Friday, September 12, 2008

Beware of What you Use in Your Flower Beds

Ziggy had a close call Wednesday evening.

I came home from work around 7 pm Wednesday evening. My son (T) had Ziggy in the front yard with him as he washed his car. Ziggy's leash was tied to a post to keep him from chasing off down the street. I have always been afraid he would run off in the street and face an oncoming car. Yes, I have always been very protective of my Ziggy.

When Ziggy saw me approach the front door towards towards him, he greeted me with his uncondtional love, lots of attempted kisses and an excited passion. I greeted him stroking his fur and sang gleeful songs of I missed you too my love. He calmed down and I went inside to place my purse and lunch container. My standard home from work routine.

It was still light outside and the temperature was nice. I decided to do a little flower garden maintenance while my son continued to pamper his car. I have a raised flower bed in the front yard. I noticed some unwanted crawly things waiting to prey upon my remaining summer flowers. In a lapse of sound thinking and ignorance of outcomes of my act, I went to the garage to see what arsenal of chemicals were available to cease the destruction these crawly things might impose on my precious flower garden.

I sprinkled the metaldehyde pellets coated with a sweet molasses in this flower bed. I didn't second think that my Ziggy would find these pellets appetizing. I didn't think anything hazradous or potentially life threatening. I did consider that there were no immediately present edible vegetables that would be contaminted by this peticide and since my backyard garden was distant from this flower bed, I was creating no immediate harm.

My son continued to put the last glamorizing touches to his car while Ziggy remained on the grass content and happy he was outside. I went inside and prepared dinner. (after all this is a food blog.) My son wanted a salad with tuna and I only wanted something simple like a bacon and cheddar cheese sandwich on sour dough bread. Ziggy and T came in about 20 minutes later with one interruption by someone soliciting donations for a political purpose.

T and I ate dinner. He also gave Ziggy a few bites of grilled tuna as he requested/begged. We finished eating and cleaning the kitcen.

It was now about 9pm. Ziggy walked like he wanted to go outside and poopie. T took him for a walk and returned. He commented to me that Ziggy seemed to be lax and didn't want to walk. He took him to the backyard to hopefully finish what he did not do on the short walk.

T commented to me again that Ziggy was in the backyard and was acting funny. I went outside and got him. He was still and not his usual self. I took him inside and wondered what is wrong. He was obviously not feeling well. I sat holding him for a while. He started to tremble and could not be calmed. T took him on his lap and continued to stroke him. We did think maybe we should take him to a vet, but at the same time not equating any of my actions from earlier that evening with how he was reacting, I thought this to will pass. If he wasn't better in the morning, we would seek a vet. We gave him water by inserting small drops in his mouth. Nearly 11pm, I chose to go to bed as I needed to go to work early in the morning. T would nurse and watch Ziggy.

Around 1:30am T awoke me. Ziggy is worse. He is trembling and panting excessively. T ran back downstairs and then came back to me and said Ziggy had what appeared to be a seizure. I totally woke up and went downstairs. Ziggy looked to be dying. He was heavily panting and his whole body was shaking/trembling heavily also. We have to go to an emergency Veterinary clinic. I found one in the phone book, called and was directed to a 24 hour emergency animal hospital in Culver City. We were out the door in seconds. T drove while I held Ziggy. I felt he was dying and it was my fault because I waited so long to seek treatment.

We got to the care center, pressed the emergency access bell and were greeted by personnel who took an obviously sick animal back to the emergency treatment area. It is now about 2 am. T and I worked with the receptionist to complete the admit paper work. A request from the treatment area of the very helpful front desk personnel suggested the worst. I felt something was terribly wrong, broke down on my son's shoulder and cried hard. A few minutes later someone came out and let us know Ziggy had another seizure. He was given Valium and an injectable muscle relaxant, methocarbamol. He had a fever of 105 which the Vet described as life threatening and potentially may result in body systems breakdown and coagulation problems (bleeding).

They needed to know Ziggy's history and what led to what was happening now. After a few questions and walk through of the evenings activities, the face of a very professional and caring Vet concluded that Ziggy probably ate some of the snail bait pellets I distibuted in the flower bed.

Snail Bait- Metaldehyde poisioning is a common event leading to the death of many dogs. It is a stong neurotoxin with ingestion of as little as 1 teaspoonful per 10 pound dog can be fatal. The label warns to keep from pets.

We are so fortunate that Ziggy survived this event. From his estimated ingestion time to treatment (4-5 hours) he is very lucky to be alive. How much he ate and when he ate it, we will not know.

I am posting this experience to alert you all to be careful with your pets. It may not be your yard that is doused with these poisons so be aware.

I will now look for an animal health care plan. The admtting personel at the emergency medical clinic estimated cost could be as much as $1500.00. We were allowed to go see Ziggy in the treatment area after about an hour. He was more calm though still trembling. He was monitored by an EKG, had an IV catheter with fluids being administered and still looked severely ill though better than when we arrived. The Vet assured me that he was doing better and that she would call if there were any further problems. I went to work Thursday. I phoned the clinic and was assured he would be fine. He did not have any more seizures. We went back to the critical care animal hospital after work on Thursday evening. The final bill was $1066.00. In about 16 hours Ziggy was back to normal based on my assessment.

Though the Vet recommended he stay an additional night (at over $300.00 additional), I chose to bring him home. 24 hours later, he is fine and back to normal. The only reminder is his one shaved leg where the IV catheter had been placed.

T took a shop vac and removed all the pellets from the flower bed. He also water soaked the area to dissolve any pellets which could have been missed. We threw away the remainder of pellets.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Table Top Cooking and Dining

I woke up too early this morning due to a telephone call. Keep in mind it is Saturday and after a long hard, demanding and stressful week at work, I looked forward to sleeping in.

Yea, just for the purpose of documenting where this meal was in the continuum of my life, I must state that the hospital where I work just successfully went through an unannounced JCAHO survey. (That's where we prove we meet their standards and deliver quality, safe healthcare.) Medication Management (MM) is a huge component of this survey for which I ultimately become singly responsible for any failures but as an organization, share responsibility for any successes. Another story which has no place on my blog but there were many MM successes- yea Sylvie.

Back on subject, I arose early and placed first on my "to do" list a visit to the Santa Monica Farmers Market. I picked up some fresh vegetables in addition to some fresh roasted chilies. Next on my list was some shopping at Marakai. This is an Asian market where I know I can get good, fresh ingredients to put together a meal from Shabu Shabu to Korean BBQ and anything else on all sides of these choices.

I chose, thinly sliced rib eye, skinless/boneless chicken drum meat, shrimp, Kurobota pork thinly sliced and Korean style short ribs. Side dishes included kimchee and seaweed salad. Ok, G went fishing for the day and this meal would be for me. I decided to divide all meat choices into three servings and freeze for a later meal. Easy to do with plastic wrap and Gladware.

I set up my butane powered single burner with a cast iron skillet for cooking. (Note to self- buy a stovetop single burner grill pan). The side dishes and dipping sauces were arranged. I marinated the chicken but chose to season the other meats with the dipping sauces.

With Southern Iced Tea to drink (that's the soul fusion link), dinner was prepared and eaten.