augggghhhh, Back Forty, critters

Disaster week coverage at SST

Well, this week has been different.

Theo got better but on Sunday Lucy started hacking and I assumed that she had a hairball that she was choking back down. Then she stopped eating and drinking and hid, mostly under the bed where I could hear her gag all night. By Tuesday, I was very concerned and decided to get her to the vet for the first time since she was a wee girl (@seven years ago) during my lunch hour, but I couldn’t find her. I scoured the house – I was so frustrated that I had a minor panic attack. I worried that she had died somewhere and we’d have to find her through smell.

I went back to work and an hour later the building started shaking in a significant and sustained way. Everybody came out of their offices. “Did you feel that too?” “Seriously? An earthquake?” There was a framed document on our wall that was still shaking like crazy after we realized what was happening. We have a little tremor in North Carolina occasionally, and I have felt one before that I figured out what it was, but this was much stronger. Then, of course, there was the media explosion. I’m glad that I experienced a small one, but hope that I don’t ever have to go through a large one.

Guilford Tech Community College had a bomb threat the same day so I know it had to scare the crap out of whoever was left on that campus after it shut down. I did notice a new crack in the plaster wall of my bedroom. That is the general area where we have foundation problems. A friend near Durham had an existing crack in her brick wall widen and crack the drywall inside. When you consider that nobody around here has earthquake coverage, you understand just how bad a big quake could be here. The buildings are not designed for earthquakes, and the East Coast is overdue for a big one. Geologists said that the reason it was felt so strongly in such a large area is because our rock is “old and cold.” It is pretty solid without a lot of fissures to break up the vibrations. Even my mother felt it down near the beach.

So, I thought, that’s why Lucy was hiding. Maybe it’s not so bad after all. And sure enough, when I got home, she was out and seemed a little better, but still refusing to eat. Maybe she is still freaked out over the earthquake, I thought. She freaks out over the tiniest things, such as throwing up, anybody new entering the house, flea medication. And the next morning, she was in hiding again after hacking and gagging all night.

Wednesday evening we took her to the after hours emergency vet clinic. At that point, we still thought she was trying to hawk up a hairball that she couldn’t get out. They did bloodwork and suspected pancreatitis. We brought her home and took her to our regular vet first thing Thursday morning. They did x-rays, more bloodwork and tests, and found that her stomach and intestines were clear and full of gas. Her lungs were filled with fluid and she was coughing so hard that she was irritating her stomach and throwing up a little also. There was some indication of heartworms, so they did that test and we are still waiting on that. They used one of the doctors’ personal nebulizer on her, gave her steroid, antibiotic, and rabies shots, and sent her home with us saying to bring her back if she wasn’t eating by noon. The diagnosis changed to severe asthma.

At about 8 p.m. I started feeling dizzy and weird and thought it was stress. Then I went through hours in the bathroom – I believe it may have been food poisoning but I can’t be sure. I won’t go into detail but it was bad enough that I thought Sandy might have to take me to the hospital at one point. On Friday, Lucy seemed no better and was hacking under the bed again, not eating or drinking. I fell asleep for a couple of blessed hours and woke up at 12:30, and called the vet’s office. They were having a staff meeting from 12:30 to 2 and I completely fell apart. Sandy came home after I called him at work a few times, hysterical and angry, and we went together to the vet with her at 2 p.m. She was given fluids, forcefed some baby food, and nebulized again. I spent the rest of the day with a monster headache, and she came home again, not hacking so much.

So, here it is, the morning of Hurricane Irene’s arrival in North Carolina. People to the north of us are much more frightened. We natives tend to take these storms a little less, well, I wouldn’t say seriously, but maybe as part of living here? Kind of like the tornadic storms we tend to get. Here in Greensboro we are on the very western edge of it, so all we are getting so far is wind, not as bad as a lot of thunderstorms we get here. The wind is different, though, it is high in the air and more sustained. I hope that we will get some rain out of it, but the radar is not very promising, and the forecast is for 30% heavy rain this afternoon.

I hope that there is not much damage at the coast and north of us. I’m not too worried about Mama – it is unlikely that her house will flood if it didn’t flood during Floyd, and it is cement block one story. It survived Hazel so it will survive this easily. The old pecan tree in the back yard concerns me though.

I fully expect that everybody stopped reading this post about 4-5 paragraphs ago. I’m just writing for myself.

Feeling a bit better this morning, with some caffeine in me and mostly better stomach-wise. I decided to take advantage of the breeze to work in the Back Forty, but the wind was too high up and the skeeters set upon me like they were starved. I picked my field peas, which are producing well despite the drought and the heat, and are growing up the cherry bush so I can stand up to pick some of them! The butterbeans gave up flowering in the heat, and I have hope that once we get some rain and cooler temperatures for a while they will produce again in the fall until frost gets them. We have hot peppers and the okra that I planted late is starting to bloom, so I hope to have some baby okra to cook with my peas. The breeze seems to have dropped lower now so I may try to venture out there with some bug repellent on this time.

Other pestilence here is that the fleas have hatched out again. They are so tiny you can’t see them, but the cats and I sure do feel them. Lucy had flea dirt in her fur yesterday but no fleas. I don’t want to bomb the house with chemicals right now (or ever) so I sprinkled the small amount of carpet in our house with salt. That is basically what the “natural” flea companies do. It is supposed to dry them and their eggs up. We’ll vacuum it up a little later today.

Well, the vet just called and said that the heartworm test was negative, thank God, but that I need to go ahead and get some food into her. So that is the end of disaster week coverage here at …slowly she turned. Good luck to those of you riding out the hurricane. I’ll be back with art stuff later.

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