Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Awkward moments in pet parenting.

So many people know I have 4 cats and a dog.  No kids (thank goodness) because my pets are all crazy enough that adding kids MAY have driven me insane by now.

So we have "special" pets.  For as good as they are I have had to have many awkward pet moments with vets, bosses, and neighbors.

SO I thought I would make a list of some of the best//worst moments in pet history:

Kayne Michael Armstrong

 This lovable rope-a-dope dog.
Loves squeaky soft animal skins (aka stuffed animals with stuffing removed and stuffed with squeakers or plastic bottles)

Kayne hates having his nails clipped, so I have to buy acrylic nail files and file his claws down once a week, during which he routinely falls asleep.

Kayne is allergic to grass, wheat, soy, corn, dairy, pollen, cedar, plastic, rubber, nickel, and most laundry detergents.

Kayne enjoys eating cat litter covered poopies from the pan when he is angry at us.

Kayne loves kittens and has brought home 13 to date, I only let him keep 2.

Kayne has to be sedated during thunder storms or he turns into the hulk and breaks shit.

Kayne has to have special lotion applied to his pads every night, he enjoys the taste.

Kayne eats lip balm, and will wait until you are asleep and try to lick it off your lips.

Kayne once scared a burgler away from a neighbors house when we were walking past.  He almost pulled away from me and the man who was trying to open a window got scared and ran off.  The neighbor bought him a pound of bacon

Kayne got so scared during a severe thunderstorm he pushed open our front door to the deck, let himself out, locked himself outside, and climbed onto the roof where he sat howling, crying and barking until the cops came and called animal control.  LUCKILY they know me, called my cell phone and said "Joy, your dog is stuck on the roof in a thunderstorm..."  My boss was nice enough to let me go home to take care of him.

Kayne and I saw a coyote once, Kayne ran behind me and tried to run away and leave me there.  I like to think if I was eaten he would have told someone.

Ani Louise

Ani Louise is "special"

Ani is about 13 now.  we found her outside a house where a 13 year old punk kid was spraying raid under a house trying to get her to come out and stop meowing.

I admit said kid had the literally piss scared from him when I had two sheriff deputies come and detain him for "severe animal cruelty"  They let him go saying they were going to be driving by his house every day for a month, then they did.  Its good to have big scary bald sheriffs who love animals as friends.

Ani can't see out of the sides of her eyes, so often she sort of Stevie Wonders her head looking for toys and listening for us.

Ani loved Kayne's dog collars.  She licks them, sleeps on them. rolls on them, seeks them out, but does NOT like the dog, just how his collars smell.

Ani likes licking lotion off your hands and feet while you are trying to sleep.  She and Kayne share a love of lip balm.

Ani gets stuck in the carpet and cries until he relaxes enough for her claws to retract, or one of us goes and picks her up.

Ani stands in the litter pan and poops over the side

Ani will cover up food after the other cats have eaten from the bowl like its poop.  This offends the other cats.

Ani LOVES fresh water, she still jumps in the tub to drink shower water, the sink to drink the drips and drinks out of unguarded glasses of water.

Jayne River Armstrong

Jayne came to us with 5 kittens (before we got Kayne so we can't blame him for all the cats)  She is best friends with Kayne, follows him around, eats out of his bowl, grooms him and sleeps next to him whenever she can.

Jayne refuses to stand on the floor to eat instead demanding her food be up on the table.

Jayne will not eat after Dodger or Klaude taste her food.

Jayne will scream for HOURS if she is unhappy.  Single cat poops in a cat box, warm water, "tainted" cat kibble, a purse on her table, all of these things cause her to scream until the situation is corrected.

Jayne had made herself an "apartment" in the bottom cupboards in the kitchen.  She will push out anything that encroaches her "apartment" including bags of food, crockpots, and other things that don't belong in her space.

Jayne once cost 300 dollars because bit her own cheek and was drooling for a month.  300 dollars later we found out she had gotten scratched by her own claw and got an infection in her cheek.  She had to wear baby bibs for  month and a half.

Klaude Wesley

Klaude has FIV.  He enjoys staring down the dog, biting his brother Dodger on the testicle pouch (he is neutered) and swatting me in the face in the morning until I wake up and pet him.

Klaude requires twice a day grooming with a wet one, a brush and q-tips. He waits until I am sitting in the bathroom then comes in, lies down and lays back to think of Jesus until its over.

Klaude can't meow so instead he sort of bark/growls.

Klaude ONLY plays with toys at midnight, they must be loud, heavy and preferably filled with bells.

Klaude will not let me cut his toeails, so we have to do one at a time per day, he sounds like a tap dancer most days.

Last but certainly not least is Dodger.

I had a hard time trying to find a picture of Dodger that didn't include Kayne.  He and Kayne sleep together, play together, go outside on their leashes together...Kayne brougt Dodger home from a walk and let him in to our house.

I catch Dodger trying to ride Kayne like a horse, lick Kayne like a cat, and play with Kayne.

Dodger can't meow either (Klaudes his dad) so he has a very high pitched squeak that sounds like a kitten.

Dodger enjoys ambushing the dog by running around corners and popping out at him.

He enjoys lying in any collection of dirt, dust, or detritus he can find and rolling like a dust mop.

Dodger enjoys sleeping like the dead, arms flailed, mouth open, paws akimbo.

He also enjoys harassing the other cats, and has forced us to make him wear a small brass bell so we know where he is at all times.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter EveryBunnny!

Paint your pagan eggs, get dusted with soot, dress in purple, or whatever we are supposed to do today...GORGE ON CANDY and HAM!

Headache, don't get to spend Easter with Family (I have to work @ 3PM-10ish) I harbor back to memories of church dresses, special pancakes Nana made me and coming home to Easter baskets that had antique toys that had belonged to my Nana and Uncles that we had to leave on the basket on the couch so the Bunny could "bring them back next year and make repairs" 

Finding chocolate eggs MONTHS after we thought we'd found them all, Easter grass coming out of the cats butt, the kids in the neighborhood having an Easter egg hunt with shared stash and high school kids offering to hide it ...then later setting up the same later for neighborhood kids, nephews and nieces. 

I remember our dog finding the eggs, sucking them until only foil was left and spitting it out.  She and later HE were very good at finding chocolate eggs..thank god we always got the kind that only made them have the brief runs!

Now it is just me, the hubby and the fur brigade.  I dyed Easter eggs with a clients kid, who BTW had a TON of fun doing it, I thought about dying a few eggs, but I hate hard boiled eggs so...

Huh, I guess Easter is growing on me. WELP!  time to try and bust out a grad paper, dress the dog in Easter ears and take his picture, because everyone needs traditions, and get Chris ready to go with his sister and make sure he remembers the treats I bought for the girls.

Happy Easter everybunny, now send jellybeans.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rode hard and put away wet: the story of my carcass

So in my youth I spent a lot of time pushing my body.  Running, Skiing, Mountain biking, Martial arts, Rugby, Firefighting, basically doing many things in which I hurled my carcass heedlessly into many situations that ended in breaks, concussions, sprains, muscle tears and other things. 

When I was 27 I was an interior firefighter who ran 5 miles 5 days a week and ate whatever I wanted.  Then one day I couldn't lift my right arm.  At All.  Nothing.

Doctor spent a year looking into why, then I started getting migraines, and chronic ankle and knee pain.

Doctor found that both my lower back, hips,both feet and knees had been cracked/broken so many times they had healed incorrectly and were covered in bony spurs called osteophytes.  He gave me a handicap pass immediately and told me I would never run again.

An MRI later he found a tear in the center of my spinal cord, a disease called Syringomyelia.  It was why I was having intermittant trouble lifting my right arm and having chronic chest pain which later turned into intermittant postural tachycardia. SUPER fun by the way, get out of your car too quickly, heart is hammering for a hour, lie down in bed and rool over to fast, heart hammering keeping you awake, Sneeze? yeah good chance your going to feel like you are running a marathon for a few hours.  Pneumonia + Stairs =  super hilarious.

I am 35 now.  I know 35 year olds who work out every day, eat 1200 calories, keep a clean house and have 40-50 hour jobs.

I am not one of those people.  I work 27-30 hours a week, and it is tough.

Over time my hips, knees, and ankles have been rebroken, without me being able to tell because of neuropathy in my legs from my low back I didn't have them treated correctly, I pulled an old karate move and "walked it off"

My doctor prescribed swimming, which I loved, until my skin started reacting to the pool chemicals and making my eczema flare up year round and put me on oral steroids just so I could drink and eat (ever had eczema on your tongue and try to drink anything but water or eat bread?  yeah not happening.)

Now before you get the wrong idea, I am not complaining.  I have the BEST memories, a black belt,1,000 ways to kill a person, can fix my own bikes and friends, and a whole new outlook on how to be tough.

I also have this lesson.  BE KIND TO YOURSELF.

i did all those stupid things when I was a young athlete:  dieting, anorexia, pushing myself to the point of injury, pills, ignoring doctor's advice.... I did all those things and I still have to mentally slap myself for the damage I did to my body and the fucked up thoughts and relationships I still have with food and exercise.

At one point I remember my best friend and I bonding over our love of trucker caffeine pills because it helped us to burn fat and calories.  We were in high school and a sports instructor gave them to us telling us it would help us to "win, because we were not there to have fun, we were there to compete"

I wake up every AM and have to do about 15 minutes of stretches in my bed before I can stand and go brush my teeth.  In the winter often my legs, back and arms are so painful I take 3 or more hot showers a day just so I am not taking deathly doses of anti-inflammatory meds.  After cleaning the house or doing exercise I spend at least an hour or more rubbing and stretching before I go to bed so that I don't wake up with cramps.  I sleep with a cut off pool noodle under my pillow because otherwise I wake up with my right side numb.

I still struggle to eat 1200 calories a day because the only thing my body craves is sugar and water.  I struggle to get enough protein to help to keep my lean muscle mass up.

It is a struggle each day to get up, get my life in order, and not do myself injury.  Sometimes I think about getting even older and I am terrified because often people with Syringomyelia suddenly go paralyzed on one side or below the waist.

So I adapt.  I plan out meals and eat even when I am not hungry.  I always set up my food to be 1/4 protein 1/2 veggies, and 1/4 whatever else I want.  I have special plates that I love that I eat off of.  I get a little crazy when other people use my plates or watch me eat...put baby steps.

I try to watch TV while I am doing my hour of stretching, hour of "conditioning" (AKA horrible sit ups, leg lifts and other exercises designed to lengthen and strengths my joints and tendons that were damaged)

I wear a heart monitor when I work out so that I don't go over my reccomended BPM and trigger my tachycardia.

I am careful, careful, careful.

You adapt.  You replace running with yoga, replace dieting with learning how to cook GREAT food, you teach yourself that pain is a sign that something is wrong, and you forgive yourself for not being a super human

No Tears, No Regrets, celebrate little victories.

Now its time for my 2nd hot shower of the day and to do my night stretching so I can sleep tonight.

Life is hard, be kind to yourself.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Oh day of few spoons...Syringomyelia sucks

This is for my friends with Syringomyelia and Chronic pain solidarity sucks.

It has not happened in a while but today BAM! it happened.  I woke up head to toe pain.

Its complete lack of spoons day.  Which is only alleviated by numerous hot showers, drugs, and sleep.

The reason I am doing a blog post about this is because while most of my friends completely understand my Syringomyelia and its plague beast of associated conditions, there are some who are skeptical.

So I wanted to write on a day where I was in pain.  mind erasing, not doing anything, *dog can poop on the floor because f*ck you stairs* type pain.

Last night I went to sleep at 11AM.  Normal time for me.  Took my medicine, my supplements, my vitamin, and had my night shower to relax my muscles.

Woke up this morning opened my eyes and first thing I thought was "My head feels like someone put on a heavy metal crown and cinched it to death around my skull"

I immediately tried to eat a graham cracker to take some tramadol and ibuprophen.  Then threw it up.  Then waited for a few hours tried again, threw up.  If hubby was home he would bring out the shop vac so it was easier for him to clean up when I miss the toilet completely.

Finally I managed to take some liquid benadryl, ate a graham cracker, kept it down (HUZZAH!) and ate some naproxen and tramadol and kept that down (HOORAY!)

So I am finally on my feet.

Breakfast!  Shuffle to fridge pick up yogurt, drop it, pick it up again, drop it, pick it up with both hands cradle it to counter, can't peel back the lid. (GRRRRR!)

Finally I get frustrated and remember the graham crackers are open (YAY sustenance!)  So after a filling breakfast of crackers and water (tap not rain) I try to take the dog out.

I lean over, I get dizzy, I stand up, I get dizzy, finally I sit on the couch, and manage to coax the dog over and clip him to the leash.

We slowly walk down the stairs, go outside, do our business, I nearly fall over when scooping his dirty sinful business but Kayne knows to stand next to me so I can hold on to him.

We walk up the stairs and I try to make the bed, Kayne trailing behind me as he does when he knows I am ill.   I am abl to stand without being dizzy! except today my hands hand decided that grasping is not going to happen. I finally manage to flop and maneuver the bed into some semblance of being "made"

By now my arms are on FIRE, I am nauseous, and dizzy.

I lie back on the bed to catch my breath and the dog stands over my face and begins to whine.

Sh*t they need food.

I manage to dump water into bowls and food into trays only spilling when an over eager cat head butts the scoop out of my hand sending an arc of dog food spilling onto the floor.

Again, Kayne knows me so he and Dodger dutifully clean dog kibble off the floor.  Yes, I am a mean horrible mommy today.

I finally sit down in my chair and take note of the rest of my body:

Head: dull ache but I can be upright
Hands: aching and shakey
Shoulders, chest, ribs, arms, back, hips, thighs, calves, feet: FIRE, burning electrical non stop FIRE.

I text hubby to please bring home bread and black tea bags so I can start making iced tea (spring fave in this house) it comes out " plwas brung hyme brad an blwk te"  I stare at it, decide he can decipher at will and press send.

I have not managed to clean cat boxes, or clean, or sort laundry, or do anything beyond basic level.

THAT is a day without spoons brought to you by Syringomyelia.  It happens once a week normally but sometimes up to 5-6 times a week.

So next time you make the joke "You are lame, you don't do anything!" remember you are not far off, but I did do something, I got up and told you to shove it.