Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Places You Might Not Be Able to Take Your Service Dog

Places you may not be able to take your service dog under the ADA include:

  • churches and other religious places of worship (they are exempt from the ADA so they get to make their own rules; you have to ask the pastor or priest or whomever is in charge)
  • some areas of a hospital or outpatient medical facility, such as operating rooms, burn units, intensive care units, shared patient rooms and psychiatric units
  • VA hospitals and medical facilities (the ADA does not apply to facilities operated by the federal government and the Camp Lejune Law says service dogs must be trained by an organization accredited by Assistance Dogs International in order to be allowed in VA facilities, but some VA hospitals allow other service dogs anyway, but they don't have to)
  • military bases (the ADA does not apply to military bases and they have their own rules, usually they require service dogs to be trained by an organization accredited by Assistance Dogs International)
  • post offices (since the post office is operated by the federal government, the ADA does not apply; I know someone that tried to get an official statement from the post master on their rules about service dogs but was unable to do so; I've never had a problem taking my service dog to a post office but apparently some only allow guide dogs for the blind, or so I've been told)
  • some areas of zoos or other animal parks, where the presence of a dog is likely to disturb the animals that live there
  • some areas of national parks, such as areas populated by wolves, where the presence of a dog is likely to disturb the wildlife in some way
  • federal court houses (it's up to the judge in a case whether or not to allow a service dog in the court room in federal court houses)
  • offices of the federal government

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Where You Can Take Your Service Dog

Places service dogs are allowed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (note that this federal law only applies to fully trained service dogs, not to service dogs in training, not to emotional support animals, and not to therapy dogs):

  • restaurants (in the dining area and other areas customers are allowed, but not in the kitchen or food prep areas)
  • grocery stores
  • other kinds of stores, including drug stores, book stores, hardware stores, farm supply stores, florists, pet stores, craft stores, office supply stores, furniture stores and health food stores)
  • doctors' and dentists' offices
  • hospitals (including lobby, gift shop, cafeteria, lab, x-ray area {although it is recommended not to expose your service dog to radiation unnecessarily}, waiting areas and most patient rooms, but some areas may be off limits, such as operating rooms, burn units, intensive care units, shared patient rooms and psychiatric units) - note that the ADA does not apply to VA hospitals and the VA has different rules for service dogs, so yours may or may not be allowed there
  • banks
  • airports (the ADA does not apply to airplanes, though, only airports; the Air Carriers Access Act Applies to airplanes flying domestic flights)
  • bus stations and buses
  • trains and subways
  • rental cars and taxis
  • amusement parks (though your service dog may not be allowed on certain rides)
  • museums
  • zoos (though your service dog may not be allowed in certain areas for the health and safety of the animals)
  • hair salons and barber shops
  • movie theaters, other theaters and concerts (though very loud venues may bother your dog or hurt his ears)
  • public libraries
  • city, county and state offices and courthouses (the ADA does not apply to federal buildings, though)
  • city, county and state parks (the ADA does not apply to national parks, though service dogs are allowed in most areas of those, as well)
This isn't a comprehensive list, although I've tried to be pretty inclusive.  Another day I'll post a list of places you might not be able to take your service dog.

Monday, December 29, 2014

I'd post something but...

I feel really crappy today.  Depressed, tired, no energy, no motivation.  So blah.  Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Isaac's New Kibble Dispensing Toy

He says "Thank you, Mike!"

Jingle Bells, Isaac Smells

He rolled in deer poop.

Merry Christmas

Isaac is enjoying the new Nylabone toy I got him.  I also got him a big rawhide chew but he's not getting both at once.  He's been occupied with this toy for a good 25 minutes so far, though.

Gifts

I have received some of the most thoughtful gifts this holiday season.

I don't get many gifts.  That is OK with me.  I don't give a lot of holiday gifts, either.  Those I do give are things I think a lot about, often handmade or homemade, something meant to be really special for the recipient and something I really want to give them.

The gifts I have received this year have been incredibly thoughtful and meaningful.

One friend - and acquaintance, really, not someone I know real well or would have expected to get me anything - sent me a calculator.  I joked that he'd gotten tired of me posting complaints on Facebook about having to do math homework for this kid I have been tutoring, and that probably is why he decided to send me a calculator.  But it was really thoughtful, and quite a surprise, and it did make me laugh.

The mom of this kid I am tutoring made me a beautiful, beautiful scarf.  She is undergoing serious medical treatments at a nearby university hospital (nearby meaning about an hour away, there is no university hospital in the little town where I live) and she's been making scarves.  She's probably  made at least two dozen so far.  She sits at the library for three hours a day, three days a week, while I tutor her son and makes scarves.

So it was really thoughtful for her to give me something she made herself, but even more thoughtful was the colors she used in the scarf.  I have two sweaters I like a lot and have worn often to tutor.  One is tan and one is rust-colored.  The scarf she made me is mostly brown with some tan, some cream and some rust in it.  It matches both those sweaters, as well as my winter coat.  I was so touched that she'd clearly put so much thought into what colors to use for my scarf. 

One friend got me a Nook eReader.  But here's the best part.  He got it on some online auction (not Ebay, something else but I forget what) for a quarter!  I love that, and I love that he told me that, because otherwise I would have felt pretty uncomfortable about how much I would have thought he spent on it.  I know it might sound tacky to tell someone you only spent 25 cents on their gift, but in this instance, it was definitely the right thing to do.

One of my neighbors drew a picture for me.  I didn't know he could draw.  It's a black and white drawing of a flower and it's pretty good.  I can tell he spent a lot of time on it.  I don't even care that I'm not particularly into flowers and a black and white drawing of a flower doesn't really match my decor.  I really am just touched that he spent that much time on something for me.

I don't think I've ever had the feeling so strongly before that it's the thought that counts.  Maybe I am better at gratitude than I used to be.  I have tried to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, of abundance, of being blessed. 

Or maybe I have felt in the past that it was the thought that counts but the thought has sometimes been pretty crappy.  I recall once Christmas, and I am not going to say who did this, but someone bought me a box of tea.  Like a box of Celestial Seasonings that you can get at Kroger for $2.79 or something.  And not a flavor that I really loved or anything like that.  And it wasn't a matter of this person not being able to spend more money on a gift, and it wasn't a situation where that tea was really meaningful for some reason and so it was a good gift even though it was a $2.79 box or tea, or anything like that.  The thought behind that gift was "I feel like I have to get something but I am going to spend as little money and thought and effort on it as possible."

But I digress.

Mike got me a new wireless router, which is fantastic because my old one would kick me off the internet at random times, usually at least half a dozen times a day, and I'd have to get up and reset the router before I could get back online.  Using my computer is so much more enjoyable now!

He also got Isaac this kibble dispensing toy.  Isaac loves it.  I think I am more touched that he got Isaac a gift than I am by the gift he got me.  I will post a video later of Isaac eating his dinner from his new toy.  It's adorable.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I Will Not Go to Midnight Mass

I was interested in going to Midnight Mass. But I will not be going.  
 
I have called six Catholic churches. I live in a small town in the middle of nowhere. There is only one Catholic church in my county. But I called six churches within an hour's drive. At four of them, no one was in the office to ask if I could bring my service dog. At two of them, the person in the office didn't know if I could bring him or not and the person that might know was not available to speak to. I am not willing to drive more than an hour to go to mass and I am not willing to drive 45 minutes to an hour without knowing whether or not I'll be turned away when I get there. And with the person answering the phone at two churches not know if I could be allowed in or not, I don't feel confident that I would. It's quite possible I would, but I don't feel confident about it.
 
I guess I should have planned ahead more. If I would have called last week to ask, I could have probably gotten an answer. And I bet at least one of the six churches would have been happy to have me. But I don't feel like guessing which one or ones that would be.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Churches and the ADA

I was thinking of going to a midnight mass tomorrow, just 'cause I think it would be neat. I am not Catholic but I still think I would enjoy it.

Well, I live in the middle of nowhere and there are two Catholic churches within a reasonable driving distance that are holding midnight mass. There are a few other Catholic churches around, they just aren't holding midnight mass, according to their websites.

I tried to call both of the ones holding midnight mass this afternoon to find out if I can bring my service dog, but no one was in the office at either church. I can try again tomorrow but if I can't reach anyone, then I just won't go. I really wish churches were required to comply with the ADA, but since they aren't, it would come in handy if they included information on their websites about whether or not they do.

Of the people I know that have service dogs and go to church, I would guess at least 25% go to a church where they are not allowed to take their service dog. And I know others that found a new church when their old church told them their service dog was not welcome. 
 
However, I also know a couple people that were given permission to by their clergy to bring emotional support animals to church, which are not usually allowed in public places the way service dogs are, under the ADA. Some churches are really, really accommodating. But others are not at all.
 
If you go to church (or synagogue or mosque or whatever), do you know if your place of worship would welcome someone with a service dog? If you don't know, how about finding out and letting me know?

Bad Doggie

Everyone has an off night once in a while, right?

Yeah.

Well, tonight I went to Pizza Hut for dinner with a friend and Isaac was really restless.  Then he started barking in the restaurant.  He has not done that in forever.  I had to take him outside, run him through a little obedience drill (just telling him to sit, lie down, sit, give me his paw, sit, etc), then take him back inside and try again.  He managed to get through the rest of the meal but I had to tell him several times to put his head down.

Then after we got home, I was playing with him and we both went to grab a toy at the same time and his tooth hit that really tender skin between my thumb and forefinger.  It wasn't a bite, didn't break the skin or leave a tooth mark or anything, and he didn't mean to hurt me.  But it hurt.  I put ice on it immediately but it is still bruised and swollen and really sore. 

And Isaac is supposed to make sure his teeth do not touch skin.  And he knows that.  The game ended immediately, which is is what happens when he makes a mistake like that.  He knew I was upset with him.  This has happened a few times before but not this badly.  I mean, it didn't hurt this badly.  And I normally don't get that upset, because it doesn't hurt that much, I just end the play immediately because that's what happens when he's not careful with his teeth.

But my hand is really sore now.

We have since made up and Isaac has been forgiven.  He's not really a bad dog, not at all.  But it was a really bad night.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Why is this lake solid...

and how the heck am I supposed to get a drink?!

Poor Isaac.  He was so confused.  He ended up just licking the ice.

Happy Solstice


As the spiral turns and turns,
Wind will blow and fire will burn.
Water flows upon the earth
As we dance from death to birth.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sometimes the Little Things Cause Big Problems

I am in the process of doing laundry right now.  I went downstairs with Isaac to switch the first load from washer to dryer and put the second load in the wash.  I discovered the washing machine is leaking and the floor in front of the washer and dryer are now all wet.  The floor isn't very clean, either, because apparently some of my neighbors are slobs.

Why does this cause a big problem?  Well, besides the fact that I was wearing socks but not shoes so my feet got wet because I didn't realize the machine was leaking until I stepped in the puddle, it creates a problem in having my service dog take the laundry out of the dryer for me.

See, when Isaac pulls laundry from the dryer, items sometimes fall to the floor.  I don't know any way to prevent it.  He pulls out a shirt and a sock or two come out with it and land on the floor.  But I don't want my clean laundry falling in a puddle of dirty water. 

But the only way to prevent that will be to get the laundry out myself, very carefully.  I am annoyed.  It shouldn't be such a big deal, the floor being wet and dirty.  But what it means is that my back is going to hurt.  I have to choose between having some of my clean laundry fall in dirty water, and therefor not being clean anymore, or hurting my back.  And I'm pissed that I have to make that choice.

Friday, December 19, 2014

School Punishes Blind Student by Taking Away His Cane

This has nothing to do with service dogs, but it's an example of the type of discrimination and mistreatment of people with disabilities that, unfortunately, is not uncommon.

This article tells about how the school took away the child's cane for punishment and replaced it with a pool noodle, which of course is not a substitute for a long cane.  They send the child home with the pool noodle, keeping his cane.

Do you understand that this would be like blindfolding a sighted child for punishment?  And then sending home that child still blindfolded, with a blindfold that could not be removed until he returned to school the next day.  Unless the child had an extra cane at home, which is possible.  The article didn't say.  But still.  How would you feel if your kid came home from school wearing a blindfold?

I can't imagine how any school employee would ever think this was OK.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Party

Today Isaac and I attended the Christmas party for everyone that lives in our apartment building.

Look, I made applesauce bread.  From scratch.  With homemade applesauce I canned a few months ago, made from organic local apples.  How awesome is that?

I put walnuts and raisins in it.  Next year I plan to gather and cure black walnuts, which grow all over the place around here.  Then I can put local organic walnuts in my applesauce bread.  How awesome will that be?

Isaac did pretty well at the party.  It was hard for him.  He loves many of our neighbors and is used to being allowed to socialize with them.  It was hard for him to be in work mode around them.  They were all really good about not engaging him while he was working, though.

Family Dollar Gets It Right

Someone told me about this sign, seen in the window of a Family Dollar store in Minnesota.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, businesses are not permitted to ask to see, much less require people to show, any type of "papers" for service dogs.  And what type of papers would you show, anyway?  There are no "papers" for service dogs. 

The person that told me about this sign said she'd spoken to an employee of the store, who just said, "We were told to put the sign up."  I don't know who told them to put it up.

I emailed the corporate office, explaining the problem with the sign.  I received a response in less than one hour, assuring me the sign would be removed and that employees would be informed of the law.  And the sign was indeed removed, less than one week later.

They got it right.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Service Dogs at Buffets

There was a rather intense discussion in a Facebook group the other day about whether or not you can take your service dog up to the buffet or salad bar in a restaurant or whether the manager can ask you to leave your dog at the table while you go up to the buffet alone.

Someone tried to say that health regulations forbid taking a service dog up to the buffet because hair, saliva and/or fecal matter might get in the food.  This person was concerned that a service dog might fart while at the buffet, sending fecal matter into the air where it could get into the food.  Yes, seriously.  Service dogs should not be near a buffet because they might fart.

Apparently people farting near the buffet is not a concern because they wear pants.  Your pants will prevent fecal matter from getting into the food in the event that you fart near a buffet.

No,  I'm not kidding.  This was the discussion.

This person tried to say there was a lawsuit initiated by a woman who was not allowed to take her service dog up to the buffet because she was not blind and did not use a wheelchair, and that the judge ruled that she did not need her service dog at the buffet and should have left the dog at the table and/or had someone else hold the dog's leash while she got her food.  According to this person, the law says that if you are blind or use a wheelchair, then it is OK to take your service dog up to the buffet. 

Apparently service dogs for the blind and for wheelchair users do not fart, so they won't get fecal matter in the food.  I am not sure how that works.  I'd like a dog that never farts.

I asked several times for information about this court case but it was never provided.

I was about 99.9% certain this person was wrong, that any one with a service dog is allowed to take their dog up to a buffet.  Anyway, restaurant employees are not allowed to ask what your disability is, so how could they really know if you are blind?  And if you leave your dog unattended at your table while you go to the buffet, then you are violating local leash laws and doing something potentially unsafe.  And just who is supposed to hold the dog's leash for you?  The ADA specifically says employees of a business are not required to do that.

But I called the ADA information line so I could prove I was right.

And I am.  The ADA specialist to whom I spoke said you can take your service dog up to the buffet, even if you are not blind and do not use a wheelchair.  She said you should not leave your dog unattended at your table.

Went to a Concert Monday Night

Monday night I went to a concert with a friend. 

I did not take Isaac because I thought it might be too loud for him and I wasn't sure how he'd do in that type of environment.  I don't take Isaac somewhere new and different unless I am prepared to focus on him and to leave if he isn't handling it well for some reason.  We haven't had a situation like that in a long time; he's been with me for more than two years now and he's gone to all the places I typically go and I seldom go anywhere that is significantly different. 

I mean, eating in a restaurant is pretty similar regardless of the restaurant.  No, Isaac and I have never gone to a Cajun restaurant or a Thai restaurant or a French restaurant, but he can handle any type of restaurant.  And since he's accustomed to lying under a table in a restaurant, he would do fine in any other setting that involved lying under a table.  Several months ago I took him to a support group meeting, where everyone sat around a table and talked.  He did fine.  I imagine lying under a table where people are just talking is probably easier for him than lying under a table with yummy-smelling food on it, but lying under a table is pretty similar no matter where that table is and no matter what the people are doing at the table.

But a concert is very different than anything we've ever done together before.  And I was worried it would be really loud and bother his sensitive ears.  They actually make ear protection for dogs, which some service dog handlers use when taking their dogs to things like concerts, but I wasn't sure Isaac would like wearing ear plugs and didn't really want to spend money on doggie ear plugs when I certainly don't plan on going to loud events like concerts often.

So I didn't take Isaac.  My friend promised he'd help me if I needed anything and basically take Isaac's place.  I assured him I'd be fine without Isaac for the evening.

And as it turned out, I was glad I hadn't brought him because it was super loud. 

Also, it was in this weird auditorium.  I hadn't realized the setting would be like this, because I've never been to any type of music show like this before.  But there was almost no seating.  There was some box seats, but we did not have tickets for those.  So it was all just standing, no seats.  Which I think is weird and not very enjoyable.  Who wants to stand through a whole concert?  The show was supposed to start at 6:30 and we got there almost an hour early and it turned out they didn't even open the doors until 6:30, so we spent almost an hour standing in line outside.  Then we got in and the show didn't actually start for a really long time.  I think it was about 7:30 when it finally started.  So by then we'd been standing for almost two hours already.

And it was very crowded.  And when the lights went down and the show finally started, it occurred to me that people would not have been able to see Isaac because it was dark, but people were moving around some and they would have stepped on or tripped over him.  There really wasn't any out-of-the-way place to put him, like there would have been in a normal concert hall with seats.

And the floor was concrete and very hard.   My legs and feet hurt after standing on it for over an hour.  Isaac would have wanted to lie down but would not  have liked lying on that floor.  There is a Chipotle restaurant we eat at sometimes with a very hard concrete floor that he doesn't like and I know he doesn't like it, so I take a towel for him to lie on.  But even if it had occurred to me to take a towel to the concert, there wasn't a good place to put it.  At Chipotle, I put the towel under the table, which is where Isaac goes.  But there was no good, out-of-the-way place at the concert that would have been good for him.

So it was good I hadn't taken him.

It was hard being without him, though.  It felt really weird.  I almost never go anywhere without him these days and I kept feeling like I'd forgotten something, thinking, "Where is my dog?"

And I had a really hard time at the concert.  It was so loud, and so crowded, neither of which are good things for me.  And after standing on such a hard floor for so long, my legs and back and everything ached.  I ended up having to leave early, because my anxiety was just going through the roof.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Doggie Daycare

I have been taking Isaac to doggie daycare a couple times a week while I am tutoring.

I started doing it one day when I had to go to the dentist before going to tutor.  I really wanted to have Isaac with me at the dentist, plus I just didn't want to leave him home alone for that long.  But there wasn't going to be time to take him back home before I went to tutor and I didn't want to take him with me to tutoring.  I am tutoring a child at a library right by a doggie daycare, and I actually took Isaac to this daycare once several months ago when I had something I had to do all day and couldn't take Isaac with me, and it seemed like a good place and he seemed to have fun.  So I decided to drop him off there for the afternoon.

He did indeed have a good time.  When I arrived to pick him up, he was in a playgroup with other big dogs.  They brought him out to me and he was out of breath, looking like he'd been running and playing.  They told me he'd been playing chase with a dog named  Ripley.  He looked like he'd been having a blast.

So I started taking him two or three times a week, when I am tutoring for three hours.  He is there for about four hours altogether, and that included an hour-long playtime with other big dogs (they have separate playgroups for little dogs, medium dogs and big dogs).  He also gets a walk outside to go potty. 

I love the daycare facility.  They have kennels for the dogs situation around the perimeter of the room and the dogs can see what's going on, can see other dogs, can see people walking by, can watch other dogs having playtime in the indoor play area in the center of the room.  The individual kennels are not huge but they aren't tiny, either, and each dog has a toddler bed to lie on and a television tuned to Animal Planet.  I usually take one of Isaac's blankies for him, too.

The vet I used to take Cayenne to had doggie daycare and every time I went into the office, I could hear all these dogs barking.  It didn't sound like a pleasant place.  At this doggie daycare, well, I hear barking sometimes but not like at that vet's place.

Isaac loves it.  After going there just twice, he recognized the street when we turned onto it.  Isaac recognizes lots of places.  I can tell by the way he perks up and sometimes he seems to be getting excited.  He has a few favorite places and when we get close to those places, he starts to whine, whimper and/or pace in the backseat of the car.  That's just for his favorite places, though.  He does the whine/whimper/pace when we go to the doggie beach or to Lake Erie.  He doesn't do it at the park close to our house or the nature center, though, even though he recognizes them and likes them.

But he does it when we get close to the doggie daycare.  I love that it is one of his favorite places.  He cannot get out of the car and into the daycare fast enough.

And I love that he gets a chance to run around and play with other dogs.  Especially on days when I've been so busy and the weather is not good and I am not able to get him outside much.

They only charge me $10 for four hours (it's $20 for more than four hours).  It's a good deal.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

So Apparently I am Full of Crap

Stop laughing.  And stop asking what else is new.

And if you don't want to read something that is most likely TMI about my bowels, click the X in the upper right corner now.

But yes, this is the official diagnosis of the cause of my abdominal pain.

The medical assistant from my doctor's office called me yesterday.  Told me the x-ray I had a few days ago was all normal except that it showed "a very large amount of stool in my colon."  Told me that constipation is the cause of all my gastrointestinal symptoms.

Now, I would have thought that the fact that I poop on a regular basis, pretty much every day, would indicate that I am not constipated.  But apparently I would have been mistaken.  Apparently I am not pooping enough.

The MA told me to go buy some over-the-counter Miralax and take it once a day.  I told her the doctor she works for prescribes Miralax for me and I already take it once a day, have been doing so for a couple of years now.  I really hate it when medical folks don't even bother to look at your chart before telling you stuff. 

So she told me to take it twice a day for "a little while."  I asked her how long a little while was.  She didn't know, put me on hold to go ask.  Came back and said for two weeks.

Honestly, I am not convinced that is the cause of my problem.  But I will take the Miralax twice a day for two weeks and see what happens.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Card

Issac and I got a Christmas card from one of our neighbors.
"Kellie and Dog I love very much."  How sweet is that?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Visit to the Hospital

I had to go to the local hospital today for some blood work and x-rays. Isaac was really good. He's been there with me before for lab work and he thinks it's pretty boring. He just lies down on the floor and dozes while the phlebotomist draws my blood.

I don't get x-rays as often as I get blood work, naturally, and this was the first time Isaac has gone to the hospital with me for x-rays. One of the x-ray techs offered to hold his leash right outside the room where they were taking the x-ray for me so he wouldn't be exposed to the radiation. I realize hospital staff aren't required to do that and had planned to put him in a down stay in the corner behind the shield thing where the tech taking the x-ray would stand. I had thought about it in advance and had a plan.

But the tech seemed to want to hold the leash and I thought that was an even better plan, so I said OK. I noticed she looked a bit disappointed as I handed her the leash and she said "I'm not allowed to pet him, am I?" 

I told her if she was holding his leash, she could pet him if she wanted to but warned her that he would be very friendly and she might get some kisses. She seemed very happy to hear that and did indeed get some kisses. 

As we were leaving, the tech said "It's nice to have a well-behaved dog in here!" I wonder if that means they see some poorly-behaved "service dogs" often?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Medical Stuff

So I've been having some stomach issues for the past month or so.  Probably a little longer.  Some heartburn, some pain, mostly after I eat, and some nausea.  Not all the time, not even every day, but almost every day.  And not every time I eat, but maybe half the time.  It usually passes in less than an hour but it's unpleasant and seems to be getting worse, not better.

I'm worried it might be an ulcer.  But it could be something else.  I went to the doctor Friday, hoping for something like gastritis.

He didn't seem to think that was it.  He ordered some labs, at least most of which I expect to come back normal because I had labs done less than six months ago and they were all fine then.  But one of the things he is checking is my liver function and I guess it's possible that could be off.

He also ordered an abdominal x-ray.  I think he's looking for liver problems.  I'm thinking an upper GI x-ray might have been a better thing to do, but I'm going with what he suggests to start with.

I'm also taking omeprazole to reduce stomach acid, but it doesn't seem to be having much of an effect so far.

Anyway, tomorrow I am planning to go get the labs and x-ray done.  I'm worried that it might be an ulcer due to the turmeric I take to reduce inflammation (because I can't take NSAIDS due to my gastric bypass, and I think it's really helped my back pain and I would hate to have to stop taking it) and/or the glucosamine I take for my fibro and arthritis.  An ulcer would suck for many reasons, including the fact that it would probably mean I'd have to stop the turmeric and maybe the glucosamine, and to diagnosis it for certain I'd probably have to have an endoscopy and that's something I'd have to get someone to drive me for because they sedate you for it, and even then it might not be possible to diagnose it because I could have an ulcer in my "blind stomach" which is stapled off due to my gastric bypass and you can't scope that, and...

Well, it would just suck.  I need it to not be an ulcer.  Of course, something wrong with my liver would suck, too.

I'd like it to just go away, whatever it is.  But since it's been over a month, I guess it's not going to just go away by itself.

Impressive Retrieval

Yesterday at the grocery store, I dropped a container of yogurt on the floor.  It was one of those square-shaped containers with the foil tops.  I asked Isaac to pick it up for me and he did, right away.  I thought there was a good chance he'd puncture the foil top with his teeth, but figured I'd buy it anyway and just take it home and put it in another container if that happened.  But he picked it up very carefully, very gently, and gave it to me without a tooth mark on it.  Good job!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Acorns

Last night I dreamed about acorns. Yeah, I know that's weird. But here's what an online dream dictionary says it means.

"To see an acorn in your dream symbolizes strength and durability. Seemingly small beginnings will have the greatest potential for growth. Don't underestimate your minor goals.

"To dream that you are eating acorns or picking them from the ground suggests that you will enjoy the benefits of your success after long and hard work."

Hopefully that means all this hard work will pay off.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Sign of How Tired and Overwhelmed I Am

This week has been incredibly busy.  For me, anyway.  I know for many people, it would seem like a light week.

But here's what I've had to do:

Monday - tutoring 1 - 4

Tuesday - vet appointment, then tutoring 5 - 6

Wednesday - tutoring 1 - 4

Thursday - dentist appointment, then tutoring 5 - 6

And tomorrow I have - doctor's appointment (for stomach problems, I'm actually worried I might have an ulcer), then tutoring 1 - 4

Add in working on a few articles, preparing for tutoring sessions (which has been a fair amount of work, actually), doing enough laundry to have clean clothes to wear, doing enough dishes to have clean glasses to drink out of, running a few necessary errands like picking up prescriptions.

That totally doesn't seem like that much, does it?  But it's so much more than I usually have on my plate.  Add in the fact that I haven't been sleeping well.  I've had an increase in fibro pain recently, although it's still not as bad as it was last winter and spring, so I am thankful for that. 

I've had a fair number of nightmares lately, too.  I actually woke up screaming one night this week, which I haven't done in quite a while.  I was sleeping on the couch and woke myself up screaming and then I heard Isaac, who had been sleeping in my bed, hit the floor.  He came out to the living room, came over to the couch to check on me.  I asked him to turn on the light, which he did.  I petted him for a couple minutes, then told him he could go back to bed, and he did.  It was nice that he came out to check on me, though.

I'm not quite sure what's causing the increase in pain and the trouble sleeping and the nightmares and everything.  I think it all feeds into each other.  I feel tired from being extra busy, then I have more pain, then it's harder to sleep, then I get more tired, which causes more pain.  Then I am anxious and in pain and have nightmares, which make it even harder to sleep and make me more tired, which causes more anxiety and more pain, and on and on and on.

Last night I met a friend at Pizza Hut for dinner.  We eat there about twice a month.  I got there first so I went on inside, got a table and ordered.  When my friend arrived, Isaac came out from under the table to greet him.  He said hi to Isaac, then asked me, "Where is Isaac's vest?"

I looked at Isaac and realized for the first time that I'd forgotten to put his vest on before we went into the restaurant.  I never, ever take him into a business without his vest on.  But somehow I just totally forgot.  And I didn't even notice he wasn't wearing it.

No one said anything, maybe because we eat at that Pizza Hut often enough that the employees all know us and recognize Isaac and know he is a service dog.  Of course, legally service dogs aren't required to wear vests but I would expect someone to ask questions about a dog that isn't wearing one. 

I think I was just so tired and feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff I had to do that I totally forgot about his vest.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Dog is Brilliant - Update on Training Retrievals with the Laser Light

Isaac and I have been working on using the laser light to point at things I want him to pick up for me and he is just the smartest dog ever.  He learns so quickly.  We spent the weekend working on it and then didn't even practice it at all yesterday, between going to the vet and me tutoring and just being really busy.  So I just now asked him to pick up a couple things and used the light to tell him what I wanted him to pick up and he did it right away.

I'm going to get someone to take a video of him doing it.  I can't really take the video myself because I only have two hands and my arms aren't long enough.  But I will post it as soon as I can get someone to do it for me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Diagnosis Confirmed

I took Isaac to the vet today for an ear infection. I was pretty sure he had an infection in his left ear because he kept shaking his head and when I looked in both ears, the right one looked fine and the left one was very gunky. I mean, very very gunky.

So the vet says, "You know, an easy way to tell if he has an ear infection is to smell his ears." And the foolish man sticks his nose into Isaac's left ear. After which he promptly looked as if he might throw up.

The vet, I mean. Not Isaac. Isaac looked just fine. But the vet looked like he was about to lose his lunch.

Yeah. I am not sticking my nose into any infected doggie ears.

So now Isaac must get his ears washed once a day and ointment put into the infected ear twice a day.  He doesn't seem to mind much.  He is so agreeable.

He was very good at the vet's today, but then, he always is.  However, he did seem eager to leave.  When we came out of the exam room and down the hall to the waiting area, I turned left toward the desk to pay our bill and Isaac tried to keep going straight, to the exit door.  Apparently he was ready to leave.

Even with our service dog discount, today's visit cost me $52.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

I Think It's an Ear Infection

I've decided the ick is Isaac's ear is not mud.  I think he has an ear infection.  It's just in one ear, the left one.  I keep cleaning it out and cleaning it out and there is just more and more of it.  It's like a brownish, kinda thick discharge and occasionally I get a reddish streak or two, not bright red but more like rust-colored, which I think is blood.  I am calling the vet tomorrow.  He doesn't seem to be feeling bad at all, other than shaking his head vigorously at times.  But I don't think it's likely to clear up on its own.

I do not mind taking Isaac to the vet.  I want him to be healthy and get the medical care he needs.  This is a really busy week for me but I will work it out.  Hopefully we can get in tomorrow or the next day.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Well, Ick

File this under the "That is Too Gross" category.

For the last two days, Isaac has been shaking his head a lot.  I thought maybe his ears were bothering him.  Maybe he had an ear infection or something.

So I decided to look in his ears to see if I could see anything. 

The right ear looked fine.

The left ear looked kinda dirty.  So I got a damp washcloth and started wiping out the ear.  I was getting a lot of dirt.  Way too much to be just ear wax or something.  Clumps of dirt.

I think when he was rolling in mud, and probably other stuff, at the park yesterday, he got stuff in his ear.  I gave him a bath when we got home.  But the outside of his ears didn't look dirty so it didn't occur to me that there might be lots and lots of ick inside them.

I sniffed the ick I was wiping out of his ears.  I wondered if it was just mud or something ickier.  But it didn't smell bad.  Didn't smell like anything.

So hopefully it's just mud.  But I don't know.

I cleaned his ear as best I could.  But I can only get so far into his ear with my finger and a washcloth.  And I am not going to try sticking something smaller, like a Q-tip, into his ear.  I don't trust him to hold still for that and I'm afraid I could accidentally jab it too far into his ear and hurt him.

I might have to take him to the vet to get his ear cleaned out.

Ick ick ick.

More on the Parking Wars

Thus far, I've spoken with four UPS employees who tell me it is their policy for drivers to park in handicap parking spaces - one employee at my local UPS service center, the manager at my local UPS service center, a customer service agent answering the 800-PICK-UPS customer service number and a supervisor at that number.

Now, a couple UPS employees on the UPS Facebook page tell me that is not their policy and an employee named Christine that responded to some of the emails I sent to help@ups.com also says that is not their policy.

I think it must be their policy, though, since four different employees admitted that it is and so many drivers so frequently park in handicap spots.

I asked, both on the UPS Facebook page and in an email to help@ups.com, why, if it is not their policy, so many employees say it is and so many drivers park in those spots on a regular basis.  I also asked what UPS is doing to educate employees about their policy and to stop drivers from parking in those spots.  I haven't received a response, though.

Well, I kinda did.  They had the manager from my local service center call me to answer my questions.  Only all he did was tell me it is their policy to park in handicap spots.

After which I again posted my questions on Facebook and again emailed them to help@ups.com, but I have not yet received any response at all.

If you've got a minute, consider emailing them yourself or posting on their Facebook page to express your concerns about this illegal and unethical policy.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Grace

I thank the Earth, the Sun and Rain
for fruit and herb, root and grain.
I thank the Mother who nourishes me.
May all Her children blessed be.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Learning a New Task

Well, a new way to do an old task, really.



Sometimes when I want Isaac to pick up an item for me, he isn't sure which one I want. It's easy if he sees me drop something (or if he knocks something off my coffee table, which he does sometimes with his big waggy tail - if he knocks it off, he usually picks it up without being asked) or if there is only one item in the vicinity, but sometimes there are several items on the floor, like a dog toy, a pair of shoes and a piece of paper that dropped there. Then he isn't always sure which item I want. I usually poke at the correct item with my foot and/or when he starts to touch it give him an enthusiastic "yeah" so he knows he's got the right one. 

Well, I saw a video of a woman who used a little laser light, like you'd use to play with your cat, to indicate which item she wanted her service dog to pick up. So I ordered one of those and I got it today. That's what Isaac and I will be doing over the next few days, practicing using that. We tried it a couple times this evening and one issue is that he is so excited to retrieve something for me, he has trouble waiting to see what item I am pointing to with the light. He just wants to grab something, anything, and try to give it to me to see if it's what I want. He does not have much patience.

I'll try to post a video of it once he gets better at it.

Starting Your Holiday Shopping?

I have very few people I give holiday gifts to, so I guess I have it easy in that regard.  I mostly do handmade gifts, too, so I don't have a lot of shopping to do, although I do have to shop for some of the supplies I need.  I'm pretty excited about a couple of the gifts I've decided on giving this year, but I'm not gonna say what they are here because the recipients of those gifts sometimes read my blog.  In the past few years, I've given things like a handmade weighted blanket, a journal with inspirational quotes on every page, and coupons redeemable for things like pet sitting and mending clothing.

I think a lot about what I want to give those people that I plan to give holiday gifts to and usually decide on a gift well before the holiday season.  One of my gifts for this year has been completed for a while now and two others are nearly done.

I absolutely hate shopping when stores are crowded so I do my best to stay out of stores after Thanksgiving.  I mean, I go grocery shopping (generally on week days when the grocery store is less crowded), but I stay out of big box stores and craft stores and places like that.  I plan ahead and try to buy anything I'll need prior to that time period, or I might order stuff online, but I avoid the stores if at all possible.

For my readers that are interested in avoiding the crowds and getting good deals, please check out my Etsy store.  If you shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday (November 27 or 28 of this year), use the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY to get 20% off whatever you order.  If you shop on another day, use the coupon code HAPPYHOLIDAYS through the end of this year to get 10% off whatever you order.

I've got a bunch of new flannel menstrual pads on there, which are really soft and comfy, and they are much better for the environment than disposable pads, and they save a ton of money, too.

Check 'em out.  There are some other good things on there, too, including some aromatherapy bath salts, which I love.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Parking Wars

I've been meaning to do a post for a while about how much it irks me when people park illegally in handicap parking spots.  And it happens all the time.  I've been watching for it the last month or two, and I see it almost daily.

Why do I care?  No, I don't have a handicap placard, so I do not qualify to park in those spots.  I might be able to get a placard, if I wanted one.  I think my rheumatologist would sign the form for me to get one.  But I don't want one.  I don't want one for several reasons.  First, I don't want accommodations like that unless I really, really need them.  I think they should be reserved for people that really need them and I want to be as independent as I can.  I also do not want to deal with intrusive people judging me and making comments about me when they see me park in a handicap spot, since I don't look disabled.

Anyway.  It's not about me personally, but when people break the law in order to make the lives of people with disabilities difficult (which is what they are doing when they park illegally in those spots), I care.  I have a disability, but even if I didn't, I'd still care about that.  When people break the law in order to make life difficult for people for whom life is often already difficult enough, we should all care.

Well, at the moment, I am really, really trouble by UPS.  Yeah, the package delivery people.  Their drivers frequently park in handicap spots.  I see them regularly.  So recently I've started calling the company to complain when I see it.

Here is a photo I took a few days ago of a UPS truck parked right in the middle of two handicap spots.

When I told the driver he was parked illegally, he said he hadn't noticed it was a handicap spot.  I'm thinking if his eyesight is really that bad, or he just pays so little attention to where he's putting his truck, he shouldn't be driving at all.

When I suggested that, now that he was aware that he was parked illegally in a handicap spot, he should move his truck, he was quite rude.  He did move it, but he was rude.

So I contacted UPS to complain.  Today I spoke to someone at the local customer service center from which this driver was dispatched.  She told me it is their company policy that drivers park in handicap spots even though it is illegal since they are there for "less than five minutes."  Yes, you read that right.  I had to ask her to repeat it because I was sure I must have heard it wrong.  Then I repeated it back to her and she confirmed I'd heard right.

It is the company policy of UPS that their drivers park illegally in handicap spots.

When I objected, she told me to all the 800 customer service number.  So I did.  The customer service agent that answered the phone confirmed that this was indeed UPS policy.  I asked to speak to a supervisor.  The supervisor also confirmed that this is UPS policy. 

Seriously.  How F-d up is that?

I Have Stuff I Want to Post about, but...

I've been busy.  I am tutoring two different kids now and the second student has turned out to require more work than I initially thought it would be.  I've also just been really, really tired, maybe from the extra work, maybe due to fibromyalgia, I don't know.  I just know I'm exhausted.  This morning I made it out of bed a little before 9:30 and that was early compared to most days lately.  I'll be posting some stuff as soon as I can find the time and the energy, though.

For now, how about a cute doggie pic?

He loves his belly rubs!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Solving the Pot Problem

I thought I post an update about the solution to the pot problem in my apartment building.  I'm really happy with this solution, as I feel it meets the needs of my neighbor, who wants to smoke pot and not get evicted for it, and the needs of myself and other neighbors, who want to live here without being exposed to marijuana smoke on a regular basis.

The property  manager of our building had the maintenance staff install some sort of heavy-duty weather stripping around the neighbor's door, in order to make it less likely for smoke from inside the apartment to drift out into the hallway when the door is closed.  He also purchased an air purifier or air filter, something with a HEPA filter, for the neighbor's apartment.  This is not an appliance typically provided by management, so the neighbor was asked to pay for it.  However, he is being permitted to pay it off a little at a time, since he was not able to pay the full cost at once.

It seems that these steps have solved the problem, because I have not smelled pot smoke in a few weeks now.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Wish I Had a Helper Like That

This evening I did some laundry. My neighbors are all the time saying stuff like "I wish I had a helper to help me do my laundry" when they see Isaac getting my clothes out of the dryer.

One of the older ladies that always says that DOES have a helper, a home health aide. Only her helper doesn't just get the clothes out of the dryer, her helper also puts the clothes in the washer, then transfers them to the dryer, then folds them when they are done. So I don't know what she's talking about.

I occasionally wish I had a helper like that! But honestly, most of the time I am perfectly capable of doing my laundry with Isaac's assistance and I am grateful I am able to do it and I'd rather be able to do it myself (which the exception of getting the clothes out of the dryer) than to be unable to do it and therefore get to have a helper do it for me. Also, I'd rather wash my own underwear than have a stranger handling my panties.

But anyway. I think most people seem to think Isaac just does my laundry for me. Like I point to the full clothes basket and say "Isaac, do the laundry!" and he puts it in the wash, then in the dryer, then folds it before bringing it back to me. That is so not the way it works. He gets the clothes out of the dryer. Which is helpful since it is so hard for me to bend over repeatedly. But he takes them out one sock at a time. It takes so much longer than it takes other people to just get their own clothes out. I'd be grateful if I didn't need a helper to do that for me.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Oh Yeah, It's Winter

There is this particular spot in front of my building where Isaac loves to roll in the grass. I dunno why. Looks the same as the grass everywhere else around my building but this is his preferred spot for a roll. Well, I guess he forgot that the ground is covered with snow, because when I took him out this evening, he immediately plopped down in his spot and started to roll. Then realized he was rolling in snow, not grass. Duh. He looked confused, then annoyed, heaved this big sigh, got up and shook himself off. Silly dog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Stuck Inside So We're Doing Some Training

The last few days it's been bitterly cold.  The high today was supposed to be 33, although I'm not sure if it ever got there or not, but it's been very windy, so with the wind chill I think it was supposed to feel like 7 or something like that.  Tomorrow the high is supposed to be 25 but the wind chill is supposed to be all of 1.  Now, I do plan to bundle up in layers and get outside for a hike with Isaac as much as I can, but not when it's extremely windy and feels like it's 1 degree outside.

So I've decided Isaac and I would entertain ourselves by doing some training.  Keep in mind, Isaac thinks training is fun.  We make it like a game, he gets to earn praise and treats, and he gets to do tasks that he enjoys.  It's not work for him.  We also do training in short bursts so he doesn't get bored with it.  In fact, he would usually be happy to do more.

A couple of the things we're working on are things he already knows, or has already learned, to do, but that we haven't practiced much so he needs a refresher course so he gets better at it.  One of those things is pushing the button to call the elevator.  He pushes it with his nose.  Another is raising the lid to the toilet for me (I know that sounds odd but when my back is really bad, it is really difficult to bend over just the little bit needed to lift that lid).  He actually lifts both the lid and the seat together with his nose, then I grab the lid and let the seat fall back down.

Another thing I want to teach Isaac to do is to provide deep pressure therapy (sometimes referred to as DPT) for me.  I'll post more about that later.  But we started working on that yesterday.

On Blogging and Complaining

One of my readers recently complained that I complain too much in my blog.  And yes, I do see the irony in that.  I'm not sure she does, though.  I say "she" because I'm pretty sure I know who the complainant is, even though she chose to post her complaint anonymously.  You see, when someone posts multiple criticisms of my on my blog, only some of them anonymously, I start to recognize the language they use.

My first thought was, it's my blog and I'll complain if I want to.  And I stand by that.  Those that don't enjoy reading what I choose to write are free to stop reading my blog.

But also, how much complaining is too much?  How much is just right?  Is there such a thing as not complaining enough?  And who gets to decide how much is too much and how much is just right?  Oh yeah, here on my blog, I do.

But you know, a blog is usually not a very balanced view of a person's life.  I try not to complain much in my "real life" because I do worry that sometimes people will tire of it.  As much as I value the readers of my blog, I'd rather them tire of reading than my "real life" friends tire of spending time with me.  For instance, I know I wrote several times about the dental work I recently had to have done, but I scarcely discussed it with most of the friends.  I saved those complaints, if you want to call them complaints, for my blog.

I don't think my blog is full of complaints, though.  I count my blessings and make gratitude lists regularly and I know at least three of those lists are published here on my blog.  I recently posted about some adaptive equipment I bought and how helpful it has been.  I also posted recently about how well that dental work went.  Those posts are, in my opinion, the opposite of complaining.

If you're looking for a blog with no complaints, though, you've come to the wrong place.  Free free to move on if that's the case.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rompin' in a Winter Wonderland

Isaac and I woke up to this.

I needed to go out to go to the post office, so I decided we would go to the park and take a walk and Isaac could play in the snow.  It didn't occur to me that the parking area at our favorite local park would not be plowed, but of course it wasn't.  After a few tries, I managed to get up the little hill into the parking lot, though.

It was beautiful.

Cold, but beautiful.

Isaac loved it. 

I had trouble getting pics of him because he simply could not be still.  He was frolicking.  He had so much fun.  I had fun watching him have fun, but I have to say, it's a lot more work walking in a few inches of snow and my snow boots than it is walking when there's no snow and I'm wearing sandals or my sneakers.  I think we did about a mile and I was dragging myself up the last little hill to the car.  Normally we do about three miles and I'm not this tired.

Apparently Isaac found it tiring, too, because as soon as we got home, he went right to bed.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Downside of Having a Service Dog in Winter

Besides the stuff that would go along with having a pet dog, like having to take your dog out to pee when it's freezing cold, there are a few things I hate about winter with a service dog. 

Getting in and out of the car takes me longer with Isaac.  What I normally do is put his vest on him while he stands on the backseat, because that way I don't have to bend over like I would if he was standing on the ground.  But I can't do it from inside the car.  I stand outside the car, with the back door open, and reach in and put on the vest.  Which means I am standing out in the cold while I do it.  And it's hard to do it with my gloves on, so I usually have to take them off, so my hands are cold.

I guess I could put his vest on him at home and have him wear it in the car, but normally I don't have him wear it in the car because I think he is more comfortable without it.  I don't know if that's really the case, though.  Maybe I should think about that a bit.

I do leave the vest on him while running errands if we are only driving a short distance.  For instance, if we go to the post office and then to the grocery store, which is maybe a five minute drive if I drive slow, I will leave the vest on in between the two places.  But if we are driving a distance of 20 or 30 minutes or more, I usually take the vest off in the car.

When we get back in the car, he sits or stands on the back seat while I take off the vest.  So again, I am in the cold.

Then there are the potty breaks when running errands.  If we are going a short distance, like to the grocery store five minutes from my house, I will give him a chance to pee before we get in the car at home and not again until we get back home.  If we drive a distance, though, like to a doctor's appointment 40 minutes away, I give him a chance to pee before we get in the car at home and again when we arrive before going into the appointment.  That means instead of hurrying from my front door to the car, or from the car to the building, I have to stand out in the cold, waiting for the pokey puppy to pee.

Winter with a service dog means more time out in the cold.  And I hate the cold.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Adaptive Equipment

I've been meaning to write this post for a while now but just haven't gotten around to it.

A while back, I finally gave in and bought some adaptive equipment to make basic tasks easier for myself.  What I bought was simple, and I'm not sure why it took me so long, or why I think of buying the stuff as "giving in."  All I can say is that I wanted to do things "normally."

Have you watched the show "Switched at Birth?"  If you haven't, you should.  It's a good show with a couple of main characters that happen to be deaf.  In one episode, Daphne, a deaf high school student, takes a cooking class with hearing students, taught by a hearing instructor.  She burns her French fries because she doesn't hear the timer go off.  She's embarrassed and discouraged and her mother says, "They didn't have a timer with a flashing light, did they?  Well, that's OK, you'll take your own next time."  Daphne says, "I can't just take my own deaf stuff everywhere," and her mother says, "Of course, you can!"

So I bought disability stuff.  Not to take everywhere, though, just for use at home.

One thing I bought was this rubber grips for opening jars.  They were very cheap and are fantastic.  I was finding it extremely difficult to open things like almond butter or peanut butter and now it's pretty easy.

I bought a scrub brush with a long handle so I can clean my bathtub.  With it, I can sit on the side of the tub and scrub the tub.  I don't have to be on my hands and knees.  I can reach the tile wall behind the tub easier, too.

I also bought a bulletin board to put on my front door.  Remember me complaining in the past about my landlord wedging bulletins into the door so that when I opened it, they would fall to the floor where I have a very difficult time picking them up?  And about Fed Ex and the U.S. Postal  Service leaving packages on the floor outside my door where I couldn't pick them up?  Well, there is a note posted on my bulletin board asking people not to wedge papers in the door or leave packages on the floor.  Papers can be pinned to the bulletin board instead.

Once I bought this stuff, it made life so much easier.  I wondered why I didn't buy it sooner.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dental Work Went Pretty Well

I arrived at my dentist's office wet.  Yes, wet.  I took Isaac for a walk before the appointment, because a dog that has had some exercise is a better behaved dog, generally speaking.  After the walk, before going into the office, I offered Isaac some water.  Which he did not want.  And when I went to pour out the water, somehow I spilled most of it on me.  On my jeans and on my shirt.  So I was soggy when I got to the appointment. 

Isaac was good.  He sprawled out on the floor beside the dental chair and took a nap.  At one point he got up, I don't know why, and I had to tell him a couple times to lie back down.  Otherwise, he was fine. 

The dental assistant said she wished all dogs were as good as Isaac.  She didn't mean all service dogs, she just meant dogs in general.  I hear that kind of thing a lot.  Certainly not all dogs would make good service dogs, but probably all dogs could learn to behave well.  But it's not like service dogs are just born that way.  Most people don't want to spend the time and effort to train their dogs really well.

Anyway.  It wasn't painful at all.  The dentist shot me up with a lot of Novocaine.  The tooth that had to be pulled came out really easily.

Here's the weird thing.  The dentist was thinking when he pulled that tooth, we'd figure out what was causing so much trouble with the gum.  He thought he'd find a micro-fracture or maybe a teeny tiny piece of debris in the socket or something.  But there was nothing.  He said if someone just showed him that tooth, he'd ask why they pulled it.  It looked perfect.

He said what it really looked like to him, though he'd never seen or heard of this before, was like my body had just started rejecting the tooth.  He said it looked like the way my body would respond to some sort of foreign object in my mouth.  How weird is that?

But whatever.  I hope the problem is now solved.

They made this temporary appliance for me, like a partial denture, to wear until I get a new bridge.  Well, actually the dentist said if I preferred the partial, I could just use that and not get a new bridge.  The benefit would be that a new bridge would require grinding down a tooth to put a crown on it to anchor the bridge, and sticking with the partial would avoid having to do that to a tooth that is perfectly healthy and good right now. 

But I hate the partial.  I find it very, very uncomfortable.  I put it in this morning to go to the post office and the drug store but took it out as soon as I got home.  It hurts my mouth and feels really strange and I hate it.  Maybe I will get used to it in time and maybe it won't hurt so much when my mouth heals from having the tooth pulled, but it hurts in other places too, not just where the tooth was pulled.

It's sore today but I'm not in too much pain.  My friend John came over yesterday evening and it helped a lot having someone here.  Mostly I think he provided a good distraction from my mouth.  We just talked about stuff and then I was tired so we went to sleep for a while.  It was nice having someone there with me while I slept.  And he took Isaac out to pee so I didn't have to get up and go out in the cold.  Then he had to leave to go to work, but I was OK by myself for the rest of the night.