Wednesday, January 11, 2012

STRESS and Clarity

You knew it wasn't going to end with those "on plan" rolls, right?

I am definitely PMSing, but things went downhill from there. My little senior dog is in crisis. He is 13 and has been my constant companion since he was 6 weeks old and my kids were very small. He was with me through raising them, single motherhood, working, years of college. I remember some days I would go go go all day, working and taking classes, and I'd pick up the kids from after-school daycare and come home and just be so exhausted and sad because I was working so hard and still had to deal with driving a van that broke down all the time, eating from the food bank, our power being shut off for non payment, and the bills I couldn't pay. And when I'd walk in the door thinking I just couldn't keep going, there he was, wagging his tail and giving the *biggest* doggie grin, doing a little happy dance because I was home. We dubbed him the Dog of Happiness. It fit.

He has congestive heart failure. He's losing his hearing and sight and is in a diaper thing so he doesn't have accidents in the house. I have to carry him up and down the stairs to take him out. Yet he is happy. He sleeps 90% of the time, but when he is awake he is just so joyful, wagging and hopping a teeny bit in his arthritic way, smiling just to be with us. He is so happy that I've been willing to care for him like a baby for weeks, changing him, carrying him, feeding him special food, and getting up with him at 5am. But the past few days he has gotten worse. He has been coughing terribly in the night. I've been up since 4 am the last two days, holding him, feeding him salmon (his favorite food) and talking to him. I put fresh laundry in his bed because he loves to sleep on it. I am trying to make that decision about whether he is ready... whether I am ready. He is still happy. But the coughing IS becoming suffering. I am going to talk to the vet today and maybe they can try another medicine to help him be able to breathe, just for a little while longer.

I wanted to talk to the vet yesterday and take my little happy dog to the park one last time. He always used to go walking in the park with me and he LOVED it. He hasn't been there in over a year, because he cannot walk except across the room. But I can carry him. I can set him in the grass and let him sniff around. I can sit on a bench and talk to him. But I didn't get to do that yesterday because of a crisis involving one of my older kids. Out of respect for their privacy that's all I'll say about that, but any crisis involving my kid is a crisis for me as well. Yesterday was a horrible day. Emotional train wreck might describe it. I was already having a hormone shift, going on very little sleep, and dealing with the dog thing. Adding this put me over the edge.

I got about 4 hours of sleep last night. I had a migraine this morning. But I am going to be okay. I went on autopilot Plan B with my eating. I am going to talk about my Plan B in another post, as I have to go deal with kids/dogs/vet/etc at the moment. But the scale has not budged; it's just doing the same teeny waver between 200 and 201 (201 yesterday, 200.5 this morning). And I did not have time to exercise yesterday at all. I missed my biking for the first time because I actually did not have ten minutes to do it. I think I can find the time today.

I am stressed, I wanted to binge, but I didn't. I am better today than yesterday and starting to get a calm peace about the direction I need to go on both issues (dog and kid). Not bingeing is what gives me enough clarity, even while PMSing and on 4 hours of sleep, to have some peace and confidence about this stuff. If you're not escaping reality with your food-drug, you have to stay present and actually deal with the issues that are causing you stress.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Back to Plan A today.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your bravery and humanity are awesome. My prayers are with you and your family.

Erika said...

Oh Lyn. I know what you are going through but only a little. My husband's doggie was put down 2 years ago at the ripe old age of 16. Dusty was such a good pup, and even though I had only known him for a little while it was hard for me to watch him at the end when he was sick. I can only imagine what it would have been like had Dusty been in my life since he was just a few weeks old. It just broke my husbands heart. I never had a dog growing up. I am really feeling for you. Stay strong, and when you feel like eating just let yourself feel all the stress and the sadness. It will be harder for sure, but when I eat to soothe myself I just feel even worse after. You can do it, Lyn. I'm thinking of you and your kids.

Steelers6 said...

Hugs, friend. Thanks for sharing. I'm sorry you are having tough times with your furry friend, and experiencing a challenge alongside your son. I know what those are like. Hard not to carry it too much, well I guess that depends on what they are. Some of the challenges we might carry more than others. It's been hard for me to let them work their challenges out themselves, and eventually learn not to have it totally ruin MY day too...y'know letting go... Again, that does depend on the nature of the crisis & how much it involves the parent.

Aren't pets so sweet, loving you right up until the end. Aw. Ours did too.
Hugs, Chrissy

April said...

Hope things work out with your kid. About your 4 legged child,I totally understand I've been there myself. I will say that you will just know when the time is right for you and your dog. It will be hard and sad but it will be the right thing to do. Sending you good vibes while you go through this difficult time.

Leslie said...

I hear you about wanting to binge with all the stress. Amazing that you didn't. I think you have a goo loss in your very near future!

I'm so sorry about your dog, Lyn. We had to have our dog put down last March, and I still miss him every day. He was truly a family member, an all of us have grieved him as such. Hugs and prayers -

Matilda444 said...

Know you're in my thoughts and prayers.

violinista said...

I feel for you, Lyn. So sorry you have to go through this emotional roller coaster with your dog, as well as everything else life throws at you!

You're in my thoughts.

PurpleIvy said...

Hello Lyn, Well done for keeping control of your eating. When everything else is going wrong, it will help you feel some element of control. When all of the rest of your challenges are dealt with, if you are able to stick with your plan most of the time, then you won't feel bad about how you lost control. Not sure if that makes sense.

Been enjoying reading your blog.

All the best and thinking of you Pauline

Anonymous said...

Lyn, I am so very sorry about your dog. I was in asimilar situation as you about 18 months ago with my 15 year old border collie mix. She too had been with me through some difficult times and had helped me get through them. The day arrived when I had to put her down becuase she was suffering far more than she was enjoying life. I know that there is nothing to say to make you feel better, but just know that I am thinking about you and your wonderful dog.

Princess Dieter said...

Poor doggie, and Lyn. :( I had a friend lose her beloved pooch recently, and it is a totally identical thing to watching a person grieve for a family member. No different. I never was able to have dogs/cats (bad allergies, like LIFE-threatening, esp cats), so I never had that bond with anything other than a hamster. But I still bonded enough to know it hurts.

You are not caving to stress. That's all you need to do. NOT cave to food. Cave to walks, to talk, to hugging your pooches and kids. Cave to the good stuff, not the food stuff.

This recovering binge-eater knows it's hard. Food is our medication for stress...but we find other therapies for stress. We have to.

God bless, dear.

Jennifer McNeely said...

my dog had the same thing, we got her a thing like you use for kids with ibutreol in it, called AERODAWG
Was awesome, and helped lots with the coughing. Was expensive, but worth the extra couple months with her for her comfort, also was in diapers. I bought size 3 or 4 baby diapers and cut a hole for the tail, as dog diapers are twice as much. Good luck whatever you do, those 4 leggeds are a gift!

AnotherDeb said...

I'm surprised you even THOUGHT of the scale with all that is going on right now. Try not to let the scale carry too much weight (no pun intended) right now. If you are maintaining with PMS, you're ahead of the game. In my book anyway.

There is nothing that compares with losing your pet. That unconditional love is all but impossible to replace, unless with another pet. We had to put our miniature schnauzer down several years ago and it was the saddest day of my life. She meant so much to all of us and gave so much to us -- love, laughter and comfort. I can't tell you how may times I cried into her fur when I was going through a bad time. It felt like she was the only one who loved me sometimes.

Do what you can for your dog now in the end days, but allow yourself to transfer that love to your other dog when the time comes.

I wish you the best with your family crisis as well.

I don't know if you are a praying woman, but I will pray for your situation(s).

Kyle Gershman said...

Simply heartbreaking...but what I can tell from what you have written, that in the end you WILL have done EVERYTHING that you could have to repay all the happiness he provided.

Jane said...

Hugs! Good luck in everything you have going on!!

Anonymous said...

I experienced the same exact thing with my doggie. We grew up together, from ages 13-25. He was my best friend and little brother, really. I know how it feels. In his old age he went blind, had a horrible cough from a collapsed trachea, and had diabetes that required shots. I still miss him and always will.

Nmmumaw said...

Before my sister or I were even born, before my mother married my father and moved into our house, even, she had a cat named Chessie.

Chessie was like our nanny. She knew how to keep us kids in line; she would give us stern "bats" when we were being obnoxious towards her.

Chessie was 21 years old when her health finally failed her. In one week, ONE WEEK, she went blind, had a stroke and lost all use of her back legs. We had to have her put down, and it remains one of the most painful losses of a family member in my memory.

The wonderful thing about animals is that they treasure every waking moment and live only in the present. Animals don't suffer from physical pain the same way humans do (observe a dog a day after abdominal surgery trying to run around). I don't mean they don't hurt, but it doesn't cause the same level of mental anguish. Humans can put fear aside, animals can put pain aside. So, I believe he's relishing every moment you can give him. Relish them with him.

debby said...

Regarding your dog with CHF, forgive me if this is redundant information. But I had a little dog with CHF, and for some reason the vet never mentioned diet. I switched her to canned Science Diet for Seniors, and she lived quite a few years after that cough-free and without any medication.

I know how it is to love a dog, and I am so sorry you have to go through this. If they just weren't so perfect it wouldn't hurt so much.

Palermo said...

I'm sorry to hear about your dog. I know you will do the right thing when the time comes. There is nothing like the unconditional love we get from our pets, many times it's better than from humans.

Diandra said...

Sorry to hear about this. I hope everything turns out for the best. We have got a family dog who is now living with my sister, and we talked about what to do and under which circumstances if his health deteriorates too far. Still I hate that thought, even though I know he had some good years after the rough start to life that brought him to us.

mrschupchake said...

My thoughts are with you today, Lyn.

Theresa said...

Warm thoughts for you and your family Lyn.

Jennneil said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I'm reading it while laying here next to my 12-year-old corgi who has been my constant companion through my divorce and single parenthood. He is so hard of hearing now and has arthritis and cataracts.
It hurts so much to lose a pet. My heart goes out to you over the next few days.