Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Drunken Fire Drill with Nazis

Drunken Fire Drill - Drunk is the only way to do those things
So after the drunken rambling phone call to Fizzy we hadt the stupid fire drill that is required before sailing (even though they conduct the fire drill while actually moving out of port).

Announcement comes over the PA System that we all need to go to our rooms, collect our life vests, put them on and "muster" at our designated stations.

Ever see a bunch of drunks try to figure out a life vest? Yes, a good percentage of the ship's population is drunk by this point. Life vest straps trailing the ground, drunks staggering around, multi-level stairways…disaster in the making. The really obnoxious drunks are actually trying to stomp on the trailing vest straps of unsuspecting victims. Rick had to put my vest on me. *snicker*

So we get to our muster station. We are standing in the back since we got there early (beaming as one of the "good kids"). It was actually nice to get there early since this meant we could lean against the wall behind us instead of actually having to stand on our own.

We met a couple next to us from PA or somewhere up there (remember, I was drunk…it's not like I am gonna remember this stuff). I do remember the woman had the little patches behind her ears and it dawned on me...prone to seasickness + drinking = I might want hubby in between me and her (I wasn't so drunk that I didn't think of THAT).

The PA couple was nice and the whole deck was having a grand ol' time just chatting and staying where we belonged until the freaking Drill Sergeant showed up.

For goodness sake, they say the same thing every cruise. "This is your muster station. This is the order of who will be allowed on the lifeboats first. This is how to put on your life vest. This is what you life vest has and can do. Ask a crew member if you cannot operate or put on your life vest correctly."

Like anything is going to be orderly if the ship is going down any way. People will be trampled. People will scream and be selfish. And I will personally eviscerate anyone who tries to separate me from my husband.

Well, Silly Sarge is doing the shhhhhh noise every so often. We are ever so politely ignoring him. All of a sudden he screams out, "If you are talking then you are not listening and cannot hear the instructions!"

Well holy crap on a cracker and freaking duh, Einstein. Got any other bulbs of wisdom for us ya earth smoking nitwit?

He did this pretty much at the end of the drill so we continued to ignore him and then it was time to leave and go back to our drinking. BONUS!

He was not overly thrilled with his group for the drill. I think we may have given him an aneurysm. *snicker*

C'est la vie. There was still alcohol on the Lido deck and a lounge chair with my name on it.  Life was still looking pretty darned good through my glasses...one of them being full of rum and the other vodka, of course.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Caribbean Cruise – Day #1 (Pre-Fire Drill)

Cruise Time!


"Festival" = a popular cruise line with a similar name

Rick and I could not sleep of course, so we got up around 5am. We finished packing last minute stuff, made sure the kitties had food & water (enough until the kitty sitter would get there), loaded the car and shot out the door.

We had a nice breakfast, thought of stuff we had forgotten and shot off to Wal-Mart. Among other things, I picked up some kind of hair gel stuff to help straighten my hair and a brush like my stylist uses when straightening my hair at the salon (this becomes important later on…trust me).

We arrived at Port Canaveral with plenty of time to spare. We gave our luggage over to the porters, tipped them and joined the masses trying to board the ship. Things were moving along well enough that we were directed to the VIP check-in line and got right in.

We were on board the ship by 12pm. We were able to check out our stateroom and greet our room steward by 1pm.

We were on the Lido deck with our 1st drink by 2pm. I was on the Lido deck with my 2nd drink by 2:30pm. The "Festival" bartending staff pours heavy. I guess they subscribe to the theory that if you are going to pay THAT much for a drink, you should get a fair deal.Among at least 3 different alcohols in that drink there was Bacardi 151. I did not know that until after the 2nd drink.

I toasted my friends who could not be there and *I* was
quickly "toasted".

skip forward in the story

I realized a few things:
  1. I was finally on my cruise w/my hubby
  2. I was still in port
  3. I would not be on the computer for over a week
  4. I would not be talking w/my friends for that period of time
  5. I would miss the above mentioned friends
  6. I was intoxicated and therefore had some "liquid courage" to do things I normally would not
#7 is MOST important………and MOST dangerous

     7. I had a cell phone in my pocket

I called my friend Fizzy since I had her number. I rambled about things that I do not remember. I truly have no clue. I do remember the phrase, "I'm on the Lido deck and I am soooooo drunk!" I also know that I spoke freely about activities with my hubby (in our stateroom) just prior to the phone call.
Hubby AND Fizzy found all of this quite humorous. Hubby feels I should drink more often.

And away we go!

This next section will be my collection of tales from one of my cruise vacations. Remember, these are tales based on MY perspective. Names will be changed to protect the innocent....except my husband. He knows damn well he is not innocent.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Let my bad experience help you avoid tragedy

Go online, speak with your vet and talk to other dog lovers about Laryngeal Paralysis

Laryngeal paralysis

Basic Description: Laryngeal paralysis is a condition in where the nerves, muscles and cartilage that open and close the larynx, do not function properly. This can cause voice changes and/or difficulty with eating or breathing. This can happen to different types of animals. Dogs and horses are the most common mentioned in what I have read so far. The animal takes in air through the mouth or nose and passes it through the larynx, and into the trachea (windpipe). Normally, the laryngeal cartilages are pulled open during breathing.In laryngeal paralysis, these cartilages do not open and close properly, making it difficult for the animal to take in air normally.

This personal account is not meant to give information on any case where a human or animal, other than dogs, may have the same or similar condition.

I am sending out this email to raise awareness of a somewhat common condition with large dogs. Yet many, like me, have not heard of it even if they have been around dogs all their life. I never heard of this condition before yesterday. It can easily be mistaken for a heat exhaustion. This is potentially a fatal mistake.


Meet Jaegermeister, my dog. He is a yellow Labrador Retriever. No one ever guesses his correct age. He is now 12.5 years old. He has more energy than any "geriatric" canine should be able to claim. He has always been in excellent health so the Laryngeal Paralysis (LP)was not on my radar.

Recently, I have been walking w/Jaeger in the morning. My walking routine is a fast walk with light jogging for short distances. We were on our usual walk on August 13,2009. Had the ambient temperature been higher, things could have ended much differently.

We were making good time and I felt great about our progress with this new routine. Suddenly, Jaeger slowed down considerably. We had walked about a mile. His breathing became very labored. We were only about 1/4 mile from home so I tried inching him along at a very slow walk. Then, he started alternating between vomiting and defecating.Thank goodness I remembered my cell phone this time. I called my husband and asked him to pick us up.

When we got home, we took Jaeger to the side of the house and I started hosing him down. I thought it was most likely heat exhaustion. Jaeger was laying in the grass and his breathing was still loud and labored after 2 or 3 minutes of constant water application. I moved closer to his head to try and bring down his temperature (his ears were extremely hot). His eyes went glassy and he was not responding to my voice at all. He just laid there and struggled to breathe.

I moved closer and my heart started racing. I asked my husband for his flashlight and shined it into Jaeger's mouth. My fears were confirmed. His tongue had gone purplish/blue. I knew he was suffocating. It was likely 10-15 minutes since this started. My dog was slowly dying in front of me and I could not do anything about it.

We put him in the SUV and I sat in the back with him, encouraging him to breathe. We called our vet and the recording gave the number for the emergency clinic (if your vet doesn't have an emergency number on their after hours recording, ask them to add it). We put the A/C on as high as it would go and raced to the clinic. I was now at least a full 30 minutes since the beginning of Jaeger's trauma.

Jaeger had to be carried inside. He had no ability to move anymore.Thankfully, the vet and vet tech automatically had a suspicion about what was wrong. They put Jaeger on oxygen and gave him a shot of Acepromazine (a sedative). They updated me after about 10 minutes and said he had started to improve but they wanted to keep him on oxygen until they closed for the night (another 1.5 hours). They said his color was improving.

They educated me on the condition of Laryngeal Paralysis. I had never heard of it. I had questioned my dog's hoarse bark for years...no vets raised any alarms about it. More recently, I had questioned his persistent cough and attempts to hack something up (an online story gave a great description of the sound..."HRRRAAACH"). No one ever mentioned this LP condition.

Had I known about the condition and what can set it off, I would have never taken Jaeger outside for "jogging". My ignorance almost cost me my dog. To some, "it's just a dog". To me, he is as close to a son as I will ever have.

Now that I know about the condition, it is my duty to educate as many as possible. Hopefully, future tragedies may be avoided through shared knowledge.

*********************My personal note to the caregivers in the world:

Thank you to those who, on a daily basis, give their time and effort to save the lives of people and their loved ones. Nurses, Doctors,EMTs, Firefighters, Police Officers...too many to mention them all....and yes, also including Veterinarians and Vet Techs. Our pets are our loved ones too.

And, in my opinion, a vet's job can in certain ways be more difficult. A pet cannot tell you exactly where it hurts, what they ate or what bit them. They depend on us to know something is wrong and take the necessary steps for their welfare.

It's the least we can do for them. They've been helping us for ages and not asked anything in return.

- Shannon Gately
Random Question:

In what world does it make sense to increase workload, decrease personnel and shorten deadlines?

Okay, so that wasn't truly a "random" question. So, sue me for self-interest.