The End?

As I was working yesterday I was waiting, waiting because I just knew my mom would text me something bad about my girl. Trusting that gut. After noon passed, I thought maybe the worst was over and I started to relax, but then my mom calls the office as an emergency and my worst fears were confirmed. We had just secured Friday with a temp for me, but I had to ask for today (Thursday) off. As fate would have it, the dentist’s patient didn’t come so he took my last patient for me and off I ran. Cried pretty much the entire drive home.

When I finally get inside the home, it was just like Tristan all over again. She tried to get up and greet me, but my mom was holding her back because she’d been crying in severe pain all day. I tearfully called the vet even though I tried to remain calm, and they told me to come over. My brother helped me bring her (got chased after by some moron in a Sorento because I cut her off. Can you believe she FOLLOWED me all the way to the vet just so she could confront me? Except she was scared and stayed in the car the whole time. In the mean time she was definitely not in the lane when I was trying to change lanes. Must’ve been doing 60mph or something. Plus, I was almost crashed into by a massive pickup forcing itself into my lane too, it’s not like people around here don’t cut you off all the time. I was so infuriated by her and in grief I managed to carry Liana all the way into the vet on my own. Amazing strength anger gives you) and she was freaking out the whole time and lying down which is very atypical of her at the vet.

Vet agreed with me about her toughness because she didn’t indicate consistently about what hurt her. Got xrays, gave her a pain shot, and the suspicion was slipped disc. Radiographs ruled out osteosarcoma, the biggest fear. Basically it most likely is a slipped disc, you’d need an MRI to know for sure. Other things it could be is just pinched nerve or even neural tumor. Treatment entails medications (gabapentin, muscle relaxer and Rimadyl) and rest for 10 days then re-evaluate. Cause? Could honestly be anything. More than likely her spirited romping on Saturday. About $800 later I was able to take her home. It was a relief but also a major worry that I was able to take her home, because when it comes down to it, I already know from 2 sources what it takes to deal with spinal surgery. $15,000 straight up and MRI too? I can’t. Just can not. Afford that.

That’s where the decision has to be made. Say I do the surgery to save her. She’s 9. She’s a large dog. 10-12 year lifespan. There’s recovery, there’s a chance she doesn’t make it out of surgery or has the same problem Gable does with bleeding (apparently he’s a big celebrity at my vet’s office too about that). Now my side of it, I’m losing even more work and have a massive debt that there’s no way I could pay off unless I sell my house. Which I can’t. And what quality of life is it without surgery? Not a good one at all. Always tiptoeing around stairs or not being able to run or chase squirrels. She’s like me in that she’s all or nothing. It sucks more than anything to know you’re capable of something but having to hold back. Is that living? Who would I be prolonging her life for then? Me or her?

When I got home yesterday, I went to take Gable out for a second walk because he didn’t poop for my mom and he was being Velcro dog with me. Liana was adamant about coming along, so I promised we wouldn’t go far at all. She was very excited and hurried along with us onto the grass. Then, she didn’t want to go anymore. She didn’t want to go forward and she didn’t want to go back. She just wanted to go towards the trees and lay down. I’ve never been more sure in anything, knowing she was ready and willing to die. Just like Tristan. I tried to carry her back, but she was a dead weight and so unbelievably heavy. Eventually my mom came looking for me and had to get my brother to carry her back into the house again. He dropped her at the door and I had to help. She must have been being a dead weight again. Back inside, she lay down and refused to do anything else. No water, no food. Forced some water down her, but she was tachycardic and breathing unbelievably heavily until almost 11pm. Forced the pills down her around 8pm…didn’t seem to make much of a difference in sedating her at all. Lots of screaming every time she tried to move. Her eyes, though, were the worst. They were wild and staring, unfocused, never closing. Gable treated her like she was basically nonexistent.

She wanted to die, I think, very badly. The pain must be unbearably excruciating, even with the pain shot.

Watching her last night and sleeping in the living room with her through the night, experiencing even worse cries and screaming than I’ve ever heard from her as she tried to turn onto her other side. She whimpered basically all night and didn’t move again. At one point I lay on the floor beside her, I could sense a fear like she didn’t want to be alone, a little disorientation.

This morning she was extremely hesitant to do anything, but I asked her to get up. She refused water again, but willingly went down the stairs with me to the backyard. She just wants to be outside. Just stood there for a while, staring at the gate, and then came back in. She couldn’t do the stairs up so I had to walk her slowly up. She lay down on the big bed like she’d wanted to all night, so I napped for a little. Then my mom gets up and I’m able to walk Gable by himself quickly before she has to leave for work. I couldn’t help but break down on the walk. It was just me and my boy again and the prospect of that in the near future was so painful. When we come back home, Liana is standing up in her bed. She had eaten one small piece of chicken. I go take a shower and come back down to see her standing up on her own again. My mom was gone but looks like Liana wants to go on a walk. I gear her up, swatting at Gable to stay (silly boy) and slowly walk her out. She’s looking out at the grass again so I take her behind the house to the quad area. She pees a bit, smells things, watches squirrels. Limps, trips, slowly makes her way around. Looks like she wants to lay out there too, but this time she comes back slowly with me. When I turn to go into the house, she pauses, looks at the trees again and then goes into the house with me. She stands and waits where I usually take off their collars, then goes in to drink water like we always do. My heart is light at that. She then proceeds to sniff around for food. I go to prepare some food, but she still refuses to eat out of my hand or the bowl and only eats 2 small pieces of beef (Gable poohpoohs his altogether, the snot). Forced her to take her meds again, and…that’s where we are right now. They’re both napping.

Now I’m unsure of what will happen. I was settled in thinking she had given up on life altogether, but this new improvement is heartening while disheartening at the same time. Heartening in that she feels better, but disheartening in that putting her down would be extremely difficult, knowing there’s a chance and that she wants to live again.

There’s always the hope that it really is just muscular-based and with the relaxers, pain meds and rest it will be all better. My patient with a similar issue said that eventually it just went away in her dog, and good, too, because they wouldn’t have been able to do the $15,000 either.. I’m so glad for my patients. However, I’m nothing but realistic and always planning for the worst. That’s twice now that I’ve been faced with possibly not taking them home again, but I have been able to. In this case, it’s not over and the possibility of losing her is still extremely high, but I have some more time at least.

Sometimes it’s worse, having more time, but always better than a surprise.

When they were playing and romping on Saturday, I remember thinking to myself,  how blessed I am to be able to see this because this might be the last time I ever see that. Then I decided against going to get my phone to video it because I didn’t want to miss a second of it, to always have it in my mind. Got to play with her and him and watch them be as happy as greyhounds can be. I did think it strange that she ran as hard as she did, I fully expected her to stop after one lap, but she kept going, almost like she knew it would be her last, too. Even earlier this year she hadn’t run that hard. Of course, I almost wish I’d stopped her and we could have avoided all of this, but I’m sure if it wasn’t this than something else would’ve done it. At least she was happy doing what she loved most.

Well, for now, she feels better. No screaming today, just yelping. I know I’m just delaying the inevitable, but I’ll hold out hope. We have 10 days. She’s a stubborn, stoic dog. The most stubborn and stoic I’ve seen and may ever see. Cesar Millan says truly stubborn dogs are very rare, but I am convinced she is one. My tough old lady.

Cherry On Top

So on top of all these amazingly positive entries I’ve been posting, my status as the Grim Reaper, or Angel of Death, however you want to look at it, is still secure at work.

This makes…what…5 patients now that have died having been my last patient this year? That’s a rate of one patient a month for 2017. There are plenty more in the past, that I just didn’t think much about, but it’s become such a commonplace occurrence now that it really does start to bother me. Not just me, either, but my coworkers are starting to notice and light-hearted joking ensues. The worst part about 2017 patients, so far, is that most of them have been young. Like middle aged, not elderly. It makes it better when they’ve been sick or elderly, but two big ones come to mind that were sudden and completely unexpected.

I also have a couple patients now that I haven’t seen in a while and it’s starting to worry me. One patient a month ago I took the initiative to call because we hadn’t seen him in a while. Thankfully he was OK and came in soon thereafter to see us. That was fortunate but also a little scary because you can just imagine him, a regular, routine patient, just sitting at home in the dark waiting to die. For all we know that was the exact case. I already see most of the dementia patients, who we all know will expire at some point. Doesn’t make it better, though.

There’s a young squirrel on the tree outside my window looking for twigs to eat.

I understand that in this job, you will see people pass away, and every so often is OK, but it always seems to be after I see them. And I repeat, that my coworkers and bosses have really started to notice the pattern too.

My mom told me to look at it like I’m preparing them for their death journey. I already did that for Tristan the Doberman. Right after I had him with me, did his teeth, claws, gave him a bath, I also helped him leave this world.

Is there a spirit riding on me now? Will I be forever cursed? At least it’s not malevolent. Maybe I really am preparing. I always try to provide the most relaxed and calm environment to my patients, in a place where most people are extremely nervous.

…Who will take care of me, for once? I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing until then.

Depression, A glimpse

Remember when I said that I don’t really understand depression? Also, remember when I just posted about feeling numb? Well. The former is a bit of a lie. I do understand a little bit of depression. I’ve been in one several times in my life. They just weren’t the real deal, long term. I get short term depression, as do others. In my day to day life I don’t suffer from it at all, but I think I am now.

When did it sink in? Must have been this morning. The adrenaline or whatever must be starting to wear off. I’ve seen art representing depression online and on TV for the depression medications. Obviously, though, I can’t exactly remember what it’s like to go through it. I watched my brother do battle with it for years after and during the whole dad-thing. He’s very well now and so happy and well-adjusted. More than likely I’ve had it since Sunday, THE DAY, but it didn’t hit me full-force until today. Thankfully work wasn’t too bad either. Maybe the weather didn’t help? It has been raining like crazy.

It came to light on the drive to work when I realized I didn’t feel emotion. Throughout the week I’ve been aware of my extra-enthusiastic self, almost to the point of excessively so. The numbness this morning (being unable to get a rise out of myself, or bringing myself to feel something) and then zoning out/tuning out people who are talking to me (been happening all week) alongside a low-grade, continual irritation (made worse by talking and being talked to), plus having to fake being happy and “normal” to my patients like nothing is wrong (feels so awful!!) and lastly wanting to be with people while simultaneously wanting to be alone.

Then it hit me HARD that all the words I typed above reminded me exactly of M.

So. I got a glimpse? A taste? I feel it right now. I was just downstairs in the basement, having forced myself to go down to workout again, and while it felt good, I had no drive. I’d start and then it would wane. I tried to make myself angry for the punching bag, but as the punches flew, they got weaker and weaker until I just stopped and gave up.

I can see that desire to “feel something” if this is something I would have to deal with on a day to day basis. For him the only thing that could make him “feel” was being yelled at or devoting himself completely to work and that’s it because work made him feel good, or needed or something…something he could accomplish successfully.

Now that I’m typing and thinking about all of this, yes, I have felt this before. BUT. The difference for me, is that for some reason, I can get out of it. I may be feeling depression and depressed right now in this moment in time (for good reason), however, it’s not a long-term problem for me. I have figured it out. How to escape. Something/someone has paved me a surefire path. Given me a ladder. An escape rope. And not only an escape tool, but a car to continue along the “normal” and “happy” path. That was probably my childhood. My unwavering spiritual health. My circle of loved ones. My dogs. Deep within me I am happy and I seek peace. I know how to channel the negativity, I know how to “let go” and “give it up.” Even with my obsessive tendencies.

He told me not too long ago that he knows that he needs to let go and not mull on things. It doesn’t do him any good and it just makes him upset. In the past, now that I think about it, I’ve tried several times to give him advice on seeking peace. It’s not something that just happens overnight, and not just one magic thing is right for everyone. I wanted to help him find it, but it was always (here we go again) met with either loss of desire or whatever. I still strongly regret that we didn’t get to see each other more often. When I was with him, in his presence, I tried hard to absorb it for him (that’s what I do for my anxiety patients) and release calm instead. Then again, it’s one thing to give words, and it’s completely different for him to practice it. Just like at work: I can clean everything off and give you a clean slate, but it’s up to you to keep it off. Otherwise, the plaque and tartar will just keep coming back. If he didn’t and doesn’t want to, well, there’s not much I can do except remind, demonstrate, and hope this time he takes the advice. Sometimes it takes seeing a different clinician too, because one person saying something all the time just sounds like nagging.

Well. I just am very aware and knowledgeable about myself. Narcissistic and self-concerned tendencies will do that. I can tell you every single one of my flaws if you wish for me too. I know they’re there and I’m always trying to control them. I guess that self-knowing ability is why I am able to come out of it? They say that before you try to know/love others, you need to know/love yourself. Haha. I love myself, that’s for sure.

Hmmm….come to think of it, people with depression/anxiety tend to hate photos of themselves. I love photos of myself. Of everything and everyone. I just love pictures. Especially the candid kind…the ones that everyone else hates. Heck, I was taking selfies long before they were the rage.

While inconvenient, it is nice to be able to get a glimpse of what depression is like. Experiencing something is key to helping others overcome their own struggles. I don’t think that a short-term experience compares in any way to the continual battle, and it certainly does NOT make me an expert, but I think I have a taste of what it’s like.  To understand. And now I can refer back to it! Whoo!

…let’s see how long it takes for me to get out of this one.

Swollen Eyes

Never get used or will ever like this feeling. Blugh. What’s interesting, though, is that I noticed a difference in whether my eyes puff up or look relatively normal depending on what I’m crying about. It goes along with something I read before about how tears differ depending on the type of crying. So when I was crying in sadness but determined, it didn’t puff up, but when I cried for myself, wallowing in grief, it goes POOF. That type of crying for me  is prevalent in the early morning when I’m feeling sorry for myself.

The puffiness is obnoxious too because then I can’t see well. Thankfully it’s not super bright today (rainy) because otherwise I’m like GAAAAH.

I’m less torn up about all of this than I initially thought I’d be. It’s probably because we’re not cut off 100%…just the goal changed. The last few months have been a neutral exchange anyways, so it’s not a major shift.

I just truly truly hope he stays in contact with me. I understand that lingering after a breakup can impede the healing process, but once I make a decision, I go through with it. Steel myself and use that neutral facade I always use when dealing with the awful, terrible patients. Pull back and approach it from that 3rd person perspective. Makes everything easier to deal with because then I won’t lose sight of the bigger picture and the problems become so much less significant.

The nose is still going a bit though. Man my sinuses are crazy. No wonder I get sinus infections so easily.

It’s Over.

My romantic relationship is officially over.

Remember how I wanted to propose this last weekend when I saw him? Then I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I loved him too much? When I saw him he made me so happy I couldn’t bring myself to ruin it. However, I knew….knew, knew, knew….that he wasn’t there himself.

I read people. I can tell. I’m not just boasting or anything either because I really do read people.

The signs were all there. It’s just in love it’s so hard to see…no…not hard to see, just hard to accept. He was growing more and more distant, and already being a not forthcoming guy about feelings and such, this was more than that. I mentioned before it was like being with a wall.

Well, I knew this was coming, I just didn’t know when to drop the ball…and I kept hanging on because I love him tremendously. Still do, and will always love him. And it’s not that he doesn’t love me because I know that he does. Just not romantically. Why then? He disclosed to me that he finds that he has little interest in anything at all besides work, and all he wants right now is to be yelled at military-style. He is suffering from depression. Badly. Says that he will see a psychiatrist to help.

You know, when I found him initially, he was in a deep depression too. He told me then that I came in time to pull him out of it. It was true. When we first started and for about a year and a half he was happy. Like real happy. It wasn’t fake. As I’ve been analyzing and being tormented for the past few months about our dissolving relationship, I realized that things that he said in the beginning weren’t actually true, about what he liked or what he didn’t. It wasn’t all that significant those early days because most people will in a budding relationship to endear themselves to the other. With this disclosure that he was pretty much wearing a mask and trying to be “normal” and being what he thought I wanted him to be, it all makes sense now. It answers so many of the questions and confusions I experienced throughout this ride. I put to him continually throughout our relationship to tell me what was bothering him. Not what he thought I wanted to hear, but what he was truly feeling or wanted. I did it one more time today and we made that breakthrough. That’s what I wanted to hear, because that’s what he truly felt. I didn’t need him in front of me to know that much, because of the fact that it answered so many questions.

I was going through different emotions as I analyzed and analyzed and analyzed some more. The anger, the sorrow, the anger, the resentment, but it wasn’t until either yesterday or today that the anger disappeared as I came upon a realization that what he needed was healing. If this was a video game, I probably would have heard the sound of glass breaking. An epiphany!

To be perfectly honest, when I set the proposal to him today to take the romance out of our relationship but still keep in touch, so that he could deal with what he needed to without me to impede him girlfriend-style, there was a strength behind me. Almost telling me that this is it. This is right. Didn’t stop the tears and the snot from spilling forth, but it was a different type of crying. I was/am not so sad about our relationship ending as the fact that I failed in my mission. My heart breaks for his internal struggle leagues more than for us as a failed couple. It’s just too sad. I tried so hard to be the one to help him through, to be IT. My one goal in all of this was for him to be happy. I was successful, but in the end I couldn’t accomplish it all the way. It sounds too altruistic to be true, but I truly truly wanted that for him. A U.S veteran, a firefighter…he has had too much hardship in his life and deserves to be happy. That in an of itself doomed us from the beginning, I realize, but I wanted it anyways. I understand, of course, that people don’t change people. Situations do, events do, because ultimately it’s up to them.

God. I feel like I gave up. Threw in the towel. For someone who doesn’t ever give up. If I’d given up on Liana she’d be with someone else now. Took me 3 years to earn her full devotion and trust. That’s what…30ish years in their life?

I want badly for him to keep in touch with me. I care significantly about what happens to him. I feel like he needs me more now than ever, having revealed to me and himself the real cause of all this pain. I told him that if he doesn’t check in every so often that I’ll come find him myself. If he needs me I’d drop everything and come running. Most importantly for me, I told him that I’ll love him forever. I’ve been saying it the whole relationship and I mean every word. He refused to let my hanging on to him get in the way of my future and I’m not desperate enough to let it impede my goals, but it still doesn’t change that I love him and his family. One day when he figures himself out, maybe he can find me if I’m still available? It was never about someone else. I already knew that, because he’s not that kind of person.

Hah…for someone who didn’t divulge much in terms of feelings to me, I certainly know so much about him.

Oh man, I don’t know how much of this post makes any sense. I think it’s just a bunch of feelings thrown in there. I cry for us, for him, for me. But then again, I’ve cried more for us in our relationship than is necessary, methinks.

If you were to examine our relationship from start to finish you would see a clear path and a clear difference. We started out emotionally charged in every way. He was explosive in anger. Our fights were crazy in the beginning. Then everything started smoothing out. The fights became less fights than arguments. The arguments evolved into discussions. Our last exchange here, was so calm. Moreso than I was prepared for. He’s a different person now in many aspects than when I first met him. For better and worse, but ultimately more better. I take solace in that fact, that I made a difference.

What is for sure, though, is that he was not a mistake. It was a huge gamble to jump into the relationship to begin with, and I hate gambles because the risk for pain is high, but I did. And I regret nothing. These last 2 years were not a waste in the least, for either of us. I don’t care what conclusions he comes up with. They weren’t. He was not a mistake. I may hang on to him, but it’s not because I invested too much (which I did because for me, it’s all or nothing. No in between). It’s because I truly love him. I feel bad too, but that’s still not a good enough reason to hang on to him.

Oh life. My life. Why does everything have to be so hard. Nothing I have to do is simple. It’s always complicated. As Mother Teresa once said, I know God won’t give me anything I can’t accomplish…but I wish he didn’t trust me so much. Something to that effect. As I get older, I realize that my job on this earth is to help people. I get the toughest patients. The hardest dogs. I help them, they get better, then they die, or leave me. But I guess that pleasure is in the time they had that was carefree, alleviated. It’s worth it, even with the pain. I told my family that I think from now on, I’ll only have dogs that need my help.

Damn. That makes this whole thing worse, because I did fail in the end.

Ah well. I’ll continue to be there for him, whether he likes it or not. I hope he will take me up on it, though, because I mean it.

I love you Matt. Forever.

 

On a Roll

I’ve been on a roll this week, locating infections/abscesses. Let’s see how it holds up the rest of the week! Also, my boss has been extremely annoying. As my co-worker expressed, this is the kind of week that makes you want to look for another job. So I was checking out Craigslist yesterday morning and I remembered why I didn’t want to look for another job. That old problem I have where I feel like I should be working more hours is cropping up again. The ulterior motive there is that working interviews are the best for getting your foot in the door without having to job search. However, I absolutely hate temping and I’m still not sure how I feel about working more hygiene hours given my hands. If I did work the full 40 hours, though, I could afford the house that I want…a really good incentive. My body would hate me to kingdom come and it would allow me even less time to enjoy what I work so hard to acquire. It wouldn’t be too bad if I didn’t have dogs because I love spending time with them… I’m still extremely reluctant to give up my lazy life-enjoying lifestyle, but saving money would be really nice.

I couldn’t sleep this morning around 1:30-2:45ish AGAIN. Man last night…talk about polyuria. I’m not sure exactly why but I had to pee like crazy. I never have to do that! It’s not like I drank that much either. I swear I get abducted by aliens at night or something.

I’m a hasty person. I’m impatient. I understand this. I also understand that having patience in life is essential and things like to come about on their own time. However, there have been many instances where I’ve had to make the call and initiate things when they really aren’t moving. When it the right time to make a move? When is it not? That fine line is quite fine. Lying awake this morning my brain was just overwhelmed by how slow my life is moving. Nothing is happening at an ideal pace. Money is slipping through my hands faster than water through a sieve, house, relationships, time. While time is moving too quickly, it moves too slowly too. I have a long list of grievances that I’ve been holding in and know I should just keep waiting, but WHY?? …because it makes no logical difference to release it all. Nothing will change. Nothing CAN change until next year. Everything is stagnant. I feel like I’m an electron in a padded room trying to break free but running into obstacles from all sides…even if I make it past the door, it’s too early and can only mean disaster.

Being hemmed in, enclosed, incarcerated, only able to look out at things is the worst possible feeling for a soul like mine. Life doesn’t change, people don’t change, no progress is possible. UUUUUUGGGGGHHHH. My brain needs a challenge. Something to overcome and to focus on. A short term goal to stay preoccupied with. No one else has such an active mind like mine, in my life. I’ve worked on staying content my whole life, but like I’ve mentioned before it needs to break out. I need someone to help me with that. But the big problem there is I have too much to lose and can’t do anything too risky.

I’m going to go crazy. I need someone to help me. Where is my hero? When will he come?? Someone who understands me, understands this and isn’t intimidated by it, and rather knows how to channel it, to calm me down and help me utilize it. Without the need for too much money. Please come soon.

Uggggggh

Hmm I wonder how many posts I have with that title? Plenty, I’m sure.

I spent pretty much ALL DAY playing Mass Effect after I posted. To the point where I had a headache and became depressed in realization of what I had done. This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time I veg out with a video game all freaking day long, but I can’t believe what a bad mood it put me in. Thinking back on it too, made it worse! I accomplished nothing. Then I started applying it to my life and the wallow pit got even deeper. What else is there in my life? I’ve done all I ever planned to do. No goals, nothing in the future to look forward to. Just a holding pattern. Waiting. Waiting for what? To win the lottery? And then what? Waiting for death? My next paycheck? Only to lose it all on bills and fall right back into the pattern. I can’t spend extra because I really don’t have much to spare, but I did it anyways and now I deeply regret it. Can’t do anything without money.

Whatever. THEN I got even better news! Idiot at work is filling in for other co-worker today! Wow! How fun to come back to that! My mood got even darker. In these times all I can say is thank goodness for books and dogs. Though my dogs were extremely restless yesterday. Spring always does that to them.

BLUUUUUGHHHHH