Monday, February 13, 2012

Pro tip: Elderly Dog Owners Should Only Wear Waterproof Mascara

Oh, my. Buster is putting A. and I through an emotional wringer. 

He stopped eating again. Friday's visit to the vet involved phrases such as "last resort," exploratory surgery," and "get emotionally prepared."

A. and I were to discuss whether we wanted to have the vet perform exploratory surgery on Buster, and what to do depending on what she found. Do we wake him up, or say goodbye?

I was a fucking mess on Friday. So was A.

Buster continued to get weaker and weaker. The dark, dark color of his diarrhea scared both A. and I into immediately thinking he was dying. I mean, it was one of those instances where you just know what you are seeing is wrong. (Although, he has had no accidents inside; he still asks to "go outside to go potty.")

So we took him to another vet on Saturday (because they were open. And maybe because I wanted another opinion.). I asked the new vet to do a complete exam, blood work and an ultrasound on his belly.

Again, his blood work came back perfect. The only thing she found on the ultrasound was his spleen looks slightly enlarged, but she could not find any masses, pockets, or fluid in his belly. His coat is shiny and soft. His eyes are bright. His tongue is pink and his gums are healthy. She did not see any reason to rush into immediate surgery, and thought he was healthy enough to try and give a cocktail of meds some time to make him comfortable.

Good? Bad? What is wrong with my baby?

The second vet has him on steroids, a morphine derivative, antacid and nausea pills for the next few days. The concoction seems to be helping him feel better. Buster eats his treats and spits out the pills, so I have been prying open his jaw and shoving them down his throat. He loves me. 

The meds seem to be helping keep him more comfortable. He is eating treats like nobody's business, but still has no interest in food in his bowl. He trots over when he hears the word "treat" and enthusiastically gobbles them up, then looks up in anticipation for more. 

Yesterday, he trotted around outside with us for well over a half an hour, wagging his tail and looking much perkier. But he is still not near his normal, happy self.

Then, last night, he started panting heavily and kept asking to go outside every hour. He would try to poop, but couldn't. Is he constipated from too many treats? Is there some sort of fucking tumor pushing on his belly and innards making him feel like he has to poop, but of course, can't? Do we get biopsies? Are those possible without major surgery? Do we do major surgery? If it is early cancer, do we treat him? Jesus Fucking Christ, I am losing my mind.

And I know that A. is going through hell. He is so tender and caring and loves this dog so much.  He just wants to make him happy and do what is right for him. It is killing him that he can't just make it better for Buster, like he always does.

I am so frustrated and scared and sad. I am scared to be optimistic. I am scared not to be.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Attachment Disorder

I am always on a mission to remove clutter from the house. I moved to DC on an airplane and shipped my books. I moved back to Wyoming on an airplane and shipped my books (and my nicer kitchen things, CDs and photos). I am pretty good at not getting too attached to things. 

It is so much easier not to have stuff.Before, my extracurricular activities did not generally require props. Now, my hobbies require things like fly rods. Before I just required cash to go out for drinks, dinners, symphonies, plays, etc. A.'s hobbies come with entire ice shanties, a bazillion ice-fishing poles and do dads, rifles, vests, blinds, ETC. So, my lifestyle has changed enough that it follows that my physical environment has also changed.

But. I am itching to just really overhaul the whole house

A. is relatively on board with my decluttering and helps often, though he is not willing to go as minimalist as I think I want to go. And I do have to give him plenty of credit - he has gone through most of his stuff and whittled his possessions down to a fraction of what he'd been holding on to prior. Now I am trying to REALLY force myself to look at my stuff and see what else I can get rid off.

My goal: A comfortable space that is easy on the eyes and easy to (keep) clean. A place for everything and everything in its place (without having to first move 18 other things to put/get it in/from its place).

Here is my conundrum of the day: I have some really nice 9-inch cake round pans. I have not made a round cake in, oh, seven years? I am rather miserable at leveling off the cakes, frosting them and generally having them look presentable. I should probably give the pans away, yes? But they are of fantastic quality. They feel so, so good in your hands. And they bake up delightful cakes without any scorching.  I also have a really high quality bundt pan that I use about once a year. Ok. I use it maybe once every two years. It, too, is great quality but was also a gift from a very close friend. It, too, turns out great cakes.

A. and I do not bake cakes too often. (Not because I don't love cake; I do.) With just the two of us, we either gorge on cake for a few days and feel horrible, or we are reasonable about it and then I have to toss a brick of a cake out a week later. I work for a nutrition program, so bringing in half of the cake for my co-workers doesn't work so well. My co-workers generally follow what we preach and don't regularly eat sweets. I would still end up throwing much of it away.

Maybe I should start attending a local Lutheran church so I can bake cakes for the coffee hour after services.

Or maybe I can freeze half the cakes> Do cakes freeze well? Pre-frosted?

Anyway. All of these lovely, heavy, gorgeous cake pans take up a helluva lot of space in my over-crowded kitchen cabinets. If I had more space freed up in my cabinets I could store the rest of my small appliances out of site and off my counters. 

What is more important - keeping these high-quality baking pans or having a clear counter? I think I want the clear counters more.

Oh, man. I think I am going to get rid of them. 

How do you do it? Do you have ample storage? Do you have items on your counters, and do you mind? Do you have lots of gadgets, pans, etc.? Should I just stick to boring rectangular cakes and call it good?


Quick Buster Update:

Buster's x-rays came back fine. There are no suspicious masses or a plugged up Buster belly. The vet prescribed him some super stinky, mushy canned food and he ate that with a bit of enthusiasm. Now he is back on the "recovery" blah food and is not too interested. 

He is also on pain meds, because over the course of positioning him for the x-rays, his yelps confirmed that arthritis has set in. (My heart broke with every little yelp. The vet would run in my room and tell me what caused the yelp and that he is better. She is very sweet.)

It is amazing, and perhaps pathetic, how much this furry, goofy creature means to me. I wish he could talk and tell me what is going on.  I am hoping that once the pain meds have been in his system for a while he will perk up

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In a Mood

I am still feeling all sorts of unsettled. I want to gut the house and do some small renovations! I want to totally revamp our budget and save more aggressively for retirement! I want to go minimalist and get rid of everything! I want to figure out what the hell I really want to do in a job and get moving! Let's move! Where!?

And yet, I do not have the money or energy for any of this. It is definitely time to do some adjusting with the crazy meds. I am starting to slip into BLAH. A. feels like I am disconnected and it makes him feel unwanted. (He knows my depression is the cause of my mood, but he still feels this way. I am so glad he is honest and can tell me this stuff. And I am thankful I can understand this, too.)

Thankfully, I have a routine appointment with my doctor on Friday, so I can address this right away.


Due to some PISS POOR management by the doctor/owner, the office A. is contract with might be going under. This will affect us financially, but we will manage with little discomfort. But still. A. has seen two of his co-workers get laid off. It is hard not to just feel like shit when faced with this situation daily.


Buster is not doing well. I took him and Belle in for their annual wellness exams last week, a bit earlier than usual. Buster had been throwing up for a couple of days, and then  wasn't eating. Neither of these behaviors are  typical for this little guy. He normally inhales his food. He does not chew, he does not take his time, he just inhales and swallows. So, his lack of interest is a major alarm. And, we are pretty lucky that we get one Annual Barf from both dogs and that is about it.

The vet ran blood tests and apparently his blood work is spectacular. He could "live forever!" she said. (Don't tell me that; I will expect him to!) Anyway, it is a relief that his kidneys and liver are in good health. We put him on some tummy meds and a special diet of some super special, expensive canned food for sensitive tummies. It kind of breaks my heart to see that they make such food. Upset doggie tummies! 

He hasn't thrown up since, but quit eating again yesterday.

I am taking him in for belly X-rays later today. I don't know what I prefer: they find something and so we have something to fix (with surgery?!?!) or find nothing and continue to wonder what is wrong. 

The vet also thinks arthritis has finally set in. Maybe he is just in a lot of pain? (OH. GOD. My baby.) We were holding off on starting pain meds until his belly settled down. I hope we come home with something for him tonight. It might improve his sad mood, at least. 

So, this sucks.


Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer. I am just IN A MOOD, you know?