Saturday, September 28, 2013

Operation Don't Let Nellie Die

Howdy Y'all!

I know... I know... I suck at posting. Not much has been goin' on here to report on though. I did realize that I missed the one year anniversary of Fanny the Ass tumor's removal. I need to do something special to commemorate the event, and as soon as I think of something I'll do it.

The main reason I didn't post anything was that Nellie got sick, and I was genuinely afraid that I'd post anything and then the next day having to post a tribute to Nellie. Thankfully Miss Nellie Bellie is still with us *knocks on wood* so I figured I'd make a general post about it. *NOTE TO THE KARMA GODS... THIS IS NOT A CELEBRATION OF HER BEING ALL HEALED OR ANYTHING, I'M JUST TELLING THE STORY OF HOW SHE'S NOT DEAD RIGHT NOW*

Ok, so here's what happened. Last week we were cleaning the quint's cage when we noticed it... the dreaded red bedding, quite a lot of it actually. My first instinct was that Lucy had bitten someone. After a quick exam of each piggie and not finding any blood on anyone I assumed someone had a Urinary Tract Infection. Even before I knew who had the UTI I started treating Nellie for it. Why? A few reasons... One, Nellie has a personal and family history of 'em. Two, no one else in the cage has a history. Three, she's almost five. Let's just say the odd were not ever in her favor. So, I started flushing her out with the Chinese Herb "Shilintong". I take a tablet, crush it, put it in water and give it to 'em with a syringe. It smells like bad "fall" scented products if that makes sense. It makes the whole room stink to high heaven, but Nellie LOVES the stuff. While Mama and Frida tried to throw the syringes at me Nellie would attack the syringe to get more of it. Luckily for me she loved the stuff cause I'd give her a fair amount of the it every hour on the hour every night. This continued for a few days, and while I was growing concerned I did not take her to a vet. On the whole this is an extremely stupid thing to do. Let me tell ya why I didn't though. Apart from the whole occasionally peeing blood thing she was perfectly fine,  a happy lil' critter with a veracious appetite. More importantly, if I took her to the vet, they'd prescribe anti-biotics, and she has a family history of getting even sicker from the anti-biotics. She has a better track record with herbs than with actual drugs, so I felt this was her best chance. Of course if she started showing signs of pain and or actual sickness I would have taken her to a vet in a heartbeat, but that was the worst case scenario. Thankfully after a few nights of flushings and a dose of metacam later Nellie is as good as new, although I'm pretty sure she's bummed out about the lack of Chinese Herbal Drink.

Now that we've gotten Nellie through the week we want to keep her alive for as long as freaking possible. The last thing I need right now is another dead guinea pig. The key to keeping Nellie with us is to prevent her from getting sick. She has a history of bladder issues, so we do our best to prevent 'em. She is on a low calcium diet because calcium can build up in her lil' bladder and cause stones. I'm probably going to give her Shilintong even when she's not in the midst of a UTI, help clean the pipes if you will.  Nellie also gets a daily vitamin for urinary health.

We use Oxbow Natural Science vitamins for the piggies. They've got several varieties and I completely and totally would recommend them from your piggies. Nellie loves these vitamins more than life itself. She now recognizes the sound of the jar opening and popcorns at the thought of the yummy treats. 


A word of caution though with those vitamins... make sure the other piggies have lots of treats, because they will try to steal the 'em. Here's Eleanor trying to Nellie's precious vitamin. Let's just say Eleanor got a flickin' and Nellie got to continue nomming on her treat. 

Apart from prevention the only thing I can do I watch her like a freakin' hawk. Nellie is very predictable, and the moment she stops being predictable will be the moment something goes wrong. She gets weighed every couple of days, again her weight is stable and if she loses a noticeable amount of weight I'll take her ass to the vet. And as always I have an "emergency kit" of metacam, critical care, and pedialyte for the very likely chance that someone decides to get sick in the middle of the night. Seriously, what is it with animals getting sick AFTER the vet closes?!?!?!

Well, I think that's it here. Nellie doesn't particularly care about ninja vibes, but Lucy requests that you send them on Nellie's behalf, just to make sure everything is ok.

Crippie's Tippie - Shilintong can be purchased HERE. Apparently humans can use it too.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Back to Basics


I hope y'all have been having a dandy week thus far. Mine's certainly been interesting. Shall I bring you guys up to speed?

First off, someone hit my car in a parking lot... with me in it. No worries though, there was hardly any damage to my precious Penelope, just a scratch on the car and a few scratches to the rim of a tire. Seriously, it was so minuscule that I told the guy who hit me not to worry about it. It was a scary experience though. One of my main fears about driving is getting into/being involved in an accident and killing myself and or someone else. My thought process getting out of the car was "OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! WHAT AM I GONNA DO? WHAT AM I GONNA... oh... wait... there's no damage here... oh... okay... we're cool." I was a lil shake-y for a while but I calmed down after an hour or two. Now I ain't even mad, just thankful that nothing worse happened.

On to cripple things, the past few weeks have suuuuuccccccckkkkkeeeeedddddd pain wise. How bad? Well, I spent most of my labor day weekend laid up in bed watching "Orange Is The New Black" because I was literally in too much pain to move. Side note, I really enjoyed that show. If I had a "busy" day it would take another day to recover, and I'm using the word "busy" loosely because I really wasn't doing all that much. Anyway, today I went to my pain management doctor to discuss everything. She gave my back a once over and we came to the conclusion that my gait and lack of strength in my back is causing the pain. She gave me some exercises to do so hopefully that'll help. We're also adjusting my medication schedule a bit. I usually take my meds at night. We're now splitting them up so I take some of my weaker meds earlier. This should help manage my pain better and keep it at bay longer. Fingers crossed that it works. On the bright side, my arms having given me much trouble over the past two weeks, which is a welcome change. Pity the other issues overshadowed that.

On to piggie things. Lucy-fer was on a bit of an asshole rampage for a few days, until we discovered "solitary confinement". And by that I mean we put her in a pet carrier and left in there for a little while. One night before dinner Lucy was acting up so I put her in solitary. Her case was on a chair next to me so I could see her the entire time. It was 30 minutes of "WHY AM I HERE MAMAAAAAAA" and lots of sad piggie eyes. She started to learn her lesson after that, but she truly learned her lesson a few days after that. Lucy had settled down, but one her favorite pigs, Maggie, was ignoring her. Lucy would go by Maggie, not touching her or anything, and Maggie would start freaking out and screaming at Lucy until she left. Well... one day I check them and I found Miss Lucy-fer sulking in a corner. I took her out for some one on one time and we had a nice talk. I think she's starting to realize that her actions have consequences.

YOU CAN SEE THE SADNESS ON HER FACE! It's been a few days since we've had that discussion and *knock on wood* Lucy has not gotten into trouble. She's been a very good girl. Maggie is still wary of her and screams whenever Lucy comes near her. Poor Lucy-fer, she just sits there like "WHAT DID I DO!?!?! I JUST WANT TO SHARE A HOUSE WITH YOU".

So that's about it. Fun week. Happy Friday everyone!

Crippie's Tippie - Just because an animal is aggressive at times don't assume it's evil

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The L-Word

Howdy Y'all!

First off, I gotta give a shout out to my Jewish readers, have a happy and healthy new year. L'shana tova!

Next, I've got a cripple question from the lovely Rachel from "Fluted Cups & Ampersands". Her post was essentially about being called lazy by a nurse at a doctor's appointment, and Rachel wanted some input from other cripples about the situation. Here's my two cents (and probable cripple rant)

If hypothetically a nurse called me a "cripple", "gimp" or any fun technically offensive word I wouldn't think much of it. I'd probably start laughing hysterically actually. BUT if some nurse had the audacity to call me lazy all hell would break loose. Being called "lazy" is probably the worst thing you could say to a cripple, if not the worst it's in the top 10. Why? Because being lazy implies that you are making a conscious choice that you don't want to do something simply because you don't feel like it. I have chronic pain and fatigue, so when I cannot do something it's not because I don't WANT to something, it's because I CANNOT! Calling a cripple lazy implies that you think they are lying, weak, annoying, etc. It's extraordinarily insensitive and extremely hurtful, especially coming from people who do not know what they're talking about.

What would I have done in this situation? Thankfully I have not been called lazy by a total stranger so I can only use my imagination here. Gauging from the fact that it was a professional setting and probably other people around, I'd probably rip 'em a new asshole... politely of course ;) The conversation would probably go as followed...
Stupid Nurse - *some snarky comment about me being lazy*
Crippie - Excuse me? I... I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Did you just call me lazy?
Stupid Nurse - *insert another well thought out comment*
Crippie - How many tumors are on your skeleton at this very moment?
Stupid  Nurse - Um... none
Crippie - I have hundreds of tumors all over my body. HUNDREDS. Do you know what that means?
Stupid Nurse - Um... no
Crippie - What a surprise! Well, let me educate the expert here. These tumors cause pain and restrict mobility. Do you know what that means?
Stupid Nurse - Um...
Crippie - I'll take that as a no. This means it physically takes more energy to complete a task. Ok? I am not lazy. I am in an extreme amount of pain, I am extraordinarily tired... and I have to waste more of my energy educating know-it-alls like yourself.

Would I have contacted someone? Yup. Depending on the doctor's office there are surveys you can fill out about your experience. Heck, I might even demand to see someone at that very moment. Why? Because in a professional environment your job is to shut up and be nice to your "customer". In my line of work, if I ever called someone an "idiot" to their face (as tempting as it may be) I'd get fired. It is not appropriate and people need to learn that.

What can be done about it? It's hard to say because I hope these instances are just caused by lone idiots. On the whole "minor" healthcare employees aren't like this. If my orthopedist or my physical therapist said something implying I'm lazy, that would be another story because they know their stuff. What can cripples do about it? Again, it's hard to say because there are those "special snowflakes" out there who validate the opinions of those stupid nurses. All we can do is try to brace ourselves for the idiots. Memorize the spoon theory, come up with a general response. Something.

Now, it's pretty obvious that being called "lazy" strikes a nerve with me. While I've never been called lazy by strangers, people I know (various degrees of closeness) have implied that I'm lazy. For example, the act of grocery shopping is exhausting for me. When I return home I generally go lay down, leaving my able-bodied relatives to put away groceries. That sounds horrible, right? That's because it is. I cannot even begin to describe how guilty I feel that I cannot help. I should be helping them! I want to help, and I do whenever possible or absolutely necessary but it hurts, a whole lot. In college I couldn't do certain household chores, leaving my roommates to do them. That's not fair to them and I know that. I try to compensate by being the sole person to do the chores that I am physically able to do, but still to a degree I am a burden. I hate being a burden. Being called lazy implies that I am willingly making other people's lives difficult. I hate being a burden. I hate not being able to do things. I hate that I am putting a weight on someone else's shoulders. Being called lazy implies that I WANT to be like this, that I enjoy it. I didn't choose this, I don't want people to do things that I should be doing. This is not a "cripple perk" and it's insanely hurtful to think otherwise.

What can EVERYONE, normals and cripples alike do to alleviate the situation? Just try to be empathetic to other people's situations. Understand that you do not know the entire story and you don't know what everyone else on the planet is going through. As for the cripples that, like me, are riddled with guilt that they cannot do everything they should... I accepted long ago that life is not fair and everything will never be as it should. Just try your best to do whatever you can.

Something tells me people might react strongly to this, so please feel free to agree or disagree in the comment section. Am I being overly sensitive? A special snowflake? Spot on? Other?

Crippie's Tippie - DON'T CALL SOMEONE LAZY! 

P.S. - I have a follow up to the Lucy stories. I'll probably post in within the next few days. I was crazy tired and achy this week. Labor day weekend weather sucked beyond all reason and kicked my ass. 
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