Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Side effects, tabs and retail therapy

As I mentioned previously, Toivo has been prescribed potassium bromide to prevent his seizures. He has been the potassium bromide for a couple of weeks now and while he hasn't had a seizure, Zac and I are seriously considering pulling him off the meds. (It's too soon to tell if the meds are preventing a seizure - he was only having them every couple of weeks before we started the medication.) The side effects are driving Zac and I nuts. We're starting to think that we'd rather have a drug-free dog who has seizures than what we have now. I'm not sure which quality of life is better for Toivo, or for us.

One of the side effects that the vet warned me about was that Toivo was likely to get clumsier, since the potassium bromide messes with muscles working properly. He definitely has become uncoordinated. He stumbles around the house, has trouble with the stairs, and generally bumps into things. He also has trouble getting up from lying down. Now Toivo, due to his one-eyed status, has never been the most graceful dog, but he certainly never stumbled about as he does now.

Also he has become very clingy and barks, constantly. He follows you around the house, closely, and constantly yips at you at 30-60 second intervals. If you sit down in the living room, he'll lay at your feet and continue to yip. It's getting to be utterly maddening. Toivo has never made this much noise in his life, and though you tell him to stop, it only stops for a few minutes. Then he's back at it. This probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but when you work from home and are trying to concentrate on work having a dog constantly bark grows quite taxing.

He doesn't seem to be in any pain from the drugs. I've rubbed him down and massaged him, trying to see if he's hurting (a possible cause of the barking?) but he just enjoys the petting as he usually does. His temperament still seems Toivo-like, napping parts for parts of the day and then wanting to go outside and run around. He just has turned into a very needy dog, which is a 180 from where we were three weeks ago.

It's been hard not to develop a temper when he's constantly barking and you find yourself always tripping over him because he now stands right behind/next to you wherever you go. I'm not happy that we're getting short-tempered with him, because we know it's the drugs. Zoe is stressing out because we're stressing out. It's just kind of a mess.

I called the vet last night to ask about the meds (because certainly we won't stop the meds without talking to the vet) and she suggested a decrease in his dosage. We'll try this for a couple more weeks until his follow-up blood work appointment. If things don't get better I think we're going to discontinue use of the drugs. Toivo's seizures didn't seem to bother him, except when he was having them. And the rest of the time he was a great dog. Right now he has no seizures, but he's a different dog. One that we don't particularly like. That probably sounds awful, but it's the truth.

I don't know which quality of life is better for him - the one where he has seizures every couple of weeks (with possible increasing frequency in the future) but where we have love, patience and compassion for him, or the one where he doesn't have seizures anymore but he might fall down the stairs or hurt himself because of being uncoordinated and where we can't stand to be around him. I really hate all of this. I really do. We're just going to have to wait this one out and see what happens.

On a completely unrelated subject, I spent 45 minutes at the Department of Motor Vehicles (or whatever they call it here) trying to get new tabs for my car today. Actually I think they call them "tags" here. I'm referring to the stickers that get put on your license plate every year when your renew the registration for your vehicle. We got our tabs a few months ago and I dutifully applied them, making us legal for the next 12 months. On Sunday we were washing the cars and as I was washing the rear license plate I noticed that there was no tab there. I was confused and thought to myself, "Well, maybe we only put them on the front plate." I went around front and checked. No tab there either.

I looked closely at my rear license plate and sure enough, it looked like someone had scraped it off. I had heard of this happening to people out here before, but I was still shocked. Our license plate number was printed on that tab so whoever stole it couldn't apply it to their plates without being caught (if the cops noticed). Maybe they were just hooligans who were being jerks and just scraped them off so we would get busted for not having the tabs on our car. I don't know. I can't quite map the logic of people like that. So I had to go down to the DMV this afternoon to get replacement tabs which cost me all of 50 cents. (50 cents made the 45 minute wait a little bit easier to tolerate.) The clerk told me that I should score my tabs with a razor blade, making a "X" on them so that if someone tries to peel them off again they won't be able to get the whole thing. I guess I'll try that this time around.

Since our DMV office in the mall I decided to make myself feel better about the Toivo situation and the tabs situation by buying a new top. I went through my closet recently and got rid of a lot of my clothes. There's no point in hanging on to things that you like but never wear. Since my closet is pretty empty now and since I've been pretty frugal for the last six months and since I just got paid recently I decided I could cough up $20 and buy something new. It felt nice to buy something for myself, I have to say. Since I decided that this afternoon was all about me, I even stopped by Starbucks to get a coffee on the way out. I dare say I was mildly out of control - $25 in one afternoon! (I say this only partly in jest - I'll spend any amount of money on my friends and family with no reservations but it takes a lot of work for me to spend money on myself.)

But lest you think I have no self-control, I did manage to avoid the Cookie Corner though they tried their damnedest to tempt me with their wafting aromas throughout the mall. I'm pretty sure the Devil is the major stakeholder in Cookie Corner and Mrs. Fields and all those other evil fresh-baked cookie places. But not on this day, Cookie Corner. No, not on this day. This day I chose to ignore the pleas of your chocolate chip cookies, begging to be devoured. I won't say I wasn't tempted, I was, but I was pleased that I was able to resist the beckoning treats. Because let's face it, fresh baked cookies are delicious.

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