Finn died overnight. I know he was just an alpaca, but he fought so hard.
I was awakened at 1:15AM by a loud, LOUD buzzing in my right ear. Sigh. I went to check on Finn. He's not doing that well; it looks like his breathing is more labored. I'd given him a bowl of water before I went to bed, then filled it again. It was empty when I went out there. I gave him some of his formula, but when I was done he was panting. Alpacas don't pant. So I didn't force him to take any more. I just want to be able to cure him or let him go. I hate to see him in distress.

I need to distract myself since worrying and now the buzzing aren't letting me sleep. A simple meme by way of both [livejournal.com profile] dfwall02453 and [livejournal.com profile] windrider67:

meme )
Finn started failing this morning. He was weak and distressed and his body temperature had dropped four degrees overnight. Dar did some more research on his symptoms, and it now looks as if he's been infected with a meningeal worm. It's a parasite that attacks ruminants and is particularly dangerous for camelids. She dosed him as prescribed, and he did perk up somewhat, but the prognosis isn't good. By the time the symptoms have progressed as far as Finn's have, the survival rate is only 10-20%. It's a terrible disease, and there haven't been many cases reported in our area. The only test for it is done post-mortem; diagnosis is on a best guess based on symptoms - and Finn's were so readily explained by birth defect and spinal shock. Poor little guy.

It's been snowing for days now, and the high winds mean snow drifts. There's one in front of the steps that's about shoulder height on me. I've been spared from going out in it because of the evil flare, but it's getting so bad that even the ever-patient Dar is tiring of it. I think the weather is supposed to improve this week, but I've given up trusting the Canadian weather service. I'll just have to wait and see what the day brings.

I'm still flaring. I was hoping that by kicking up the prednisone dosage I'd just squelch it, but I guess I'm going to have to be more patient. I have some other symptoms that have popped up that aren't Lupus related, so I'm feeling somewhat worried and frustrated. I'm going to try to get a message through to my rheumatologist tomorrow if the flare isn't better than it was today.

I'll let you know how things are going with Finn.
Fun stuff first. Finn is now in the living room instead of downstairs alone in the den/rec-room. Besides just generally being easier to care for him up here, it's much better for him. Alpacas need others around them, and while we're not his herd mates, we're a good substitute. He has loads of stimulation now, and Con (Dar's brother) has taken a particular shine to him. That works out well for the both of them, because it's helping with Con's healing, too.

Finn's temperature is very near normal, and I take it that now we really start to investigate how permanent his loss of movement is. He does seem stronger; he certainly seems more alert. He's strong enough to drink out of bowl, so I gave him some water and the boy just sucked it all down. Gave him a second bowl full and it disappeared, too. The poor thing was dehydrated, but we didn't want to force water on him if he couldn't pee it out. I found out yesterday first hand that he certainly can pee, as evidenced by my soaking left leg :)

He has frostbite on all four feet, our little guy. He has barely any fleece on his feet for some reason (the backs of his legs are pretty bare, too), so when he collapsed in the snow he turned into a popsicle. It hurts to even think about it.

Look at how cute he is! )

In me news, the Flare That Will Not Die just keeps gaining strength. It's affecting my nervous system, so I'm back to tipping over and falling with not-so-hilarious frequency. At least the flare isn't causing a lot of pain, so there's that. Dar is looking up the protocols for prednisone dosages to counter it. I'll probably be back at my initial 20-25 mg of pred daily for a while until this goes away. Hate it. Hate. I feel most sorry for everyone around me, though, because when I start to taper off again is when those steroid rages will kick in. It's as if something flicks a switch and I just go off. It's almost impossible to control because it's not a slow build; it's an explosion. Plus the blues thunder in and wreak havoc without warning, too. And the hair loss. And the moon face. It's why it's the drug that the users all love to hate. But hey - I'd be a lot worse off without it, and I know it.

TV. Lost perplexes in its usual wonderfully weird way. It's almost as if they took all of the characters and arcs, threw them up in the air, and while they were on the way down, they pressed the RESET button. It's wild, I tell ya! Wild! While I'm on the subject, I want to highly recommend The Ack Attack. She uses screen caps from the episodes along with loads of pop cult references to recap the eps. Very, very funny stuff. If you're a fan of Arrested Development, too, you really have to read her recap for 5.05 "This Place is Death". It had me belly laughing in several places. "And that's why we always leave a note." Ha!
Finn is still with us, meaning he's still alive and he's still ensconced downstairs in front of the fireplace on his blankies.

[livejournal.com profile] darlong called the vet early on Tuesday morning to have Finn checked out. The vet - Dave - said that outside of the paralysis Finn was in decent shape. Good stomach/rumen sounds and he found a bit of a reflex in the back legs, too. He recommended that we give Finn another few days to see how he progressed. Obvious problem signs would be a continued failure to thrive and the inability on the cria's part to void any waste. Dar continued with the bottle feeding and added some homemade alpaca gruel to his diet. He fights both of those like a little monster, but it has been helping. And he both pooed and peed today, so that means that his (God, I just blanked) peeing and pooing muscles aren't paralyzed or atrophied. He still can't walk, but he does seem to be getting a bit stronger. The cats go downstairs to check on him from time to time, as do we. He is truly a sweet little guy.

I've been paying for staying awake for 24 hours. Yesterday I was pretty much a zombie, but today is considerably better. Still not up for too much physical activity, but I've been able to help out here and there. Have I mentioned lately how much this sucks?

Speaking of sucking, I watched a bit of American Idol last night. That was a portion of their top 36? They sounded horrible! Even for AI, which usually makes me grind my teeth in disgust. And the format! The show was 2 hours long; there were 12 contestants; each contestant sang for 1 minute and 20 seconds. If my meager math skills are correct (and they may not be), that's 16 minutes of actual singing. That's a frak load of filler, my friends. I gave up after 23 minutes and only 2 contestants. Although I did flip back every once in a while. And I tuned in for the last few minutes when they do a recap of all the singing. Horrible! They have three nights of this; maybe they top-loaded the last night. I will not be watching, because tonight is The Three Ls: Life, Lost(OMG!), and Life on Mars. I love Wednesdays.

It seems that people who really like the British version of Life on Mars really hate the American version. And vice versa. I'm one of the vice versas. I tried to watch the Brit version and I truly did not like it. On the other hand, I love the American version. I believe that it's a show that's so tied to the cultural idiom of a particular place and time that it makes sense that either one of the other is going to catch your affection but not both. What I love about it is that it's so American. I like that they made the show their own, rather than trying to just do the Brit version with American accents.

Lost continues to kick butt. (But it's Battlestar Galactica that owns my soul.) And Life continues to be a gem. I missed it last week, damn it, but tonight it shall be mine.

OK, I'm going to go visit Finn. Thank you all for your good wishes for the little guy. I'll keep you updated on what's happening with him.
And then he got a bath. )

He's been combed out, and Dar has the blow dryer on him now.
He's still hanging in there. I've been up with him all night. Well, me and the cats. I couldn't get him to take much milk at all from the bottle, but he has been eating hay. The poor thing was exhausted but too terrified to sleep. He finally started really losing the battle around 2AM and by 3AM he was out. He's been sleeping in blocks of 15-20 minutes, so at least he's getting some rest.

Now it looks as if his left front leg is useless, too. It may be that it's just asleep from the position he's in. I don't want to manhandle him just to find out quite yet. Maybe when Dar wakes up. I figure that at least one of us should go into the day rested, and she's more vital to Finn than I am.

The cats have been exceptional with him. No one's jumped him or walked on him. They've all come very quietly and slowly up to him, not close enough to touch. Except for Mao, who I hear was grooming his ears. That Mao, such a thoughtful cat. Holmes really just wanted to eat Finn's hay. Typical. [livejournal.com profile] sparky77, you'd be very proud of Pico. He's fascinated with Finn, but he's very respectful of him. Not frightened at all, just . . . courteous. Chloe and Jane were the only ones who figured they'd share all of his blankets, and Finn really didn't seem to mind.

I still don't know what the outcome is going to be. I don't think it's going to be good. But for now he's fast asleep, breathing gently.
Gertie rejected Finn; she won't let him nurse even when Dar held him up for her. It happens when the alpaca thinks there's no hope. We brought Finn into the house for the night. He's all set up in front of the fireplace (no fire going) on hay and blankets. Maddie is sitting with him right now, and he's very calmly letting her pet him. Jane is cuddled up next to him. (I know!) He is such a sweet little boy.

I just can't get my hopes up.

I took some pictures, but our internet connection is ass, and I can't upload them. I'll try later.
The Poots brought Gertie and Finn back about an hour ago. I stayed in the house because there were already 7 people and 10 alpacas in the barn; they didn't need me, too. I heard that the other alpacas were overjoyed to have Gertie back; they crowded around her, sniffing and humming.

Finn is perched in his own little section of the barn; he's on an electric heating pad and under a heat lamp. He still can't move his back legs, but he's alert. I went out to the barn a little bit ago. It distressed me to see that none of the alpacas would go near him, including Gertie. I'm hoping it's just that the herd is being very protective of her; they had her scrunched in the middle of them when I came in. It's not much of a defensive maneuver, but it's one of the few they have :) She did come over to me to sniff my face and touch noses, so I felt comforted by that. I think that once everyone is settled in, Gertie will be more attentive to Finn again. He's pretty much a stranger to the rest of the herd; he's only spent three days of his life at our place.

Dar is still working on getting his temp up to normal. If he's still paralyzed after that, he'll have to be euthanized. It's going to be a waiting game now.
Dar just came back about 30 minutes ago. She thinks it was a stroke or a spinal embolism. When they found Finn he had collapsed outside in the snow. His temp was 94; normal temp is 101. She got it up to 96, but his hind legs are still paralyzed.

The Poots are bringing both Gertie and Finn back home. If he dies or has to be euthanized (either is highly likely), Dar wants them here in their own home. She doesn't want to give up hope until his temp is normalized, or as normalized as it's going to get. It's not looking great, though, guys.

I'll keep you updated.

August 2015

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