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Cleanliness is next to…

…guilt-iness.

You thought I was going to say something else. But nah, that’s too normal. And as far as I’ve been told, I’m not really anything near normal.

You know about my Mom. She’s not able to do very much right now, which includes cleaning, even though she’s feeling a little bit better. My childhood is made up of memories of weekend cleanings. That was what we did on the weekends…cleaned the house. Cleaned the yard. Cleaned the laundry. Etc. I always felt my mother was super-mom, because everything was always clean, even when she worked full time and took care of her husband and four children. She always made dinner after she got home from work. There were no dust bunnies, no dirty bathrooms, no laundry tossed on the floor. This was how we lived. I didn’t give it much thought growing up because it was how I was raised and how I lived. That didn’t mean I liked it, but it was how we were. Not to say that my room wasn’t always a mess, and she was always telling me to clean it up, but the rest of the house was…so clean.

No matter what house they lived in, how big or how small, my mother kept it clean. When I moved out on my own, I became intimidated by how clean her house always was. I started worrying about how clean my house wasn’t, especially when someone was coming over. If I knew my mother was coming to visit (from a whole 30 minutes away), I would spend an entire day cleaning the house from top to bottom, to make sure I wasn’t embarrassed when she came in. Did she ever inspect? No. Did she noticed if it was clean “enough”? Probably not. But that was how it was for me…worrying about being ashamed of how clean my how wasn’t.

When I got sick and couldn’t clean, it was left to Hub. Which kind of meant the house was sort of clean. It was never as clean as my mother’s house, and I almost always had to ASK him to clean, but he tried his hardest. And I tried not to freak over it. I’m not a neat-freak. But I do have a thing about clean bathrooms and a clean kitchen. At some point I told my mother that there was just no way I could vacuum and mop and keep the house spotless for her visits. She very bluntly said, “Who asked you to?”

So at that point, I started relaxing about the dog hair. About the dog drool. The doggie footprints. The grass she dragged in on her fur. I still wanted the bathrooms and kitchen cleaned, but I wasn’t obsessive over it. When Hub got a bonus one year, we tried to put the money aside to have someone come clean the bathrooms and kitchen, but I was never happy with the results. We tried several different people, but I always felt we could do a better job and it didn’t cost us precious money that we could have used elsewhere. So we stopped trying new cleaning people and went back to our old routine.

My grandmother had a cleaning lady who came once a week to do the heavy work. For many many years. It was a luxury she felt she wanted to afford. That was back in the day when cleaning “lady” mean someone who really cleaned, who kept her clients for years and years and years. Not someone who zipped in and out, just making a few extra dollars. But my mother was tight with her budget, and never wanted to hire anyone. I think it was part of her identity to keep a clean house, and to make sure her family was always fed, even when she worked full time.

So now, here’s Mom, who can barely get around, and whose energy is pretty close to nil. And my father, he never had to clean because Mom always did it. So when Mom went downhill with her health, I went to her and said I wanted to hire someone to come in and clean the big things…scrub the kitchens and bathrooms at least, maybe run a vacuum on the stairs because that’s difficult to do. She seemed almost relieved. She said the bathrooms were beginning to smell, but she told me that she would only do it if we did it, too. I think she was trying to gift me something because of all the time I was spending at her house. So I said sure, we could “share” a cleaning service. They could spend a few hours here doing our kitchen and bathrooms, then go to her house and do the same. So I set about looking for someone. In the meantime, Mom told Dad what we were doing. And Dad got mad.

It’s been a couple of weeks since we talked about getting a service in to clean. As we speak, there are six women cleaning my house. Doing more than I asked. Paying no attention to our big dogs or the fact that there are tumbleweeds of dog hair all over. They’re flipping up couches, cleaning my laundry room (even though I said not to bother), and they’re making the house smell so good. (Sorry, got distracted. Heh.)

Dad got mad. He told my mother HE could clean the house, why were we bringing someone in. So she told him the bathroom smelled, and it would be easier on everyone if someone came in every two weeks and just did the hard scrubbing. He got upset. Said he could handle it. I tried to tell him it wasn’t that he wasn’t doing a good job, it was that this was something someone else could do, so he could focus on Mom. It was supposed to be a relief…something to take off his shoulders and his mind. Instead of reassuring him, it upset him further. When I would go over to see if they needed anything or to spend time, I’d catch him running a small vacuum in the kitchen. Mom told me she could smell the Comet he used in the bathroom…but then she’d tell me he had no idea how to clean a bathroom. That he missed inside the toilet under the rim, or outside the toilet, or the top of the toilet tank. That he was trying, but he’d never had to do it, so it wasn’t his fault that he was missing things.

I tried again to tell him this was a good thing. That someone else could focus on the heavy cleaning and he could focus on Mom. He’s still mad. Soon we’ll be taking the ladies over to Mom’s to clean, so I called to warn them we’d be over soon. He answered the phone. He’s still mad.

Honestly, if this crew works out, I’ll be happy. I hate cleaning, and I most importantly hate cleaning bathrooms. The scrubbing is too hard on me, and although Hub tries, he’s not really good at it, either. He never cleans behind the hinges of the toilet seat. It’s just…gross. At the moment, although I know they may have missed a few details, these women are working hard and doing a ton. I’ll be okay with pointing out (next time) what I would like them to focus on better.

I’m sure the house will be messy again soon. We have dogs. I have a husband. It’s bound to happen. But I can’t wait to go pee in that clean bathroom. I might have to drink an entire glass of water so I can go pee in another clean bathroom. Jeezus I’m weird. Don’t tell anyone.

I am trying really hard not to feel guilty about having someone else clean parts of my house. Cleaning was part of my Mom’s identity, but it isn’t part of mine. I will admit, though, that I did get up to sweep the dining room after the women got here. Plus, we spent a day yesterday de-cluttering so that the women could do a thorough job more easily. So yeah, we’ll have to learn to de-clutter before they come for their appointment to clean–which is also weird…who cleans before the cleaning people come?–but it’ll be a good habit to get into I think.

So, now I’m adding on to the post because the cleaning crew left. When I say crew, I’m serious about that. It was seven women, including the owner, to do both houses. And before you pass out, yes, both houses are kind of big. We didn’t expect them to clean the whole house (either of them), but they came pretty close. The owner says for the first appointment, they like to be as thorough as possible so that subsequent cleanings will be easier and faster. And subsequent cleanings will not require seven people.

They did a pretty good job. I didn’t get to inspect everything, and I know there are a couple of spots that didn’t get done the way I would like, but I hope to give them another opportunity to come in and clean again. Also, it was a little creepy because they remade our bed. They fixed the pillows up against the headboard, then remade the bed. Like my mother when I was younger and she didn’t like the way I made my bed. LOL Also, it is a little frustrating for me that they moved things to clean and then didn’t put them back in the right place. I know it’s petty because they touch a lot of stuff and can’t be expected to remember where everything goes back in everyone’s house, it’s just weird to walk into the room and see your nightstand completely rearranged. Or your desk.

Hopefully Mom feels better with her house cleaned. I know at least I don’t have to think about it for the time being. Of course, an hour after the cleaners left, Butthead drooled on the clean tile floor. *sigh*

 

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Jonas the snow storm

Warning: picture heavy post. Enjoy!

Yep, we got pummeled by Jonas Friday night and all day Saturday.

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It was nice for a while on Saturday because I had no responsibilities. Mom was safely ensconced in her house with my dad and brother. Hub was here with me. We watched three episodes of House of Cards on Saturday. We’d been wanting to check it out but just hadn’t found the time. We sat around and did nothing while the storm blew and spewed and accumulated. Every couple of hours Hub would go out and shovel a path off the deck and into the yard for the dogs. I tried to go out to help broom off the stairs and like a dumb-butt, I put my foot down where I thought it was ground only it wasn’t ground yet, I twisted my knee, fell sideways and barely caught myself from slamming into the stair post and the house and the ground. My knee was sore and my back was tweaked. Needless to say Hub shuffled me back into the house right away and settled me on the recliner with an ice pack on my knee.

For most of Saturday the dogs did pretty well. They would run off the deck, pee in one of the paths Hub had shoveled, then run back into the house. Butthead even found a spot to poop in all that snow, but Le Moo held out until Sunday morning.

We enjoyed the day of nothing Saturday, without really thinking about much about the front of the house. Friday afternoon before the snow started, we parked my four wheel drive SUV parallel to the garage door, thinking if we got it close enough to the door, it and the roof overhang would protect the garage door from the snow. And also, the truck would be out of the way of the plow guy that comes to take care of our long driveways.

The best laid plans of mice and men.

This morning when I came downstairs, Hub told me that Le Moo pooped after a long, drawn out wander through the 28″ of snow we got. She refused to poop in any of the paths Hub had shoveled, instead she “swam” over the snow to try and get to the back of the yard to poop. At some point she gave up and pooped somewhere, which Hub then shoveled out of the way. Butthead, on the other hand, didn’t poop at her normal time first thing in the morning. So I took her out when I came downstairs and watched as she frantically ran along all the paths–back and forth, back and forth–sometimes jumping up onto the walls of snow around her. She FINALLY climbed up into unshoveled snow, pooped, then couldn’t figure out how to get back to the house without jumping OVER the poop. And not making a clean jump…literally. I had to clean her fur when we got back to the house. YUCK.

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After that, I went to the garage to see how well our ultra-smart SUV/garage setup went. I opened the access door we have in the garage (a standard size door that leads out to the driveway right next to the garage so we don’t always have to open the garage door to get in and out)…and found this.

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and this…

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and this…

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and this…

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That last picture? Can you see the very top edge of my SUV there? And on the right side, my garage door? With the snow piled up in between? Pressing against my garage door so hard it was bowed in on the inside?

Yeah. So pretty much we were actually STUCK IN THE HOUSE. The access door and the garage are the only way out of the house, with the exception of our front door which a) we never use (and it doesn’t even have a walkway to the driveway) and b) it was completely blocked in by 28″ of snow just off the porch. Gah.

I actually started getting a little freaked out. I don’t mind being in the house for days at a time. I was happy to have Hub stuck in the house with me. I don’t get “cabin fever” and don’t really understand people who do. I certainly don’t understand people who get “cabin fever” and MUST leave the house after 24 hours (to the detriment of their own well-being on roads that aren’t drive-able or even walk-able). C’mon, really? So I was all fine and well with being in the house…until I realized we were literally STUCK IN THE HOUSE. Unable to get out if we needed to. And no one could get in to us. Unh.

Saturday late morning (sorry, this is all out of order), our “regular” plow guy–who is actually our mechanic, he happens to moonlight as a plow guy during the short snow season we have–called to say he BROKE the axle on his plow truck very early that morning on a job. I was really concerned because with the huge storm, we were sure that all the plows would be booked with jobs days ahead of time and no one would be able to get to us for days. So after the call from our regular plow guy, I waited a couple of hours in case he could find the parts he needed to fix his truck. When he didn’t call back, I went to Craigslist…which I never do because I’m entirely suspicious of people who post services on Craiglist. Actually, I’m entirely suspicious of anything posted on Craigslist, but that’s another story. I didn’t know where else to look. I emailed four different listings looking for pricing and availability. The first guy who responded to me turned out to be a guy who had driven down from New Hampshire to help a friend pick up plow jobs during the storm. He gave me a price, I asked him for something a little better, and he agreed to come out the next day to plow us (and my parents) out.

When I emailed him Sunday morning to tell him that my parents would pay him because I literally couldn’t get out of my house, he responded saying that he had a co-hort in the truck with him and they’d help shovel to my access door from outside after they plowed out the driveway. Seriously, these guys were a God-send. They showed up, they had an amazing plow (the blades moved in every direction and also changed from pointed plow to scoop blade…), they did MORE than we had arranged for, AND they helped dig out my truck. We gave them extra money for all the work they did, wished them safe work, and continued cleaning up our driveway.

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That’s the mound of snow at the end of our driveway (about seven feet high by twelve feet wide by about 8 feet deep), right up to the fence gate that leads into our back yard.

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Aaaaaaaand that’s my fence gate on the other side. See it cranked into a Vee shape? Bent backward into the yard. Whoops. We have NO idea how badly the gate is damaged. And honestly, we probably won’t know for weeks until all the snow has melted enough for us to get over there. Okay, maybe not weeks, but probably at least a week. We’ll deal with whatever the damage is. The plow guy saw the gate initially, but when he was pushing snow on the other side of the fence, at some point he was no longer able to see the gate. I was standing in the access doorway while he was plowing and I heard craaaack and I yelled at the plow guy to stop pushing! I yelled across the expanse of snow “stop! you’re breaking my fence!” He apologized and didn’t push up against the mound of snow again. But the damage was already done. Oh well.

That was my weekend. How was yours? LOL

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2016 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, family, Le Moo, snow

 

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The bad news continues

It has been too long. I know it. I’m struggling hard on this roller coaster. I spent today’s session with T crying.

Mom just hasn’t recovered from being in the wheelchair…from the pelvic fracture and the deep muscle spasm. For a few weeks she was moving around better, walking more but still sitting to take breaks. But she was still pressing on, doing what she could. We tried a new medication, but it gave her problems with her fingers and toes. Numbness and tingling. That started with her first chemo, but the recent medication made it worse. The doctor stopped the medication because it was a high likelihood that the numbness and tingling would progress to painful neuropathy.

The nurses at the oncology center noticed that both Mom’s legs were swelling. It was decided that she lymphedema–swelling from water and “stuff” that wasn’t being filtered from her body by her damaged lymph system–and that she needed to go to physical therapy to get manual massage and compression wraps to help move the water up her body to parts of her lymph system that was working. That took some time to get set up, but we finally got it scheduled to start after Christmas.

We were expecting to go to a local research hospital to see if they had a trial, but with the holidays coming their response was a bit slow. Then they said they had no room for her in the trial until the end of January, so we decided to pursue the next option with her regular oncologist. Only…something happened and we’re not sure what.

Christmas day she wasn’t feeling so great. Then the weekend, she continued to feel “yucky.” She was starting to feel lethargic, tired, not really interested in eating. But she was forcing herself to eat to keep her energy up. The Monday following she was due to go to the physical therapist for the lymphedema evaluation. When I went to meet them at their house, I could see she wasn’t feeling well. She was exhausted and hardly interested in moving. She was using the wheelchair again. But she persisted and made it to the appointment. The physical therapist did the evaluation but only wrapped one of her legs, so as not to tax her body too much. We made it home and just inside the house, Mom threw up. And that’s where the downhill slide really began. We had another appointment the next day to go back to the physical therapist, but just minutes inside the offices, I had to race her wheelchair into the restroom so she could throw up again. I could see she was getting more dehydrated and weak, but she wanted to go through with the second appointment. They wrapped her again and instead of leaving it on for six or seven hours like the day before, this time she was supposed to leave the wrap on for two days. We got Mom home and she just kind of collapsed into her recliner.

The next morning my father called to say she wouldn’t get out of bed. She was too exhausted and weak. They’d spent the night getting up every ninety minutes to get her into the bathroom to pee…a result of her leg being wrapped and the fluid being expelled from her system. We called the physical therapist who told us to immediately remove the wraps and consider going to the ER for dehydration. We ended up taking her to the urgent care for her HMO (where she threw up again in the car), where they kind of pushed us around. She wasn’t really dehydrated, but her blood work said she was malnourished (from throwing up and not eating for fear of throwing up). It also came back with an elevated liver enzyme called Bilirubin. They did an ultrasound of her liver then basically said they saw nothing “remarkable” and sent her home.

The next day was New Years eve day. She wouldn’t get out of bed. She didn’t want to eat. She didn’t want to drink. She barely sat up. She didn’t open her eyes. We called the oncologist’s office but he was out for the day and the on-call oncologist only said to put her on the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet and keep hydrating. If it got critical, to go back to the urgent care again. So we pushed Mom to eat. We got her anti-nausea medication (different from the stuff the urgent care gave her because that didn’t work) and antacid for what we thought might be acid reflux. We encouraged her to get out of bed. To try to eat. To keep her eyes open. She would do so for a little bit, then revert back into sitting slumped in her recliner in her robe, eyes closed. No energy, just looking like she was suffering from so much discomfort and distress.

I’ve been spending as much time at their house as possible, trying to keep her going, trying to give my dad and brother a break. Finding foods for her to try to eat, distracting her, encouraging her. She’s tired, I can see it. She doesn’t want to feel this way. It’s not pain, but she feels like she wants to throw up every time she moves. It was a very long weekend. I spent much of my days there, leaving my husband at home with the dogs.

This morning we took her to her oncologist’s office to get her port flushed (it was put in when she was first going for chemo and they left it in just in case she needed to use it again). While we were in the waiting room, I was trying to chat with her, but she just waved her hand and said, “I’m not talking.” So I stopped. When we got into the exam room, we saw the oncologist and I asked him to come speak with us if he could. When he saw mom in the chair, head resting on her hand, eyes closed, he nodded.

A few minutes later, he came in to ask what was happening, and we filled him in. His first step was to get repeat blood work, especially for the high liver enzyme from the urgent care visit–a liver issue could cause the nausea. Then he ordered an MRI for her brain to see if there was spread of the cancer, which could also possibly explain the nausea. Tomorrow is the MRI. If the liver enzyme is still elevated, he’ll want a CT to see if the cancer has grown in her liver, causing a blockage or possibly shut down.

I helped my parents get settled in at home after the appointment, where my mother threw up shortly thereafter. They’ve got her going on steroids to help the nausea and stimulate appetite, and zantac for the acid reflux. After I confirmed the medications with my dad, and their schedule, I left to go see T because that appointment was previously scheduled. I made the drive there, got through the front desk check-in and the wait to get into T’s office. By the time she walked in from her bathroom break between clients, I was already crying. And I cried through the whole appointment. I’m not ready for this…whatever it is. I’m not ready to see her suffer like this. I’m not ready to see her go downhill. I hope this is a blip, something weird, and she’ll perk back up again. I hope. Goddammit I hope. I want to hope.

My brother (who lives with my parents) and I are trying to handle her business. Bills, insurance issues, investment issues, a few business issues. I’m trying to help handle the medical appointments, like canceling the upcoming physical therapy appointment that she can’t get to tomorrow. I’m afraid I can’t keep up with everything.

Butthead started limping again last week, for no reason. We put her on pain medication, but it doesn’t seem to be doing much. We’re supposed to leave her on it for 7 days, which would be tomorrow. I can’t even take her to my parents’ house when I go over because she’ll want to play with their dog and that could cause problems with Butthead’s already bad recovery. So I’m pulled in the different directions. My husband, my parents, the dogs. And I feel guilty for thinking about the dogs when my mother is suffering and struggling.

My husband understands. He has told me multiple times over the last week that he understand that I need to be with my mom and help them. That doesn’t mean it isn’t on my mind that I’ve been leaving him to fend for himself day after day. He’s leaving work at lunch to come home and take care of the dogs while I’m running around with my parents and my own appointments. The dogs are getting left home alone more and more as I’m running in and out to my parents and all the appointments. I’m constantly sending out emails to update my uncle and brother. I’m constantly answering their questions via email. I’m responding to queries from relatives. I’m taking notes at the doctor’s.

It’s not that I resent any of this. I don’t. I just feel pulled. I feel strained. And this is only the beginning of the terrible journey. And I know I won’t be able to keep this pace up for any length of time. I don’t know when to find help. If this is some kind of virus or something “minor” and not the cancer, then I don’t want to rush out to find help/caregivers for my mom. If it IS time to find assistance, I’m not even sure where to start.

I’m both exhausted and frozen. I’m both terrified and overwhelmed. I keep trying to push away the emotions to stay on task, with T’s voice in my head telling me to take time to feel the emotions. To let them come, to nurture them and let the “child” feel the pain of this situation. I told her I’m afraid if I do that, I won’t be able to pull it back together to do the things that need to be done.

It’s too much. It’s so much.

I keep trying to stay in the moment. I can’t control what is happening. Every plan I make will be blown away by whatever is coming next. Why waste my time planning?

My own six month post-cancer diagnosis checkup is in two weeks. I can’t even…there’s no room for it in my head. I also have an abnormal blood work follow-up for high calcium in February. I’m also seeing second therapist specializing in EMDR and hypnotherapy, to try to work on some other issues. That’s another post.

I’m sorry, after all that babble and blather, I feel I’m leaving this post incomplete. A long sentence without a period. I just have nothing.

 

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Here I am

I have wanted to write new posts, but there are things that have happened and I didn’t know where to start. So I started nothing. And then more things happened and I just wanted to blurt them all out in one post, but then I thought that’s no good way to share the different types of information.

None of that has changed, but I’m writing anyway.

Mid-October, Butthead started limping again. 10 weeks after her surgery. We started her on some pain killers and hoped that she just pulled something or overdid it. I didn’t not feel good about it because it was like she was fine, then she tried to play with Le Moo, and a few hours later she was limping. But we tried to be positive about it

The next morning, I woke up and I was spotting. Spotting post-menopause and post cancer diagnosis is bad. I was entirely freaked out. It wasn’t a lot, but it was terrifying to me. I contacted my oncologist’s office and they fit me in for that afternoon with the office PA. Hub raced home from work and we made the hour trip to the doctor’s office, all the while trying not to fall right over into a panic attack. When we finally got in to see the PA, she did a (painful!) exam and decided that there was a stitch migrating out that was causing a tiny bit of blood. She saw no lesions and no other issues, so she said she would consult with my doctor, but if no one called to follow-up, I should rest easy that it was just the stitch migrating from the second surgery. Not unusual, she told me. If it continued or got worse I should call them again. By the next morning it was done and I’ve been fine since then. But shit that was scary.

Butthead continued to limp, despite NEW painkillers. And by the following week, there was a terrible CLONKING noise coming from her knee when she was walking. Not all the time, but a lot. And that’s not right. So I called our vet (my uncle) about 10 minutes after I first heard the noise and he suggested that I come in to the office for an xray. So again, Hub rushed home and we packed Butthead up and raced down to HIS office, which is 90 minutes away. He sedated her and did an xray and physical manipulations (we actually HEARD the clunk upon manipulation in the exam room prior to sedation) but he found nothing out of the ordinary. He suggested that the knee was moving more than he would like, possibly because of severe atrophy from her quad muscle. Again, I was distressed, because this seemed to happen overnight, but we went home with instructions to continue pain meds and work on building up the quad muscle, which upon tightening should keep the knee in place. However, after a week of pain meds and exercises, and the vet talking to his colleagues, we decided that Butthead needed a second surgery. So off we went for a third Thursday in a row, over 90 minutes in traffic, to the vet’s office for surgery. He found that Butthead’s meniscus (a fatty pad in between the upper leg bone and lower leg bone where the knee joint is) was smashed on one side. So he had to remove that, and in addition he put in a nylon string attaching top and bottom bone, hoping to keep the knee more stabilized while we worked on muscle building.

We brought Butthead home and have been in post-surgery recovery mode with her. She’s still limping, but much like after the first surgery. Prior to this surgery, she wasn’t using the leg at all, now she is using is more each day, especially outside the house. Hopefully this will work and we can go back to exercises in a week in order to build up her quad muscles. UNfortunately, some of those exercises include walking (slowly) up stairs, and walking (slowly) up steep hills. Both of those things are hard on MY knees, so Hub gets the brunt of that work.

Which brings me to me. I’m feeling rotten. I’m not sleeping and I’m in a lot of pain all over my body. I’ve developed plantar fasciitis in one foot, which causes me to be in pain every time I stand up from sitting or laying down. Once I walk it off, I’m mostly okay in that fashion, but when I sit down again and then have to get up, it starts all over again. Plus, the rest of my body just hurts. Fall seems to be a bad time for me, pain-wise, and I have no idea why. I’m walking like an old lady again, and yet trying to just keep going because my Mom needs me. And my dogs need me. And my husband needs me. And my brothers and Dad need me. So I push on when I have to, and try not to limp too obviously so no one knows how bad it is. Except Hub, who sees me without the mask.

I am in pain all day long, and it screws with my sleep as well. And no sleep means no restorative sleep, which means no healing of muscle pain. Which means more pain. Which means less sleep. Which all sucks very much. Let’s not even talk about the ongoing nightmares. Or the hot flashes (and hot flushes) that go on all night and through the day. Or the PVCs that are hanging around again, although they’re mostly mild at this point.

In two weeks I’m going to see a hypnotherapist to see if she can help me with the sleep and the chronic pain, and some of the health anxiety that comes along with all that. I’m mostly okay with the health anxiety (though today has been a struggle) but it does keep me from exercising, and I need to get some exercise.

Then there’s the refrigerator saga (we’ve gotten a new one but not gotten paid for the dead one, plus the new one is smaller and waaay noisy), the dishwasher saga, and new on the scene, the laptop saga. Good times.

October was a struggle and so far, November seems on par. More about that in the next post.

 

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Butthead’s water therapy – session 3

Today was Butthead’s third water therapy session (see session 2 and session 1). She seems to be getting more accustomed to it because today when we approached the facility, she actually tugged me to the front door. Of course, once inside, she spent most of our waiting time trying to get back OUT, but I’m not surprised.

When they took Butthead back, I asked the staff if I was the only crazy person taking pictures and video of the therapy and they assured me that I was not. But apparently most people only do that during the first session because it’s a novelty. I told them I had people waiting to see pictures and video, so I was going to do it every time! LOL

Here’s Butthead getting strapped into her life jacket. You can see how sweet the two techs are to her. Prior to this, Butthead was in the water for about five or ten minutes as they acclimate her to the water and prepare her to get into the life jacket. They also test her joints and feel her spine and look for signs of pain.

Today’s session went for fifteen minutes at 2.2mph, and she ended up walking for just over half a mile. Here she is about 3/4 of the way into her session, plodding along like a good girl…

At’s my girl. Doggedly (haw haw) doing her therapy. Trust me, she protested much less than I do when I’m in physical therapy! LOL

Hope you enjoyed swimming along with us! Next week is xrays to establish how healed she is. Woo!

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2015 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, love

 

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Doggy water ballet – video

We went back for Butthead’s water therapy (session #2) this past week. I read up a little about taking pictures through a window and successfully (yeah!) took a bunch of pictures and like five or six short videos.

This video was the best one because you could see Butthead’s face. In some of the other videos she was either turned away most of the time, or her face was hidden behind the dog bowl sitting on the lip of the pool. Butthead tried to jump out of the pool once, but otherwise doggedly (hahahaha) walked on the treadmill.

You can see she’s kind of tired, but that’s because she’s at the end of her walking, and this was an increase in time from the first session.

More good news, they were really happy with her progress again. I thought it looked like she was limping a little on the treadmill, but they didn’t mention it. She wasn’t limping when we took her home, although she did sack out for the rest of the day and seemed tired the following day. Now she’s back to her regular self, wanting to run and play even though we’re not allowing it. I cannot WAIT to get back to the vet to see her xrays at eight weeks to see if we can finally stop walking her on a leash every time we take her out. And when we’ll be able to let her run around a little bit, as I know she misses it. Even Le Moo has been trying to get Butthead to play every now and then, and we have to keep stopping them. Which sucks, because Le Moo doesn’t play very much and when she wants to do it, we try to encourage it. SOON MY PRETTIES! LOL

We go back again for another appointment this coming week, which will make three sessions. The following week we have a bunch of appointments, plus Butthead’s appointment with the vet, so I’m not sure we’ll be able to fit in a session next week. Which is probably just as well, because I’d like to find out how Butthead is healing before making another water therapy session. They aren’t inexpensive, but if it’s helping, we don’t mind putting the money into it for another session or two. We’ll have to see.

I really wish they’d let Butthead off the treadmill and into the “open water” area of the pool to see if she’d know how to swim or not. And if she LIKED it. Not that we have too many places to take her to swim, but it would be neat to know.

Also, on a slightly different note, our refrigerator is broken. STILL. We’ve had one repair guy out from a local place, and then we’ve had the manufacturer repairman out SIX TIMES since it broke. You read that right, SIX TIMES. And he’s due back again this week. He keeps trying to fix things and says it’s working, but it’s not. This last time we called again because it wasn’t cooling right as per our thermometer inside the fridge. So the guy comes out and runs his tests and uses HIS thermometer and tries to educate us on how refrigerators work (thanks, dude) and that our fridge is FINE and we should start putting food in it. So we put some food in it after he leaves at 2ish in the afternoon. By 6pm we notice the fridge thermometer is up to 50 degrees when it should be between 33 and 39 degrees (as per said repair-dude). By 10:30 in the evening, Hub is having to clean up water in front of and under the fridge because the ice in the icemaker in the door has melted and dripped out the ice opening. The thermometer was reading 61 degrees. So we call repair-dude again who said “I dunno” and says he’ll set up an appointment to come back again this week. What. The. Ever. Loving. Fuck. This will be visit number 7 from said repair-dude. *sigh*

And the flying experience is coming up upon me. I am oddly not even thinking about it so much. I’m more concerned about having to get in and out of the airports, and how to pack my dress without it getting all wrinkled. So I guess that’s good!

Hope you enjoyed Butthead’s video. She’s a STAH…

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2015 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, love

 

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Doggy water therapy

The first appointment was DENIED! We went to the appointment, but something happened… either a misunderstanding or they ran out of time or…we’re not sure. But we weren’t able to do the water therapy. They did the evaluation, xrays, and some laser therapy, but there was no water entry.

But we went again this week, with the confirmation that water therapy was imminent. Hub drove us, my mom came along, and we stormed the water therapy castle. The facility has a large room with an above-ground type pool, rectangular in shape. There’s a wooden ramp going up from the floor to a platform. Next to the platform was a treadmill base (no sides or arms). There are straps and a hook on the ceiling, which I would guess are for safety reasons. Once the dog is on the treadmill and secure, one of the techs can push a button that slowly lowers the treadmill into the water–in Butthead’s case, just above her belly.

Our poor Butthead had no clue what was coming.

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They took her back into the room and we were stuck watching through a window. A lot of the pictures are bad because of the glare (I’m going to try again at the next appointment), but I took dozens and dozens of them. So they got Butthead onto the treadmill and lowered it into the water…

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The two techs spent time acclimating Butthead to the water. She seemed a little stressed as they were lowering the treadmill into the water, but I don’t blame her. She was on a grooming table at a Petco one time and the dumbass groomer wasn’t paying attention and she lowered the table without holding onto Butthead and Butthead freaked out and slipped and fell off the table sideways while her head was still in the grooming noose. It was all very traumatic (we were watching, so it was traumatic for us, too!), although physically Butthead was okay. Anyway, so that kind of movement is frightening for Butthead, but you can see the tech in the pool with her…he held onto her the whole time. Later, they put a life jacket on her and he held onto the life jacket while she was walking on the treadmill.

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At one point, Butthead seemed annoyed and she pushed a couple of things (her leash and collar) off the ledge. The female tech just laughed and picked them back up. But a minute later, Butthead was trying to push the towel off the ledge! LOL

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Butthead walked for eight minutes at 2 miles per hour. They stopped the treadmill and started unstrapping her life jacket so they could get her out of the pool.

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Aaaaand out we go!DSCN4727

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They were really happy with how Butthead did. No limping in the pool, no problems at all. Afterward, we took her home and she was sacked out for the rest of the day. She limped a little bit later in the evening, but otherwise she survived. The question is, will we be able to get her back into the car (and into the facility) next week!

The techs were awesome. You could see they were really enjoying their job, petting Butthead and encouraging her as she tried to figure out what the hell they wanted from her. In the end, I think Hub was more upset about the whole ordeal than Butthead was. I was busy trying to take pictures and from behind me I could hear him making noises like he was worried and unhappy. I kept telling him that Butthead was okay, but he seemed so distressed. My mother was laughing because I kept saying “She’s okay, she’s fine!” like I was comforting him (which I was!).

I took a short video, but it turned out really blurry because the camera kept focusing on the window and the reflections instead of the dog. I’ll try again at the next appointment…I read a little about how to get pictures through a window, so maybe they’ll be better.

That was our water therapy adventure. I saw on the rehab’s website that for some of the dogs, after their therapy they get to swim around in the pool as a reward, sometimes fetching a ball. It was adorable to watch the videos. I wish Butthead would do that, but I’m not sure how she’d react if they let her go into the swimming area.

If I can get video, I’ll post again after next week’s appointment!

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2015 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, hub, love

 

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