November 30, 2009
Take Care on the Journey,
November 26, 2009
November 22, 2009
November 21, 2009
Take Care on the Journey,
At our appointed time today, we arrived to check out "Mr. Puss". When we went into the living room and were introduced, he rolled over onto his back as if to say, "Hey, make yourself at home. I am!"
After getting all the essential vet information, type of cat food and kitty litter he's used to, and petting the dog of the house, my classmate brought out the cat carrier. Mr. Puss is a True Blue American Cat because he made a mad dash under the table when the saw the cat carrier...And he meowed very, very loudly all the way to his new home.
We opened the carrier in the bedroom so he could run under the bed - which is exactly what he did. At first he came out to chase the laser light and play with his new catnip toy, but now he realizes that things are different and has retreated to the quiet darkness and safety under the bed. We'll leave him in peace while he gets used to the environment of our home.
In the meantime, we've eliminated a few names that just don't seem to fit him. We're mulling over Ceasar. But, we'd appreciate any suggestions. As Billy says, "We'll see how it fits after a couple of days."
Take Care on the Journey,
November 19, 2009
November 15, 2009
Count your joys instead of your woes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears.
Count your full years instead of your lean.
Count your health instead of your wealth.
November 14, 2009
First, the school didn't ask me to take it down. In fact, administration did not contact me at all, but some of my favorite instructors were affected by my last posting, and that was the last thing I wanted.
Second, I took it offline until I could figure out what was going on because the reaction I did get was totally unexpected. The biggest problem being that opinions were formed and statements made by those who had not read my blog at all.
It will come back online, because it is something that means a lot to me now, and will in the future. As I finish my last few days of college, I will be careful to not expose my school or its staff to unintentional criticism or grumbling complaints.
Take Care on the Journey,
November 12, 2009
Having said that, there is some heaviness in my heart as I heard someone crying in the hallway after the results of the last test. I'm sure it isn't the end of school for anyone who didn't make the 79 percent, but it does mean that they have to make up the difference on the final test. I plan to keep my perseverance going through the very last day, and not take one thing for granted.
Another heavy spot in my heart is the sad news today that my longtime friend who is also an LPN from Berrien Springs (Michigan) has taken a turn for the worse in her battle with brain cancer. This was only detected nine weeks ago. Her family has posted a page on Facebook for family and friends to leave messages of comfort and hope while getting regular updates from Janet's sons and her husband. Look up the prayer page for Janet Loucks on Facebook. She is the most caring wife, mother, and good friend that I've ever known. Always patient and understanding. Always doing something good for someone. Now she is in critical condition with her family at her bedside.
Take Care on the Journey,
November 7, 2009
November 3, 2009
My e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) had 42 messages when I got home today. Facebook is full of thoughtful messages from those who've been there too. My children called (several times). My sister, Sandy, keeps in constant touch. Thanks, Billy, Philip, Colleen, Buffy, Marian, Katy, Juanita, and a host of others who took time in all the techno places to share the grief and offer comfort.
We are doing better although, as you know, there are a thousand little 'reminders' all the time. This morning I almost turned to say, "Mommy go to work" as I left for clinicals. On the way home from clinicals, I almost didn't stop for gas thinking I should get home and check on Sheba first. When I entered the living room, tears ran down my cheeks as I looked around, and she was not there. Taking a warm bath, I missed the little paws and black nose peeking under the door. There was no "me too" sounds as we ate supper in silence tonight.
For the first time in our marriage, we didn't go vote today. I think hubby and I just didn't have the energy to leave home and come back through that door where Sheba always waited.
We did turn up the thermostat (several times!), and we are starting to discuss holiday travel plans by plane! Something we haven't been able to do in years together, because someone always had to stay home with the dogs - or take them with us.
Oldest son commented that now we could think about coming to Portland to visit. Youngest son said, "Now you can get some good sleep, mom".
Thanks again to all for offering to help in any way you can. You know grief is something everyone has to take their own steps - but knowing that you care and are there - makes all the difference in the world.
Take Care on the Journey,
November 2, 2009
Most know by now that our dear, loving fur-child, Sheba, passed over to the Rainbow Bridge (as the poem goes) at 6 a.m. this morning - about five minutes after I left for work (nursing clinicals). I believe my usual words of parting "Mommy go to work now. You be good girl" allowed her to let go and move on to the peacefulness of death.
For those who don't know the history, when Jim and I got married in November of 1997, I moved from Michigan to Ohio. I continued my work in Michigan as township clerk and my wedding photography business there. Most every weekend I traveled the 300 miles back to Berrien Springs to shoot a wedding. My local vet knew I was looking for a dog, so one weekend he told me about this little puppy that had been abandoned along with several other siblings.
I selected the little puppy with the most pleading eyes. Her siblings were put to sleep. We named her Sheba after the cat food I saw in the store. Sheba became my loyal, never-leave-my-side fur-child baby. She grew up in the back seat of my car as I traveled back and forth from Columbus to Berrien Springs every weekend. We shared ice-cream cones along the way. She slept on my pillow in motel rooms and learned not to bark at strangers in the hallway.
About six months later, we got another puppy, the Golden we named Ching-Ching.Hubby reminded me today, through his tears and choked voice, that our sweet Ching-Ching Golden left us almost to the day one year ago on November 4, 2008.
Many have left messages of comfort on my Facebook page that have been greatly appreciated. I didn't know some of you even knew I had a Facebook. Thanks so much.
Oldest son sent a personal e-mail, and my friend, Edith, called several times to make sure we were doing alright. I was riding to work with Edith when I got the call from hubby to return home. I think Edith would have given up her clinical day to stay and support us, but I urged her to go on to clinicals (and so did our instructor).
Oldest son and Sheba had a long-distance relationship. When he called, he would always 'talk' to Sheba on the phone, and Sheba would race to the door looking for her favorite uncle whom she only met three or four times in her life!
My little sister talked by phone to encourage me today. She feels almost as badly as we do. Their little dog, Star, and Sheba became furry friends during our family reunion in September. Actually, Star became Sheba's little nurse once she discovered how feeble Sheba was. Star allowed Sheba to eat out of her treat dish, and Star dropped her favorite toys at Sheba's feet. It was so cute to watch. Sheba would wag her tail real fast as her way of saying, "Thanks cousin".
This afternoon, hubby and I cleaned out most of the doggie things in the house. Both of us crying our hearts out. This was very hard, but I'm sure all those who have lost pets understand just what we are going through.
You will love the following "Sheba story". A couple weeks ago, a man walked past the front door with his dog. They didn't see Sheba lying in the grass until they were almost on her. Sheba was startled and jumped up awkwardly barking with unseeing eyes. The man actually jumped out of his shoes as he ran away from Sheba with his dog. I felt badly for that, and when they returned from their walk (staying clear of our lawn area), I went out to explain that our dog was blind and sick and enjoyed lying outside even though the rules of the apartments where we live ask that we don't leave the dogs unattended outside. (I was also afraid he would complain to the office about Sheba.)
The man was quite pleasant about it. He stuck out his hand and said he was a police officer who had recently moved in with his wife and their dog a few doors down. I wrote down their name and the apt. number.
Today, hubby and I carried several bags of unopened dog food, treats and toys to their apartment door and left them outside their door. I put a picture of Sheba and a note on their door so they would know where so much dog food had come from.
Tonight, that man stopped by with a beautiful card. Someone (he or his wife) had hand-written the poem about the Rainbow Bridge where pets wait for us. (Look it up on Google. I can't bear to write it now!) I wasn't home, but Jim says he could do nothing but stand there and cry at such kindness. He couldn't even talk to the man. But I think he understood - as each of you do who have loved and been love by one of God's creatures.
Loving a pet is such a special kind of all-knowing, unconditional love. Both ways.
If only the rest of the world would catch on. This world would be such a different place. If we would treat each other as our pets treat us, we would really think we were already in heaven.
Take Care on the Journey,
November 1, 2009
Sheba 'poses' for what may be last photo session of her life this morning. (Notice the dribble on her chin.) The pictures that follow show how she really feels - unable to catch her breath and so weak she can hardly sit up.
Since last Sunday, Jim and I have shared a box Kleenex as we watch Sheba's labored breathing and gasps of pain. We thought last Sunday was her last day. Instead, she has been a fighter for several weeks now!
Last week, I called Sheba's vet and requested something to make her more comfortable, but she refused to order meds because I refused to bring Sheba in for blood work and/or x-rays. I explained that besides it being almost physically impossible to carry her in, if they would look at Sheba's files, they would see that the last time we brought her in, she was very upset and frightened even though I asked them not to do anything invasive at that time. (Not even her rectal temp!) I just wanted them to help me make her comfortable. But, as the vet explained, most vets (if not all) have a license to watch out for, and apparently they can't prescribe meds without eyeballing the pet - again!
Hubby and I have been taking turns getting up with her during the night, although Sheba prefers 'mommy' do the caring part. Last night at about 3 a.m., she was panting and making 'help me' sounds on my side of the bed.
"I just took her out and gave her some water," hubby murmured.
But, she wanted me to rub her tummy and put my foot under her head. So I got out of bed and sat on the floor beside her rubbing her distended tummy and petting between her hot ears. Every time I stopped, she extended her paw out for me to continue.
We aren't sure exactly what is wrong with her medically now because we didn't allow the testings again, but we know she is almost 13-years old, is blind, has Cushings Syndrome, and really badly deteriorated joints. We think she deserves to rest in peace now.
As I sit at the computer to write this, Sheba is sitting under the computer table leaning against my legs moaning and gasping for breath. She tries to lie down briefly, but discovers that she can't breathe lying down, so she quickly sits back up again.
About 6 a.m. she let me coax her outside where she sat on the cool, early morning frost-covered grass and stretched out her neck for oxygen enriched air. She actually pulled against the leash and used it to support her body instead of lying down. I let her stay outside until the sun started making her too hot.
She still eats a spoonful of cream cheese with her pain pill (from a couple years ago when another vet took x-rays of her hips and prescribed these pills) when we offer it as ordered about every eight hours. We also found an old bottle of the anxiety pills the vet ordered for her July 4 jitters. This does put her out for a couple hours. About a half-hour ago, I gave the last 1/2 pill of the July 4 med, along with the pain pill and hopefully, this will give her some rest - long or short - we don't know!
Last week, my friend at the office gave me the card of her vet who makes 'home visits'. I called them immediately and, while they were very nice, they informed me that this vet doesn't make emergency home visits and nothing on the weekend. They would come out if I made an appointment during business hours. Also, they said we live on the 'outskirts' of their 'area' (even though in actuality they are within 10 miles of our home), so they would have to charge an extra $50 travel fee, plus the exam fee, plus whatever the meds would cost. I told them we are only trying to make Sheba comfortable without actually putting her 'to sleep' (although that subject is constantly on our minds), but this apparently isn't cost effective for vets!
We sleep with our bedroom window open to give Sheba cool, fresh air. Even though it got down to 38 degrees last night, we turned on our electric blanket, and Sheba was able to rest a little under the window. She never stopped gasping and even yelping in pain every few minutes, but she did seem to appreciate the cool air.
I need to study, clean the house and cook meals, and sleep but Sheba takes all my time right now. She seeks me out if I don't stay close.
And, of course, there's the incontinence of bowel and bladder. We have placed floor coverings on the floors to try and protect the carpet, and Jim constantly runs behind her wiping up and scrubbing stains, but we already know the carpets will need a good cleaning if not replacement. Such is the life of pet-lovers.
A big worry is that we will be out of the house a lot starting Monday because my eight-hour clinicals take me to Lancaster, Ohio, that is an hour away! Hubby has the monthly board meeting to prepare for at work and a supervisor who knows nothing or cares little about being a pet lover!
I have dark circles under my eyes and a bad headache from lack of sleep, crying, and too much worry. Hubby is tired and sad, and still can't sleep. Sheba is begging for sleep.
We have found a 24-hour vet service called Med Vets who would perform the euthanasia services (for about $150), but we can't bring ourselves to do that at this point. We think she is still too alert and feels better at home, although there's a very fine line between what we think Sheba wants and what is being influenced by what WE want...
Every hour or so, we're trying to find a more comfortable spot for Sheba to rest. Or, we're offering water, or just petting her. Earlier, we put a big old soft chair in front of the open window hoping she would let herself relax and rest against the back or arm of the chair. After falling asleep for about one minute, she jumped (or almost fell) off the chair to the floor. I led her outside again where we started today's journey about ten hours ago. She sits outside with her neck stretched out trying to get enough air for the next breath. What more can I say or do?
A long journey ending...But not ended yet!