Well, a week’s gone by since my last post. First things first … Frank is doing okay. He and I both appreciate the messages of support he received before his visit to the vet.
It was quite the ordeal. Without going into details, it turned into a two day affair instead of just the one we were planning on. He’s on some additional medication – his lungs have been damaged a bit more than originally anticipated, so he’s on some meds to help with that. But his liver was showing much higher levels normal and since the lung meds were going to elevate them even further, he’s been placed on some meds for his liver, too. The vet also prescribed valium to help with his nerves … and thank God he did, because we’ve had nothing but thunderstorms since he was released from the vet’s office!
For most of the weekend, Frank stayed pretty quiet in the tent. He was having problems walking until probably Tuesday morning, but those problems have gone away. One thing he HASN’T had any problems with has been his appetite. He’s been chowing down on his food the entire time. Even the vet mentioned that he had a “healthy” appetite. A dog after my own heart. :o)
No, the two biggest problems both have to do with the same thing – keeping him from getting excited so his heart doesn’t race and he isn’t breathing too hard. First problem – he thinks he’s just fine and is straining at the leash, wanting to see, smell and pee on everything. Second problem – the aforementioned thunderstorms. According to the valium prescription, I need to suddenly developed omniscience, because I’m supposed to give him his pill a half hour BEFORE a storm. What I’ve had to start doing is routinely looking at the live weather radar Accuweather provides. It’s helpful when it comes to a front coming through, but not so much with the pop-up storms we’ve been experiencing. Quite frankly, it’s been hit or miss with getting him dosed on time so as to avoid any issues.
On Sunday, things got so bad, the county sheriff came through the campsite, telling us we needed to leave the tent and get in the car, that a bad cell was coming through with high winds and hail, and that a tornado had touched down 20 miles away. I’ve added a few shots of the sky from that night – first of the storm as it passed to the east and second, of the spectacular sunset in the west.
On Monday … after lounging around the campsite in the morning … we wound up getting in the car around mid-afternoon when a storm came through (Frank feels more secure in the car than the tent). We drove around a bit and when we arrived back to the campsite, there was about a half-inch of standing water all around the tent. Fortunately, the tent camp through like a champ – everything inside was totally dry! I’ve left a really positive review on Amazon as a result.
Tuesday saw us driving back down to the Gulf coast – this time, on the west side of Mobile Bay. Sure as hell … we drove into a thunderstorm. Fortunately I had brought the valium and saw the clouds in time that I was able to get Frank to take half a tab BEFORE he went into “terror” mode, when he refuses to do anything but pant. Interesting observation – Frank is one stubborn son of a bitch when he’s afraid. He won’t listen, he won’t easily accept comfort – he is totally consumed by his fear. I guess he and I are exactly the same. What’s worse though, is that I’m capable of reason. Of logical thought. And I’m no better when it comes to dealing with my fears. Go figger.
Wednesday, another drive, another thunderstorm … and this was after being awoken around 2:45 in the morning by a huge clap of thunder! I feel so bad for Frank. Hopefully this stops once we make camp at our next stop on the Louisiana / Texas border. Frank did enjoy the ferry ride we took across Mobile Bay though. I let him stand on the car door and feel the wind on his face. Once again, it’s easy for me to say he’s a dog after my own heart. I love being out on the water! Once we landed, we stopped briefly at Fort Morgan, one of the two forts guarding Mobile Bay during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
About the only way to fight the storms and the heat is to head out in the car (which has put me over on my gas budget for the month). Today, we drove up to Selma, to visit one of the centers of the civil rights movement during the 60’s. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” attack at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which was followed by Dr. King’s march from Selma to Birmingham, which begain two weeks later. I couldn’t help but notice the irony of driving up Jefferson Davis Highway on our way up from Mobile. The visit was made even more poignant by the sad event in Charleston, where I spent the last year before embarking on this journey. In some ways, we’ve come so far. In other ways? Not so much, unfortunately.
After Selma, Frank and I visited Monroeville, home of Harper Lee. Of course we drove through a really bad thunderstorm on the way back to Mobile. I had stopped to take a picture of a rainbow and Frank decided that would be the best time to freak out a bit. He got down on the floor on the driver’s side and refused to move. I had pulled off in a driveway to snap a quick shot, not thinking I’d be all that long. As I’m trying to get him to move, I realize that I’m blocking the entrance to a state prison, and people are having to maneuver around me to get in and get out. Frank, that wasn’t the best time to go all “stubborn” on me, my friend! Fortunately, we were able to get out of there before anyone came out with guns drawn to find out exactly what the hell was going on out there!
So now we’re back at camp, sitting in the car while it rains around us. In a little while, we’ll head on inside. I’m running out of places to visit in Alabama. I have no idea what we’re going to do for the next three days … all of which are supposed to include afternoon and evening thunderstorms. I’m looking forward to the motel stay in central Louisiana on Monday night.