This is a blog intended to bring our family and friends closer by giving them an opportunity to participate in a web discussion. I am new to blogging, so I don't know where this is going to take us, but hey, it's the 21st Century. Peace

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

Monday, February 01, 2010

Daisy Grace

Daisy wants all to know she is not ready to join "All dogs who go to heaven". Her eating has greatly improved. I added a little shredded cheese to her diet and yesterday I made chicken soup and gave her some of the soft cooked dark meat. She absolutely loved it. This morning I gave her a teaspoon of yogurt, a table spoon of soup chicken and a table spoon of shredded cheese and she ate it all. This is a big deal. Also there was no evidence of any fluids passing during the night. That is also major. So, we're thankful for some semblance of normalcy. Maybe those Hail Marys and positive thoughts are helping.

It's amazing how she can look to be on death's door one day and actually even a little perky the next. I am sure eating helps. We'll take it day by day.
Peace and thanks for the positive thoughts,
Rob, Mary and Daisy Grace

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Daisy Grace Update

The poor thing is feeling very poorly. She's not really eating much. There is vomiting and some runny stool. She's just kind of lying in the bed I set up in the kitchen. She looks up now and then, but she's mostly sleeping. She does not look to be in any pain. It's very sad to see her this way. She was, and in her spirit is, a wonderful dog that borders more on puppy than "old girl".
Peace to you and to those you love.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Daisy Grace Update

Not much to report other than we're feeding her Yoplait Peach yogurt. The net doctors all said that flavored yogurt has too much sugar so I bought plain. She won't eat it, but loves the peach. Go figure. Life's too short to eat shitty yogurt. She's also liking the shredded chicken. I have not had to do the Sub Q thing yet, but I may take her in today after school to get her re hydrated and to learn how to do the procedure. She's still a skinny little thing...all skin and bones but she still seems to enjoy her regular routines: Hanging out with Mary, sitting on her lap to watch TV or to read, listening to me play guitar in the basement, waking me up at 4:00 in the morning to pee, etc.

Mary is doing well. She's doing a great job of taking care of Daisy during the day. I am very thankful.

Nora only has one more month of student teaching. She's starting to realize that it's all coming to an end and that her new life will begin sooner than she may feel she's ready for. Transition from college will be a challenge that I am sure she will be up to.

For me, it's a Friday and I will be glad with the 3:00 bell rings.

Peace to you and to those you love.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

So it's been a while...

I know that I've been lax in keeping up this blog, but just as it helped me work through the pain and recovery of Mary's Lymphoma and ultimate bone marrow transplant and my transition to and from AV Guy and back to Conan The Librarian, I fully intend to use this blog to work through the very painful situation with our little Daisy Grace.

I think I want to start with the tick. Geoff, our groomer or our greuhmer, found a tick in Daisy's face last year. He removed it as it was pretty well embedded in her cheek by her eye. The darned thing would scab over and puss up and then I would drain it, add some Neosporin and go through this whole process over and over again for about three months. When I took her in for her annual, the vet didn't really mention anything other than ticks can take along time to heal. We never talked about lyme or any other tick borne disease or parasite. We probably should have. We didn't notice any major changes in Daisy's health or disposition. She never showed any signs of being sick or lame which often accompanies lyme. She obviously enjoyed staying with Nora this summer as evidenced in Daisy's Christmas letter.

We had been noticing that Daisy was losing weight but we thought that was natural as she was getting know kind of skinny old lady syndrome. Well things really got dicey during Christmas. There was a lot of company: Neffs, nieces, little kids, Charley, etc. She was getting very finicky about eating. I thought it was because of those fools at Purina were messing with her good old ProPlan. "New and Improved" rarely is. We tried regular dry, senior, shredded...where she just ate the shredded and left the hard and dry. It was kind of pissing me off. You know, it's not my fault that the dog won't eat. Anyway, the vomiting started shortly after Christmas. Now Daisy would throw up occasionally just like any other dog, but it was never chronic and it usually coincided with overeating or stealing something she shouldn't have. One time she ate a piece of baked potato that I had dropped off of my fork at dinner and it threw her into a bout of pancreatitis. In the most severe cases we would have to take her to the vet and he/she would give us some pepsid and antibiotics and $200.00 and a week later Daisy would be back to normal.
Well, this time it didn't actually go that easily. When Daisy stopped eating I started to make her something she might like like boiled chicken and beef and rice. She would eat for a day or so and then stop or vomit and stop and man it was frustrating. The proverbial straw happened when we were downstairs playing guitar and she walked into my guitar case and puked...a bunch. Needless to say it was gross, but I wasn't mad because I knew that something was really wrong. So wrong, I didn't resist when Mary and Carole told me to taker to the vet NOW! I did and they tested her and gave her fluids and gave her an antibiotic and some Pepsid and sent us home.

I gave her the meds, continued to cook for her and we essentially treated her like she had and would recover from her usual pancreatitis. Maybe by now I was a little disgusted about my guitar case...but I at least thought she would recover. Things did not improve. Daisy continued to not eat, throw up what she did, drink too much water and throw that up in huge puddles in the kitchen. She also was waking me up two or three times in the night to go out to pee like a skinny old man. Things did not get any better, and she was definitely losing weight. On Sunday we decided to follow the protocol of withholding food and water for 24 hrs before we went to see the vet. This time the vet did the exam and took blood and came back with dire results. Both Daisy's BUN and Creatin were off the charts. These results pointed to a diagnosis of canine renal failure.

What was the prognosis and what were our options? The prognosis is that this is terminal news for a 14 year-old dog...but not today. Our options included a vet hospital stay for several days to rehydrate her and to try to get her levels back down. This would only be a temporary fix and once she was off the IV, the levels would surely return to dangerous levels. I refused. Daisy would not tolerate being in the hospital. In her weakened condition she would check in but would not check out. She would bark herself horse if she could and cry herself to death. No way was I going to let that happen. The plan is hydration and food.

One of the problems with the vomiting is that it is not for lack of appetite, but rather the nausea created by the toxins building up in Daisy's system. The Pepsid helped, but it was in pill form and Daisy would not just take the pill, she needed some food to make it go down and then it just came up again. I asked the doc if the pepsid came in liquid and indeed it did. My plan was to give her the liquid orally a little while before we fed her and then maybe it would have time to work and she would eat and keep the food down. Our pharmacy was wonderful enough to compound the stuff for us and save over sixty bucks from the formulary. With that in mind, we are pretty dedicated to a diet of boiled chicken, yogurt, hard boiled eggs and cottage cheese. We might try some actual dog food sometime down the road if she processes this food well.

Now the hydration is another challenge. Mary thought of adding a little cranberry juice to water to maybe help flush out some toxins. Daisy seems to like it and is keeping it down. The thing is the amount. Tiny little sips throughout the day seems to be the plan. If that doesn't work I will have to learn to inject fluids SUB Q.

As you can imagine, all of this is very disturbing to me and Mary and Nora and maybe anyone Daisy touched, licked or barked at. I am going to chronicle this experience here on old family chat if for no other reason than it may be cathartic for me to work through this process as difficult as it may be and maybe it might help someone else facing a similar situation.

So, if you believe in Hail Marys for dogs, throw a few up for Daisy, if not for dogs, then for us and if not Hail Marys, then please share your good thoughts and healing wishes.

Peace to you and to those you love,

Friday, August 28, 2009


It's finally a payday Friday. This is our third Friday. The first one evidently didn't count other than to yank us out of our summer mode and prep us for the year. I am currently in the library with two classes and my 4A lunch students. It's pretty chill in here right now. I actually had one of our top ten students ask for music to be played and then complain that Seal wasn't "Rock enough" for her.
Last night was Back to School Night and we had to be here from five-thirty till eight. I could have skipped it being that I'm a short timer and all, but I'd rather take time off when I really wanted to do something else like fish or play golf than just to take off. Really it would be kind of a slacker move and I don't want people to talk about how Nerius took off on BTSN or Parent Teacher Conferences and such.
We haven't talked to Nora much this week. Classes have started and she still has clinicals to do...and then there's work. ...Ah the life of a college student bar maid.
Mary's doing well. Last weekend we went to my step-brother David's daughter's wedding. It was held outside at a farm south of Joliet. The coolest ting was that the bride and her maids were brought to the "altar" in a hay wagon pulled by an amazing John Deere tractor. Rachel and her new husband are really just kids but they are very nice and they have great family and friends for support. I am sure their marriage will be blessed. The big surprise was my ersatz cousin Jeff was there and it was great getting caught up with him. Jeff is Shirley's eldest sister's oldest son and he is in Catholic education in Milwaukee. For those who don't know Shirley is my father's wife. My dad died over fifteen years ago and we have little or no contact with Shirley. In fact, she was not even at her grand daughter's wedding...long story, possibly not bloggable.
Well the wedding was fun and it was fun to get out on the dance floor with Mary again. She even did some hot polka with Jeff. That was fun to watch.
This weekend we have no particular plans and I kind of like it that way.
The guitar is going well. I decided to take a crack at joining the music ministry at church. I really didn't know if I was good enough but at my "audition" the music director seemed to be very excited about adding me to the mix and scheduled my debut for the Saturday night mass on the 12Th of September. I'm already nervous but really excited. I'm calling this activity "getting the guitar out of the basement". I played outside quite a bit this summer. I really liked playing on the boardwalk in Quebec and on the roof deck in Mendocino. I'm not really ready for the street yet...that's my ultimate goal, to get my street performer's license. But lessons and practice make better.
OK it's lunch time. I'm a brown bagger and I like it that way.
Peace to you and to those you love.
Have a great weekend.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sorry, it's been a while...

Hey All,
The school year ended without much fanfare. With Mary's health progressing as well as it has our summer plans are back to being rather full with travel.
Our first outing was a trip to Pennsylvania to see Bette on our way to meet up with Carole and Daniel in Montreal with a final destination of Quebec City. Our plans included snatching Bette up and bringing her to Orland Park for the Fourth of July week on our return. When we got to PA, Bette was glad to see us but her attitude was a little negative. She has become quite forgetful and at times a bit ornery but for the most part she is fun to be with. We really didn't stay very long because Quebec was our goal and we had a few long driving days ahead of us. The trip to upstate New York was beautiful. We stayed in Watertown, NY at a Hampton. Ate at a wonderful local restaurant and hit the road the next day. We crossed the border into Canada and shortly thereafter got pulled over for having a radar detector in the car. The fine was outrageous. The officer said that we should have seen the signs, we didn't.
We got to the Montreal airport with the help of our little friend, the GPS. Though annoying most of the time, she really did a great job of getting us to our destinations. Personally, I'm still on the fence about the GPS. I like knowing where I am going, but there are times when I just don't know and "she" helps.
We had a lot of time to kill in the Montreal airport and it took an hour for Carole and Daniel to emerge from customs and baggage. Once on our way, we were all excited to see each other and to work our way to our destination. We stopped along the way for something to eat. Little did we know that it would be our least expensive dining experience for the whole trip. It took us about three hours to get to Quebec City and we arrived in a rain storm around 10:30 p.m.
Our hotel was quaint but the room we shared was a little disappointing especially after we toured the Hotel Montenoc. The bathroom was small and the sleeping arrangements were tighter than any of us were used to, but we survived and saved a lot of money...on lodging.
While in Quebec City we saw all the sights and eventually felt we "owned" the town. One highlight was our dinner at L'utope . It was exquisite despite the skater convention that was happening on the street just outside the restaurant. Another highlight was the celebration of The FĂȘte nationale where Mary and I encountered 200,000 drunken revelers waving blue and white flags and singing and dancing in the streets. It was amazing. We were sad to see the week end but we took Carole and Daniel back to the airport and we returned to our Hampton in Watertown. We did in deed snatch up Grandma, but not without a trip to the doctor to see if she was really sick...she was. We took her anyway and and we enjoyed her visit (probably more than she did).
We took Grandma to see Nora's house and school in Rock Island and to pick up Daisy who was staying with her sister while we were traveling. After about ten days or so we took her back to PA and on our return stopped in New Philadelphia, OH to see Jody and Dave and Cindy and Eric. Jody and Cindy were Mary's best friends in Jr. High. It's amazing that she still keeps in touch. Mary was quite the story teller as few have the memory for detail that she has. Jody and Dave were fine hosts and we really enjoyed our visit.
With arrangements for Daisy to stay with Penny and Sadie Sioux, our next trip was to California to visit Aunt Debbie and the boys, Ellen and Emily AKA Callie.
We spent a week at Aunt Debbie's home with visits from Mary's old friend Paula and her friend Rick, Ellen, Emily and Debbie's friends Linda and Eileen. Addison and Austin were home with Addison home for the summer from the University of Arizona and Austin getting ready for his transfer to Berkley to study architecture. Hubbell finally arrived at nine in the morning after an all-night drive from Irvine. Nora flew in on Thursday from Moline after a twelve hour travel day. On Friday we left for wine country with an ultimate destination of Calistoga and the warm and wonderful Olympic sized mineral pool. Great food and wine and weather pretty much says it all. On Sunday we were off to Mendocino on the coast. We stayed in our usual place at the MacCallum House The whole stay was wonderful. The kids and I kayaked in the ocean and learned to "rock garden" by playing around the rock outcroppings as the waves carried us over them. Mary and Debbie hiked, shopped and viewed the wonderful Botanical gardens. Nora and I hung out at the beach for several hours one day and vowed to surf the next time we were there or at our earliest opportunity. The whole California experience was great.
School started for me the following Friday (Basterds) but it was to be my last first day of school.
So now Nora and I have completed our first week of school. Nora had to spend the first week of school with her Coop teacher at Davenport West High School even though she doesn't actually start teaching until November. Nora is very happy with the placement and is very well prepared for this culminating activity.
I love it at I will be leaving the profession as Nora enters it. I will be leaving it in good hands.
Other points of interest:
  • Nora stayed in Rock Island and worked as a server and a nanny this summer and made some pretty good money.
  • Nora also got a dog. Charlie is a Yorkie ShitZoo mix. We haven't met him yet. We only hope the house training is going well. Ultimately her dog could be our dog...hmmm.
  • Mary's health continues to be great. Her hair is starting to relax a bit. She's going to the SportsPlex about four times a week.
  • I continue to practice my guitar. I have joined the church music ministry and will have my mass debut on Saturday night September 12 at 5:15. I am kind of excited about bringing my guitar playing out of the basement and playing with other people...much less for other people.

So that's about it. I have been on Facebook lately and that has taken some focus from this blog, but I really think I prefer the blog to Facebook. I am going to work on melding the two somehow. But hopefully I will be a little more diligent in keeping up with writing.

I am really enjoying this, my last year as a librarian/school teacher. I hope the year flies by so Mary and I can get down to the real business of retirement...traveling and visiting all the great friends we may not have been able to see for a while and making new friends in our travels.

OK, well peace to you and to those you love.