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What I Learned This Week – 4/7/13

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This week I learned that squirrels are more evil than I ever suspected.  Just look at what one did to my dog!

The leg is still there, just heavily bandaged.

The leg is still there, just heavily bandaged.

Now, I do feel like I may have helped to manifest this. I did tell my dog, Parker, he should kill the squirrel in our yard. I even told him that if he got bit or scratched in the process, I would take him to the vet and get him fixed up. I also had a plan on Friday to go to the vet and purchase more heartworm preventative.

But, well, Parker impaled himself on a metal post in our yard in what I can only suspect was pursuit of a squirrel on Tuesday afternoon. A metal post that would not have even been there except we put it there to prevent him from escaping out a gap at the bottom of the other two fences.

The scene of the injury.  The squirrel runs up the tree on the other side of the fence.  The green post used to be straight up.

The scene of the injury. The squirrel runs up the tree on the other side of the fence. The green post used to be straight up.

I feel a little guilty. I did momentarily forget both dogs outside. But that was for like 10 minutes. Parker had been left outside unattended longer. (We have a fully fenced in yard. Not that that keeps my dogs from escape or mayhem.) And really, who expects their dog to crucify himself on a 4ft tall metal post?

Tuesday afternoon, my husband is just walking out the door to go to work. He attempts to let the dogs in for me. We discover that Parker has what is (let’s put this delicately) a giant hole ripped in his front right leg doggie armpit. I grabbed my first aid kit. My husband, who JUST started a new job as a temp and CANNOT be late stayed 5 more minutes. He helped me get the injury wrapped up, and put Parker in the car. (Dude, that dog weighs 60lbs. I can’t exactly cradle him in my arms.) I called the vet. They said the doctor was out on a call and wouldn’t be back for an hour. She made it sound like I should hang out at home for a few more minutes. Then she said I could come in if I wanted and they could pressure wrap it while I waited.

When I got there, she said my wrap job was good, so they just left it til the doctor returned. The doctor, without looking at it yet, said it would be 30-45 minutes and asked me if I wanted to wait or come back. She said she would give him something to make him sleepy. I waited.

I skipped laying my son down for a nap because I just couldn't bring myself to close the curtain on this poor, injured dog.

I skipped laying my son down for a nap because I just couldn’t bring myself to close the curtain on this poor, injured dog.

I could tell when they removed Parker’s bandages. The assistant came in and told me he ripped quite the hole in himself. Then she came back in and asked if it was OK if they did a chest X-ray, because the doctor was worry he may have punctured his lung. (He didn’t.) Then the doctor came in and informed me that my dog had tried to rip his leg off, but luckily he was unsuccessful and had missed the muscle, tendons, etc. He was lucky he had missed his main blood vessel (which apparently she could see beating). If he had clipped that, she said he would have bled to death before I could have gotten him to the office.

They ended giving him full anesthesia and intubating him. We were there for another two hours.

Now, you might think this is a lucky dog. But remember, he is also a determined, stubborn, entitled dog.

In order to not pull out the stitches, they wrapped his whole front leg to his body. Essentially, he is a tripod. Except, well, he knows his leg is still there and tries to get it out.

Thursday morning my husband took Parker to get a dressing change. By the time they arrived back home (approximately 20 minutes), Parker had worked his leg out. Back to the vet they both went. My husband arrived home a second time–with a dog who had 4 legs visibly showing. We went back the third time that morning, and got re-wrapped again.

This time we tranquilized him. Probably a little too much. The tranquilizer was to keep him from messing with his bandage or doing silly things like trying to get on the couch.

The vet also recommended greatly confining him. But my incredibly tired and exhausted husband didn’t get around to it. Or maybe he thought the dog didn’t need to be.

By Thursday afternoon, he was laying in front of the couch (an obvious play to make it up on it) and he had used his back leg to scratch at his bandage, exposing his drain. (Gross, I know. Sorry.)

So, I re-bandaged a drugged dog who couldn’t stand up as well as I could. He is leaky, but at least we didn’t have to take him back again.

By Friday morning, the dog had made his way into our bedroom. This is the furthest spot from the back door, where he needed to be taken out because he hadn’t been outside in hours and hours. So, using a beach towel as a sling around his torso, I half-walked/mostly-dragged him out the back door. After a brief rest, he did pee. (Ya!) After another brief rest, he ate and drank and took more tranqs. (Ya!)

On Saturday morning, Parker had another vet appointment. He was hobbling in on his three legs, all pathetic. He got as far as the lobby and stalled, as if he did not have another ounce of energy left in his doggy body. That is, until the resident cat walked by in front of him. He did a couple of lightning quick dives trying to get it, but only ended up with a face plant.

They decided to leave off his bandages because the skin was suffering from too much moisture and a lack of fresh air. So, he has his leg back, but is favoring it. We are to keep him tranquilized til his next appointment on Monday. He has a giant doggie cone collar on, but I was worried about him scratching his injury with his rear foot. My mom came up with an excellent idea to put a sock on his back foot to reduce the damage. He was a little more himself today.

There is a good chance he might have to have a few stitches redone where the skin is necrotic. I am worried about how concentrated his urine is, but that could be because his water intake and trips outside are way down. He is eating and drinking and pooping and peeing though, so I will take those all as good signs.

My 2 month old son seems jealous of all the attention Parker is getting. So is Dave, my other dog. I am just exhausted from being a caretaker. The dog is on 9 pills a day right now. And we have to keep his wound clean and dry and put Aloe Vera Gel on part of it.

I was originally going to give potty-training my boy another try next week. I think it can wait a little longer. Oy.

I saw the squirrel in the backyard today. It could have just been the light or his coloring or that he had just scratched his licey, flea-bitten body, but to me it look like he had a scratch on is side. It would make me feel better about all this damage to Parker if I knew he had least took a little hide off that squirrel.

Watch out, squirrel. Remember…I have TWO dogs.

What did I do to myself?!

What did I do to myself?!

Finding Friends

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It is really hard to find friends. Maybe that is only my experience and no one else’s. I don’t know. Maybe I expect too much out of a friend. I am a Capricorn. I tend to expect perfection in everyone (including myself) and I am always disappointed. (Hmmm…I wonder why?)

My inspiration for this post is that two people who are really no more than acquaintances are moving away. But I was hoping, someday, my husband and I could consider them friends. It is actually the Pastor. Of my asbestos friend’s church. She often drags me to their events (see River Raisin Festival parade float for her church). We aren’t really members of that church. Although our names somehow ended up in the church directory (I think it has something to do with my asbestos friend being the church secretary). My asbestos friend and her family are very close friends with the Pastor and his family. But then again, they live on the same block. The only two houses on the block, to be more accurate.

OK. I’m babbling. But it seems like this always happens. Especially with a lot of my former co-workers. There are many I thought highly of and would have liked to hang out or go shopping with outside of work. But it never seems to happen. Then they move. Or get laid off. Or the whole company closes. And I will never get the chance to develop a real friendship with them. I will never see them again. Sure, Facebook will give the illusion that we have stayed in touch. But it is just an illusion.

In a few cases, I have actually gotten to hang out with co-workers more meaningfully. But as I had one of the longer commutes to work, distance makes things difficult.

As I said earlier, I expect too much out of my friends. I expect more than just a Christmas card once a year to consider someone a true friend. I expect a friend to be there for major life events. Maybe not all of them, but most of them, with a good excuse for the others. I don’t like to feel like I am the one making the effort all the time. I am a petty person who keeps mental notes in my head. I know life gets in the way. But if I made the effort to see you multiple times with no return, it wears on me. It darkens my friendship aura. And if I haven’t heard from you in five years (and I know you have my phone number and address), don’t expect one message announcing your marriage on Facebook to make me count you as a friend again. I don’t care if you were my maid of honor at my wedding. I hope the best for you out in the world, but we don’t know anything about each other’s lives.

So, Ya. I expect an occasional email or letter or phone call or lunch or visit or major life event participation. Call me a bitch. As I write this, I realize I am not always a very good friend according to my own standards. This goes back to what I said about being disappointed in everyone, including me.

Back to the Pastor. He and his wife always welcomed us to church functions, even though we were just tagging along with my asbestos friend. They welcomed us to their house for food and casual socialization, even though we were just tagging along with my asbestos friend. The Pastor came and visited us at the hospital on day four of our two day stay (of an eventual eleven day stay) at the hospital for my son’s first surgery. I coordinated Halloween costumes with the Pastor’s wife and my asbestos friend (we were girls from the 80’s. Because we are.) The Pastor stayed with us at the hospital for like five hours on the first day of my son’s two day stay (yes, it was only 2 days total) for his second surgery. He was a pleasant distraction. But there is no denying he has seen us at our worst. He saw me break down and cry as they wheeled my son into surgery, and he pretended not to notice. Although he was probably just grateful it wasn’t one of his kids. And I wouldn’t blame him. He is someone I thought if I was really freaking out about life I could go and talk to him. Now I guess I will never know.

So, two more people I will never get a chance to fully be friends with are leaving my life. It is so hard to find truly nice people who are funny and goofy. I need to find a way to hold on to them better.

I’m not stalking you. is NOW ON FACEBOOK! “Like” that I’m not stalking you and get an update when there is a new post to read. (It is sort of like YOU are stalking ME.)

Bathtime

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I guess every kid has an issue with something. My son (“M” for the sake of the blogosphere) has an issue with the bathtub. As an adult educated in the laws and reasons of science, I do not understand it. But, I am not 18 months old.

Baths for my son started in the usual way—in a baby bathtub, in the kitchen sink. He hated baths at first. But we just figured that was because he was probably cold. He was only 5 lb. 11 oz. when he was born. And at three weeks old, we realized our furnace had been running inefficiently for some time. Especially because it died and we had to buy a new one.

Once the weather warmed up and our baby fattened up, things started to go better. Throughout the summer and into the fall, we moved him into the big tub. It was a fairly smooth transition.

In November of 2011, M had to get a tube put into his left kidney that went out to an external bag that we had to hang on his back. He had the bag through January of 2012. In that time, we gave him sponge baths. In the living room. My mom thought we should have given them to him in the kitchen sink. I stood by the fact that he was too big for that now, and might rip the faucet off or something. And, truth be told, I liked to watch TV while we bathed him. He got to where he hated this, and would cling to one of us (mom or dad) screaming, while the other (dad or mom) did the best they could to wash him as quickly as possible. (As it was winter again, we chalked it up to that he was probably cold.) Sometimes this ritual would be followed by changing the bandage over his tube site. It wasn’t oozy or anything. We changed it to keep it well covered and keep infection out. But it required much screaming (by my son) and anxiety (from the parents). That may not have helped the situation either.

A week after the tube was removed I was very excited to return him to a more standard bathing routine. I plopped him in the normal tub in about an inch of water and…he screamed his head off and stood up and clutched my shirt as if I was trying to drown him. This went on for what seemed like an eternity. In reality, it was probably only a few months.

I asked the pediatrician what she thought. She hypothesized that he was just so traumatized by having the same major surgery twice and being stuck with needles by strangers, etc. that it was bound to manifest itself in some way. A great idea with probably some truth, but not a help in revolving said situation. I asked for advice from family members. Sister-in-Law suggested I let him play in the tub without water in it. I did. He was fine with that. But somehow, that ease of attitude didn’t translate to being naked in the tub with water.

So, he was standing and screaming and clutching. Until, one day, out of the blue, he figured out that he could splash his foot in the water. His right foot, to be exact. Then the screaming seemed to stop. He began to hold on to the side of the tub and, while standing, splash his right foot in the water. So no more clutching my shirt. And he would splash his left foot sometimes now too. I can wash pretty much any part of him, and he doesn’t mind, as long as he can splash his feet.

You are right, this is a big improvement, except HE IS STILL STANDING UP! He holds on to the bathtub edge for support, and it gets all slippery with water and soap. He is leaning down the whole time to watch his foot splashes. With his head hanging over the edge of the tub. One time, early on, as he was doing this, I was sitting in front of him. All of a sudden he had fallen head first out of the tub and done a sort of somersault into my lap. Suddenly I had a wet, slippery baby in my lap. I put him right back in the tub and he was unphased. He went back to stomping his foot and splashing the water.

If I try to sit him down in the tub, he screams. I have bath toys floating around. He might try to step on one with his foot if it floats by, but otherwise he ignores them. Have you ever tried to wash a child’s hair when their head isn’t even inside the tub, but hanging over the edge? I try to rinse it out and I end up with wet knees and a wet bathmat.

I fell like, if we can get over this hump of him sitting down in the bath, we will be caught up to where we should have been by now. If we hadn’t of lost three months to the nephro tube and sponge baths. It does seem as though persistence pays off eventually with him. I know it did with him falling asleep at bedtime. Hmmm…Maybe I could avoid all this by just giving him a shower instead?

I’m not stalking you. is NOW ON FACEBOOK! “Like” that I’m not stalking you and get an update when there is a new post to read. (It is sort of like YOU are stalking ME.)

Time Machine

Do you ever wish you had a Time Machine to skip over a hard day? I sure do.

I could put on Facebook when my son is going into the hospital to have surgery (which seems like a form of medieval torture) to get sympathy and support. But I do not, for two reasons:

1. I don’t want thieves to go “Oh, she is at the hospital with her kid, let’s break into her house.” That would add insult to injury.

2. I may want to get a job someday, and I don’t want potential employers to know that my kid has racked up over $100,000 in medical bills this year, and counting.

I must be the wussiest parent ever. All the other parents in the pediatric pre-op waiting room seemed calm and composed. I was a freakin’ mess. I was freaking out for two main reasons:

1. I am afraid when I hold him before surgery it will be the last time I ever hold him. Surgery always has risks.

2. I feel like this will never end. I feel like my son will be 18 years old and we will still be going to the urologist every month for his dilated kidney. I would LOVE for the doctor to fix it and then we only have to have a test like once a year to make sure it stays on track.

* I secretly believe my son’s urologist is writing some groundbreaking article he will publish in a medical journal about my son’s unique complications and the doctor will make a ton of money off of it.

As my son screamed in the backseat, my overwhelming thought on the hour drive to the hospital for my son’s latest surgery was: I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to be an adult. I don’t want to be a parent. I can’t handle all this responsibility. Everyone has their limit of how much shit life can throw at them, and my son’s medical issues are bringing me very close to my limit.

Just Remember, It Could Always be Worse

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My son had surgery on 6/28. We were in the recovery room for six hours before the anesthesia wore off enough that he could go to a regular room. That sounds awful and scary, and it was. But while my son was in the recovery room, a four year old boy came in who was being treated for cancer. He had just spend a month at a clinic in Cleveland. He screamed in pain and kept begging the nurses that he just wanted to go home with his sister and be in his own pajamas in his own bed with his dog. It was heartbreaking. I couldn’t really feel bad about my baby, who had a surgery that went well and just needed more time to get other his anesthesia cocktail. I realized we were lucky, that someone else always has it worse.

I thought of that kid many times over the following week. When my son was losing blood and no one knew where it was going. When he had a 105 degree fever. When he needed a blood transfusion. When they told us he had a hematoma. When he ended up in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. When we were at the hospital for eleven days instead of two. I always, in the back of my head, thought he still has it better than that boy. There are probably parents who would call the cancer boy lucky, because he is still alive, while their children are not.

My son is home now & doing well. Sleeping in his own bed. I guess I will always wonder, sadly, if that little boy ever got to sleep in his own bed in his own pajamas, with his dog & his sister.

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