Puff H. Bailey's "new blog" (belated)

This forum is specifically for people who want to share day-to-day stories about their beardies... the weird or fun stuff. This is not a forum for seeking help, but more just for sharing the cuteness that is your beardie.

Re: Puff H. Bailey's "new blog" (belated)

Postby sweetiepie9 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:01 pm

Gabriel is still puffing but I can't hear anything in his lungs, but he has no energy. He walks a little bit but not like before the RI where he could walk across the living room without any issues. He's 8 years old at least, if not older, as I rescued him in 2012 and he was about a year or so old, my vet couldn't tell either. So he's back to the vet next Wednesday and we'll see what she says. I can hear his heart beat so hopefully no more fluid around his heart. So I'll update when I see her.

I only have talk and text on my phone, no data, even though my son set it up on my WIFI I have at home, but only at home. But I'm getting good at texting and it's good that my son can reach me at any time, even if I'm at work.

So Eric, my son, got Safara, my granddaughter into ballet lessons, every sat for 1 3/4 hrs. She starts this Sat. She's also going to StrongStart at school, it's a pre-kindergarten thing at the school. So she told Eric she wanted to go to school like Leo (he started kindergarten this year) so they've started going to StrongStart before he thought she'd be ready. She's also going to start play therapy beg of Nov, to deal with her mom being out of the picture now. Leo will need therapy, too, but after school is done in the summer. I'll set that up next year. It takes a year to see a therapist of any sort thru the school. I'm glad I'm getting partial retirement benefits early, that pays for her therapy. I don't think she'll need it for long, but we'll see. My son and I want her seen for a while, just to make sure. At $107/wk, glad I have the $ now.
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Re: Puff H. Bailey's "new blog" (belated)

Postby SHBailey » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:18 pm

So Puff continues to do well, and our new light fixture arrived a couple of weeks ago. It's a flimsy, cheap little thing -- just the bare essentials. It cost almost as much as it was worth to ship it to Alaska, but the important thing is that it seems to work, has a nice reflector, and with a new tube, shows a good output on the meter. It also has a detachable cord, and my husband says the connector is something fairly standard so that we should be able to replace the cord if necessary, without having to replace the whole unit. We've had bad luck with the Zoo Med terrarium hoods -- the built in power cords don't tolerate hardly any moving or twisting and tend to short out. Even though they look nice and slick (and cost more), they're poorly designed and poorly packaged. So we'll see how this little cheap thing holds up -- it might actually turn out to be a better option. I guess it isn't always true that you get what you pay for.

Anyway, Puff seems to like it. He spent the whole afternoon basking under it the first day that it arrived, then crawled over to the corner of his basking platform, snuggled down in the towels, and took a nap once he'd had enough.

We're settling back into our normal routine with 2-3 feedings of live bugs per week, salads available daily although they don't get touched much anymore, and of course daily baths and cuddles. Still working on a very messy shed, but it doesn't seem to be bothering him at all -- just looks a little shabby.

My husband and I talked about trying me with a "flip phone," but it's not an urgent need for now. I'm home most of the time, so the land line usually meets my needs.

I'm glad to hear that you managed to find yourself a little extra income. I could file for benefits next year when I turn 62 if I wanted to, but the monthly benefit will be larger if I can hold out till I'm older, so as long as my husband is still working and we can still live on his salary, I figure it will be better to wait. I have to check in with the advisor for my health insurance again because "open enrollment" starts in November and we have to redo the whole thing for next year. She says she can help me run the numbers for social security benefits too and that we should, just to get an idea of what the best options are. I just want for us to have enough to live on when we need it the most -- not expecting to ever be "rich." I like to think that I know how to pinch a penny when I need to, but it's probably a good thing we never had kids -- couldn't afford them. Puff has cost us enough as is in food and medical bills these last few months. Solid 24 karat Golden Dragon :roll: But he's worth it, and it's not his fault he got sick, so we just do the best we can for him.

Hopefully your grandkids can get the help they need to recover from whatever trauma they got from their mother. Pre-school and play therapy both sound like good ideas for them.
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Re: Puff H. Bailey's "new blog" (belated)

Postby sweetiepie9 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:05 pm

Safara starts counselling on Nov 8, my mom paid for the 1st 2 weeks. So that helps. And Leo will start when Safara is done but probably next summer as he's in school and seems to be alot. He's there from 8:30a to 2:30p. As for their mom, she called Healther, her mom, and got her to take the kids to the mall so she could see them. They both went behind my son's back and he gave Heather hell when he found out. He's fully responsible for those children. The mom doesn't help financially at all, even though Eric lives on just over $900/m. His partner Traci works p/t and pays for the food. It's been a rough 1 1/2 yrs for him. The mom had weekends last fall, court ordered. After 4 weekends she stopped picking them up. And then to see them on a random weekend and not show up again, it's 3 weekends now. So yes, the kids are confused. I can't wrap my head around it, so how can they? I think this play therapy will help them both. The counsellor is really sweet and smart.

I'm so glad Puff is doing so well, keep up the good work! See what your advisor says about Soc Sec. I'm going for my survivor's pension Nov/2020, so close now. I apply for the other 3 pensions 6 mo before I retire. And I have to start savings, so once I get my regular income back, I can start putting $ away. I'm going to owe more on income tax because my pension is going to add more to my income. It's a drag but I need that extra. It's been rough on 25% lower income for the last 4 months. But we all got through. I just have to find the strength I had yesterday.
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Re: Puff H. Bailey's "new blog" (belated)

Postby SHBailey » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:18 pm

So time slips away, and it's getting harder and harder for me to keep up with anything anymore. Someone mentioned that they'd noticed my absence around here -- I just don't seem to find the energy to read and post messages like I used to in the last year or two. But I'm still lurking around on the few threads I've been following...

As for Puff, his weight has been dropping a little in the last couple of weeks, down to 509 grams from around 530. Not time to panic yet, but my husband and I had the discussion about if and when it will be time to check in with the vet. The iron injections seemed to help last time, so if he's headed into another adenovirus flare up and another bout with anemia, maybe it will help again. On the other hand, we don't want to stress him out by hauling him to the vet for every little thing (not to mention the stress on our financial situation), so in the meantime we are planning to feed him some extra bugs this week and see what happens. We also realize that the total weight includes things that are just passing through (food, water, and poop) so we try to minimize the variation we get from that by weighing him at the same time every week after his bath (and hopefully a poop in the water and down the drain) and before his big meal for the day.

Meanwhile, the passing of two beloved beardies (Sweetiepie9's Gabriel and Gormagon's Peaches) has reminded me to cherish every minute with Puff, because you just never know how long they're going to be with you. And Puff will probably be the last one we will ever have, due to the fact the we are not likely to have sufficient time, energy, and resources to care adequately for any more of them in the future. That makes me sad to think about, but I try not to let it spoil our enjoyment of the here and now.

My husband and I are both in the process of dealing with the hassles of "open enrollment" for next year's health insurance, although I've come to regard professional health care as a luxury that I can't afford -- it's the only way that I can stay even halfway sane. But I have an appointment next week with the advisor to go through the yearly hassle I have to do for my "Obamacare", if for no other reason than to protect us from the tax penalty. :roll:

So Puff just gave me a big black beard and a head bob or two, and I thought maybe he was going hormonal, since he missed mating season this last spring because he was too sick, but then he dropped a big sloppy poop right on his basking platform, and now he's sitting in it and giving me "The Look" so I guess it's time to go clean up the mess...
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Re: Puff H. Bailey's "new blog" (belated)

Postby sweetiepie9 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:22 am

Yes, love him as much as you can because you never go. I was so blessed to get all that extra time with Gabriel, but I sure miss him. I love Grr already but she will never replace Gabriel. I can still feel his beard on my left cheek that's what he always did when he snuggled with me :love5:

I can understand you not wanting another dragon, they do take alot of physical work. So keep him close.

As for the annual renewal of insurance, I have 2, national healthy that pay for docs, hospitals, specialists and extended health that covers prescriptions, ambulances.

So the only think I have to review is my extended health at work, which I leave as is every year. When I retire in 2000, I'll be put on the retirement extended health, don't pay for it, but only get 80% back on everything. So my costs will go up, but being on 3 less pills for diabetes, we'll see how I do when I see my specialist in Feb.

I'm glad Puff is doing well, they always lose weight in the winter, and plump up again in the spring.

I had a big scare yesterday, I had the balcony door open because it got warm yesterday afternoon. I put Cierra out, went to check on something, came back & she'd hidden. I didn't realize she'd actually climbed the big tank top I use to cover the doorway and I found her last night out on the balcony and she was almost frozen. Thanks god I found her when I did, I never realized she'd climbed the mesh. She was so cold, I put her against my skin, with a heating pad on low on her back & covered by a fleece blanket and held her until everything was warm. The put her to bed all wrapped up. She's up this morning, looking and acting perfectly normal, as if nothing happened. I have more grey hair as a result. No more opening the door when it's going to be cold at night. She out was in 32F weather from early afternoon until 9p last night when I finally found her.
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Re: Puff H. Bailey's "new blog" (belated)

Postby SHBailey » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:56 am

(technical difficulties -- posting a short message to see if it will fly...) :?
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Re: Puff H. Bailey's "new blog" (belated)

Postby SHBailey » Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:14 pm

Ok, I wanted to see if that would work after what happened earlier this morning when I was trying to post something on another thread. I got an "access denied" message, tried to follow instructions to send a message to the administrator, but it took me into this "wizard" to set up an account before I could even send the message. Apparently I didn't know what I was doing, because after I finished writing the message it wouldn't send. I tried to save it in "drafts" but it went to Never-never Land, and so did the original message I was trying to post, apparently. :banghead: All I can figure is that the system must have detected some sequence of characters in my message that looked like something questionable, either X-rated or spam, but it seems to be working ok now (I can preview and it doesn't blow up.)

(We were only talking about beardie poop, typical stuff around here, and I wasn't using any unusually naughty words to refer to such things.) :?

As a moderator, any suggestions or ideas, Deb? I'm fine to just let it go and chalk it up as a glitch, since it looks like at least I haven't been blacklisted by the entire website...

Really, they do an excellent job keeping this site up and running. This sort of thing rarely happens, in my experience. I said so in my message too, but I don't think it got through, so you can tell them so from me if possible. :)
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Re: Puff H. Bailey's "new blog" (belated)

Postby SHBailey » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:13 pm

So on to the latest news since I've been out of the loop for several weeks -- I seem to have that Alaskan thing where we go into "brumation" off and on this time of year, and can't make ourselves do anything but sleep and/or goof off, or at least that's how it goes for me. Catch up time until the next brumation cycle -- because I never know how long it's going to last before the next time my "get up and go" (what little I have) will have "got up and went." :sleepy2: :shock: :blob5: :| :sleepy2:

So Puff's weight is down below 450 grams now, and he saw the vet early this month. His blood tests turned out not too bad this time -- not severely anemic, although the vet suspected that some dehydration may have made it look higher than it really was. The rest of his blood work was fairly normal -- his white count wasn't high enough to suspect any serious infection, and his uric acid levels are all over the map, nothing really unusual for him. He got injected with some fluids and some more iron and B12 (which won't hurt if it doesn't help), and has a follow up appointment for a recheck after Christmas. We apparently have a chicken-and-the-egg thing going with the shedding and the hydration -- having such a hard time shedding because he tends to get dehydrated, or having such a hard time staying hydrated because he's shedding (trying to secrete fluid under his skin to get it off).

We do everything we can (short of an IV) to keep him hydrated -- baths every day, dribble water on his nose (sometimes he drinks it) and serve his veggies with lots of water (little butternut squash cubes soak it up like a sponge).

And I'm afraid I've failed to sufficiently resist the temptation to "help" him with his shedding. I think he's kind of mad at me, but we've finally got most of it off, even that part on his tail that I was concerned about. About all that's left is the anterior part of his tail and the very tip, and a few other odd little scales and patches, but he no longer looks like someone splashed bleach all over him the way he did a couple of weeks ago.

There are little bits of beardie skin all over the house, even though he doesn't have the run of the house. :? We try to keep both of our eyes and both of our hands on him when he's out of his tank.

We also survived another one of Alaska's famous earthquakes -- this one was a magnitude 7 centered less than 10 miles from Anchorage, and it had to be the scariest one I've ever lived through (and that's saying a lot, because I've lived in earthquake country all my life, and this wasn't my first one). It hit right before I was about to turn the heat lamps on, and it threw things off shelves and all over the floor. It must have woke Puff up and frightened him, but it took me a while to wade through all the books and other things that were all over the floor and get to his tank. Fortunately there was no damage to the tank -- it's glass, but heavy tempered glass designed to hold 125 gallons of water as an aquarium. Our power was out all day, so I took my own advice about how to keep a beardie warm with mammalian body heat during a power outage, and my husband and I took turns cuddling him and cleaning up the mess all day until the power came back on later in the evening. He tolerated it well and slept through most of it since it was pretty dark. We waited to feed him until the power came back on so we could be reasonably sure he'd be warm enough to digest.

As far as we can tell, there was no severe structural damage to our home, and only a few things got broken, although there was some damage to roads and other things around the area. State offices and schools were closed for several days until they could make sure the buildings were safe, and my husband got a 4 day weekend out of the deal, with a mess to clean up when he went back to work the following day. They lost some monitors and computer equipment, but things are pretty much back to normal. I was too scared to remember for sure, but I was sitting here with the computer when it started, and I may have saved our monitor from getting broken by holding onto it when it looked like it was going to fall on the floor or get flung across the room.

Then there were the aftershocks, but for the most part things are getting back to normal although we were all pretty "shook up" (pun intended).

And we're finally getting snowed on too, which is expected this time of year. The folks that like to ski are happy about it, but we were out of live bugs and my husband had to shovel the car out from under it before he could go to the pet store for some more...

I would love to always have a beardie if I had the stamina and the emotional stability to consistently care for him (or her), but the problem is that a beardie, or any other live critter, for that matter, needs to be taken care of every day whether I'm up to it or not, and more often than not my poor husband gets stuck with the hard work while I get the cuddles, which is not fair to him. Also, there's a problem with keeping a reliable supply of fresh greens and live bugs...

In fact, I'm starting to wonder if some of the suppliers use Alaska as a dumping ground for their inferior merchandise. After all, who in their right mind would live in Alaska and try to keep a bearded dragon, or any other such exothermic creature who needs to stay warm and who needs to eat fresh greens and live bugs? Crazy, right?

Right. They're here. Lizards and turtles and snakes, and plenty of them. I'm not the only Alaskan nutcase who loves reptiles. :wink:

Health insurance is a very sore subject with me right now -- it's destroying my mental health. So could they just snailmail me the stupid bill already, and we'll multiply the silly little premium by x12, write a check to pay it off for the whole year, snailmail it back and be done with it, since not even my tech-savvy husband can make any sense out of their website. The whole thing was well intentioned, but the politicians made a mess of it, and then the computer geeks who designed the websites and software made an even bigger mess of the implementation. :banghead: Ooh -- don't get me started. I really shouldn't badmouth computer geeks. I'm married to one, and he probably could have done a better job designing the websites than whoever the government hired, even though they probably had PhDs and he's only got a couple of AA degrees and a bunch of industry certs, and I have to suppose gets paid way less than the government guys for doing the same sort of work, maybe just on a smaller scale. :roll:

Our vet also said that it's normal for beardies to lose some weight in the fall, but I'm afraid not this much -- 80 grams in no more than 2 months? Have any of your beardies typically lost and gained that much through the seasons and still been healthy? We don't know what's normal for Puff, because this is the first year that we've been monitoring his weight on a weekly basis. Maybe this is how it happened this last year when we weren't looking, and I don't want to get blindsided by that again -- I want to avoid having him end up emaciated and anemic by next spring the way he was this last year if at all possible. Both of our vets (both good ones) seem to agree that it's hard to tell if this is a fall thing or an adenovirus thing. Nothing wrong with his appetite -- he's eating lots and lots of bugs and even some veggies with coaxing, but not mortally hungry enough to go for greens all by himself yet, and I'm no longer sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

I'm glad you found Cierra before she froze to death, but I realize that was over a month ago now so I hope she's suffered no long term effects. It's finally getting colder here too after an unseasonably warm fall, well below freezing outside and trying to keep the thermostat adjusted to compensate -- gas bills going up. Puff doesn't go anywhere near the outdoors -- always in his tank under the heat lamps whenever we open one of the outside doors. The blast of cold air makes the thermostat freak out and the heater work overtime, but Puff stays warm and comfortable whenever we can get away with it. It's rare that we take him outside even in the summer, because there are usually so few days here that are warm enough for a beardie.

-- And I've rambled on long enough. One bad thing about not posting for too long -- it makes for really bad TLDRs when I finally do. :oops:

Hope you and your family (both humans and reptiles) are getting ready for a nice Christmas. :)
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Re: Puff H. Bailey's "new blog" (belated)

Postby Gormagon » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:32 pm

Yup, I still miss My Peaches but, life continues at feverish pace. I got me a baby Dragon about 2 1/2 weeks ago and, let me say this, he is mighty fun to find in that HUGE viv, lol!!! He has grown in size from 5 1/2 " to a whopping 7". He's still to skittish to get a weight or a measurement, he is a work in progress. We named him Charlie. He's eating well and, all is going according to plan (so far)!!!
The wonderful world of bearded dragons is a magical land of mystery, enchantment, cuddles, love and, worry! A mysterious realm where things always seem to change in an instant and, the moment you think you have it all figured out, the rules change! You think you own your dragon, guess again. You are now a slave!!!
RIP Peaches 10-1-18 Forever in my Heart
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Re: Puff H. Bailey's "new blog" (belated)

Postby SHBailey » Fri Dec 14, 2018 5:59 pm

Congratulations for the new addition to your family, Gormagon. If all goes well, he'll grow into the vivarium really fast, and probably when you're not looking too. I've never raised a little one, although I understand it can be quite a project -- that's why I wanted to start with an adult for my first (and now maybe only) attempt. However, lately I'm beginning to wonder if an adult with adenovirus might turn out to be getting just as hectic as a baby somewhere along here pretty soon, if it hasn't already...

I know that Charlie won't be able to "replace" Peaches, because they're all unique and special, but he may be able to help you heal the bearded dragon shaped hole in your heart, and I know you'll take good care of him, so it probably won't take him too long to get over his skittishness and learn to trust his new human slave. :)
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Re: Puff H. Bailey's "new blog" (belated)

Postby SHBailey » Thu Jan 24, 2019 1:54 pm

Hello everyone. It’s been a while, and I’ve more or less been to hell and back. I was hospitalized here in Anchorage and then got sent to Juneau – long story. I’m home now, and things are slowly getting back to “normal” (whatever that is).

My husband took very good care of Puff while I was gone, and he’s doing very well. His weight seems to be holding at just under 450 grams – a little on the thin side, but he seems fine otherwise. Had a very good checkup at the vet, and even the vet techs commented on how much better he seemed. Fought like a little tiger when they tried to look in his mouth, but the vet said that’s what he likes to see because it means the critter is healthy – it’s when they just lay there and put up with it that he worries that there’s something seriously wrong.

“Daddy” also splurged and got him some hornworms for a belated Christmas present. I’m told that he scarfed them up with much enthusiasm. Can’t do that too often because they’re not cheap, but once in a while. Also a little package of freeze dried mealworms – beardie “junk food.” I told my husband they’re not nutritious but the vet said a few of them as a treat won’t hurt as long as we don’t make a meal out of them – mostly chitin and starch, and he compared them to “potato chips.” :wink:
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Re: Puff H. Bailey's "new blog" (belated)

Postby sweetiepie9 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:46 pm

I'm sorry to hear you had to be hospitalized, but I'm glad to hear that you're home again. I'm also glad to hear your hubby is a stand up guy and took great care of Puff :D It's great to hear that he's doing so well, after the scares you've had.

I'm updating on my thread if you want to see some pictures. Alot has happened since Oct but even more in the last month.

I hope you're able to stay well, I know it's a real struggle, I'm having the same one right now.
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