Sunday, March 27, 2011

Final Four

The CATS danced their way into their 1st Final Four apperance since 1998.  Houston, here we come!!!

Twas the night before Madness......
By James Pennington
Twas the night before Madness and all through the land,
Not a team left unshaken by Jorts and his band.

The posters were plastered on locker room walls,
In hopes that a meeting would not soon be called.

When down there in Tampa arose such a fuss,
The whole team from Princeton was sent to the bus!

Then several days later, as if right on cue,
The Cats sent 'em packin', those Mountaineers, too!

Then Cal skipped his way to the New Jersey shore,
For a meeting they said would be the Cats' final door.

But Jorts had a plan as he threw the ball in,
It bounced off a chest and the Bucs couldn't win.

Living large were the Cats' Mr. Knight and his crew,
Then came the Tar Heels with Houston in view.

"Take Three" from the corner said 'Dre as he shot,
And then Carolina knew Houston was not.

Now Final Four Dancing, it has been a while,
But for Cats and their fans, it don't matter the miles.

Be lookin' for Kemba, his Conn artists, too,
The Cats will be bringin' its defense for you.

On Brandon, on Lamb, and on Jonesy, too,
Got Miller and Jorts, and they're bringing the crew.

Now Liggins and Vargas then go to "The Hood,"
The seeding they gave us was much less than good!

So See you in Houston, now Mr. Calhoun,
And practice real hard cause it's comin' too soon.

The team you will dance with, they just woke up late,
But they'll have 'em laced up, they want Number 8!

Phelps Update 3

Sorry to those of you who are sick of my dog posts.  But, the health issues we've been dealing with are not over yet...

We had a follow-up visit with the vet this morning.  After an hr and a half wait, the doctor ran in grabbed some blood, took a urine sample and then handed us another  hefty bill.  She said she would call when the blood work came back, but she expected everything to come back okay.

Not too long after I got home, the vet called.  She was... concerned.  Unfortunately, Phelps' BUN and Creatin levels were elevated and her urine wasn't as concentrated as it should be.  This is a sign of renal failure.  Her kidneys aren't filtering as they should be, and she was already dehydrated after not receiving IVs for 3 days. 

When we left the hospital on Thursday, after a week of IV fluids, Phelps' kidneys were functioning "normally."  They said they thought her acute renal failure was reversible and that Phelps' was good to go.  Now, they believe there was more long-term kidney damage than anticipated.  She's not in renal failure, but is considered to have renal insufficiency (CRI). 

The ER vet wanted us to go back to our primary vet later this week, for yet another round of testing to see if her levels have improved.  *Cross your fingers.*

Not only is Phelps' on 4 medications, she is also on a special prescription diet, that she will have to stay on for the rest of her life.  She can't have any sodium, which means we can no longer take her to the beach (her absolute FAVORITE place in the whole wide world) so she doesn't consume any salt water.  We also can't exercise her when it is over 80 degrees because the vet doesn't want to increase her risk for dehydration.  Well, if anyone is familiar with summer in Florida, you know that it doesn't often get BELOW 80 degrees until 10 pm.  So, our nice little nightly routine is no longer feasible until September-- unless we walk after 10 pm or before 5 am.

She is also at increased risks for complications of CRI such as urinary tract infections and anemia.  Things that we will have to constantly be monitoring for, so that we can get her the proper antibiotics or treatments ASAP.
In between follow-ups at the hospital, Phil and I have been calling my sister about 100 times a day -  bombarding her with different questions....many which are totally ridiculous.  She has been absolutely wonderful!   When I called her tonight, she was actually looking through her old notes on CRI to see if there was anything else we could be doing to help.  Phelps is lucky to have such a sweet and caring auntie.  Thanks so much, Molly!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

On, On U of K

There have been some major upsets this year's NCAA basketball tournament - one of many reasons why I love March Madness.

Another No. 1 seed went down last night!  UK(4) beat OSU(1) with a game winning FG by Brandon Knight in the last couple seconds of the game.  It was soo exciting!

We had over some friends to watch the game, one of which is a major OSU fan.  So, of course, a little gloating and singing of the UK fight song was involved after all of the excitement.

Onto the Elite Eight, where we will take on UNC.  On, On U of K!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Phelps was cleared to come home today.  She has never been happier to be home.   And I've never been happier to have her home! 

Hopefully things can get back to normal.  Going to yoga tonight-  need a major de-stress session after this week!

Thanks again, friends and family! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Phelps Update 2

Last night after work, Phil and I went to visit Phelps at the hospital.  We were SO pleased to see how much she had progressed! 

She ate a little bit of her dinner and then the doctor encouraged us to take her for a walk.  We walked  around the parking lot, and she took several LONG bathroom breaks.  Her kidneys are working!  And, she is obviously feeling better because Phil could hardly keep up with her. 

The doctors' said she was very lucky to be alive and that they couldn't believe how well she was doing! 

Today, Phil got a call that said they moved Phelps out of the ICU into a regular inpatient room, and there is a possibility of us taking her home TOMORROW!!  That is, as long as her kidney tests comeback okay...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Phelps Update

With the stress of everything going on with Phelps, I called off work today (for the 2nd time in 3.5 years).  I've been so upset.  I don't think I can physically cry any more today.  I'm pretty thankful Phil is working so he can't see how muchn of a mess I am.  I'm also thankful that Lochte doesn't care how much of a mess I am, he still wants to cuddle on the couch with me.

I've been pretty unproductive today- waiting by the phone for updates.  And so far this is what I know:  Phelps is still in the ICU, but has shown a little bit of improvement.  She had an ultrasound this afternoon which came back CLEAR!  Which means: no ulcer!  One less concern for the time being....

The doctor is also monitioring her liver function and said that it has slightly improved, thanks to the IV fluids.  She said Phelps is very lucky to have survived all of this, so far. 

The vet is also going to try to give her something to eat tonight.  I'm taking that as a good sign, and I know that Phelps will do her best to eat whatever is served.  She's not picky.

Phil and I are going back to visit her after dinner tonight because she is still in "critical condition."  Here's hoping that this is the first of several positive updates. 


My little lady is a very sick girl.

On Saturday, Phil and I had to stop at the store and pick up some dog food and few random other things before he basketball games.  We got back home and unloaded the car, put away our goodies and rushed off to the game.  Well, apparently, we forgot to put up the Advil Liquid Gels.  The big bottle.  One hundred and sixty tablets.

While we were away, Phelps got into them.  She ate them.  Almost ALL of them.  We got home to a house covered in vomit.  This is not the first time our dogs have gotten into things they shouldn't have.  I usually immediately call my sister, who is a vet.  She usually tells me to make them throw up, and then they start to feel better.  I assumed this was the case and I figured that since Phelps had already thrown up, she would be fine in a day or two. 

The next day came and went.  Phelps did not eat a thing, which is extremely uncharacteristic of her.  I figured she was still feeling a little ill from her upset stomach, so I didn't think much of it.  I also noticed that she was sleeping a lot.  But, she is normally really lazy, so again, I didn't think too much of this, either.

Monday came.  She didn't eat any breakfast.  I was starting to get very concerned.  I went to work and decided that if she was not feeling better by the time I got home I would take her in. 

When I got home, she seemed like her usual self.  She and Lochte were playing.  I saw her drink.  "Yes, she must be feeling better." 

Then, dinner time came.  She wouldn't touch her food.  Three days.  No food. 

I got online and googled Advil and dogs.  The results were TERRIFYING.  Advil is apparently very toxic to dogs.  And, in many cases, lethal. Everything I saw online said take them in to the vet IMMEDIATELY.  I start to panic.  I frantically call Molly, who agrees with the articles and said I should taker her in ASAP.

At this point, I'm kicking myself for not seeing the signs.  For not immediately calling my sister or my primary vet. I am so mad at myself for letting my sweet little girl suffer for three days when I knew something was wrong.  Why did I wait so long?

Phil was on his way home, so I waited for him and then we rushed over to the ER.   Phelps was immediately admitted into the ICU.  The vet ran blood work and hooked her up to IV's.  She was going into renal failure- her kidneys were shutting down.  On top of that, Phelps was also spitting up blood, a sign of a gastric ulcer.  The vet said she was lucky because of the large amount that she consumed, that she was not demonstrating any neurological signs of poisoning i.e. seizures, coma, rigidity.  After all, that quantity of Advil is lethal for many dogs.

Phelps made it through last night (Monday).  The doctor was happy that she was able to produce a little urine-  which is a good sign for her kidney function.  However, she is no where near "in the clear."  The kidneys have to be functioning at 50% or greater, or else they will have to put her down.  They will likely have to catheterize her to measure her urine output.

The vet wants to keep Phelps in the hospital for a few more days with IV and then do more renal tests to determine the amount of damage and long term effects on her kidneys.  She is also scheduled for an ultrasound because of the probability of gastric ulcers and internal bleeding, which I believe, can be treated with medication.  

 That is all we know, for now.  I will try to update as frequently as possible over the next few days. Thanks so much for support and prayers!   

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Phil and I have been very fortunate for some of the cool events we've gotten to go to here in Tampa. We've seen: the Rays clench the ALCS against the Red Sox in 2008, the Phillies win game 1 of the World Series against the Rays in 2008, we've seen "the Boss," Bon Jovi, Jimmy Buffet, Black Eyed Peas, No Doubt, a 7 round shoot-out with the Lightning and Flyers, the Outback Bowl (three times), spring training Phillies games, Pitt vs. USF football and basketball games, Cirque du Solei, etc. etc. You get the point.

Well, yesterday, we added another exciting event to the list: 2 NCAA tournament games!!!

To make this statement BETTER, I got to see UK beat West Virginia, who knocked them out of the tournament last year to make it into the Final Four.  Looks like UK is headed for the Sweet Sixteen!

We ALSO got to see the  UCLA vs. University of Florida game.  I was pulling for UCLA for my CA cousins, but, they just couldn't pull it out.  I HATE UF for 99% of the year, but always try to show support for the SEC in the tournament.  So, although I wanted UCLA to win, I wasn't totally disappointed about the UF win. 

My bracket is shot now, thanks to the Butler upset over Pitt last night (Sorry, Tad).   I'm not sure how this happens, but every year when filling out my brackets I have UK winning the whole thing.  Go figure.

Maybe next year I will just pick the coolest mascot. 

I think this guy looks like a winner....

UK's next stop:  the Overall No. 1 seed: Ohio State.  Hoping for another No. 1 seed upset (Sorry, again, Tad) to make it into the Elite Eight!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


This weekend we hosted Phil's parents, Paul and Louise, for a fun weekend.  They got in on Thursday afternoon and we went to one of our favorite tapas restaurants, Ceviches, for dinner. 

Friday, both Phil and I had to work, but our visitors were able to pass the time driving around the beaches, reading books, and shoe shopping.  We got home to a wonderful home-cooked meal and lots of wine and champagne  (there's always a reason to celebrate when family/friends are in town!). 
Saturday we had lunch at a little tiki bar type place on the water and then headed over to the Phillies spring training game. 

Unfortunately, the Phillies lost and we missed all of the good R2C2 pitching... but it was still a lot of fun. GREAT weather and great seats. 

After the game, we headed back to the house and Louise made some delicious dinner:  Blue Cheese biscuits, Salmon and asparagus.  Yum.  How spoiled am I?  And then, we rented the Social Network, which I had half watched earlier while doing a million other things around the house...It was way better when I sat down and actually watched the whole thing. 

Sunday, we hung out with the doggies and did some home improvement shopping done (I finally picked out the tile for our bathroom with some help from my MIL!), until Phil got home from work.  Then, we headed down to St. Petersburg pier for brunch, watched the UK game (SEC CHAMPS!), and went over to the new and improved Dali museum.  His stuff was interesting... and then we ended the evening with a sunset boat ride on the Bay. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Spring has sprung here in FL.  And that means two of our favorite things are here again: 1.  Phillies spring training baseballl games, and 2.  NCAA March maddness.

UK finally pulled out some wins on the road to win the SEC Championship!!!  Better late than never...  "Cat-lanta" is a good court for our guys...

Selection Sunday-  let the maddness begin.  GOOO CATS!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New word of the Day

I currently have a Spanish speaking only patient on my caseload.  Communication with speakers of another language is always challenging- even on the occasional day that we have an interpreter available for our session.   But, it is especially difficult with this patient.  On top of a language barrier, we have a language impairment (called Aphasia). 

This patient has a severe swallowing deficit.  So bad that he was told he could not eat or drink anything safely by mouth, as everything was going down the wrong way, into the lungs.  He has a feeding tube to supply him with all of his nutrition, but it's obviously not the same as eating.  And, he is DESPERATE to eat. 

We've been working hard.  TONS of exercises, electrical stimulation, education, compensatory techniques... you get the point.  Even with the language barrier, he is usually able to figure out what I want him to do by immitation.  Well, one of our exercises is to use the "K" sound.  We repeat it over and over very quickly.  This sounds silly, but is designed to improve back of tongue strength and range of motion, which is critical for safe swallowing. 

Today, I start saying "K-K-K-K."  He sat there blankly staring at me.  I motion for him to join me, and I try again, "K-K-K-K."  He is now looking very confused and shakes his head "no."  I try again.  Nothing.  What is wrong with this guy??  Does he not understand?  Why won't he do this?

Finally, the sweet little 90 year old lady at the next table over said, "Excuse me, but I don't think he needs to sh**." 

Guess I learned a new word today.  Apparently, the "K-K" sound, or ca-ca, has a differnt meaning in Spanish.  Who knew?!  I really should have paid more attention in Spanish class...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Doctor Who?

I love working with the elderly.  They are so funny.  Mostly unintentionally, but still, very funny.  I could easily write a geriatric version of "Kids say the Darnedest Things." 

For example, I have a patient who is doing some memory work in therapy.  One of the techniques we use to help remember an important piece of information is by creating an association.  This patient was so frustrated that she couldn't remember the name of her attending doctor (Dr. Ribbit).  So, I simply ask her to picture her doctor as a frog.  I asked, "What does a frog say?," which she quickly replied, "Ribbit.  That should be easy to remember." 

So, the next day I wanted to test her memory carryover so I asked her, "Do you remember the name of your doctor?."  She took a minute and said, "Frog... let me think...what does a frog say...  oh yeah, it's doctor CROAK."  I just busted out laughing, not to be rude, but just because it was so funny.  I said, "I don't think too many people want to go visit Dr. Croak.  But Dr. Ribbit is very good."