Sundog –noun 1. parhelion. 2. a small or incomplete rainbow.

Archive for September, 2010

Just call me Dr. Lisa

Quick news flash! Dramatic happenings going on in camp today.

A short while ago Jeremy was out washing a dish when he spotted a mole above ground seeming to scratch an itch on his hind leg.

They are pretty cute up close and it was a very rare treat to get to see one. But something seemed to be wrong with him. He kept clawing at the dirt as though swimming in a current and not going any where. I leaned over closer to him and found that a piece of thread was wrapped very tightly around his lower abdomen, which then had both ends of the thread knotted in some roots next to him.

Jeremy and I got into quick action mode, setting out to free the little mole from his predicament. Cutting one end of the thread free did not seem to do any good, it was wrapped too tight. We tried having me grasp him with a pad made from paper towels as these were easiest on hand, but they were not large enough to really get under and then around him.

At this point we started to worry a bit; the uncut end of thread had pulled free and he had begun to burrow away again while still having a very tightly knotted loop around his abdomen. I remembered where a small cloth towel was hanging nearby and quickly fetched it.

By rolling up half the towel, I was able to create a thick enough piece that could handle the strength of his legs while still reaching entirely around him. After wrapping him in the blanket, I was able to feel those powerful front legs pushing against my hands as he briefly fought his confinement.

The thread was almost invisible by this point after having tightened even further around his stomach and becoming hidden by fur. Jeremy was not able to see it, and so with a deft movement we transferred the mole from my grasp to his without letting the mole free.

With a gentle rearrangement of his rear legs, the thread became visible again along his side. A loud snip from the scissors and the thread popped free allowing the area it had been constricting to spread to normal dimensions again. Poor little guy, he’d looked like someone drew him with a wasp waist until we were able to get that off.

Jeremy set him down and he happily took off looking for the nearest easy dig point. He burrowed about eight inches along a tunnel and then seemed to have settled in for a well deserved rest.

We don’t often get such high levels of excitement around here. Though I’m sad a lost thread found its way to harming such a cute little creature, I did enjoy having a chance to flex my veterinary skills once more. It has been a long time since I had an animal to tend to and I used to take pride in being able to tend to most of my various pet’s ailments on my own. In fact, for many years I had planned on becoming a veterinarian before life’s adventure changed my path.

This picture is not of our mole, we were too worried about helping ours that we never thought to take a picture until after already releasing him. Ours was the same color (though covered in mud) and approximately 6 inches in length.

A common Pacific Northwest mole


10 Ways to Maximize Your Doctor Trip

It can be useful to minimize wasted time when paying out of pocket for a specialist visit, having to travel for the appointment, or not being well enough to make multiple trips to your physician. Over the years I have learned a few tricks to help us get the most we can out of our in person visits with our MCS/CFS specialist.

Here is how I maximize my visits and I hope this helps you receive the care you deserve at your next appointment.

* Come prepared. Bring a clearly written or typed list of questions, changes in symptoms, and what you want to accomplish in this appointment.

* Bring an updated copy of all medications and supplements you are taking for your file records. Should your doctor need to write a new prescription or look for problems with your medication, this will also makes it easier for them to know what you are currently on without having to flip through multiple pages of your file.

* If you’ve taken a test for a specific condition, do a little research on it before walking into the appointment. Find out the general symptoms, treatment, etc of it prior to seeing your doctor. A lot of time can be saved in a visit if you do not need an in depth explanation of things should you test positive for x condition. It allows more time to decide treatment options instead of covering the rudimentary physiology of the problem.

* Arrive early. This makes sure you are there for every minute if they happen to be running on time and allows you an opportunity to collect your thoughts prior to seeing the doctor.

* Bring a clearly printed or typed list of all known prescriptions you will need written this trip. Leave room to add to the bottom of it while in the appointment should a new script be needed that is not written up on the spot. Some doctors even prefer to write the scripts out of the appointment when they have time to look up dosages and in general don’t feel rushed. This can save you several minutes depending on how many scripts you need.

* Be prepared to take notes. This will help keep you on track and give you something to refer back to a few hours/days later if you have forgotten a dosage or treatment change.

* Be as proactive as possible about keeping on track. Sometimes doctors find a story they want to share or enjoy; it is up to you to steer them back to the next topic at hand as gently as possible so as not to seem rude with your interruption.

* Try to limit yourself to keeping on track as well. It can be easy to spend a lot of time sharing symptoms or concerns with your doctor if they are sympathetic. It is just as important to keep yourself focused on the meeting as it is to keep your doctor focused.

* Follow the list of tasks you made and make sure to hit each one. It sounds redundant, but it is amazingly easy to miss asking that one question which will keep you awake all night when you remember it again. There may be a lot of information exchanged during your meeting and it can be hard for those of us cognitively impaired to keep up with all the changes. A checked off list helps greatly with this problem.

* If your doctor says something that you do not understand, make sure to ask for clarification. This can save having to go back for a second trip later or incorrect treatment occurring because you did not understand clearly what was being said at the time. Doctors do make mistakes sometimes and knowing exactly what they are talking about is a great way to limit these mistakes.