Here are seven things from one timezone and 450 miles to the right.
1. We are settled here in New Mexico, or mostly settled, or kind of settled, or we have a house and we are in it with our stuff. We are in the house and our stuff is in the house, and the doors of the house are closed around us and our stuff. That is a more accurate description than settled, I think. I am, as I am typing to you, literally surrounded by boxes, and you know that I don’t fuck around with the word literally, and also, I’ve moved to New Mexico now, and I’m done pretending like I’m going to make a solid effort to clean up my language because, you guys, I was not prepared for this situation, and we’re all doing our best here and I’m not saying anyone is going to be miserable here and I truly don’t think we are going to be miserable here, but shit. Shit. Shit.
There’s a splash pad two houses down.
Someone weawwy wuvs this house.
2. One of the first steps of “settling in,” which we agree to mean “closing the doors around the boxes,” was finding a vet for Brinkley immediately. You guys. Brinkley. Do you follow me on Twitter? You should be following me on Twitter. I mean, you don’t have to, but I’ve been somewhat more active on Twitter lately than here, though I’ve been more active everywhere than here. I’ve been more active in local politics than I have been here. Anyway, you might remember than Brinkley hurt his leg on Christmas. That was the start. THE START. Then a few months later we noticed that his ear was swollen up like a giant balloon. A skin balloon. A hot, hairy skin balloon. That turned out to be an aural hematoma which you can just look up. It was caused by a massive ear infection that made him shake his head around so much that he busted up his ear. There are a couple of different treatments for that, but for reasons named Sheldon, the best one for Brinkley was $$$urgery. That was in, I don’t know, February, maybe? I feel like the last time my American Express card didn’t have flames shooting out of it was probably February.
When we took him to get his stitches out for his ear, I mentioned to the vet that Phil had noticed something stuck in his eye, and could they please take a look at it while they were removing all his ear stitches (something like 20 or 30, if I had the patience to do some “click this harmless image to be taken to a more graphic one” business, I’d put some here, because it was QUILTED and it looked pretty… interesting). The door had not swung all the way shut before the vet was coming back through to say it was a growth, and they’re common in Goldens, and they just get bigger, and you know, it was up to us, but since his blood work was so good from his recent surgery and he did so well in his recent surgery… anyway, Brinkley had more surgery just a few weeks after the ear one.
That surgery went just as well and he only ended up with a single stitch, and like the vet had said, he was in really good health for his age and size – he’s almost 10 and even though Goldens are considered a large breed, we actually have an extra large guy on our hands, and generally, the bigger the dog, the shorter the life expectancy (THAT’S NOT THE LAW, SO YOU DON’T NEED TO TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DOG WHO LIVED TO BE A THOUSAND AND GIVE ME FALSE HOPES BECAUSE I WILL FIND YOU AND YOUR THOUSAND YEAR OLD DOG IF MINE DOESN’T LIVE TO BE AT LEAST NINE HUNDRED NINETY NINE AND FIFTY ONE WEEKS), so despite the cost, we felt good about going ahead with the surgery right then, rather than waiting to see if the growth, you know, grew, because with a 10 year old dog, there’s just no guarantee that good health is everlasting. I mean, Brinkley’s is. I don’t know about your dog.
So we’re waiting on his one stitch to heal and Brinkley started to cough. I mean this hideous, gagging, choking cough. He would actually get up and find one of us wherever we were in the house, even coming to stand next to the side of the bed, because the cough scared him. We let it go for maybe a day or so, but he was due to have his stitch out, so back to the vet we went. Turns out his stitch had already come out on its own, but the cough was pretty concerning, and we had to do some tests. Some. While we are very responsible dog owners and we will do almost anything for our dogs, I okayed blood work and took home a prescription to get started in case it was a respiratory infection, which seemed most likely. If it didn’t start working pretty quickly, then we could go back and do the skrillion dollar x-rays, right? I wasn’t a terrible person for hedging my bets in favor of finances at this point, just a little bit, right? I WASN’T.
It actually turned out to be the right choice, though, because while it wasn’t the expected respiratory infection, (useless prescription down the toilet), it also wasn’t something that could be seen on an x-ray. Turns out Brinkley has Valley Fever, something local to the area that both dogs and people can catch. It’s an inhaled fungus. So we had to order him anti-fungals from a compounding pharmacy. The plan was that he’d take them for three months and then re-test. Some dogs are cured completely, some need to be on the medication forever, and unfortunately, as we’ve since learned, some die.
Brinkley took to his new medication really well and the cough cleared up pretty quickly. We proceeded with our moving plans, including sending both dogs to Camp Bow Wow to play and sleep for the Monday/Tuesday that the packers and loaders were at the house. We picked them up on Tuesday afternoon, and as we went to get Brinkley out of the car, I noticed a deep cut on his ankle. I was debating with Phil whether or not it would need to be looked at/possibly stitched when we realized his foot was THREE TIMES THE SIZE of the other one. Phil took Sheldon in the house and I immediately called our vet and turned right around without even unloading Brinkley. When we arrived, he collapsed in the parking lot. I almost couldn’t even get him inside. The vets found that his temperature was a frighteningly high 107° and quickly brought in wet towels and fans for him. Now, obviously, a lot of stuff has happened to Brinkley recently, but this was by far the worst.
After shaving his foot and getting a good look at everything, the vet found that there was an abscess under the callus on his ankle and infection had, by then, travelled all the way down into his foot. It was full of fluid and general nastiness. And he was obviously very ill. He’d been boarded at a play/stay camp since Monday morning, but since he’s so furry and these things can actually develop very fast, there’s no way to know when it started. At that point (June 17), even, because of the swelling, they couldn’t tell if there was something in it, like a cactus spine or something that could have caused the initial irritation. It was really bad, though. I don’t even know how I can describe this to you except to say that seeing how concerned the vets were… well, you’ll just have to imagine.
He came home that night with tons of antibiotics and still running a lot of fever. We kept fans and towels on him for two more days. We squeezed in another vet visit (BETWEEN AN AWFUL RENTAL CAR NIGHTMARE, WHICH, YOU GUYS, I WILL TELL YOU) the day before we left and they took off his bandage and left his wound open – and open wound is the only way to describe what was going on. I have pictures again, but they’re the stuff of the kind of Discovery Health programs you only watch with your eyes squeezed half shut. We got Brinkley in to see a vet here within just a few days of our arrival and his opinion was… not good. NOT GOOD. He was actually a substitute vet since the actual vet was on vacation the week of our arrival, and he was of the farm vet, super gruff, super blunt kind of variety. He didn’t seem optimistic that Brinkley was going to recover at all, and to be honest, looking at what he was seeing, I could agree with him at that point. He even reached over at one point and — YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO READ THIS NEXT PART — pulled a huge piece of dead skin right off. Just enormous. I almost cried. OKAY YOU CAN READ AGAIN NOW. I think that, seeing the state of the wound, he didn’t think too highly of us as owners, either, but once we just laid out there that we were doing what we were told, we were going to continue to do what we were told, we were willing to do whatever was necessary, and that the dog’s comfort was TOP priority, he loosened up. And he also eventually saw that both we and our other vets were just dealing with a really rough situation.
This doctor had some suspicions about the origin of the injury and also didn’t agree with our AZ vets’ method of letting it heal in the open air. They decided to run more bloodwork and on top of that, the doctor said that what he really needed to do was take Brinkley in the back, sedate him, and debride the wound completely and have us pick him up later. Listen. Anytime someone tells you that they’re going to need you to come back and pick your dog up later, just pull out your credit card and don’t look. So we went and ate and Phil took Penny and I home and went back for Brinkley. They asked us to return in a week. When we came back, the tech told us that the super gruff doctor had been excited all day wondering when Brinkley was coming, just dying to get a look at how the wound was doing. I had to admit, so was I. And it was looking much better! Still classified as an entirely open wound, though, just… a healthy looking one. So they rebandaged it, and asked us to come back in a week.
The next week, we met with the actual doctor of the practice, who finally got a look at the wound he’d been hearing about. After some discussion, it was agreed what the cause is – VALLEY FEVER. If you live in the Southwest, especially the Phoenix valley area, LOOK IT UP. DO NOT MESS AROUND. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms and if you suspect your dog is showing them, ASK FOR THE TEST. If you get a positive test and start antiviral treatment and then the vet says that he thinks your dog can stop treatment, ASK FOR A RETEST. Many dogs need to be treated forever, but that’s FINE, because you MUST stay ahead of this infection in order to remain successful in keeping your pet healthy. A lot of healthy pets have inhaled the spores and are fine. You can’t predict which animals will react and get sick, and once they do get sick, unless a test shows that they’re COMPLETELY CLEAR you CAN’T know if they’ll ever relapse. The cost of the treatment has gotten REALLY expensive since awareness of the disease has gone up, which is ridiculous and unfair, but like I said, VALLEY FEVER IS NO JOKE.
We’ve been back to the vet yet again for a bandage change and have yet another coming up. It looks like Brinkley is going to heal up fine – but slowly. And we’ll continue his Valley Fever treatment indefinitely. We were going to retest 3 months after the initial infection and see if we were going to continue, but at this point, we’re just keeping him on the medication. Poor Brinkley has been walking around with an open wound since June 17th. And he’s not done yet.
Valley Fever! LOOK IT UP! I could link you but I want you to actually, physically LOOK IT UP if you have pets that have spent time in the southwestern states.
3. Like I said above, I’m trying to be more active on Twitter and also on Instagram. Maybe it will prevent screeds like those above. Maybe not, since I also said all of that on Twitter. But anyway, both of them are just TemerityJane, and you can follow them, especially if you like makeup, because it turns out that that’s all I want to talk about.
There are lots of dust storms here, so I ordered protection.
4. Age three. Hm. I don’t have a lot to say, other than shit. Shit. Sometimes Penelope is mostly fine for a long period of time, then out of nowhere, she’ll burst into this absolutely crazed laughter and start running from thing to thing, faster than I can grab her, just fucking shit up. Like she’ll grab the mail off the counter and just try to rip it for no discernible reason, and as I’m saying, what the hell, no, and taking it from her and placing it back on the counter, she’s bounding away, arms waving in the air like Furious George, THAT LAUGH coming out of her, I can’t even describe it, it’s all gravelly and sounds like it’s coming from the Penelope on the other side of the mirror in a darkened bathroom, and she rushes over to SHAKE THE TELEVISION, so of course I run over there, because yelling from near the counter is all well and good, but that’s not going to save the television from hitting the ground, and I’m halfway across the room by the time she’s at the laundry basket, laugh-gurgling away as she just Carrot Top-prop trunk flings underpants all the shit all over the place, by which time Sheldon is bounding around like some kind of coked up deer just looking for a windshield ripe for flinging himself through and IF I CAN EVEN CATCH HER, she’ll kick and slap me the whole way up the stairs to her room, LAUGHING HER DEMON-LAUGH THE WHOLE SIXTEEN MILE TREK.
AND TODAY SHE THREW A LITTLE TIKES BUS AT ME WHAT EVEN.
5. I had a makeup bathroom to myself in the old house (I miss my old house for 600 reasons, and this accounts for probably 150 of them), and even though there are 3 bathrooms in this house, it’s just not going to work out here. We’ve decided that the third bedroom is going to be the office-slash-Phil’s area, meaning he can keep his retro gaming collection in here, which is pretty nice since he wasn’t able to display it in the last couple of places we’ve lived and it’s been in boxes and bins for too long. This way, also, I’ll take the master bedroom as “my” room, decorating it how I want and putting a makeup vanity in there, since Phil doesn’t care too much what I do with it (though he did balk at the bright pink sheets for some reason), and there’s good light. The vanity was missing a piece, though, so it’s taking some time to get set up, meaning that the whole creation of my room as I’d like it to be is entirely held up, and also that no one is able to use the master bathroom at all.
6. You know what’s great about moving and also spending a lot of money on your dog? When you also get an opportunity to buy a new washing machine.
7. Information about PJs at TJ’s 2015 is coming soon!
8. I have therapied some really awesome stuff lately like the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, along with some of the other powders in Mood, Diffused, and Ethereal. I also really added to my Sigma brush collection once I focused in on what kinds of brushes I tend to prefer, AND I recently managed to snag a limited edition Sigma eyeshadow palette that I’m absolutely doing-the-running-man-in-ill-advised-leggings excited about. There were some unbelievably tense moments on Twitter when my offer wasn’t accepted 45 seconds after I made it and I almost chewed through my own wrist waiting. As you can see in my bathtub of storage, I’ve also got the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit still in the box, waiting for my makeup vanity to be finished and my mirror and Happiness Hippo to be unearthed (I ALSO HAVE SOME WORDS TO SAY ABOUT SOME INCIDENTS THAT WENT ON WITH PACKING UP OUR HOUSE). OH AND I have some Inglot Freedom system eyeshadow palettes on the way. And the LORAC Pro 2 is here. IT’S HEEEEEERE. I mean it this time, guys. I’m totally making this bonus item into more posts. Here. (Okay, and Instagram and Twitter.) I mean it. I have to tell you about how bad Hertz sucks and Item in Box. At least.