Can we re-start this month, please?

This month has been hell.

The beginning, I was in the ER, off work for an entire week (working 4 hours out of 7 or 8 days), and coughed so much I lost my voice. Jamie got fairly sick at the beginning (flu with viral bronchitis, woo!) Then the whole…dog attacking cat and cat dying thing. Saturday is when Izzy goes off to The Big Sleep, but we haven’t changed routine or treated her any different. 

This past Monday evening, after work, Jamie took me back to the ER because I couldn’t breathe, was making horrible wheezy noises (to the point where numerous customers asked if I was ok and offered to get a supervisor, one of the supervisors tried to convince me to leave before my first break, and our loss prevention lady said I was crazy for staying when I obviously should be getting looked at). 4 1/2 hours in the waiting room after being sent into the “triage” room (where the nurse/tech said “wow, at least you came in with something exciting like that hideous wheezing instead of ‘I hurt my finger.'” [found out later that the “I hurt my finger” was a guy who had fucked his hand all up and had wrapped so much guaze around it to staunch the bloodflow that he looked like he was wearing a boxing glove. he got called back to a “room” about an hour before we did])

We finally get sent back to a “room” about 2-3 hours after I had been taken back for chest x-rays and Jamie loudly grumbles “well, it’s a good thing to know that your having trouble breathing isn’t a big deal.” and the tech/nurse just looks at us like we’re crazy because I’m wheezing like hell. Jamie has to be my interpreter and I’m trying to say stuff too to the nurse/tech and the doctor, who decides without wanting any information (like, oh, I’ve been waking up every few nights for the past two months because I stop breathing) because she’s already decided what I have. 

She ignores the large bumps on the back of my tongue, the roof of my mouth being nasty white, and comments that my throat is “very red.” (yes, and it’s also got pustules), states that my lungs are fine, and that I’ve “just got some inflammation” in my neck due to trying to talk. She says she’ll “be back soon” with an evaluation and so we wait. For two hours.

Finally, Jamie asks if he can rip out the doo-hickey and I unplug myself, causing the monitor to go off. Put my polo shirt back on and head out to the desk, where the nurse/tech is…doing nothing. Jamie says “I’m sorry, but we need to leave, we both have to be at work by 6.” And we find out that the doctor has given her my discharge papers a while ago. wonderful. We have to go back to the room so she can rip out the thing in my arm (I’m still having problems. She got the same vein as the other nurse/tech did at the beginning of the month, but for whatever reason, it hurts like a motherfucker) and she informs me that the doctor says that I’ve got laryingitis, but it’s so bad that I pretty much blew my vocal cords.

The poor girl goes on to explain what laryngitis is and I had to stop her and say this is the 5th time I’ve had it (I was wrong, I told her since 2009, but it’s been once a year, every year, for the past five years). She continues with “I know someone who’s had it for 3 months” before telling me that I could either get my voice back in a few days, a few weeks, or possibly never. 

Fan-freaken-tastic.

On the plus side, I’m pissing off a lot of stupid people at work (who ignore my dry-erase board sign that says: “Terribly sorry, but I cannot talk. Have a nice day”) and this is giving Jamie and me a much-needed push to learn ASL like we’ve been wanting to do. We know a couple of signs, but not a lot to make conversation.

I did have a gentleman today get super excited and think I was deaf who could read lips really well. I had to write no, I just blew my vocal cords. He mentioned trying yoga and unclogging the throat chakra by breathing through the nose and mouth as well as imagining a bright, pure white light that will heal my throat from the inside out. I thought it was pretty awesome.

Some of the customers who come in about once a week or so are still shocked I can’t speak. It’ll have been a month tomorrow and, frankly, I’m tired of it myself.

Hopefully next month will be a lot better. On the plus side, an old friend of ours is coming down to Roanoke to visit us for a few days. We’ll be playing “tourist” while she’s down here.

Trying for “normal”

Jamie and I are trying to get back into a somewhat normal routine. He’s been more mindful of his diet and excersize routine (he does power lifting and thankfully works with a trainer that does not believe in the “see food” diet [see food: eat it]) and we’ve been trying to get back into our normal routine for the dogs. 

Izzy is not being treated any different. They all know they did something bad, but aren’t completely sure what it was; but they’re not being punished or forced to stay in their crates all day. Everyone’s getting Ensure in their food, they’re being let out for longer periods of time (because it’s the weekend and thankfully I happen to have it off), and we’re making sure that their injuries are taken care of. We have super-powerful vet-perscribed-only medication that we’re putting on the dogs for their scratches so they heal. Firefly hates it, but I don’t blame her. We’ve been taking extra precautions with her because her punctures/scratches are all over her face.

Izzy’s ear is looking better and we found this morning that Bug’s ear got jacked up too, so we’re taking care of that. Hobbes seems to be the only one who didn’t get hit with a claw.

Izzy’s also been getting some extra treats in her food dish (chicken, sweet potatoes, etc).

Stimpy has been acting more lovey lately because Algea’s not here. Jamie keeps taking him and talking to him, telling him what happened and whatnot. He’s been spending a lot of time laying on the bed beside Snooch.

In lighter news (I guess, ha). I’m still kind of sick, still can’t really talk for shit. I’m sure some of my coworkers will give me hell for not being able to talk and whatnot. I’d just like to stop whatever this is. I’m tired of being winded when attempting to talk or walking up the basement steps. 

well…fuck

So, about lunchtime, Jamie got a call from the vet saying that it’d be a good idea if we came asap. Algea had taken a downturn and  the vet wanted to discuss what options we had and have everyone on the same page.

We opted to have them try a steroid injection to see if it would help bring down the swelling in his head/neck so they could figure out it it was swelling on the brain or sinus/nasal swelling. I stayed while Jamie went back to work to explain to his boss what was happening and grab his things. He came back, and until then there’d been no news (and we were doing the “no news is good news!” thing at the time). Jamie had stepped outside to call his dad when one of the vet techs came out to say that Algea was doing ok, they were taking him off of oxygen, he was breathing a little better, and he had stood up, turned around, and curled back up (unlike earlier when we got the call when he would stand up and immediately fall back down).

We were allowed to go see him, give him some scritches and tell him we loved him. He was sleeping and curled up into a ball. We left for a few and came back. We were taken to one of the exam rooms and discussed how Algea was doing. He wasn’t on oxygen, his breathing was rapid but not as bad as earlier, and did we want to keep him there for overnight, do another injection, or take him to EVS for observation. 

We opted to try the injection again, which would be done around the time that the vets left for the day, and not have him moved because I was afraid that moving him would cause him more trauma and stress; Jamie agreed with me. So we let the desk staff know what was going on and we went to Kroger because, damnit, after how this has been going, I’d like a beer. I did a mix-n-match 6-pack and we found a really nice bouquet of roses in a vase that we agreed would be good to get and give the staff because they are always awesome, extremely helpful, etc. We cannot give them enough praise*

We were about a street away from the house when Jamie got the phone call from the vet stating that Algea had passed, did we want him to be cremated, if we’d like to come in after a while that’d be cool. So we kept on going and headed to their office, where I set the vase on the counter and Jamie pointed out that it’s because they’ve always been great and awesome and we wanted to say thank you. One of the ladies there almost burst into tears and Jamie asked if we could speak to the vet for a few and we were lead back into the “conference” room (it’s two chairs with a little table that has a plant on it in a small room) and we spoke to the vet.

He’d told us that he had just gone on his normal rounds of checking on everyone and looked in on Algea and did a double take because something didn’t feel quite right. He opened the kennel door and sure enough, Algea’d gone. He was still curled up in the little bed they provided for him. The vet said that it was quiet and peaceful, that he’d been expecting some sort of noise, but there was nothing. We’d all figured that it was because Algea had realized that it was a quiet, safe space where people were keeping an eye on him. He’d been able to relax enough to sleep and just went in his sleep.

We ended up discussing different things, like building terrariums for critters, reptiles, and that we had gone ahead and opted to put Izzy to sleep (the appointment is for next Saturday). The other vet that we normally see will be the one administering the procedure, so the vet that we had today got him up-to-speed with everything that was going on so he wouldn’t be all wtf when he saw our appointment with him. 

We’ll be picking up Algea when they call us to let us know his ashes have arrived and we’re treating Izzy like we always have. When we got home and I let everyone out, I realized where all the mystery blood from Algea’s mouth had come from:: he’d ripped the shit out of Izzy’s ear. And, because I wasn’t paying attention (and the stress from the incident), Izzy’s ear didn’t get cleaned until about 5.30 tonight and slathered with neosporin. I’ll be putting a warm compress on it again in the morning and re-slathering it. I also got Firefly’s scratches on her head slathered with neosporin and double checked Bug and Hobbes–who both seemed to have not had anything happen.

Nope, you can’t save them all, but you sure as hell can try.

 

 

*Seriously, if you live in the Roanoke area, I highly recommend going to Valley Animal Hospital on Hildebrand Rd. The staff is amazing, the vets are awesome, they look after birds, rodents, reptiles, cats, dogs. They’re about $3-10 or so more than other vets in the area (based on things like nail trimmings, exam costs, x-rays. roughly the same on flea/tick preventative and heartworm medication, as well as boosters/shots), but it’s well worth it. The vets are happy to answer any question you may have (really, we’ve discussed a lot of pet-medical stuff with them and they’ve always been more than happy to elaborate on anything we have questions about). 

And hey, how many vets can you take your “exotic” pet to as well as your “normal” domesticated pet?

sigh

Warning: This is not a nice post. This will be discussing some pet-related things that most people do not want to talk about. (and, because I still feel like hell, fuck it. I’m writing it anyway. You can either read it or you can leave)

I will not be going too in-depth for reasons.

Yesterday after Jamie got home, it was a fairly nice evening, so we opened the windows. One of the windows in the cat room has a spot where the screen has been busted open (due to Stimpy being a fat-cat and squishing himself until he fell out) and we have not fixed it because, well, we just haven’t and we’ve misplaced the window-screen cutter thing.

We fed the dogs early, so we could have a lazy night together, and not thinking about it, let them out. 

Algernon was outside.

Algea had gotten out (because for whatever reason he likes to sit on the porch) and Izzy went after him. He tried getting away and tried getting back into the house, but because of Izzy, the other dogs were trying to get to him too. I started kicking the dogs (because, as is mentioned in any spat-problems or your dog trying to eat a groundhog like Firefly did within her first year of us having her, it is not safe to put your hands into the problem. You shake bottles, you whack sticks against the house, or you kick). 

This is not something I am proud of, this is not something I recommend (it’s like using shock collars to “train” your dogs), but it was the only thing I could do. 

With Hobbes, if you play kick his butt, he’ll slink off and hang back, but I had to kick him pretty hard and he was the first to the backdoor. I managed to yell for Jamie (a feat since it’s hard to talk in general) and got Bug in the butt, but Izzy just kept going back to Algea. 

Jamie got all the dogs into the house and put them in their crates, called our vet’s office and grabbed a towel. Algea managed to get himself into a position where the dogs wouldn’t get him and just growled. He tried to attack me, but Jamie was able to get the towel around him and we rushed off to our vet’s office.

Algea attacked the nurse who tried to take him from me, but just unhooked his claws and had me walk him back to the surgery table they have in the back, where two nurses and Dr J and Dr K were waiting. Algea tried to attack all four of them, but they were able to dope him up with some pain meds and we agreed that it’d be best if we went to EVS.

We almost got into a car accident because the person in front of us, while we were on our way, kept slowing down to 15 mph and slamming on their breaks. When Jamie went to pass them, they sped up to about 60 and tried to side-swipe him. Jamie was fully expecting a police officer to follow us.

Got into EVS, and realized that we did not have the Care Credit card (fffffuuuuuu), but the staff was understanding and said to call when we got home (which we did). We were all expecting the worst for Algea, so Jamie and I got little-to-no sleep.

They were afraid his jaw was broken or dislocated–found out it’s not. They were afraid of his trachea being torn, crushed, or collapsed–and thankfully it’s not. They double checked for internal bleeding, fractures, etc. 

We picked him up this morning to take him back to our vet’s office for just basic observation. He’d been weaned off of oxygen and had been going good since 4 am (when he was completely off of it), he doesn’t need any IV fluid at our vet’s office (he’s got a frog-wrap on his leg! it’s kind of adorable). The worst for him is some swelling in his head and neck (he did just get attacked by a dog and did fall–from trying to get back into the house), the puncture that’s in his ear (near the base of his skull), and a teeny tiny little bit of dried blood at the corner of his eye. And some broken nails.

He’s cost us a lot, but thankfully we’d just got the Care Credit card balance to zero (just in time to max it out with this) and thankfully he’s ok.

When I dropped him off at our vet’s office this morning, I told them to beware because now Algea smells bad (dirt, blood, old leaves, hospital smell. not a good combination) and Dr K came out to double check that it’s just a basic observation and then became very serious.

He pointed out that it would be a very good idea to consider (_____) with Izzy. Because it’s just a matter of time before it escalates into something worse, like her attacking a child (we go through a lot of preparations if anyone brings a kid to our house), attacking and killing a cat, or attacking one of us. (we had an entire conversation about it without actually saying the word) I pointed out that Izzy has in fact tried attacking the cats before, has bitten me, bitten Jamie a couple of times, went after Rhonda, and has tried to attack Jamie’s dad. 

We have gone through training (Izzy  has passed basic and advanced obedience classes), personal at-home training (with the same trainer, she is also liscenced (or whatever it is) to do CGC certifications and if Izzy hadn’t had failed like two things, she’d be CGC certified), we have done blood tests, we have done extra nutrition (regular vanilla Ensure, as recommended by Dr K). But, she did start this during the 18-24 month period, where the brain clicks and they get their “real” personality. I was hoping she’d be like Firefly (a butt for a couple months and then back to being herself), but she’s always had problems. We have done everything that we can think of to not come up to The Decision, which we’ve also been putting off for months.

But, the vet did point out that it is something we have to seriously consider and he’ll back us up on whatever we decide.

It’s not something anyone wants to consider.

This is not something I’m sure most anyone wants to discuss. It’s something that “happens to other people,” not someone you know directly (or yourself). So, later today, we’re going to have a serious discussion about Izzy with our vet.

blegh

So…at the beginning of February, I wound up in the ER because of things. The doctor determined that, since I was able to get up and walk (clumsily, but I did not fall!) to the restroom after…quite a lot of morphine, I did not have bacterial meningitis. There was the possibility of viral, but after the…kind of high doses of headache relief injectables, I was able to move my head around. I also refused a lumbar puncture because, while it is hilarious when your doctor says “I need to extract some brain juices,” I do not like needles. They don’t numb you for that shit and if they thought it was bacterial, yes I’d do it, but unless I have the risk of losing limbs: no.

So I was informed I have a viral infection in my lungs (yay) and a cold that turned into a massive cold that caused dehydration (no, the dehydration came from not being able to swallow more than a mouthful or two of water, puking it back up with a lot of mucus, and then coming to the ER), and “here’s a perscription for (super) ibprofen, zantac, and headache pills.” No medication for the infection, nothing for the continous coughing, which has caused me to have no voice for 2 1/2 weeks now (yay, I gave myself laryngitis) 

Had Jamie call into work for me because I can’t talk, and the next day we went to urgent care to find out he’s got viral bronchitis and the flu. Awesome. After three days off work, I went to work, worked half a day and begged to go home via notepad and had Jamie take me to urgent care. The doctor was concerned that nothing was perscribed for the infection and wrote out a perscription for a 5-day Z-pack, which I don’t think did a damn thing. Spent a couple more days off work. (in the span of 7/8 days, I worked 4 hours. omg)

Then! This past Wednesday, Roanoke actually got hit with snow. The joke of “Watch out, Southerners driving in ‘snow’ flurries” is very true for our area. Jamie pointed out that he’d heard on the radio that if anyone under 18 says they’d never seen this much snow, it was true because it’s been that long since we’d gotten a good snow. I had to leave work early on Wednesday (and found on the next day that the reason why I’m so irritated is because of the headache medication the ER doctor perscribed: less frequent side effect is extreme irritability), thankfully had Thursday off, and went in on Friday.

Found out yesterday that last Thursday, there were less than 10 people working (for our store, that’s beyond skeleton crew), and on Friday, there were only 5 cashiers (me being one of them), which explains why we were assigned instead of checking our badges. And then the roof started leaking so one of the registers is closed down, but we keep getting assigned to it.

I still can’t talk, my head is killing me, I don’t think that infection went away (because it hurts to breathe, I’ve been wheezing off and on, and I shouldn’t be getting worn out as fast as I’ve been lately), and I’m just…tired of it. I’m tired of being sick, I want this to go away but it’s not, and it seems like more and more symptoms of something keeps piling up.