Monday, February 04, 2008

Well, THAT Day Didn't Quite Go As Planned

Photo by Mrs. FC.

I know... based on yesterday's post, you clicked here expecting some gardening post. I was supposed to be planting blueberries and grape vines as I recall.

I was also going to start deer proofing a section of garden with a really tall fence. The grey skies I had mentioned in Sunday's post had almost instantly turned bright blue after I finished my pancakes, and the day outside was looking beautiful.

In between clicking "publish" on yesterday's post and going out to garden, I had one little household chore to do.

A sink drain was slow dripping into the cabinet below it and I had bought a new drain thingie to replace the old.

Should be a simple job, off with the old, on with the new. I even bought a spud wrench so the job would go quick.

I grabbed my tools and slid under the sink.

Piece of caaaaaa.....

Three hours later, I grabbed the dremel tool and cut off the offending spud nutflangethingamajig from hell that was apparently welded to the old drain with 19 years of goo. It had resisted hours of wrenching, pounding, cursing ...

When it finally came loose, I began wrestling the new drain into place.

Another hour and I was outside. I had repotted one tiny blueberry plant when I noticed that our show pig, Chewie, was not feeling well. In fact she was in distress and was going down hill.

Pigs can die suddenly from stress, often without any reason obvious to humans.

Chewie was crashing.

I dashed inside, told the crew she was in dire straits, and we all went into pig emergency mode.

Junior went off to buy Gatorade, Mrs. FC grabbed a giant syringe that we keep for this sorta thing, I went back out to comfort Chewie and call Denny, our pig expert.

By this time Chewie was lying on her side, barely breathing with her eyes shut. I knelt beside her rubbing her ears and belly as I talked to Denny on the cellphone. We went down a list of symptoms and she came up a mystery, which meant it was probably porcine stress syndrome.

She did feel warmer than usual and the possibility of an infection of some kind seemed plausible too.

Electrolytes and an antibiotic were the suggested treatments.

Junior arrived with the Gatorade and we mixed a cocktail of leftover doggy antibiotic and orange Gatorade. This was syringed into her mouth in small amounts.

In a little while she stood up and walked around. She even did some snuffling in the dirt, but not with her usual enthusiasm.

Mrs. FC put a towel down in Chewies shelter and sat with her, comforting her, and slurping Gatorade into her mouth with the syringe.

Late last night, Junior went out to check her and she was up and eating from her feeder.

A few minutes ago, in the predawn darkness, I slipped her some Gatorade and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the contents of an antibiotic capsule mixed in. She got up to greet me when I walked out and fed from her feeder while I scratched her ears.

I don't know if we are out of the woods yet, but those are positive signs.


pablo said...

I have three things to say:

I'm glad Chewie seems to be doing better.
Junior is now driving?
Righty tighty, lefty loosey?

Cathy S. said...

Oh, nooooo. Having been through bouts of colic with my horse, I know how scarey it is when a sick farm animal cannot tell you what is wrong. And you can't load them up and take them to the vet very easily. I am glad that you have the experience to know what to do to help her. So sorry about your day. But, then, if it had happened on a work day, would your boss have understood when you had to call in and say you couldn't come to work because your pig was sick?

Anonymous said...

Classic photo!!! Never thought there would be a time when I would write something like this...but I will definitely keep Chewie in my prayers until I hear otherwise.

Rurality said...

Hope she recovers fully! I can't believe you of all people were out of GATORade.

You do know that free plumbing (and electrical) repairs are the main reason most women get married, right? :)

threecollie said...

Oh, dear, poor pig! Good thing you went out when you did! I hope every thing goes along all right for her...

Thunder Dave said...

Wow, sounds like a busy day! I hope Chewie pulls through ok!

Lightnin's Grandmother passed away this weekend, so we'll be heading back to Missouri tomorrow afternoon. She would have been 100years old in June!

roger said...

a renaissance man! plumbing, animal husbandry, and literature all in a day's work. what i would have given (a million bucks, a child, maybe just a pet) more than once for a dremel to cut off that offending drain nut. it is soooo hard to work a hacksaw under a sink. you did put a dab of waterproof grease on the threads to make this easier next time eh?

i admit i was wondering if you were going to inject gatorade. i lucked out with pigs. they were all healthy.

Larry said...

I liked your phrase "pig emergency mode"!

robin andrea said...

I'm surprised that Roger didn't mention in his comment one of his handy-man sayings, "water is the bane of my existence." Plumbing always takes longer than you think it will. That's the rule.

Hope Chewie is feeling better. I had no idea that little porcines were so sensitive. Why would that be? Seems like a strange evolutionary adaptation.

SwampAngel65 said...

Oh scary! You had my heart racing just reading about poo Chewie! I hope she continues to get better.

Now, I bought a new water heater and was too cheap to pay for delivery and installation (DOUBLE what the dang thing cost!)...SO, we're going to have an adventure this evening that I fear, will put your sink repair to shame.

Wanna come help?

Sharon said...

Ugh, I hate it when things don't go as planned. I get madder at inanimate objects than I do at humans :)

Hope Chewie is back to her normal, cute piggy self soon. How scary!

crackercowlady said...

So sorry to hear about Chewie's bad experience. I grew up around cows and not pigs. I was not aware of porcine stress syndrome. Is this a common thing one has to deal when when raising pigs? How scary! Hope this finds Chewie feeling "piggy perky" once again.

Laura said...

whoa, I'm really glad to read she's feeling better and I hope that continues as well. What, besides the distant sound of bulldozers from possible impending developers, could cause her to get stressed out so? That always makes me sick, too. I can't help feeling for the lil' piglet.

anyway, hope she's feeling better today!

Floridacracker said...

Chewie Update:
She has had a powerful antibiotic injection, lots of gatorade, clean bedding, and much rubbing of ears. She still feels crummy. Now we wait to see if the meds fix the problem.

Thank you for your expressions of concern.

Junior has been driving since September. He's doing pretty well at it.

Cathy S,
It is tough when you have to guess at what's wrong.
My boss would just have to understand if that had been the case.

Thanks for those pig prayers!!

I had suspected as much.

I thought you could relate to this type of event.

So sorry for L's loss. I'll be thinking of her.

love that term, r-man.
dang i wish i had thought of that grease tip yesterday! we've lucked out too, but there's been a lot of pigs through here so i suppose we were due for a challenge. she's a good pig.

Hi! Yes, we've been there before, so we know what might work, but not with absolute certainty.

That Roger is a wise man. No wonder you hang out with him :)
I think (I hear) that we've bred this stress into them as a consequence of breeding for rapid, rapid growth.

Lucky for me you and your project are just a little too far away.
Good luck!

Me too. I hope to see here smiling by tomorrow afternoon.

I think it's a modern pig breed thing. They are bred to grow so fast that they often have joint problems.

I had not considered the fact that she might be an Eco Pig. Perhaps it IS stress over the Californication of FL.

Alan said...

Rule: Plumbing jobs will always take 3-4 times longer than expected, if not worse.

Glad the pig recovered. I didn't realize they were so fragile (they must be Italian).

lori said...

glad to here(read) that chewie is doing better.
love the pictures
speaking of pictures
if you don't mind me asking
what camera do you use?

doubleknot said...

Hope Chewie doesn't have any more spells. I never ran across that problem when I raised pigs - learn something new every day now that I no longer can have pigs where I live.

doubleknot said...

Forgot to comment on your home repairs - it always seems to go like that when ever I had a repair to do it was always the 'firsties' you had to do it get the job started - like getting a nut loose. Hope your drip was fixed.

Floridacracker said...

That must be the "rule of plumb".

It's a Sony Cybershot DSC-H5. A very sweet little camera.

Maybe these fast growing show pigs are extra sensitive.

The Troll said...

You show more concern for that "show pig" than most people who put their kids into "show business". Ever consider adopting Britney?

Anonymous said...

CHEWIE! Poor pig. I'm glad she has her family to take care of her before she goes to, you know. Knowing that she's such an emo pig, perhaps you could reconsider. In any case, I hope she continues to thrive.

Leaking things cause me to react like Chewie. And Gatorade doesn't help.

Floridacracker said...

Chewie has no choice in being a pig. That's the difference between her and Britney.
I'll take Chewie.

Emo pig ... snort!
She's doing much better!