If you have time to read only one posting, click the following link to read the entry for the last day of our journey.

August 2: The plan from today

The vet who did the surgery on Erde yesterday was not at all encouraging when I spoke with her yesterday afternoon after the surgery.  She removed three back lower teeth and removed the mass on the outside of her gum.  They could not remove the mass on the palate because that would require major surgery.  I looked at Erde's palate last night and there is  pink coloration  about the size of a nickel right behind the tooth that had the external mass on it. There is really nothing to remove unless they cut into the palate.  If it is malignant and spreading, that is what will have to be done.  If it is benign, it can be left alone.  But because the mass had spread to the palate and had thinned the bone surrounding the tooth, and the associated tooth and root are healthy, that increases the chances of a malignancy.  The doctor would not say it, but my guess is now that the chances of a malignancy are greater than 50 percent, which changes my plan.  I will now wait for the biopsy report before I get on the road.  If the mass is benign and there is nothing more to be done now, I will get on the road within two days.  I will use the next 10 days to finish packing and, more importantly, use the time to research my options if the mass is found to be malignant.  I will remain  hopeful and guardedly optimistic that the mass is benign.  What is odd about this whole thing is that it was not discovered by Erde's vet during her physical in May, Erde's activity level has been normal,  there were absolutely no signs that something was going on, including no loss of appetite. I never thought I would say this, but thank God (or someone) for that inchoate ear infection I discovered that sent me to the vet on Monday.

In the meantime, "if it's not one thing, it's another" (IINOTIA). The D90 (my land Rover Defender 90) has never been the quietest vehicle to drive, and I accepted that, mainly becasue I knew that the less quiet it was, the more capable it was.  Engaging the clutch sounds like someone is dropping a concrete cinder block onto a tin roof from five feet.  And the sound of the rattling transmission when driving  over rough roads would drown even the loudest music coming over my Beet headphones.  But in the last several weeks, that rattling has gotten progressively worse,  even on smooth roads at low speeds, to the point where I feel the need to apologize to pedestrians walking nearby  my vehicle along the streets of DC. (I don't apologize, however.)  If I had no intentions of traveling more than 150 miles from home (my towing limit on AAA), I would ignore it.  But since there are few Land Rover service outlets in Canada, and none in Alaska, I think it would be  prudent to have this looked at now before I leave, especially since I will be traveling with a 110-pound paralyzed German shepherd and his sister, whose own health is, at least for the time-being, problematic. I called up the Land Rover service people today and will take the vehicle in for them to give me their assessment of what may be going on.

Earlier I wrote about the Denali Road Permit for the weekend of 9/12 I was hoping to get and, eventually, did get.  That was really not meant to be the magnet for this trip, especially since I knew that my odds of getting a permit in the lottery were low.  Prior to my getting the permits (two of them), the magnet for the trip was a summer ride with the dogs to Alaska.  Had I taken off on the trip before the lottery was announced on 7/15, which was a possibility, I would not have gotten the permits. More importantly, I would not have discovered Erde's problem to deal with at home here.  So, in retrospect, it was wise for me to wait for the lottery announcement and then spend the week that I did getting those permits, which delayed my trip long enough for the ear infection to manifest itself and then for the gingival mass to be discovered.  Now, I can deal with Erde's situation one way or another at home instead of on the road, or not at all, and I now have the magnet that will pull us to Alaska if Erde's situation is resolved successfully in the next several weeks.  I do know that if I did not have those permits today, given Erde's situation and what it does to the timetable, the trip to Alaska would not be going off (for the fourth time) and I'd probably be looking to spend a month or so at some other closer  destination.  This speaks well for my number one rule which is, "Do not leave for this trip until I am 100 percent ready to go."  Now I just have to solve Erde's situation, and I will, and the D90's, if there is a problem there.

This extra time also gives me the opportunity  to properly treat Erde's two ear infections and skin infection, especially since one of the antibiotics requires refrigeration, which I do not have on the road.

The perceptive among my readers will be asking, "How can you ever get on the road if you must be 100% ready to go, since 100% is an elusive moving target?"  The answer, of course, is that the 100% only applies to the important things that must be done at home before I go, and therein lies the essence of planning these trips.

No comments: