$17 for 26 Dog Chews – Petflow.com Haul & Review

*There is an affiliate link in this blog post.

When I adopted my two pugs about two years ago, they were used to getting rawhide chews. I researched online and quickly learned that rawhide chews are dangerous for dogs because they aren’t easy for dogs to digest. If dogs don’t chew their rawhide into tiny pieces before swallowing, the larger pieces can cause blockages in their digestive track and require surgery. So, I started researching alternatives. You can see my Types Of Dog Chews Comparrison blog post on my other blog to see all the types we’ve tried.

One of my favorite places to order chews from is Petflow.com. Local pet stores and supermarkets charge an arm and a leg for chews – My local meijer charges $7 and change for two SUPER skinny bully sticks – that my dogs would consume in 20 minutes or less.

Petflow.com always has 6″ bully sticks for .99, sometimes from more than one brand. They also often run cheap deals on chews to get you to try them – I’ve even gotten chews for just .01 each in the past, though those super-bargains are usually limited to two or three per household.

I recently placed a Petflow order and thought I’d share with you guys the details of what we got.

PetFlow.com Shopping Haul - $17 for 26 long lasting dog chews (a bone, ears and bully sticks) including the cost of shipping! Plus coupon for $10 off a $40 order.

Petflow requires that your order is $17 or more, which is the biggest downside to the site. Shipping is usually 4.95 but at least a couple of times per month they offer free shipping on all orders. On Easter they offered free shipping so I ordered just above the $17 minimum and got free shipping.

My order included:

Petflow $17 haul including 26 dog chews!

20 Bingo Free Range Buffalo Ears for Dogs  at .59 each, total = 11.80

Bingo Smoked Buffalo Ears Dog Treats at .59 each = 1.18.

3 canine caviar Gourmet Natural Bully Sticks, .99 each = 2.97 total

Butchers Block Butcher Bone The Tail Wagger Dog Bone 1.49 

Total order: 17.44 with free shipping.

 

Petflow .59 free range buffalo ears

 

petflow cheap buffalo ears

 

petflow BIG cheap buffalo ears

The original buffalo ears are really thin on the 3 main edges (though thicker on the portion where it would connect to the head) but REALLY big – bigger than my hand. I had ordered these before and was happy with how long they last my dogs (30+ minutes of chewing) for the price.

Bingo Smoked Buffalo Ears Dog Treats Bingo Smoked Buffalo Ears Dog Treats thickness

I expected the smoked buffalo ears to basically be the same but with a smoked flavor. I was surprised that they are quite a bit thicker (though roughly the same size). They seem to be “puffed” a little, they kind of reminded me of the puffed pig ears that Merrick offers in their chew variety bags, except thinner.

canine caviar bully sticks .99 petflowcanine caviar bully sticks thickness

I had ordered the .99 bully sticks from Petflow before, and I loved how they were pretty stanard in thickness but they weren’t very stinky and my dogs didn’t get as excited about them as they do bully sticks in other brands. So this time I ordered 3 canine caviar bully sticks becuase they were .99 each. Two that we got were really similar in thickness to the non-branded petflow bully sticks, and the regular bestbullysticks.com bully sticks in thickness, but the third one was only about 1/2 as thick as the others. I hope that the thin one was just a fluke but it’s hard to know with a sample size of 3 bully sticks.

Butchers block rib bone 8-10 inches tail wagger

I also ordered a rib bone that was 1.49. My dogs recently have taken to bones where in the past they’d chew the meat/marrow off and then would show no interest. The reviews said the rib bones were really meaty so I decided to give them a try. I haven’t given the bone to my dogs yet but it does have a lot of meat/skin on the outside so even if it only lasts for a single chew session it won’t be a bad deal at $1.50.

If you decide to give Petflow a try please click on my link here before you order. If your first order is $40 or more, this link will give you $10 off your order AND it will give me a $10 credit to use the next time I place an order, so we both benefit.

Gift Guide: Pug Lover Gift Ideas

Gift guide: pug lover gift ideas

If you know a pug lover (or even someone with a pug obsession) there are tons of unique pug-themed gifts out there, if you know how to search them out. I am pug obsessed myself so I’ve been keeping track of pug stuff that I want to someday own and decided I’d compile a list of gift ideas for anyone out there who might need some gift ideas for pug lovers.

Pug mug

1. Spinning Hat Pug Tea and Coffee Mug

pug knee high socks

2. Knee high pug socks

pug mom car decal

3. Pug Mom Vinyl Window Decal Dog Sticker

pug mini figurine

4. Schleich Male Pug Toy Figure
pug slippers

5. Pug Slippers

pug sculpture

6. Pug garden sculpture
adjustable pug bracelet

7. Pug Adjustable Wire Bangle Bracelet

pug backpack

8. Adorable Pug Puppy Canvas Backpack
pug birthday hat earrings

9. Pug birthday hat earrings

personalized pug wall art

10. Personalized pug wall art

Pug yoga pants

11. Pug yoga pants

personalized pug mug

12. Personalized pug mug

personalized pug keychain

13. Personalized pug keychain

pug wallet

14. Pug wallet 

pug neck heating pad

15. Neck heating pad in pug print

Are you a pug lover? What items are on your wish list?

Geneticist Diagnosis For Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – What To Expect

Think you may have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS)? Click through to find out what to expect at your geneticist diagnosis appointment

A few years ago I heard that my half-sister had been diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Snydrome, which is a genetic condition. She believed that it came from our father’s side of the family instead of her mother’s. I did a quick google search and saw that it included symptoms that I had such as “double jointed” fingers and stretchy skin.

I wondered if it was possible that I had the condition, but I was healthy overall and my stretchy skin and “double jointed” hands didn’t cause me any problems so I didn’t seek out a diagnosis.

Back in October I had two tonic clonic seizures (previously called grand mal) and since then I’ve had a handful of different doctors and have been asked more questions about my health than ever before. At some point it was brought up that my sister has been diagnosed with Ehlers danlos syndrome (EDS) and that I showed symptoms. My primary care doctor said she had heard of EDS but couldn’t recall the details of it offhand so she had me set up an appointment for a few days later so she could research it.

When I went in for that appointment she had me run through the Beightson scale test and she thought I was an 8 out of 9 so she referred me to a geneticist at the university of Michigan in Ann Arbor. My appointment was with Dr. Stern.

I had no idea what to expect from the EDS geneticist appointment. I read online that it would mainly be about diagnosing me and not treating. I was mailed a big questionnaire packet that asked about my health history and details about my family members’ health conditions as well.

 

During my appointment with Dr Stern he started off by showing me a family tree that included health conditions that I listed for each member. He mainly had me verify that everything listed was accurate and he asked a few questions as well. For example, my grandma had cervical cancer and lung cancer and he was curious if the lung cancer resulted after the cervical cancer or if they were separate from each other. He asked if I knew details about the type of EDS that my sister had (I didn’t really know anything other than she was diagnosed with EDS by a geneticist).

After we went over the family details he asked me about my own health history including asking about my pain level, whether I had experienced dislocations or subluxations, how my body handles bruises and scaring.

Once that was over he gave me a hospital gown to put on. When he came back into the room he thumped around on my back, felt my chest, looked over my legs, teeth, mouth and tongue. He turned the lights off and looked into my eyes with a light. He gave me a blanket to put over my legs, and then asked me to raise the hospital gown up under my chest to bare my stomach while he pushed on various spots. Then he went through the beighton scale “test” with me – having me bend back each pinky, put each thumb to my wrist, hold my arms out straight, stand up (to check my knees) and then he had me bend over and touch the floor with my hands flat on the floor. When I bent over he also checked my back for signs of scoliosis.

Once he was finished he had me change back into my regular clothes. When he came back in he explained that I scored a 5/9 (one point for each pinky, one for each thumb and one for putting my hands flat on the ground without bending my knees). Based on the 5/9 score he said he believed I had EDS and because I didn’t show any signs of classical or vascular types that he felt it was type 3 or hypermobile type.

He gave me some papers with recommended books and websites to check out with more information about EDS and the appointment was over.

I didn’t get any referrals or recommended for any additional testing, though I’ve read that most people are told to have heart-related tests done. Most days I am pain free which is rare for EDS so I assume that is the main reason why I wasn’t referred elsewhere.

I’m sure other geneticists may do things slightly differently, and Dr Stern may have had me do other things if I had other symptoms, but I thought I would share my experience because I wanted to know what to expect at my EDS geneticist appointment before I went and wasn’t able to find very many detailed experiences on the net.

If you’ve seen a geneticist for EDS testing let me know in the comments below how yours was similar or different from my visit.

 

How Much Work Is A Pet Hedgehog?

If you are considering getting a hedgehog it’s important to know how much work hedgehogs are and what their day-to-day care needs are. There are several items mentioned below that you may be unfamiliar with. If that’s the case, I recommend checking out my Must Have Products For Pet Hedgehogs blog post first.

Are hedgehogs low maintenence pets? How to care for a pet hedgehog - including tasks that need to be done daily, weekly or monthly.

Daily needs:

1. Feed & water & clean water & food dishes.

2. Hold for at least 20 minutes (to keep them friendly with you and humans in general).

3. Check cage temperature to make sure thermometer and heater are working properly.

4. Many hedgehog owners recommend weighing your hedgehog daily. Watching their weight will let you know if your hedgehog is losing which is usually the first symptom of an illness.

Every few  (2-4 days) days:

1. Clean cage (replace pee-pad or cage liner, lean litter pan if litter trained, wipe down wheel).

2. Put cuddlesack/bed through washer and dryer.

As needed:

1. Give your hedgehog a bath. I did this about every 4 weeks when my hedgehog was a baby but after he hit puberty he got a lot stinkier so I would bathe him more like every 2 weeks.  I did this by filling a bathroom or kitchen sink, putting a hand towel or thick dishcloth on the bottom (so he could walk without slipping around) and then dropping a little bit of Aveeno oatmeal body wash into the water to moisturize him a little bit and prevent his skin from getting dried out.

2. Take your hedgehog to the vet anytime he’s acting lethargic, not eating or otherwise behaving oddly.

Do you have a pet hedgehog? Does it require more or less care than you originally anticipated? 

 

Saving Money On Dog Ownership & Care

*There are affiliate links in this blog post.

If you’re working on living on a budget, paying off debt or living a frugal lifestyle it’s unlikely that your dog care costs will come to mind early on when thinking about your budget. I know that I spoil my dogs more than some families, but I didn’t realize how much the costs really add up until I sat down and wrote it all down – and that’s with neither of my dogs needing surgery or having an injury in the almost-2 years that i’ve had them.

Budgeting tips for saving money on dog ownership and care

We’re really trying to pinch pennies to pay off some debt and I’ve come up with several ways to cut back on the amount of money I spend on my dogs without reducing their quality of life.

How to save money on dog ownership and care:

1. Buying “chews” or bones online instead of in-store. Bully sticks at my local supermarket are $7 for a pack of two and they are literally as thin as a pencil! At Petflow.com they the bully sticks are easily twice as thick and are just $.99 each. I order trachea, pig ears, etc online as well and save at least 50% over petstore or supermarket costs.

2. Buy a used dog crate. I browse Craigslist and facebook groups for buying/selling items in my local town and county regularly and see even extra-large size dog crates for under $50 in like-new condition.

3. Buy a personalized collar instead of a collar and a tag. I love my pugs’ collars from HotDogCollars – they were about $13 each and they include their names and my phone number so I don’t need to pay for an ID tag.

4. Buy dog toys based on online reviews. Whenever I purchase a random dog toy from a pet store or supermarket, my dogs shred it to pieces in just a few rounds of play. When I shop on amazon or other online stores I look for toys that have higher overall ratings and read reviews to make sure people are saying it was a long-lasting toy. While supermarket plush dog toys may only cost $3, I have purchased plush toys in the $5-$8 range on Amazon that have lasted 6+ months so its a better deal in the long run.

5. Once you’ve found a high quality pet food that you & your dog are happy with, buy the bigger bags. Buying a 40 or 50lb bag costs you less per pound than the smaller bags.

6. Measure your dogs food. If you read online articles about dog care, it may seem obvious to you that you would measure your dogs food out each day. Yet, most people I know just leave a full bowl out for their dog(s) at all times. Most people recommend limiting portion size to prevent obesity in your dog but it has the added benefit of saving you money if your dog isn’t overeating.

7. Trim your dogs nails at home. Dog nail trimmers can be purchased for $8-$9 or you can pick up a Dog Nail Dremelfor around $25. My vet charges us $15 per dog to trim their nails so even with a dremel you save money on a single visit if you have two dogs.

8. Follow dog blogs and enter giveaways. Dog blogs regularly have giveaways for treats, toys or even pet store gift cards. Last summer I won a $100 pet store gift card that bought me two 40lb bags of my dogs food with a little left over so we didn’t have to pay for food out of pocket for about 4 months. Score!

9. Use a piece or two of kibble as a treat. When I adopted my pugs it was obvious from how excited they got upon coming inside from going potty that they were used to getting a treat each time. I quickly learned to break treats in half to make them go farther (and to reduce the amount of calories the pups were getting via treats each day). However, I later realized that if I hold a single piece of kibble, my dogs get REALLY excited for it just like it was a treat. So we now give them a piece of kibble upon coming inside and they don’t seem disappointed at all. Much cheaper than buying dog treats!

10. Have an “emergency” fund savings. If you’re trying to live on a budget it’s great to have an emergency cost for any unexpected costs. If you have a pet, you should increase your emergency fund a little bit more than non-pet owners because you have the added risk of a pet getting hurt, needing surgery, etc. My local 24 hour emergency vet hospital charges $300 as a flat fee per appointment and it of course goes up from there based on any scans, tests, etc.

Do you have any other tricks for saving money on pet care? I’d love to hear your ideas!

 

 

Must-Have Products For Your Pet Hedgehog

*There are affiliate links in this blog post.

Do you want a pygmy hedgehog? Here are 10 items you NEED to have before you bring your pet hedgie home!

Hedgehogs are a fairly low-maintenance pet. However, if you’re getting a hedgehog for the first time you’ll need to acquire a few things before bringing home your new hedgehog friend.

hedgehog cage size

1. A cage that is at least 18″ by 24″ in size. Yes, this seems large compared to how small hedgehogs are. The reason they need a large cage is to make room for the items below and to give them room to walk around. In nature, hedgehogs travel a large distance each day so putting them in a tiny cage would be unnatural for their exercise needs and unhealthy for them. Henry had the Super Pet My First Home in size large which is currently $42.95 on Amazon.

hedgehog exercise wheel
2. An exercise wheel. As I mentioned above, hedgehogs are used to traveling a large distance on a daily basis. As a result, an exercise wheel is an absolute must for hedgies. I had a hamster with a wheel as a child and only saw it run on the wheel once. My hedgehog ran on his wheel every single day – for several hours straight. A wheel with a 11″ or greater diameter is recommended (smaller wheels will cause your hedgies back to bend backwards when they run which isn’t healthy for their spine). If the cage isn’t in a bedroom, a wheel with a solid surface is best (such as the Kaytee 12-Inch Giant Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel is best). Despite its “silent spinner” name I found this wheel to be EXTREMELY loud – I couldn’t sleep with Henry running on his silent spinner in another room. So I eventually switched to the Super Pet Run-Around Giant Exercise Wheel, 11-Inch) instead. This wheel was truly silent but it isn’t as safe for hedgehogs because it has tiny holes in it that they can catch their nails/feet in and get hurt. Henry used it for 4 years without an issue but it’s a risk.

3. Food dish. Of course, your hedgehog will need a bowl to hold his food in. Even as a full grown hedgehog, their mouth will only be slightly more than an inch from the bottom of the cage so it needs to be very shallow. My hedgehog liked to push lightweight items around his cage and would spill his food all out with the first few food dishes that we purchased. So we tried a few bowls without much success until I was throwing out a scentsy warmer and realized the top of it was very shallow but VERY heavy. So I cleaned it thoroughly and then used it as a food dish which was perfect. Of course, most people don’t have a scentsy warmer top laying around so I would recommend going to a pet store and picking up a variety of hamster, mice, rat or guinea pig food dishes and buying the heaviest one you can find.

hedgehog heavy water dish solution - no more spilling their water everyday!

4. Water dish or bottle. Some people like to use water bottles (similar to a hamster or rabbit water bottle) for hedgehogs. My hedgehog would chew on the edge so I quickly got rid of it. Hedgehogs do NOT have an endless ‘supply’ of teeth so if they break or lose their teeth they will not regrow so its important to prevent your hedgehog from damaging his teeth. Like the food dish problem, I tried several varieties before finally finding the Petmate Pet Cafe Pet Waterer in the 1/4 gallon size wich is a gravity waterer like you often see for cats or dogs but it only holds 1/4 of a gallon of water so its small enough to fit in a hedgehog cage. The bowl portion is shallow enough for hedgehogs to reach. The 1/4 galon of water is heavy enough to hold it into place. See my full Petmate Cafe Waterer review for more info.

hedgehog cage lined with dog pee pads

5. Liner, pee pads or bedding. To keep the cage clean you’ll need some sort of protection for the bottom of your hedgehog’s cage. Some people use wood shavings (like hamster bedding) but it’s important to avoid brands that are dusty because hedgehogs have sensitive lungs. It’s also important to avoid cedar-based shavings because cedar shavings contain toxins that are bad for hedgehogs. Most people I see on hedgehog forums use fleece liners which are sewn rectangles of fleece that are made to the cage size. Most people buy a couple and then rotate them when the other is in the wash. These can be found on Etsy or handmade (Be sure to check for any loose strings before putting in the cage to prevent a foot getting tangled in the strings. I personally opted to use doggy pee pads. Some people warn against these because some hedgehogs will try to chew/eat the pads which isn’t safe. In the 3.5 years that I had my hedgehog before he passed, he never once tried to chew the pads but it’s something to be aware of.

6. Food. Hedgehogs can eat cat food but only certain varieties. It’s important to research which cat food varieties have been approved for hedgehogs. We used Blue BuffaloWeight Control Dry Cat Food. The 3lb bag is around $12 at my local pet store and lasted over 6 months (maybe closer to 8?) per bag.

7.  A moisturizing lotion or body wash with oatmeal. Several months after getting my hegehog, he started scratching CONSTANTLY. My first worry was that he had fleas or mites or something, but I quickly learned that he simply had dry skin (it was winter). To prevent dry skin in hedgehogs, use a natural oatmeal-based mositurizer in their bath water. I saw Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion recommended in hedgehog forums so that’s what I used. I put it in the water itself instead of directly on him and it stopped the itching.

8. Ceramic heat emitter. Pet hedgehogs are not designed for typical US climates. They are comfortable at temperatures much higher than we are and they can try to hibernate if left at a typical room temperature of 68-72 degrees. To keep them warm you’ll need a heat emitter that does not shine light (they are nocturnal and need the darkness) but instead just produces heat. Ideal cage temperature for a hedgehog is about 75-80 degrees. We used the Zoo Med Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter 100 Watts.

9. Thermometer and Thermostat for the heat lamp. Hedgehogs can overheat if their cage reaches roughly 82 degrees or higher. To prevent the heat lamp from letting the cage get too hot, you’ll need a thermometer such as the Zoo Med Digital Terrarium Thermometer to keep track of the cage’s temperature. You’ll also need a thermostat such as the Zoo Med ReptiTemp 500R Remote Sensor Thermostat to regulate the heat emitter with.

hedgehog in a tiny tent

10. A bed or igloo. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and they sleep a lot. They will want to cover up and hide to go to sleep so they need somewhere to hide. Many hedgehog owners use a plastic igloo such as the Kaytee Guinea Pig Igloo Hide-Out, Large for their hedgehogs. I tried an igloo at first but my hedgehog would try to crawl under his cage liner to sleep instead. So next I tried an etsy cuddle sack which is just a sewn fleece ‘bag’. My hedgehog wasn’t smart enough to use his nose to seperate the two layers of fleece and crawl inside. Next I fell in love with the hedgehog tents from Laurel’s Zoo because they were super adorable. My hedgehog would go inside while awake sometimes, but wouldn’t sleep in it. I think it was because it felt too exposed as a result of the opening. So I went back to Laurel’s Zoo on etsy for her stay-open sleepsacks and thos ewere a huge hit. I wound up with two fleece sacks and one cotton one and my hedgehog always preferred the fleece ones. I am not sure if this was because of the fabric or if it was because the fleece sack would stay 100% open and untangled, where as the cotton one would occasionally have the two layers of fabric catch on each other where I would have to put my hand inside to straighten it back out. Either way, I highly recommend the Laurel’s Zoo sleep sacks as we used ours for 2+ years before my hedgehog passed away so it was washed dozens of times but held up great. See my full Laurel’s Zoo review for more info.

Chicken Caesar Wraps – Quick, Easy, Affordable Meal

Quick & easy dinner recipe - chicken caesar wraps one skillet supper idea

I’m 23. When I was 18 and first started doing my own grocery shopping, it was easy to find ground beef for sale for around $2.50 a pound, or sometimes as low as $1.99. Now the prices are between $3.50-$4.00 most weeks. I have always been a fan of chicken and my local grocery stores have boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.99 a pound on a regular basis. I didn’t have many meal ideas to use with chicken so I have been experimenting. We don’t care for dark meat, but this meal would be super frugal if you find a deal on other cuts of chicken.

I recently remembered getting a chicken caesar wrap at a restaurant once that was really good. I decided to try a quick and easy variation of it at home and liked the results so much that I’ve made it several times since.

Chicken breasts

 

Green pepper and onion

I made this meal for my boyfriend & I, and we both had the leftovers for lunch the next day as well.

I used:

  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts.
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tablespoons of caesar dressing
  • Sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sprinkling of shredded lettuce

Cut any fat from the edge of the breasts and discard. Cut the remaining meat into bite-size pieces. Dice your green pepper and onion as well. Throw everything into a non-stick skillet over low to medium heat until everything is cooked through.

Chicken caesar wrap Mix

I like my meat (and food in general) “overdone” by most peoples standards so I wait until the chicken is lightly browned.

Chicken Wrap recipeHomemade Chicken Caesar Wrap

Once finished, spoon the fillings into the center of a flour tortilla. Fill a regular dining spoon with your favorite variation of caesar salad dressing and drip it over your chicken mixture.

Chicken ceasar wraps homemade recipe

 

Chicken caesar wraps - quick and easy dinner idea

Quick and easy homemade chicken caesar wraps one pan weeknight meal idea

Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and lettuce and wrap it up. I like to tuck the bottom up first, then each side like a burrito so that the contents don’t spill out.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

My First Epileptic Seizure – At Age 23

For the last few months I’ve been mentally debating about whether or not to share my seizure story. My first seizure was October 28th, almost 3 months ago but some part of me is still coming to terms with what has happened. My hope is that getting it all “out there” will hope me find a bit of closure while also spreading awareness or at least making others with seizures (or a family member with seizures) feel less alone. I’ll start at the beginning…

October 26th is my anniversary with my boyfriend. 10/26/2014 was our 7 year anniversary, but my 11-year-old sister had spent the night of the 25th with me. Her school has a Halloween carnival that I took her to and then she stayed the night. She didn’t leave until the following afternoon, so we opted to celebrate our anniversary a day late so we could have the entire day to relax and enjoy alone together.

The 27th we went to shopping and out to dinner. We are both self-employed and we are both night owls, so we often sleep during the day and work at night. The night of the 27th I laid down to bed in the wee hours of the morning (technically it was the 28th). My boyfriend stayed up when I laid down. He said that about half an hour after I went into the bedroom he heard me scream.

In the past, I’ve dealt with very vivid nightmares that I sometimes wake up by screaming in a panic. Ryan said he immediately sensed that the scream sounded different from my typical nightmare scream. He rushed into our bedroom and saw my whole body jerking and shaking. He tried talking to me and touching me and I didn’t “wake up” or respond. He realized I was unconscious, but didn’t immediately understand that I was having a seizure. After a couple of minutes, my arm and leg on one side of my body relaxed while the other kept shaking. Seeing half of my body affected while the other was not made him worry that I may be having a stroke because he knew strokes often affect only one side of the body. After another minute or so, I quit jerking/shaking but my arms stayed clenched up against my body. Then my whole body relaxed, and about a minute later I became conscious. I yelled out in fear, not recognizing who he was. He said “Its OK its me”. I calmed down and then a few seconds later yelled out again. Again he told me “It’s OK it’s me.” once again I became calm for a minute and then would panic. He said we repeated this roughly six or seven times, as if my memory was being reset every few seconds. Again he worried that I may have had a stroke because it seemed like I had memory loss. He called 9-1-1 and they sent an ambulance.

My memory begins by “waking up” feeling extremely drowsy, as if I had been woken up in the middle of a really detailed dream. I felt like I had been asleep for hours but in reality it had been less than an hour. I heard my mother in law in the kitchen. I felt foggy and confused – so tired and yet I felt like I had been asleep for so long. At some point I remember Ryan telling me that I had a seizure, and that an ambulance was on the way. I recall simply thinking “Oh, ok.” as if this news wasn’t scary or shocking or alarming at all. From there my memory cuts out until I am at the local hospital, in a bed behind a curtain. I see my mom walk in past the curtain and her face is an intense mixture of panic, concern and sadness. Her expression causes a pang of anxiety to run through me, but I am unable to fully grasp the cause of her concern. “Why is she so upset?” I wonder.

I remember peeing in a cup, and being frustrated at how difficult it is to get to the bathroom. My whole body feels weak and dragging an IV pole and all the wires on me is difficult.

Later my dad shows up at the hospital. My gut reaction was frustration that anyone had told him that I was there. My dad had seizures for about 8 years, but has been seizure free for the last five or six years. Still, I generally try to avoid giving my dad more details about the stress in my life because I know that he doesn’t handle stress well in general, and that in the past stress seemed to contribute to his seizures. I was also a little surprised that he was there. My dad loves and supports me, but he really dislikes doctors or hospitals. He usually has to be talked into going to a doctor or hospital for ANY reason – even positive events like the birth of a new baby. So just him being there told me that he too was worried/concerned, but I was surprised that he was because it seemed unnecessary to me.

My memory then cuts out to discussing with my mom how I have a doctor’s appointment the next day to discuss the seizure. I also knew that I had a prescription for bactrim – an antibiotic because they said my seizure was caused by a urinary tract infection. I had no symptoms of a UTI, and had no fever. So, I was pretty sure that I didn’t even have a UTI, but I knew that even if I did that it wouldn’t have caused a seizure in a healthy person without having a fever. Yet, it doesn’t really cross my mind that this likely means I had a seizure for “no reason” and that I may now be prone to having more seizures.

When we get home from the hospital and shut the front door, Ryan immediately begins crying – which shocks me. I realize he’s been holding back for quite a while. I hug him and feel guilty for being responsible (though not at fault) for causing him this stress but I am still unable to grasp why everyone is so upset. I say something like “Its OK” or “I’m OK” and he says “I know. I just thought you had a stroke.” My heart sinks, and I realize that somehow he’s been nearly traumatized by this entire experience and yet I feel so numb to everything that as bad as I feel for him, I can’t relate to his feelings.

I had got health coverage in June but had been without health insurance for about two years prior. Since getting insurance in June, I hadn’t seen a doctor and my doctor from a few years ago quit practicing. So the appointment was with a doctor I hadn’t seen before, and I knew that the reason we chose to go there was because they could get me in so quickly.

Again, my memory cuts out until the next day after my doctor’s appointment. I don’t remember seeing the doctor at all, but I remember stopping at Arby’s with my mom and Ryan afterwards. I remember discussing with my mom how it doesn’t seem logical that a urinary tract infection with no fever would cause a seizure. She strongly agrees.

At some point, I google unprovoked seizure and read a statistic that says approximately 60% of people who have a seizure without a known cause (such as high fever, brain tumor or head injury) will have no additional seizures. I remember thinking that a 60% chance of not having a second seizure seemed pretty good, but being a bit worried about having a 40% chance of having another one being concerning. I think this is the first time it hits me that there is SOME chance that I will have additional seizures. Still, I have an overwhelming sense of being OK and that there isn’t anything wrong with me. Perhaps the best way to describe it was I was a little concerned but not worried.

That night when I go to bed, Ryan lays down in bed with me. Without saying it to me, I realize that he is staying awake while I fall asleep to make sure I fall asleep OK. I’m not bothered by his choosing to do this, but I recall thinking, “This is kinda silly. I’m fine. I’m not going to have a seizure. Why would I have a seizure?”

The next blog post in this series will be “My second epileptic seizure” – coming soon.

 

 

 

Our First Unexpected Vet Visit

We had our first unexpected vet visit this summer. While reading up about getting a dog (before we had any) I read a lot about the cost of a dog. I wanted to make sure we could afford one before we brought a dog home. It was clear to me from reading articles that the biggest factor in how expensive or affordable a dog is, is how often they require vet care. For example, my neighbor is a vet tech who adopted a bulldog last fall when she was 8 weeks old. She was backed into with a lawn mower and has had a few variations of cast on her leg since then. She also jumped down off of a bed and hit the side of a dresser (or chest?) and injured her jar so she had these elastic wrap things around her mouth for a while. Being a vet-tech, she had insurance on the dog but they still paid over 6,000 in vet bills! It would have been much worse without the insurance.

So, I consider myself really lucky that we went an entire year of having both Frank & Beans before we had an emergency & that our emergency was really quite small. We don’t have a washer and dryer hookup at our apartment and our bedroom ceiling leaks when it rains really hard (have I mentioned that I am counting the days until our lease is up? Ugh..) anyway, it rained hard twice in one week so both sets of fitted sheets that I have for our bed got wet. So we opted to sleep on the bed without a fitted sheet for a night until we could get to a laundrymat. The dogs sleep in bed with us.

In the middle of the night I sit up straight in bed because Frank lets out a yelp like I have never heard before. I am in that weird half awake state of confusion and I can tell that he’s kicking his leg frantically. So we turn on the light to discover that Frank is stuck to the bed by a piece of thick thread. Ryan runs and grabs scissors to cut him lose. We eventually realize that his nail got caught in the top layer of the bed and he must have yanked his leg so hard that it cracked the nail. Somehow, the thread of the top of the mattress wound up running through the crack on his nail but his nail was still  fully attached. The crack as high enough on the nail that I was afraid to try and cut it myself so we promptly made a vet visit. Here is what the nail looked like with the material from the bed running through it.

dog nail injury

I’m sharing this story for two reasons. One is so that others will learn that this can happen to your dog – it’s important to keep a sheet or mattress pad of some kind over your mattress. But it’s also likely that it would have been prevented if we kept his nails really short. Frank submits to having his nails trimmed SO much better at the vet than he does at home, so we used to take him in monthly to have it done but his nails would get long before the month was up. It’s a good idea to have them trimmed more often.

Have you ever had any accidents with your dogs nails?