Thursday, February 12, 2009

Molly's Big Adventure

Molly is 100% blind - no shadows, no lights, nothing at all, and it's entirely permanent. I need to state this before I describe her Big Adventure today. Molly has always been a creative and busy little girl all her life, but I figured some of her habits were going to not be a concern any longer after the blindness. I felt guilty for how I used to get so angry at her for getting on the kitchen counter and eating food - how does a beagle get up there? Plus, I was always worried about her breaking a leg or something jumping down.

This morning I had to leave early for a hair appointment. I have changed my hairstyle. It's no longer shoulder length or even close - it's pretty short for me. I have 3 different colors of highlights put in, and some of my own left untouched. I gave up on aiming for my own natural auburn (which had natural highlights and lots of colors, but is fading and graying, sad to say), and decided to go with much more contrast. I now have strangers stopping me and telling me how pretty the color looks - much like my life was when I was younger with the auburn, except it's no longer long enough for strangers to grab and wrap their hands in. That used to creep me out, and yes, it did happen often. Recently my brother said he went through it, too. (I think he liked it more, lol!)

When I got home, I noticed first thing that two cupboard doors were open. That generally only happens when I am late for a dog meal - Molly will prepare her own meal. She will open a cupbaord and chew up a Tupperware dish that smells like it had food in it, or grab a plastic or paper bag that was used for food at some point. Maybe demolish a candle, chew up a pen, rip a button off my jammies, whatever she feels is appropriate. I aim to be on time for dog meals. I wasn't even close to being late today, but it's slightly possible that I did forget to give them a little milkbone on the way out. It was early, I was tired, and I can't remember.

Upon getting further into the kitchen, I found a chewed up box for holding garbage bags, two bags on the floor, one of the pull-out shelves for the lower cupboards was open, the lid was off the cake pan that held 3-4 dozen cookies last night, and half a loaf of bread was gone. I must have disturbed her snack, since only maybe a dozen or two cookies were gone, and not the whole loaf of bread.

Just in case it wasn't Molly this time, I carefully felt the bellies of both dogs. No question. Molly is plumped up like a ball park frank, and Baby's little belly was caving in, as usual. For an 8-year old, she has one fine, tight little belly.

How does a blind dog do this? I have no idea. She may have climbed up the pull-out shelf like a stair, but even that might have not been enough - she would have had to climb from there. She might have jumped up on a bar stool and walked across the bar to the rest of the counter, but if she did that, she didn't knock anything over on the way.

Molly seems a bit quiet today. I wonder why? I had to give her the monthly shot today, which meant a treat, too - I was worried about that, but I gave her a very small dish of frozen doggy yogurt treat. Molly got her shot of Percorten, I got my shot of Effen Black Cherry so I could do it. Baby got 90% of the dog dinners. Molly got a tiny bit just so she could have her pill in it.

For weeks after my cataract surgery I will have to sleep on the floor with the dogs because Molly can't gauge the distance to jump up on the bed. Maybe I just need to put a dozen cookies on the middle of the bed. I bet then she would get up there on her own!

As far as I know now, my surgery for my right eye will be 1/24. I am happy to hear any horror or good stories regarding anyone else who has already had this done or knows someone who did. I will be getting one of the two multi-focal lenses. They are $2000+ for each lens, but I figure this is my vision for the rest of my life. I want to get it the best I can. They are the Restore and the Crystal lenses. I am leaning towards the Crystal, but I need to discuss it again with my doctor, who is now home from her emergency out of town. I could see her tomorrow, but I am leaving too early for my weekend visit with ST. If I could go tomorrow, I could probably have planned for the surgery to be done 1/17. Dammit.

I was also told that it's possible they will not be able to get optimal vision for me and may have to change to a different lens. I asked if that meant another $4000, and she wasn't sure. I asked her to check, since that is a serious bill for someone living on a pension. Actually she didn't say "optimal." I think she said "You might not be able to see very well."

Once again I will have Fly Eyes. I had plastic thingies to tape over my eyes when I had the Lasik done to protect my eyes while sleeping. With Molly around, I am more than willing to wear Fly Eyes again. She is very creative. Baby is skittish, and moves quickly sometimes, so I need protection from her, too. Toss in my vertigo, and Fly Eyes will be the height of fashion around here.

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone - I hope to get to more journals soon. I have stopped by a few so far, but not nearly enough. I really miss hearing all the news!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Snow weenies

Has it really been since November? I have been trying hard not to whine constantly about my weird medical issues so I figured it was one of those times that if I had nothing good to say, I should just say nothing. However, I feel a whine coming on.

First, to explain the title here - we have had SNOW this year. In addition to probably double our usual horrid snowfall, we have had unusually cold temperatures. Combined, that means snow that hangs around. I don't think we have seen our grass since around Thanksgiving. I am sure it's still under there, some where, just counting the days until our January thaw. Oh wait, this is February. Well, we are sort of melting now. Somewhat. It doesn't mean winter is over or we won't get much more snow, it just means a temporary reprieve with melt.
That picture is my front yard taken a week or so ago. My poor beagles, one blind, have had a horrible time finding a good place to pee. Today we were actually able to get to the backyard. They were very happy to be smelling the prints left by the local herd of deer that runs through our backyard on a regular basis. I was happy to have them pee in the back for once. Even so, the snow was frozen - in some areas even I was able to walk on top of the snow.
Now for my medical whining. After about a zillion doctor visits and enough co-pays to sink my financial ship, I think I know some of what is going on. I lost weight possibly due to silent gastritis. You don't even want to know some of the tests involved to get that diagnosis, but let's say biopsies were involved, so I was rudely invaded. The pseudomonas aeruginosa on my skin is probably always going to be with me. I was finally told, "You are very, very white with very extremely sensitive skin." OK, I can live with it.
The "thrush" turned out not to be thrush. How many doctors did it take to come to this determination? It was only tested once, and the test was negative. Even so, I was treated for thrush by at least 4 doctors. I finally realized that if I saw a doctor in the morning, I was told my mouth was normal. If I went later in the day, I mostly got a confused doctor, treated for thrush, or once told, "I have no idea what this is. Can I take pictures of it? I have never seen anything like this!" Eventually I saw an oral surgeon who told me it's an auto-immune disease and I should just get used to it. Sure, I am now used to the fact that the inside of my mouth is swollen and looks somewhat normal in the morning, then sort of deflates between 1-2 pm daily, leaving the inside of my mouth to pretty much slowly peel off. Usually it doesn't hurt, but it is very, very dry. It could go away for years at a time, but would probably return.
Which auto-immune disease? Oh, one of three. No biopsy needed, he said, because it's not terminal and it doesn't matter which one it is. We can't treat it.
OK. I can live with this, too.
Meanwhile, I was still not hungry, but not really losing more weight. I have been given a new medication for that, but so far we aren't getting along very well. I have cut the dosage in thirds, but probably won't be able to continue with it. I think it's like trying to put out a candle with a fire hose anyway. There was talk of h pylori, but the biopsy must not have shown that. Darn. That is fixable.
Since last summer I have been noticing my vision in my right eye is deteriorating, so I figured I was going to have to give in and get glasses. I had Lasik done 10 years ago, and haven't needed glasses except maybe some readers if I am tired. I can read without them, but I don't ever want to strain my eyes. I went to my ophthalmologist. I do not need glasses. I need cataract surgery.
My reaction? I said NO and left. Within a few days I was laughing at myself. Was I expecting this to heal? I don't think so. When I finally decided to return to get measured for the surgery, my doctor was called out of town that very same morning for an emergency and would not return for almost 2 weeks. She should have been back today. I will get at least the right eye done soon. The left can maybe wait a while, but it also needs to be done. I knew I had a small cataract years ago, but did not even consider that was my problem now. Both eyes? Surprise!
My postponed trip to see ST did happen in January. It was very nice to see him and have a whole weekend together. He did still manage to find some time to use his computer for work, but it wasn't an issue. We have never had that much time together before, and it was great. I learned not to use bubble bath in a jacuzzi.
We are going to meet up again this coming weekend in DC. Last time was just before the inauguration, so we went to a different city in Virginia to avoid the crowds. I had hoped to get my right eye fixed before the trip, but it wasn't to be.
So you snow weenies can stop complaning about a few inches of snow. I admit, I haven't been able to keep up on journals for a long time, but I can just guess that many of you have been upset over a few inches of white stuff on your lawns.
Sorry to be absent so long. Time just flew by! I don't feel poorly so much any more. Just tired. Very, very tired. I can't take my Xyrem for sleep now, but that is a whole separate story. I have vague hopes of being able to use it again, because it's the only thing I have ever taken for sleep that has allowed me to really get deep sleep. I have had to depend again on my old sleeping pills. They at least allow me light sleep.
Let's get ready for my PreTravel Freak Mode Dance that will be starting any moment now. You know I haven't done anything to get ready for this trip yet, and I leave in 4 days.
I have missed all of you and I thank every one of you who took the time to inquire about my health and WTF I have been!