Friday, November 20, 2015

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

We were only back in St. Louis four days when my husband left for a conference in Chicago. So of course the dog would choose that rainy, stormy night to get into something in the back yard that necessitated a visit to an emergency veterinary clinic. I let Kirby out for what I presumed would be the last time at 9:30 or so. When he came back in, he was running around the house like an obsessed dog. He has food allergies, but also some reaction to evergreens, of which there are a ton in our yard as well as the whole neighborhood. So sometimes he does get irritated when he is outside. But this time he just couldn't settle down. He was panting like crazy and he kept rubbing his face on every surface on the main level of the house. I thought he was going to have a heart attack, but then the next time I looked at him I noticed that his eye was bleeding. Blood was streaked along the fur on the side of his face.

I looked up where my vet recommends taking emergency cases, and that clinic is kind of far away from our home. Since I would be dealing with the dog by myself on a stormy night, I really wanted to go someplace closer. So I did what everyone does in this day and age - I posted a request for recommendations on Facebook - specifically the page for Webster Groves. Within a few minutes I had several suggestions. And that, folks, is why I love Facebook and other social media! I called the clinic that was the most recommended and explained what was going on. She said that you really don't want to mess around with eye issues, and suggested I bring him in.

We arrived at 10:30 to find only one dog ahead of us. A vet tech did the initial intake, including weighing Kirby. But Kirby was having none of the thermometer up the wazoo treatment, so the gal said she would get another tech to help her in the back. After another couple of minutes they took him into an exam room to see the vet, and I sat in the waiting room listening to an interchange between the vet tech and the latest patient. It was a large dog of indeterminate breeding, and they though he had an intestinal blockage. Apparently he consumes toys, socks, paper - he is a non-discriminating chow-hound. Yikes! Kirby likes food too much to ever be bothered eating something that is not something we would also eat. (Not counting his food, of course, since that is a dish we don't share with him. Along with anything that is a grain, as he has allergies to them.)

Then I was called into the exam room to meet with the vet. He looked like he was about 12. Seriously. Doggie Howser, DVM? I guess the new vets get the late shift at the emergency clinic. Anyway, he advised that they had done a test on Kirby's eye and there was no scratch on the retina, so that was good news. Because Kirby was itching and rubbing so much, they gave him a shot of prednisone followed by a shot of Benydryl. He said the small scabs on Kirby's skin were indicative of skin issues, so he sent me home with an ointment to put in the eye twice a day as well as an antibiotic for the skin issues. Kirby also got the Cone of Shame to make sure he didn't scratch his eye anymore.

Kirby at the clinic
Kirby the Cone Head
We were home by 11:30, so the visit really didn't take too long. I had to wait 20 minutes after we got home to take off the pressure bandage that covered the area where he got his shots, and in the meantime he tried to get a drink and eat. This is not an easy feat with a cone around your head. I ended up tilting a plastic bowl for him to drink out of, and hand feeding him some of his dry food. Then we attempted to go to sleep. Ha! Kirby sleeps in bed with us, and he was quite perplexed as to how he was supposed to stretch out with the cone on. He was up and down and walking around the bed quite a while before he finally figured something out. Needless to say, we were both pooped in the morning!

I called our vet in the morning as a follow-up, and was pleased that the emergency clinic had already sent our paperwork over to them. My vet's office told me that I could take the cone off as long as I was in the same room with Kirby and could watch to ensure he didn't scratch himself. But honestly, I was afraid I would not be able to get it back on him by myself, so I left it on for three days until his eye cleared up. He quickly figured out how to eat and drink, and he slept fine after the first night with the cone. We had a follow-up visit with our vet last week, and they cleaned out Kirby's ear and changed his antibiotic to one that they felt is better suited to skin issues. He is so much better, and we just have one more pill left for him to take. Hopefully that will be that.

Kids and pets - why do they have to get sick after hours?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

New York City Day 5

New York City skyline
Sunday was our last day in New York, and it was pretty much a travel day. Our friends had left early in the morning, so the two of us walked to a deli for breakfast before packing up our suitcases. Our flight was not until the afternoon, but one of the cab drivers we talked to earlier said that with the New York Marathon on Sunday, many roads would be closed. He suggested getting out of the mid-town area before 11:00 in the morning. The hotel staff could offer no better information, so we caught a cab to LaGuardia at 10:45. As it turned out, traffic was a breeze and we arrived at the airport with no troubles and plenty of time to spare. Even the security line was light, which figures since time was no problem for us. We picked out a relatively empty gate area and settled in for the duration.

Our plane had been changed from the one seat - two seat configuration to one that was two - two, but our seat assignments were still the same. The plane left the gate just a few minutes late, but once again we encountered severe turbulence during the flight. In fact, they suspended beverage service for a bit. Once they finally gave us drinks, I almost wish they had not. We held our cups up in the air to prevent spills, and even that was dicey. Eventually the air calmed and we had smooth sailing the rest of the way.

I just can't imagine a better way to begin my sixties. Traveling to a fabulous city, surrounded by good friends and family members - well, it just doesn't get much better than that. I only wish our daughter could have joined us as well. That would have been the icing on my birthday cake. But as I get to see her in a couple of weeks, I won't complain. Until next time, New York...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

New York City Day 4

High Line
The main thing on our list of things to see on Saturday was the High Line. Located on an old railway trestle, this 1.45 mile vertical park opened its third phase in November of 2014. Jim and I had walked phases one and two last time we were in New York, so we were eager to see the latest section. As it was a chilly morning, the four of us decided to go to a nearby diner and eat breakfast while waiting for the temperature to warm up a bit. We were planning out our day when I looked up from my final cup of hot tea and saw a gal come in the front door who looked like our daughter-in-law Megan. There was a waiter in the way, so I didn't see who she was with until he moved. That is when I saw Andy. I could not believe my eyes! They had driven up from their home outside of Washington, D.C. on Friday, and spent the night with their friends in Queens. As we had met Marty and Daniella before at Andy and Megan's wedding, they joined us for the day. I am not going to lie, they made me cry - happy tears. What a surprise!

at the diner
Following breakfast we took the subways necessary to get to the High Line. This park gets nearly 5 million visitors annually, and I think most of them were there on Saturday - ha! It was quite crowded and congested as people were stopping to take selfies, other photos and to admire the views and plantings along the way. The folks that were in town for the New York marathon were easily identified by their running attire - Italy, Mexico, England and many other countries were well-represented. Regardless of the throngs of people, it was nice to stroll along the trail.

High Line
After that is was time for lunch (yes, we ate our way through New York!) After exiting the High Line, we found the Sugar Factory. Lunch, shakes and candy - what's not to love? The decor is adorable, and the staff dressed for Halloween. Unfortunately there was a table filled with 16 girls celebrating the 13th birthday of one. A group of 6 parents sat at the next table, along with the professional photographer. (And I should add that a stretch limo waited outside for the group. Sheesh - what will she get on her 16th birthday?) So what's NOT to love? Having this group place their order right before us. We sat in that restaurant for 2 hours! Poor service coupled with mediocre food put a damper on the whole experience. We had places to go and people to see, so taking that much time for lunch definitely messed with our schedule.

Once we finally escaped our time in the factory, we went to Mood Fabrics. A guilty pleasure of Jim and me is watching the television show "Project Runway", where clothing designers have all kinds of challenges thrown at them each week. They always go to Mood to purchase their fabrics, so we just want to have a quick look at the store. Unfortunately Swatch, the dog, was not in residence that day.

Mood Fabrics
From there we were off to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This Episcopalian church was begun in 1892 and remains unfinished to this day. It is reported to be one of the largest cathedrals in the world. We arrived too late for an official tour, but we were able to still go inside and have a look around. They say it would take $100 million to complete the church. I am guessing that this will never happen. It is too bad as it is really a beautiful place.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine
It was getting dark, so back to the subway station we went to go to the hotel to change for dinner. Due to the fact that it was Halloween, the subways were unbelievably packed! We had to split up in order to squeeze into different cars. It was fun to see all the kids (both little and big) dressed up for trick or treating or partying though. The kids went store to store to receive their candy. How different from the way we do things in the Midwest!

Jim had made reservations for the 8 of us at Benjamin Steak House. Fortunately he had been able to push the time back a couple of hours since we had such a late lunch at the Sugar Factory. Benjamin's was great, and a wonderful way to end up an incredible and surprising day. The kids got back on the subway around 10:30 to return to Queens, and the old farts went to bed. After all, I had taken 18,579 steps for 8.22 miles, and climbed 20 flights of steps. I was pooped!