Sep 24, 2016

Carmeh is now home for good….

…or so we hope.

Before continuing with the IV yesterday morning we wanted to discuss the situation with the vet. BTW we were only planning on getting the IV catheter removed and taking her home.  The vet ( for those in the know, this was Dr. Susan as opposed to Dr. Jessica, the daughter and the new young vet who treated Carmeh on Thursday ) suggested another blood panel as this would give us an idea if the IV flush was working.  So we agreed and were told that we would have results in 45 minutes.  So rather than staying in the office which was causing Carmeh great stress we took off in the car and did a few errands, one of which was stocking up on some vino blanco.  Sixty minutes later we returned to the vet’s office.  They were supposed to call us once the results were in.

Apparently they were being printed off as we arrived, however we were not allowed to know the results until the vet saw us.  Dr. Susan was occupied with another patient.  Colin had only 15 minutes left before we had to leave because of an extremely important meeting with a client.  We waited and waited and finally I said to the staff that we were leaving.  I guess I would have to take the catheter out myself.  Just as we opened the door to leave, someone rushed up and said that the vet could see us now.  Long story short, Carmeh’s enzymes had come down, but not by much.  Further IV therapy was recommended. We went back and forth.

We had two minutes to make up our minds as Colin truly had to leave.  We left her there. Gosh we wasted close to two hours farting around in my  humble opinion, when she could have been getting the fluids to flush her system.  It was really tough walking away watching her squirm in the arms of the technician.  But it was for her overall good.  I asked them to not give her anymore morphine but to give her something to calm her.  They did not.  She did receive an anti inflammatory/pain medication and an antibiotic but nothing to calm her stress.  Colin went to work and I worried myself silly back at home.  I called a few times to check on her and was told that she appeared to be happy.  It was pouring rain out and so they did not take her out to pee.  They are a great vet clinic but no one can look after my girl as well as me.

We were there to pick her up 15 minute before closing but had to wait  a long time before we saw the vet.  Finally they allowed us to see her as we were taken in to see the vet.  She was so happy to see us and licked our faces.  First thing she did was rip off her bandage covering her IV site.  So the big news was that we had to make a major change in her diet.  We had been told earlier that we should put per her on Royal Canin low fat gastrointestinal diet which based on my research yesterday is pure crap. Much back and forth between us and Dr. Susan and it was decided that we would keep her on a canned dog food only, fairly low fat at 4%.  No more kibble.  For Carmeh’s health and to try and prevent another pancreatitis episode we agreed.  Of course that means changing Caeli’s diet also.  We just can’t have them on two different diets.  They are always smelling each others breath to see if the other got something they didn’t.

When we got home Carmeh rushed into the house and was running in circles before she started to play with her toys.  I was told that I would have to give her Tramadol twice last evening for pain and up to four times per day for several days.  She had no pain and she was fine.  Colin took Carmeh outside while I fed Caeli as Carmeh was still not allowed to eat.

What is very difficult for me is that Carmeh was only allowed 1 tablespoon of food this morning.  It consisted of 3/4 rice and 1/4 chicken.  She gets the same this evening.  Tomorrow she gets 3 tablespoons and the next day 4 and so on.  The plan is to work her up to 1/2 cup twice per day with a ratio of 2/3 chicken and 1/3 rice which is to be her diet for two weeks.  Then I can start to transition her to 1/2 can ( 13.2 oz is a can )  per day for the rest of her life.  That is it, nothing more.  No treats nor any extras of any type.  It won’t be easy for either of us.  When I boiled her chicken I added lots of water to the pot and now have a lot of chicken stock.  So I put a large amount of chicken stock with her tablespoon of food.  I guess we have to do what we have to do.  She refuses to drink water but is drinking the broth so she is getting some liquid.

NOt a lot of food but I do understand the reasoning is that they want her pancrease to slowly get working again.

Not a lot of food but I do understand the reasoning is that they want her pancreas to very slowly get working again.

Since being home last night she is sticking close to us, Colin especially.  He did have to go out to do some exterior photography today for a few hours and took the girls with him.  Less stress for Carmeh and time for me to do a bit of my work that is backlogged. It also took her mind off being fed.  I did speak with the vets office today and there is no way I can increase the amount of food she is getting even though she is pain free  and extremely active.  The road ahead is not easy.  One of my concerns is that the transition to the canned food will have the girls on their new diet for just under two weeks before we depart.  Of course I have to buy $600.00 worth of canned food before we leave and can only hope that it will be tolerated.  I am glad that we have just over two full weeks in the US in case we have to make a change.  None of the food they eat is available where we are in Mexico, possibly in Mexico City.  For now we can only take it one day at a time.

She did spend most of the day resting in the bed between our desks.

She did spend most of the day resting, curled in the fetal position,  in the bed between our desks.  Yes we both worked today.  It makes no difference the day of the week to us.

Thank you all so much for your support via emails and the comments here on the blog.  You are my family and it means a lot.  We are anticipating another great winter on the beach for the girls and especially Carmeh.  She has been through so much this past year and a bit.  If she can pull through her paralysis she can cope with this new change in her life.


Sep 23, 2016

We now know what is wrong and it isn’t good

Colin was out on a job when I got a call early yesterday ( Thursday ) morning from the vet.  Bottom line Carmeh has pancreatitis and I needed to bring her in ASAP to start an IV on her to push fluids.  She would need to stay overnight and continue the IV treatment until the end of today when she would be reassessed.  What a shock.  As they are not a 24 hour vet I was told that they would transfer her to another clinic for the night unless we felt we could handle her.

So I rushed her out the door.  She had been very ill last Thursday and Friday and again on Wednesday which is why I brought her in for tests.  Yesterday morning she appeared normal and pain free and was wagging her tail.  Sadly if she did not have treatment she likely would have increasingly painful bouts until she had a possible fatal episode.  You can Google pancreatitis in dogs if you want the details.

I got there in record time but we had at least a 20 minute wait before they started her IV. She wanted out of there and was even pawing at the door to be let out. I wish I had

I got there in record time but we had at least a 20 minute wait before they started her IV. She wanted out of there and was even pawing at the door to be let out. I wish I had.

I just hated to leave her alone. THey said they would give her morphine for the pain and to calm her.

I just hated to leave her alone. They said they would give her morphine for the pain and to calm her.

Colin and I were to pick her up at 5PM.  She was not to be fed but could have water if she wanted to.  They said she would not need any further pain medication and she could move about a bit.  We were to return at 8:30AM today to resume the IV.

The Carmeh that came back home with us was not our sweet girl..

The Carmeh that came back home with us was not our sweet girl.

Her eyes were glazed, she could not walk nor stand and she was incontinent.  We took her outside but Colin had to hold up her hind legs, she did not pee.  She appeared to be a zombie.

Even C

Caeli took  one sniff of Carmeh and took off.  She did have that hospital smell about her.

This was the calm before the storm.

This was the calm before the storm.

Carmeh needed to be held constantly.  Despite being drugged she was unsettled and any noise would make her cry out.  Eventually we noticed fluid coming out of her eyes and her nose and she continued to be incontinent.  We went thru all the towels we had.  About midnight she began having trouble breathing and her stomach was contracting and had constant spasms.  We had no idea what was happening but she could not catch her breath.  Colin kept stroking her and she finally settled a bit.  She calmed about 2AM for about two hours then got restless again.  It was a non sleep night, maybe a 10 minute doze here and there for us. It was the most frightening experience for us.

Long story short we met the vet this morning and expressed our displeasure.  We had no idea if she had been over hydrated or over medicated.  We were told that the over hydration was on purpose and that we should have been told about the reactions to the morphine.  All I can say is that I brought a happy dog into the vet yesterday morning and brought home a disaster.  We really thought that we were going to lose her last night.

She is better tonight and I will catch you up on today’s details in my next post. We are still happy with our bringing her home last night as I doubt that she would have got the attention we gave her, especially changing her wet towel every 30 minutes.  After all the IV fluid had to come out.

We do have a long road ahead of us over the next several weeks.

Thanks to the many of you who gave me ideas for travel insurance.  Obviously my research will have to wait till next week.



Sep 21, 2016

Unplanned time at the vet today

Carmeh has done well the last 1.5 days but this morning shortly after Colin left at 7AM she was out eating grass.  She refused food, special treats or water, she only wanted grass.  Loud sounds emanated from her tummy.  It was obvious that she was in pain.  She could not lie down nor stay still, when she wasn’t outside eating grass she was pacing.

I could not deal with it any longer and called our vet who fit us in within 45 minutes.  The physical exam indicated nothing,  A full blood panel and urinalysis was done.  We should have the results tomorrow.  The question is, is her kibble making her ill or is eating the grass making her ill?  Or ???

Carmeh on the right and Caeli afterh great reu

Carmeh on the right and Caeli after the great reunion after the vet.

Meanwhile for the second day in a row I am not getting much done.  Too many interruptions.  For some reason we got a ton of jobs come in today, one of them very major.  Now to find time to fit these in 😯

Having trouble getting our medical insurance for the trip south.  Turns out that the company that did our insurance all these years has been taken over by another company.  We do not get insurance from departure day till arrival day in April as that would cost us $1688.00.  What we usually do is get insurance from here till we arrive on the Isla and then back again in the spring, usual cost $387.32.  While in Mexico we would just pay for whatever we needed to.  The new company will only insure us until we arrive in Mexico and want us to re apply for the return insurance in March.  They want us to prove that we are healthy to travel in April.  Not sure what to do as I am quite concerned about returning thru the US with no medical insurance. Who knows it they will or will not insure us.  Our broker also sent me this earlier… you guys buy insurance coverage once in Mexico to cover you while there?……. Our office had a client who had a heart attack in Mexico and he was admitted to the hospital and the bill was very expensive and cost over $100,000 to air lift him home after a couple months. He had no medical coverage.  No we don’t have extra insurance in Mexico.  Overall we feel that we are healthy.  However a dear friend said to me earlier this evening that she had no idea that she would end up in a US hospital with an aneurysm.  Before heading to the hospital she called her Canadian insurance company and they told she was covered.  As of today they claim she owes them $17,000.00.

Any and all thoughts and ideas and suggestions would be appreciated!  To be honest I am looking for an insurance company that will insure us heading South for so many days and again heading North for so many days.  Al, ?????   What do folks out there do for travel medical insurance?

The sunset just a few hours ago.

The sunset just a few hours ago.

The refection to the South was spectacular.

The refection to the South was spectacular.


Sep 17, 2016

Taking it one day at a time

Everyday I have an idea of what I want to accomplish but it seems that everyday something crops up that takes several hours of my day.  Not major issues but time consuming.  I am running out of time and we leave six weeks today.  The weather has changed for the worse, dark grey sky and major rain.  Colin made the most of every great hour last week taking photos, so he is busy at his desk photo shopping from 7AM till late at night. Hopefully we will eventually get back to some lovely perfect fall days so he can finish up his projects.

Gthe bubbles are from a special cleaner that we used to clean the jets in the tub. It cerqatainly did the job.

The bubbles are from a special cleaner that we used to clean the jets in the tub. It certainly did the job.

One of the things we love about living here is that we have 24 hour security that actually patrols the park.  The phone rang at 9:30PM yesterday, it was the office letting us know that there was a door open in our RV which is in the storage lot.  Colin went to hop in the golf cart to go check the RV out but none of the lights were working so he took his car instead.  Turns out that a basement door had been left open by the RV tech we had doing a few things for us.  I am more than impressed that security spotted the open basement door.  However now we have to figure out what is wrong with the golf cart.  As I mentioned, there is always something extra to deal with.  One thing we did to the RV was remove the original antenna and put in a modern digital system.  Now when we stop at night we should be able to pick up some stations without bothering with setting up the satellite dish.  We only do that if there is particular show we want to tape.  Usually by time I make dinner and do the blog I am ready for bed.  We also hope to pick up some Mexican stations when there.

Lots of geese enjoying sunning themselves this past week. HAven't seen any of them today. Only the ducks are out in the rain.

Lots of geese enjoying sunning themselves on our beach this past week. Haven’t seen any of them today. Only the ducks are out in the rain.  I took this thru the window but they still moved away as they sensed my presence.

With Colin gone from early till dark we haven’t done any dancing this week.  I have however managed to get 10,000 steps in ten days in a row.  Wish I could do that every day but soon I will.

I started to tear up when I saw this canoe. The lady in the front paddles with her husband almost everyday. T

I started to tear up when I saw this canoe.  Over the years I have noticed this lady paddling with her husband.  She has bird feathers in her hat and is an older person.  This is the first time I have seen her without her husband.  Who is the young man with her, her grandson, son?  Where is the husband?  Did he die.  That was my first thought and it upset me.  I hope my intuition was wrong.  For some reason I tuned to that thought and was very sad.

I am very very very slowly making headway in our preparations to leave.  The Mexican insurance for the car and the RV have been purchased.  I am awaiting a quote re the medical insurance.  Somehow I screwed up and missed purchasing US dollars when the dollar was up.  Yesterday when I went to the bank it was down 3 cents in the last 8 days.  Dang!  Right now it is more than we paid last fall.  However the peso is costing us a lot less.  Who knows what this US election is going to do to the economy.  Not good I think.  The two weeks that we are not staying on the Isla this season ( only 4 months vs 4.5 or 5 months ) will pay for our 18 days heading south including our very expensive Napa Valley RV park fees.  I was extremely lucky and got the last site available in the park.  Sigh!

Saw this boat on the lake for the first time a few days ago. The driver was sitting at the back and two elderly people were in the front having a tour of the lake. No idea where it is moored.

Saw this boat on the lake for the first time a few days ago. The driver was sitting at the back and two elderly people were in the front having a tour of the lake. No idea where it is moored.

Our sweet darling Carmeh.

Our sweet darling Carmeh.

Yesterday for the third time in just under two weeks she was sick.  It is her stomach, you can hear the churning and strange noises.  She refused to eat or drink and it was obvious that she was in great pain.  She mostly just ate grass.  Eventually, same as last time it comes out in a reddish mucous.  It hurt me to see her distress.  I finally called the vet who okayed me giving her 25mg of Tramadol.  If didn’t seem to make any difference.  She kept coming to me to be held and petted and soothed but soon she wanted down as she had to run outside.  She could not lay flat and was either hunched over with her head hanging low or walking with her back humped up and her tail between her legs.  She could not sleep.  When I wasn’t holding her or letting her out and back in, I did some online research.  She has had colitis in the past.  But she could also have irritable bowl disease or irritable bowl syndrome.  The main cause of the latter is stress.  Carmeh has always been attached to Colin but even more so in the last year when she became paralyzed.  She lives for him and when he is not here I am forever, as in every 5 – 10 minutes, opening the door for her to go check if he is home.  She sleeps plastered to his side every night.  It occurred to me that Colin has been home more that normal this summer and suddenly this past week he has almost disappeared.  She has even been reluctant to walk with just me and keeps turning her head to see if he is coming up behind us.  I believe that she just missed Colin so much that she made herself ill.

NOt the sunset but a relfection it, two night ago.

Not the sunset, but a reflection it, two night ago.

Colin came home early yesterday, late afternoon, as the clouds had come in.  Sure enough Carmeh perked up the moment he walked through the door.  Her tail began to wag and she just wanted to be with him.  After a time she finally fell asleep in a bed next to his desk.  Rest is what she needed.  I gave her rice with some canned dog food for dinner, just a bit.  This morning she got the same thing.  I likely will add about 1/3 of the regular amount of kibble she usually gets to her meal tonight.  Fortunately Colin is home for at least three days and hopefully her gut will heal quickly.  We only need to get through the next 6 weeks and then he will be with her all winter.  The interesting thing is that she appears to be fine when Colin and I leave together but only becomes upset when he leaves and I stay here.  I know she was in great pain yesterday and it upset me so much to see her that way.  Today the pain is gone but she still has the other symptoms.  All we can do it take it one day at a time.

Very nice sunset. The previous photo was it's refection.

Very nice sunset. The previous photo was its refection.


Sep 14, 2016

Ballroom dancing is back….

…well for us at least, as well as Latin.  Colin and I used to dance a lot way back when before I had my accident.  Even before then I had started to have hip problems which limited my ability to dance.  It wasn’t unusual to see Colin jump jiving with three female partners, one after the other.  He had and still has the stamina to keep up that pace.  We even went on two different week long cruises with our instructor to practice dance all day long and then dance the night away.  The funny thing is that when we got to Mazatlan on one of the cruises, I begged off.  My feet were too sore to do any sightseeing.  Instead I stayed aboard and enjoyed a foot massage which was exquisite, as I still remember the bliss of it all.  I also just sat with my feet up and read, a perfect afternoon for me.  Funny how I never set foot in Mazatlan until we RVed there.

I had forgotten how much we love to dance.

I had forgotten how much we love to dance.

We actually had cruised quite a bit on our own as the ships have a variety of dance floors perfect for ballroom dancing.  We traveled with gowns and tuxedos……oh how I wish we were back in those days.  Well the future is ahead of us and who knows what it will hold.  We still have all the fancy clothes and special dance shoes.

So very happy we are doing this again. It is taking time and of course energy but it is something we are doing together and we are both enjoying every moment.

So very happy we are doing this again. It is taking time and of course energy but it is something we are doing together and we are both enjoying every moment.

So on August 18th, right before the busiest time of our business year we started ballroom dance lessons.  We are starting at square one and it has been most interesting.  We are learning some new dances to us.  The dances we know are being criticized re our dance hold, queues to turn etc.  Our teacher is really great at helping the newbies as he calls them and still gives us individual attention.  We are loving every moment.

Normally you pay for the entire session of lessons. Our instructor, in hte white shirt, is allowing us to pay as we go.

Normally you pay for the entire session of lessons. Our instructor, in the white shirt & black pants, is allowing us to pay as we go.  We have manged to attend the first four Thursdays but I think this week will be a no go due to photography.  Too bad, but no worries,  we will keep practicing and dancing during our winter stay on the Isla.

It just so happened that our RV park here had an outstanding Latin band performing on August 27th.  They are from Cuba and come to Canada annually to perform across the country.  They are called Brisas del Mar and you can get more info about them and even listen to their music under music on their website.  If you click on the numbers to the left of each title piece you can listen to the entire song without paying.


Outstanding evening.

Colin dancing with Rosalie. Barry and Rosalie are also taking dance lessons.

Colin dancing with Rosalie. Barry and Rosalie are also taking dance lessons.

It was so much fun and all our previous steps magically returned to us.

It was so much fun and all our previous steps magically returned to us.  Doing the rhumba here.

We danced almost every dance. My feet were so sore that the next day I was hobbling.

We danced almost every dance. My feet were so sore the next day that I was hobbling.

When I wasn't dancing with Colin he found someone else

When I wasn’t dancing with Colin he found someone else.  He is teaching this lady how to do some Latin moves.

One of the very best evenings in years.

One of the very best evenings in years.

So now you know what we have been up to.  Besides the lessons we have to practice and that takes time.  Carmeh barks whenever we dance, she is jealous of Colin holding me.  Sometimes we pick her up and dance with her between us.  She loves that.

The following is  90 seconds of a cappella  sung by three of the group.  We were about to leave when one of them just walked up and started to sing solo, two others joined him.  A final gift to us.  We could have listened to them all night.  So happy be purchased all their CD’s.






Next »