Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Before you ask, he was Yoshi not a frog or a turtle! Clearly people are not up to date on their Super Mario these days!

We also had a leopard...

But, no C this year. She lost trick-or-treating due to a series of unfortunate events involving undone homework and the truth (or lack thereof). She decided she was too old for it this year anyway.

This one was an actual turtle*

* Unfortunately the turtle face wouldn't fit over his crazy big German Shepherd ears!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Dogs of Our Lives

Oh how the dog drama continues! I wish it were only as exciting as a previously unknown twin returning from the dead or a doggie wedding busted up by a jealous bride, but unfortunately our dog drama is a lot more painful and a lot less exciting. After four months of dog ownership, 3 1/2 have consisted of broken limb issues, casts, and physical therapy.* Delgado had his cast on for about 4 weeks, meaning the cast has actually been off longer now than it was on in the first place, yet he still does not use the leg at all.

Doggie Saga Part 1: After the first couple of days post-cast removal, we called the vet's office (hereafter referred to as the Surgeon's office because that is their specialty, they do not do general veterinary work) because we were concerned about the lack of use. We wanted to know if we should start him on physical therapy (thank you, inerwebs), and they assured us that this was normal and we shouldn't worry about it and that physical therapy was not usually needed for puppies so young. This sequence repeated itself for about 3 weeks until Husband took the dog into his regular vet for a routine check-up (shots, getting his chip put in, etc.) and she completely freaked out and said that this was in no way normal and we needed to take him back into the other vet pronto. In fact, she even called the other vet's office and complained for us, stating how serious the situation seemed to be. Husband received a personal call shortly thereafter from the head vet of the Surgeon's office. He listened to Husband's concerns, and scheduled an appt to bring in Delgado the following day.

Doggie Saga Part 2: Husband takes Delagdo into the Surgeon's office, and the head vet acknowledges that something is really wrong with Delgado's leg. It has not healed properly, and the joints do no not bend to any degree of normalcy (about 10-15% range of motion). He basically drags the rear leg around behind him like it is dead weight. So he refers Husband to an in-house physical therapist to start working with Delgado on a regular basis. Husband innocently asks whether this problem could have been avoided if we had just started him on physical therapy right away, and the head vet gets very upset. They end up having a small altercation where Husband basically says it was the vet's office reassurances that nothing was wrong that prevented us from seeking help earlier, and the vet mutters something about how we could have made an appointment any time we wanted and leaves the room while Husband is still talking. Needless to say, Husband was extremely pissed, and wanted to go to a lawyer right away to see about potential malpractice since we were then looking at many months of intensive physical therapy (which is not cheap!) from a simple tibial fracture. Husband was able to negotiate free access to physical therapy and so he next chapter began...

Doggie Saga Part 3: We begin doggie physical therapy, which consisted of 2x appointments per week and daily therapy at home 2-3x per day where we stretched and contracted the joints. Delgado hated it (yelped and tried to bite), and it didn't seem to help improve use of the leg at all. We were able to get his range of motion o improve a bit (15-20%), but he still dragged the leg behind him as if it were a dead weight. After a few more weeks, we were starting to get desperate. Husband even researched and made appointments with doggie alternative medicine providers (acupuncture for dogs!). I suggested that we make another appointment with the vet and/or physical therapist to figure out why Delagdo was refusing to put any weight on the leg or use it in a meaningful manner. So that is what we did on Thursday. We went back to the Surgeon's office (different vet, same practice), who noticed right away that there was something wrong with Delgado's hip in addition to his knee problem. They decided to do a new set of full x-rays to identify what the issue was and whether or not it would be fixable. He took a long time to explain what hip issues mean for dogs in general, and especially for German Shepherds, which are prone to hip issues as a breed. He also explained that having 2 joints (maybe 3, although he thought the ankle problems may just have been a continuation from the other two joint issues) have major issues meant that even surgical intervention had a low probablity of making the leg into a usable limb, especially in a puppy so young who would continue to grow (and potentially outgrow any surgical solution put in place). After several hours of waiting and worrying, we got the news I suspected after the vet's earlier long explanation. The leg is not salvageable, and amputation is the most humane solution for us at this point. Surgery has a less than 10% chance of working just on the hip joint, and they have no idea how it would affect the issues with the knee joint, so it would likely be a lot of $ and time (recovery, physical therapy) thrown down the drain only to find out that we would need to amputate anyway. If we leave the leg on as-is, it is having a negative affect on the healthy leg, which is overcompensating and being pulled out of socket because of the weight and angle of the dragging leg. So then you end up with 2 fucked up legs. So, Delgado is scheduled for amputation surgery on November 9th.

I am feeling very zen about the whole thing. I have seen tripods before (as they are known) and they are able to function just as any four-legged dog would do. Dogs do not have the same hang ups about their bodies as humans do, Delagdo will never know that he is different from other dogs, and since he is so young, he may not ever remember life with 4 legs. He will adapt quickly and be much happier to be without pain. Husband, on the other hand, is just furious. How do you go from a simple tibial fracture to needing amputation. In the vet's own words, he has never seen anything like this. It is just a freak occurrence. I do think the Surgeon's office feels some culpability because our visits and the x-rays have all been comped. I did bring up the cost of the surgery (about $3,000 + post op visits, suture changes, etc.) and how we felt in, in no uncertain terms, that this all might have been avoided at some point along the journey if we #1 hadn't been discouraged from coming in, #2 were continually assured that nothing was wrong, #3 neither the 1st vet nor the physical therapist noticed there was anything wrong with the hip...all of which leads me to believe that the Surgeon's office must be concerned that we have a pretty strong case for malpractice. Either way, husband is devastated that our beautiful, perfect family pet will now have to live his life as an amputee. I think Husband is projecting some personified feelings onto Delgado. As I mentioned, dogs aren't like people. he isn't going to walk by as other dogs whisper and wonder about his missing leg. He'll just be another dog to them. And, he'll be able to function just as a normal, four-legged dog will. So, in the long run, this is the most humane decision to make. What is the point of letting him drag around a diseased, non-working leg that isn't doing anything but impede his development? The whole things is just a set of freak circumstances. No one gets a dog thinking, gosh I hope something happens so that I can amputate one of his legs, but what happened, happened, and there really isn't anything we can do about it. The sooner we accept that and move on, the happier we will all be.

Oh, and 2 of 3 kids have strep throat, Husband is still sick (he was diagnosed with pneumonia a few weeks ago but finished the medicine and yet the cough has not gone away), and I've got some sort of mild cold that is annoying the shit out of me! Sept/Oct has been the rainiest by far the NoVa has seen in who knows how many years (J has literally had about 3 practices and 3 games all soccer season since everything else has been rained out). Today it is literally snowing (slushing, really)!! Fall has not been the best of seasons for us this year!

*Add that one to the things I never thought I'd have to say, "Sorry, I can't go, my dog has a physical therapy appointment."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Yet Another Cop Out Post

I love posting pictures. It prevents me from having to come up with ever more creative excuses for not updating my blog, lol!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Falls Church Farm Day!

Pony rides, petting farms, pumpkin painting, and bees, oh my!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Alas, I have let this whole 3-day weekend getaway from me (happy dance for being back with the federal government, who are the only ones besides school children who still get Columbus Day off!). I spent a whole day and half not studying at all! In case I have not mentioned it lately, if you are thinking about joining the Foreign Service while still pursuing other studies...don't! The overkill of constant studying is really taking a toll.  There is absolutely no break for me, and I feel as though I could be progressing much faster in language if I wasn't so encumbered by my Masters coursework. In my case, the money was already sunk, and I only have my Master's capstone after this last class finishes up in a couple of weeks, so it is worth it to see it out, even if it does mean that I am losing some of my hair (if hair meant sanity). Anyway, that was a very long explanation for why I don't have anything to blog about! I promise to post some pics of our trip to Falls Church's Farm Day 2011, but in the mean time here are some freebies I've been storing up to tide you over (and/or distract you from sending me nasty e-mails ;)

This interview* is with three foreign service officers and talks mostly about the changes in the service post-9/11. You can either listen to the broadcast or read the transcript.

For those with special needs children, someone on the FS Special Needs board recently posted a link to the 2011 Special Education Needs Seminar videos. This is a really fabulous resource with information on how to navigate the system, help in planning moves overseas, allowances, researching posts, and just pretty much anything you might want to know as a FS parent of a special needs child.

Free yoga! **

*Amb Munter came and spoke with my A-100 class, and he was such an awesome speaker! 
** Disclaimer - I have never actually used this site, it was just forwarded to me by a friend. So I can't vouch for how good any of these videos are!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Putting the Minions to Work

And making them think it is fun! Apple picking works even better than corn shucking :)

 It was cold out there!

...and the bonus was the pick your own pumpkin patch :)

A pumpkin patch that grew pumpkin trucks...I wonder where they get the seeds for those?