. That was easy to clean up, but I noticed that she had stepped on it, too, and managed to leave little shreds of dog duty in a path between the bedroom and living room. So my husband and I first had to clean her foot and then clean up the floor.

Thanks to a power failure during a stormy period, I discovered that the UPS connected to my main desktop computer needs a new battery. Not surprising--it's 8 years old! So I had to get a new UPS, which I haven't yet set up. The new one is a lot bigger and stronger. I have to figure out where to put it. Space is tight around this computer, even on the floor. I think it's too heavy for the shelf on the wall above the computer.

Everything is out to get us.<g> I realize all of this is pretty petty to people who are dealing with real tragedies and disasters, so I don't mean to put myself in their league.
--Judy M.

terrie
07-14-2007, 02:15 PM
You have all my sympathy!!! It sounds like a very not fun week...hope that your hand feels better soon--I never knew gout affected the hands...I thought it was just the foot (toe)...

Terrie

PS...what's a little poop between friends...'-}}

Steve Rindsberg
07-15-2007, 09:32 AM
>> PS...what's a little poop between friends...'-}}

Friends or, in this case, toes.

Franca
07-15-2007, 01:21 PM
This is a bit gross, so if you're squeamish or fastidious, stop here. Our 14-year-old dog, like many old dogs, sometimes poops in the house. She really has no control over this and doesn't even seem to know it's happening.Oh, well ... this was quite low on the grossness scale for someone who has experienced the same old dog behavior. I was going to mention a grosser old dog thing but have thought better of it. ;)

I hope that this week all will be well for both you and your husband, and that your finger recovers completely from its bout of gout. (I know nothing of gout but it sounds very painful!) A reduction in the number of electrical storms would be good ... my recent visit to New Hampshire was liberally punctuated with same.... Nothing I hadn't experienced there before, other than their particular frequency and vigor this year. It was good to get home and be spared the constant dripping brought on by the combination of heat and excessive humidity!

terrie
07-15-2007, 01:37 PM
steve: Friends or, in this case, toes.LOL!!! I didn't want to remind her...'-}}

Terrie

JVegVT
07-15-2007, 02:57 PM
My finger feels much better, though the joint is still somewhat sore. I removed the splint today; it was getting annoying, as those things do.

I don't know much about gout and didn't get my "diagnosis" confirmed by the doctor, but it sure did match up to what I read about gout on the Mayo Clinic's Web site. I had no idea whether gout could involve joints other than the toe, but according to the Web site, it can affect just about any joint.

If it happens again, I'll get a real diagnosis.
--Judy M.

JVegVT
07-15-2007, 02:59 PM
>> PS...what's a little poop between friends...'-}}

Friends or, in this case, toes.

Actually, it was a heel in this case. Toes would have been much messier.

But if we count the dog, it was between toes.<g>
--Judy M.

JVegVT
07-15-2007, 03:14 PM
Oh, well ... this was quite low on the grossness scale for someone who has experienced the same old dog behavior. I was going to mention a grosser old dog thing but have thought better of it. ;)

In our life with dogs we've experienced all kinds of grossness not related to old age. Our various dogs have had a great fondness for cat turds, which is not at all uncommon. Our litter boxes are behind a sort of fence thing my husband put in the corner of the front hall where the cats' "bathroom" is. In the winter the dogs have enjoyed "poopsicles," which shouldn't require much explanation.

One of our dogs loved to roll in dead fish she found near the neighboring pond (small lake in New England talk). The smell was not to be believed. She, of course, thought it was the finest perfume and proudly paraded before us so we could enjoy the odor as much as she did.

So far our old dogs have retained bladder control. Loss of that would be a lot harder to deal with than occasional poop in the house.
--Judy M.

Michael Rowley
07-15-2007, 03:44 PM
Judy:

I don't know much about gout

I hope you know enough to have knocked off the port for a bit!

JVegVT
07-15-2007, 04:05 PM
Judy:
I hope you know enough to have knocked off the port for a bit!

I don't understand the expression.
--Judy M.

Steve Rindsberg
07-15-2007, 04:32 PM
Consumption of port and other red wines are reckoned to be one of the factors leading to gout.

There are dissenting views.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1192990,00.html

I'd lay off the offal, though.

ktinkel
07-15-2007, 04:36 PM
Oh, no — I don’t know whether to sympathize more with you for the gout or your husband with his kidney stone. So my empathy and sympathy to both of you.

As for the dog, well, dogs are like that. So long as you don’t step too often into something when you are barefooted, you are probably all right!

I was just thinking today about how much we miss having dogs around. They are wonderful companions, and if they make us cranky once in a while, well, so it goes. :)

Franca
07-16-2007, 01:11 AM
So far our old dogs have retained bladder control. Loss of that would be a lot harder to deal with than occasional poop in the house.Agreed! (As long as the poop isn't diarrhea, that is ... the Old One is - finally - recovering from an extended bout of that.) None of my old dogs has lost bladder control <knock wood>.

The cat turd thing ... yes - we built a special space for our litter box. Took a built-in desk area we weren't using and put cupboard doors below with rectangular holes in them large enough to allow cats through but not dog heads. Also helps confine the scatter as the cats kind of jump out and drop most of the clinging litter upon landing. I love my custom litter box cupboard. :)

Your list of grossness hasn't covered anything as revolting as something I had to deal with a few months ago. Ick. And yes, dogs of any age are liable to expose their humans to all sorts of hideous habits. They should come with a disclaimer: "Not for the squeamish", LOL!

Michael Rowley
07-16-2007, 06:53 AM
Judy:

I don't understand the expression

Taking my cue from Steve's message, lay off the port, which here is associated with excessive consumption of rich food & fortified, sugary wine.

Steve Rindsberg
07-16-2007, 01:26 PM
So you're saying that if I got a dog, it'd save me the trouble of cleaning out the cat box?

terrie
07-16-2007, 02:10 PM
judy: But if we count the dog, it was between toes.<g>ROFL!!!

Glad your finger is feeling better...my very limited knowledge of gout is that attacks are often caused by certain foods but I can't remember where I read that...

Terrie

marlene
07-16-2007, 07:45 PM
So you're saying that if I got a dog, it'd save me the trouble of cleaning out the cat box?

Yes, and you'd have hours of fun watching your dog give your friends big sloppy kisses.

True story -- years ago I was staying with a couple of girlfriends who had a dog who liked to help himself from the cat box. A guy was visiting and the dog was licking the guy's face and the guy says, "His breath smells really good. What do you feed him?"

You can imagine our reaction.

FvH

marlene
07-16-2007, 07:46 PM
You definitely have my sympathy!

With three dogs in our house, I never go barefoot. Too risky.

mxh

Steve Rindsberg
07-17-2007, 10:31 AM
O

M

G

How long did it take to scrape yourselves up off the floor? <g>

marlene
07-17-2007, 10:46 AM
Seemed like ours. <g>

We were literally ROFL!

FvH

Franca
07-18-2007, 03:50 PM
LOL!!! To echo Steve, OMG! OMG. OMG.

JVegVT
07-18-2007, 04:11 PM
Being the nearest thing to a teetotaler, I can't blame port, other wine, beer, or any other alcohol. I don't eat offal, either--or any animal flesh. I saw one list that included mushrooms, and I did have a rather large serving before "the incident."

Of course, it may not have been gout at all. I was just guessing based on symptoms. If it happens again, I may go for a real diagnosis.
--Judy M.

JVegVT
07-18-2007, 04:33 PM
I was just thinking today about how much we miss having dogs around. They are wonderful companions, and if they make us cranky once in a while, well, so it goes. :)

As it looks now, we don't plan to get another dog after Cady leaves this vale of tears. Dogs are terribly confining. You can't just go off for an overnight trip and leave the dog home alone, as you can with cats. Many dogs don't do well in kennels and we don't have teenage neighbors happy to make some money for coming by a few times a day to feed and bathroom the dog. We also have to face the reality that at our ages of 65 and almost 70, a dog could well outlive us. We'd have to have some arrangement with someone to adopt the dog if we became unable to care for it.

Our two cats are very personable, sociable with us, and devoted to us, and much easier to take care of than dogs. They are quite elderly, at 17 and 14 or 15, and when they leave us we do plan to get another couple of cats unless our health is failing.
--Judy M.

JVegVT
07-18-2007, 04:44 PM
Offer custom litter-box cupboards on the Internet and you could make your fortune! You could have models suitable for the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom.

How did you convince the cats to go into the cabinet the first time?
--Judy M.

ktinkel
07-18-2007, 06:32 PM
As it looks now, we don't plan to get another dog after Cady leaves this vale of tears. [ . . . ] We'd have to have some arrangement with someone to adopt the dog if we became unable to care for it.Oh, lord — don’t I know! My back makes it hard for me to stand or walk for long, so a dog would be Jack’s responsibility. He is willing (he even wants to move to Vermont, where he spent his young summers). But it seems like a burden. And, I must say, he does not push the issue. But we both miss having dogs around, so who knows? We are thinking of moving; maybe other circumstances would make it posssible.

Our two cats are very personable, sociable with us, and devoted to us, and much easier to take care of than dogs.We are down to one, the grumpy PI, who is 17. We are thinking of another cat (or two) — especially as I believe she is still languishing after Ernie, who died last Spring — but it is not so easy here. Almost all our other cats adopted us; now we need to go out and adopt one of them!

JVegVT
07-19-2007, 06:08 PM
I'm sorry to hear your back is giving you such grief. A while ago you were talking about a possible move to France. Is that off the table now? Vermont is wonderful, of course, though you'd want to be sure getting to medical care isn't too difficult (no public transportation outside a couple of urban areas and cabs are scarce, too). I'd be happy to stay in this house for the rest of my life, though that probably won't happen if I live as long as I hope I do. To stay where we are we need to be healthy enough to maintain the property with mowing, snow removal, and general maintenance, and we need to be able to drive. Failing eyesight or other health problems could make that impossible. We also don't have any family nearby (except for my mother, who is almost 89). It's important to have family around as we age unless we live in a lifetime care place. We'd love to be closer to the grandchildren.

We're vaguely looking around for senior communities near our daughter in New Hampshire. We can't move anywhere as long as my mother is among the living because she'd have to move along with us and there is no way we could get her out of her house as long as she has her wits about her. She could never endure getting rid of so many possessions of a lifetime, which is a necessity if you're moving to a smaller place.

We are thinking of another cat (or two) — especially as I believe she is still languishing after Ernie, who died last Spring — but it is not so easy here. Almost all our other cats adopted us; now we need to go out and adopt one of them!

She might not like a new cat in the house. Then again, as long as they tolerated each other at all, having another cat to contend with can put a little challenge into an old cat's life and give her some new energy. My dear little Tandy (17) has been avoiding me the past couple of days. She has developed an irregular heart beat and is probably in the early stages of heart failure, so she is supposed to take half a pill twice a day. She's suspicious that I'll scoop her up and pill her and is spending much of her time hiding under the bed. I'm hoping that as she gets used to having the pills, she'll be braver about hanging around, as she was until we had to start the pills.

But we both miss having dogs around, so who knows?

I'm sure that if we walked into the humane society and found a Black and Tan Coonhound like our Heidi, who died in 1998, we'd be going home with a dog. She was a spectacular dog, the soulmate of my life. We got her from the humane society in 1992, when she was three. It would make no sense for us to get another dog, so I hope we're not tempted.
--Judy M.

ktinkel
07-19-2007, 07:03 PM
I'm sorry to hear your back is giving you such grief. A while ago you were talking about a possible move to France. Is that off the table now? I fear so. It was probably half fantasy, anyway, though a nice one.

Vermont is wonderful, of course, though you'd want to be sure getting to medical care isn't too difficult (no public transportation outside a couple of urban areas and cabs are scarce, too).Our connections there are in/around Middlebury, and medical care there isn’t too bad (Burlington and Rutland are not far away, either). I am not sure it would be a great idea, however; our faux-granddaughter and her parents and our good old friends, her grandparents, would rarely visit, for one thing. But Jack has a lot of nostalgia for the area, and I like it fine but for the people issue.

I'd be happy to stay in this house for the rest of my lifeI envy you that. I do not have a place I feel that way about, neither house nor town. But I don’t have the steam to be a wanderer. :(

She might not like a new cat in the house. Then again, as long as they tolerated each other at all, having another cat to contend with can put a little challenge into an old cat's life and give her some new energy. She doesn’t seem to like anything these days, and I suspect that the challenge would be good for her.

My dear little Tandy (17) has been avoiding me the past couple of days. She has developed an irregular heart beat and is probably in the early stages of heart failure, so she is supposed to take half a pill twice a day. She's suspicious that I'll scoop her up and pill her and is spending much of her time hiding under the bed. Oh, I do know that behavior! Pi knows when we are thinking of taking her to the vet, dunno how. Makes herself scarce; we have to plan on catching her an hour or more before the appointment!

JVegVT
07-19-2007, 08:49 PM
She doesn’t seem to like anything these days, and I suspect that the challenge would be good for her.

Have you tried a proper dose of tranquilizers? When we got Tandy in 1991, our old cat Patches, then 13, got very depressed. She abandoned her haunts and hung out in our bedroom all the time except for eating and using the litter box. She got more and more crabby and regularly hissed at us. After a couple of months of this with no sign of improvement, we consulted the vet about medications. He said that a low dose of tranquilizers could take the edge off and could be stopped if things improved. If the dose is right, the cat will not be stumbling or lethargic from the medication.

Sure enough. After three days on tranquilizers, Patches got out of her downward spiral. She ventured out of our bedroom and started to reclaim her old haunts. I stopped the tranquilizers and she didn't revert to her crabby behavior. All she needed was some help to get her out of the loop she was stuck in.

She was never happy to have Tandy here, but she got back to normal behavior. It was actually very good for her to have the young cat because she had to be on the watch for being sprung at as she walked down the hall. This made her more alert and put some challenges into her life.
--Judy M.

ktinkel
07-20-2007, 05:42 AM
Have you tried a proper dose of tranquilizers? Interesting idea. She is due for her annual checkup soon, so I will ask the vet what he thinks.

Thanks.