Monday, December 31, 2007

For Laughs

We are back home after spending Christmas week in Idaho with Cowboy's family. We had a great time and I'll post about it later, with pictures. We are relaxing at 'Home Sweet Home' this morning. I am catching up on email and a few blogs that I enjoy.
I recently discovered KellyJean, a funny lady in Colorado (one of my favorite places in the world) and her blog is very appropriately named
She is having a contest of funny stories and hers are the best. She invites visitors, go and laugh.

It is good to be home!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Puppies Revisited

It was a quiet day at the Clinic today. Rainy, winter weather,kids off school, pre-holidays; a slower time in most vet clinics. The staff scheduled 2 hours for a lunch pizza party and Christmas gift exchange. All enjoyed.
I decided to share my last appointment of the day.

Remember these puppies from my post on November 1st? They were the cute results of an emergency C-section. Delivered eight pups and eight pups survived.

This lovely family came in tonight with the puppies for their exams and first vaccinations. What a room full of fun and energy.

These two little guys were just adorable! And more than willing to pose for pictures. A very good way to end my work day.....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Thanks for the comments and good thoughts.
Last week I dropped Jerry off with friends daily while I worked. Kind of was like taking a kid to day care; leaving the house a half hour early, making sure he had all his meds, phone, warm clothes, trying to remember to pick him up after work, getting home late. It was good; he got to visit, I had the piece of mind knowing he was being watched over. He's doing well. So this week he is here, home on the ranch, on his own. He is not supposed to drive for another 3 weeks (at least), I have to drive him anywhere he needs or wants to go. This has turned out to be a very good thing... I am getting the driving instruction and critique that I must have somehow missed all these years of pretending to drive. It must just be my wonderful luck that kept me from tickets and accidents all of these unenlightened years! He is not to lift over 8 pounds. He is feeling feisty..... I have to be very clever about getting information. He bragged a bit about exercising with my 8# hand weights, I'll have to hide those now. I need a 'nanny cam'.
The news is on TV, bummer, they are showing the local ski resorts and snow and skiers. Dang. Snow skiing is such a passion of mine and I am most disappointed to be missing opening weeks. I am working at getting my injured leg in shape! We go to Idaho for Christmas week. The original plan was to go skiing with Jerry's son and grand kids. Now the plan is to sit in the lodge and drink alcohol while we watch the healthy folks ski. Yea
Three weeks later than originally planned... yesterday Jerry made an offer on the log house mentioned in a previous post. Another offer had just been made and now a counter-offer considered. We didn't hear back today so I am guessing that house has been sold. Our search will continue....
I just spellchecked (is that a verb?) I mistyped alcohol as alchol and one of the suggested corrections was 'asshole', how strange.... go ahead, try it yourself.
On that note....good night.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday Peace

Home from the hospital for just over a week, and it has been a busy but good week. Another calm, peaceful Sunday here. The following pictures were taken last Sunday, today was much the same.

Remington leisurely lopes in to get his grain.

The hay seed in the field is just starting to grow. The 'Live Oaks' stay green all year. Snow capped mountains in the background. (ski tease)

My horse adores Jerry, all critters like him. This was 9 days post open-heart surgery.

Rock and Cheyenne madly race in at the breakfast call. (if I crop this picture, appears as wolf attack)

Most of the calves have been sold, a few small ones remain with their mommies. This one is the fuzziest. And he likes to taste his nasal discharges......

Friday, December 7, 2007

Home Sweet Home

We can see the storm clouds over the Sierra Nevada... which means... yep, we are home, and so thankful to be here. What was the first thing we did? Some of you will guess correctly. I drove up aong the pasture fence, called the horses, they trotted up and welcomed Jerry home. We came inside and were greeted by a colorful, cheerful banner, made by a dear friend. Jerry settled down in his recliner, fell asleep, and probably rested better than he has in over 10 days. I know I'll sleep well cuddled in our own bed again tonight.
This blog started out as a way to share the trips and pictures we take. Odd how it has become a journal of maladies.
It will be a winter of healing. I tossed my crutches away into the bed of my pick up truck about 3 days ago. Now I will concentrate on getting my squished leg back to normal. I doubt I will be able to ski this season.
Jerry has 6-8 weeks of no driving and then an additonal month of no physical labor. This will be tough on him. But he has such a positive outlook on life, he'll do fine.
We've talked some tonight on how very much we have to be thankful for.
And now I am going to drink a cup of tea and get ready to sleep in my very own bed.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

From the Hospital

It has been 10 nights since Jerry's heart attack. Last night was our 9th night here at the Veteran's Hospital. Before surgery I just slept in his room, since surgery, they haven't let me stay with him all night, I've been staying in guest quarters that the military provides. I am lucky they have had a bed for me available each night (the veteran's come first) and it has saved us plenty and allows me to be close.
Jerry has had the urinary catheter removed and the chest drainage tubes were removed yesterday. The tube removal was planned for noon yesterday, and the plan was to give him pain meds about an hour before. At 10 am, one of the doctors came in, announced she had time to remove it, had a nurse help and yanked the thing out. It caused him MUCH pain for about 2 hours. I was furious! The nurse warned us that he would need pain meds for the procedure and warned us about some doctors that didn't seem to care. We thought we were a step ahead. I lose all respect for a doctor who doesn't care about patients any further than the procedure at hand. That actually was the first negative experience we've had here.
Jerry is doing well. Good appetite. Blood work coming back in acceptable ranges. Doing plenty of walking. Bored and wanting to go home. We are hoping he will be discharged tomorrow.
I spend most of the day in the room with him. Neither of us are TV watchers, there's not much else to do here, so we flick through the channels making negative comments and wondering how TV programming got so bad. Discovery channel has some good stuff. Animal planet is sometimes OK, the rest... 'thumbs down'.
Remember as kids in 4-H or scouts, we went to 'old folks' homes for Christmas programs? Well let me tell you those programs are valued! Last night I was on the receiving end. The hospital had its' annual Christmas Craft Fair for the veterans and dependents here. WOW. Jerry is a prisoner of the ICU but encouraged me to get out. They had very nice box dinners to hand out, I ate. The large hospital auditorium was filled with tables for various groups and their craft projects. There were lots of patients in wheel chairs having a great time and a few of us wives too. What an appreciated break and it was most fun being entertained by the enthusiastic kids helping. There were scouts, Church groups, civic groups, ladies clubs, etc. I made a small Christmas tree, an ornament, leather worked a key ring, wood burned a picture frame, and decorated a Christmas stocking. Tooked them all up to the room and gave Jerry an early Christmas. He almost cried, I just love that man, he didn't even make fun of the elementary-age-art appearance of the stocking, just insisted I hang it on his wall. We have not been together long enough for him to know that I lack artistic abilities, but I don't think he cares....
Time now for me to get a cup of coffee and go up to ICU and ask Jerry what he has planned for the day....
My love to you all.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Jerry is recovering as expected. Today was a painful one and he slept much more than yesterday. His sons and I visited him less to allow him more uninterrupted sleep. He is dealing well with the pain and the temporary loss of independence and is stubborn about accepting all of our offers to help, which is quite healthy I believe. His grandchildren were able to call him today which brought huge smiles to his face. He spent most of the day in the hospital recliner, he is much more comfortable sleeping there than on the bed. I just want to get us both home.

The 'boys' leave tomorrow, early; I'll drive them to the airport at 5 a.m. Their flights are about 2 hours apart. I will miss their help, their support, and their goofy-funny-friendly antics! The nurses and everyone loves them. I wish they were staying longer.

This hospital is the most nurturing place I have ever experienced. I have met and been touched by incredible veterans of all ages and stages of health here. One day I will share some of those stories.

Last night I slept my first good sleep since last Monday night. Tonight I am restless. I was up and in the ICU by 5:30 am, I should be tired. I miss home, I hate seeing Jerry so painful, everything seems so abnormal and 'out of whack'. We will be here at least another week we are being told. I am so grateful and thankful that everything has been as it has been, he is alive and his heart has been repaired.

Tomorrow one of his best friends and wife will visit. He will like that. Jerry has many 'best friends', people like him and he likes people. He's a very social animal. Unlike myself and my need for regular times of solitude. Have I mentioned that I just want to get us home? ;-)

Please would all of you expand your prayers and include all of the veterans and families?


Friday, November 30, 2007

A Success

Surgery was successful! Four hours, a triple by-pass, now in ICU. Jerry will be kept sleeping and on a ventilator until tomorrow, when they will slowly awaken him. The surgeon said all went well. I am resting in his sons' hotel room after a nice long hot bath. I feel completely zapped of all energy. The 'boys' are wonderful, wonderful men and I am so thankful they are here. Two of Jerry's dear friends (mine now too) were here with us for the long wait. We are so blessed to have Jerry still with us. After a bit more resting, I'll call them to come pick me up to take me back to the hospital, they did threaten that I not call too soon, that they would not answer the phone. I have a bed in a guest house the military provides right next to the hospital. I will have to stay there tonight, they don't want me sleeping in surgery recovery ICU. He is at a VA hospital and I am totally 'blown away' by the excellent care and compassion we have experienced here. We may be here another 7- 10 days. I want to thank everyone for positive thoughts, comments and prayer.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


We reached a detour on our trail, not a major road-block, just a detour. Jerry had a heart attack Monday midnight, while I was out of town. My phone was turned off so I did not get his messages until Tuesday morning. That was a long 4 hour drive back home! He drove himself to the hospital. They stabilized him and then he was transported to a hospital here in the San Fransisco area last night. I followed the ambulance, kind of. They could use the express lane, I couldn't. It took me four hours to get here. I slept in a chair by his bed all night. He looks bright, alert, and chipper this morning. Two of his sons are flying in today, one from Virginia, one from Idaho. I am sure glad they will be here. Tomorrow they have scheduled his by-pass surgery. He has an excellent attitude and just wants to get on with it. His sense of humor is intact and in full gear. I, on the other hand, am worried sick. I came out to my truck to change and brush my teeth and deodorize and catch up on emails. Now I have to go find some food. I left the room when he dove into his breakfast and I remembered I haven't eaten a thing in a day and a half.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday, at home.

One of the things I love about California, fresh picked strawberries, on November 25th, NOT hot-house!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Log House on the Hill

I have much to be thankful for, and I am! I limped through four days of work this week, with a bit of improvement each day. Celebrated our 4 month anniversary... yeehaw! Spent Thanksgiving Day with friends who did all of the cleaning, cooking and entertaining. Finally was able to venture out on a 'house hunt' again today. Ended the day with a turkey meal and all the fixin's with more friends. Now cozy at home, with my legs up in the recliner, I'll share the log house.

We found this cute place today. Months of looking at places and this is the second place we have seen that we liked at all. (The first place we loved, had an offer accepted the day we looked at it.) This is the front of the log home on 7 acres. The cowboy and I both really like log houses.

Pretty log walls, thick and shiny. Gorgeous wood floors. Decent wood stove. Lots of sunlight.

Pretty kitchen. Granite counter tops. Nice appliances. Lots of light.

7 acres. Large pole barn. 4 car garage. An odd shed. Another barn/garage building that Jerry says he could fix up as a bunk house for guests? (hhmmm overnight guests have to 'bunk out' ???) Lots of trees and pasture areas.

After looking at another totally unacceptable place, we said good bye to the realtor and headed back to the log house. I sat in the truck while Jerry went exploring around the property. (I am not up to any cross country hikes just yet) He came back full of enthusiasm, plans and ideas. I don't think 7 acres will be enough for that man's plans.

When he started talking about where to build the roping arena and chutes, I had to put on the emergency brakes. 'Um, what would the chutes be for?' "Our roping steers." 'um, I don't think 7 acres is enough for me and a herd of steers.' ...Just a minute ago he handed me his laptop and asked," well, how 'bout this?" What a good man! He found a very cool mechanical steer for roping. 'Perfect!'

Now we have to decide how much we like this place and how much to offer. Property is so grossly overpriced here, as is reflected in the market right now. But so rarely do you find a good fit. We'll sleep on it.

The foot hills are starting to green up a bit.

I am also most thankful to be blessed with great friends, family and loved ones!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tule Fog

TULE (too-lee) FOG: Named for the tule reed or cattail wetlands of the California Central Valley. The Central Valley from Bakersfield south, extends north to Red Bluff, rimmed by the Coastal Ranges on the west and the Sierra Nevada to the east. A large, flat expanse of agricultural land.

This very thick fog collects during the rainy season of late fall and winter. Traffic speeding along in zero-visability tule fog has been the cause of those awful, fatal California pile-ups on hwys 5 and 99.

Fog usually forms the 1st or 2nd clear night after it has rained, the skies have cleared, and the winds light. Rain + rapid cooling + longer nights. Inversion occurs, colder air nearer the earth's surface. The cold mountain night air descends into the valley and becomes trapped. The air above the tule fog is warmer, drier, lighter, further serving to trap the heavy, humid fog. Low air drainage may result in several days of fog, while sunny breezy days may clear the fog by noon.

After one year suffering the heat, smog, and tule fog; I fled the Central Valley for the refreshing foothills of the Sierra. Recently back in 'the Valley', hopefully temporarily, I am seeking and finding beauty in the fog.

The bad, ugly, dangerous, depressing.

Silent calm.......


Gentle comfort.........

Hauntingly beautiful.......

Starting again where my previous post began.... Another cool, dense, foggy morning. ---the delay in my blogging (I am not sure if that is an actual verb) was a result of several medical complications from my little horse accident. I have been spending time in bed with my leg elevated, thankful for drugs that minimize the discomfort and allow me to sleep. The same drugs have made me inappetent and nauseated. A different prescription is working better and without the side effects.

I can read and blog again.

Out of my fog!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Kathy's Dusty Saddle

Yesterday started off quiet enough. It was a cool, foggy morning. I considered blogging about the weather.

Raven in a Tree on the Ranch in the Tulle Fog. Yes! Very exciting topic!

The fog cleared and I went out to enjoy the weather with a ride on my mare 'Rock'. This is the lovely eye that greeted me. I thought, "cool, a new blog subject, more interesting than the fog!" I created a lovely and colorful pictorial on treating an infected horse eye.

The weather was perfect for a ride, and since my horse wasn't up for riding, I saddled up The Cowboy's steed 'Cheyenne'. Which led to today's blog subject.

Kathy's Dusty Saddle.

Blue Skies and Dusty Brown Saddle.

Please note: all family members who tend to worry about me, since I am blogging this, it stands to reason, I am fine.
I feel like a horse fell on me but other than that I'm not doing too bad. The horse is fine too. I ended up spending the entire day in the Emergency Room yesterday because Cheyenne DID fall on me. I came home with some pain meds, some anti-nausea drugs, crutches and bruises. I finally remembered what happened, I was riding in the round pen, just at a trot, when Cheyenne stumbled and fell over on his left side, squashing me underneath. I remember crawling away from him and calling for help because I couldn't stand up. Thankfully there were a few guys here putting up a building. The horse just laid there not moving. I thought he was dead. Scarier than my body hurting was my loss of memory. Once it was determined I wasn't dying, they took off his saddle, Cheyenne stood up and seemed OK.
I whacked my head a good one. Strange to not remember things. I knew my name and the name of the friend who was there. I knew the horse was not mine and that he belonged to 'Jerry' but I was not quite sure who Jerry actually was. And I wanted to know why I wasn't riding my own horse. I kept talking nonstop to friend, trying to recall things. It was very frustrating, not remembering. He drove me to the hospital and called Jerry (who apparently I am married to) who was about an hour away or so. As soon as I saw him in the hospital, I recognised him and said, 'I know you, you're my husband!"
My chest was radiographed, all OK. I was given a contrast media I.V. and CT scan, no bleeding, no skull abnormalities. A very nervous EMT intern put in my IV cath and did a very good job. His hand shook and he was very worried he was hurting me, but I was a very encouraging patient. His name was Dusty.
When my pain meds wear off I have a headache,neck pain, my ribs hurt, my left leg feels smashed and my left ankle is quite swollen and painful. While the drugs are working, the soreness is minimal and I am very sleepy. I am taking today easy. We did hobble out to the pasture so I could direct the Cowboy in medicating my mare's eye. Which is looking better.
We looked at the round pen and found a deep soft spot in the sand which most likely caused the fall, I am not sure why the horse just laid there for so long. Probably he was just too stunned, I am choosing to think that he stayed real still so he didn't hurt me more.
Anyways, that was my excitement for the day.
My memory has completely returned.
I hope my ankle is healed in time for snow skiing.
So tomorrow, shall I post about the fog or about infected eyes?
Happy trails!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

America's Tallest Christmas Tree

" The unveiling"; Cargo arrived this morning from the forests of Oregon.

Six Flags:Marine World goal is to exhibit America's tallest Christmas Tree this year.

I was surprised at the condition of the tree once the tarp was removed. Of course they had to saw off all of the lower branches for transport. They will be reconnected once it is erected.

There's Jerry right on top of things, he was 'rigging' the tree for transport to the little island in the center of the park where it will be displayed.

Here comes transport. Awesome to be right there as it took off, the winds produced were like being in a tornado. It was in the parking lot waiting for the tree to be readied, then it was to carry the tree to the island. Jerry is friends with the 'copter guys'.

Directly overhead. Windy and loud. I had goose-bumps!
I missed a picture of Jerry connecting the tree to the helicopter. The pilot manuvered the cable line right into his hands. I was running for refuge behind a fire engine as unsecured trash barrels came barreling in my direction.

Jerry chatting with the helicopter pilot.

Heading to the island.

Lowering the tree to the island.

The helicopter has returned to the parking lot.

Yep that is me. I got a tour of the helicopter and got to sit in the pilot's seat. It was a very fun- filled morning. We plan to go back and take a look at the fully decorated tree when they open for the holidays.

This was recorded and on the local news, you couldn't see us, but we were there.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Working with Jerry

We left the house at 6:30 this morning. I spent the day with Jerry on a job. A very fun morning! That's me, somewhere I haven't been before. Can you guess? I'll post more later tonight.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

C-section : Lab version

Sharing a day at the 'office'.

On my way to the clinic, the receptionist called, alerting me to the first patient of the day. Female black Lab, 7 yrs old, in labor; a still-born pup at 3 a.m., no pups born since then.

Radiographs (Xrays) confirm more pups (lots of 'em!) and one 'stuck' in the birth canal.

'Stuck pup' refused to be 'unstuck' with fingers or forceps.

dystocia=failure to whelp

Next course of action; Canine C-section. One of my favorite surgeries.

I.V. catheter and fluids, gas anesthesia, surgical prep, ready to drape surgical site.

My tech, the kennel worker, dog owner and her friend stand by to receive the pups.

In the mad rush to attend to and do everything for the neonates (newborns) , intra-op pictures were neglected! So you get to miss seeing the huge, distended, pup filled uterus and all of the associated fluids. So Sorry ;-) Here I am closing up her abdomen, much less distended!

Puppy's human momma, placing a squealing, squirming newborn in a warm box of sisters and brothers. Such a sweet sound to my ears, hearing all of the puppy cries in the treatment area while I was working on mom.

I removed eight (yes 8!) large puppies from the uterus. The crew did an awesome job of stimulating, cleaning and caring for all of them. Three were tough going, the tech did an outstanding job and even got the 'stuck' pup breathing. Eight out of eight ... not bad!

Momma and babies.

Now the poor old gal has 8 weeks of motherhood ahead of her. She looks just thrilled about the whole deal.

It was a great way to start a very busy day at the office.