Happy 8th Birthday, Zoe

Yep, all 4 pounds of her turned 8 years old Wednesday. She’s been such a sweet little baby doll all these years. She had so many health issues when we first got her that we weren’t sure she’d make it through the first week, but look at her now! We took her to PetSmart shopping and everyone (customers and staff) had to ooh and aah about her. The lady from the grooming salon came out to see her. She said she was “perfect”! I agreed! Children had to hold her. Everyone stopped to talk to her. It was a good birthday.

She is still having tummy issues and we’re still trying different combinations of food and medications to see if we can pinpoint the cause. She is good all day but after dinner on some days she bloats up and has gas pains. She’s just miserable. We’ve tried increasing the amount of meals, changed to prescription food, probiotics, stool softeners, gas meds, acid meds, and motility meds. She is now exactly where she started 3 or 4 months ago. I think it’s motility-related but something else is affecting her digestion. I keep remembering how I felt when I had ulcers; belly problems are no picnic!

Other than that we’re hanging in there. Mimi got shots yesterday and a change in medication. Gypsy and ZsaZsa go the first of February. My vision has stabilized; still doing 2 drops 4 times per day, which is a pain but manageable. He tried to start weaning me off them but I reacted immediately so I’m back to 4 times per day. He says he’ll get me off of them eventually. I’m hoping he’s right.

We Survived 2020

We’re settling into a new routine with the canine aspect of the family. They’re all shifting focus, growing and learning that things can operate in a different way than when Dusty was here running the show. We miss him terribly but I’ve stopped crying daily; I’m down to about 4 times a week now. Zoe is still having tummy issues and we’re very worried about her. She’s on a lot of medicines and they seem to control it most of the time but we have no reason for her being this way with her digestion. She’ll turn 8 years old on January 20th; I hope we get to keep her for a long, long time. Mimi will be 17 on January 30, so what does that tell you? We’re on borrowed time already. We’re trying to spend some quality time with her while we can. She has almost no hearing left; her eyesight is failing and now she’s beginning to exhibit some dementia (self diagnosed) symptoms. She’s still eating but in weird ways. She gets a bite then runs off. Then she comes back for another bite, however, that may be after she goes for a walk in the backyard or walked around the living room. The other dogs try to eat her food when she leaves her bowl which causes us stress because we have to shoo them away and protect her food. She is still eating and maintaining her weight but we’ve started feeding her bigger amounts per meal. Time will tell, I suppose.

Khandi has found out that since the little Dusty Tyrant is not ruling Mom’s lap, she can get up there and cuddle in the blanket. ZsaZsa is always under the blanket and Zoe is usually on top of it but there’s room for more now. ZsaZsa has stopped looking before she gets in my lap. Dusty used to nip her nose if she got too big for her britches. He always thought I belonged exclusively to him and he could make the laws about occupancy of my lap. I corrected him about it but some things were not learned perfectly. He was a sweet little tyrant; I miss him terribly. Gypsy, who left our laps years ago (she’s very jealous and conceited; she doesn’t walk, she struts with head held aloft LOL) has begun to allot some time to our laps. It does no good to call HER; she comes when SHE wants to and not before. She has always been different, even as a puppy. She was born in the middle of our bed, the runt of three. Her mom, Lita (Lolita), was a cinnamon-colored deer-head Chihuahua who had been abandoned. She was beautiful, looked like velvet and acted like she owned everything and everyone. Her baby daughter is a different color (she is black/white like her daddy) but the same disposition. But we love on her every time she lets us and that has become every day now. Who knew?

So that is our canine pack now: 5 opinionated, spoiled, aging girls (3 Chihuahuas, 1 chiweenie and a schnoodle (Schnauzer and poodle designer dog), all rescued, all precious, all with their own personalities, foibles and idiosyncrasies…just like us.

Rest in Peace, Dusty Man

Every morning of his 11 year life Dusty was up when I got up and running around the house, happy as a clam. Then he would get in my lap and sleep under the blanket until I got ready to get dressed and start my day. Yesterday morning, I got up as normal and went about my morning routine: take my pills, put Zoe out to potty, feed and medicate her, then sit in my recliner to receive the dogs as they come to say good morning. All as usual except Dusty didn’t come running into the living room for attention. I assumed he was sleeping in; the house was quiet and DH was still asleep.

But Dusty never came to say good morning. I opened the door and looked in the back yard but he wasn’t there. He didn’t answer to my calls. I started toward the garage to check there as DH responded to my query from the bedroom. He got up and went into my office/sewing room to check the dog bed, met me coming down the hall and told me to go sit down; Dusty wouldn’t be coming. What? Dusty was wrapped up in his blanket in his bed but he was no longer alive. I couldn’t believe it!. He hadn’t been sick or acting any differently the night before. He was happy and energetic and loving, the same as any other day of his life. And then he went to sleep and didn’t wake up. Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!

We lost Bandit January 5th to a brain tumor—complete surprise out of the blue!!!! Then, Dusty left us in another complete surprise situation. As DH said, it was the best way to go if it’s your time; just go to sleep and don’t wake up. But the survivors always wish they could have said goodbye, or “I love you” one more time. I hate that the last time I felt his warmth was after his heart had stopped beating. I hate that I’ll never get to cuddle him again or have him lick my face or feel his warm body sleeping in my lap. When we took him to the vet this morning for cremation it was the last time we’d see his beautiful face, the last time we took him to the vet, and the first time he’d never come back home to us happy and excited.

We are devastated! The female canines are very quiet, as is usual when one of the pack leaves us. Dusty was our last male. He was a force to be reckoned with, a joy to be around, 5 1/2 pounds of happy optimism. He filled every room with happiness and excitement. They even loved him at his vet’s office. Loss of his big personality has left a huge hole in our lives so we won’t be normal for a while; our world has ground to a halt. All we can do is love these little girls as much as possible until we all heal inside.


Peepers and Puppers

The top photo was two weeks ago. Bottom is yesterday. The swelling inside my eyeball is still coming down. I don’t have to go back to the retina specialist for a month. I started going every day, then every other day, then once a week, then every two weeks. This is the first time to wait for a month. I think that’s pretty damned cool!!!!!!!!!!! Still on two steroid drops four times per day but he says if the improvement continues he’ll start working me off them. My vision is at 20-60 and we don’t know if it’ll get better or not. Before my cataract surgery in August the surgeon told me they’d get me as close to 20-20 as possible. Four days later I was completely blind in that eye. Five months later and I’m still trying to get my vision back and I no longer go to that first doctor; in fact, he has resigned from the practice. I wonder if he messed up more patients than me.

This is what the right eyeball looks like inside. This is where I’m trying to get now.

Still working on getting Zoe’s digestion back to normal. Poor baby has had a lot of issues the past couple of months. We’ve changed food, put her on probiotics, 3 stomach medicines and now oils. Currently she is doing great; I hope she continues. She’s only at 3.5 pounds so it doesn’t take much for her to lose ground. The vet said not to let her lose any more weight.

Mimi is failing bit by bit. She will be 17 years old next month. She’s getting grayer, weaker. Her hearing is gone, eyesight dimmer and dementia shows its face occasionally. She has spells with her breathing where we’ve wondered if she’ll survive the hour. Still she comes to us for attention, gives back love and licks, and cuddles closer and closer. We carry her, cuddle back, whisper sweet nothings in her ears, take her on car rides, give her treats, and whatever else we can think of…or she can.

All our fur babies are aging; some more than others. (But so are we.) We know we can’t keep them forever, and, at times, think it’ll be better when we don’t have such a large pack to deal with in our advancing years. But I don’t want to hurry up the process. Each of them are their own dogs. Each has their own idiosyncrasies, foibles, personalities, auras. They’re all loved immensely, cared for distinctly and extremely, spoiled to the nth degree, and are parts of this family. This week we celebrated three of their birthdays; we were behind. Khandi’s birthday was December 4th, Dusty was October 1st, Gypsy was August 18th. So we made 2 trips to Petsmart, one ride down Seawall Blvd., trips through the Starbucks drive through, and ordered more toys from Chewy. I don’t know who had the best time: them or us??? It’s been a good week for all. Even in the midst of buying medications and going in for doctor visits and testing, there was fun to be had. That’s the excellent part of having pets. No matter what happens their love is unconditional.


Getting My Life Back

Today was Khandi’s first visit with the new vet. Now they all have been registered locally. All have been healthy lately except Zoe—again. She’s having digestive issues again and has lost 2 more ounces (she only weighs 3.6 pounds). Took her back to the last vet who treated her belly and they’ve put her back on probiotics and have gotten rid of the diarrhea. She’s still having cramping after dinner so we’re still working on fine-tuning her treatment. Otherwise, we have one dental and 3 flu shots for our canine babes, then we’re finished for another year. Even after everything that’s happened in our lives this year we’ve managed to keep up with the furbabies.

My eyes are definitely better than they were two weeks ago. I go back to the retina specialist this week and I have new glasses ordered (for both eyes!) so help is near.

I have started back decorating our new (to us) house and am able to drive, cook a little, clean a little and do laundry. I’m fully functional on the computer and looking forward to getting back to sewing when I get the new glasses. Yay!!!!!!!!

Vision Quest

Saw the retina specialist and the ophthalmologist this week. Got 2 more injections into my left eyeball. That makes 13 total (I hope that is the last of them), however, now that the infection is gone they are able to deaden it sufficiently that we don’t have to deaden the optic nerve first. You’ve never lived until you see this big, honking needle coming directly at your eye and stuck in under the eye to inject pain medicine. The injections this time were for pain during the injection then cortisone to assist healing. He put me on another anti-inflammatory drop 4 times per day for a total of two prescriptions and 8 drops per day and I go back in two weeks.

My vision is clearing though still blurry enough that it’s difficult to read the small letters or focus on facial features on the TV screen. However, night before last I could read them all so I’m assuming that it’s all trying to clear. I’m going to get some glasses in 7-10 days that will correct some of it and help the vision in my right eye cope with the load.

I am able to sleep in my bed now although I’m more comfortable in the recliner. I can drive, bend at the waist, pick up the dogs, do laundry, etc., normally. I am beginning to get my life back. Today I had the hope that perhaps with the glasses I’ll be able to sew again. Hope reigns!

Still Doing Eyes

This picture is the inside of my eyes today. Left photo is the undamaged right eye. Middle photo is the left eye. They say that shows inflammation. I don’t see my retina guy until next Wednesday but went to see the on-call guy today because I started having headaches that I was hoping weren’t related to the eye issues. He said the eye hadn’t changed; not to worry about it. Works for me.

I Survived (of course)

Surgery went well; there was no pain since they put me to sleep while they deadened my eye. The worst part was the IV which took two tries. LOL And I was so panic-stricken! We made the trip just fine, no complications. Stopped by Starbucks on the way home and picked up my coffee then went home and slept in the recliner.

When I went to the surgeon the next day for bandage removal it was like a scene from a movie. The patch came off and I could see!!!!!!!! OMG, so surprised and elated. I have a couple of stitches in the eyeball that are irritating and I’m still recovering/healing from the surgery but I have hope now which is something in short supply prior to this surgery.

I even drove myself to Starbucks one day. I can drive again but it really irritated my eye to do so, so I’ll keep driving to a minimum for the near future. It’s nice to know I could drive in case of emergency.

Now it’s eye drops all day, sleeping in the recliner, watching a whole lot of HGTV and trying not to move my eye. The more it moves the more irritated it feels but it’s getting better on a daily basis. I can’t lay down or bend at the waist or anything that would put any pressure against the eye. So I’m doing TV and Pokémon all day and into the night. Thank god for Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video.

Today I had an appointment with the cataract surgeon (first visit in 3 weeks). He said it looked good, was healing nicely and my vision was improving. That says it all.

Twas The Night Before Surgery

…and all through the house…  Wrong story.  Surgery in the morning to try to fix my eye.  Wasn’t really scared for the first eye surgery but very jittery about this one.  Will it hurt?  Will they be able to fix it?  Will I get my vision back or am I permanently blind?  (gods, what an awful thought!)

In the photo above the left side is the front of my eye.  The right side is the optical nerve and blood vessels.  The triangular spiderweb in the middle is what they’re going to remove tomorrow.  Right now I see the world through a cloud.  They’re also repairing a spot on the cornea where the new lens was installed in August so my eye opening to the world will be a regular circle.  The spiderweb has distorted it somewhat.  I’ve been dilating my eye with drops twice a day for 2 months to keep it from closing completely off.

They will stick 3 needles in my eye.  One to extract the cloud of spiderwebs from the inflammation of the healing infection.  One will be a light.  One will be putting liquid back into the eyeball.  This will be the 3rd time they’ve stuck needles in my eye.  The first one was so painful that I almost threw the doctor against the wall.  She recovered quickly, thankfully.  I, however, almost screamed.   The next day a different doctor from the same practice stuck a needle under my eye (he said I may have a black eye from it, but I didn’t) and deadened the optic nerve.  From there on out there was no pain, but I was scared the whole time.  I hate the thought of doing those a third time.  Makes me anxious just thinking about it.

We have to be in Houston (52 miles away) by 6:30 AM.  I’m not a morning person since I worked rotating shifts the majority of my life (and loved nights) so I probably won’t even try to sleep tonight.  Getting up at 4:30 AM sux!  I have all the paperwork printed, map printed, signed all the papers and picked up new meds at CVS.  Next is a shower and pack a change of clothing in case they keep me overnight (not likely but possible, they said).  Then, good ole TV until time to leave.

Don’t know what else to say but trying not to cry.  Wish me luck!

Hanging In There

About all I can do right now is “hang in there”.  I had cataract surgery August 10th which developed an infection and made me blind in one eye three days later.  It sure wasn’t what I expected.  I thought in a few days I’d be able to see better and get back to sewing.  Instead I’m still trying to get my vision back.  I have great doctors who have been wonderful with me.  At first I saw nothing but now I have some light and movement again.  They said it may take 2 months to heal completely and get my vision back to normal.  Last week they both said I had healed about half way already, so I’m ahead of schedule.  Of course, it can’t be fast enough for me.  I have to content myself with the thought that it will all come back if I’m patient.

We’ve been working on the dogs’ health.  After Khandi’s injury, Zoe got sick.  It’s been one after the other and we’ve spent a lot of time at vets’ offices and bought a lot of medication.  Right now they’re all doing well and we’re trying to get them dental cleanings; we do them once a year for each pet.  Three down and three to go; next appointment is Tuesday.  Since we moved farther away from our last vet we’re moving each of them to one closer to home.  So it’s a process which will take another while to accomplish.

I thought I’d be sewing for Christmas now but with no vision and not a lot of depth perception there isn’t a lot I can do.  I have to sleep sitting up so I’m living in my recliner right now.  DH has had to do all the driving for everything; I’m sure he’d love to have his life back, as would I.  Just wanted to check in and say hello.  I’m going back to hanging in there.

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