Wednesday, May 20, 2009

full frontal adventure

You do not have to dig very deep in this blog to discover that my primary reason for coming to Mexico was to have an adventure.

I am not here for the weather, the culture, or the perople. Of course, they all matter.

I am here, in the odd syntax I chose in an earlier post: "To wake up every morning and not know how I am going to get through the day."

If that is the criterion for adventure, today was an "A." If figuring out how to overcome issues is the criterion, today was an "F."

You all know the big issue of the week: Jiggs is quickly failing. He made it through Monday night, but he was still unwiling to eat and he did not want to go out for a businewss walk.

I eventually persuaded him that if he went out the gate, the walk would be short. Within a few steps, I discovered what I needed to know: his kidneys and bowels were still operating.

When we came back, I discovered that output may be working, but input was a problem. No matter what I did with his food, he would not eat it.

Monday, he refused to eat bread -- his favorite treat. I tried a bit; he ate it. He ate some cheese. But he reused to eat his dry dog food.

Thinking it was the consistency of the dry food, I dipped a few morsels in his water. He ate them. So, I put a little water on the food, thinking it was too rough.

He would not eat it. I tried a few bits in my hand. He gobbled the food. We went on like that until he had eaten the full dish of food.

Why this odd behavior? No idea. But I do know that two concerns were resolved.

The bigger concern was having him seen by a veterinarian. He needs another cortisone shot.

There is a veterinarian with a small office in town, whose main office is a half-hour drive away. He advertises on his local door: "English spoken."

I have never found the verterinarian to be in -- even though his assistant keeps promising he will be there at certain times. I should point out the assistant speaks only Spanish. That is to be expected; this is, after all, Mexico.

Thge veterinarian has a cell phone number on the office door. But if you call, you get a recording -- once again, in Spanish only.

From what I understand, the veterinarian speaks Engluish -- and he markets that skill. The problem is that unless you can speak Spanish, you cannot get to the veterinarian.

I will admit to feeling a bit frustrated. I was already a bit raw emotionally from what Jiggs is going through -- and the attendant lack of sleep.

The woman who owms the house where I am staying suggested that I go back to the office and ask the assistant to get the veterinarian on the telephone.

I should have thought of that. It's the old "put-your-superior-on line" approach we have all used with recalcitrant customer service school dropouts.

There may be very little that a veterinarian can do for Jiggs. I just need to hear that.

But I also need to have some plan for what I will do when the inevitable occurs.

And that will be my task on Wednesday.


Laurie said...

Steve, this is a difficult time for both of you. One of the hardest parts about being single in a foreign country, esp in the beginning of the journey, is the feeling that you are not in control.And you can feel quite lonely. You don't know the ins and outs yet of your new place. The language and culture seem impenetrable. On top of that, your friend is in trouble. Hopefully he is just making the transition, and soon he may take a turn for the better. Let's hope so. You, too, are going to do better. You will gain some control over your daily life as you experience new adventures in Mexico. Hang in there!

mdoneil said...

I think the Vet Francisco spoke with you. I hope you have an appointment.

Best to you and Jiggs.

Gman said...

Godspeed to both of you!

Felipe said...

You asked for adventure, and you have found it. Adventure is often not as it´s portrayed in the movies.

You asked to wake every morning not knowing what the day would bring, and you have found it.

It interested me that you say you moved to Mexico purely for the adventure aspect. I did exactly the same. It´s trying at first. Even more so for you due to your old traveling companion.

The professor looks quite hairy to be living on a Mexican beach. That´s a Oregon hairdo he has, not too appropriate here. He´s likely quite uncomfortable.

Regarding your experience with the vet, you will run into this locura in all aspects of life from here on out. It´s how they run things down here, which explains why the country stays in the condition it stays in.

From the other comment just above, it sounds like someone has stepped in to help with the vet situation.

I hope so, and I wish you and the professor well.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Steve, don't beat yourself up about not asking the guy to call the vet. You are in a stressful situation with Jiggs and in a new environment, which is also stressful. As for communicating in Spanish, think short sentences, little words of the "me need help now", sort. Es emergencia!
There is still hope if Jiggs is eating out of your hand. Cheese is high calorie and so if he likes it give it to him (ask the vet).

Mr Dog goes on hunger strike occasionally, I don't know if it's the heat or if he is simply not hungry enough to eat dog food (he claims that he is NOT a dog .

I am thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve...when we had problems with our old boy not eating in Melaque, we fed him boiled rice mixed with Cottage Cheese (which is available at Hawaii). He seemed to enjoy that when he wouldn't eat his dog food any longer. Please give Prof Jiggs a few extra pats and belly rubs from one of his many fans. You're in our thoughts.

Babs said...

Steve, jsut call his cell phone and leave a message in English - if he says he speaks English, he'll understand...........hopefully.

Diego said...

Steve, I really hope Jiggs' health improves after seeing the vet. Sending my best wishes!

Steve Cotton said...

Laurie -- I wanted adventure: I am getting it. By the end of this, I will be that much stronger in my new home.

Mdoneil -- Francisco is the vet I saw this morning. Thank you for your assistance.

Gman -- I could ask for no greater hope.

Felipe -- Even though he is probably on his last legs (a poor pun indeed), I am going to get Jiggs a Melaque haircut tomorrow. I had not been able to find anyone to do it until today. It is the looking that will be the adventure.

When my brother was here, I was amazed how he easily navigated the tianguas and the local hardware store. He called yesterday, though, to say he was glad to be back in the land of Home Depot where he could find what he needed.

Theresa -- This morning he is back to not eating anything. He humored me by eating the bread hiding his pills. But he took the pills and spit out the bread. Hand feeding did not interest him in the least. I will try again this afternoon. It just may be the heat, as you say. The vet had no opinion.

Anonymous -- I will give the rice and cottage cheese a try if he stops eating his regular food. He has taken a liking to Oxaca cheese, as well.

Babs -- The problem was figuring out the message. It was one of those that gave you a series of number choices -- with no beep. But I have now connected.

Diego. Thanks. Time will now tell.

glorv1 said...

Hi Steve. I think cottage cheese as someone else stated is something family pets do like. They also like a scrambled egg or even a boiled egg broken up in pieces. Something different and yes it could be the heat that is wearing him out. For Chorizo I always (when hot) put on the air conditioner for her, that seemed to help. I wish I could help, I wish I could hug Jiggs, I just wish I could help.

mdoneil said...

I had to check in from the office. I am very glad got to the doctor and is taking his pills.

Good health to you both.

Nancy said...

When we first got to Mazatlán, Lucy stopped eating and was lethargic...we took her to a vet and it turned out she had been bitten by a tick and had to go on all kinds of medicine, but fully recovered.

If he's getting his hair cut today they will look him over thoroughly but don't forget that he COULD have symptoms from something other than his normal ailments.

Is he on Frontline? Ticks can be really awful.

Steve Cotton said...

Gloria -- I cannot figure him out. I just gave him some bleu cheese. He loved it. But he would not touch his food until I hand fed it to him. I know part of that is the attention. I am getting him a hair cut tomorrow. We will see if that helps.

Mdoneil -- He seems to be a bit better. Not interested in a walk, yet, though.

Nancy -- I mentioned that option to the vet, but he doubted it. I will check Jiggs's coat though tomorrow when he gets his new do.
The hand feeding is what throws me.

Brenda said...

Hang in there, hope the situation gets better soon.

maria luz said...

We are all here with you, Steve. Every step of the way.

Sometimes, scrambled eggs and a bit of white rice will pull my dogs through rough spots when they are older. If you can add a touch of bacon grease, just a touch, it makes it all the better.

You are both in my prayers.

glorv1 said...

Give him what he wants Steve. That's all you can do. Make him comfortable and if he wants a hamburger, by golly make him a hamburger. If he wants to be hand fed, do it. You'll be all the better for it. Prayers to you and jiggs.

glorv1 said...

Give him what he wants Steve. That's all you can do. Make him comfortable and if he wants a hamburger, by golly make him a hamburger. If he wants to be hand fed, do it. You'll be all the better for it. Prayers to you and jiggs.

Larry in Mazatlan said...

Steve - As Nancy asked, is he on Frontline? It really does work. At his age this is not something to mess with.

I second the vote on cottage cheese and rice for an ailing dog. Sometimes even a little crumbled up fried hamburger meat mixed in it. Get at least the 95/5 mix, it has a lot less fat than you're used to up north.


Anonymous said...

Does the nearest Home Depot have those portable roll around air conditioners? The heat could definately be oppresive. I'm still at the beach in Rincon where it's super hot and humid.

Anonymous said...


Sorry to hear Jiggs is having a rough time. Our thoughts are with you.

Kim G
Boston, MA

Brenda said...

Hope Jiggs is improving. Thinking about you two guys.

Steve Cotton said...

Brenda -- Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Maria Luz -- He will eat his regular food, but only if I feed him out of my hand. No luck on finding cottage cheese in town today.

Gloria -- I am staying up with him again tonight. I don't want him to feel alone.

Larry -- He is on Frontline. Has been since he was 2. As for cottage cheese, I looked all over town tonight, but I could not find any.

Anonymous -- The nearest Home Depot is about 2 hours away, I believe. But the house has one of those portable air conditioners. I have tried it on two nights for him, but it is very inefficient. After 2 hours of running, it only reduced the room temperature by 1 degree. But it did blow cool air on him.

Kim -- Thanks. At this point, I think we are simply waiting for the inevitable. He was improving, but he had a fall in the evening that now keeps him from climbing the stairs to our living area. I may take up living on the patio for a while.

Larry in Mazatlan said...

Try the AC unit on dehumidify if available. Up here it doesn't get too hot, mainly humid. Dehumidifying has a cooling effect on the body and uses a lot less electricity. I know, dogs don't sweat like us. But my 12 year old lab loves to lay in front of it, and she pants a lot less when she does.


Steve Cotton said...

Larry -- Fortunately, tonight there is a nice breeze. He is resting rather calmly -- even without his promised haircut. I found the dehumidify button on the unit -- for future use.