Pupdate, part the whatever

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these. Phil and I had, foolishly, fell into complacency, having felt that the worst of Nuala’s troubles were behind us.

Not so, apparently.

When we had seen the veterinarian in June, following up on Nuala’s persistently inflamed and fibrocystic ear canals, we had been sent home with Nu on a regimen on low dose prednisone and periodic flushing of the problematic canals with TryzEDTA. She would be due for further blood tests in September to follow up on her kidney function and liver function to see how she was tolerating the pred.

September hit and Nuala started to behave poorly again. Her ears started to throw off more crud/pus, and we thought we’d up her pred for a bit to see if we could clear it up. She became listless and her bladder control was practically non-existent. She also started to drink a lot of water. A lot. It was so bad that I’d have to restrain her from drinking from puddles when we walked. We had to remember to keep the toilet lid down.

We noticed she was losing weight, too. We theorized, because we both knew the symptoms, that she might be diabetic, but I preferred to remain in denial for a while and hoped that her difficulties resulted from an existing condition that we could treat.

I thought initially that we could wait until the vet called for her follow up blood work, but week before last, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer and made an appointment for this Tuesday just past.

We brought in a urine sample as well, just in case. Turns out it was good that we did.

The first thing we did upon entering the office was to weigh her. It’s something we do every time. If there is any medication to be doled out or adjusted, the vet needs to know her weight.

She was 25 kilograms. The last time we’d weighed her in June, she was 31.4 kilograms. That was a shock.

In the examination room, though he confirmed the increased inflammation/infection in her ears and her poor physical condition, the vet said that we were to return to the lower dosage of pred with an eye to eliminating it altogether. Pred can apparently exacerbate the onset of diabetes. Joy.

He said that his immediate diagnosis would be diabetes, but that he’d actually like to perform the tests to confirm his diagnosis before prescribing anything.

Wednesday, Phil received the call at work: Nu was indeed diabetic, and there were ketones in her urine.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, this is bad. It means that Nu had depleted her fat stores and that her body was now consuming her muscle mass in an attempt to compensate for her inability to metabolize sugar properly.

I noticed that she had been a bit unsteady on her pegs in the last couple of days.

So, we both took off work early on Thursday to get back to see the vet before he left for the day. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to get the insulin pen and supplies he wanted for Nu, but he had some canine insulin and syringes that had been returned by another client. She’d need 12 units of insulin, morning and night.

We were also given new food, a diabetic diet, and advised to feed Nu between three and four cans of it a day (she was doing well on a half a can and a cup of kibble a day before) to bring her weight back up.

And finally, I’ll be taking her back in this coming Tuesday for a glucose curve to see how she’s doing and if we have to adjust the dosage or the food in the next little bit.

In the three days she’s been on the insulin, I’m happy to say that Nuala is already looking better, drinking less, peeing in the house less, and enjoying her usual activities (like eating garbage on our morning walks) again.

The hope is that getting the diabetes under control will also reduce the stress on Nu’s body and reduce the inflammation in her ears, if nothing else. Otherwise, it’s a game of wait and see. We’ll address her health issues as required, moving forward.

This is not new territory for Phil and me. Our cat, Thufir, was diabetic for the last three years of his life. Plus, Phil was a medical laboratory technician in a past career, so he’s cool with the whole injection thing.

The unfortunate part for me is that Nu needs her insulin an hour before her meals, morning and night. So . . . there will be no more sleeping in for Mellie on the weekends. I’ll either have to take up napping (something I’ve never been good at) or try to find some other way to recover from my weekly sleep deficit from working.

Something tells me I shouldn’t have decided to defer my leave with income averaging until the spring.

The important thing is that Nuala is on the road to recovery again.

I hope I won’t be writing another pupdate for some time. My poor dear has been through quite enough.

Next week: I’ll be posting my Next Chapter monthly update. There are still a few days left in the month and I want to make the most of them 🙂

So, this dog walks into a writer’s office and says, “Whatchya up to?”

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WWC 2014, Day 1: Evening keynotes

Here we are at the end of day 1 (for me–I know others partied into the wee hours). At other conferences and conventions, guest of honour keynotes are generally spread throughout the event, often at or after a meal.

The When Words Collide organizers chose to do something different.

Prior to the literary festival, there were several master classes offered by the keynote speakers, and the night before, they all delivered their presentations at a branch of the public library.

Between the extra days of leave I would have had to sacrifice, the cost of the master classes, and the expense of a longer stay, I had to opt out of the pre-conference program.

On the first night (formally speaking) of WWC, then, all of the keynote speakers were well into conference mode and had an opportunity to work out the bugs.

The keynotes were presented as a panel, with all of the speakers up on the stage, seated at tables.

Randy McCharles offered a few opening words, and then introduced the first of the speakers.

  1. Jacqueline Guest, author of 18 published novels, spoke about her adventures as aJacqueline Guest touring author. She has been all over the world, in the arctic, and had some very interesting tales to share. The old advice to writers is to write what you know. Travelling and experiencing all the world has to offer is a valuable way of gathering experience that can translate into your writing.
  2. Mark Leslie, of Kobo Writing Life, chose the subject of the mark-lesliehistory of story. From our earliest gatherings to share news around a fire, through the oral traditions of Greece and Rome, the invention of the printing press, and the advent of the novel, to today’s proliferation of traditionally published and independently published novels, novellas, short stories, anthologies, and all other manner of written storytelling, Mark spoke eloquently of the purpose and value of story in our lives. He ended his keynote with this: when words collide, magic happens.
  3. Dorothy (DJ) MacIntosh, author of the (in progress) Mesopotamian trilogy, spoke
    DJ McIntosh

    photo by Robert Rafton

    about passion and how to keep that precious flame burning. She related the experiences, hers and those of other renowned authors, with rejection, and various reactions to rejection letters. How can we keep our passion alive amidst the darkness that can assail us?

  4. Brandon Sanderson, author of—oh, I’ll just say it—a shit load of bestselling fantasy novels including the
    Photo by Nazrilof

    Photo by Nazrilof

    posthumous conclusion of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, addressed the problem of telling a compelling lie. He started with a grade school experience in which he realized that the story of Columbus and his discovery of the new world was all propaganda. In short, it was a lie, but it’s a lie that has been perpetuated over the years by quality storytelling. You could say that’s when the seed of his desire to become a professional liar was planted. He spoke of Sturgeon’s Law: that ninety percent of everything is crap. He wanted to test that hypothesis and started with Roger Ebert’s movie review site, which revealed between sixty and seventy percent good movies (two thumbs up). He then went to Rotten Tomatoes, a review site contributed to by the movie-going public. He found roughly the same results. There were exceptions, of course. He found one reviewer who didn’t like Return of the King, for example. Reviews are one of the most power tools in any author’s service. Word of mouth is what really translates into sales and a groundswell of support. The bad reviews can be damaging in all kinds of ways. We have to be able to distinguish between someone expressing a personal opinion, e.g. I didn’t like this book, and someone who’s going for the hurt, e.g. this is crap. They are two completely different judgements.

  5. Jack Whyte. I’d seen him last year at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference jack-whyteand knew the power of his presence, but, when Jack took the stage, I put my pen down and sat back. I knew I was about to be entertained. Jack basically extemporized (or, he made is sound like he was), drawing in elements of each of the previous speakers, adding colour with a touch of personal humour, and wrapping up the evening in style.

Next week: We enter day 2 with the Blending Science Fiction and Fantasy Panel.