If you've been following along for a little while now, you know that my dog was having issues with walking and with the strength in her front legs. If not, then check out parts one and two below:
Last week I toughened up and took her back to the neurologist for surgery. She had two discs removed from her spine. These were putting pressure on her spinal cord which is what was causing the issues and pain. I was completely fine up until we got to the doctor's office. You know that weird nauseous feeling you get in your guts sometimes? The one that feels like you're vibrating? That's what I was feeling when I dropped her off.
We got into the office and the gal behind the desk talked me through the policies and the paperwork and the deposit. She made sure I had all the phone numbers I could need should I want to get in touch with them. This is about the time that I started crying. It was one of those times where my eyes just spontaneously combusted and there was nothing I could do to stop the tears from falling. The woman was very understanding as I handed my puppers over to her.
Then, somehow, I was supposed to just get in my car and drive directly to work. I was going to have to pretend that everything was totally cool and that I wasn't distracted all day long. The surgery to remove the discs went perfectly. A nurse called me midday to tell me this and that the doctor would follow up in an hour or so. I went back to my desk and tried not to cry with relief. Then, hours went by. Three and a half hours to be specific. No call from the doctor. I had been in a meeting for most of that time so when I was done I called them. He was absolutely going to call me back in an hour. Then, it's 5:30 and I still haven't heard from him. I'm still being told that my dog is fine but the doctor will call me in an hour. By 7:30 I had run out of patience without much recourse. I called the overnight hospital where my dog was supposed to be staying and they took me through a few more details than I had before, but again assured me that she was OK.
The next day was moderately better. A call from the doctor himself! Finally! He tells me she's doing really well and just resting. I ended up calling a few more times throughout the day to check in on her. Always OK. Good.
The anxiety of not having her in the house with me was a lot to handle. I have a low level anxiety issue on a regular day so adding to it didn't help anything. When you're home with your pet you don't necessarily notice the energy they produce. It's something that you're used to. For me the emptiness of the house wasn't so much palpable, because that implies a thickness. Having her not home created a quiet void...an emptiness. The emptiness made me feel extra lazy and depressed.
I got to bring her home after forty-eight hours of stress. I finally get her in my arms and she's still pretty drugged up and so she wasn't entirely sure what was happening. That is until she got in the car and decided she needed to roam all over the car. Then in true Florida fashion is starting storming like crazy on the drive home. My stoned little dog curled into a shaking ball in the backseat as I tried to get us home as quickly as possible and in one piece.
Once home we rested. That was a Thursday. I was able to work from home the next day and all of the next week. Working from home is a dream come true anyway and I'm incredibly grateful to my boss for letting me do it. She's definitely been feeling better so she's thinks she can go and jump around now. Apparently I was supposed to keep her confined this last week but all they really told me was keep her calm.
When we went to get the stitches out they told me she could be on "room rest" and short walks. Oh…well, we've already been doing that. Hmph. Now I'm paranoid again. Every time she gets up, I'm looking for a limp or weakness that isn't there. The main issue is with me coming home. Yesterday I left to get the oil changed in the car and came back and she got so excited she was doing that thing she does when she flings herself everywhere.
This is when I wish that dogs understood logic. To where I can sit her down and talk it out. Tell her to take it easy. That she's got a couple more weeks of recovery and that she needs to calm down. Even then I doubt she'd listen.
I'm just glad that the surgery was a success and that the weakness in her leg and the constantly swelling in her neck is gone. I hate that it took so long and so much money to fix it but at least she's better. That's the most important part.
When I was in elementary school our library and administration coordinated pen pal letter exchanges. I’m not sure if this was something all kids did, or just the kids at my school and the kids at the schools that we wrote to. Back in the 80’s we didn’t have the communication devices we have today. Computers were just becoming a “thing” but we didn’t use them to communicate with each other. For my generation they were mostly for games and typing/word processing. If you wanted to talk to your friend who lived in a different state, then you had to write them a letter. If a friend moved away with their family? It was practically the end of the world. You’d likely never see them again and there are several people that I knew in school that I no longer know now because of this. Today of course you can text or video chat whenever you like on your phone.
I thought of this during a text conversation with a friend who is currently visiting her son in Japan. Here we are in 2017, it’s practically the next day in Japan and she and I are texting in real time.
Growing up I had two pen pals. One was Claire Ball. I don’t remember much about her other than she lived in England and that she sent me a silver bracelet where it clasped with hands instead of the typical clasp. I still have that bracelet. It certainly doesn’t fit my grownup wrist anymore but it’s got such heavy memory attached to it. The other was Nathan Stephens from Washington State. I can’t remember where exactly he was from…Auburn…Bellevue? It was a suburb of Seattle. I vaguely remember that he was a ginger and that I had the most ridiculous eleven-year-old crush on him. I couldn’t begin to tell you what we talked about. I’m sure it was a lot of “how are you?” and “school is great” or “I got a new puppy!” There was nothing else to talk about with strangers back then.
Even now that talking to strangers online has become a daily culture when you consider the comment section of Facebook and as an extension this blog, it still feels odd to me. It’s funny to me that we’re reaching out to others for connection but we’re limiting that connection by keeping it relegated to the computer. Back when I was a kid I would have loved to have met my pen pals. I can honestly say that I looked for them on Facebook but I couldn’t find them of course. Their names are entirely too common and I have no idea what they look like. But for a little while, we were in each other’s lives.
Waiting for the mail to come was exciting. Every day things would get delivered and I’d hope there was something in the mail for me. It made me feel important to receive a letter. There was little that was more joyous than seeing your name on an envelope handwritten by someone who cared enough to take the time to send it. Of course these days, letter writing is a lost art. Holiday cards and occasional coupons from my mother aside, all I get is junk mail and bills. With the implementation of the email billing? Well then all I get is junk mail.
So what about you? Did you have pen pals growing up? Or are you part of the millennial generation who has more or less always had Facebook to keep in touch? Do you still write letters?
I'm writing this on the eve of my birthday. When it's posted, it will be my actual birthday. Thirty-six. A presumable third of my life has been completed and I find myself needing more. I keep trying to be my most authentic self and yet I post this blog with only a few readers and even fewer people in real life who even know it exists. I keep asking myself why that is. Why would I hide this massive project that I am pretty proud of?
I taught myself how to build this site from the ground up. OK, OK. Weebly helped with their fantastic drag and drop system, but I think you know what I mean. No one showed me what to do or how to do it, I just went and figured it out. I am smart and capable and confident…when no one knows what I'm doing.
It's something that's hard to pinpoint. I'm working on getting to the truest me and part of that person is a writer. I may not be incredibly skilled at it, but I can feel it in my bones. See! Even that last sentence. Somewhere along the line I told myself I wasn't good enough. I told myself that the thing I want to do most in the world isn't a viable career path. Don't get me wrong. This isn't a situation where I am regretting the path not taken. This is a time in which I am trying to figure out which path to take.
Do I sit here and write for you (me)? Do I quit my job and focus all my energy on writing and podcasting? While some people daydream about travelling the world, I daydream about packing some gear, my car, and my little dog; and hoofing it around the country. Cash out the 401K and just go experience the world. But how can I do that when there are so many bills to pay? Logic steps in and tells me I can't just quit my job, that I have to have a backup. My creative side says to buy a tiny house and plop it on a plot of land and leave everyone else behind.
I've avoided the original question already. Why shouldn't I announce to my circle of friends and family that I have this thing that I've created. Part of it is because of plain old fear. Fear that people will hate it. Fear that people will disapprove. Most of all, fear that people just won't care. This is that I have built and am building is an extension of me. If it gets ignored, well then it'll feel like real life I guess. I've struggled with feelings of inadequacy pretty much all of my life. I think that comes from a youth spent trying to break free of a mold that was set out for me but possessing an inadequate vocabulary to explain why I needed to oust myself from the "norm".
I do this every year on my birthday, which I always spend alone for reasons I can't get into. Well, I can…but I won't. I started to resent this day because I'm unable to celebrate in the fashion that I want. This makes me sad and cranky and wanting to avoid the whole thing altogether. I'm trying not to be that way this year. I'm trying to break free from the mold that I created this time. I have no idea how far out I'll make it. But I surely have to try.
Thirty-six. Where did the time go?
Happy Birthday to Me.
Random historical events that occurred today!