Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Speying the dog

For some unknown reason, I haven't felt like updating this blog in the past few weeks. Too many days off work (for holidays) cause the mind to go mush-like, and blogs don't get written in this time.

A few weeks ago I took our young dog (Mocha) to be speyed. I should really call her a puppy as she's only six months old, but to me a puppy is a small dog, and this one is anything but small!

This picture was taken about two months ago and doesn't really give a good idea of her size, although some people who have seen it say that they can judge by the size of her feet. Anyway, this is a big dog who hasn't finished growing yet.

I stayed to watch the operation as I thought it would be interesting (I also didn't have anything else to do at the time). Anaesthetising the dog was amazing: after the vet managed to insert a cannula into Mocha's leg, she injected some liquid and in literally two seconds Mocha relaxed from heavy breathing into heavy sleep. The cut in the abdomen produced disappointingly little blood and in fact, no real bleeding could be observed at any time during the operation, although of course subcutaneous blood vessels were leaking all the time.

Again, to my disappointment, the vet didn't lay Mocha's abdomen open for me to see inside; instead, she reached inside the cut, felt around a bit and then brought out some filmy tissue which she said was the ovaries, Fallopian tubes and uterus. She carefully cut and stitched, and within about 40 minutes the entire operation was over: careful and slow.

The vet says that current thinking says that it is best to spey dogs prior to their coming on heat for the first time; this improves their hormonal balance (or prevents hormonal imbalance) and will lengthen their lifespan. I'm used to thinking about gynaecological details of women, and of course bitches are somewhat different!

It took Mocha a few days to recover her normally undending enthusiasm for life, a period longer than the vet had said, so much so that I was tempted to take Mocha back for a checkup. But soon her lethargy departed and she was back to her old tricks (chewing shoes, scratching the carpet and generally running around). I'm not too sure which behaviour I prefer; we are waiting for her to grow out of this phase.

Next time: thoughts about two new books.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

An end to headaches?

I would like to claim that I've had difficulty logging into the blog (true) as a reason for not posting recently but that wouldn't be fair. As Robert Heinlein wrote, the best way to lie is to tell the truth ... just not all of it. So yes, I've been having difficulty logging into the blog.

I had my BCC removed surgically two weeks ago and a long row of stitches inserted, which were removed two days ago. Apparently the scar is 6mm in length, which is comparatively long for this sort of thing. Fortunately, it's on my back, so I don't have to look at it (neither does anyone else) and it also made the surgery easier. I have a checkup with my skin doctor in another few weeks and I am hoping that she won't find anything else to have extracted.

Whilst having the surgery, another piece of the headache issue fell into place. My blood pressure was measured before and after; before it was something like 145/90, whereas after it was 135/90. I had a slight headache at the time which intensified as the day went on, which leads me to the tentative conclusion that elevated blood pressure will give me a headache. I looked a little at the online literature, and whilst this observation has been made, it is generally accepted to be false. But the elevated bp can be a sign of something else which is causing the headaches.

Fortunately I've been headache free for almost the past month (except for the surgery day) which has been a blessing, so I haven't really had a chance to test this theory. Theoretically, I should be walking around with a mobile sphygmomanometer (don't you just love that word; I pasted it in directly from the Wikipedia) so that I can have advance warning of a headache but I can't really see that happening.

Something has happened to my sound card which is making recording vocals very difficult. I replaced the microphone with another which had been very 'live' in the past, but this too was hardly producing any output. After increasing volume levels by 25 and judicious silencing, I obtained a reasonable - if bassy - vocal for a song which I am currently recording. This silencing has happened before - last Summer, if I remember correctly - and mysteriously went away after a few days. Maybe the soundcard also suffers from high blood pressure or the equivalent.