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.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

3 am and I'm Wide Awake

It's about 3 am and I'm wide awake. 

I have my dental work this afternoon.  About 11 hours from now, in fact.  And I'm anxious about it.

I'm doing all I can to prepare. 

I moved my regular tutoring session from Tuesday to  Monday so I don't have to go tutor after getting my tooth pulled.  The student's mom assured me that it would be OK to cancel Thursday, too, if I'm not feeling well by then.  I was like, "Oh, I better be feeling OK by then!"  Good grief, I don't wanna be in pain for three days!

It was kinda funny.  The little girl I'm tutoring is 10 years old but she has pretty significant learning disabilities, so she's more like a six-year-old, I'd say, socially.  She wanted to see my loose tooth and wanted to know if she could wiggle it.  So I let her.  First I got her to tell me what letter "tooth" starts with.  Sneak some learning in there whenever I can, you know!  Then she informed me she thought it was going to hurt a lot when they pull it.  I told her to shush and get back to her homework.

Anyway. 

I have protein shakes, yogurt, soup, homemade applesauce, lots of yummy soft and liquid stuff in case it hurts to eat.  I have my anxiety meds in my purse - I'll take one right before I get to the dentist's office so it should be kicking in by the time it's time for the procedure.  And I have my anxiety meds and Tylenol by the couch for when I get home.  I have Orajel by the couch, too.  I have my heating pad on the couch and I'm going to put my weighted blanket out here before I leave for the appointment.  I have an ice pack in the freezer.  My dishes are washed, my house tidied up.  I have some music I like on my MP3 player to listen to in the car.  I've got movies to watch on Netflix when I get home, while I lie on the couch.

I finished up the custom cloth menstrual pads a friend ordered and will stop by the post office to mail them before I go to the dentist.  I have some articles to write but those were just requested yesterday and I told my client I probably wouldn't be able to start on them until Wednesday or Thursday.  So there is no pressing work I have to do.  All I have to do is rest and recover until it's time to go tutor on Thursday.  And I have my tutoring materials ready for that session already.

A friend offered to come over after I get home from the dentist and spend the evening with me.  It's someone I'm sort of dating.  We haven't known each other real long and I wasn't sure I wanted him to see me when I was feeling anxious and unwell, but I like him and I trust him and he really seemed to want to be here for me.  So I said OK.

Mike was going to stop by when he gets off work but I told him he doesn't need to since my other friend is coming over.  But Mike said I could call him if I changed my mind,  he'll be available.

My other friend will probably actually be more helpful, though.  He will do stuff like take Isaac out to pee for me if I don't feel like getting up and taking him out.  When I had the biopsy of my gum done a few months ago, I remember I ended up taking a double dose of my anxiety meds, which pretty much zonked me out for a few hours, because that was the only thing I could think of to do to cope with the pain.  I may end up doing that again, but I'd feel better about doing it with someone else here with me to take Isaac out and stuff.

I think I've done all I can do to prepare but I still feel really anxious.

What Do You Do with Your Service Dog While Getting X-rays?

This question came up recently on a Facebook group for people with service dogs.  I thought it was a good question.

When getting x-rays done at the dentist, which I've had to do a lot over the past few months with all these dental problems I've had, I have Isaac do a down stay (which means he lies down and is told to stay) just outside the x-ray room, with the door open so he is within my sight.  I wouldn't be comfortable having him outside the room if the door was closed or if I otherwise couldn't see him.  I don't want him in the room when the x-rays are taken because I don't want him exposed to unnecessary radiation.

If it was necessary for him to be out of my sight, I would ask if a staff person would be willing to hold his leash for me or if there was an office he could wait in (with the door shut).  Mind you, this is for a typical x-ray that would only take a couple minutes.  If it was something lengthy like a bone density scan, I would not ask the staff to hold his leash or to put him in an office.  They are not required to do either of those things anyway, and I wouldn't be upset at all if they declined for whatever reason, but I think in many cases they'd be happy to help in that way.

If I was going to have to have a lengthy x-ray procedure, like a bone density scan (which isn't really that lengthy, maybe 15 or 20 minutes, but longer than a regular x-ray like they do at the dentist), I'd either take someone with me that could hold the leash and watch Isaac while I was having the x-ray done or just leave him at home.  Another option would be to call ahead and ask if there would be an office where he could stay during the procedure or to discuss other options.  But I wouldn't just show up with my dog and expect the staff to make accommodations for watching him while I was unable to do so.

I'd do the same thing if I was having some other procedure other than an x-ray during which I would be unable to care for Isaac during the procedure.  For instance, if you have an MRI, you have to hold perfectly still.  Radiation isn't a concern with an MRI so he could be in the room with me during the procedure, but since you can't move at all, I wouldn't be able to give him commands if needed.  So I wouldn't feel comfortable with that.

While doctors' offices, hospitals and other facilities that do x-rays are required to allow service dogs under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and you do not need to call ahead to let them know you'll be bringing a service dog with you to an appointment, if you're not sure if you're going to need x-rays, or not sure how long the x-rays will take, or not sure what will be the best thing to do with your service dog while the x-rays are taken, I recommended calling ahead to figure that stuff out before you show up for the appointment with your dog.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy Doggie

Does he look happy or what?

This is after a 45-minute run and a quick dip in the pond.  The water must have been pretty chilly, although it was very nice out today, 64 degrees and sunny, because he jumped in and then jumped right back out and took off running.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Doing Some Sewing Today

A friend of mine ordered some custom cloth menstrual pads so I am busy sewing today.  I especially like the blue ones with the butterflies.
They are made from flannel so they are super soft.

I have a bunch of ready-made pads available in my Etsy shop but if anyone wants something different, just email me at poet_kelly at yahoo dot com.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dental Work Scheduled for Next Week

Tuesday I am going to have my loose tooth pulled and get a temporary bridge put in.  Then they will schedule a date to put a crown on the tooth that will support the one end of my new bridge, but my mouth will need a week or two to heal before that.  I am hoping the extraction goes easily.  It is being done by my regular dentist, I don't have to go to an oral surgeon for it.  I'm anxious, though.

This kind of thing really triggers my PTSD.  I'm worried about how much pain I might have afterward. Also, I stopped taking my turmeric in preparation for the procedure, because it can lead to excessive bleeding.  So I'll be turmeric-free for several days before the procedure, which will probably make my back pain and arthritis and stuff worse.

I am glad it will be getting done, because this tooth is really bothering me.  But I just hate to deal with the PTSD and anxiety and pain.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Laundry Day

video
Here's a recent clip of Isaac getting laundry out of the dryer for me.  Look how happy he is to help!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It Might Be Easier to Just Find a Landlord That Allows Pets



I was speaking to a woman today in the waiting room of my psychiatrist's office. She was asking me about my service dog, and then she said her son was going to call his cat an emotional support animal because his landlord didn't allow pets. I said great, all he needs is a letter from his doctor stating he has a disabling mental illness and needs the cat as part of his treatment! The lady said oh. I said, it might be easier to just find a landlord that allows cats, than to convince a doctor that he has a serious mental illness. She said good point, she'd suggest that to him. Duh!

Well, That Scared Me

Saying it scared me is putting it mildly, really.

Yesterday I took Isaac to the park near my home, where we go all the time.  All summer long, I've been letting him run off leash there.

Please don't tell me that was unwise, because I realize that now.  I felt it was OK because A) the park sits way back from the road and the trails are away from any roads B) we are almost always the only ones at the park when we go during the week so there is no risk of him bothering anyone else or of encountering any aggressive dogs C) his recall is pretty good, though it is not perfect (and we ARE going to be working on it!). 

What Isaac usually does is run a short ways ahead of me, then run back to where I am, then head off the trail a short ways, then come back to where I am, etc.  He often seems to be checking in with me to make sure I don't get lost.  He rarely goes out of my sight and when he does, I can usually hear him because he likes to go crashing through the brush.  If I don't see or hear him, I call him and he comes back to me.  Not always instantly, but within a minute or two.  So we've been doing this all summer and it's been fine.

Today, we were going down this steep hill.  Isaac went ahead of me and reached the bottom first.  I saw him down there, rolling in some leaves.  Then I took my eyes off him so I could watch where I was putting my feet because it was very steep and I didn't want to fall.  When I got to the bottom of the hill, I did not see Isaac.  There was a little bend in the trail and I went around that bend, thinking I'd see him there.  There is a creek there that he likes to play in.  I did not see him, so I called him.  He did not come.

After about 20 minutes of calling, and still no Isaac, I was starting to panic.  I didn't know what to do because if I tried to go look for him, I wasn't sure which way to go.  The trail went in a couple different directions shortly after going around that bend, and I didn't know which why he'd gone, or if he was even on a trail, and I was afraid I'd pick the wrong direction and end up going further away from him.

I called a friend who works nearby and he came over to help me look for Isaac.  It was about 30 minutes before he could get there, though.  By then, I was hoarse from yelling for Isaac.  My throat hurt, I was thirsty, I was panicking.  My anxiety meds were back at the car but I was afraid to go back to the car because it was at least a mile from where I was and I was afraid to leave the area where I'd last seen Isaac.  I was terrified something had happened to him and thinking what a terrible dog owner I was.

I don't know how to convey the level of panic I was feeling.  I think the anxiety, the worry that something might have happened to him, was pretty reasonable, fairly rational.  But then my thinking started going really crazy.  Really illogical, irrational.  Which it does.  Which is one of the reasons it's so important to take my anxiety meds at the beginning of an anxiety attack, and which is why Isaac is trained to bring me those meds at the beginning of an anxiety attack.

But they were back at the car.  I have thought about that and decided I need to carry some with me on hikes from now on.

But anyway, my thinking was going in all sorts of crazy directions.  I was thinking that Isaac was hurt, that he would be dead, and that then I would have to kill myself.  I was thinking that I never should have gotten a dog because I should have known something bad would happen so it would be all my fault when it did.  Because I wasn't supposed to have anyone that loved me.  I was really thirsty and thought I was probably getting dehydrated (which was rational, because I'd been crying and yelling for Isaac for more than half an hour and we'd walked a ways before that so it had been a long time since I had anything to drink) and I knew I needed my meds but thought that I wasn't supposed to go back to the car to get them because I was supposed to suffer because I was being punished for being such a bad person.

Finally my friend got there.  He pulled into the little parking area and called me on my cell phone.  Isaac was lying there by my car.  He was by the back door on the side where he usually gets in.  He recognized my friend's car and got up and looked happy to see him.  My friend said he looked like he was fine.

I got back to the car as fast as I could.  Isaac did indeed seem fine.  I think that for some reason he got too far away from me and ended up just finding his way back to the car and waited for me there.  I think it was really smart of him to find the car and wait for me there.  But I was so, so scared when I couldn't find him.

It will be a while before Isaac gets to be off leash anywhere besides a fenced in dog park, I think.  I am going to hire a local trainer to help me work on his recall.  Like I said, I think his recall is pretty good but it is clearly not perfect and it is apparently not good enough to be off leash anywhere that is not fenced in.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Isaac's Pillow

Isaac has his own pillow. 

It used to be mine.  I gave it to him after he stole it from me too many times and then drooled all over it in his sleep.

Cayenne used to have her own pillow, too.  Hers also used to be mine and I gave it to her after she peed on it twice.  Way to steal a pillow.  Now Cayenne's pillow is on my bed and Isaac sleeps on it sometimes, too.  But he prefers his own pillow.

I bought myself a new pillow.  One that has not been drooled on by anyone other than myself and has not been peed on by anyone (not even myself).

Isaac had some interest in my new pillow, though.  So then I came up with an idea.  I like to change my pillowcase once a week when I do laundry.  But instead of putting it in the wash, I started putting my used pillowcase on Isaac's pillow.  I put his old pillowcase in the wash and put a clean pillowcase on my pillow.  Isaac loves sleeping on my used pillowcase.  Smells like me, I guess, and he likes that.  I think it's sweet.

Doggie in the Woods


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dining at Chipotle

Today I met a friend for lunch at Chipotle.  Afterward, we went for a walk with Isaac.

Chipotle was busy and there were a lot of small kids running around.  Isaac is so good at ignoring noisy kids.  This isn't the best picture, but I was trying to snap the shot without disturbing him so he wouldn't get up and ruin the picture.  He was lying quietly under the table, head down, ignoring the noisy little kids.

He heard me snapping the shot so he lifted up his head.  He was still behaving, though.  Just making eyes at a little girl that was making eyes at him.

When we go to this particular Chipotle, I take a towel for Isaac to lie on.  They have a concrete floor that he doesn't really like to lie on.  He will lie on it but he fidgets and stands up kind of a lot.  He just does better when I take a towel for him.

In most businesses, he's happy without anything to lie on.  He loves the floor at our local Subway, which is hard tile.

When we were done eating and got up to go, Isaac picked up the towel for me.  Good boy!