Monday, January 30, 2012

Buffer reduction

We are in the driveway at the home of our friends Don and CC in Killeen, Texas. We arrived mid-day Saturday after an uneventful drive from Austin, including a stop at the Walnut Creek wastewater plant. We did have two brief moments of panic there; one when we encountered a sign saying the facility was for authorized Austin trucks only (the attendant on duty assured us that RVs were also allowed, but they were not listed on the sign), and another when we had to cross the ~10"-high containment hump to access the facility.

We had a nice dinner at Outback, and they took me for a birthday lunch yesterday at Olive Garden. We had figured to get rolling yesterday afternoon around 3ish, which would let us get an hour and a half of driving under our belt, placing us at a lovely picnic area we had remembered from last year.

We had the bus all packed up and ready to go, and were saying our final goodbyes, when Opal slipped off the driver seat, out the open door, and landed hard on the concrete driveway. She is very elderly now, and so we had visions of broken bones, but we walked her around a bit and she seemed to be fine. We gingerly put her back in the bus and finished our preparations; about five minutes later, though, Louise noticed some blood in her mouth around the gums, and we feared she had broken or dislodged a tooth.

Killeen is actually the largest city on our route until El Paso, some four days away, and so we found the local Banfield pet hospital and gave them a call. They take walk-ins until 4pm Sunday and CC drove us over there just in time. We really liked the vet as well as the tech, and we had a very good experience there.

It turned out that Opal had basically bitten herself in the gum, and her extensive periodontal disease caused it to bleed. She also loosened a couple of teeth, either in the fall, or at the vet by biting down on the tongue depressors they were using to keep her mouth open. The speculation was that those teeth were essentially being held in place by calculus to begin with, which she easily broke.

The vet gave her a powerful injectable antibiotic to deal with the ongoing periodontal issues, and otherwise gave her a clean bill of health -- at least, a clean a bill as this old dog can get these days. We are going to monitor her progress, and switch her to wet food if she has trouble eating the dry kibble. She seems no worse for wear, and the bleeding was more of a scare for us than a problem for her. We are always watching her for signs of pain; at her age, it is unlikely that aggressive medical care would make sense. The big decision of when to let her go gently over the Rainbow Bridge is always in the back of our minds. Fortunately, this is not the week for that.

It was well past 5:30 by the time we got back to the bus, and with less than half an hour of daylight left, coupled with not wanting to drive right into the setting sun, we decided to just spend another night. We ended up watching the Pro Bowl with Don and CC last night and turning in right after it ended.

In a few minutes we will head west. Having used up some of our time buffer by staying here another night, we'll have to bypass the nice little picnic area east of San Saba and instead head at least as far as Brady. There is a Walmart there, or perhaps we will find another picnic area that appeals to us.


  1. We are so glad that Opal is okay.
    We are enjoying reading of your adventures!

  2. I'm really glad Opal is OK. I'm sure you have mentioned before, how old is she?

  3. @Susan&Sam: Thanks!

    @Damie: Since she was a rescue when we got her, we can't be sure. But she is at least 15 and could be as much as 18.

  4. Hurrah for Opal. Rescues are the best! Our favorite breed of white dog doesn't have that long a life, after 7-8 Samoyeds the best we have reached is 13 where our Jake is now. I'm sure glad you two shared the Banfield options. Pat and Russ

  5. Glad that Opal is okay. I have been reading your blog for a while now (going on two years or more) and I have become attached to the animals that ride Odyssey - oh, and ya'll too ;-)


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