Sunday, May 29, 2016

This Is Not Poverty

I wrote this poem about a year ago, on a day when I was feeling stressed about money.  Fast forward to today and I am once again anxious about financial stuff.  And once again, this poem seems fitting.  Isaac and I went to the doggie beach today and I waded in the cool lake, feeling the sand under my bare toes, while he played with other dogs and ran and swam.

This Is Not Poverty

There is a sky
a million shades of blue.
There is a hazel lake
and sand soft and warm
beneath my bare feet.
There is a dog
the color of wheat and straw and sand
running at the water's edge
who loves me.
I think I am the richest person
in the world.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Perfect Last Day

Today at the dog park, Isaac and I met a very nice dog named Jake. Jake had a large area on his right side that had been shaved and his owner explained that he'd had cancerous tumors surgically removed recently and went on to say that unfortunately, they'd grown right back "fast and furious" and so Jake was scheduled to be euthanized tomorrow. She'd decided that for his last day on this earth, they would go to the doggie beach and swim, and then on the way home, stop for a cheeseburger.

It was sunny and gorgeous at the lake today. Jake played fetch with a frisbee and swam and had a great time. His owner waded into the lake up to her knees and wiped away tears while she took picture after picture of him, so she could remember his last day. I stood in the hot sun and wiped away my own tears. The other dog owners and I told her how beautiful her boy was, and how brave and kind she was to let him go before he suffered too much, and how sorry we were.

It was heartbreaking, but also heartbreakingly beautiful. What better last day on earth for a dog? Sun and water and dogs to play with and a frisbee and people to tell you how beautiful you were and how much you were loved and a cheeseburger.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Calling the Medicaid Office

Me to the lady at the Medicaid office: I turned in the receipts to show I met my spend down on the 12th. Yesterday, I spoke to a supervisor who told me my card had finally been released. But the pharmacy tells me when they try to bill for the medication I should have had Friday, your computer says I am still not covered. What's the deal?

Medicaid lady (after putting me on hold for six minutes): Your card has been released but it didn't get put in our state billing system.

Me: Why not?

Medicaid lady: I don't know. Sometimes that just happens.

Me: Well, how can we fix it and prevent it from happening again?

Lady: I can send the case to my supervisor to fix it.

Me: How long will that take?

Lady: They have 48 hours to do it but it might not take that long.

Me: You understand I turned in my receipts on the 12th. Then I called on the 19th to find out why my card had not been released and was told it would be fixed within 48 hours. Then I called on the 23, was told it still had not been released but would be fixed within 48 hours. Now it's been another 72 hours and I still can't use my Medicaid. And if you don't fix it in a few days, it will be June and then the pharmacy won't be able to bill for it because I won't have met my spend down for June.

Lady: Well, your card was released.

Me: But if it's not in the billing system, that doesn't help me, does it?

Lady: Well, I am sending it to my supervisor.

Me: OK. But what can we do so this doesn't happen again?

Lady: I don't know.

Me: Who would know?

Lady: Maybe my supervisor.

Me: Great. Can I talk to her?

Lady: No.

Me: Excuse me?

Lady: I can't transfer your call.

Me: Why not?

Lady: Our phone system does not allow us to transfer calls.

Me (not believing that for a minute): Then how about you go get her and I will speak to her on your phone? I'll wait.

Lady: All the supervisors are in a meeting.

Me (not believing that either): So you're telling me there is nothing we can do about my card not being released when it is supposed to be?

Lady: No, I'm not saying that. It is supposed to be released in 48 hours.

Me: But I turned in my receipts on the 12th. This is the 25th. You realize that is more than 48 hours, right?

Lady: Yes, but it should be released in 48 hours.

Me: speechless

Sunday, May 22, 2016

And Here He Demonstrates That He Has Not Yet Learned the Art of Sharing

Today at the dog park, another dog was playing fetch in the lake with a toy. The dog's owner threw the toy, and both Isaac and the other dog took off after it. The other dog got to it first, so Isaac snatched it right out of the poor dog's mouth.

I know, it's rude, right?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Isaac Demonstrates His Escape Artist Skills

Isaac is an escape artist.  When we go to the doggie beach, he amuses the other dog owners by demonstrating how he can swim around the barriers separating the small dog beach and the two big dog beaches.  He can then swim around the barrier at the end and be out of the fenced dog park.

After which he usually runs right up to the gate and waits impatiently for me to let him in.  Because he wants to be inside the fenced area with all the dogs and the people.  That's where the fun is.  It's just fun to escape.  Not to be outside the fenced area, just to escape from it.

Stinker. The other dog owners frequently comment on how smart he is.  And he is.  But still.

I've only seen two other dogs ever swim around the barriers of their own accord, although Isaac has shown a number of other dogs to do it and encouraged their bad behavior.  Other times, the dogs see him do it but still can't figure it out.  They just wonder how he suddenly got on the other side of the fence.  One dog owner told me, "Plato thinks Isaac is magical." 

Plato was her dog.  He and Isaac had a great time playing together.

So anyway, here is the magical Isaac, demonstrating his escape artist skills for the camera.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Isaac Got His Free Service Dog Eye Exam

Isaac got his free eye exam today. In addition to the eye exam, he got a thorough physical, an exam by an orthopedic vet, and an exam by a cardiologist.

Everything was perfect except a slight heart murmur (well, not exactly a murmur, a "slight split S-1 variation," but I'll spare you the long explanation about what that is) which we might get checked out further. However, the cardiologist assured us that it might be nothing and if it is something, it is mostly likely not serious and that Isaac doesn't need to restrict his activity at all.

The staff was all super friendly, they had donuts and coffee and juice for everyone, and treats for the dogs, and we got a tote bag full of goodies.

The vet tech and the cardiologist both said multiple times how well-behaved Isaac was and I was a little surprised by that.  I mean, he is well-behaved, but I figured since they were seeing only service dogs all day, all the dogs should have been pretty well-behaved.  Apparently that was not the case.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

He Must Be One of Those Seeing Eye Dogs

Today Isaac and I were standing in line outside the local food pantry, along with a bunch of other people. I don't vest Isaac when we go there because we spend a long time waiting in line outside and I don't want him to be hot.

Well, someone had brought their dog with them and left their dog in their car (I really wish people wouldn't do that) and that dog was barking like crazy. Isaac looked in the dog's direction but that was it.

This guy in line behind us commented to someone else, "Look, that dog isn't even barking or anything. He must be one of those Seeing Eye dogs." Even if he was slightly confused about what a Seeing Eye dog is, he knew Isaac was a service dog based on his behavior.

And if you didn't know, a Seeing Eye dog is a guide dog for the blind, trained by a program called The Seeing Eye.  It's a brand name.  It is similar to the way that Oreos are a type of cream-filled cookie, but not all cream-filled cookies are Oreos and not all cookies are cream-filled.

Friday, May 13, 2016

He's in Here

Today Isaac and I went to the dog park, the one with the doggie beach on the lake. There is the doggie beach and then there is a regular dog park very close by, with some trees in between.

So Isaac was playing with a bunch of other dogs in the regular dog park part, but he kept trying to hump a couple of them, so I told him he was done playing there. We went down to the doggie beach, where he played very nicely with two other dogs, but then they left and Isaac was the only dog there. I guess he didn't like playing by himself, so he swam around the divider thing, escaping from the doggie beach, and took off at top speed toward the regular dog park.

I followed behind him, not nearly as fast, but I figured it was OK because he would just be at the fence by the other dog park. But I got over there and did not see him anywhere. I looked around, but no Isaac. So I asked this guy if he'd seen a yellow lab running by and another guy, inside the dog park said, "Oh, he's in here. He came up the gate and wanted in, so I just let him in."

OK, so it's good he was in there. But what a stinker.

Give a Dog a Pill (or Two)

Isaac is on antibiotics because of the dog bite, although it's nearly healed now.  I think he has three more days of antibiotics.  He is supposed to take two capsules twice a day and they are not tiny capsules.  Usually, to give him a pill, I poke a hole in the middle of a slice of hotdog and stick the pill in it.  He gobbles up the hotdog and in the process, the pill gets swallowed.

But these are big capsules.  That wasn't working so well.  So I have been having him sit, prying his mouth open, sticking the pills in, then holding his chin at a tilt and rubbing his throat until he swallows them.  I have to pry his mouth open because he won't open it for me but here's what's funny.  He happily follows me into the kitchen, tail wagging, and sits down to wait for the pills.

After he takes the pills, he gets a bite of hotdog or hard boiled egg or something really yummy.  So even though I have to pry open his mouth, he is happy to come into the kitchen and take him pills.  He is a silly dog.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bitten at a Dog Park

So Isaac was bitten by another dog last week at a dog park.

I am careful about dog parks.  I take Isaac to them, but we only go to those that are kept clean (which not only means fewer germs around from dog poop but owners actually pay attention to their dogs there), we only go when they aren't too crowded, and we leave if Isaac or another dog is not behaving appropriately.  That means if Isaac decides he wants to hump another dog and he won't knock it off, we leave.  Even if we've only been there 10 minutes.  Yes, that happeneds
But last week.  There were only two other dogs there, both huskies, with different owners.  One Isaac and I had seen there before.  He is older, I think eight years or maybe 10, and he likes to lie in the shade and watch the other dogs run around.  He will play some but he is pretty calm and laid back.  The other dog we had not seen before, but the two huskies appeared to be great friends.

All three were getting along nicely for about an hour.  Then Isaac and the husky we hadn't seen before had a disagreement about something.  I'm not sure what.  I am sure Isaac was not trying to hump the husky.  I don't think Isaac did anything to provoke the bite.  But all over a sudden, they were snarling and going at each other. It was over quickly. Isaac looked OK and we left.

I looked him over in the car before we drove away.  I didn't see any signs of injury.  His face was dirty from playing and I wiped it off carefully, and then looked at the towel to see if there was any blood.  There wasn't.  I decided he was not inured and we drove home.

And then when we were heading into our apartment, I saw a streak of blood on the side of his face.

I was more upset that Isaac was, I think.  It turned out he had three small puncture wounds on his face, one not too deep, the other two deeper.  I admit to panicking a bit.  I washed his face.  I cried.  I called the vet, only to find our vet had closed at noon that day.  I couldn't decide if it was an emergency or not, if I could call the emergency number or not. I thought about calling another nearby vet to see if I could get him in there that day, but felt overwhelmed at the prospect.  I ended up calling the emergency number at Isaac's regular vet.

The vet said he would need antibiotics and to bring him in the next day, so I did.  Isaac is fine with that, because the antibiotics are served with hotdogs.

Isaac has recovered well from his bite and I've recovered as well, though I am still rather shaky.

And a Whisker Video

Just because it's cute.
She loves to play in the water when I take a bath.  She also enjoys drinking hot bath water.  I know, she's weird.  But cute.

Where Have I Been?

I haven't blogged much lately.  I'm not really sure why.  I've been busy and I've had a sinus infection that just won't go away.  And I've had some stress.  Really, being sick is almost always stressful for me, but I've had other stress, too.  Like, Isaac was bitten by another dog at a dog park.  That's a whole separate post, but it was really stressful for me.  More stressful for me than for him, I'm pretty sure.

This sinus infection has been going on for a good month now and I'm just beginning to feel better.  It really triggered my PTSD and I ended up very emotional and not sleeping much.  At one point I was prescribed prednisone for the inflammation and it was higher dose than I've been on in the past and I had horrible side effects from it.  After only two doses, I was crying frequently and having flashbacks and nightmares and my anxiety was through the roof.  After the third dose, it finally occurred to me that what was happening might possible be related to the meds I was on for the sinus infection.  So the prednisone was discontinued and I'm feeling less emotional but still not quite back to normal.

Also, when I saw my rheumatologist back in March, she increased my gabapentin.  I think it is just now finally starting to decrease my pain, but it is causing a lot of blurred vision and that is really driving me nuts.  I am thinking I am not going to be able to stay on the higher dose.  I just don't think I can tolerate this blurriness. 

But I do want to get back to blogging and I have things I want to blog about, so hopefully I'm back now.