Saturday, May 9, 2009

The girl with colitis goes by...

We are at the
Elk Valley Casino (do you detect a pattern here?) in Crescent City, California (map).

We actually intended to have other plans for last night, such as staying at one of the several coastal parks south of here, or perhaps continuing into the Six Rivers National Forest, but circumstances conspired against us. Specifically, Opal is having some issues.

Opal has a chronic condition of recurring ulcerative colitis, a condition which was diagnosed four years ago, when we were in Utah. We're used to it now, and when she starts having a bout, we switch her to a "bland" diet of rice and cottage cheese until it goes away.

Yesterday morning when I walked her, I noticed a drop of blood in her excrement, which worried us a bit, but it was very small. When I walked her again just before we left Trinidad, she strained a bit, and produced only a small amount of something runny, but this time with enough blood to make it somewhat pink. So we decided the best course of action would be to shoot for Crescent City for the night, in case we needed a vet.

Crescent City is one of these RV-unfriendly towns (probably not without reason, though) that has banned overnight parking of rigs, even in private parking lots, throughout the city. Our guide said there was an Elks lodge downtown, though, with room for one rig, so that's where we headed, with our fingers crossed that no one else was there.

Well, it turns out that they have room for maybe one rig if it's a class-B (RV-speak for a van conversion), or perhaps a truck camper. I might have been able to jockey Odyssey into their tight-quarters downtown lot if there had been no traffic (or we held it at the next cross street), but then we'd take up nearly a third of their tiny parking lot. On top of that, they were having some kind of event when we arrived, and the lot was already half full.

That left us with two back-up options, both about the same distance from town -- this casino (on sovereign tribal land, thus exempting it from the onerous RV parking regulation), or the county fairgrounds for $15 per night (with hookups). We came here, and checked in with security. They gave us several parking options, and we decided to go inside and check out the restaurant and the club promotions before getting Odyssey squared away in the furthest lot (the looky-loo factor is particularly high here in Crescent City, we don't know why).

Signing up for club cards got us each $5 in credit, which we immediately parlayed into nearly that much in real cash in the separate smoke-free gaming area. The restaurant seemed fine, with a varied menu and a number of nightly club-card specials, and so we headed back to the bus to get parked for the night.

Of course, we had already gotten parked, leveled, and the dish deployed when I took Opal for a walk, and this time she produced what looked to me to be a hemorrhagic quantity of blood. We immediately went on line to find an AAHA-accredited hospital, called, and got an urgent appointment in about 45 minutes' time. We buttoned everything back up, and headed right back into town, passing the Elks lodge again on our way to the vet. I grabbed as much of the, ahem, "output" as I could in a zip-lock baggie for analysis.

The vet was very reassuring, indicating that the quantity of blood was not at the crisis stage. He seemed to feel that it was simply a slightly worse bout of colitis, and gave Opal a pair of shots as well as some meds to take with us. Unfortunately, the preferred treatment for colitis, Metronidazole, is not an option for Opal. That's what the vet had prescribed four years ago, and we ended up rushing the dog to another vet a few days later, suffering from Metronidazole toxicosis.

In any case, the situation was not of enough concern for them to keep Opal over the weekend, so she was released to our care, with instructions to call the emergency number if the stool comes out looking, to quote the doctor, "like raspberry jam." In the meantime, she is back on rice and cottage cheese after a night of nothing but Pedialyte to keep her electrolytes up. And, of course, we are stuck here in Crescent City until we see either an improvement or more symptoms. Later today I will have to ask security if we can spend another night; if not, we'll move to the fairgrounds.

I am hoping, of course, that we will see an improvement by this afternoon. Her system has been completely empty since yesterday morning, so we just have to wait. At least she was acting much more chipper this morning, and showed much more interest in breakfast than she has in a couple of days.

Once we are clear to leave Crescent City, we will head east on US-199 into the Six Rivers National Forest, where we hope to spend a night or two before landing in Cave Junction and heading east to see the Oregon Caves.

Today's post title, BTW, is a mondegreen (misheard lyric) for "the girl with kaleidoscope eyes" from Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (and now you can thank me for having to think of this every time you hear that song). Apparently, this mondegreen (of many for this particular lyric) is more likely to be heard by, umm, an older demographic.


  1. Poor Opal, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for her (and you). Nothing worse than having a sick "kid". Doug S.

  2. We're sure pulling for Opal's full recovery soon. You are good "parents" who know how to take care of their beloved pet.

  3. How about this it fits:
    "There's a bathroom on the right"
    "There's a bad moon on the rise"

  4. @anonymous: That's probably one of the most common (famous?) mondegreens of all time, and it is even listed in the WikiPedia article on mondegreens that I linked.

    That CCR lyric was so commonly misheard that Fogerty has, on occasion, actually sung the lyric that way in concert, just for grins. We often sing it as we pass rest areas...

  5. Well, this morning I learned two things, the first of which would apply if I ever decided to have another canine pet.
    Glad I already had breakfast, and the raspberry jam is safely back in the fridge.
    And then, I never knew a phrase like "There's a bathroom on the right" had an actual name.
    Who says reading blogs is a waste of time?
    Hopefully your doggy dilemma will turn out fine.
    Keep yer stick on the ice.



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