29 December 2009

The Old Dog

I’ve got a hard decision to make and I’ve been putting it off.

Cookie is our 14 year old dog. She is a golden retriever and border collie mix, most likely. She has been a great, if stubborn, family companion all these years. She has kept us company, taken us on long walks, warned me when the newspaper hit the porch, driven squirrels out of the yard. She once, with the help of our cat, caught and killed a rat in the street. She has defended me against all Y chromosomes, suffering only a few to cross our threshold.

Her big brown eyes are blue with cataracts now. She is so deaf that we have to clap our hands loudly to get her attention. I can let her out front off the leash because she can’t physically run off. She is so stiff and creaky that I beg her to sleep downstairs but she limps her way upstairs at bedtime because she can’t imagine sleeping anywhere other than my bedside.

And now she has days when she can’t get up off the floor. Her back end has gotten so weak that standing is a challenge if she is on the hardwood floor. If the young dog bumps into her, she falls down with her legs splayed out in four directions. I got one of those rear lift harnesses to try and help her get up, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Some days I have to roll her onto a blanket and drag her to the back door. Then I can get her up on her feet and she only has a couple of steps to get outside. Once she is outside with the grass and dirt underfoot, she is a bit steadier on her pins. She’ll make her rounds, peeing and sniffing, and then stagger back up the stairs to come in.

She is on pain meds now and has good days and not so good days. I’ve been putting off making the decision because she keeps rallying. She’ll have a bad couple of days and I’ll think, yes, it’s time and then she rallies and gets her mojo back and is clearly enjoying life. She loves hanging out with her people and loves her treats. It takes half an hour to get around the block, but she loves her walks. She is still loving life.

I know that I need to call the housecall vet to let him know that the time is getting near. I can’t bear to take her to the clinic because she hates it so much and I don’t want her last moments on earth to be there. Dr Carroll will come to the house when it is time.

17 December 2009

Clearing the Air

It’s been a month, almost 5 weeks, actually, of smoke-free living at our house. So far, so good!

It’s a much harder challenge for T than for me. I smoked, on average, about two cigarettes a day during the week and maybe four or five on the weekend days. T has pretty much smoked a pack a day for 30 years. She did quit for a couple of years once but went back to smoking when she hooked up with her last, loser girlfriend.

For some reason nicotine doesn’t seem to be as addictive to me as it to most people. I can pick up a pack of cigarettes and smoke them at parties or around smoker friends and then put them in a bag in the freezer for a few months. Before T moved in it would take me about six months to go through a pack. When we quit, I was up to about a pack a week.

But, T decided that she didn’t want to be an old woman smoker. We both turned 50 this year and that was her cut off date. She took the drug Chantix for two weeks – a week before she quit and for the first week. The side effects were bothering her though, so she quit the medication. She has been working through it with sunflower seeds, suckers and gum. She is worried about the extra weight she is putting on, but it’s a worthwhile trade off. We’ve only had a couple of outbreaks of nasty behavior, for which I am grateful, and overall it has been pretty smooth. It's a big change and I hope she sticks to it.

02 December 2009

Pink Glove Dance

Maybe you've already seen this ~ I hope so!

This is the hospital across town from me (wish it were mine!). It is also the hospital where my mom had her bilateral mastectomy. Call me sappy, and you wouldn't be the first to do so, but it brought tears to my eyes.

Have a lovely Wednesday everyone!

01 December 2009

Back but Not Ready

I took the week of Thanksgiving off work. It was the November birthday week in my family and what with birthdays and the holiday it just seemed like a good time to be at home. Now, however, I’m back at work and struggling to give a shit.

T’s birthday went pretty well. She got what she wanted most: undivided attention and time. We worked on the house some, hung out a bit, took the dogs for walks, had a couples massage, drank mimosas, soaked in the hot tub. All good stuff.

For her big 5-0 birthday I got her a few things. Some fairly ordinary, wifely type things (underwear, candles, sweats and long sleeve t-shirts). And two things that she wasn’t expecting and really liked. A dog training treat pouch for dog walks, with some treats, of course; and a New Orleans Saints hoodie.

During the week I hardly logged on to the computer. Didn’t check my facebook page, didn’t read my usual blogs, barely checked my email and then only on the crackberry. I pretty much went without the electronics for a week. It was fine. The earth did not stop spinning. Amazing! T, however, has developed an addiction for one of those idiotic facebook games: Farmville. She is harvesting her damned crops all the time. It has started to become a bit obsessive. She was on it last night at bedtime, calculating what she could plant based on when the harvest would be. Oh, whatever, it’s not like I care if she plays a game. But, she missed some of the Saints game last night so that she could run upstairs and harvest something.

Coming back to work after time off is hard. It’s been a slog lately and the break was very welcome. I did ok yesterday, Monday, but today I really don’t feel like being here. I’m restless, and alternating between bored and antsy. I’d like to get out of the office and walk home, but I need to be here and I don’t have the time for that long of a walk today. Instead, I’m looking out the window at the rare winter sunshine. People are calling and emailing with issues and problems and I just can’t find the energy or interest to care. That sounds bad, I know. I also know that it will pass, eventually.