133. A Dusti Ride, US Visitors, Surgery



Saturday 9/9- Ramie has been itching to go for a ride in Dusti and to explore some more of the back-country near Uvita. He found an app that shows all of the small rural roads that aren’t marked on Google Maps or Waze and it lets you create a route to take (it’s actually a mountain biking app, but it doesn’t matter the original intent if it works for our needs!) He mapped out a 35-mile ride through some places that we’ve been before and some new places. While 35 miles doesn’t sound like a long way to go, once you get back on these mountain roads, 35 miles takes a lot longer than you’d think. Think more of a minimum maintenance road or a logging road back in Northern Minnesota that is just barely wide enough for 2 vehicles to pass each other (or in some places not even that wide), plus the mountainous terrain, sharp curves, and washouts since it's the rainy season. Yes, these roads are adventurous! Since Geoff is out of town, we reached out to Tracy to see if she wanted to go explore with us. We thought that maybe she was bored by herself all day and wanted to get out.

She was all for it and we picked her up at about 9:30, stopped to get gas and then started on our way. We drove through some small villages and a larger town along the way. We drove past Don Emelio’s coffee plantation (they weren’t open today so we didn’t stop) and eventually made it to St. Lucia waterfall, the one that we have stopped at before, and took a break. Ramie thought ahead and packed a few beers and this was the place that we wanted to enjoy them. Tracy had been to this waterfall once before, but she didn’t have the opportunity to climb it. We had nowhere to be today so the 3 of us decided we’d take the time to climb the waterfall. The climb didn’t seem as long or as treacherous as it did when we climbed it with Taryn, Steven & Will about a year ago! We snapped some pictures at the top and then headed back down to the bottom. Fortunately, there was plenty of water in lower pool where we could wash our shoes, feet and legs from all of the mud we picked up along the climb. 

We finished the beverages that we had started, jumped back into Dusti and back toward the larger town we went through earlier, and eventually came back into Uvita via a different road than we left. It was almost lunch time by now and were hungry so we stopped for a beer and nachos at Whale Tail Brewery. Just as we were finished at the brewery it started to sprinkle, we got Tracy home and instead of stopping there to socialize, we figured we better head home quickly if we didn’t want to get rained on. Just as we got home the sky opened up with a torrential downpour, within minutes there was lots of wind as well as thunder and lightning all around. We made it home just in time!

One of the neat things about the app that Ramie found is that it saves data pertinent data from our ride. He pulled it up to see the details: 

  • We started at sea level and climbed to about 3800 feet.
  • That 35-mile ride took us about 3.5hrs to complete. (That was only the driving portion, we paused it while we were at the waterfall).
  • We averaged about 16 MPH (while that’s an average of the fast and slow, that’s truly about all the faster these roads are built for).
  • We were gone for a total of about 5.5 hours with all of our stops.

I always try to take some videos and pictures of our adventures, although they just never do justice to what it is really like out there.

Today before we left we made the decision to leave Skye out of her kennel to see how she would do on her own for a few hours. When we walked in the door we were greeted by a very happy puppy. We checked the house and didn’t find any accidents; there was nothing chewed or scratched, and the only evidence that we could find of what she was doing while we were gone was a warm spot on our bed where she had been sleeping all day. We don’t understand why she freaks out when she is in her kennel when we leave but she is totally fine out of her kennel while we’re gone and with being in her kennel at night when it’s time to sleep. The mystery of doggos… we will probably never know!!

Thursday 9/14- Even though we were just in San Isidro a couple of weeks ago when we showed Derek & Joanne around, Ramie had the urge to go back again already… to buy more plants. Yes, there are always more things that we can find to shop for and stock up on when we’re back in San Isidro, but plants were the goal, so we stopped at all of our regular nurseries, a couple of other stores, and ended at Walmart. Even though we didn’t have a ton on our to-do list, we were still gone for over 6 hours. 

We decided to test Skye again today and left her out of the kennel while we were gone. We were prepared to deal with the consequences and just hoped that nothing was damaged too badly. We were thrilled when we got home and found that she didn’t do anything bad the whole time we were gone! I guess, at the end of the day, she’s just fine out by herself and much better than when she is locked in her kennel. I guess we will trust her to stay out by herself at this young age! As a comparison, I think Breeze was 5 when we started letting her stay out of her kennel by herself all day long!

Sunday 9/17- Something exciting happened for us today. This evening, after several weeks (or more) of talking about it, Taylor booked a trip to come visit us again! It’s been about a year and a half since she came to visit right after we moved into our house and it was about time she got to experience the Pura Vida lifestyle again! They have been texting about it for a while, looking at different flight options and prices and doing their research, but tonight Ramie and Taylor got on a video call together and and really took the research seriously. They were each on their computers looking for dates and flights, and it didn’t take long before a date for Taylor to leave MN was picked. The outgoing flight would be October 10th, yes, only about 3 weeks away! Next, they looked for an inexpensive return date while at the same time wanting to make the stay long enough to make it worthwhile. They found a date about a week and a half out and thought that was a good length of time and were ready to book it. While Ramie waited for Taylor to go get her passport and the information she needed for booking, his curiosity got the best of him and he decided to look further out for return flights. When Taylor returned, just to be funny he said “hey, there is a return flight on November 8th for the exact same price, what do you think?” Dylan was sitting there with her, so she turned and looked at him for a reaction. Being the great fiancé that he is (and knowing that he wouldn’t be able to come with her), he told her to go for it. We overheard Dylan’s parents in the background also telling Taylor that she should book the month-long trip to come see us. Then, within minutes, before anyone had a chance to change their mind, the month-long trip was booked!

Yes, it’s kind of last-minute, but she was at a place in her life where she could make it happen. All of her college classes are online so she won’t miss any school. Now, it’s time for Ramie and me to do some online shopping, make a list of things we’d like her to pick up in-store, and load up her suitcase!! The countdown is on! (And by the time you are reading this blog, she’ll already be here!)

Sunday 9/24- Years ago on our 2nd trip to Costa Rica we stayed at a house up the mountain with a beautiful view of Whale’s Tail. We didn’t know it at the time, but this house would end up being more to us than just a place where we spent a week of a vacation. Villa Balcón Ballena is owned by Mike and Ava and is managed by Loren. It just so happens that on that first stay at Mike and Ava’s house, Mike was actually in town. He had to leave his house for the week or so that we were staying there and ended up staying with Loren and Nancy. During that trip is when we met Mike, Loren, and Nancy for the first time. After this initial meeting Ramie stayed in contact with both Mike & Loren, and the following year when we came back to visit again we spent 3 weeks at the same house. It was also at that house in February of 2021 where Ramie and I decided that we would pull the trigger and move to Costa Rica (there is a future blog post in the works about our decision to move to CR, why we chose where we did, and all of the background info).

Any time Mike is in town and visiting, he always tries to get together with us to catch up. He was down here for a couple of weeks again and sent Ramie a message that he wanted us to come up to his house for dinner. It's been a long time since I’ve been up to his house, (Ramie has been there a handful of times to make repairs) and I was excited to visit the place where so much of this began (and to see the beautiful view of the ocean). The plan was to be at his house at 5pm. We thought it was just going to be the four of us so instead of bringing a whole pan of his famous coffee cake, Ramie decided that he would just bring 6 pieces of his coffee cake as dessert (2 pieces each for the Ramie, Mike, and Mike’s friend… it’s not a Dana friendly food). (As a side note, Ramie says if you have the opportunity, you really have to try it. Everyone that has tasted it has loved it!) When we arrived we found out that this was a whole party going on and not just the 4 of us like we originally thought. Way to go, we didn't grab enough dessert! It turns out that in addition to me, Ramie, Mike and his friend Ted, Loren and Nancy, Geiner, Gabriella his wife, and Sebastian his son would also be having dinner with us. Mike and Ted made a delicious spaghetti dinner for all of us. We sat around catching up and just chatting about this and that. It was a great evening and, as always, a great time hanging out with everyone. 

Tuesday 9/26- Even though our house is brand new, we have been dealing with a leaky roof for quite a long time, in fact, the first time we noticed the leak is when Taylor and Dylan were down here last time, which was only about 2 weeks after we moved into the house! After giving up on being able to “repair” it, we made the decision to replace the section of our roof that seems to be the problem. Since we’ve been very impressed with all of the other work he’s done for us so far, Ramie has hired Ivan and his crew to do the work for us. The plan is to replace 9 metal panels in the problem section. Ivan and his workers arrived bright and early this morning to get started. As they were removing the old panels they found what they thought were likely the problem locations and made sure that they would be fixed properly so we don’t have any additional leaks going forward. After all of the old panels were down, they got started bringing the 9 metal panels up the ladder and installing them on the roof. The overall job took about 5 hours and was quite a noisy job between the sound of the metal panels being moved around and the sound of their impact drills screwing in all of the screws to hold the panels to the roof (the sound of an impact drill is one of the top 5 sounds that irritates me the most, so this was not a pleasant morning!). In addition to all of the noise on the roof, there were a weed whacker and chain saw running across the street in one of the vacant lots, and heavy equipment noise coming from repairs on the highway behind our house and it made it rather difficult to concentrate on work today. Needless to say I was quite stressed by the end of my day... I’d say my nerves were a little bit (or a lot) frazzled!

We also had a play date with Izzy at our house again.  These two get along very well, best buddies forever!  It's crazy how much Skye has grown since Izzy first started coming over!

Thursday 9/28- Surgery day- Today Skye gets spayed and Fabiola our house-call vet will be doing the surgery right here at our house.

When we asked her what she needed from us before she showed up, all she asked for was a table. We had the table ready and waiting when she arrived at a little after 11. The first thing she did was weigh Skye; she is up to 12Kg. or 26.5lbs. Just a month ago she only weighed 8.5kg. or 18.7lbs. I guess our pup is still growing, even though we don’t notice it as much anymore. Once this initial step was out of the way Fabiola was ready to start setting up. We have one of those plastic buffet style tables (like you use at a picnic) and opted to use that instead of our wood picnic table that we use as our dining room. Because the lighting was best outside, Fabiola decided that she wanted to do the surgery outside by the pool (could you ever imagine anything like this in the US? Surgery on the back patio by the pool next to the dining room table!?!) Fabiola’s next step was to give Skye a sedative. It would take a little while to fully kick in, which would give her time to set up the table with everything she needed for the surgery while we waited. After she gave Skye the sedative we brought her out into the grass to go potty one more time before the surgery, but it only took those few minutes before we could see visible effects of the drug… Little Miss Skye started walking like she was drunk and could barely keep standing! Ramie had to pick her up and hold her from this point to when the surgery would begin. She was so out of it that she couldn’t even keep her tongue in her mouth, but Fabiola assured us that she was awake, coherent, and knew what was going on around her, but she just couldn’t move. Ramie kept holding her so hopefully in her head she wasn’t completely freaking out because she couldn’t move. It was kind of cute, but also kind of sad seeing her like this (and I had a background thought of what it must have been like for Breeze when we had to put her down and tried to push that out of my head as quickly as it popped in). 

I see you taking that picture but I cant even smile mom
Inserting her IV
My tongue is so dry!
Shaving her belly
While Fabiola was waiting for the full effects of the sedative to kick in she prepped the surgery area with her tools, the IV drip, and the machine that would be monitoring Skye’s vital signs. When all of that was ready and Skye was thoroughly “relaxed” (and paralyzed), we laid her on the table, Fabiola gave her the anesthesia and she was out (and I was still pushing thoughts of Breeze out of my head). You know that monitor thing that doctors put on your finger to watch your vital signs? Well dogs don’t have fingers to clip it to so instead I guess they clip it to their tongue! And in order to ensure Skye didn’t move while Fabiola was operating and to keep her in the correct position, all four of her legs were tied to the four corners of the table. It is so weird (and disconcerting) to see your dog completely out of it and tied like that but I guess it makes sense (and I completely understand why people don’t get to see their pets go through this back in the US!) 
Getting ready to clean the area. We took pictures through the entire process but we wont post those.

To watch all of this happening right here next to the pool just adds another layer of strange! We got to see it all from the initial incision to the final stitches. At one point Fabiola thought the anesthesia was starting to wear off and Skye might be starting to wake up because she started to whimper and move her head a little bit so she had to give her a little more anesthesia. It made me feel confident that she was using the minimum amount necessary and wasn’t over-medicating the pup. When she was just about finished and stitching her up it seemed like the anesthesia was wearing off as well, so Fabiola started stitching faster and told us to stop talking so we wouldn’t wake her up any quicker. It didn’t take long from when Fabiola put the final stitches in that Skye was starting to move around a little bit more. We untied her legs and let her wake up in a slightly more comfortable position. When Fabiola took the monitor off of Skye’s tongue the tip of it was shriveled up like a raisin! We moved Skye to her pillow and sat with her as she started coming to, and that puppy tongue continued to hang out of her mouth the whole time. She was moving her head (although uncontrollably) and she drooled so much that it soaked the corner of her pillow. 

That’s a lot of slobber for a little puppy mouth! Fabiola stayed at our house until Skye was fully awake and alert, although she was still acting kind of drunk. We tried to keep her laying down with us but she was determined to try to get up! By the time everything was finished, cleaned up, and Skye was awake, Fabiola left at around 12:30.

Now it’s up to us to nurse her back to health and watch her closely for the next week or so. It took a couple more hours for Skye to start acting not quite so drunk any more. This morning before the surgery she wasn’t allowed to eat anything (just like people aren’t allowed to eat before surgery) and she was so hungry, but now that she was finished and woke up she didn’t want to eat at all. That was probably ok, though, because when she tried to drink water she threw it all back up again too. Poor pup!

Once she was awake enough and stable enough on her feet, she was more active than I would have expected for this soon after the surgery. She was moving and walking around quite a bit but was extra cuddly. She wasn’t completely acting like herself and you could tell she wasn’t comfortable, and just like a sick kid, she just wanted to curl up and cuddle with us. 

Lets just watch TV together dad

This evening Ramie had to go help Randall with the transmission on his truck again. Yes, he was still having problems with it even after rebuilding it a couple of weeks ago. I stayed at home to take care of Skye and we just cuddled for most of the evening. Ramie got home around 7 and then it was his turn, Skye went straight for him and wanted to snuggle up. When bedtime came you could tell that the initial pain meds were wearing off and things weren’t feeling so good for her. She didn’t get any more pain meds until tomorrow morning, and it took her a while to lay down and settle in. She didn't even want to eat her bedtime treat which she is always so excited for. Throughout the night we both woke up a few times and checked on her, she only moved positions a couple of times but was quiet all night long.

Friday 9/29- I took the day off work today, just because I can (and I have a lot of vacation time to try to use by the end of the year). It wasn't planned around Sykes surgery since that was actually supposed to happen last week, but it was a good choice to have today off with her recovery. Skye was really not herself today and she seemed to be in a lot of pain even though we gave her the pain pill right away this morning. She would wince and whine even if we just barely touched her back near her hips. We messaged Fabiola to give an update of how the night went and the current situation, but she said this is normal as it is a major surgery. She wants us to make sure that Skye only gets up to go to the bathroom and doesn’t do anything strenuous, only lots of rest. She also told us to start trying to give her food and more water since she didn’t want to eat yesterday. Skye is going to need some extra attention today so it’s a good thing we didn't have any plans. By about noon Skye was becoming more herself, getting a bit more playful, wagging her tail more and didn’t appear to be in as much pain. By the end of the day, it was almost like she was back to herself again. She would bring us her rope and ask to play tug (although we wouldn't let her), play with her toys and had a vicious appetite again. Of course, the evening was for cuddle time, just like always, while we watched TV. 

Recovery is Ruff

The Official Casa Costa Breeze end of September rainfall total was 17.7 inches

Pura Vida!