Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wild Life

May 22, 2008

The Wild Life--Part 1

Willie tried his hardest to entertain us at dinner last night. He played rope toy with Teddy, and although she never actually became airborne, he did swing her around impressively. He also attempted to break the sound barrier while running circles in the living room, but left us contemplating a quick trip to the vet as he failed to reach Mach 1. (Really, why tolerate a dog like Willie if he can't even create a good sonic boom at mealtime?) Finally, near the end of dinner right before Erin started on her evening pill swallowing extravaganza, he settled down with what looked like a tasty stick or perhaps a purloined bit of table scrap. The look on his face and his seriousness of purpose said it all: "How much delight would my audience have with a mere stick? Wouldn't a smallish lizard, entrails exposed, create a much bigger sensation?"

I wrestled the lizard corpse away from him and settled back down to keep Erin company as she popped pills.

Erin: "The tail."

Mom: "What tail?"

Erin: "The tail."

Mom: "What tail?"

Erin (more loudly): "THE TAIL."

Mom (no glasses) scans the floor: "Walter, I don't see a tail, but Erin thinks she sees one."

Dad (walking to the spot, napkin in hand): "Oh, that's just a leaf."

Erin (insistently stomping over to the spot and pointing): "The black and green and brown thing, right there! That tail."

Dad: "Got it."

Erin (returning to the table): "Pass my pills."

The Wild Life--Part 2

Our neighbor, Ed, doesn't like animals. No pets at his house. No fondness for other folks' pets. No kind pat on the head for Luke. No kind word for Teddy or Uma. Needless to say, Willie is an abomination. He wanted no part of the matter when Baby Bun took up residence under his propane tank.

Perhaps the goat that jumped through his (closed) bedroom window yesterday morning didn't get the memo.

Across the fence from our neighborhood, a new family has taken up residence. They brought with them a few children and four assorted goats. Willie found the goats the first morning after their arrival and immediately took it upon himself to provide them with aerobic exercise, extreme aerobic exercise. Since then, the poor boy has not left the house unleashed. I'm not exactly sure what happened yesterday morning. I just know that it didn't involve Willie.

I think one of the goats found a way through the sieve-like fence meant to contain them and was shopping the neighborhood, sampling the various garden offerings. I suspect that Jade (weimaraner) and Buster (golden retriever) caught a whiff of goat and offered to escort her home. Startled by their friendly offer, she may have dashed toward Ed's bedroom window, much like the birds in the Windex commercial. Jade's owner was fairly certain that she had not contributed to the incident by chasing the goat, although the goat hair in Jade's mouth may suggest otherwise.

The deputy came out and assessed the situation. He told Ed that you have to expect these things when you live in the country. He then loaded the goat into the back of the cruiser and took her home.

The Wild Life--Part 3

No story. Just two photos of the wild life in the country. The first is a bee clan that set up shop in the water meter. (You got to feel sorry for the meter reader. We had a apiary come out and move the bees to a bee box. Luckily, they were not Africanized. Unfortunately for the meter reader, the poison ivy remains.) The second is a stalk of bamboo that grew up through a pair of bags of pine bark mulch. We moved one of the bags to take this picture, but this Japanese-style grass poked through them both like a spear and just kept growing.

Now, on with the stuff you visit for: an Erin update.

does not have diarrhea yet. In fact, as of 8:00 this morning she is still tending the other way. Increasing gas production gives us hope that we will have a break through, so to speak, soon. The lack of movement doesn't appear to have made her uncomfortable. I have given her zofran as a pre-med for the chemo and so far no nausea or vomiting, but her appetite is not as hearty as usual. She slept soundly through the night both Tuesday and Wednesday and had a romping good time at school.

Giving temador and irinotecan has gone remarkably smoothly. I get up and give the zofran at 5:00 and go back to bed. Walter gives her the four temador capsules about twenty minutes later. At 6:20, I slip her the irinotecan with a cranberry juice chaser. Erin just sits up each time, downs the meds, and snuggles back under the covers. She's back sawing z's before we leave the room. We had considered pursuing an alternative delivery systems, like repackaging the irinotecan into empty gel caps each morning. So far we're holding off. Erin doesn't protest taking the Rhino. She doesn't even grimace when she swallows. This is a big relief.

Erin refused tylenol at breakfast both yesterday and this morning and headed out to school. I checked on her around noon yesterday and had to talk her into taking tylenol. I'm not really sure that the chemo has worked this fast to relieve the pressure on her spine, but she's definitely more comfortable. We swam for an hour after school yesterday before PT.

Yesterday I called Erin's nurse to ask if we could deviate from the protocol by serving the irinotecan with Cranberry Pomegranate. We used to serve Erin's accutane with blueberry yogurt, forever ruining Erin's taste for blueberry yogurt. I figured if she was going to develop an aversion to something by associating it with irinotecan, CranPomegranate was a better choice than CranGrape or even regular cranberry juice.

While I had the nurse on the phone, I mentioned that Erin was having such an easy time with the irinotecan, which I was barely covering with juice, that maybe I should just squirt the 3.2 milliliters straight into her mouth and down her throat, thus guaranteeing no spillage or leftover Rhino in the Dixie cup. The nurse advised against it.

Nurse: "That stuff really tastes nasty. I doubt she would drink it."

Mom: "How bad could it be? I can't imagine the small amount of juice I'm using would do much to mask the taste if it were horrendous."

Nurse: "Really nasty. I wouldn't recommend giving it without juice."

Mom: "I think I'll taste a drop just to see how bad it is."

Nurse (practically screeching into the phone): "No! Don't do that! Don't you know that stuff is toxic?"

Mom (to herself): "I can squirt 3.2 mls into Erin every morning, but can't take a drop on my tongue to see what it tastes like?"

So, my van's still in the shop. The tow truck dragged it in Tuesday evening. The mechanic called Wednesday morning. I had lost all compression in one of the cylinders. Not good. The spring on the valve had broken. He's going to replace the spring and see how much I damaged the cylinder before I got the car off the road and stopped. If I'm lucky it's not ruined. My luck has not run so well lately. Until then, I'll drive Davis's van. He doesn't need it. He has a Pittsburgh bus pass. I think those busses are air conditioned. Davis's van isn't.


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  2. Taste it! I taste all the stuff Max has to. I think it's funny how the nurses freak out over the mention of "trying our kids meds" to see how bad it really is. I don't think I'm going to ingest enough to do any more damage than the 4 cups of coffee I have everyday.

  3. Goodness, never a dull moment in your house. Glad Erin is feeling better, and taking those nasty meds like a champ. She is such a strong little girl...excuse me, young lady!! We continue to pray for you guys daily! Keep up the good work!!!

    Kari Mika

  4. Hurray for Erin feeling better! I'm resolved to taste the stuff tomorrow. Love the goat story -brings be back to growing up in New Mexico.

  5. Wow -
    I enjoyed catching up on the action in the country. Great job to all of you - working together you've got Erin's meds routine down to a science. Sounds like she's doing an amazing job doing her part swallowing that stuff...
    - did the tow truck take you to TCH, did you rent a car on the spot, phone a friend for a rescue?