Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bry's Beautiful Blooms

I swiped this picture fresh off the blog of blog friend Bryanna the minute I saw it because I knew you'd want to see these gorgeous fabric blossoms which she makes layer by layer and then carefully burns the edges for a more vintage look. Bryanna and I just got done with a fabulous swap, which you can read and see more about below and on her blog, and I was lucky enough to receive two of these awesome flowers as pins.

She posts a nice and simple tutorial on her blog at The Canary's Cupcake, so flit on over and see for yourself how easy these can be to make, and I think you'll agree they look as yummy as the prettiest cupcake!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cock-a-Doodle-Do and a swap, too

I would never have known this 5" wooden rooster that my mother got in the early 1960s was anything particular if I hadn't asked a friend to explain one of her on-line names. Turns out wooden animals, especially horses, painted in this style are well-known and loved in Sweden and are called Dalahäst or Dala for short. So, I have a 50-year-old Dala rooster. The American term for these is 'Dalecarlian,' and they are said to have been, among other things, carved as toys in the Dalarna region of Sweden.
My mother kept all sorts of trinkets on display, especially blue ones, in our lake cottage, and now that I think more about it, Swedish items and the familiar blue and white Delft tins, patterns, windmills, and even a ceramic wall clock informed a lot of her decorating.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of sneak peeks of a charm bracelet I made for a swap with the fun and lovely Bryanna of The Canary's Cupcake. She's received everything now, so hopefully she will post some pictures next week, since I didn't get too many good ones taken. I think we had a great swap! In fact, she even made something exquisite for my Blythe dolls as mentioned below, and I will post a pic over at my Blythe blog, Blythe-O-Mania Untamed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Love in a Priority Box

I received all these beautiful, yummy confections today, courtesy of Bryanna Lenan, a friend and like-minded artist and fellow blogger, after we decided to create our own 1:1 swap. I wanted one of her gorgeously-made statement necklaces that I had seen on her blog, and she went more than just the extra mile.
Can you see the tiny miniature statement necklace? That's for my Blythe dolls! More about that later, when we model! Then she made me one of her fabulous and famous button bracelets and a bubblegum/cotton candy colored, girly-theme charm bracelet with the most fun collection of charms, as you can see
Everything was packaged in pastel, sheer bags, and there was also gorgeous shabby rose pins she had made, cabochons to share, a pretty, but calorie-free sucker, and her sweet Moo cards.
Bryanna's been an ear on phone and email, too. I truly am blessed by my blog friends! Thank you, Bryanna, a million times over.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An update on our beloved Lester

Here are some scenes from the too-short life of our Lester, brother to Larry, and family member to us all. As I blogged about earlier, Lester died suddenly at the vet after routine vaccines and under unusual circumstances. This was a vet we had used many times before but not always. He has been in business at least 20 years and is in a large, clean facility. Warsaw, Indiana is not a town with a "bad side."

Unfortunately, the vet acted aloof, uncaring and even defensive when we attempted to question him more about this. We felt something was amiss when we were told Lester was done with his shots and to come pick him up. He was not in the room, nor handed to us in the carrier at the desk like normal. The vet and staff acted odd, but then acted "surprised" when they "discovered" Lester had died.

After several hours to think, we visited three other vets in town to ask about shot reactions, and we called Purdue University, home to a renowned veterinary school, and also the most likely location in the state to due any kind of autopsy or research.

Although Lester had already been frozen, we were lucky enough to get his body back from the vet before the animal cremation service arrived. My first cat, Mookie, who lived to be 18, is buried in our back yard, but Paul did not prefer this for Lester, and I respected that.

After suspecting something was out of the ordinary, we were pretty sure Lester's body would be gone, but by calling Friday morning (before things got ugly), we were able to get him back. I am out of state, so I applaud my daughter for bravely picking Lester up and taking him to our other, more regular vet, who was busy the day all this happened. Paul was still beside himself and blaming himself, and I didn't want to ask him to get the body.

Adrienne, who can be squeamish, stepped up. Our regular vet could have done an autopsy if Lester hadn't already been frozen. But they did call Purdue for us and make arrangements, and they shipped him. When they called the other vet for the rest of Lester's records, he initially refused. I have no idea what kind of "records" or notes on the chart we got for last Thursday.

We later talked to Purdue twice, and one of the two people said she had never seen a vaccine reaction in all her years there. The other said it can happen; it happens to people, too. But it is extremely rare.

The other vets in town made several excellent points: a vet's normal policy is to monitor ALL animals after a vaccine is given; vaccines should not be given to sick animals (even one with a minor eye infection). We didn't even think of that, and as I was lamenting, I was reminded we shouldn't have had to. The veterinarian is supposed to think of that.

Another said a simple Benadryl injection could have stopped the reaction then and there. We didn't think of that either. Where was the veterinarian's crash cart for emergencies like this--since reactions can happen in surgery, too.

We asked the vet to pay for the autopsy at Purdue ($96) on principle. He got very testy and refused. Why wouldn't he want to know what happened, too? Why wouldn't he want to notify the pharmaceutical manufacturer of the vaccine and get them involved?

So, without any answers we have been forced to imagine all sorts of unpleasant and unthinkable things--from the simplest negligence, like injecting Lester and then everyone leaving for coffee to grabbing a dog- or horse-size dose, to accidentally snapping Lester's neck when grabbing the scruff. I am sorry to write these things. None of us can get them out of our minds because we don't know.

We have talked to the local animal shelter, and to a local attorney- not for money, but for answers. We are waiting until the results of the autopsy. So, although he never expected it, Lester, the sometimes basketball fan, is going to Purdue, home of the Boilermakers, sometimes a Hoosier Hysteria contender. We're pretty sure Lester was not a Purdue fan, and definitely is not now. However, if his senseless death can prevent this from happening again--whether it be a tainted vaccine, a mis-dosed shot, a negligent vet or worse--and if his death can help teach veterinary students, then we will be glad. Perhaps the results will help generate some answers since none are forthcoming locally.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rest in peace, sweet Lester. 09/04 - 05/10

This beautiful little guy, Lester--the one I blog about a lot, and photograph a lot, along with his twin brother Larry-- Lester the pink nose/Larry the brown nose-- Lester the good cat/Larry the naughty cat.....

A very unfair and inexplicable thing happened Thursday morning...Lester, just age 5, went to the vet for routine Distemper and Rabies shots and a slight eye infection-with some runniness that we were wiping....Lester apparently had an unusual and rare reaction to one of the vaccines and died suddenly at the veterinarian's office.

Lester did not deserve this. He was the sweetest, gentlest cat we ever had. He never hissed, he never did anything naughty. He loved routine. He loved the doorbell and guests. He didn't mind wearing hats. He was very fastidious and clean and always smelled like fresh linen. He liked my mother's old afghan best for napping. He liked to catch bugs. He didn't like to snuggle too tight or he would get wiggly. He liked the faucet, and he liked his family. Us.

I cannot imagine what Larry is thinking right now, and how confused he will be, how much he will miss his brother.

I am devastated. I fear he suffered. I know he was alone when it happened, because the vet said no one noticed until it was too late. How could that happen? I feel terrible for my kids and for Paul, my DH. They are suffering.

The kids have their grown-ups lives now, and my daughter even "shares" her own cat, named Naughty, with her boyfriend. Paul, on the other hand, had Lester. And I had Larry. Lester slept with Paul every night, followed him everywhere, and watched television with him every night. Lester preferred ESPN. He even preferred basketball to other sports, followed by football and golf over baseball. No idea why.

The other unfortunate scenario, making this even worse, is that it was handled very strangely by the veterinarian and his assistant. Lester was dropped off mid-morning, and we were called around 11-11:30 to pick him up, that he was done, just fine and good to go with his shots, shot record and eye salve.

Paul went to pick him up at lunch, and encountered what now seems like a staged event. Lester was not in the room when the doctor presented his discharge papers and medicine, where he might normally have Lester on the table while demonstrating how to apply the medicine. The vet acted "off." The nurse suddenly rushed in and asked him to come out. This was done oddly also.

Then Paul was told Lester was dead and asked if he would like to see him! Can you imagine? The shock of going from one extreme to another in seconds had to be unreal. We were told he died while no one was looking. How did that happen if shots were given earlier in the morning? Wouldn't staff be watching vaccinated pets for reaction? Or did they just inject him while Paul was there, and if so, why would they call and say he was already ready? Why would they offer to let Paul see him if he had just died on the spot, and yet they said he had an anaphylactic reaction and that his lungs filled with blood and he essentially suffocated or his lungs burst? It pains me to write this, as I can hardly bear to think of his pain, his fear, his panic, his struggle, his wonder why no one was helping him. He hated to go to the vet anyway, although he was gentle and clawless also.

But wouldn't he have been in a rather shocking and unpresentable condition in that instant, with blood, mucous, sweat, loss of urinary or bowel control? We know, we went through a couple of dead pets before. We made the (possible) mistake once of wanting see our sweet Myrtle after she died.

It is sad to have to wonder, and to possibly distrust a veterinarian and the caregiver of one's pets and the last person to be with them before death. But we feel maybe Lester died earlier in the morning, and they staged the announcement to avoid any hint of liability.

We don't want anything. We are not litigious people. We would only want Lester back, or the truth. We only want to be able to trust, and to know what really happened, and whether he suffered. We suspect the wrong dose or the wrong vaccine was given or that simply he was left alone or ignored. We may never know, and we are grieving.

When my DH can handle it, he plans to inquire about the process with another vet. He already did talk to one other vet today in his grief. A vaccine reaction can happen, but is truly one in a million. It typically is not a delayed reaction, and it is one, that while it may be abrupt or irreversible, it is quite noticeable. So perhaps they simply were not watching. We'd rather know that, than a lie or the unknown.

So, please go love your pets. If you don't have any, then just be kind to animals. They can't help themselves. They are innocents. But they are our responsibilities, also. Paul and I used to joke that we loved animals so much because we didn't really like people very much. The people we do like and love (like you, my blog friends) know what we mean.

R.I.P., Lester...........