Calling in the Artillery

With a sigh of relief, Oakley gets his last antibiotic pill at bedtime tonight with his snack. Then we will go out. Then we will watch something on YouTube or Netflix, and then we will sleep.

That’s been at a premium lately. The colitis flareup just wouldn’t quit and the Chinese herbs barely touched it. As soon as it calmed down, something triggered it off again. Did I undercook something? Did he eat one of those tidbits that repulse humans but count as delicacies to dogs? I will spare you the details, but after throwing everything I had in terms of herbs and homeopathy at it, the diarrhea just wouldn’t quit and grew worse. I called and had the vet fill a prescription for the antibiotic and an antidiarrheal.

We both slept better that night and have since. He’ll go back on the herbs for longterm management tomorrow. And please to whomever is listening, may we not go through this for a long time. Never would be my preference.

In Oakley’s case, he has cyclical overgrowths of gut bacteria which triggers off the diarrhea. He also stresses out easily.  He sensitivity to my moods, my storms doesn’t help. One of my local friends who does energy work commented that she’s never seen a dog and a human hardwired into each other the way that Oakley and I are. Knowing what goes on in my ADHD-addled mind and the unanswered questions in my heart, it cannot be easy for him.

When I gave him probiotics, it exacerbated the whole mess. And I do mean mess. I tried slippery elm, an herb for both constipation and diarrhea, and let’s just say that it backfired on an epic scale.

I really don’t like pharmaceuticals, but sometimes it becomes necessary to bite the bullet and just make the call  for the refill. Yes, I will own my paranoia over the effects of antibiotics. And I will own my stuff over many doses prescribed to me by the prescription-happy family doctor who treated my family in my childhood. I just don’t like them.

Yes, I know that medicines can save lives. Maybe it’s arrogance on my part, but I always feel as if I failed him somehow when we need to resort to that. I go to herbs first, second, and third, but when they don’t work, I get frustrated as hell with them and myself.

And there are still the lingering questions that I can never let go of about choices made for Orion. Did I do something that caused the lymphoma? Over vaccinate? Too many rounds of steroids to get him some relief from his allergies? Could I have done something differently?

I don’t know, but peace with those questions isn’t forthcoming.

But if there is a next flareup, I will call a lot sooner.

Babies! Weddings! Weddings! Babies: Notes on the “Downton Abbey” Finale

We are in for a great day weather wise here in the soybean field. If the oracles at The Weather Channel have any accuracy, this looks like the big warmup. It’s already almost 50 before 8 AM as I write this.

It’s time to let go of the winter, mild though it was. Still may have some chill and frost, but that’s the early spring’s usual course.

It’s time, too, to bid the “Downton Abbey” gang a fond “see you later.” Not a farewell since there’s a movie in the works and rumors of a prequel detailing Robert’ and Cora’s courtship. But it was time to get the story lines wrapped up, and time for everyone to move on from the last six years. Much as I hated seeing the show end, I’d rather have them go out while at the top of their game than have it dragged out past the end of its story arc.

In the baby department, Anna and Bates had their son. Anna gave birth with little drama, but Mary helping her out was a nice twist. The other baby will be coming sometime between the end of last night’s episode and the movie. Mary is with her new husband’s child. We just have to wait.

In the weddings department, Lord Merton’s health scare inspired Isobel to accept and go forward with marrying him. Lady Violet went ahead like an avenging angel to confront his family over blocking Isobel from seeing him. That wedding wasn’t part of the show, but it was implied that it would happen soon, even when the health scare was resolved.

Other members of the household, the ones everyone wanted to see together, paired off. It was all good, especially the tender glances between Baxter and Molesley. That made me smile. Tom was paying attention to Edith’s editor. Could something be developing there? I hope so. Another plot line for the movie.

The biggest sigh of relief, and not without a few tears on my part, was seeing Edith finally at the altar with Bertie. Took some doing, but they got there, and she made the most beautiful bride. And marchioness, the next rung up on the nobility ladder from earl and countess. So she now outranks her sister. Take that, Mary, even if you did maneuver them back together after spilling Edith’s secret about being Marigold’s mother last week.

Of course, there can be no ending without some bittersweet notes. In this case, Carson developed tremors in his hands. This was a little too close to home, and also drove me to tears for a friend who is caregiver for her husband who lives with Parkinson’s. The good news was that Barrow, the blackmailing manipulator redeemed himself by coming back to the Crawleys to do the heavy lifting while Carson shifted to a supervisory position.

Yes, I ate chocolate. Yes, I cried–I cry more easily than I want to admit, even over TV and movies. But the tears were mostly of joy, and the Kleenex was well-spent.




What Is This and Just Why Is It in Here?



March is roaring in like a lion on steroids from the north accompanied by alternating lashes of freezing rain and horizontal snow. I just ran outside with Oakley in answer of nature’s call. I don’t know how he did his duty, but he did. My muscles clenched in sympathy.

I was a bit preoccupied last week. We had another round of that ever popular game “NOW What Did Your Mother Feed You?” It entailed two or three runs in the yard and awakenings before four a.m.every blessed night until the Chinese herbs for acute colitis flareups kicked in and I figured out what in the ever loving hell I’d fed him.

This edition involved a brand of ground turkey that I don’t usually get and some turkey canned food. The latter was new to us, too. I’d been giving Oaks a good, inexpensive brand, but they changed the formula and put flax in it. Good for omega-3s. Bad if you have chronic colitis.

On top of the ubiquitous “natural flavorings,” the ground turkey had rosemary oil in it. I didn’t think much of it. I cooked it, gave it to Oakley.

And then the fun began. Gentle Reader, I will spare you the details.

After an internet search on what it’s used for in food, I found out that it’s a flavor enhancer. Oh, and anyone with colitis or Crohn’s disease should not eat it because it irritates the colon.

Well, isn’t that special?

Tried Oakley on the canned wet food. That had carrageenan and cassia in it as stabilizers. The diarrhea just would not stop. I looked those up as well. Carrageenan is irritating  to the intestinal tract.

I did not know that.

The kicker came with the cassia. Looked that up. There’s two kinds, one involving cinnamon that’s used in hair care preparations. The other is a different matter.

It’s derived from the senna plant.

Senna is the herbal equivalent of the stuff given to prep patients for colonoscopies. I did not know that it went by the name of cassia.

I fed him scrambled eggs, made sure he was well walked, and went to Aldi for ground turkey. Their frozen turkey is just turkey. 100% turkey without the not-so-natural flavorings.  It’s also less than $2 a package. A couple of days of that plus the herb for the flare-ups and things calmed down significantly. We finally had a good night Sunday into Monday.

I contacted the manufacturer of the bad turkey. Told them how sick Oakley had been. Why did they put a known irritant for anyone with colitis in their product? I made it clear that I didn’t want coupons or to get money out of them. I just wanted them to know this happened, and to understand why this was in there.

The response was condescending. Because we want to give our fans the great taste of our Brand Name turkey that they’ve come to expect. Thank you for reaching out to us.

No apology. Nothing.

I thought about responding by telling them that if they sold a decent product in the first place, they wouldn’t need to resort to chemistry experiments on the unsuspecting public to sell their wares. I also considered suggesting the commission of an unnatural act with their product, but reminded myself that I was raised better than that.

Not much better in the response department at the store I returned it to. I’m returning it because it has an additive that I didn’t know was going to aggravate a family member’s digestive issues. The manager shot me a sideways look as if I should have known while not so cheerfully refunding my money.

Returning the the canned food was a better experience. I shared my findings about the ingredients with the manager. She thanked me for telling her, expressed sympathy for the situation, and gave me a hug.

Once home, I sat on the sofa and rubbed Oakley’s ears. He pushed his tush against my leg. I turned on the midday news, and lost the first hour of it because I’d fallen asleep sitting up.

Some people might say that there is a lesson in this. Certainly, there are many lessons that were reinforced. Standing up for myself is one. Taking labeling information for granted is another. Remembering that profit outweighs safe food is another.

Others may say that it’s too bad, sorry you went through it. That’s life, and sometimes shit happens.

With this set of circumstances, the latter sums up last week with more accuracy.