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Creek Running North

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September 21, 2005

It's all about Zeke, isn't it?

Okay, I see how it is. I thought you folks were here to learn about me, but no.

Oh, yeah, sure, thirty or forty of you mentioned my writing and politics and the desert and stuff, but the important writing is there on the wall. Y'all may say you'd "totally make out with me," but I'm no fool. I know what you're really saying is you'd totally walk my dog.

Well, fine. If that's how it's going to be. The leash is hanging on the inside of the front closet door.

I think I may have mentioned that Zeke has an ulcer, almost certainly caused by the non-steroidal anti-inflammatories we were giving him for his arthritis. His vet was concerned, asked us to discontinue his painkillers, and gave us some misoprostol to repair the damage in his stomach lining.

The untoward reactions for misoprostol – aside from termination of pregnancy, which I'm sure would have upset Zeke terribly – include what is referred to as "profound and persistent diarrhea." This particular reaction is supposed to occur "rarely." Which turns out to be correct. Out of Zeke's typical 24-hour period on misoprostol, he probably only spent an hour exhibiting the symptoms. Sounds rare to me.

Ten years without what is generally referred to as an "accident" in the house, and here Zeke has two in a 30-hour period. He was more mortified than we were. I had to pretend to yell at him just so he'd have closure.

For pain control, we are now on to polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, a relative of glucosamine/chondroitin which is injected into the vicinity of the affected joints. I am a little skeptical. The stuff has some research behind it, but it's also flogged on web pages in which people deride the Western Medical Conspirators who cruelly block the progress of T-Touch and veterinary acupuncture. We'll see how it works.

Zeke's vet mentioned the possibility of narcotics. It made me a little nervous. I told her I'd prefer to try other avenues first. I said I was concerned about the effect on his cognition, and opiates cause constipation, which is the last thing Zeke needs. That's what I said. What I was thinking was that I didn't want Zeke laying around the house stoned all day, getting into my Coltrane and Jim Carroll CDs, dog-earing my copy of Diary of Anais Nin, waking up from a bender and writing senseless fever dream poetry:

In Doggidu did Kibble Khan
A rawhide leather bone decree:
Where Arph, the gravy river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a jerky treat.

And then complaining at me later because he had to get up to bark at the UPS guy and he forgot the rest. That would suck.

So we'll try the injections first. He gets three more this month, and then one a month after that until we decide to try something different. I'm sure we'll get to the heroin eventually.

I took him to the vet's office Saturday for the first glycosaminoglycan injection in the series. They took him to the Top Secret Vet Area in the back to give him the injection. He was back there for about an hour, which was about 50 minutes longer than I expected. The vet came out, looking a bit concerned. He'd had another rare untoward misoprostol reaction in the back, all over the floor.

He's off the misoprostol now, and on flagyl for the ulcer and colitis, which as some of you will know is also used to treat vaginal infections. Perhaps there was more to this idea than we're giving Bush credit for. I'm about to buy my dog one of those Old Person Pill Sorters. Maybe I can get some opiates for both of us. If we both dose up he might not walk any faster back home from the creek in the morning, but I'll probably be happier about going very slowly.

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Comments

"I had to pretend to yell at him just so he'd have closure."

Best line ever.

Only a dog's person would know exactly what that means.

Posted by: KathyF at September 22, 2005 01:33 AM
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One time my neighbour's kid jumped out from behind a bush and grabbed Heidi's tail. That was the only person she ever bit, and it was just a little nip, purely by instinct. I had to yell at her to make the neighbour happy, but I hated to do it. I apologized to her after the neighbour and her kid left.

Posted by: Paul Tomblin at September 22, 2005 04:48 AM
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I wish I could give Zeke a scritch around the ears. Seeing animals in pain is the worst.

My two cats caught some mysterious intestinal virus a few weeks ago and were on Flagyl for about two weeks. Trying to give pills to cats is a thankless, futile job. Is it the Flagyl that comes in gel caps or was it the other medicine I gave them? At any rate one of the medicines caused Penelope to salivate horribly after giving it to her in powder-mixed-with-water form. Torture, utter torture.

Posted by: SneakySnu at September 22, 2005 05:25 AM
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Zeke's flagyl scrip is in caplet form, and easy to cram into his face. He's usually pretty good about taking pills. The misoprostol was a nightmare, because we had to cut the pills in quarters and getting the results down his throat was about like forcefeeding sawdust to a snail.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at September 22, 2005 07:39 AM
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I don't know, Chris, from all of your Zeke/Vet stories of late, are you sure this Vet knows what s/he's doing? Theoretical diagnosing, extra testing, extra visits, prescribing (human) pills that don't work/have unpleasant side effects - do you see what I'm gettin' at?

Posted by: Carrie at September 22, 2005 07:56 AM
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Carrie, you do not want to start an argument with me about seeing a dog through to a ripe old age. Do you see what I'm getting at?

Posted by: Chris Clarke at September 22, 2005 08:18 AM
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Give Zeke an extra hug from some pals up in the northwest. We hope he recovers quickly and well. Even our cat Bonsai, who is not much of a dog fan at all, wishes Zeke well.

Posted by: Rexroths Daughter at September 22, 2005 08:58 AM
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i have complimented your writing, but i don't recall saying anything about making out. while the content here about zeke is the most important part, your form is still great.

i hope the new regimen works out well. maybe it would comfort zeke if you told him about old humans and depends.

Posted by: dread pirate roberts at September 22, 2005 09:10 AM
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DPR, your aloofness with regard to yoours truly is not being questioned. That was a little joke about some of the comments in the Lurker thread.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at September 22, 2005 09:15 AM
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*thinking good thoughts for Zeke*

Regular monthly shots? Will you be taking him in for those, or having to do them yourself?

Posted by: Rana at September 22, 2005 11:00 AM
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No arguments from this side, dear...

Posted by: Carrie at September 22, 2005 11:19 AM
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If you were in my neck of the woods, I'd send you to my vet. She really awkward with people but wonderful with dogs, especially the older ones, which I think makes her just about perfect.

Accidents are horrifying to the well-housebroken dog. For non-bacterially based diarrhea, you can usually give a dog Kaopectate or Immodium (obviously, if it's a bug, you want to let the dog get it out). My dog's big (75 pounds), and he gets a child's dose. Ask the vet first, of course.

Best of luck to you and Zeke from me and Gus.

Posted by: Erin at September 22, 2005 11:24 AM
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Will you be taking him in for those, or having to do them yourself?

If they work, perhaps the latter. Though they burn, and I'd rather have Zeke hate the vet than me.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at September 22, 2005 12:44 PM
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as someone who recently nursed a terminally ill dog with meds/special diets/many vet visits for 3 months, my hat is off to you. No one can make the decision regarding what is best for Zeke but you.

I wish Zeke healthy days ahead.

"money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail" (Kinky Friedman)

Posted by: Cindy at September 22, 2005 08:11 PM
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Poor Zeke! He's so pretty, I can't stand it. My beasties send him {{{fortifying vibes}}}.

And, um, if Dread Pirate Roberts is going to forego his turn making out w/ you, I can only do the honorable, face-saving thing and step in.

Posted by: ae at September 22, 2005 08:50 PM
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Oh, goodie: The Continuing Adventures of Zeke!

I adore your writing, Chris. It's so beautiful and smart and balanced it leaves me nothing to say that doesn't sound sophomoric.

But stories about your fur person? Aw, heck, I can talk for days about the critters we share our lives with.

Posted by: CaseyL at September 23, 2005 12:34 PM
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nothing brings out the delurkers like stories of elderly canines. not a praying person, but i'd pray for zeke, and/or binkie and kona, or pretty much any teddy-bear dog if i thought it would help. best wishes for you & zeke.
i'm old enough to remember the effect on me as a child of old yeller, as well as -- later, as an adult -- the effect of re-seeing bodger coming out of the woods at the end of the incredible journey (damn those disney bastards!)
you may already know of it, but if not, i can recommend amy hempel's and jim shepard's anthology of 'poems by writers' dogs', as well as hopkins' spring & fall (to a young girl).

Posted by: dave a. at September 23, 2005 11:11 PM
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I loved the reference to the Old Person Pill Sorters. We have two lying around: A little one, for the little old faithful dog that spent years taking various little pills, and a big one for the big old faithful dog. Anyway, I keep checking in for news about Zeke. You're right, it is about the dog.

Posted by: Charles at September 30, 2005 10:55 AM
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