Things have been scarily slow at work lately. There's usually a bit of a slowdown going into the holidays, but I've not seen anything quite this bad in recent memory. I have no doubt that it's the economy. I was looking last night at state unemployment data over the past several years. There's typically a transient increase over the winter months, as seasonal positions close, but for the past 6 years, unemployment in the month of November was in the range of 4.5 to 4.8%. In 2000 it was 3.1%. This year it was up to 6.2%. There's not much to be done but ride it out, but it's still worrisome.
One of my patients last night, though, was this young barred owl, who had apparently been hit by car. As it turned out, there was a very nasty open fracture in one wing that was in a location that couldn't really be repaired, which is an indication for euthanasia. Because owls and other birds of prey are federally-protected, however, it's not an entirely straightforward matter. As a veterinary facility, we have a bit of leeway when it comes to providing emergent or short-term care until these birds can be transferred to a rehabilitator, but without the requisite federal permit, we risk running afoul of federal law if we perform euthanasia. So I didn't have a good option other than to keep the bird quiet, warm, and as comfortable as possible until I could transfer it to the Center for Wildlife (click on the button in the sidebar if you're looking to make any year-end donations).
Other than that, I had plenty of time to work on the Japanese sweater front. This is just before I cast off the underarm stitches:
I'm now on the raglan decreases, so things are speeding ever faster toward the end of the main kniting. I may even be done with this in time for Christmas Eve breakfast with Franklin and Sister Sue. This will be the third year in a row we've gone out for breakfast on Christmas Eve, so I guess that makes it a tradition. Hopefully Sue's husband Phil (now our state's Senate Majority Leader) can join us again this year, too.
And lastly, a little Tuck update. The good news is that he's been with us for one wonderful year as of this week. The not-so-good news is that his initial tracheal wash culture yielded a somewhat nasty strain of E. coli, which is resistant to several common antibiotics. I'm still hoping that I can knock this thing out, though, and have ordered a nebulizer to try delivering drugs directly into his lungs to break up the mucus and to get a third antibiotic right in to the source. If this doesn't work, then there won't be much option other than managing it as a chronic lung disease - similar in some ways to dealing with cystic fibrosis in humans. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that, as I've watched two cousins die from CF and know what a slog that disease can be. Still, I'd do anything for this little face.