Jessie update

Okay, let’s get the important stuff out of the way. Jessie is still in pain. He’s lost a lot of weight. But he hasn’t given up – so neither can I. I know that sounds a tad overdramatic, but Teddy deteriorated so quickly there was no alternative to try to save him. He would have needed surgery, IV fluids, etc. Jessie, fortunately, did not have the negative reaction to the antibiotics that Teddy had. While he definitely lost some apetite, he’s slowly been gaining it back – and he’s simply become a (frustratingly) picky eater.

For those interested, and for anyone who might stumble upon this looking for Guinea Pig advice, I’ll let you know what I’ve been doing:

  • Since calcium buildup tends to be the most common cause of stones, I’ve almost completely cut carrots out of their diet (little did I know they were a source of calcium). They only get little pieces on occasion as a break from all of the greens.
  • I’ve been reading all sorts of sites looking for the best greens for them to be eating in this situation. While many of them are good, the two best seem to be parsley and dandelion greens. At this point in the game, the dandelion greens seem to be the one leaf Jessie will gobble up (Shadow will eat almost anything put in front of him).
  • Parsley is one of the best natural cleansers out there, but Jessie stopped eating it about a week ago. So Lisa chopped some up, threw it in the blender, and made some parsley juice. I don’t know how effective it is, but they don’t mind it in their water and I can use it as a base for mixtures.
  • More than ever I am making sure they have lots of hay. Jessie is often a little timid around wet foods – I’m sure he associates it with the painful urination – but hay is always welcome, and very healthy for them. MAKE SURE IT’S TIMOTHY HAY – alfalfa should only be used for baby piggies.
  • Although I’ve let it fall by the wayside, I also gave him lots of cranberry juice (cut with about 50% water). Some g-ps really love the stuff, but he wouldn’t take it voluntarily. I’ve been using the syringe the vet gave me to force it in his mouth while holding him tight. He doesn’t like this – and neither do I. Nevertheless, cranberry juice is great for the urinary tract, and I’m hoping it can keep it clear while we work on the stone.
  • As his squeaking got louder, we searched for information on pain relief. Infants’ Ibuprofen is actually recommended – although the dosing can be tricky. I found a site that said about 0.15mL/kg was good and we’ve worked from there. Fortunately he loves the sweet taste of the children’s version, and that makes it easy to give him some from a syringe.
  • The latest mixture I’ve begun using was based on mentions of hydrangea and cornsilk. I mix equal parts of each (about 0.5mL), along with some of the parsley juice. This is a more difficult process, as I have to make sure he takes the majority of it – over 1mL in the morning and again in the evening. It can take up to ten minutes of sitting there, squeezing a little in his mouth, and then kissing his forehead a bunch until he finally drinks it down. While parsley is a great cleanser, the cornsilk and hydrangea can potentially break the stone down enough that he can pass it. This is really our best hope.

All of this combined has been making me late for work and somewhat stressed out – now combine that with having to defend Jessie from Shadow’s advances as he’s been extremely randy the past few days. ACK! The saddest part of this whole situation is that I buy pounds of healthy greens at the store every couple of days, and pretty much none of it is for us. But the people at whole foods must think I’ve goone vegan or something.

I’ll keep everyone posted, and I hope any other guinea pig owners can make use of this advice.

Update backlog

I seriously need to post a bunch today. Even this first one is a couple hours late. But everybody wants to know about the same things – how’s Jessie doing, how’s the wedding plans, how’s the house, oh, and how am I. That last one is of course at the bottom. I’ve got to cover each of these in greater detail, but the basic answers are: not any better but not really any worse either, just fine (with a touch of panic), just sitting there eating my money, and okay with a touch of allergies and body aches.

For now I’ll just brag about having run through another police blockade yesterday. Okay, not really. But remember how I tend to let my inspection go rather overdue? (Last year I was 13 or 14 months past) Yup, I’m a couple months late again thanks to my busted “Check Engine” light. Yesterday morning there was a cop standing in the middle of the road checking stickers. I’ve seen them a couple times the last month or so, but they were usually pretty avoidable. This guy was right around a bend, and I totally forgot to just pull into the deli there and pretend that was my destination.

So I figure I’m busted – not quite. He slows the big truck in front of the guy in front of me and then starts to wave him on. As we approach, he turns to stop a car coming from the other directions. By that time, the guy in front of me was driving by – I seized the opportunity and practically humped his bumper in order to slide through before the cop could turn around completely. Whaddya know, it worked! He looked down the street at me as I drove away, but I’m not sure if it’s because he half-noticed the sticker or if he was just annoyed at how I drove through without paying him any attention (or maybe he was noting my license plate number… crap). Regardless, he just let me go, and went about his business.

This morning I took the long way to work. 😛

UPDATE: Yesterday afternoon the cops setup a check point almost right outside Unigene’s parking lot. Fortunately Lisa swung by for lunch so we took her car. YOU’LL NEVER CATCH ME COPPERS!


Yes, it is the oft-done tale of a small-time nobody making it in the big leagues, but that doesn’t change the fact that Invincible uses my beloved Eagles and the city of Philly as the backdrop. Which means that I will actually be rushing to the theaters to watch a guy-cry flic. Check out the trailer.

Most of these types of movies are “based on a true story,” but with this one I’ve actually talked to people that remember Vince Papale playing and how popular he was (I still need to talk to my Dad about him). It may be hokey, but it’s my kind of hokey.

Now I’m All Over The Shop

Sometimes you just come across a song that is so perfectly composed, so exquisitely catchy, so… just… everything, that you can play it 20 times in a row and still want more. Recent examples for me would be The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights,” Bloc Party’s “Banquet,” Feist’s “Mushaboom,” The Black Keys’s “10 A.M. Automatic,” and Pearl Jam’s “World Wide Suicide.” If you are missing any of those songs, I cannot stress how much better your life would be if you got ahold of them.

Over the past couple weeks, another one has caught on with me – Maximo Park’s “Now I’m All Over the Shop.” This is one of those off kilter, breakup songs that leave just enough open that 75% of people going through a breakup will say it’s totally about them. But it makes you feel good.

So, get a copy and sing along:
Continue reading “Now I’m All Over The Shop”

What’s up on the Interweb?

I’ve been holding back on a ton of links as if some special Link Day were going to come along and save me. Anywho, it’s time for me to clear out some of the crap I keep losing in tabs these days:

– I really want to renovate my basement as a bar/entertainment area. Somehow, I think this home theater is a bit beyond my abilities.

– It really bugs me that many moderates and liberals consider McCain to be a good candidate – he continues to demonstrate he will never stand against what is wrong.

– On a lighter note, I really wish I had seen this practical joke.

Thomas Hawk may just be my new hero. He’s also a pretty damned good photographer.

This game looks like fun! (Thanks to defective yeti)

This is just amazing.

Now I feel bad – I forgot the sources for most of those links. Oh well, enjoy them anyway. There may even be some more when I get back from the City tonight.

Whole Foods

I need to send a shout out to the wonderful folks at Whole Foods. I’ve been a big fan of the WF since we moved to Montclair and found one 2 minutes away from us. Sure, it can be a little pricey – but you get what you pay for. And at Whole Foods I pay for quality food and service. I am counting the moments until the mammoth Super Whole Foods is opened up in West Orange – practically across the street from us. I swear, our house will DOUBLE in value the instant the “Grand Opening” sign goes up (ok, not double, but it should be worth a few thousand dollars more).

So, why am I mentioning this store now? Monday night I went in looking for hydrangea and cornsilk extracts for Jessie. We found a couple websites that recommended using them in a tincture to help break down his stone. Since he’s still in pain (although we think there was a bit of a breakthrough last night), I’m desperate for anything to complement the Baytril and cranberry juice I force on him twice a day. Anywho, back to Whole Foods…

While wandering around the “Whole Body” aisle, one of the employees asked me if he could help. We got into a very nice discussion about what I was trying to do and, even though it was for a Guinea Pig, the guy searched for options high and low, called another store, and eventually decided to place a special order for what I needed. Hopefully I’ll receive a call today to let me know it has arrived. But it’s impressive that, in this current world of crappy customer support, I’ve always dealt with such willing and abled employees at a store that also offers really good food.

I used to be a major bargain shopper. My finances these days still dictate that I have to at least keep my spending in check. But I’ve also learned that sometimes it’s worth the money to support a better product and better store. Which reminds me, I really need to get an account with Costco.


For some reason Lisa isn’t keen on the idea of using Wolfmother‘s “Woman” as our wedding song. Back me up, isn’t it just perfect?

Alright, as an alternative we could use “White Unicorn.” The only trick at that point is trying to last over 5 minutes on the dance floor and having to choreograph moves to that brilliant guitar organ solo and absolutely KILLLER drum fill.

UPDATE: Thankfully I doublechecked the lyrics for “Apple Tree” and it turns out that he’s saying “Dear Sir” and not “Lisa” – so that one’s right out. Afterall, a speed metal song would just be silly…

From good to bad to worse to impossible

So the weekend started out well. At least Sunday was cool. I almost completely forgot it was the 7th of May, and would have spent the day lounging on my butt in front of the TV if not for a sudden realization that the Hoboken Art and Music Festival was that day. As life has shifted over the past couple years, the Festival does not have nearly the appeal it once did. I still thoroughly enjoy it, but the semi-annual event is no longer a “must-see” as the inconvenience of travel and lack of central meeting place makes it a tad cumbersome. This time, however, the old crew was getting back together at the Rodeo-Ristra for a big show. It was a great way to reconnect with a lot of people, and a great way to work on my photography. Unfortunately, Lisa had to work – so a full reunion was not to be had.

And that was pretty much all of the good. You see, Jessie (our little guinea pig with the wild hair) had begun to squeak in pain sometime Saturday, and by Sunday night it was pretty obvious a trip to the vet was needed. After a couple attempts on Monday, I finally took him to the doctor that had taken care of Teddy last year. The vet at the other hospital said that it might just be gas – and I was really hoping all of that pain was just a fart that couldn’t get out. But this one (who knew guinea pigs much better) was pretty certain it was a stone. An ultrasound (yes, he had an itty-bitty ultrasound done) showed what looked like a stone, but was not conclusive. The doctor gave us some antibiotics to help clear up anything in his urinary tract, a solution to clean his irritated penis (boy, have I said that word way too much the last few days), and told us to comeback in a couple days for checkup.

Before we get to the end of that story, we must cover the interlude that was the following day. After administering the various treatments for Jessie, I headed out to work a tad late – and a tad flat. Yup, as is my luck, one of my tires decided to have a fight with the largest nail imaginable – and lost. After a longer than usual attempt to put on the spare (the jack almost fell over with the car on top), I headed up to the Sears Auto to take advantage of the road hazard warranty I (thankfully) purchased. While there, I knew I could use an alignment and was overdue for an oil change. After a brief discussion with the mechanic, I also decided to have my brakes looked at. And that would be my undoing.

When I got the phone call from Sears, I had already been thinking about the $180 for the vet, the $130 for this work, and the potential cost of surgery for Jessie. The bills sure are piling up – and my credit card isn’t getting any younger. So when the estimate came out to almost $600 for the brakes, I honestly couldn’t tell them to just go ahead and do it. I will eventually have to get it done, but I actually had to decline the service for now while I look at other options. Are brakes really that necessary?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… Jessie’s condition wasn’t getting any better. He was still eating and running around – so he wasn’t deteriorating as quickly as Teddy did – but the squeaking was still there. So this morning we took him back to the vet. And after a brief exam which essentially confirmed the previous diagnosis, I awaited their estimate. Lisa asked how much I’d be willing to spend. I could really only imagine 3 to 400 dollars. Well, put a 1 in front of that. There’s no way we can spend $1400 on one of the piggies. No matter how much I love hime, we just can’t do it.

Tomorrow I hope to start a series of natural therapies in an attempt to break down the stone. But I’m afraid that his condition is getting worse. And in that case, there really isn’t much else we can do.

More updates to follow…