Archive for the ‘In Sickness and in Health’ Category

Now you can no longer see anything of Orion’s brush with death.


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Well, it’s a bit more than that. Thomas’ oldest son is in hospital with a badly broken leg and has joined the statistics over people who break their limbs in skiing accidents in Austria.

It’s one of these statistics one can only get into if you live in a country with both snow and mountains.

We’re presently waiting to hear how is operation came out. Yes, his leg was so badly broken — open wound, both bones in the lower leg twisted and broken — he required an op and pins put in and all that. Major. Well, it beats piercings for coolness big time. If you manage to heal again, that is.

We’re also waiting to hear if the skis and boots survived. Ok, I’m the evil stepmother and am waiting to hear if the equipment can still be used in the future, with or without blood.

However, I would like to congratulate B on having made it into the charts.

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So. After one helluva blog-break (sorry, sorry, sorry!) I’m back with no guarantees for when I’ll be disciplined enough to write more. Just thought I’d drop that in right away. So you know.

Well. It’s that time of year again. You know, the one that is supposed to be white and full of Yule cheers and good wishes for all and happy children, large antlered animals with red noses, fat white-bearded men dressed in red invoking fear in small children for all the wrong reasons – or perhaps the right reasons? what do I know – and various religious adaptations to boot. Happy season’s greetings to all!

Good, now that I got this out of the way I can tell you what Thomas is doing right now. He’s putting together new wardrobes for our bedroom. It must have seemed like a good thing to do right now. About ten minutes ago he wheezed through gritted teeth: “Now I understand why your mother didn’t want these cupboards.” The dogs are adding to the complications of constructing the white stand-up-coffins by insisting on moving around, tripping over tools and work benches and Thomas in turn. I’m actually referring to Orion here: Mischa is in energy saving mode as usual and is sound asleep in the middle of it all. Orion is also helpfully trying to keep an eye on the duck in the oven so it doesn’t run away.

The cupboards are only symptomatic of the many changes my instant family is going through. Both of Thomas’ sons now count among the school-dropouts in Austria. The oldest is slowly and painfully growing up and seeing the sense in being more responsible. Slowly. However, he is still elated about having an income of his own and has a habit of spending his entire income as soon as it’s on his account, or rather, before. So we still have a little work to do in the department of How To Deal With Money.

The youngest was presumably inspired by the success story (sic.) of the oldest and decided that he’d learned all that he will need to know in life earlier this year. After months of not really being in school this was finally revealed to us and — after a brief attempt at improvement and getting one really good mark in Latin he still found that learning was/is unimportant — finally dropped out of school for good. Since then he has been a huge asset around the house insofar as we always know where he is: in front of his computer. That way he doesn’t get in the way and I can occasionally dust around him and move the piles of dirty plates to see if he’s still there.

We are presently facing the prospects of getting the oldest back. That will mean having two large teenage boys sharing a room. This has proven a trial in the past and is likely to not get easier in the future. Good thing I know how to swing a whip. I don’t know if I dread the possibility. It is hard to dread something you have not really tried. But I am occasionally trying to envisage the cosiness of me, Thomas, two large teenagers and two large dogs roaming the premises. That will mean that Orion will not be the only clumsy presence. The teenagers have long since grown completely out of control and are frigtheningly clumsy, something our plates bear witness to with their badly frayed edges. I have a feeling the youngest may never stop growing and will become The World’s Tallest Man before he breaks in the middle from lack of flesh on his bones. The kid lives on Nutella, but where he puts it I’m at a loss to find out. Good thing we live in an “Altbau” with 3m 20cm under the ceilings or he’d already be suffering some serious bumps on his head.

Ah well, where there is love there is room. I sometimes repeat this to myself as a reminder. Muttering under my breath like a lunatic.

2012 looks to be another insanely busy year. The above accounts for some of it, in addition comes that we are involved in the work for the last ToyRun. That’s way more work than I had anticipated, mostly because I never really thought I would be all that involved. But I won’t bother you with the details. Where biking is concerned we are also working with a biker magazine which is being relaunched in 2012. Thomas is more involved than me: he’s now the Viennese editor… All the editors work for the magazine on a freelance basis and have “normal jobs” on the side. I acted as inhouse photographer during their relaunch editorial meeting earlier this month and some of the pictures will be used in the first issue due in February.

Well, it seems Thomas is done with causing havoc for the day. The dogs (read: Orion) is suitably nervous about all the upset. Orion is convinced he will be left behind. Mischa takes it for granted that something unpleasant will happen so he has his depressed face on while hoping that the duck will be left unattended long enough for him to teach it how to walk. Into his mouth. Christmas eve is to be spent with my in-laws and Thomas’ youngest sister and husband at my old flat, so right now there is last minutes chaos as we get all the food ready and packed while falling over Orion whose face is getting ever more knotted with worry and Mischa who has placed himself in the middle of the main thoroughfare. I’ve gone overboard with red clothing and am wearing nail varnish for the first time in months making me feel as if I can’t quite move my finger tips in case I chip them. The “children” have been hijacked into bringing cheer and joy to their mother’s family, something they will likely do in poor grace. I know them. We get their joyful company tomorrow. 🙂

All is well. All is quiet. We shall enjoy it while it lasts. 3-2-1. Oh well. It really was too good to last. I’m being ordered to get ready so we can leave for the evening’s festivities. I may update this entry with pictures tomorrow. But, as mentioned, I promise nothing.

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Orion is as right as rain again and begs for attention, food, playtime, walkies and more attention, food, playtime and walkies. He is slowly gaining weight through several small meals per day. If it wasn’t for the shaved patches and the scar on his stomach one would never know he nearly died from the bloat less than two weeks ago. We’re all happy bunnies.


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SO looking forward to getting husband back from his army manoeuvre! I’ve missed him.
She miss her lovely husband, that means she is in love.
Her eyes are shining brightly, like the sun and moon above.
When her husband is coming home again, I know the place Ine will be.
In the bedroom, saying: “Darling. Do the army manoeuvre with me”!
In this case the command (in German) “sprung, vorwärts, decken” gets a new meaning…

I’ve missed Thomas for more than one reason. It’s not been all that easy being a nurse, even to “just a dog”. I’ve pretty much nursed him around the clock and I freely admit that even though my bosses allowed me to work from home I haven’t got nearly as much done as I planned. In fact, I got a lot more done in the few hours I was in today than I did the rest of the week — work wise, that is. The rest of the time at home has gone into nursing Orion, feeding Orion, cleaning up after Orion (pee!!), walking Orion, re-training Orion to not pee inside — and trying to keep Mischa from getting too jealous over all the Orion fuss. And at times it would just have been so much easier having Thomas take over some of the Orion fuss so I could get some sleep…

That said: Orion is recovering really well. Today he even played a little. The bounce is back in his step, he begs food like crazy and he follows me everywhere. His stomach looks as if it’s been stitched up by Frankenstein himself so it’s just as well that dogs don’t worry too much about beauty other than the inner kind:

Skinny Orion with big scar. He is not at all bothered by it and I'm allowed to touch it, wash it, apply ointment -- whatever. A friend suggested the vet had put in a zip. Could be. I haven't checked yet.

Thomas is back from his army manoeuvre and he’s signed up for another two manoeuvres. Please don’t ask me any questions about the Austrian army system — I have really no idea how it works. I only know that they have the draft (minimum 8 months) and that it is possible to keep in the “game” voluntarily. Somehow. So this week, with Orion back from animal hospital I have been an “army widow” with a sick child dog and a jealous child dog and a full time job that’s suffered because of the former three. Hopefully, there will be not sick dog-children next time there is a manoeuvre.

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Don’t really think I’ve had a carefree day in my life as I’m a natural worrier, but compared with this, summer was a doddle. I am so tired. Soooooo tired. Did I mention that I’m tired? I’m tired.

Orion has ALMOST stopped peeing all over the place. Today he has in general lasted at least to the bottom of the stairs. It only means that I have to carry a bucket and broom down two flights of stairs instead of none, but it’s still an improvement: it’s further away from the flat. He is also very pleased to be spoiled rotten with lots of little meals coming his way all day and steamed chicken with rice for dinner. Now THAT he likes.

He is less taken with me shoving my hand down his throat to feed him antibiotics and “injecting” liquid pain killers (syringe with said liquid into mouth — SQUIRT!) and then the stomach protecting liquid in the same way. But when he gets a slice of the aforementioned brown cheese he’s just fine with it all.

And then he pees. AAARRRGGHHHHH!

I am so tired. Of cleaning, of waking up to drag him out, of tempting him to eat, of … of… I was just not made out to be a nurse.

All I can say is that at least he seems to be getting better. He doesn’t run yet, but the bounce is back in his step, the stairs up to the flat are no longer a problem and the swelling is gone from the operation wound. And he’s as annoying as hell. Yup, he’s better.

Orion and Mischa this morning. Orion is back to wanting to pee on everything Mischa sniffs, sometimes peeing on Mischa in the process.

Orion now, sleeping peacefully. And I will have to wake him up to take him out in the hope that he will not pee all over the place while I'm asleep.

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Less than 24 hours and I am exhausted.

Orion seemed pleased to be home, at least as long as Thomas was around, then he looked a little lost. And — he peed a lot. Each time he started to relax he also wet himself. And he was still a little drowsy and not happy about making it down two floors of stairs and staggering around in the wet outside and… you know, he was being a patient and making the most of it.

Mischa and I slept in the hall outside the bathroom with Orion in the bathroom on his “waterproof” mattress with a soft towel on top. That way he could see us whenever he lifted his head and I could keep an eye on him. I did my best, but he still wet himself in his sleep. Then when I took him out he stopped on the top of the communal stairs and had a long and hearty pee as if he was saying “No way am I throwing myself off those stairs without having emptied my bladder first!” By now, this has turned into a ritual and I have a bucket ready to pop under him whenever we go out, which we do every hour. I’m fed up cleaning stairs and they’re pretty clean now.

He is still very weak but my main concern is to make sure he is not in pain. He gets 15-20 drops of this pain killer which is also supposed to ease nausea but as it’s fairly bitter I have to inject it with a syringe into his mouth. He knows what is coming, grits his teeth and backs away but I always win and spray the stuff into his throat. He can do nothing but swallow and look surprised. As he is not eating very much right now it’s not easy finding a treat to make it all better but like all dogs he loves Norwegian “brunost” (see John Cleese, one of his favourite things too) so each time I have force fed him his medication I give him a slice of brunost. Apart from that I have only managed to get him to eat a small tub of Greek yoghurt. But he seems quite relaxed and I suppose sleep and calm will help him heal as well.

Better than peanut butter

Mischa is deeply jealous. He keeps elbowing his way between me and Orion whenever I fiddle with him (cleaning wounds, stroking him, trying to get him to eat) and gets mightily offended when I make him lie down next to us instead. He gets lots of cuddles too but I think it’s the brunost he wants. And the Greek yoghurt. And anything else Orion gets that he doesn’t get.

In some ways I live in the ideal flat for nursing a sick dog. The bathroom was built as a handicap bathroom so it is in essence just a tiled box with a sink and a large shower, and several solid handles one can hold on to. There is enough space to have Orion’s mattress there next to the shower, his bowl with a little food and a bowl of water, and if he has any accidents (see above) it is easy to clean up. Including him. He’s already had a couple of rinses in the shower, something he takes completely in his stride stagger and even seems to enjoy in some way once we get to the towel part where he cuddles into my arms. Because it involved the use of the shower with lots of water coming out, Mischa did not interfere at this point. Mischa puts up with having the occasional shampoo but if it’s not directed at him he is not going to get involved.

As I write this Orion is gently snoring. He has been without his plastic collar since yesterday and been very good at not licking his wounds. He tries to avoid any medication but I’m a regular expert at shoving my hand down his throat by now so there is no escaping. I’ll make that dog feel better whether he wants to or not. He keeps wanting to use Mischa’s dog bed and is puzzled that he is not allowed to. But it is far more difficult to clean that the mattress with the hospital sheet so NO WAY am I letting him lie there. My hands are already raw from all the cleaning and enough is enough! Do you hear me, Orion?! GET WELL! I MEAN IT!

Wonderfully useful bathroom for sick dog

Hate to break the idyll but here he is sleeping in his own pee

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