Friday, August 30, 2013

Ninja and the Mouse Poison

Wednesday August 21st:  Ninja is yelping and seems to be in pain.  I take her to the vet, they run blood work and take x-rays, and there's nothing...she's fine, according to the tests and they tell us it's a pulled muscle.  They give her an injection of a muscle relaxant, and send me home with anti-inflammatories and more muscle relaxants.  I take her home, but she's still acting like she's hurting.

Thursday August August 22nd:  Ninja is lethargic, she isn't eating or drinking.  Ryan and I are both afraid to handle her due to the supposed pulled muscle, but at lunch I roll her over and gasp out loud....her chest is black and blue.  The muscle relaxant should have worn off by now and the bruising is really scary.  Ryan takes her back in to the vet and they tell him it's either a spider bite or rat poison.  He calls me and after we talk about it for 10 minutes or so, we realize that she got in to almost 8 ounces of rat poison....on Sunday.  I immediately call the vet back and they start pushing Vitamin K right away.  At 3, Ryan and I take off work and head to the vet to visit Ninja.  She's on fluid and Vitamin K via an IV, and she looks awful.  The light is gone out of her eyes.  I cry and cry, and the vet goes over treatment with us-Vitamin K, with a transfusion being the worst case scenario but the risks right now outweigh the benefits.  We leave her to be monitored overnight.  They all us at 5:30 and tell us that she drank some water and she's perking up quite a bit.

Friday August 23rd:
7:30 a.m.:  I am at the vet as soon as they open to see Ninja.  She looked much worse than the day before:

Unbeknownst to me, the vet doesn't arrive until 9 a.m.  I drive to work, crying the whole way.  She just didn't look good.  I should have spoken up at this point and advocated for my girl, but I didn't.  I didn't catch the rat poison earlier, how did she get it off the shelf, I can't believe I let her get in the basement.....

9:05 a.m.:  Ryan calls.  The vet called him the second she walked in the door and said that if we want what's best for Ninja, that we have to take her to St. Louis for a transfusion.  Or we put her down.  I run out of work, go home, meet Ryan and we go straight to the vet's.  There the vet tells us that if we want Ninja to make it, we have to take her to this emergency clinic in St. Louis, about 1 hour and 45 minutes away.  They're one of the only 2 vets in the state of Missouri that have blood and plasma on hand.  They've already called and everything will be waiting for us there.  I look our vet in eye and ask her if Ninja will make it to St. Louis.  She says she will, no worries.

9:20 a.m.:  Ryan is in the back seat with Ninja, trying to get her swollen body comfortable while I'm driving 80 mph on the interstate.  There's no music on, we're hardly talking, and I can't stop crying.

10:00 a.m.  Ninja's breathing starts to become more labored.  Her neck is so swollen that she's having a hard time breathing.  I call the vet in St. Louis to make sure they're ready to go when we arrive, and that they have permission to do everything they need to do.

10:40 a.m.  Her breathing sounds awful.  I really don't know how we're going to make it to the emergency clinic.

11:00 a.m.  I know in my heart we're going to lose her.

11:16 a.m.  We finally get to the vet.  Ryan carries her in and her head rolls back.  I think that I didn't drive fast enough.  They take her back and get her on oxygen and the transfusion going within 60 seconds.  I'm hysterical and trying to fill out paperwork, Ryan can't stop pacing.  

11:30 a.m.  They put us in a room and the vet comes in to talk to us.  He's worried that there's been bleeding on the brain, that she won't be the same dog if she makes it.  He tells us that she is critical for the next 24 hours, that she could crash at any moment, that we need to stay close so that if she takes a turn for the worse, we'll be able to get there in time to say goodbye.

1:00 They let us back to see Ninja in doggie ICU.  She raises her head and wags her tail when she sees me and I lose it again...tears tears tears.  We get to put her blanket from home in there with her, and the vet tech, Kim, tells us that she really didn't think Ninja was going to make it that first 10 minutes she was there.  Kim is great and tells us that she gets off and 4 will call us with an update.

1:30 p.m.  We leave and have lunch (at the bakery we got our wedding cake from).  My appetite is non-existent.  Just waiting.  Ryan's Aunt and Uncle live 10 minutes from the emergency vet, so we contact them-they're out of town until Saturday night, but give us the code to their house and tell us to make ourselves at home.  We wait.

4:30 p.m. Kim calls, as promised.  Ninja was in such rough shape that they set the transfusions to run for 3 hours initially, but she was doing well enough that they slowed them down.  Still a waiting game.

6:00 p.m.  We go in to visit with Ninja.  They put us in a room.....and WALK her in!  Such a huge improvement from just 6 hours before.

The waiting game continues to see if her body will break down the new blood cells from the transfusion; if so, the poison might have destroyed her body's ability to work the way it should, and we have some decisions to make.  When she arrived at the emergency vet's, her red blood cell count was at's up to 32% after the blood and plasma transfusions.  We head out to have dinner with Ryan's family to pass the time while we wait...Ryan wants to be around family with all this stress too.  And I get to love on my niece, Brynley, and I'll never say no to that!

5:30 a.m.  After being up since before 3 berating and blaming myself over and over, I call the vet's for an update; she was sleeping so well that they didn't wake her up to do a blood test.  They'll do one around 8 and the vet will call us when he gets the results in.

9:20 a.m.  The vet calls; his voice sounds disbelieving when he tells us that she's doing great, that her blood count had held (!!!!!!!!!) and that we can come pick her up in the afternoon!

3:00 p.m.  We go to the vet to see if Ninja is ready to be discharged; she's responded incredibly well to treatment and is ready to go home!  A full recovery is expected, and the vet tells us that once they respond to the transfusion that they don't go backwards...for the first time since Thursday, my heart lifts and I feel like I'm not going to lose her.  

Ninja is SO Ryan's dog, I love that picture!

Ryan and I decided to take Ninja back to his Aunt and Uncle's house just to be close to the vet's just in case...more for our peace of mind than anything else.  We head back there and get Ninja settled.  Ryan goes out to get pizza for dinner and special food for Ninja, and when his Aunt and Uncle get back around 9 they start spoiling Ninja, who loves to have the air blowing on her face:

Their hospitality was a godsend that weekend.  Having a homebase only a few minutes from the vet, and  they immediately started taking care of all of us the second they got back from their trip (Uncle Joe was receiving an award at a conference).  We were so grateful for everything they did for us.

We stuck around Sunday morning and had a really nice's Miss Ninja on Sunday: 

Then we headed home.  Ninja's stamina and energy level gets better every day.  I am humbled and so grateful for her health and her recovery.

There's no more rat poison in my house.  As much as I thought it was out of their reach and in a basement they're not allowed in, accidents happen....we hosted a BBQ for Ryan's Cross Country team and they got tables/chairs out of the basement and that's when Ninja slipped in there and got the poison off the shelf.

I'm grateful we were able to get up to St. Louis when we did, that Ninja is such a trooper and hung in there for us, that we have savings to pay for whatever it took to make her well, that Ryan's family gave us a place to stay, that people who I have never met were pulling for Ninja....we're so lucky.  She's our little ray of sunshine and we are just so lucky.

Ninja last night:


She's still not eating as much as we'd like her too, and she isn't at 100% quite yet.  She's definitely on the mend though and getting better every day.

Thanks for all of your kind thoughts, words and prayers.  They meant a lot to me during a really scary time.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Colorado Vacation Part 4

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Rocky Mountain National Park will always have a piece of my heart.  We had no clue what we were doing in the park, so after leaving The Stanley we headed to the first Welcome Center stationed between Estes Park and RMNP.  The guide there was incredibly knowledgeable and super friendly, and set us up with a map with some of his favorite spots circled.

Driving into RMNP.

We only had a few hours, as we were planning to head to Fort Collins to tour a few breweries, so we decided not to venture too far into RMNP.  I had heard from a visitor at my work that the Alluvian Fan was not to be missed, and it looked relatively close by.  We parked, hiked up a short trail and came out onto this huge expanse of boulders and waterfalls that tumbled down from the mountain when a high-up lake's dam burst years ago.

Pictures don't do it any justice at all.  The boulders and waterfalls went up and up, and mountains were all around us.

We climbed up a little bit and I made Ryan take his shoes off and get in the water.  It was SO COLD!

We climbed and climbed and the views just got better.  

Ryan took that picture to prove I was actively participating and enjoying an outdoor activity, haha.

This is my happy place.

We were swearing up and down that we just HAD to take our kids to this place one day.  There were little ones splashing in the water, and sweet, earnest 5 year olds tackling the boulders.  

This was an afternoon of bliss, of complete happiness and elation.  There's no way to NOT make this sound like a cheesy mess, so I'm not going to try.  Something profound happened to me here, in this spot at the Alluvian Fan.  Those mountains got into my soul.  Everything fell away and seemed so small next to that landscape.  There's so much more of this park that we have to see.

My only regret about our vacation is that we didn't spend nearly enough time in RMNP.  Who knew that while we were going to Colorado for the beer and the active lifestyle, that instead the outdoors would grab us and not let go.

Ryan travels and travels for work, and we're a frugal couple, so this vacation was a big one for us.  Thanks to RMNP, we're already planning next year's trip; we're hoping to rent a cabin with Ryan's cousin and his wife.  And spend WAY more time in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Turns out, I am outdoorsy, it just took Colorado to show me that.  I can't wait to go back.

Other trip highlights were Pearl Street (I hit up a used bookstore there almost every day, and we bought fabric at a fabric shop there to make a throw with and I LOVE this fun souvenir we'll have), visiting friends in Parker, Colorado, Cured, seeing my buddy Kim at the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau (we met at a conference in May) and both of us thoroughly enjoying each other's company (I was worried we'd get sick of each other and we didn't at all!). I surprised my husband with wanting to hike and go and be outside-it was a side of me he hasn't seen before.  It was so pretty there it almost hurt to be inside.  Ryan got to check out the Boulder Fleet Feet (he worked at the STL Fleet Feet for a bit), we had a really nice dinner out before we left and we both appreciated and enjoyed the time away.

We're checking out cabins at Chautauqua for next year and I'm scheming as to how to get my bike out there.....

And that does it for my Colorado vacation highlights!  Thanks for sticking through all those :)  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bicycles and Baskets


I know, this is super obnoxious and overly self-congratulatory, and I promise I'll only be this ridiculous about biking to work just this once.  I've been watching the weather like a hawk, and this was the first day with an under 10% chance of morning and/or afternoon thunderstorms.  It's been a rainy August!  I had ridden the route 4 times from my house to the market (2 blocks from my office), I had my snacks for the day packed last night and my work outfit rolled up in my tote bag.  I left my house at 7:15 and got to work at 7:50, so it was a solid 35 minutes of moderate pedaling.  I hadn't factored in school traffic, so I'll be editing my route a bit.  

It took me about 5 minutes to clean up.  I freshened up my hair (yesterday's 'do) with some dry shampoo, wiped down my armpits with a wet cloth and re-applied deoderant and changed into the work clothes I brought and was good to go.  My face was the color of my shirt for a few minutes:

5 minutes after freshening up, I was fresh as a daisy and all cooled off.  Though I can see how if the weather wasn't so gorgeous and unseasonably cool this would be a different story.

I was very happy with myself for thinking to pack some watermelon to eat at my desk this morning, since I didn't have time to eat it after my eggs.

I will have to BUST IT to get home by 5:30 for the cable guy-hopefully no school traffic will gain me a few minutes!

Still bringing little bits and pieces of bike-crazy Boulder, Colorado to Missouri!  Speaking of Boulder I have the last of our Boulder trip post for later on this week.  How's the weather where you are?  It's so pretty here that it's kind of insane....I'm a little nervous as to what winter will look like!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


This weekend went FLYING past, how about yours?  

My grandma turned 89, so we had lots of family in town and ensuing celebrations.  Ryan baked individual peach pies (Grandma's favorite) that turned out perfectly...he's the baker in our house all the way:

He didn't even use a recipe.  Argh!  I could never replicate these in a million years.

After the family celebration on Saturday night, we went out to a new bar with some my cousin Emily and her husband Travis, plus me, Ryan, my Dad and Alli.  I had a super delicious Summer Shandy.  I love summer beers.  I need to drink an O'Fallon Wheach (peachy wheat beer) before it's time for pumpkin beer.

Sunday morning I slept in and ran by myself when I finally got out of bed.  It's been an odd summer weather wise, with LOTS of rain...usually our greenery is dead, brown and burnt by August.  I'm soaking up this ultra green lush-ness before fall kicks in.  Our rec trail connects to this lovely trail system that then takes you to the nature center in our county park.  It's this gorgeous piece of deep woods that I love to include on weekend runs.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Colorado Vacation Part 3

Colorado Vacation Part 1 is here, and Part 2 can be found here!

A big part of the appeal of vacationing in Boulder was it's proximity to other places we wanted to be.  I was DYING to see the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, about an hour from Boulder.  Stephen King and his wife stayed there the night before they closed for the season one year, and ate in the dining room all alone.  That stay at the Stanley inspired The Shining, one of my favorite Stephen King books.  So I got a little fan girl and had to get my picture taken on the steps at the Stanley.....

I'm freaking out in this picture, you guys.  Stanley Kubrick's movie version of The Shining wasn't much like the book.  In the 90's, Stephen King helped put together a mini series filmed at the Stanley that followed the book very closely.

THE dining room you guys.  Where The Shining was effectively born.  The birth of the story happened here.

The life size dollhouse from the mini series filming.

They do offer ghost tours of the hotel (for $20/person), but I was more interested in just being there and The Shining the book and not so interested in their ghost stories.  So we paid $5 to park and look around and it was amazing.  Also we had gelato here that was exceptional.  Dumb and Dumber was filmed here too (the parts that were supposed to be in Aspen)!

Here's the view from the Stanley's front porch:

People have weddings on that portico.  How pretty would that be?  Kinda makes me wanna get married again.  Shoot I'd marry Ryan all over again in a heartbeat :)

The Stanley is located in Estes Park, which is known as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Those mountains were calling our name and I was about to get socked in the face by nature...stay tuned for Part 4 of our Colorado adventure!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Losing the Car (Occasionally)

Boulder was such a bike friendly city that it inspired me to bring a little bit of that home.  I live in your typical American small town, that started out contained but spread out over the years.  The city wasn't designed to be bike friendly, and while we have a handful of bike lanes and a recreation trail, biking on the roads scared me.

My dad is a big time commuter cyclist.  He's been riding his bike to work a few days a week for years, even when he worked 15 miles away.  A few Saturdays ago we headed down to the farmer's market together via bike.  It was SO interesting...the route you take isn't at all the route you'd take in a car, which didn't really occur to me.  Dad focused on the most bike-friendly roads with the least amount of traffic, and even though we didn't take the most direct route to the market, it was much easier than busier routes.  It's definitely a whole different way of thinking about how to get somewhere.

First I needed some more cargo room-the front basket was great but it only holds so much.  My dad had an extra bike rack hanging around, so we put that on the back of my bike, then zip-tied this white plastic bin I bought at Target for $3.50 to it:

The back basket is meant as a placeholder of some sort--if I do bike at least a little bit as much as I'd like to, I'll eventually invest in some nice panniers/baskets.  But I want to make sure this is doable for me before I spend lots of money.  The front basket was my sister's that she used when she was in college and hadn't been using for a while.

The day after our ride to the market, I rode to the library.  And this past weekend, I road to Aldi's and the library and made it home with a small load of groceries!

Eggs got wrapped up in a cooshy bag and had their own spot in the front basket.

Milk+cheese+yogurt+frozen fruit went in an insulated shopping bag with a few cold packs, other groceries were packed snugly in the back basket.

I get this weirdly liberated "I did that MYSELF!  Without a CAR!!!"  My Dad's rule of thumb with motorists on the road is to stay as far to the right as you can, and just be nice and show the drivers you're paying attention.  So far it's working out great, I haven't run into a rude motorist yet, and this town isn't know for it's support of non-drivers on the roads either!  

Riding to the grocery store was a good gauge too of how much clean-up I'll need if I ride to work...I was riding on an unseasonably cool afternoon.  It was around 80 but our typical high humidity (85%), and that humidity makes you sweaty regardless of the temp. So I think I'll bike in one set of clothes, bring nice clothes for work and change when I get there and do makeup/deodorant touch ups.  

My entry-level goal is to ride my bike somewhere once a week.  I'm starting small and I hope to build up to more, but we'll see.  The forecast is rainy all week so I don't think I'll be able to bike to work until next week.  Boo.

This is my heart's desire:

Then Oscar and Ninja could come with!  So far that's one of the biggest drawbacks, not being able to take the dogs with me...I can bike to the market but I also love to take the puppies too.

Do you have a bike?  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Colorado Vacation Part 2

Part 1 of our Colorado Adventure here!

We were in Boulder, settled, bright eyed and bushy tailed on the first full day of our long awaited vacation!  Ryan needed to get a workout in first thing that morning, so we went to Boulder High's track; I held the timer while Ryan did intervals.  We both noticed the difference in altitude pretty quickly-you breathe harder than you do at sea level, and the air hitting the back of your throat is DRY!  The whole time he's doing his workout, there's an incredible view of the mountains.  I ran on the Boulder Creek path, a nice, wide paved trail that winds through Boulder along the Boulder Creek while Ryan cooled down.  We showered up and went out to check out downtown Boulder's Pearl St., packed with fun shops and restaurants.  A big section of Pearl St. is a pedestrian mall, which was really nice.  We found a fantastic used book store we spent some time in, and Ryan finally got to check out the specialty meat/cheese shop he'd seen online (Cured, he had a sandwich from there which was really good).

After lunch, we headed out to Chautauqua National Landmark, only 5 minutes from downtown Boulder where we were staying.  We loved Chautauqua SO MUCH that we went back almost every single day we were there, to run or hike.

Views of the mountains from Mesa Trail:

Another shot of those incredible Flatirons:

One of the trails, this one taken on a morning run:

Another shot from a run:

I had some of the very best runs I have ever had in my life at Chautauqua that week.  The weather could not have been any prettier, it was so quiet, the scenery was unbelievable.  It was just incredible.  Turns out that Of Monsters and Men is a killer soundtrack to the mountains!

We hiked at Chautauqua all day and scoped it out for upcoming runs that first day.  There are over 151 miles of trail and we barely scratched the surface that week we were there....guess we'll have to go back to get some more trail under our belts, haha!  The trail system was top notch, and all connected for the most part.  The maps were easy to read, signage was good and it was just awesome all around.

After hiking at Chautauqua, Ryan was itching to drive up the neighboring mountain.  I let him do the driving (HOLY COW YOU GUYS) and we headed up the mountain to see where we'd end up.  We pulled over at a sign that said Realization Point, and we had no idea we'd find this.....

Mountains and mountains and mountains, going on for days.

I can't even say anything about them really, nothing fitting or appropriate.  They're enormous, and endless.

Also on the mountain, we found the Sunrise Circle Amphitheater!  Any The Stand fans out there?  This is where Harold and Nadine blow up the Ad Hoc Committee's meeting.  AHHH!  It was super cool to be right where something happened in one of my favorite books...which I re-read right before our trip to be super ready.

A very sweet family from Norway took this picture of us at the amphitheater (you would not believe me if I told you that literally a dozen people came up to Ryan that day and complimented him on his Ninja Turtles shirt):

After hiking all day, we high-tailed it on the bikes that were a part of the apartment rental to the Boulder Farmer's Market for dinner!  I was SO EXCITED about this market, but I was really surprised to realize that I like our farmer's market at home a lot better.  The produce we have is better and the community feel is totally different than Boulder's....but Boulder DID have food trucks, and bicycles that powered blenders for smoothies!

We had a great first day of vacation, and got a good idea of the lay of the land.  Part 3 of our Colorado adventure coming up next!