21 May 2015

Go Home, Good Boy

So, we had our heart broken on Tuesday  Lucky Dog passed away.  He was thirteen years old and hadn't been feeling well for a little while.  Like all dogs, I somehow thought he would live forever.

When he came into our lives, he was a tiny puppy. He was nearly hit by a train that our neighbor/family member was a brakeman. The rule is that the trains don't stop for animals but for some reason the engineer did for this group of puppies. Bruce brought him home, thinking that one of us would take him.  At the time, we couldn't because we had Missy already and we weren't prepared for having another puppy.
So, Bruce kept him and we called him Lucky Boy because: nearly hit by a train.

Lucky has always been my buddy though.  I was cleaning Bruce's house at the time he arrived so we spent lots of time together. I helped potty train and to do basic commands.
 Lucky would come up here and hang out with Missy during the day.  They were best buddies and Lucky was very sad when Missy passed away.  Lucky came to all the parties and family gatherings.  All of our friends knew his name and loved him.  Lucky was everyone's dog.

He had finally accepted Lucy, once Lucy grew out of the annoying puppy stage.  They would nap together in the afternoon sun.  Lucky would come spend the afternoons with me since I've been home these past few months.  We would sit out on the deck and watch Lucy going about doing all her Lucy stuff.

Lucky was a Black Lab/Pit mix.  He was the sweetest boy in all the land.  We used to introduce him as "This is Lucky, he's just happy to be here."  He would stand on your foot or lean on you for maximum petting potential.  He was everyone's best buddy.

Over the weekend, he just wasn't happy.  I kept telling Kevin that something wasn't right.  On Tuesday, he laid on our deck all morning.  His normally lethally wagging tail didn't wag and he laid flat on his belly instead of his usual stretched out and snoring.  He didn't even acknowledge when Lucy went hunting or when Bruce drove by. 

I had to go next door to help the parents and I couldn't get Lucky to come with me.  I told my father-in-law about him and he sprang into action.  He went next door and tried to get Lucky to get up and follow him home.  He got up but went into our yard and laid down.  When I returned home, there he lay and we couldn't get him up.  Bruce came to get him and he finally got up but it took a bit to get him to come along.

Finally, he went home then went to the vet.  He was full of cancer and had just hours to live.  He went peacefully at the vets office.  I'm pleased yet heartbroken that he chose to spend his last morning with Lucy and I.

Last walk home
Hi, My name is Lucky and I'm a good boy

20 May 2015

With Aliens

The television has been my best friend over the past few years.  I have become a prime example of binge watching.  I've watched the entire series of Ghost Whisperer, Greys Anatomy (twice, because: Greys Anatomy), Gilmore Girls, Doctor Who, and now Bones.  I'm sure there are shows I've forgotten, these are the ones that have had some sort of an impact on my psyche. Specifically here, though, I'm going to talk about Doctor Who.

And here's the requisite statement of I know there are much better ways to spend my time.
But when your husband works 10-12 hours a day, sometimes six days a week, one runs out of ways to entertain themselves.

So, my point.

I was very skeptical about starting to watch Doctor Who.  The version of Doctor Who when I was kid was cheezy, at best. It was regularly and soundly mocked. Even though I liked science fiction as a kid, it was just never something that I could sustain interest in watching or reading.

But I have friends who recommended it and told me I'd love it so I gave it a shot.  Imagine my surprise, I was intrigued.  Someone on the interwebs described it as "You're laughing one moment and sobbing into your sleeve the next." Yeah buddy, they were accurate in that statement.  I found myself mesmerized from go.  Also, I love that it weaves upon itself and there are inside jokes and recurring characters.

In this sometimes ridiculous, science fiction show there are surprisingly heartbreaking and profound moments.  It's poetry, philosophy, and morality, with aliens.  There are also history lessons and different perspectives on current events. With aliens. It's an amazing amalgamation of ideas and facts. With aliens.

Doctor Who is one of those rare shows where episodes stick in your memory and change the way you see things.  One episode is a story about Vincent Van Gogh.  I've always enjoyed his paintings and this episode made me view them with a complete different perspective. And cry into my sleeve.

The interwebs can explain it better than me:

19 May 2015

It's Just a Few Stitches

It was so weird that Swistle mentioned moles a few weeks ago because I had just made an appointment to get one removed when I read the post. 

My mom had one that was raised up on her shoulder that used to freak us out as kids.  As luck would have it, genetics gave me one on my shoulder blade.  It was in exactly the wrong spot for such a thing. And not hawt.  I remember vowing, as a child, that if I ever got a mole like that I would have it immediately removed.   

So, I made an appointment with my regular doctor.  Not a big deal at all.  While she was looking at the one I had planned on having removed, she found another one and said we should probably take care of that too.  So, heads up, if you ever go to do something like this they might find another one to remove.

The one that stuck up hurt a bit when she removed it but now hasn't bothered me since.  Hurt a bit as in it was about thirty seconds of a burning sensation.  The one on my lower back didn't hurt when it was removed but has been uncomfortable, not hurting, and ITCHY.  Miserable itchy.  Throw yourself on the carpet and roll around like the puppy kind of itchy.

What I didn't count on, or even think of, is Stitches.  I have 2-3 stitches per mole.  I had them for ten days.  I really didn't think that part through.  I didn't think about having bandages and all that.  All I thought of was "Mole, get that removed, then done."

Also, I knew but didn't think of the fact they will send them off for testing.  I wasn't worried about that part but I was a little "Oh, yeah..." when they mentioned it. Wouldn't you know it that they phoned with the results and one was abnormal.  Not cancerous but atypical, which translates to could be troublesome.  And it was the one that wasn't bothering me, so good call on the doctor's behalf.

The plan when this happens is to cut it more.  Sigh.  I totally pouted and whined.  Not only did it itch A LOT, and wasn't attractive AT ALL, we're planning on going out of  town in a week and now MORE STITCHES. And itchiness. 

The reasonable, mature part of me is all "Shut up and do it" but the youngest child in me is flailing her hands, stomping her feet, and yelling "CAN'T WANT TO!!!"  But I did anyway and now I have seven more days of being inconvenienced and mildly uncomfortable.  I actually negotiated having the stitches removed after seven days instead of the usual ten.  "Well, it will leave a scar" she warned me.  I just said "Look at me, do I look like I'm worried about a scar? I'm full of them."

Because, really, there isn't enough happening in my life right now.

So, recap: doesn't really hurt but itchy. Stitches. Don't freak out when they say "pathology." Itchy.

16 May 2015

Raising Parents

I have stopped and started this post over the past three weeks.  If there are continuity issues, that's why. Also, the topic keeps moving under my feet.

Kevin's mom was in the hospital, or two actually, for three weeks. She has been home for a week and has already taken an ambulance ride to the hospital. To add to her already long list of health problems, she has added Diverticulitis.  She had been struggling to breathe from the COPD and subsequent bronchitis and now this. She's been in poor health forever and been increasingly frail but now we are starting to look at the end.

Unfortunately, beyond any reason that any of us can understand, they initially went to the hospital where the Nephew nearly died, after the family agreed not to go there anymore. What I didn't realize was that she was in the exact same room as the Nephew.  Thanks for that kick in the shins, universe.  When she did not progress as they thought she would, they transferred her to a larger hospital further south.

We have had ongoing conversations about not taking her to that hospital anymore.  In the moment, they agree.  With the ambulance sitting in the driveway, there was debate.  Talk about making me want to kick bunnies.  The boys were super frustrated, as well.

One of the major hurdles we have is that my father-in-law is functionally illiterate.  So often, he doesn't fully understand the information that is being given to him.  Imparting the information that he does understand is the second challenge. This has resulted in a few "The SKY IS FALLING" phone calls that we had to put a stop to.  We have a phone tree in place and instructions that unless the nurse/doctor says "Come right now", not to panic everyone.  (this also explains to me where the brother learned this behavior)

As I've read happens, f-i-l also gets defensive if someone implies that something was done wrong or could be done differently.  While I understand this is normal, this has also made us a little nuts.

The other problem is whatever she says, he does; even though we've talked about it extensively.  She has vascular dementia and strokes so she isn't able to make rational decisions. "But she wants to water her plants/she wants to have steak/she can walk be herself"    He's getting better about it now, even he can't ignore how far gone she is, but he still will acquiesce to her at any given moment.

AND, because that's not enough, she doesn't understand how sick she is.  She *just* posted on her facebook that she wants to go visit a friend an hour away "When I kick this thing."  Umm, you're not kicking COPD, Peripherial Arterial and Vascular Disease, Brittle Vein Disease, Vascular Dementia, and Strokes.
Yet another topic Kevin and I discussed was how much to push her to eat right, etc. when she's clearly on her way out.  It's kind of like chastising a terminal cancer patient for smoking.  Yet, it affects her blood pressure and gives her tummy aches.

The hospital had them do an advanced directive and we had a long conversation before, after, and during.  My fear is that someone is going to panic and ask for it to be ignored.  My brother, an EMT, said this happens.  To add to the difficulty level, when the paramedics were there, the DNR was filed away and not visible to the paramedics.

I have also joked that I am going to have her health issues tattooed across her chest.  While the parents are able to state her vitals and provide a medicine list, (which is excellent) they are not able to list all her illnesses.  Luckily, most of the time the ambulance has been here, I am able to list off all the illnesses.  I am making a list to be posted next to the DNR for everyone's sanity.

There is finally a home health nurse coming out to help make sure she is taking her meds correctly, etc.  I was hoping for a caretaker as well but maybe in the future.  At least there is another set of eyes on her who actually knows what they are looking for/at.

The ever-so-lovely Swistle recommended Being Mortal and I ordered it because: perfect timing.  I've just started it and already feel soothed.  It offers a good perspective about aging and how people view it and what gets lost in the shuffle of life.  (like the aforementioned why are we worried about what she's eating, at this point)  It has provided a good reminder to stop focusing on what's wrong and focus on the person who is sick/aging.

Now, after all of this, the moral of the story for y'all is that parents lie to you. They fib, either because they don't fully understand and don't want to admit it, or because they're afraid to lose their independence, or don't want people to worry.  It is most certainly payback for all those late nights we've given them over the years.

15 May 2015

May Showers

Because I clean when I'm stressed out and the television has been my BFF lately, I tried a new product.  This isn't an endorsement or a sponsored post, just me being curious.

Have you seen the commercials for Kaboom?  It's a bathroom cleaner.  A poorly named bathroom cleaner, in my opinion, because who names a cleaner after an explosion description?
Well, shower/tub cleaner is more accurate anyway.  The commercial shows a really disgusting shower being cleaned to sparkly and like-new by a blue foam.

Firstly, I find the supposed immediate gratification soothing.  Secondly, it's done on a blue tile shower which I love the look of each time that I see it. Thirdly, the "magic" of something like that actually working is appealing.

One of my least favorite chores is cleaning the shower. Well, cleaning the refrigerator is. No, cleaning the oven.  Let's just say that's on my top three list, shall we? Usually, I just clean it while in it. When this house was built, one of the people said that simple shampoo is good for cleaning fiberglass showers.  He was right but once in a while a good, deep scrubbing is needed. (random, possibly useless trivia for you)

I tried it today.  I get frustrated with our shower because it looks clean in certain light and then the light changes (there are two big windows in our master bath) and you can see the truth.  I actually use a flashlight when I'm deep cleaning. What? Oh yes, totally OCD.

The other reason I tried it is that it appears I will be doing the cleaning for the in-laws from now on.  Their shower isn't quite a full bathtub/shower nor a small shower unit like ours.  (They live in a 300 square foot park model home)  The size makes it easier to reach everything but more difficult because one can easily flood their bathroom.  Also, it's inappropriate for me to just shower and clean at the same time. 


I tried it today and am mildly pleased and satisfied.  I would suggest trying it.

A few things: it sprays blue then turns white when it's finished cleaning.  It comes out like a powdery kind of substance that reminded me of tempura powder paint.   I found this a little fascinating.  Also, this product is perfect for someone like me who sprays down the shower then hours later remembers that it needs rinsing.

While it isn't huge fume-y, it's definitely wise to turn on the fan.  Also, it was a little spendy compared to scrubbing bubbles, etc.  But I think it might be worth it in the long run.

It took about three tries to get everything clean.  (this is probably because I was deep cleaning and have issues)  Here is a neat thing about it: seemingly, if it is a clean surface, it turns white almost immediately.  If it isn't, it takes about two minutes to turn to white.  This took a little bit of the "is that clean?" away. (I still totally used my flashlight)

It didn't seem to do a fantastic job on the glass door.  I can see a difference but it's not OMG so clean.  I'm guessing that's why the commercial focuses on the walls.  It's difficult to rinse it without being in the shower and getting soaked.  It may just need a good scrubbing that I can't do fully clothed and still keep the floor dry. Although using my little watering can did work pretty well.  Of course, I thought of this after I and the floor were wet but now I know for next time.

Now I have to find a new experiment...stay tuned.

09 May 2015

News & Notes

Just a quick little something-something thrown up here.

Kevin's mom just completed a three week stint in the hospital.  She came home last night and is frail.  She has an advanced directive now and there is a person coming out to the house to help as of next week.  The word hospice was used but she corrected my father-in-law so I'm waiting to see what's going on there.

I can wear sandals now.  I put on a pair the other day and they promptly disintegrated.  When I explained to Kevin what happened and added that one other pair of shoes had mysterious issues, he said they were just old after not being used.  I told him "No, there is clearly some effed-up sh*t going on in our closet."  It made him laugh and now that's what I think when I go into it.

My brother-in-law was bitten by a spider and ended up in the hospital for three days.  He is a drama queen but he really did have issues this time.  Although he did say something along the lines of "The other day, the first day I was here, three days ago? I don't know, I've lost track".  HE WAS ON DAY TWO.  Lost track, ffs. 
AND he said that to Kevin and I who got the 3:00 am phone call to come to the hospital immediately so his statement was met with raised eyebrows, for sure.

My least favorite holiday is tomorrow so Happy Mother's Day Y'all!!!  It should be one of my favorites because I get a pass from Kevin all day.  He calls it "Happy You're Not A Mother Day".  I have nothing planned until we have to go to Forced Family Fun at my family in the afternoon.  We're having KFC for dinner, like you do.

I didn't get the job I really wanted.  I held a little pity party until the 3:00 am phone call.  Then I interviewed for another job that I could get happy about and No.  I am the optimist always but my dedication is really being tested.

I've been doing a little gardening.  I think I'm going to try a butterfly garden.  The biggest challenge is to keep family members from weed-eating it.  I finally decided where I want it so I'm planning on starting it next week.  Because it looks like I'm having the summer off, right?

All of our magazine subscriptions came due over the past few months.  I let many of them lapse to see what kind of rate they would drop to.  Some of them I just didn't resubscribe.  I'm not taking them into my work anymore so they're piling up.  

Then I remembered that Amazon has really good subscription rates.  For example, HGTV is a really nice magazine for $24.95 yearly.  I got it on Amazon for FIVE DOLLARS.
The bummer is that Kevin's magazines aren't available on there but at least they aren't too expensive.

My photo wall project is slowly progressing.  I have three waiting to be hung right now.  My process is to put them on the floor below where I want to hang them and then kind of ponder it.  I  think I will hang them up tomorrow. 

Kevin's cousin just sent us twenty photos of his mother's family so now I have more to print and frame.  I fear I might have a floor to ceiling photo hallway.

Okay.  Still alive.  That's what's going on here.