Friday, March 27, 2015

Eleven pounds on your chest

I am trying to read a book. Settled in, recumbent, on the couch, Tiny Dog tucked under my arm, George under the blanket by my knee. And Wren sitting on my chest. She’s a tad sigh-ish, not quite comfy but not sure what to do. Not enough room to lie down.

She’s about 11 pounds, all right on my sternum, and it’s a little hard to inhale. But the longer she sits, the more I give in, and let her weight pin me to the couch, the room, the ground, with each exhale. It’s unexpectedly grounding, after a long work week of being ground-down, long in relative rather than actual time. You know how certain days will stretch out, despite being very busy, and it almost physically hurts to make it through the hours.

Since her butt is in the big dog's direction, Wren can almost tolerate his proximity.

After a minute, Wrennie decides to go for it, and lie down. Her weight shifts off my sternum to across my right chest, and it’s not the same, the weighing down, the anchoring. But I need her there, like each day, and I am grateful. She’s soft and appreciative of petting, and she smells strangely, today, of rust and sweat. Her stitches are out from two weeks ago (not cancer!), and the shaved spots have new hair coming in.

Resting with the three littles always keeps me from floating off into fatigue or anxiety or general human-ness. They are necessary, and they are prescribed by me for my health, every day.

When I get home, I tend to put on Tiny Dog’s favorite down vest and tuck her in. She falls asleep and then it becomes my favorite vest too. She’s against my heart, the curlicue of wound-up churning in my chest slowly untangling itself once again.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sometimes there are no reasons

The snow was gone. Then it wasn’t.

And I woke up with what felt like a nest of snakes in my chest, wound up and crabby. At work, three of six techs were sick, two of them at home. I was sure every surface I touched was covered in germs.

And at work, we have been seeing a smattering of dogs with vague GI signs. The season of snow melt and likely these canines hoovered up what treasures they found in the mud.

And I have lived in this city for 16 years, and never have been to the ER. How come I have been there twice with others (one chest pain, one flu) in the past 10 days? Today, it was packed in their waiting room, and the nurse and MD said they’ve been slammed, no apparent explanation. At our clinic too, crazy. I had barely time to exhale Friday.

With this level of stress, Tiny Dog’s job role is clearly apparent. We pause for a moment to talk to her, to lean down to pick her up, feed her a few cookies. We exhale. She wags her tail. She dances, she sneezes, she yawns, she leans on your calf, she does downward dog yoga pose. All for a treat.

The snow from last night is melting. I didn’t even shovel the sidewalk. The maple out front had a few blackbirds shreeing from its branches when I pulled up. Under the snow, tulip leaves just just up.

Tomorrow there will be more cookies.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

It was hard, but we did it anyways

It’s swoon-weather out there, 50’s, sunny. Some folks are jogging in shorts. Everyone seems happier, even with the black-grass-snow crust on the sidewalks.

I took two of the girls out today for a long walk, George and Tiny Dog. They get muddy pretty fast, low to the ground with the melting snow. G does not care; Tiny Dog dances for me to pick her up. But today she trotted, fast, alongside, little feet clicking to the beat of the songs on my headphones. It was so nice out, we kept going and going, then got cookies and a bowl of water at the fancy dog store, Bad Dog Frida. Where, of course, there was much jubilation by the staff at the pups' cuteness.

Atticus was at daycare and Wren at the clinic. It was very hard to leave Wrennie—those old soul brown eyes looking at me from the cage. She needed three skin masses removed, and I do not work Wednesdays, so it is best if I am not in the building when my dogs have surgery. I am the worst worrier. I can rationalize and sort out my fears, and then it all gets smothered by my heart taking over—SAD LITTLE DOG, what will we EVER do?

So I went home. 

Always photogenic. When she first got the sweater from Nana.

I picked her up after lunch, all done, just like that. Thank you, Dr. H and all our fab CVTs! Wren is now in a dashing navy sweater with striped white trim. She needed coverage for her stiches on her side. It’s these sutures, though, that had her vexed when home. She got stuck on the dog bed, unable to navigate the wood floor because as she stepped down, her skin must have hitched, startling her. She sat there, forlorn. I picked her up and she was prone to panic, to run and scramble away. The meds have made her paranoid.

I took a nap with the little bean, trying to sit still, fighting the urge to read email and the web on my tablet, the compulsion to fill my minutes with electronic flutter very strong. But I forced myself to just sit with her, as she sat with me, after I had surgery and then chemo 5 ½ years ago. Her comfort, then, to me was immeasurable, and I hoped I could return a little to her today.

When she woke, every little move on her or my part made her whine-grunt so I got her some more pain meds. She came downstairs on her own and now is asleep, like usual, next to me on the couch, though, drugged. Small squeaks sometimes still slip out of her snout, but she looks more comfortable than before.

I put off her surgery for two months, but like my coworkers said, it will be good when it is done. In fact, I was so glad when one of the techs, Michelle, called and said: Wren would like to go home now, please. Ok! Hooray, my heart thrummed. Off to get my delightful spotted chihua-mix, ready to tuck her into her favorite down duvet.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Pup not

Only two more weeks, y’all, 'til alternate side winter parking ends. This = spring. It’s happening.

And this was supposed to be what filled my weekend:

Wren is a hater. Tiny Dog is looking at me, hoping I will rescue her.

We started calling the little dude Bubba. The chihuas hated him, which was expected, prima donna mamas. But weirdly, as day two rolled in, Atticus got more spooked and spooky, making sounds like a wookie and jumping away from the pup like he’d seen a spider. It looked like it could escalate to worse.

So he went back to the clinic after 48 hours, after one of us slept on the couch each night. On my night, I held a Nylabone in my fist, so he could eat that instead of my hair. The crate was out of the question: utter bone-rattling despair.

He went home with one of our clinic techs for the rest of the weekend, good woman, and the charm fest began. He is quite dapper.

I have not lived with a puppy for 20 years and now I remember why. In 48 hours he urinated on two dog beds, eight rugs, and no one got any sleep. Tiny Dog was wiped.