Monday, July 11, 2011

Emerald Ash Borer

The carnage has begun.  Last year I mentioned to friends that we noticed the canopy on our beautiful ash tree was a little sparser than usual.

This year, we took the plunge, and spent about $650 to get it injected with some sort of magic elixir that will inoculate it for 2 years.  That's a lot of green (a pun!).  Apparently prices in Canada are so high because many of the alternative pesticides have not yet been approved.  By the time they are, it may be too late.  In any event, here's what it looked like right after it was injected.  The plugs have since been removed.

We love our treed neighbourhood, so we were trying to dull the sharp wallet pain by thinking about how we were doing our part to preserve the look of our street, our property value, etc. etc.

Then we witnessed the destruction in action.  An ash tree a few houses down from us got attacked, and showed its rapid decline this weekend.

I suspect that one is beyond saving now.  Considering the appeal of a mature tree, and that removing one of that size can cost a few thousand dollars, I feel a little better about the cost of saving ours now.

I wonder if in a few years all the borers will be gone after the last un-protected ash goes, and we can return to normal?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Generic vs Name Brand - the case for Zithromax

Our little one year old dude has been sick with some kind of lung infection/pneumonia.

We took him to the doctor, who prescribed Azithromycin.  Good enough.  What's nice about that particular antibiotic is that it only has to be taken once a day, and then only for 5 days.  Some of the other antibiotics can be 3 times a day for 10 days.  Not too shabby right?

Well, the first dose is a biggie, then it tapers off for other four.  We thought we'd be clever and go with two half-doses at the start, since we've learned with our gag-prone daughter not to push our luck, lest you get a big spit-up and run out of medicine.

So we tried the half-dose. Gag.  Followed by barf.  Darn it.  We waited a little while, then tried again.  Gag, then spit-up (at least no bits of food this time!)

OK. Time to start googling for "how to get azithromycin into your kid."  I usually consider my google-fu pretty strong, but I came up with nothing.  We tried another half-dose 12 hours later or so.  Gag.  Vomit.

Medicine 3 : Parents 0

I managed to get a little on my fingers, so I gave it a taste.  If you ever had that nail polish as a kid that was supposed to keep you from biting your fingernails, you know *exactly* what this stuff tastes like.  Only with a hint of medicine-y alco-cherry.

We tried one or two more times with no luck.  Masking it with yogurt/pudding didn't do the trick either.
My father-in-law is a doctor, so we asked him for some ideas.  He suggested trying the name-brand stuff - Zythromax.  I'm usually not one to buy into that whole name-brand thing, but it was all we had.  So we called the doctor back with our story, and the suggestion.

She agreed it was worth a shot, and wrote a new specific prescription.  Funny aside - Shoppers Drug Mart wouldn't/couldn't fill it because they are in some kind of spat over generics vs name-brands with the government.  Just as well, we like to support our little shop local pharmacist anyhow.

Got home, and tried the zythromax.  Full dose.  Success!  No gag, no vomit.  Rest of the doses - no sweat.

So there you have it, the answer for how to get azithromycin into your kid: get the name-brand Zithromax kind.